Surprising truth about what motivates us

This is a short but very insightful video on what drives and motivates people. Guess what, mostly NOT money. The animation is amazing. This video is by Daniel Pink, based on his book: Drive. See for yourself.


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ClickHOST – I liked the name so I bought the company.

[Discount code at the bottom of the post]

ClickHOST is such a catchy name. It says exactly what the company does. You click, we host. End of last year I acquired all the assets of ClickHOST.com. We provide mostly shared web hosting for smaller business, associations, charities, churches and professionals. ClickHOST started in 2000 and has built up a wonderful customer base. We already have great systems and a great team in place to support our existing and future customers.

Some examples include:-

You can follow us on twitter at twitter.com/clickhost. Use promo code CH-TWIT10 for 10% of web hosting and domain names. Post a comment to receive a 20% discount.

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Why You Should Start a Company in Atlanta|FastCompany

Not too long ago, about fifty years, Atlanta was the size of Little Rock, Ark. About a hundred years before that, it was burned to the ground. Atlanta has proven it can grow (adding 1.1 million residents in the last decade alone). Now, it’s building toward a sort of tech hub in the southeast, against a backdrop that includes the busiest international airport in the world; a healthy cluster of corporate giants in Coca-Cola, UPS, Delta and The Home Depot, among others; and a spur of entrepreneurial activity that put Atlanta in the top ten on this year’s Kauffman Entrepreneurial Index, which tracks new business creation.But in a place where half the population isn’t from there, identity is a work-in-progress—theNew York Times called Atlanta “corporate stronghold, a Southern belle and a hip-hop capital”—all at once. Add to that: home to Internet security expertise and a key drug in HIV treatment. Alan Taetle, general partner at venture capital firm Noro-Moseley Partners, spoke with Fast Company about what makes Atlanta’s startup scene unique.Read more here.
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iPad is the new Apple killer device…

It’s official it’s the Apple iPad. See Engadget’s live blogging. Here’s a picture one of this first official pictures:

Apple iPad

Apple iPad

I want one!!!
Apple iPad

Apple iPad

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Do you work in sales? Thank you.

I’ve known Mark Lange for awhile and he writes excellent opinion pieces in the Christian Science Monitor. This one on sales is concise, but to the point — great stuff!

Do you work in sales? Thank you.

By Mark Lange

from the September 9, 2009 editionSAN FRANCISCO – Had enough of the recession? Next time somebody pitches you something – whether or not you open your wallet – at least say thanks.Because economic growth is a story we tell one another. Transactions are its dialogue. And the authors of both are the master storytellers: salespeople.Before you tune out, consider this: Nothing happens until somebody sells someone something. And no matter what the rest of us do all day, our paychecks and prosperity rely on their efforts.At some level, of course, everyone sells. Authors and academics (if they hope to have impact), the yard guy across the street, the young woman shilling for Greenpeace in front of Target, even President Obama. None of us succeeds without applying the art of influence, in the best sense.But front-line, all-day salespeople are the connective tissue between what we have and what we need. Their work demands a rare mix of audacity and humility, hope and realism. They take rejection and abuse that would crush the spirits of most. Yet they bounce back with the resilience of Tigger and the patience of Job.Especially in harder times, selling compels tremendous creativity and a humble heroism. This isn’t to say all salespeople are heroes. Some get a bit too creative, while a (very) few are desperately dishonest. But that’s not sales. It’s fraud.While political campaigns come and go, salespeople practice the politics of hope every day. They live by faith – faith that someone, somewhere needs what they have.Critics accuse politicians of being salespeople. If only that were true: Good salespeople can actually explain what they’re trying to sell.Everyone else in an organization can grumble and grouse, play office politics, soak in a bath of righteous cynicism. Salespeople don’t have time for that. They only get paid when somebody outside the cubicle cocoon is moved to act and demonstrate one of the truest measures of trust – parting with their money.The good ones, along with intellect, have impressive integrity. They focus on your interests, not theirs, because they know that if they’re clear about yours, their own will follow.Rather than spray you with words, they ask you questions, and listen carefully to what you’re really saying. They bring your authentic interests into sharper focus.They really don’t want to waste your time, because they make a living on theirs.Not buying? Try just saying “No thanks – but keep honing that pitch.” Better yet, offer a pointer to raise the level of their game. And if something about their approach annoys you, coach the manager who set both of you up for frustration. That’s a public service.If the world is divided between builders and complainers, there’s no doubt that salespeople build – confidence, companies, and gross domestic product. They make the potential, actual. They move minds. Build trust. And motivate the transactions that keep us all fed.Don’t be too hard on them, especially now.

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Entrepreneurs can change the world

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Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa’s portfolio of companies

Hasso Plattner’s African Venture fund was launched in early 2008. In February 2009 I attended the fund’s Emerging Market Africa conference in South Africa. HPVA has invested ZAR80mm of ZAR350mm in 5 companies to date and expect to invest in at least 5 more. HPVA doesn’t disclose investments and shareholding, although they did indicate that they only take minority shareholding.You can find Hasso Plattner Venture Europe’s investments here.Recently the African fund disclosed some of the investments it has made so far:

  1. Cibecs: Enterprise backup solutions. According to some articles, HPVA invested ZAR8mm for a 25% stake in the company (HPVA indicated that these numbers aren’t correct. They didn’t say what the correct numbers are.) Cibecs was formed in 2004 by Richard Dewing, and its software has been sold to more than 30,000 users in South Africa.
  2. Inala operates in the fields of telecommunications and broadcasting in South Africa.
  3. Global Vision specializes in marketing automation software.
  4. KnowledgeTree is an open source document management system. KnowledgeTree uses a number of social media technologies to promote its products, including Facebook, Twitter, and blogs…very progressive!
  5. Dabba Telecom: Low-cost telecoms in South Africa. Dabba’s CEO Real Lissoos was voted Social Entrepreneur of the year in 2008.

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SAP making a difference in South Africa using mobile phones

Thanks to the Collaboration@Rural project, SAP enables small grocers in rural South Africa to sell the goods, their customers actually need – through a mobile delivery system.

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Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa Conference – February 2009


I had the distinct pleasure to visit my homeland, South Africa, to attend Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa‘s first conference after forming HPV’s ZAR350mm VC fund in early 2008. Andrea Böhmert, one of HPV Africa’s co-managing partners, invited me to participate on a panel discussing “Local entrepreneurs going international”. The panel consisted of:

Other speakers during the one day event at the beautiful Webersburg Wine Estate in Stellenbosch included:

Chris Gibbons did an amazing job as MC of the conference as well as moderating the panels.I’ve attended numerous conferences over the years, and I have to say that the HPVA conference was unique in at least 2 ways:

  1. The conference attendees were each given a silver money box as a gift and the first person to open it were given the opportunity to donate R5,000 to a charity.
  2. Having James Durno as a graphic facilitator during the whole conference. James captured the day’s discussion in a set of cartoons. I think James played an important role in the day’s proceedings by keeping us entertained and informed.  Here is how he captured my contributions:

Carel Bekker @ HPVA 2009

Photos, presentations, speaker bios and more of the one day conference are available here: Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa 2009 Conference.This was an exciting day for me. I met a number of very interesting people, I was educated regarding the current state of ITC in South Africa and Africa (did you know that Africa has 350mm mobile phone subscribers?), I was given a state of the union regarding South African politics and I played a small part in allowing South African entrepreneurs to think global.South Africa has some truly ground-breaking technologies to offer the world and if the entrepreneurs that were at this event is anything to go by, then I’m sure we will soon be celebrating more Mark Shuttleworths, Elon Musks and Vinny Linghams.

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SynthaSite is on the move – $20mm in new funding

I previously blogged about SynthaSite‘s charismatic CEO, Vinny Lingham (Wow, I see Vinny has been selected as a 2009 Young Global Leader!). SynthaSite seems to be growing by leaps and bounds amid all the bad economic news.On February 17, 2009 Synthasite announced a $20mm in second round funding from Reinet Investments. I received this email from Vinny announcing the news:

To all my friends, family & colleagues,Today, I’m proud to announce that Reinet Fund has just invested $20 million into SynthaSite, securing our future and enabling us to continue to build our business model and product offering.  This is a massive vote of confidence in SynthaSite.  I have attached the press release for your benefit – there is also an article on TechCrunch today about the announcement: http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/02/17/synthasite-gets-a-20-million-boost-for-simple-website-creation-software/When we began building SynthaSite from our humble base in Cape Town, we sought to create a company whose product would change the lives of millions of people by giving them a voice online.  We wanted to provide the opportunity for anyone anywhere to build a website that would achieve their unique goals, from starting a small business to showcasing their achievements.In 2007, we raised $5 million in venture capital and moved our headquarters to San Francisco (where I am now based fulltime), keeping a good portion of our technical team in Cape Town.  Since then, SynthaSite has grown from just a handful of people to more than 40 individuals across both offices, supporting over one million users and growing rapidly.I’m unbelievably excited about the future of SynthaSite and look forward to building on our success in helping you and many others reach their potential online.  These past 15 months have just been the beginning…

I wish you lots of success Vinny!

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