Monday 28 September 2009

Reality cheque

A smart friend of mine who knows about books (he heads up the biggest retail book brand in SA) said this to me last week "Publishing a book is more about selling than it is about writing".

And then another inspired friend of mine just told me this "There are 3 kinds of people in this world; those that make it happen, those that watch what happens, and those who wonder what happened".

And from my side, this is what I got to say on the above: well said!
Yes, my friends took the words right out of my VLOG, er, mouth ...

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday 24 September 2009

Feels like a Sunday ...

Yesterday afternoon I get this SMS from my mate Zaaid and it says “Happy Birthday”. So I call him and tell him that my birthday was 2 months ago. And he goes "Who cares - I just wanted to wish you happy birthday for 2 months ago".

Bottom line: it worked - he got my attention!

Then, last night another mate of mine Philip says to me something that stuck in my mind "form is temporary, class is permanent".

It feels like a Sunday evening but tomorrow is in fact Friday. Another public holiday under an African sky.

Lots to be excited about and lots to ponder.

I watched something inspired on the Web this week - check this out :

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday 20 September 2009

Hi ho, hi ho - part II

So, I met this very sweet young guy last week. A friend of mine asked me to meet this youngster who was smart and full of energy. I liked meeting the young man - he was indeed an interesting guy, but once again, I was reminded of the new generation and their dysfunction. Now, I am not saying our young man was dysfunctional, and he certainly made a good impression, but when he spoke of the research he had just done, I was a bit weary.

Yes, when the youth of today speak of "leg work" and "research" you have do probe. Because, 9 times out of 10, it means they went on to Google.

Now I am a big Google fan, like everyone else, but when it comes to doing research this is just a pit stop. Real work, and real research, means rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty. It doesn't mean clicking a mouse button.

My simple conclusion is that youth research = Internet research = dysfunction.

Of course, what do I know, I mean, I have never even downloaded a ring tone in my life and I have never been on Facebook - perhaps I am the one that is dysfunctional.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday 17 September 2009

Hi ho, hi ho

I am at home tonight, working on a deadline, and my phone rings. It is a friend of mine and I tell him I can't talk long because I am working on a deadline for tomorrow. And he says to me "Why do we call them deadlines - they are actually lifelines".

Hey, I like this - I really really like this! It is not about death, it is about life.

Yes, I don't want to speak of deadlines any more, but rather of lifelines.

So, I am working tonight on a lifeline, which, by the way, my friend said can also be referred to as an "optimistic deadline". Hmmm ...

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Friday 11 September 2009


No, DD does not stand for Dimension Data, but rather, daily deposits.

I tell a friend of mine, and a fellow entrepreneur, that it was a pretty good week. And he says to me "But we didn't fill out any deposit slips; so how good a week was it really!?"

Now, I am not the most money oriented person, but my friend's message resonates with me. The bottom line is this: if you compare your various projects and ventures and you see that on one you can work 10 times harder and only see a 1% increase in returns but on another you can work 10 times harder and triple the customer base, then, well, the writing is on the wall.

A direct selling business like Randgo is something I understand. IS is a B2B service provider and the more hours we put in, the more we grow.

One last comment on the daily deposits is an old thought, and that is "money talks, but wealth whispers". The guy with a few coins in his money box can shake it and make such a noise but the guy who shakes a full money box makes very little noise.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday 6 September 2009

Prove it!

One of our really cool and colourful ventures is Randgo. We refer to it simply as "the rewarding platform".

We are under a lot of pressure at Randgo HQ as the economic climate is tough and we are selling a nice to have product. These past few weeks though have been very exciting, as we gained some solid momentum with some leading corporates. There is some good light in the tunnel.

My personal journey with Randgo has been a steep learning curve. We have been dealing with a lot of HR executives and this has been challenging. For the past 6 months I have been on the road meeting many different HR folk and I have found it quite a frustrating experience. I dealt with IT people for so many years and this new detour has not been easy.

Here is a story of one of my mis-adventures (with a slightly embellished twist). So, one of our earliest customers at IS invites me over to come show him our new Randgo offering. We have a great meeting, swapping stories and talking about when we met, over 12 years ago. He tells me that the right person to speak to about our new service is his colleague, their HR director. He tells me that he will talk to his colleague and tell him to expect a call from me. He then gives me his colleague's phone number.

I call up the HR man with great excitement, and I speak to his assistant, and I leave a message. She tells me he is on another call and will phone me right back. Babkas!

The next day I try again. And so the mis-adventure has begun. After about 30 messages later I can see this is another paragraph in my memoirs.

A few weeks pass and I thought, what the hell, let me try our man again. And I call, and just like that, he answers his own phone. I tell him how excited I am to finally chat with him and that I have tried so many times to call and chat with him. I tell him that his company is an old customer of mine and that his colleague was going to brief him, and let him know I would be calling. He says he can't remember because it was quite a while ago now. And I say "Yes, you are right, I called you the first time about 2 months ago and I tried and tried to make contact with you." I tell him that I must have left over 30 messages with his assistant and I was just glad to connect now.

He gives me a colourful response. He says "You can't prove you left any messages for me." Ja well no fine. Nice man.

We did chat a little and he said I could email him some information about what we were offering. Which I did, right after I threw salt over my shoulder.

And, then it hit me. A few days later I sent him another email saying that I got his phone message and that we would love to come roll out our new Randgo service at his company and that we can't wait to get started. I went on to say that it was great to hear from him and that I was excited to come and meet him finally.

He emailed back to say he never left me such a message so I replied with "But you can't prove it."

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Spring leap

Winter in Johannesburg was so cold this year... spring is finally here. Yeah!

And on the Vottle front things are cool.

Here is a quick update form V-land: We have re-architected the login procedure for the new radio classifieds sites, ECR and Jacaranda. This will make the user experience less frustrating by using the main site login details to automatically log the user in to their corresponding classifieds account. This will be implemented and rolled out in the next few weeks and is sure to boost our user numbers as users will not be concerned about having to create a separate account for classifieds.

We will also be rolling out a new web certificate structure which will allow us to easily upgrade their adverts on these sites as well.

Finally, new search functionality will be implemented on these sites allowing users to seamlessly search the radio websites for both content as well as classifieds.

On some other news we went live with "The Big Deal" on - have a look at the home page here. And, in the month ahead we should have a Spanish site up and running as well as a site for Nigeria shortly after that.

On the Randgo side we now have our first official customers and things are about to get exciting on this front. is helping to catch some online fraudsters - we will be adding some more functionality to the site in the month ahead.

Vottle reached its highest number of unique visitors this past month! Viva!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker