Thursday 28 June 2007


Often when we are looking for meaning we turn to some inspiring words to give us strength. Here is a collection of a few great quotes that you should look at from time to time. Never under estimate the power a few words can yield.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

"The more we live by our intellect, the less we understand the meaning of life." - Leo Tolstoy

"The purpose of life is to have a life of purpose." - George Bernard Shaw

"When I was young, I admired clever people. As I grew old I came to admire kind people." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"If you are going through hell, keep going." - Winston Churchill

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

"Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolutions." - Khalil Gibran

"It is with the heart that one sees rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." - Albert Schweitzer

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." - Winston Churchill

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Fail to honour people, they fail to honour you. But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aims fulfilled, they will all say: 'We did this ourselves.' - Lao Tzu

"A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one." - Henry Ford

"When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened." Winston Churchill

Tuesday 19 June 2007

Gone Fishing

by Ronnie Apteker

Over the years I have collected so many inspired stories in my inbox. The fisherman story is about purpose. If you have not read this before then enjoy, and if you have read it before then read it again. And read it again.

Over 70 years after the Merck pharmaceutical company was started, the son of the founder, George Merck II, made a speech to all the leaders of the company at the time. This was somewhere around 1950. That is long before any of the Vottlers were born. This speech too is all about purpose. It is a short speech. Read it, you will remember it. Merck said, "We try never to forget that medicine is the patient, it is not for profits. We try never to forget that our work here is to help people. The more we have remembered that the more the profits have followed."

Vottle is not an income generating venture. And we do have a strong sense of purpose. We are trying to make a difference here, and the more we remember that the more magic we will experience. And with that, here is the magical story of the fisherman:

One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.

About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach, trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family.

"You aren't going to catch many fish that way," said the businessman to the fisherman, "you should be working rather than lying on the beach!"

The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, "And what will my reward be?"

"Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!" was the businessman's answer.

"And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman, still smiling.

The businessman replied, "You will make money and you'll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!"

"And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman again.

The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman's questions. "You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!" he said.

"And then what will my reward be?" repeated the fisherman.

The businessman was getting angry. "Don't you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!"

Once again the fisherman asked, "And then what will my reward be?"

The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, "Don't you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won't have a care in the world!"

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, "And what do you think I'm doing right now?"

Monday 18 June 2007

Location, location, location

by Ronnie Apteker

The traffic on the Vottle site, albeit relatively small, keeps growing with each passing month. This site is little over a year old now and the numbers thus far are encouraging. We keep adding new features and enhancing the service and we hope that the traffic continues to grow. A very positive sign is that the number of postings made each month continues to increase as well.

We recently rolled out a property feed from a leading online property site, This is a fantastic win/win collaboration. The customers of Private Property get a bigger network of potential buyers and Vottle gets more content. Content aggregation is what we are exploring here from Vottle's perspective and so far all indications are that this is a very positive step forward.

The top categories on Vottle, besides Property, are Motor Vehicles, Jobs, Electronics and Computers. Our mission will be to partner with other leading industry players in an effort to aggregate more content. If we can tie up, for example, with a leading car dealer online then again we can forge another win/win scenario. We certainly have enough to keep us busy for a long long time.

We gained a lot of insight from our Private Property integration. Our biggest challenge is with the locations (ie, areas/cities). We have had to take stock on the Vottle side when it comes to our locations list and it is clear that we need to make some changes here. This is something we are currently working on.

If any of you do find a place to lay your hat through Vottle then please let us know. We really would appreciate the feedback. Please email us at

Sunday 10 June 2007

Success of a startup? It's people.

by Ronnie Apteker

If Vottle does catch on one day in a big way then it won't be because of the cool technology that has been developed (although that does help) but rather because of the people behind it. And we say if because it is a long shot; yes, the odds are against us. And this is why we love it; because of the challenge. Because it forces us to dig deep and to get as creative as we can. The online world is exploding all over again and the area of online classifieds, from our point of view, can really be enhanced.

Einstein once said that imagination is more important than knowledge. We have a bit of knowledge on our side and we have some over-active imaginations. We also have some time to ponder, some resources to spare, and a great playground here at IS to experiment and dream. And the key to all of this is people. You only ever invest in people, not in business plans and software. Ideas don't move mountains, people move mountains. People make it happen.

I learnt in life that you would rather invest in a bad business with good people than in a good business with bad people. You can take the best business plans in the world, or the best software, and give it to a bunch of arrogant and lazy know-it-alls, and nothing will happen, or worse. But you can take an average plan, or even no plan at all, and put a bunch of enthusiastic, humble and hungry people together and magic will happen.

One of the biggest myths in business is that it takes a good idea to start a company. Most great ventures start off with no idea. They are labours of love with a strong sense of purpose. What they all have at their core is good people. This is what the fundamentals are all about. Good people and a lot of imagination. Walt Disney once captured the never-ending nature of purpose when he said "Disneyland will never be complete as long as there is imagination in the world." It is this view that we apply to our work with Vottle. We keep dreaming and brainstorming and challenging each other in an effort to come up with new ideas. As long as we have imagination we will continue to come up with new ideas, some good, some bad, but we will keep pushing the envelope.

Yes, you don't need an idea to start a new venture. Vottle is not an original idea. We are talking about classifieds adverts, and these have been around forever. We may not have invented this online service but we do have some ideas on how to make it cooler and more effective. At this stage we are only just beginning, and as the Internet continues to explode all over again with the Web 2.0 groundswell that keeps on gaining more and more momentum, we are more excited about the possibilities than ever. Viva Vottle! And viva the Vottlers!

Brendan uses whilst Gleeming his Cube

by Brendan Jack

I went to Vottle looking for some retro dentist chairs and an antique German piano, don’t ask why, I just did.

Not only did I get to tick these items off my to-do list, but I also managed to snag a lovely family picnic table. Not for picnics mind you, but to be added to my footskating course that I’m building at my home. Much like Tony Hawk did with ramps at his place. It’s amazing the variety of tricks that can be performed off a picnic bench.

Wait, I’ve just spotted a house on offer in Krugersdorp – we shot a bunch of stuff there for the movie Footskating 101 - ( - so I might even put in an offer for sentimental reasons. And all this achieved with no time away from footskating training... Because Vottle’s so simple to use.

Thursday 7 June 2007

John switched to, shouldn't you?

by John Vlismas

As opposed as I am to artists doing endorsements, imagine my surprise when I went to `' totally unsolicited and found an exercise option for my dog. I mean, were these guys reading my mind? UNBELIEVABLE. I can't wait until they start offering adult services - can you imagine what they'll turn up? Go Vottle, find me a 22 year old FEMINIST Dutch model who dresses like a Japanese high school girl and likes long walks, mist and screaming. I know you can do it. You can Vottle, you really can, I know you will.

Thanks Vottle, my dog's cardiovascular system thanks you too. You've helped him take the "oof" out of his "woof".