Monday, 30 November 2009

Carry on bubbling

When those "traders" start removing their funds, from South Africa, for example, then what will happen to the Rand - the whole thing is another bubble waiting to burst! The Rand has strengthened in part due to this virtual trading, er, gambling.

One more thing on our cerebral and enlightened money managers; when one of these financial engineers makes a billion bucks everyone goes "He's a genius!". Genius my ass - he hasn't done a hard day's work in his life - it is gambling - simple is that!

Gentlemen, place your bets!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Carry on

I caught something on CNN this week. Something about "carry trades". My understanding of this was that people are borrowing money in the US, at a very low interest rate (like 0.5 %) and then putting that cash into a foreign currency, like the Rand, here in South Africa, where you can earn around 10% on your money. I think that was the gist of it.

Sounds like some folk have spotted an international arbitrage opportunity. Borrow in US $ because the interests in America are low, and earn in another country where the rates are much higher.

This does some like some form of trading. But in the virtual sense. Currency trading is a virtual transaction in my view. When you go door-to-door and sell your wares that sounds like a more physical act. But I will touch on that later.

The currency trading scenario is of course volatile because the exchange rate can swing at any moment. It could also of course turn in favour of these so-called financial managers or "money men" or it could go horribly wrong and well, then, you know, everyone just gets a bailout.

So, what's the difference between currency trading or going to a casino. Because, the truth is, no one really knows what will happen. It is all gambling! Going to a casino is considered gambling and the other one is considered to be the domain of intelligent, financially savvy individuals who are smart and sophisticated. You know, cerebral folk, who know more than the rest of us ... what a bunch of crap! They are all full of shit is what they are.

Every year I read in the Sunday Times the annual round up for the 12 months gone by and there is always that colourful result from that one the journalist whose kid threw darts at the dartboard and outperformed most of the financial analysts' predictions. Yup, it is one big gamble, and if luck is on your side, well, then giddyup!

The thing about this financial trading is that it is all virtual. No real work is being done. Well, not from my limited perspective. I find it hard to compare a currency trader with someone else who does an honest and inspired hard day's work.

I guess if a currency trade goes south you declare yourself bankrupt and you start again. Try telling a casino you can't pay them - yeah, right! So, the real gamblers will continue to trade virtually and will look down on us with their pretentious and arrogant ways. If I want to gamble I will call a spade and spade and head on over to a real casino.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Monday, 23 November 2009


No matter how much I think I know, I never stop learning, especially from the mentors I have in my life. And the one thing I keep going back to is, entrepreneurs are not normal - we don't have a "boss". And as for balance and structure, well, this always sounds like a good idea.

I read this highly compelling article online - you gotta read it :

Also, please have a look at - these guys do cool work! The BrandSpankers help us out with and, and more - they are good guys who really deliver. May the entrepreneurial gene be in their midst!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Friday, 20 November 2009


What exactly is "style"? A guy I met recently said to me that style is the zone where one feels comfortable in. He went on to say that you can make your own style - it is not something you follow. For example, if you wear hot pants tomorrow and you are super comfortable in them, then other people will start wearing them. And that, apparently,is style.

Class is on the other hand, well, that is something different altogether. And grace, well, that is what life is all about. The secret to life is to live it gracefully.

Perhaps I am a bit cynical, but doesn’t style have a lot do with marketing?

Our man Steve asked me the other day "Do you know the difference between a rat and a hamster?" His answer: "Marketing!"

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Monday, 16 November 2009

Socialism explained

Our main Vottle man, Richard, sent this to me - it was too good not to share:

An economics professor at a local college made the statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.

The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

It could not be any simpler than that.

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it." - Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Plan of action

Everyone loves a good plan. A plan of action is always welcomed with enthusiasm when it looks exciting and doable. But, what makes a plan good, or, a good plan?

A perfect plan is all about timing - the time taken is what makes the plan a success or not! Meeting deadlines and expectations are key to the plan's success. That is what the plan is really all about in my view - yes, as the saying goes, timing is everything!

You can have this great plan and if you go nowhere with it then does it mean the plan stunk? I don’t think so - I think the person driving the plan may have sucked though.

I have always liked that phrase "a man with a plan" but if the man with the plan is not making sure that expectations are managed and that deadlines are met then this is ultimately a useless man.

Planning is about timing - otherwise we can have plans that never end. And this is where I plan to end this VLOG - I hope my point has been made. If not, then I didn't plan this one well.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Flying high part 27

How come if you book an airline ticket, literally, at the last minute, on something like it is so cheap. But if you physically book at the actual last minute when standing at the airport, then it is so expensive.

Airline ticket prices make no sense ... WTF ?!?

But so few things make sense in this day and age. I mean, what is a "definite possibility" exactly ... WTF !?! Talk about a contradiction in terms! Sorry, I need some sleep - I am making about as much sense as the world around us.

And speaking of high flyers, what's with hedge fund managers ... WTF ?!? When a hedge fund manager makes a billion dollars it means someone has lost a billion dollars - it is a zero sum game in my view. If I make a million widgets and sell them for a thousand bucks each then I have made a billion dollars. But when a hedge fund manager gets a billion dollars they have taken it, not made it. But I could be wrong.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

My little sister

I have a sister who lives in Cape Town - it is her birthday today! She is quite a bit younger than me (same dad, different mom). She is an inspired soul with a good heart.

She is also very creative and colourful - check out her work here

Happy birthday Jade!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday, 1 November 2009


Where does the time go? The year end festive season is so close now!

On the Vottle side we have the following news:

We rolled out some new dynamic backup infrastructure this month, which will assist in creating easy off-site backups, as well as archiving our ever increasing data. We will also be deploying a new backup server in the next week to ensure we are safe from any unforeseen problems!

We will be exploring some further SEO improvements this month as well as experimenting with the quality of our data to see the effect it has on our overall traffic. Essentially we are trying to determine exactly what type of content our users find useful and that which they don't.

Then, for the bigger news: our Vottle star Richard has decided to join another Internet start-up from the new year. Richard is going to work on Vottle after hours and on weekends from February next year. We have a plan over the next few months to make some enhancements and then Vottle will take stock again from February. We suspect that Vottle will become self-sustaining from around March next year. We are battling though to monetize this portal. But the traffic is pretty decent and again we beat last month's record.

All the other projects are going good and we are expecting a good trading month over the various sites as we lead up to the holidays. Some cool new things are coming soon (bring on LifeFundi) - more next month!

Finally, we had our first casting session this weekend for the Riaad Moosa film project ( - a shoot date has been set for September next year!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker