Where does greatness come from?

If you were sitting in someone’s garage, which was also their office, and they told you they were going to build the world’s biggest online retailer 20 years ago you probably would have laughed a little, told them they were dreaming and left. If that garage were in China you probably would have tried to shepherd the person to the local mental institution.

Jack Ma or Ma Yun, was that guy, a humble school teacher who decided that he was going to fight an online war with silicon valley that would ultimately make him one of the world richest human beings (and me one of the worlds happiest). You see Jack created a business called Alibaba, which most of you will have never heard of and probably will scoff at the stupid name, but if I told you ONE of its subsidiaries on one specific day last year did 20 billion USD in sales I may peak your attention.

jack ma

Let me put it to you this was, Jack Ma created, among other things I have to say clearly, TMall & Taobao. The other businesses are huge B to B online setups that I don’t really use so my love affair is with the above two.

If I asked you to look around your desk, office, house, car or wherever you are reading this, and you see all the different products that make up the world around you? Every single one of those you can buy on TB or TM, not only that you can get them in a million options, sizes, colours, brands (real & fake). Jack Ma created the bastard step child of Ebay & Tabao with person to person selling as well brands to individual selling. He created the market where pretty much half a billion Chinese consumers buy most of their goods. Not only that but they, depending on where you live, arrive for me in Shanghai the next day.

taobao logo

If I had to tell you the list of real and fake items I have bought on Taobao ranging from crystal glass, to Bose sound systems, to TVs, to Martini cocktail toothpicks, to Bonsai tree fertilizer, to a Nespresso machine and its pods (both real & fake), to a bicycle, to knives, and on and on and on (oh and a 20 square meter home gym training mat?!) You get the picture.

Imagine living in a place where any single thing you want you can get online through reliable sellers and if you’re not happy with it or there is something wrong you send it back immediately and get your money back (I did this with one Nespresso machine & one wrong size pair of GAP jeans, other than that not one) and it arrives at your home or office the net day. I was trying to buy the Tim Knoakes book in South Africa and those absolute idiots at Exclusive Books to almost 2 months to deliver it IN SOUTH AFRICA!


Jack Ma is a far more impressive human being than I can explain and like TENCENT (Wechat), Xiomi and others he is now moving out of China and he will do so with the same ruthless efficiency and creative genius he has done here. Alibabas IPO in Hong Kong is likely to make Facebooks look juvenile (as it should because this is a real fucking business) and from then on I suggest the rest of the world best WATCH out for the crocodile of the Yangste.

I’ve been waiting a while to write something about Jack and TB / Tmall but with this on the way I thought now is the perfect time! Enjoy!




Google wallet and how it IS going to change your world!

The first question I asked myself when confronted with the Google wallet was how is this any different from the Visa Pay Wave I wrote about a while ago? I mean if you think about it the only difference is I swipe my phone past a receiver rather than my wallet. I carry both, always, so really the only difference is dipping into my left or right pocket (spose my phone is generally out and in my hands so there’s a small plus)

Then I started to dissect the possibilities. You see unlike Visa, Google is not restrained to any single point or service provider. It really is the link between providers which means it can stretch its application far further than any stupid credit card. Think of anything you need to interact with via card – underground or metro, the gym, taxi drivers sometimes or even business cards.

Google can be any of these points of interaction!

Now before you think of the potential of this and how it may streamline your life somewhat, you need to overlay the amazing fact that Google basically owns the data on all of our lives. They know what we look for, where we go and now will know what we buy – what does this mean? SPECIALS! DISCOUNTS and, on the downside, endless targeting by every retailer in the universe!

I’m fairly certain that Google wallet, as it advances, will slowly put wallets in the same draw (by draw I mean line in the dictionary for extinct) as the yellow pages!

The incredible thing is that in a world where cellphone internet proliferation is faster than that of computers, this device could benefit any type of user no matter what age or LSM profile. The fact is from the most basic user (just small amounts & cellphone top ups) to the youngest user (preloaded lunch money and cell) to the highest spender Google wallet will simplify your life – the only downside, other than Google having its hands even deeper in your brain, is that I’ll have to find a new home for my Mont Blanc wallets

Just as one final point, if you are fairly tech savvy and are constantly looking to cut down on crap you carry around, you should be salivating about Google wallet right about now. The next question you should ask is – are you and iPhone user?


For the most comprehensive article on GOOGLE WALLET GO HERE – the brilliant ENGADGET has broken down everything you could ever want to know about it after spending a week putting it through its paces!So is this Google’s real opportunity to get Android up there with iOS appeal and that of all things Apple or will they cave and make and iPhone Google wallet app? Something to think about for now!


A strange marriage that sells, simply

We’ve seen a number of sites in the recent past geared to new ways of selling goods and services. From group buys, to limited time sales, to pay to bid “auctions” the idea has always been to give you the opportunity to buy something at a reduced price (well perhaps not in the last case as it’s more like gambling than an auction). Some have worked, others haven’t and now we have a new entrant to put to the test. It’s called Daddy’s Deals and the reason I call it a strange marriage is that one of the parties involved is kulula.com. Not sure I see the connection to the airline but anyway, this is what they tell us…

kulula.com has teamed up with the innovative entrepreneurs who created Daddy Long Legs Art Hotel and Old Mac Daddy Trailer Park in Elgin, to launch Daddy’s Deals. A fresh take on the deal buying model that has taken online shopping by storm, Daddy’s Deals (with love from kulula.com) is a proudly South African initiative offering consumers exclusive deals and unique experiences at a fraction of the price.

Daring to be different, Daddy’s Deals is determined to improve on the standard US-based group buying model that many local companies have emulated, to provide customers and merchants with a rewarding win-win experience.

“We have heard from many sceptical consumers who are tired of being bombarded by daily mails and SMS’s with deals that only actually become available after exceeding a preset tipping point. We have also seen many of these deals being provided by merchants who are overwhelmed by the response and often struggle to service the large number of customers purchasing the deal,” says Jody Aufrichtig, Daddy’s Deals founder and CEO.

Daddy’s Deals subscribers will receive twice-weekly newsletters with only the best deals from quality merchants that have been carefully researched and selected.

“If you choose to buy a deal on Daddy’s Deals, it’s yours. No strings attached, no getting all your friends to buy too – it’s as simple as that.” concludes Aufrichtig.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be notified of up-to-the-minute deals in your city. Each email newsletter includes three handpicked deals, from holidays, meals at top-notch restaurants and pampering treatments, to something completely different. Daddy’s Deals consumers can expect unusual, quality experiences.

If you want creativity you’ll find it in poverty!

This article is a little like the new Dreamworks or Pixar 3d movies – let me explain.

These two powerhouses have come up with the greatest solution – they make these movies for adults to take their kids to but clever and funny enough for the parent to enjoy and with enough bangs and zooms for the kids to enjoy. Its a win-win really!

So  For those of you looking for a laugh just check the pictures. For those of you wanting to read something (i hope) educational read the text.

There has always been and even more so recently discussion about the fortune that lies ‘at the bottom of the pyramid’ meaning the amount of money that can be made in the mass lower LSM markets as long as the products are correct. For eg A few years ago a large multinational released a eco friendly washing powder for India because the bulk of rural Indians washed their clothes in rivers – this was a massive success and became one of their largest products globally!

So the question is – if there are SO MANY people to target at this end of the market and SO MUCH money to be made by targeting them – why oh why is this so seldom a success?

The answer is fairly simple – as with the example of when GE went into the UK with washing machines they had the biggest and the best from the USA but after six months almost had to shutdown their UK operations entirely and couldnt work out why – what they had failed to realise is they had top loading machines while in the UK (as in SA) the bulk of machines are front loaders. This means all kitchens and powders etc are designed for front loaders and you are selling top loaders – you may as well be selling left hand drive cars to South Africans.

The point of the example is that so many big multinationals regardless of country are generally run and operated by first world people – they make products that THEY THINK third world people need yet because they have absolutely NO IDEA what the third world needs these products fail 99% of the time and fail horribly!

To be fair to them though it is not easy finding a solution to third world problem that is most importantly affordable to the masses.

But when you look at how brilliantly these people solve their own problems with the absolute bare minimum can you imagine what they could do if they were given access to resource and funding – maybe the answer lies not in the multinationals creating the solutions themselves but rather they create an environment where the target market can solve their own problems?

Heres what i mean;

Some may view this as amazingly stupid but if you get a job and you cant afford the right equipment – this seems like a pretty creative solution (its damn funny though too!)

Batteries are massively expensive but an old car battery from a derelict vehicle can do the trip for months?

This is my best by far – when you have electricity but now hot water – this is how you get to wash with hot water when you want – so simple such perfect creativity!

Now if you have half a scrap bakkie and some cows you now have transport?

To be fair though with the best creative minds in Africa (no matter how poor or uneducated) like the rest of the world there are a few we would rather evolution managed to get rid of!

Did FACEBOOKs ZUCKERBERG call us dumb fks?

Well the short answer is yes!

In a ‘youthful’ interview (and believe me there has been no more of a relative term than) he told the New Yorker that ‘people trust me with their personal information – dumb fucks’. Im sure at the time it had to do with his arrogance and bravado but lets be fair he deserved to be arrogant – he was about to change the world at 23!!

He has apologised and tried to contextualise his ccomments but at the end of the day he cant take them back and it probably wont stop you posting your holiday pics or changing your status update BUT the question remains WAS HE WRONG! i mean really people – the world (500million of us now) give him whatever he wants on a daily basis – we tell him our likes and dislike – what we buy and dont and the list BELIEVE ME goes on exponentially! So are we dumb fucks to give a random stranger all kinds of insight into our lives?

I guess the only respite we have is he gets more email and updates than god probably and im sure doesnt have time to care that – well about people like this . . .

So i guess fortunately there are so many REALLY DUMB FUCKS out there that hopefully us semi normal folk have our personal lives lost in all the crap – something tells me not and so the verdict i think – WE ARE DUMB FUCKS and he was spot on (as much as i hate to say it!)


Prop 19 must go through . . . who stands in our way?

if you dont know there is a very important vote taking place in November called PROP 19 – to potentially legalize MARIJUANA in CALI if it goes through STM will open new offices there and you are all welcome. So who can stop this?

In all seriousness though – how is this a bad thing in a South African context? I mean right from the fact that it will control who grows, distributes and can buy it (this will also improve quality lets be fair) through to freeing up police and courts who waste their time arresting and prosecuting users and finally to the fact that the government can ‘sin’ tax the f**K out of the product!

I mean i cannot think of an argument as to why this shouldnt happen – and dont come with your crap that people will just sit around and smoke all day and be unproductive cause lets be fair the people who are going to do that are f**king doing it already – i cant imagine civil society will all decide to leave their jobs and stay home and get stoned!

The bottom line remains it is illegal currently and no matter how stupid it is our government will continue to spend their time on stopping smokers from have a cigi ANYWHERE rather than looking at more financially viable solutions to problems – BUT wait there may be a solution short term (although we think its complete crap) here it is . . .

This stuff is apparently FAKE WEED with real effects and IS legal? I know doesnt sound quite real but apparently its not bad – IF YOU WANT THE FULL STONER REVIEW GO HERE – this company has a whole range of the stuff that seems well marketed and pretty cool packaging – GO CHECK OUT THEIR SITE?

Twangoo comes to Joburg!

Twangoo, South Africa’s premier group buying club, uses the power of collective purchasing to access exclusive deals on exciting things to do in your city. The Twangoo team has been approaching the aspirational brands across each city and asking them to offer Twangoo members an exclusive deal of such incredible value that they would be silly to turn it down. However there is a kicker to all this: The deal only happens if a predetermined number of people sign up
for it. Members are told via email, Facebook, Four Square or Twitter of any new deal. If they see something they like, they reserve it and when enough people have signed up ‘the deal is on!’ A voucher is emailed and then redeemed at the participating business.

It was unfortunately only available to the lucky guys down in Cape Town, but this is changing. Just today they launched in Joburg with a deal at the Butcher Block in Rosebank. If you’re interested go to their site for more.

Great idea dudes – we wish all the best in your venture.

Need a change of job?

We received some info for a new recruitment portal that makes the task of finding/changing job an anonymous one. Quite handy if you don’t want your current boss (who’s probably a real ass) from finding out you’re looking elsewhere.

Sebenzi is a revolutionary web-based recruitment portal that allows candidates to put themselves on the job market in complete anonymity. This is great news for those that are currently employed but are not entirely satisfied with their current job and would like the opportunity to move on to something that suits them better. Candidates can be head-hunted by other employers with no risk of their current employer finding out.

Sebenzi cuts out the middle man (i.e. recruitment agencies) by allowing employers to search the database of candidate CVs directly and at no cost. Once a suitable candidate is found, the employer sends a request through to the candidate for their contact details. It is then up to the discretion of the candidate if they would like to reveal their identity.

The implications are huge for employers – the usual exorbitant costs associated with recruitment agencies fall away and yet they still have access to quality candidates. The total cost to the employer is just R399 – an amount which is paid only once the contact details of a candidate is requested.

Unbelievably, the benefits of Sebenzi do not stop there. Candidates are also paid when they decide to reveal their details. Any candidate that accepts a request from an employer receives R100 from Sebenzi regardless of whether their interview is a success or not.

Sebenzi, Zulu for ‘work”, is the brainchild of three young University of Cape Town Business Science alumni. The idea was born out of their own personal frustration of dealing with recruitment agencies to source skilled employees. The three young entrepreneurs are passionate and positive about South Africa and its future, and they are convinced that it is ready for this next step in recruitment.

It’s time to get exposed on www.sebenzi.co.za.

All the best with the venture guys.

Stripping it down

You may approve, you may not, but at the end of the day the naked form is something beautiful to admire and completely natural. Ok, maybe only natural if you exclude the setting, the poles, gyrating on tables, augmented breasts and the names of the dancers. Bleh. Maybe not natural, but I’m sticking with beautiful.

Here are a couple of facts about stripping…

Thanks Kyle

We’re in the wrong business

An e-mail is going around about a drug bust where they uncovered a SH!TLOAD of cash at the dealer’s house. Besides the fact that you could spend the rest of your life only getting affection from Bubba and that you may ruin some lives along the way (unless you’re just selling weed, which is actually a good deed – crazy rhyme that!), this is great business. You’ll notice I struggled to categorize this piece…

Random fact: Apparently $1m worth of $100 bills weighs 17kgs.

Thanks Garth

Of movement and ecogasms

Two very different businesses with an underlying eco focus caught my eye this morning. The one deals with the creation of power through human energy, the other with using power to create a kind of human energy.

While we’ve seen dance floors and gym equipment being cleverly used to create electricity, the guys at Pavegen Systems have created paving slabs that create power from the footsteps of pedestrians. With each footstep the slab is depressed by 5mm, creating and storing little bits of energy that can then be used to power any number of pavement utilities.

On a different note, adult toy retailer LoveHoney are encouraging people to dispose of their vibrators in a responsible manner. As such you can send your used Rabbit back to them and get a generous discount on a new replacement. The old one is recycled (and by that I hope they don’t mean refurbished) and a donation is made to the World Land Trust. Seems like a score for everyone.

Springwise has more details on both.