Monday 31 August 2009

Diamonds are forever

Last week I was travelling back from aboard with a friend of mine, and we got stuck at the airport in Munich for the night. Our plane had a technical fault and all the passengers were told to come back the next day. Some people, who had a visa etc., were put up in a hotel near the airport, and the rest had to sleep on the airport floor.

And that is where I heard this cool story. The "airport story", about a woman who was smuggling diamonds. So, the story goes that she tipped the airport security off about a diamond smuggler whose was wearing a cast. And then this woman arrives with a cast on her arm; well, the airport police totally interrogate her after receiving the tip, and proceed to remove the cast etc. But of course, they find nothing, and they are incredibly apologetic.

So, the next time she travels they are all accommodating and make a big fuss over her, and she just waltzes on through, diamonds and all.

Now this would make a great scene in a movie!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday 30 August 2009

They say money talks

I am getting a dictionary - I am going to teach my money some new words. And one of those words is "work".

Think of money as an employee - it needs to work for you! Money in the bank doesn't do anything. It is lazy just sitting there.

Yes, some people spend time to save money and others spend money to save time. And time is going by so quickly. I think we got to start spending more - that will save us more time.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Monday 24 August 2009

A cub and a proxy bear and the old world

I was just with my friend Kevin in the old world for a few days. We have not seen each other in a very long time and we finally spent some quality time together and swapped a bunch of stories.

Here are some of pearls from this weekend gone by :

I used to spend my money on things; on furniture and stuff, that burglars steal when they break into my house. Now I spend my money on things like experiences; those can never be stolen or taken away from me.

It's easy getting in, but it's not that easy getting out. Sign, and you are in. Getting out though requires way more than just a signature.

When a guy comes to me with an opportunity to make money it also is an opportunity to lose money. The roads to bankruptcy are paved with opportunities.

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.

A woman can forgive and forget but she never forgets what she forgives.

A man owes his fortune to his first wife, and his second wife to his fortune.

In life you may be separated by 200 million but in death only a few meters.

Children are born with perfect knowledge and then we educate them.

Do you know why the man breaks the glass at a Jewish wedding? Because it is the last time he will ever get to put his foot down.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday 20 August 2009

Debt, in very simple terms

A friend of mine sent this to me - this is a classic:

It is the month of August, on the shores of the Black Sea. It is raining and the little town looks totally deserted. It is tough times, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

Suddenly, a rich tourist comes to town. He enters the only hotel, lays a 100 Euro note on the reception counter and goes to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to choose one.

The hotel proprietor takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the 100 Euro note, and runs to pay his debt to the pig grower.

The pig grower takes the 100 Euro note, and runs to pay his debt to the supplier of his feed and fuel.

The supplier of feed and fuel takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the town's prostitute that in these hard times, gave her "services" on credit.

The prostitute runs to the hotel, and pays off her debt with the 100 Euro note to the hotel proprietor to pay for the rooms that she rented when she brought her clients there.

The hotel proprietor then lays the 100 Euro note back on the counter so that the rich tourist will not suspect anything.

At that moment, the tourist comes down after inspecting the rooms, and takes his 100 Euro note, after saying that he did not like any of the rooms, and leaves town.

No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now without debt, and looks to the future with a lot of optimism.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Saturday 15 August 2009

Comic timing

A few weeks ago I went to see Dr. Riaad Moosa on stage at the Civic Theatre in Braamfontein. The place was packed (in fact, I was told he was sold out the day the ticket selling opened, which was 3 weeks before the event). I have followed Riaad on his journey since meeting him over 7 years ago. I was amazed at his growth and his grace. The audience loved it and I think a real South African star is in the making. Perhaps our first international comedy star - I really think he could play to an international audience and they would love him!

I have invested a lot of time learning about comedians and about comedy in general. John Vlismas taught me a lot, and so have people like Riaad. I learnt that comedians are the best sales people; they got to close a deal every 15 seconds!

But here is the thing that always fascinated me the most (and something the audience is not conscious of); a comedian needs to listen just as much as they speak. They need to be listening to their audience, changing direction without anyone noticing - it is all part of the magic. If one story isn't working then they need to carefully and skillfully change direction before anyone realizes what has happened - talk about grace under pressure.

One last thing about comedy. Comedians are not naturally funny. No one is naturally funny. Yes, comedians must have a sharp sense of humour, but it is all about practice and discipline. Just like a great runner is not naturally an athlete - yes, they must be born with a talent and a passion for running, but winning the race is all about practice and discipline.

And with that, I am getting back to work.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday 9 August 2009

Stress management technique

A friend of mine sent me this - it was too good not to share:

Just in case you are having a rough day, here is a stress management technique recommended in all the latest psychological journals. The funny thing is that it really does work and will make you smile.

1. Picture yourself lying on a warm rock that hangs out over a crystal clear stream.
2. Picture yourself with both your hands dangling in the cool running water.
3. Birds are sweetly singing in the cool mountain air.
4. No one knows your secret place.
5. You are in total seclusion from that hectic place called the world.
6. The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.

7. The water is so crystal clear that you can easily make out the face of the person you are holding underwater...

There!! See? It really does work... You're smiling already. Feel free to forward this if you know others who might benefit from this technique.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday 2 August 2009

Vot next

This last month was the fastest one yet - what a pace!

On the Vottle front we reached the highest number of unique IPs to date - the East Coast Radio classifieds are performing really well and are contributing to a 30% increase in total ads coming into the system.

We are learning a lot of important lessons with this new development, and one is the need for integrated user bases. We will look at merging our login systems so that users no longer need to login separately to the classifieds once they are logged into the East Coast Radio site.

On some other news: we are shooting a comedy pilot test show next week for M-Net - the working title of this show is "Wadda Wadda" - there is a tie in with in the sense that the material discussed on the show comes from news headlines and images from the site.

The initiative now has a funky mobile component, and the Randgo movement is progressing well. It is a tough market out there and a "nice to have" is hard sell, but still, we are breaking some good ground and we are developing some very compelling web stuff.

Then, check out for - this is a new "local" initiative from the Wantitall team which went live this week. And on this front, our Brazil site ( is making good progress too. We estimate we are about 2 months away from getting our official importer's license in Brazil and then are going to get way more exciting over there! We are also quite gearing up for a Nigeria rollout - we aim to have this up in the next 3 to 4 months.

Lastly, check out the new site from TrafficFundi at - way cool!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker