Stickers and a fangirl

Looking back on this week, I am unlikely to remember the magic in the air from the summer rains, the excitement of some potential new prospects, budgeting for the next fiscal year, the absolute joy of dinner with my friend Anton, Adam closing his first deal, the beginnings of some hard core data analysis, getting giddily over-caffeinated with the boys from Ruckus, meeting a digital loyalty guru, taking a sales call from my CrossFit gym, taunting Joburg boy with photos of Cape Town, literally flying through the 27 80kg back squats on Monday; or, on the less positive side, the weakness I exhibited on Friday at the gym (turns out I was getting sick) and the occurrence of a weird shoulder issue that probably just needs a little bit of rest.
What I will remember? Stickers.
Well, that and coming out as a fangirl.
Look, I think you can tell a lot about a company by its employees. I think you can also tell a lot about a company by how it handles criticism. Chalk and cheese, as they say. But I tell you what, I was literally feeling like a seven-year-old girl getting obsessed with stickers. Stickers!!
Thursday was a nutty day. Between the whole Oscar Pistorius thing (he shot & killed his girlfriend, verdict is definitely still out on what the hell happened here, but super sad for her and her family), the State of the Nation address and opening of Parliament that shut Cape Town right down, and my throwing my toys, as they say, at every vendor in sight about these stickers … it was almost a tempest in a teapot.
I mean, I take my job responsibilities very seriously, but some bits more than others. Fiduciary responsibility and regulatory compliance are pretty well the top of the list. Customers and staff come next.
Our new financial year starts on March 1st. To prepare, we need to produce budgets and we also need to change the financial reporting categories to fit my new view of the world. It’s a bit mind-numbing to go over every single category for income and expense. Definitely un-glamorous, but very necessary. I have a bit of an attention to detail which can be annoying at times, but on balance is probably a good thing.
My love affair continues: no day or week is like the last. Never boring. Just like CrossFit.
Speaking of CrossFit, I was definitely having one of those head-over-heels in love moments on Monday when we were doing heavy back squats. There’s that moment when you have just chalked up and you watch the little bits of chalk dust fall through the air and you know the bar is going to feel heavy, and light, at the same time. Just like when you approach a new movement like a freestanding kipping handstand pushup without fear or expectation, and somehow everything just goes right.
Love that. Like I love my technicians make me laugh out loud almost every day of the week. Maybe THAT is how I pick the vendors and partners and friends that I love; the ones that make me laugh?
I was definitely thinking this week about emotions, emotional reactions, and rationality. I know it may be unrealistic, but I like to think of myself as being pretty calm, cool, collected, and rational. I’m the one who keeps a calm head when everyone else is panicking. I’m the one who, when the milk spills, goes to get something to clean it up. My mother tells this story of when my brother was tiny and he burned his hand and while she was still freaking out, I had already gone to the sink and gotten a bowl of cold water for his hand. That sounds like something I would do.
But I’ve also got this vindictive streak. Do not hurt me or my people. I’ll give you every chance in the world, but I draw the line at unethical and I really don’t care for stupid.
But here’s the thing. We know, now, that I’m a salesman. Outside of the places I’ve worked, most of which I’ve sold hard, at least for a time, there are a few things I rave about. TiVo. The Economist. Sichuan Gourmet. CrossFit (although that one’s been tempered down because it’s not right for everyone and there are some things about it that are definitely pretty stupid). Cape Town.
I was chatting to this guy I met recently, who is seeming to be like another J to me, in that it’s almost like I’m talking to myself when I talk to him. It’s easy to get along with such people, and I’m happily building networks of super smart, super insightful, super connected people to be my friends and advisors in the industry. Yes I know, you do need a diversity of opinions but you also need people on the same wavelength. But I digress.
Anyway Lance was about as fascinated by my coming out as a fangirl as I am. From my side, I am interested because it doesn’t happen that often, and in this case I’m proud of it and embarrassed by it at the same time. Fandom, by its very nature, is a bit irrational. But hey, we’re all irrational and we’re all biased. At least I admit to mine, if only to myself, and only the degree to which I’m actually self-aware. That’s a lot of caveats, I know, but hey: just remember: people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
Here’s how it works: at the end of the day, I try to be as professional as I can when it comes to customers. Their needs come first. If some customer has a specific set of needs, I will bring to them what I think is the best solution. But all else being equal, I’m going to sell them the solution I like the best.
It all comes down to this, right? We don’t buy from companies, we buy from people. Some products are so good you’ll buy them even if you don’t much care for the company or the people.
So I’m a fangirl.
You know the other thing about fans? They are the ones who are the most betrayed if you screw up. Irrationality and emotion cuts both ways.
This post was too long so I broke it into two. This one is more what I did, the second more how I felt. One last thing to mention here is how utterly fascinated I remain by the human body. So Saturday I wake up feeling a bit under the weather. I drive out to Stellenbosch anyway to meet Riaan and go to the river, because I won’t be seeing him for another month or so, and I wasn’t feeling THAT bad (cold, not flu). So now that I’m up and about, I went to open gym. I wouldn’t have gone to that either except that I was having a skill session with Grant (more about that in the next post, too).
But then afterwards I raced off to acupuncture. It was a bit of a shame because it looks like I missed some gymnastics practice. I mean lifting heavy weights is cool, but what’s cooler is watching people do backflips and cool stuff!
In case you’re not aware, I have this therapist called Byron who does the most amazing things to help me heal and reconfigure my body, and he does it all through stimulating the central nervous system. I can, at this point, literally feel the CNS get fired up, and it feels just like a cup of coffee or three, but when the body actually starts processing what’s happened, I crash, and I crash hard. Normally I see him at 7am and by 6pm I am a bit of a wreck (Byron happens on recovery days, obviously).
And we talk, and one of the things we talk about is how I have the body awareness to be able to tell soreness pain from injury pain from sensitivity at the attachment points. Similar to how with the fascial release, not only do I have an apparently impressive pain threshold, but I have a very good ability to tell the type of pain we’re looking for (it’s a burning pain from the fascia getting unstuck from the muscles) apart from the other type of pain.
So this acupuncture session was fascinating to me because when I’m really needing acupuncture it knocks me completely on my ass. I was drifting in and out of sleep, but I was peripherally aware of what my body was doing, in phases. First, that weird acupuncture sensation that if you’ve felt, you know what I mean, and if you haven’t …. Well, try describing the flavour of a banana to someone who’s never had a banana. Second, the CNS stimulation, and hard core at that. I’m glad I was asleep or it might have been a bit intense, even for someone who is used to it. Third, my right arm, the one with the shoulder issue, had a BIG involuntary muscle contraction. Fourth, when it was time for the needles to come out the CNS stimulation was gone and I woke up without a hint of drowsiness. But I had to wait for a lecture on the transcendental soul to end before I had the needles removed (Saturdays are TCM lecture days, so you can learn some interesting things if you’re not snoozing).
We humans are like machines. Actually, we are machines. Emotional machines, sure. But boy is it interesting to step back and observe what is happening to your physical and emotional self.
Eve6 had it right: It’s sickening how comforting the privacy of the mind can be.
  • “The mind also had to be ready.” – Byron
  • “That’s not really a fair fight.” – Bryony
  • “Unfortunately the actual regulations are seemingly impossible to find.” – Dominic
  • “So that’s gonna be rough. And then …” – Grant
  • “I liked his eyes.” – Adam (not what it sounds like)
  • “What’s the male equivalent of Hello Kitty?” – Ellie
  • “It’s a spring. Your ass is like a spring.” – Coach Grant (not what it sounds like)
  • “I don’t know what’s up with them.” “That guy is dodgy.” – Ellie & Rudolph (what else is new?)
  • “I’ll save you the R2 it would take to call them. Just call Rob.” – Mike
  • “You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.” “But you can.” – Ellie & Mike
  • “Not that anyone from [company name omitted] has ever said anything REALLY stupid. But if you were to do so, I wouldn’t laugh in your face.” – Ellie 
  • “So much for NDA.” “Hehe. Yeah. So – “ – Ellie & Mike (NDA falls away if the idea is stupid and company goes under)
  • “Naughty is such an unprofessional word.” – Rob
  • “Don’t pick unnecessary fights.” – Doug
  • “You’re becoming much more in demand from my side.” – Doug
  • “You’re telling me my life is hectic?” – Ellie
  • “You’re telling me there’s opportunity in my industry?” – Ellie
  • “Oh my God Ellie …. They have you!” – Anton
  • “OK let’s not kid ourselves. I can be unprofessional too.” – Ellie
  • “You can’t have seven different income streams and no CEO.” – Anton
  • “So it’s not just me going crazy over stickers?” – Ellie
  • “I think we should affix Hello Kitty stickers to all our devices  and see if anyone notices. …. I think I might be losing it a little bit.” “It is possible.” – Ellie & Rob
  • “Just about every decision made by a human being in the history of the world was an emotional one.” – Rob
  • “If I believe in you I’ll be selling you.” – Lance
  • “Input. OMG.” – Dominic
  • “The fact that you’re a fangirl piques my curiosity.” – Lance
  • “That’s a lot of income, income, income all in one place.” – Bronwyn (it was actually three places)
  • “Being vindictive and being hot are mutually exclusive.” – Lance (he meant not mutually exclusive)

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