Shaking trees

I am starting to get excited. Like: properly excited. I’ve started shaking some trees to see what happens, and so has Rudolph. So far, so interesting.
The last week was a pretty epic one for me. It had both highs and lows, as does every week, but more highs than lows. The biggest deposit in company history on Monday, a verbal yes on a very exciting pilot on Tuesday, agreement for free bandwidth on a cool little project on Wednesday, one of my sales team got her first verbal on an event that same day.
Oh and we had a little company party to celebrate a birthday, three anniversaries of employment at Skyrove, and some of our recent wins. Which, if I have anything to do with it, will be just the start.
Thursday I was in Joburg and after watching the deeply strange launch of smart ID cards on Mandela’s birthday on SABC, the highlight of THAT day had to be drinking wine in the boardroom of one of our partner companies. Best part of this was that two of the other guys there are both serious athletes: one is an Ironman and the other an ultra-marathoner. So here we are drinking wine and eating biltong and talking about biomechanics of running in between Wi-Fi talk. Yeah so fun but not necessarily terribly exciting although I got what I needed out of that meeting as well.
Friday started off with an early morning CrossFit session at CrossFit ProForm; a bit rushed due to my underestimating the ability of the Johannesburg traffic to start at 5am!!, then into downtown for a most interesting meeting. Yes, you need to know where you stand, and why you matter to your potential partners. This may be the beginning of something very interesting. We shall see. That afternoon brought a presentation on Wi-Fi in retail to NATIVE, and my intro to the very smart and insightful Jared Cinman, then some balcony wine, a girls night at Monte Casino, and back for some late night chat that kept me up past my bedtime.
What a week. It was fun, yes, but also utterly exhausting and not in a good way.
So when I’m a bit stressed I drink coffee and eat a bit too much. When I am very stressed I stop eating and I can’t even sleep; I wake up after 5-6 hours. This does not fit well with the athlete lifestyle, and I know full well it can’t continue. But stress is in the head, so how do you control your head?
Starts with more sleep.
I want to give a particular shout out to Riaan this week, who was there for me when I needed him, and I didn’t even realise I needed him. Even super heroes need moral support, hey. To realise and assess where you are, openly and honestly, is the only way you can move forward.
The last post had some interesting responses: within a few hours Craig and Kate had both replied to say thank you, and, by the way, I had impacted them for the good as well. My ego needed that, I think, because while on the one hand you can be so confident (and must be confident), on the other you do suffer with this shadow of doubt, especially when people look to you for answers and results.
It is mentally exhausting even while being fun. It’s my job, after all, to calmly assess situations and make rational, adult decisions. It’s harder to be the grownup when you’re tired. But I must also remind myself, yet again, that it’s not just me learning from those around me …. It’s me teaching them as well. It’s wonderful that I can ping my friends about the world for their thoughts and feedback on business models and such, but I’m sure they get something as well out of helping me out.
I have found myself thinking about a few things lately; mostly related to Wi-Fi but not entirely. I’ve long ago credited my non-profit work for teaching me lateral thinking. One of my business partners put it well this week when we were talking about how you can’t really teach that (I know you tried, Babson, but no, it didn’t work!). You learn lateral thinking when you want to do something and can’t. So you try another way. And another way if that doesn’t work.
If I want something badly enough and I think it’s possible, I will figure out a way. If it’s what I’m focused on. Right now I’m focused on some very complicated multi-party negotiations, and most of the parties involved are in Joburg. So I’m, again, looking to Joburg.
Now Joburg is a place that I really enjoy. I think it’s the energy of the place, but also this: when I first visited South Africa, I enjoyed the rough edge of it. The reality of living in a place that’s less mollycoddled than the USA. But then again, Cape Town is not reality. It’s too beautiful and too safe and too cosmopolitan and European.
Joburg is more of an African city (not that I have much experience with Africa to know). I find it charming that the traffic lights go out and that the security is for real and not just for show as in Cape Town. It’s not actually charming. It’s unpleasant. But it’s also more real.
I suppose you create the future for yourself that you envision, and I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my own future. Will I outgrow Cape Town? Rather, when will I? Is it a problem to worry about things, and people, that will ‘tie me down?’ I’ve been burned before by letting a groove turn into a rut and before I knew it I woke up living someone else’s life and was absolutely miserable, but I’m more aware now and that result is less likely to occur.
But still, Joburg has a pull to it. Maybe some day I will live there. Or maybe I will just have what is, in some ways, the perfect life, where I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and my close friends are here, and maybe, just maybe, I could even settle down here, but in a life that lets me travel to places like Joburg and London on a regular basis.
When I was at Ask Jeeves International at the tender age of 21 or whatever, I recognised then that I had pretty much a dream job. I have pretty much a dream job now. It will be better in six months. I hope. I plan. I know what needs to happen for it to get better for me, so now to apply those lateral thinking skills and that good old competitive nature.
Yeah. Running in anger indeed.
  • “Merry Christmas.” – Jeff
  • “How did you do that?” – Allister
  • “Also struggle to tick off items on your to-do list fast enough? Look on the bright side: you have a to-do list.” – Nicol
  • “Yeah, I guess I didn’t actually answer your question but evaded it, huh?” – Ellie  
  • “Wow.” – Stefan (this was a good wow. We like those.)
  • “I’m not sure how much free will really exists in this world.” “There is that.” – Ellie & Paul
  • “Is this where you get on the rower and die?” “Yes.” – Ellie & Amy
  • “It looks good and glad to see you’re a vegetarian.” – Spencer
  • “You can tell that they’re all technically inclined.” – Jade
  • “Please don’t fail.” – Cedric
  • “It’s a gangster business.” – a gangster
  • “There’s no real benchmark.” “Not in this country. No.” – John & Ellie
  • “My brother carries knives around.” “Yeah but he’s probably not crazy.” “He’s a chef.” – Tim & Adam
  • “Welcome to the club.” – Cedric
  • “I invest a lot, especially in my guys here because: knowledge is power.” – Rudolph
  • “It’s one of the best I’ve seen.” – Rudolph
  • “Stop telling me things like this. Just fix it.” – Ellie
  • “I’m just reading the email … Telkom installed lines in the library instead of the server room.” “Oh. Yeah. That makes sense. Where is that?” “Pretoria.” – Ellie & Tim
  • “If a lot of people hate you, that’s a good place to be.” – Paul
  • “No. You’re going to be on the front lines. Not us.” – Paul
  • “Failing over to Seacom is like failing over to 3G.” – Ellie
  • “Well isn’t that funny, I happen to know someone who works in sales there.” “Of course you do.” “Well. This is Cape Town.” – Ellie & Rudolph
  • “I’d say being evil is a good thing to be average at.” – Charles
  • “This counts [as hitting me over the head].” – Ellie
  • “That’s more than ok!” – Ricky
  • “No, it’s definitely the third kind.” – Andre
  • “The fundamentals don’t change.” – Murray
  • “We were talking about Wi-Fi. They somehow we got onto pig entrails.” – Ellie (true story)
  • “When Doug’s on a mission, I don’t think that’s not impossible.” – Simon (!!)
  • “How did we drink two bottles of wine?” “I don’t know. Ask Murray.” – Simon
  • “I also suffer from the ‘have problems keeping my mouth shut’.” – Nicol
  • “I can a little but with some limits.” – Cedric
  • “You can walk the walk, hey?” – Louie (this was not a question)
  • “It’s all about breakage.” – Eugene
  • “You don’t have a typical nerd profile.” – Vuyisile
  • “A straw would be great, but not with the wine.” – Vuyisile
  • “No, that doesn’t make you look like a tourist at all.” – Willem 

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