Thursday 31 December 2009

A new year, a new decade, a new chapter

This past year was intense and tough - I think most people are glad to be closing the books on 2009.

I thought I would share some wisdom that I am going to try stick too during the new year. Here are some key things for me :

- Always try to be graceful, at all times.
- Have more fun and learn to say no more. Stay light on the parasites!
- Never abandon your sense of judgment.

A friend of mine sent me this "Love the people who treat you right. Forgot about the ones who don’t."

Then, something that has playing around in my overactive imagination, If I say what I mean and mean what I say, then I should stop talking so much; that way I would have more time for myself (something I really need).

Bring on 2010, bring it on!

By, a very relieved 2009 is over, Ronnie Apteker

Sunday 27 December 2009

What is LifeFundi?

I got asked a question: what is LifeFundi all about?

I am very excited as I sit here and get my thoughts down on paper, er, laptop, well, you know. Yes, we are all fired up about this very colourful and creative new portal called This is a service that I always wanted to use myself but it didn't exist. So, we went and built it, and now we are busy testing the waters.

Some people spend time to save money (the vast majority I believe) and others spend money to save time. This is what LifeFundi is about, convenience. I can never afford to leave the office to run over the chemist, for example, to get a flu medicine if I wake up with a runny nose. And I hate having to leave the office before 6 to get to the shops to buy a present for a dinner function I have been invited to. Enter - a host of essentials at your fingertips; with express delivery and a range of day-to-day must haves - it is a wonder that this type of service did not exist.

No "boss" likes to have their staff leave the office to go to the shops during working hours and this is where LifeFundi has the potential to add a lot of value to our office-bound lives. I truly believe we are going to make a difference to the stressed out corporate worker. I know that this is something I have always wanted on the Internet and now it is about to become a reality.

I understand the start-up world and I have had more than my fair share of pain and frustration, but seeing this vision realized now makes it all worthwhile. LifeFundi is cool - pure and simple.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Tuesday 22 December 2009


I am stuck with my young friend Tiaan at a small airport in Eastern Europe, and we only have the Internet to live on - please send supplies.

Then I read this (below) in my inbox, and there were some funny, new ones - we had to share it - we can also share the snow - we have lots of it! Too much. And this is another question that haunts us: how long will this intense downfall continue? I guess for now we will just have to go with the snow. Ok ok, that was cheesy, but we are proper tired, and freezing, and almost out of battery power. Better find a wall socket somewhere.

So, this is what was in my inbox today :

Questions that haunt me!

Can you cry under water?

If you have sex with a prostitute against her will, is it considered rape or shoplifting?

How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

Why do you have to "put your two cents in"... but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going to?

Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

What disease did cured ham actually have?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?

Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.

Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural?

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him?

Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane ?

If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?

Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!

If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME crap, why didn't he just buy dinner?

If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from?

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?

Why did you just try singing the two songs above?

Why do they call it an asteroid when it's outside the hemisphere, but call it a hemorrhoid when it's in your butt?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday 17 December 2009

Make VS take

Most people try and make a living, and of course, save some money. Yes, I believe that most people try and make money by working hard. But taking money, well, that is a different thing.

There are many ways to "make" money. When you work hard you may earn something, and that is a honest, and often, a labour of love. When someone rewards you for a job well done then that is fulfilling. But when you make a wod of cash by managing someone's financial affairs then you taking a rake off the top - even when they lose, you still take the rake. What have you earned then?

Looks like we have learnt very little from the global financial shakeup - the takers are more active than ever.

I will bet that mother nature is going to step in very very soon! Yes, we can’t cheat nature forever.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday 13 December 2009

Why do we do it?

A new venture went life this week : How did this start, I think to myself, as the year winds down, and I start to reflect.

I often get asked how IS got started. Well, for one thing, I couldn't find a job. I went for so many interviews: Anderson Consulting (as it was called then), the banks, IBM, you name it ... in each interview I asked all the questions though - perhaps I was too enthusiastic, too energized, too excited. Whatever the reason, they didn't hire me. No one gave me a chance. I had no choice - I had to do something. And IS was born.

And as to why I was at WITS university for so long (9 years), well, I didn't fancy military service, so I stayed a student, until the army conscription thing eventually came to an end. Getting those official envelopes twice a year, with call up papers, never really inspired me, to say the least. Couldn't quite see myself as part of the 1st infantry brigade in Phalaborwa for two years. Yes, I stayed a student, couldn't get a job, and IS was started. Really was a strange set of forces that made it all happen, that, coupled with an entrepreneurial drive. I was earning money from age 17, doing all kinds of things.

In the past few years I have re-visited my love affair with technology and many new ventures were championed. I met these great guys at Wantitall, and between their energized team, and the brilliant guys from our side on Vottle, Randgo, etc., another vision/venture was put in motion, with LifeFundi.

I am hyper-active, driven person, and I never sit still. No one is hiring me, and I need to do something, and I met these great "Fundi" guys, and we shared a common vision, and we saw a way to make some magic in the world, and we are taking a risk and going for it - viva LifeFundi!

Next year is going to be a blur once again, and there is the new movie project which we began casting this December already. The casting journey will continue until around April, and the shoot is planned for September/October. Making a movie is risky and indulgent - we could be out there working the land to help grow food to feed the starving but if every person had food to eat and nothing to feed their soul then what is the point. Yes, we need to make food to sustain life, but we need magic to make life worth living.

LifeFundi, like Wantitall, Vottle, Randgo, and the rest, are all about making magic. That is what we stay alive for!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Monday 7 December 2009

Old school

I was at induction at IS last week. At the start of each month we run an induction programme for all the new folk joining the company. I generally spend an hour or so each month with the fresh starts, I share with them stories about our adventures, and I touch on areas such as leadership and values. I remember asking them all to turn off their cell phones before we began - it is amazing how many of them actually had to do this.

When you go to a movie (not that I have been in a while) do you turn your cell phone off? Or, how about if you go to the doctor? Is it because people just forget? Or, is technology really just making us stupid? What does it mean when some youngster tells you that they have a good relationship with someone - you need to question this. In today's world, the youth consider any person they have exchanged SMSes with as having a relationship. People they have not even met are considered close allies. Amazing!

Then, yesterday, in the Sunday Times I read an article by a local journalist, an old school person, with values and grounding, who was talking about Facebook. The journalist wrote that the main problem of Facebook is that it gives the illusion of friendship. "The loneliest woman I know keeps informing me that she has 745 friends on Facebook."

And, in another article in yesterday's paper, I read an interview by Barry Ronge with Clint Eastwood. "... the next day he was up early to do interviews with journalists, which he does with great courtesy and minimum fuss. He ambles into the room without an entourage, his hair tousled, wearing well-worn denims and sneakers, and shakes my hand. It is a reminder that the really big stars show up on time, give you their full attention and say 'Thank you for coming such a long way to see me' at the end of the interview." Ah, yes, grace - we don't see much grace in today's new world. Grace and fundamentals - where have they gone?

I am from the old school, and I can tell you, it is a good school - it taught us well.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday 6 December 2009

Cold call

I was having a discussion this week gone by, with some friends of mine, about doing what you love and loving what you do. And I remembered a classic old story, that I heard once on a leadership course. It was about this guy who worked in a call centre.

The story goes that our call centre guy really loved his job. Yes, he liked the company he worked at. His colleagues were great, the pay was good, the location of the offices was fantastic, the set up was colorful and comfortable, the hours were cool, the vibe was positive... yup, this was a great story.

Someone then asked our call centre guy if there was anything that he didn't like about the job, and his response was "The phone - if it rings one more I am out of here."

And there you have it. You can take a horse to water, but a pencil must be led!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Bring on 2010 !!!

Another year disappears so fast! Wow, what a pace once again!

On the Vottle side this past month we have taken a colourful step forward! We have commissioned the services of some very smart young guys (who are ex-Google employees, or Xooglers as they call themselves!) to help us refresh the website in terms of look and feel, usability and relevance on the Internet. As you can imagine this is no small task and the 'project' is likely to take a few months to bear any tangible fruit. But the ball is rolling and the prospects are exciting!

As Vottle’s data continues to grow, we have improved archiving of historical data to ensure our systems run at optimal speed – our results here have been positive so far.

We are also investigating some new fraud prevention technologies to prevent scammers from using false or stolen credit card numbers – hopefully this can take us another step forward in keeping Vottle clean and safe!

On some other news – check out – these guys are hot – they help us with our design work on and, and more.

We got our import license in Brazil two weeks ago – we are very excited about 2010 in Brazil – is just oozing with potential!

And lastly, our portal goes live this coming Friday – we will begin our first corporate pilot then.

Bring it on!!!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker