Material out today!

We posted about the launch of the movie Material some time back, and are excited to say that today is launch day. If you weren’t lucky enough to have a caught a preview, do yourself a favour and get to a cinema this weekend to watch a truly world class South African film.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jnr_3NKt7Yg

American Elections 2012: What is a Mormon?

The next edition from our travelling contributor Jack Spanish!

Catch up from his previous posts HERE! 

 

What is a Mormon?

 

No Cindy it is not a cold fish.

No Ronald it is not an extinct hairy dinosaur elephant.

No Jonny, not a Moron, a Mormon.

So…It all started in the 1820’s when Angels appeared to a human Joseph Smith, in the manner that Angels have appeared to other humans – Abraham, Moses, Noah, Daniel, Mother Mary and her beau, Mohammed, to name a few. The Angels directed Joseph to Gold Engraved Plates buried by early day Saints (half human – half Angel), in upstate New York, who had been led to the America’s by a resurrected Christ, in early AD. Joseph dug up the Gold Engraved Plates, and translated the writing into the Book of Mormon, which forms the foundation of the Mormon religion, along with the Bible. Richard Dawkins described Joseph as a conman, fake, and a common fraud – as if only he is possessed of the real truth. For me, if you look at it logically (not as a religious person), there is less chance of the devious meanderings of broken telephone in Joseph’s word than in all the others, but I’d still like to see the Gold Plates, you know, get some cold hard evidence – all these things getting lost always – Joseph’s multi colored coat, Moses’s staff, Noah’s Boat, the Holy Grail, dare I say…Jesus’s body, and now Joseph’s Gold Engraved Plates. Sometimes to believe you might like to hear something other than:  ‘some dude who spoke to God, or God’s chosen representatives said.’ I am not saying I don’t believe Joseph – I am saying NO plates…and Joseph SMITH.

Mormon’s under Joseph Smith were polygamous, but that changed, sadly, when Ricky Baby Sanatorum’s Roman Catholic ancestors wanted to go to war with them because of it. Mormon’s are now monogamous and similar in thought to most organized religions – no gays, no abortion, no sex before marriage (or birth control, for religious rather than health reasons), no alcohol, no tobacco; Republican. Today there are about 13 million Mormons in the world. It is the Mormon’s, and East African Pirates who are currently having the most success with conversions in West Africa.

Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and proud of it – he calls it his Faith. You have to admire him, a little, for being so open; it is not the most politics friendly religion – polls show that Mormons are not as trusted by conservative Republican’s as your garden variety Bible Basher, but are more trusted than Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and Atheists.

What I find peculiar, in this day and age, I mean 2012, is this opaque requirement that all Presidential Candidates have a not insubstantial amount of knee bending under their belt – FAITH – for want of a better illusion. Even Our Newt claims to be a born again Christian. It must annoy him, putting up that act, and knowing whom it is that he is acting for. I know it is not nice to bash a man for his Faith – Lord knows we all need a little bit more belief in something to enhance this humanities morality.

The thing for me is – it’s a human office, that of the President of the Brave New Free World – we might all be better served, by a man who didn’t have his head in the clouds…

 

Jack Spanish – 10/2/2012

 

 

Harry MUST stay a ‘Spur’ and see out what he has started!

Let’s get one thing very clear – if you are not a regular reader then you need to understand I am a MASSIVE Manchester United fan (if you don’t believe me have a look)! I respect Tottenham Hotspur tremendously as a club, their history, their legacy, their fans and their passion. I only scream for them when they play any of United’s traditional rivals and so I have no reason writing this!

Harry Redknapp arrived at a rather desolate and bleak White Hart Lane in 2008, the club had won nothing of significance, wait scrap that, they had won NOTHING in a decade and the fans, the sponsors and the spirits that watch over that hallowed ground were close to meltdown.

The Spurs motto is Audere est Facere ‘To Dare is to Do’ and on cue arrived a man that embodied just that in every sense.

He started his managerial career at West Ham United and saw the rise of current stars Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick and Joe Cole to name a few (he oversaw and promoted players from probably the most successful youth program in English football). He took them to their highest finish ever of fifth in the league and qualified for Europe (this with a team that two seasons later got relegated!)

Then he got fired. To dare is to do!

From there he moved to Portsmouth where he coached them to the League One title and promotion to the top flight at the same time his former club West Ham got relegated (Karma’s a bitch!).

Shortly thereafter, once again a small dispute with an owner and once again Harry was out on his ass! To Dare is to do!

After a shaky spell at Southampton (and a fight with owners of their appointment of Rugby World Cup winning douche Clive Woodward to the coaching staff) he was back at Portsmouth trying desperately to save them from relegation, which he did, and to put an exclamation on his return and a big middle finger to the previous owner by finishing a club record ninth. Not stopping there he took that team to FA CUP glory at Wembley in 2008 and their first silverware in two generations!

TO DARE IS TO DO!

White Hart lane was indeed dark and gloomy as Spurs sat bottom of the Premier League log 8 games into the season as the somewhat cheery, semi alcohol face of Harry arrived and proceeded to grab Spurs by the scruff of the neck and drag them up the ladder, and quickly. In the Jan transfer window he bought Robbie Keane, Defoe and Palacios (the latter two are still club stalwarts!). Spurs lost in the league cup final to My United and eventually finished the season a MUCH improved eighth!

The next season he led Spurs to their best ever finish of fourth and burst their way into the Champions League, something no Spurs fan on earth would have thought possible less than a year earlier! Not only did they qualify they made it to the quarters only to come up against Jose Mourinhos gazillionaire Real Madrid! Spurs went on to finish fifth in the Premier league behind the ‘big four’.

This season he has managed to keep Luca Modric (who the whole world seemed to want at one point in the summer), sign Scott parker, get the best out of Gareth Bale, loan Adebayor (who was crap at City and now leads the line superbly for Spurs) and sign 40 year old Brad Friedel which turned out to be a stroke of genius solving his leaky goal problem! So far Spurs sit third behind the nuvo riche blue side from Manchester and the REAL side from Manchester – UNITED!

So, why the entire preamble?

Well, Harry set out on a journey with Spurs. He set out with a crumbling club to take them to heights they had never been. Sure he’s done that already BUT I believe he’s not done yet, not by a long shot. I’m not sure I can see Spurs winning a title this season, perhaps it’s too soon to tell but with their squad now strengthened and their re-introduction to the Champions League imminent I believe they could potentially become a seriously big name on a European and perhaps global scale.

I’m sure the luster of coaching his national team must seems desperately appealing, especially since its ready for his turnaround magic BUT coaching England is perhaps the riskiest step in his career and could turn out to be the least rewarding, whereas I believe if he stays at Spurs he can build a legacy that the Spurs fans have deserved since the Linekar / Gazza era!

To dare is to do, and Harry Redknapp could not be a better example of a manager embodying a clubs motto. He is outspoken, harsh, certainly not refined but gets the best out his players both on the pitch and off and has certainly found a home in North London.

As a football fan first and then a United one I truly hope he stays to finish the journey he started a few years ago. I believe the club world would be worse off without his spirit, passion and heart (all the things I believe make me a United fan ironically) and while he certainly deserves his shot as the coach of England, I truly believe it won’t bring him the joy or satisfaction that he seems to have found playing on Europe’s biggest football stage!

The FACEBOOK IPO and why you will live to see that you are an idiot . . .

About a year ago there was this product called ‘power balance’. I’m sure you remember it, you probably bought one but are too ashamed to admit it now aren’t you?

Well the story of this piece of rubber, made in China and slapped with a hologram sticker, was that it improved everything from your golf swing to your sex life.

Now seeing as both of those are relatively sublime for me (*tips hat to the people who said my last post was narcissistic*) I couldn’t understand how people didn’t realize this was the greatest con the world had ever seen!! It was a piece of rubber that friends bought, then more friends bought, people got them for xmas, gave them to bosses and bought them branded to rejuvenate corporate cultures – you ALL feel like F*@KING IDIOTS now don’t you!

You see this power balance arm band turned out to be exactly what it always was from the start – a piece of rubber made from a mold in China for 3 cents and sold for a packet.

This is kind of how I feel about the Facebook IPO.

I’ve had friends scrambling to try get their piece of the pie that will make them a fortune overnight, I’ve heard stories of Bono making more money off the initial listing than he has off music and while I know that this little website has changed the world forever I think that it’ll be the next power balance given time.

Yes, people will make FORTUNES of this (they did on PB as well), and yes it will take MUCH LONGER to implode than PB, BUT the principle is the same. You see a good marketing strat combined with public appreciation and a simple demonstration (in FBs case it’s the numbers) means that everyone jumps very quickly onto the bandwagon.

You see the FB numbers look outrageously good. Millions of photos, gazillions of likes and trillions of users which makes it as easy to sell to marketers as TIC on the Cape Flats. The truth is though if you ask any marketer what exactly the impact of their FB campaigns are they will have very little REAL idea, yeah they’ll argue it got views and clicks and likes but how many of the FB junkies actually went out and bought something, or at worst did the brand even spike on their overloaded GEN X,Y or Millennial brains? Marketers however will defend this to the absolute death for one reason and one reason alone, EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING IT and if everyone’s doing it, you don’t want to be the idiot who stands alone, instead you’d rather stand in a crowd of idiots hoping you’re all right!

At some point, someone is going to realize that the website, that by population is the third largest country in the world yet makes less money per person that a Starbucks cashier, is actually the biggest most impressive scam yet. It is nothing more than a nifty place to cyber stalk hot women, inflate your ego by pretending to have millions of friends and to tell as many people as possible when you finally emerge from the horse shit that is your life.

The IPO will go ahead and like most other fads it will be MASSIVE but do yourself a favour, don’t get caught up in the bullshit of it all, don’t praise it as a new religion and don’t worship its god Zuckerberg as if he’s anything more than a geek who got lucky. The candle which is FACEBOOK’s life is burning bright and strong but it will go out and when it does there will be a lot of people left in darkness!

Don’t be a sheep! Live, enjoy, appreciate success but never EVER follow blindly!

STM is moving to Shanghai . . .

Yes strangely it is true, come the end of March STM (well only half of us for now) will be settling in, hopefully, HERE! The details remain to be negotiated but the move is done and dusted and ‘the relocation’ is on.

A lot of people have asked me what the hell I was thinking and I guess when you are a few G&Ts in on a weekend the response is kept short and mostly innacurate so I think its about time I told you all why, even if this post may be for my own reasoning process.

You see life is an interesting amalgamation of stages, there’s the school stage, the 16th stage, the 18th stage, the 21st stage, the varsity stage, the first job stage, the engaged stage, the wedding stage and so on and so on.

What you find is ‘generally’ and I use that term loosely, groups of people will follow the trend within a time frame of a few years and so generations progress through life’s stages. Some part of that is accepting certain limitations about life, so for example in school we accept we cant drive and so our world is limited, our first job shows us we need to work rather hard to be able to buy our first car and so again we face limitations – you get the vibe of it!

As we grow so our world grows, we travel, we experience new friends, new foods, news cultures and we step out of our comfort zone in order to grow as people, but at some point that stops, well for the absolute vast majority it does. You see most people get to a point where life is ‘big enough’ for them and so they stop challenging themselves and accept the world that is now created. It can be your community, it can be your country it can be your school or your job and the truth is that’s OK, if you are one of those people who is satisfied and happy with the world you have experie nced up to a point then chances are you have found something the bulk of the world is searching for. The point of this is not to prove that I’m right in my decision but rather to explain it.

I’m different, I’m not sure if it was how I was brought up or if my environment has influenced me but I cant accept the size of my world knowing how much of it is still out there! I cannot stop exploring and learning at a stage in my life when hopefully I’m relatively green in the ways of the world. I still want to be out of my comfort zone so I can test how far I can go.

A year ago I did a course through a company called WPP (they probably own the bulk of any marketing company you’ve heard of – and a part of us) and the course is essentially for executives to spend an intensive week learning through world class facilitators. Being the youngest person there didn’t faze me as its generally the case (spose I make up for it being the loudest too often)  but I thought it a good forum to test myself seeing as these were global individuals running or helping to run massive businesses. At the beginning of the week, as is usual for this sort of thing, you put down what you want to achieve over the week.

My objective was to be evaluated on a global scale.

You see as South Africans far too often we get could up in this tiny little pond and fail to realize that if we want to measure ourselves (in an economic sense) we must go much broader. I said to my group that I was very comfortable in the world I was in at home and I wanted to know whether I could compete with the world’s best.

Now you may think this was a nice little hold hands and sing kumbaya session. The truth is we spent the next five days watching each other and tearing each other to pieces – for our own good of course! In the final session we were allowed to give overall feedback, mostly harsh because it’s supposed to push us more. I got told that I could without question compete in any of their global roles and businesses and be as successful as I wanted to be.

I’m not writing this for some kind of self-appreciation session but rather so you understand the context.

Did I allow six other individuals move me so far out of my comfort zone that writing this gives me chills just because I thought I could make more money or have more power?

HELL NO!

For all I know they could have been speaking absolute crap and just trying to appease my hangover! But they planted a seed . . .

In South Africa I’ve spent the last three years building a field force of about 3500 people, it’s probably the ceiling of what I can do here for now. While it is a commendable effort I guess I’ve been given the chance to go run a ‘startup’ of 14 000 in China and that’s just the beginning hopefully.

You see I wanted to go to the biggest market in the world with the most difficult conditions as far out of my comfort zone as I possibly could and try and prove that those six people I met a year ago were right, not only them but I want to prove it to myself.

I believe I can create something astonishing given some time, hard work and a little luck but as with so many dreams we create them over a few drinks and then they disappear as our hangover grows, this one I want to catch and I want to build it piece by piece until I can rest knowing that in this big world I can compete, succeed and along the way grow as a person, a professional and continue to learn about the world we are a tiny grain of sand in its proverbial desert.

I guess to sum it all up I described it like a break time activity in primary school.

“I’m tired of playing marbles with the young kids, I want to go play soccer with the big boys!”