Saturday, 15 June 2013

Pretty apt indeed !

Our new blog site is looking good. And the new domain for the blog is now in place - please go to

Thank you to everyone who has helped us here.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Pretty Apt

We have been looking and looking and looking … for a domain name that is available in the .COM space. So many ideas, so many attempts, so many field tests … and we finally found one. … we think it is, well, pretty apt.

The Vottle blog will soon point to – we are busy with the DNS stuff and for now you can go

Thank you for following us on our Vottle blog, and make sure to keep following. More cool stuff is coming to the blog.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Inner Peace

My mom sent me this - I had to share it :

If you can start the day without caffeine,

If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,

If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,

If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,

If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,

If you can conquer tension without medical help,

If you can relax without alcohol,

If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

Then you are probably ...

The family dog !

And you thought I was going to get all spiritual ...

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The secret

"Magic" is probably the only industry where you can buy the secret to something. I mean, you can't just sommer stroll into a kitchen and ask the chef to show you how they made it. You can't take a car apart and try and learn the secret to how it works. But, you can purchase a magic trick and learn how the illusion is contructed. This is something I have been exploring over the past year.

Hang on though, before you go thinking that it is all about the secret then just stop and think of the car or the restaurant, as examples. Like magic, there is a lot more to it than just the secret. The presentation is the key. And this is all about story telling. Story telling with props as Marcel Oudejans insightfully shared with me. Humour, misdirection, deception ... these are all part of the equation.

One of the most powerful instruments is the "magician's choice". I wonder how often we fall for this conceit. Where we think we are in control, but the opposite is true. Where we are asked to make a choice, but it doesn't really matter what we choose, because the magician is taking us down a path regardless of what we say.

Another thing about the secrets of magic are in the special props that are most often used. Sticky tape, magnets, saftey pins, paper clips, and more. Yeah, there are so many magnets used in magic. But magnets themselves are magical things. How does a magnet work? They either attract or repel; but how?

I am loving learning about this special art form, and about the difference between magic and cheating. As Gus Silber pointed out to me today, the big difference between magic and cheating is that magic allows you to suspend your disbelief, whereas cheating takes advantage of it.

There is so much to learn. So many secrets. So many different scripts and presentation ideas.


Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Monday, 20 May 2013

Riding a Dead Horse

A friend sent me this. It was too good not to share:

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that: "When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount."

However, in government (and in corporate America) more advanced strategies are often employed ... such as:

1. Applying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride horses.

5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living impaired.

7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.

9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase dead horse's performance.

10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.

11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than live horses.

12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

And of course my favourite ...

13. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The only way to eat an elephant …

In today’s fast world of easy come easy go, and of deal making and tenderpreneurship, it is not often you hear people talk about the fundamentals. This is one of the reasons the Heartlines NGO embarked on their storytelling journey with the “Nothing for Mahala” film.

I have been involved in many different ventures over the past 20 years. Some big, some small, some inspired, some silly, and some just getting started. The thing about every venture is that you need cash to pay the bills. Sure, the more modest you are, the more frugal, then the less cash you need. But there will always be accounts to settle. 

The financial objective of every business venture is to make a profit. That does not mean the mission can’t have a sense of purpose or make a difference, but profits do allow you to invest and grow. And that is the ultimate purpose: to continue.

The thing about profits is that they don’t need to be supersized. The best companies, in my view, grow organically. And they save some money for when times are tough, and they invest when things are good. One can never disrespect anyone who is doing an honest day’s work. And as for profits in a venture, well, I would rather build and struggle and make money over time than bend the rules and stretch the norms in the pursuit of inflated revenues. I can tell you all one thing: No one ever went broke from small profits.

The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Old Jews Telling Jokes

One of the most heartwarming things is when my eccentric dad calls me up and tells me a Jewish joke. I always find those moments good for the soul.

Dad, I know you are not a big computer person, but when I come down to CT next, I must show you these ... you will love them!

I had to share these links here : Old Jews Telling Jokes are magical. Check these out:

There is nothing like the old school.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker