Tuesday 30 June 2009

Getting started

I am all for having a business plan, and a clear vision, but there is no perfect plan. Entrepreneurs are not afraid to get started, even though the plan may not be perfect.

And the thing is, where you start off your journey, with your product or service offering, it probably is not going to look close to anything you can imagine, in, say, 5 or 10 years from now. The challenge is to take what you are developing from being admired, to being desired - do this and you will win, big time!

Yes, it is the start the stops most people - don't let it!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday 25 June 2009

Sleeping around

Why do people straight out of school think it is easy to make money. I love the enthusiasm and the spirit, but, it can also take up so much time. Well, so much of my time that is. I meet so many young, excited people each week, and I love so many of their ideas. But, ideas don't make money, people do. They often look at me with these long blank stares when I ramble off something like this.

I a friend of mine was reminding me of something compelling the other day. He was talking about Bob Metcalfe who started 3Com.

Mr. Metcalfe invented the Ethernet at Xerox PARC. Someone then once commented that Mr. Metcalfe had made a lot of money because of this invention, to which he responded with "I didn’t make money from inventing the Ethernet; I made money from waking up early in cheap hotels rooms all around the world."

Yes, there is a close connection between getting up in the world and getting up in the morning.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Saturday 20 June 2009

AMA (American Medical Administration)

I read this on the Web - it was too good not to share.

The American Medical Association has weighed in on the new Obama health care proposals.

The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves. The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

The Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception. Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted. Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, "Oh, Grow up!"

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it. Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing. The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter ..."

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea. The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the assholes in Washington.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Interesting ...

It's interesting how people who take off sick days from work always seem to have a boss.

I get sick, now and again, but I never have taken a day off from work because I am not feeling well.

I am not saying I am better or worse than anyone else, I am just saying that it is interesting that the only people who ever seem to stay in bed for 3 days when they are sick are people who have a boss.

I don’t like this word "boss" but I think you get my point.

Yes, there are many things like this that are quite interesting.

My one entrepreneur mate said to me the other day, about a venture he was exploring, that the guy he was trying to do business with was acting like someone he was going to hire. And then my mate told me that he told this guy "I want to be your partner, not your employer".

And here is the challenge - how do we get the people we want to invest in to act like partners or shareholders, and not like employees. Even if the person you invest with has equity in the venture, it still does not mean that behave like a shareholder.

People who are real shareholders never take sick days.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday 11 June 2009

Some people spend time to save money and other people spend money to save time

I have written about this many times before. But, I thought I would re-visit it again today.

I think that most people in the world spent time to save money. But, the only thing we can't ever get back is time. Time is the one thing I am personally very short of. I wish there was more time in the day to do everything.

And I got to thinking. I often order take-aways using Mr. Delivery. Yes, it costs me quite a bit to do this, but it saves me so much time. I know I could get in my car and drive to the restaurant and collect the pizza myself but that actually costs me more. The time that I save by making use of Mr. Delivery is worth way more than the money they charge me for the service.

In the same way, the Wantitall.co.za online service is selling us convenience and peace of mind. Have you ever dealt with a courier firm? Do you know how much time they take up!? Why then do so many people not get it. I hear of many people who are delighted with those hard to find gadgets they purchased off Wantitall - I am one of those customers. I love what these guys do, but, I always get sad when I read some blog site where some guy rants about the pricing etc. - they just don't get it! They obviously have more time on their hands than they know what to do with. A person who understands the real value of time always enjoys a service like Wantitall, and never has time to rant about pricing. The bottom line is that they understand the bottom line.

Like I said, I really believe that most people spend time to save money. I wish it were the other way round. If it were, then more people would develop more wonderful magic in the world, by using their God given talents to their maximum advantage. None of us were put on this planet to sit in traffic all day, and to stand in queues, and fight with municipal workers for hours on the phone... so, don't! Rather pay someone else to do it, and focus on what you do best. If you spend some money to save time you will be amazed at how much more money you will actually make. Yes, the best way to receive is to give. So, the next time you have to spend time to save money rather give some who really needs the money a chance to do it for you, and then use that time you saved to focus on what you do best. You can figure the rest out...

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday 7 June 2009

A product is not a business

How many times do you get excited about an idea. And you think you are going to make a fortune. And how many times do you land up going nowhere. We all know this movie.

The next time you have a "eureka" moment think about what goes into building a business. Is your idea about starting a new company, or is it more about a product that will fit into someone else's company?

I often get people telling me, with great excitement, about an idea they have for a movie. But the truth is, most often, what they have is a scene for a movie. One great scene does not make a movie. Just like one great idea does not make a company.

There is a difference between creating a business and creating a product. A business generally needs a sales department, as opposed to a product, which can be licensed to a company that already has the infrastructure in place to take that idea to market.

I think most people who come up with great ideas generally are oriented to developing a product. But developing a business is a whole other story. Not to say the same people can't develop a a business, but it is a different journey altogether. Just like with artists, developing a screenplay is different to putting a film project together.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Monday 1 June 2009

June juice

It is freezing cold here... aren't we meant to be in Africa?!

But, cold aside, we have some hot stuff on the go. Ok ok, that was a bit cheesy. Please forgive me - it really is too cold to think straight.

May was another busy month. In Vottleland our biggest movement has been with our work with Kagiso Media. And, we have just completed a new car feed from Autoworld.

Some other juicy news is about an e-Procurement hub that we recently rolled out and are busy testing. Have a look at

On other news we are learning more and more about the world of e-commerce in Brazil with
www.compreus.com.br - the learning curve here been intense, and I am sure the challenges will keep on coming for a while. It is very exciting though - God willing, we will get this right.

The Randgo portal is growing and growing. By the end of this month we will have a mobile demo running. We went live in May with our first corporate trial site and so far the results have been encouraging.

And, lastly, for today, SonicSpaza.com is trading well. We estimate to launch this site officially now in August.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker