Kindness

Being a waiter feels like a life time ago. If I remember correctly, I started waitering when I was in second year of university and it lasted right until the start of Internet Solutions (IS). I also used to work in the flea market on weekends and about a year before IS there was a programming gig called Prancer Technologies. I had a lot of fun being a waiter and met some cool people. The thing about a restaurant shift is when it is over you can switch off and rest your feet and your head. Not the same when you get into the world of corporate work.

Being a waiter is humbling and this Anthony Bourdain quote that Dimitri from PYGIO sent me resonates in a big way. Waitering teaches you many life lessons which help you when managing corporate expectations. Always write everything down and make sure you got it all down correctly. Looking after people is fundamental in any service business, be it in a restaurant or in customized software development.

“To be kind is more important than to be right. Many times, what people need is not a brilliant mind that speaks but a special heart that listens.”

Do what you love. Love what you do. Part Pi.

I have been very fortunate and privileged to be a part of a cool tech journey with an inspired man and his team for the last 6 years. I have learned a lot of hard personal lessons during this time and gained a lot of wisdom. Something reminded me today of an interesting scenario from about 4 years back. I was trying to connect us with the founder of a large software company that would benefit and like what we had to offer. I happen to know the owner/founder of this firm so after some time thinking about it I called him and asked him to introduce me to the right person at his company. He did. But not before he said to me, “I would like to invest.”

This put in an uncomfortable situation because I was not calling about investments, and also, it was not my place to make such a call. No one was looking for investment and this was not something I was well equipped to handle. But I did make a text connection between the two founders and I did not waste anyone’s time. I did stress that no one was looking for money etc. I was only calling to try and find the right person in his company to show the product to.

What struck me about my call is that I had heard this a few times before. People would say to me, “You need investment.” or, “You will never get anywhere without big funding.” or, “You are wasting time. You need to go big.” And so on. You get the idea. I never ever said anything about needing money or wanting investment, etc.

“The time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time.” – John Lennon

Perhaps I just sounded excited about something and they wanted to get involved. Which is fair enough. But so many times I was told how dumb we all were, and how we were never going to get anywhere. Perhaps they were right.

What I do know is this. If the purpose in life is to get as much money as fast as you can, then sure, throw lots of funding at something, hype it to the maximum, and try exit with a bunch of cash. But then what? Is the aim then to do it all over again. And again. And Again. If you love what you are doing and you are driven by a sense of purpose then who thinks of exiting. My parents never heard of the term “exit strategy”. Where did these curious words come from? And why are these two words so popular. I really don’t get it.

I remember telling my tech friend a story about another guy who said to me quite forcefully that we don’t know what we are doing. I think at the time the venture had around 600 customers. We are talking mainly Fortune 1000 type of companies. Today there over 1000 customers. My friend said to me, “We got this far without knowing what we were doing. Imagine if we did know what we were doing.” We both giggled a bit.

This thing about exiting something you love is very curious. Do you exit a marriage because you then aim to get married again. And again. And again. If you love something or someone, then why do you exit?

You can’t hurry love and you can’t rush building a business. Creating a company with a magical culture and a healthy set of a values, while trying to make a difference in the world, is not the same as making a buck.

Terrorism

When 911 happened America and the rest of the globe was shocked. This tragedy changed everyone’s lives. And now in Ukraine we are witnessing terrorism constantly but not much has changed in the world, well, not that I can see. Perhaps I am just cynical but I don’t believe Russia is being punished for what they are doing. It is insane and evil, and yet, they keep doing it, and the world is watching, week after week. If a mall in a G7 country was hit by missile or if a residential building got destroyed by a rocket, there would be a backlash towards Russia the next day. A total boycott would be the result. But when it is Ukraine, who cares.

Ukraine is far from a perfect place. This new democracy was going through a lot of growing pains. Corruption is a big issue, but it was being dealt with it, slowly but surely – Ukraine was changing for the better, year on year. This nightmare war is not something they started and they did nothing to Russia to deserve such a brutal invasion. Yes, there have been tensions between the two nations for a long time, but Ukraine was getting on with life, making food, writing software, building airplanes, and more. Tourism was on the rise, and life in Ukraine was good. And now, innocent people, and children, and being brutally killed, just about every day, and it seems like it will never end. And yet the average Russian is carrying on with their lives without a care in the world. Something is not right with this scenario.

This warning on cigarettes in Ukraine says that you should quit smoking so that you get to see how Putin dies. With a bit of luck Putin will disappear one of these days. Please God this nightmare war ends soon. As I have said before, if Russia wins this war and destroys Ukraine then evil and terrorism have prevailed and it will spread. What kind of a world is this then? Not a world I want to be a part of.

Russia is clearly sabotaging the entire world, not just with food supplies but also with energy supplies. First, the aggressor stopped gas supply through Nord Stream-1 due to turbine maintenance, which they hoped Canada would not return. It’s a sly, clever move to cut off the gas supply to the EU and blame Canada for not giving them their turbine back. Well, it did not work out that way, as Canada returned the turbine because most EU countries need to fill their gas storage ASAP before the heating season starts. When their plan did not work, Russia announced a “force majeure”, which is defined as an extraordinary set of circumstances that releases a party from its legal obligations. This is clearly energy terrorism, in addition to food terrorism and terrorism against the Ukrainian nation. It will be interesting to see how much more Putin needs to do in order to have the world recognize him as a global terrorist and take appropriate action. – This is from today’s UBN – what a story !

Putin is already at war with Europe. There is only one way to stop him

“Intent on inflicting maximum disruption, Putin openly menaces the heartlands of European democracy. The writing is on the wall and may no longer be ignored. Enough of the half-measures and the dithering! Nato should act now to force Putin’s marauding troops back inside Russia’s recognised borders.

It’s not only Ukraine that requires saving. It’s Europe, too.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jul/17/putin-is-already-at-war-with-europe-there-is-only-one-way-to-stop-him

Bunster in the bush

We spent 10 days at a game reserve in Albertina and it was a very cool experience. Marta always wanted to go on “safari” and for the Bunster it was a whole new world once again. But this was not any safari, this is a place with a close family connection. Below is a paragraph from their in-room welcome pack:

“Garden Route Game Lodge is the realisation of a dream of come true for owners, the Doherty and Apteker families. Started in 1999, Garden Route Game Lodge became the first private game reserve in the Western Cape and Garden Route Region to offer big game viewing safaris.”

I highly recommend this destination. I can’t believe it took this mad war to bring us here, and of course, my brother’s kind embrace. Thank you Lon. And thank you Anthony. Everyone looked after us so well, and even the animals seemed to be on their best behaviour. Yeah, it was a welcomed change. Feeding the elephants was a treat and the game drives were cool. Here is the web site : https://grgamelodge.co.za/

We met many of the guests. So many foreigners from all over the globe. Saudi Arabia, America, Germany, Ireland, Israel … and also, lots of locals. The Bunster is the ultimate ice breaker, and with all the other toddlers around he honed in on new friends at every opportunity. We met many parents and everyone was enjoying the experience. A lot of people were repeat customers.

The food was fantastic. I put on some weight for sure – I better go easy for a while. The deserts were seriously amazing and the breakfasts were just too cool. The accommodation offers 3 types of rooms and each one has its charms. There is a curio shop at the main reception and the Bunster is a top customer. They had a collection of small toy cars and the Bun man is clearly a shopper.

This was a silver living to the mad war in Ukraine. A time for a new experience and a time for family. The Bun’s youngest cousin, Aras, was also with us, and he was a champion. He turned out to be a pretty decent baby sitter and the Bun was loving every minute of “Aya”. My dad and stepmom also joined us for a couple of days, and it was all good for the soul. The only thing that got us back to reality was the load shedding, and of course, the war, which were both non-stop. They have a big generator so the lights do stay on, most of the time. A reminder that we are in SA. Ukraine is at war and yet in Kyiv the electricity does not go off.