Saturday 31 October 2009


I am all for structure, but “structures” is a whole different story. Those you can keep away from me!

For the past decade I have been hearing about this curious term "hedge funds". And I have met quite a few wealthy hedge fund managers. When I ask these people what they do they never can give me a straight forward answer.

I have always been inspired by people who have taken a chance and created something. From a designer pizza, to a high-tech online service. I am drawn to so many things, and I have had my imagination captured by so many people. But when I am told that "he makes a fortune from structuring deals" I honestly have no clue what this means.

I have been following the news lately and I see that corporate greed in America, for example, is as bad as ever. Have we not learnt anything in this current financial crunch? I have been reading about protests in the US because government bailout money is not being used where it matters the most, to create jobs (which are a real challenge in the world right now - the stock market may be going up, but the job market is hitting new lows all the time). Instead, we are still hearing of this incredible fatcat bonuses that are getting paid out. No wonder there are protests.

I see "structuring" is here to stay. It seems we are bent on collapsing, because that is exactly what is going to happen if this continues. The current stock market run of the past 6 months is not based on anything fundamental in my view. This nonsense about bailouts and stimulus is only trying to cheat nature some more. But, nature will eventually kick in, and the bubble will burst for real.

But what do I know, I am just some silly guy in Africa.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Let's dance

A friend sent this to me. It was too good not to share, and its message, too important:

Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven't thought about it, don't have it on their schedule, didn't know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.

I got to thinking one day about all those women on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to 'cut back the calories'. From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible!

How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn't suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word 'refrigeration' mean nothing to you?

How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched 'Who wants to be a millionaire' on television?

I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, 'How about going to lunch in a half hour?' She would gas up and stammer, 'I can't. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like rain.' And my personal favorite: 'It's Monday.' She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.

Because we cram so much into our lives, we tend to even schedule our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect!

We'll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Steve toilet-trained. We'll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet. We'll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college.

Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of 'I'm going to,' 'I plan on,' and 'Someday, when things are settled down a bit.'

When anyone calls my 'seize the moment' friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for five minutes, and you're ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of rollerblades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord.

My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It's just that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process The other day , I stopped the car and bought a triple-decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy. Now... go on and have a nice day. Do something you WANT to... not something on your SHOULD DO list. If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?

Make sure you read this to the end; you will understand why I sent this to you.

Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round or listened to the rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night? Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask 'How are you?' Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? Ever told your child, 'We'll do it tomorrow.' And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch? Let a good friendship die? Just call to say 'Hi'?

When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift... Thrown away. Life is not a race. Take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over.

'Life may not be the party we hoped for... but while we are here we might as well dance!'

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Saturday 24 October 2009

What's in a name?

What's in a name? A couple hundred bucks actually!

Do you also suffer from domain renewal syndrome? You know, you just sommer register a cool domain, and then 12 months later you get a renewal notice and have to cough up some money.

For one or two domains it is not a big deal but when you have, say, over 100 domains it starts to add up. And you say to yourself "What was I thinking back then?" I mean, you never landed up using the domain and now you got to pay again to renew it.

This is a global issue! The domain registration and renewal curse!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Saturday 17 October 2009

Cool proverb

I read this on my mom's fridge at Friday night dinner: If you can walk you can dance. If you can talk you can sing.

My mom has a bunch of fridge magnets and this is what caught my eye last night.

If you build it they will come. Well, not quite the same, but I like to believe in magic like this.

Yes, we are building and building. Magic ahead!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Tuesday 13 October 2009

The dream team

A dream team is the ultimate prize in life; like a dream husband or wife. If you ever have the privilege of being in a dream team then don't ever let it go!

Yes, don't ever sell or try trade a dream team. It is the hardest thing in the world to have, in my view. With a dream team you got each other's backs, and you have fun; like in a good marriage. You would never trade in a good partner if something else catches your eye. You would never sell off a dream team just because there is a cash offer on the table. Unless of course you are just young and naive.

If the dream team is winning then stick to your guns and stay a team - selling a venture means a loss of control and ultimately the dream team will fragment and cease (which is not your intention). Yes, to put a dream team together is the ultimate life challenge; like a good, solid marriage. Again, don't ever sell or trade a dream team. And if you do, it is probably not because you are a bad or stupid person, but simply because you lack life experience. Once the dream team goes, and let's say you then have a pile of money, you know what you will do next, well, you start trying to get back to a dream team - so, don't let it go.

Building a dream team is like raising a child - it is an ongoing process. You can't switch off from it - it does not sit on a "to do list"; it needs constant nurturing and work. It is always there, at the back of your mind. You never stop trying to make the team better and stronger.

A dream team is what life is about. And life is a serious, and fun, job, 24x7.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Which side of the street - part II

I flew back from London last night.

When you are in Heathrow airport you always look at the electronics store Dixons that they have there. Exploring the cool new gadgets, camera, laptops, portable DVD players, and more. You just can't help but looking.

For years there was always a sign in front of this store which read "We will beat any prices you find on the High Street."

But I noticed something new - the sign had finally changed. It now reads "We will beat any prices found on the Internet."

Things are changing!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday 1 October 2009


Wow, another month flies on by! Amazing once again how fast the pace of the world has been!

On the Vottle front we have created new, custom search boxes for the Jacaranda and ECR sites. The original search box (as we have it on Vottle) was removed due to spacing and layout issues, but was requested by several users to be brought back. And with a bit of tweaking, this has added back some good functionality to these sites in terms of search.

Also, we have activated the ability to upgrade ads on ECR and Jacaranda since the SSL security for the Vottle server was overhauled - this allows us to now do credit card transactions from any of these sites.

In the coming month we will be looking at expanding some of our infrastructure to accommodate the ever-increasing volume of data on the server. These changes should allow for future scalability as well as make all active data on the server faster to view and search.

On other news, had another good month of growth. had the best month yet. And then, have a look at - I have touched on this before - it is our e-procurement project that we trying to get right. We will know soon enough if this is going to work or not.

Viva la France!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker