Fast Company SA - March/April 2017 Issue 24

Page 1

“You simply have to innovate beyond the innovation.”


Founder, co-CEO, The Creative Counsel




How to succeed at a lifestyle business Pros of the 30-hour workweek

Why co-working spaces are the new business incubators


“Design, art and culture are strategic assets for the continent”.


Creative director, Design Indaba 2017 R35.00



16014 7

9 772313 330006

James Steere, Social Entrepreneur Winner of Chivas The Venture South Africa 2017


MEET SA’S THE VENTURE WINNER COMPETING IN LA FOR $1 MILLION Chivas Regal set out to find South Africa’s top social entrepreneurs - who do good through business - for the title of SA’s The Venture Winner 2017. James Steere is the co-founder of I-Drop Water, which addresses a growing global need for safe drinking water, through a scaleable and affordable solution.

The Venture SA’s judges chose I-Drop Water as South Africa’s best social venture and James has been awarded the opportunity to represent South Africa in LA for a share of $1 million in funding. Find out more about I-Drop Water and follow James’ journey on social media.

CHIVASREGALSA #TheVentureSA #ChivasVenture


March/April 2017




“It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, it’s all going to get disrupted. There’s nothing that’s immune to tech,” says South African serial entrepreneur and business mogul, Gil Oved. The co-CEO of The Creative Counsel (and SA’s own Dragon and Shark) shares his insights into how your business can survive the disruption brought about by ever evolving technology.

Don’t miss an opportunity “The only thing that can help you survive in this scary new world is keeping a keen eye on the trends and staying ahead of the curve,” says Gil Oved.




Top creatives, executives and even a princess on how they inspire their colleagues, their enterprises, and themselves

Multiskilled When fashion star Karlie Kloss got more interested in business and tech, she realised coding would be an essential tool. (page 52)



Why co-working spaces are the new business incubators and accelerators BY SIMON CAPSTICK-DALE


Five ways the image-sharing site is harnessing artificial intelligence to keep you engaged BY STEVEN MELENDEZ



How Anina Malherbe-Lan has succeeded in the high-end luxury brands market and the business of polo BY JAMES ORME







Five unusual office quirks and perks that are changing the world of work BY JAMES ORME



Time to saddle up with your new partner in minimalist design and functionality

The lifestyle business model is not for everyone. How to make it work for you—and your staff BY GABRIELLA BRONDANI-REGO


Why a shorter workweek can actually help boost employee productivity BY EDWARD LOVE

Too much of a good thing? While a lifestyle business and the f lexibility it provides sounds incredibly appealing, this freedom may bring difficulties. (page 34)




How social media is set to change the way we conduct our lives, both online and offline BY TACITA MCEVOY

78 THE GREAT INNOVATION FRONTIER Disruptive innovations can thrive in Africa, but measuring their real impact is not that easy to do BY MILLS SOKO


Build a relationship that fosters a dynamic culture to support the power of a flexible workforce BY MARK MCCHLERY

2oceansvibe News is part of the 2oceansvibe Media Group.



EDITOR Evans Manyonga


Stacey Storbeck-Nel

By Digital Publishing



Charles Burman, Catherine Crook

Tania Griffin

Sarah Buluma



Keith Hill



RSA Litho




Joe Mansueto, Mansueto Ventures


Robert Safian











Florian Bachleda

Simon Capstick-Dale, Tacita McEvoy, Gabriella Brondani-Rego, Edward Love Steven Melendez, Mills Soko, Mark McChlery, James Orme, Evans Manyonga


Jon Gertner, Rick Tetzeli

Susan Ball

Louise Marsland, Anneleigh Jacobsen, Prof. Walter Baets, Pepe Marais, Alistair King, Koo Govender, Abey Mokgwatsane, Kheepe Moremi, Herman Manson, Ellis Mnyandu, Thabang Skwambane




Cover: Judd van Rensburg

Publisher and Editor-in-Chief:


Adobe Stock

Physical address: 176 Main Road, Claremont, 7700, Cape Town Postal address: PO Box 23692, Claremont, 7735 Telephone: +27 (0) 21 683 0005 Websites:


Judd van Rensburg, Amrita Marino, ioulex, Samantha Casolari, Melissa Golden

Robbie Stammers

Alice Alves

April Mokwa



No article or any part of any article in Fast Company South Africa may be reproduced without the prior written consent of the publisher. The information provided and opinions expressed in this publication are provided in good faith, but do not necessarily represent the opinions of Mansueto Ventures in the USA, Insights Publishing or the editor. Neither this magazine, the publisher or Mansueto Ventures in the USA can be held legally liable in any way for damages of any kind whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from any facts or information provided or omitted in these pages, or from any statements made or withheld by this publication. Fast Company is a registered title under Mansueto Ventures and is licensed to Insights Publishing for use in southern Africa only. 6   FASTCOMPANY.CO.Z A  MARCH APRIL 2017

From the Editor

“Your business and your lifestyle should not be separate entities”

YOUR LIFE’S WORK The term “lifestyle entrepreneur” was coined in the late 1980s by William Wetzel from the University of New Hampshire. “Lifestyle ventures are usually ventures that are run by people who like being their own bosses,” he said. “But they’re in it for the income as well. Indeed, lifestyle entrepreneurs offer a different . . . view of success than those who are mainly focused on longer term wealth accumulation.” The other side of the coin is the more holistic approach. The theme, “the lifestyle of business”, focuses on how business interacts with employees, entrepreneurs and the world at large. The basic premise is that your business and your lifestyle should not be separate entities. In essence, the lifestyle business model is an exploration of ownership and taking charge, despite your ‘formal’ title. One of the takeaways from this edition of Fast Company SA is that your lifestyle should accommodate your career and vice versa, as this solid package ensures the highest levels of productivity. Ultimately, a lifestyle business focuses more on the life rewards provided to people who enjoy and have a passion for what they do. This model is all-inclusive—and it’s the future of enterprise. But is it for everyone? The lifestyle business depends heavily on its founder’s skills, personality, energy and contacts in order to sustain a desired level of income or to maintain a particular way of life. We weigh up the pros and cons in our feature on page 34. You will find quite a number of lifestyle businesses taking up residence in a co-working space—where employees, employers and would-be entrepreneurs brainstorm and collaborate with like-minded individuals


in a relaxed and flexible environment. With the knowledge- and skills sharing, networking, mentoring, commercialisation and funding taking place, these spaces are the new business incubators and accelerators. How to boost productivity in a lifestyle business—or any other business, for that matter? Shorten the workweek to 30 hours. This will help solve issues such as overwork, low well-being, and the lack of time simply to enjoy life, says the New Economics Foundation. Check out page 42 to see if you agree. Another must-read is “Lessons in Leadership”, with insights from some of the world’s top visionaries and creatives on how to lead with purpose and inspire one’s colleagues and oneself. Our cover personality is no stranger to the world of business. The respected and award-winning South African serial entrepreneur Gil Oved is one of the foremost experts on building a successful enterprise and showing others how to do so as well. His thoughts on the future of business amid the disruptions of the tech revolution are simply mind-altering. We hope you enjoy this edition and try to apply the relevant lessons to your business—and your lifestyle. As always, it’s been a pleasure.

Evans Manyonga @Nyasha1e

The Recommender What are you loving right now?

Favourite subscription service Smart Toy Club: I hate waste—particularly the plastic stuff littering your home, which just gets thrown away and ends up in landfills. The Smart Toy Club rents out playthings for your babies or toddlers which are both age-appropriate and have a learning element—all delivered to your door. At the end of the month, the toys are collected and you’re given a new bag. It’s cheap, the kids are happy, and there’s no house full of discarded plastic! Ian Wason CEO, DebtBusters

Favourite book The Leader Who Had No Title by Robin Sharma: This book teaches the principles we take for granted in our everyday life—principles we know but don’t always practise. It shows you how to influence others; to recognise and grab opportunities with both hand in times of change; to be innovative; to become mentally strong and build an unbeatable mindset. Most people think leaders are only the few people who are appointed in such positions, yet every person in an organisation is a leader when they are the best at what they do. Marelise de Lange Founder, CEO, UCANDO

Favourite restaurant 4Roomed eKasi Culture, Cape Town: This is a great new restaurant in the middle of Khayelitsha. It’s described as “a lifestyle concept based on the four-roomed homes found in the oldest townships of South Africa”. It serves the best food that the township has to offer (made by a MasterChef SA top 6 contestant), and I just love the relaxing atmosphere. Siyavuya Madikane Senior account manager, Magna Carta


Screen Time

This month’s pick of the most download-worthy apps currently on the market

Minderz Telkom’s FutureMakers InnoTech programme has announced its support for the new pet-minder-finder app, Minderz. Brainchild of Joburg-based Boitumelo Menyatswe, the online platform allows owners to select from a list of vetted home- and pet minders including people to take your pet home overnight, drop-in minders and dog walkers.

Hater This dating app connects people based on mutual dislikes. Instead of swiping on people, users swipe on topics, creating a deep negative portfolio they hope will land them their dream partner. The app presents the user with a list of perfect matches with whom they can engage or not, depending on how much they hate them. Says Brendan Alper, Hater CEO, “We want people to express themselves more honestly. Plus, it’s easy to start a conversation with someone if you know you both hate pickles.”

YouTube Live Taking a leaf out of Facebook’s, well, book, YouTube now offers live streaming to users on its mobile app. Already available on its desktop platform, YouTube channel creators with more than 10 000 subscribers can now stream content to their followers. A service-wide rollout is planned.

Bitesnap This camera tool and photo food journal informs users about how many calories a meal contains by analysing its picture. Using machine learning, the app also provides a pie chart of carbohydrate, protein and fat consumption— making it easier to stay on top of your nutritional intake. The app is available for free on Android and iOS, giving you even more reason to maintain your physique this year. MARCH APRIL 2017  FASTCOMPANY.CO.Z A   11

Fast Company promotion

The future of driving The new BMW 5 Series Sedan is lighter, more dynamic, more economical—and fully connected

The seventh generation of the BMW 5 Series Sedan will cut a sporty, elegant and stylish figure when it hits the roads in South Africa in February/March 2017. Further enhanced dynamics, an unbeatable line-up of assistance systems, an unmatched degree of connectivity, as well as a new and innovative operating system are the most important new features. It therefore has all the tools it needs to continue the remarkable success recorded by its predecessors; around 7.9 million BMW 5 Series cars were sold across its first six generations. “The seventh generation of the BMW 5 Series points the way into the future, as we have defined it with our NUMBER ONE > NEXT strategy,” says Harald Krüger, chairperson of the Board of Management at BMW AG. “We see technological leadership, emotionally rich products and digitalisation as essential factors in achieving success. With the expansion of our model portfolio in the large-vehicle classes, we are satisfying the wishes of many customers. I’m in no doubt that the new BMW 5 Series will set new benchmarks technologically, but also have huge emotional appeal. It remains the epitome of the business sedan.”

S u pe rior d rivi ng plea s u re a nd u n s u rpa ssed aerodyna m ic s Rigorous application of the BMW EfficientLightweight design concept, with increased use of aluminium and highstrength steels, reduces the weight of the 5 Series Sedan by up to 100kg from that of its predecessor. The newly designed chassis, a low centre of gravity, BMW’s hallmark even weight distribution, and a lightweight body offering exceptional torsional stiffness combine a wonderfully dynamic driving experience with the longdistance comfort for which the BMW 5 Series is renowned. Various chassis options such as Integral Active Steering add further talents to a dynamics-focused overall package

that’s designed to ensure the BMW 5 Series once again stands at the top of its class. The drag co-efficient of the new 4 935mm-long BMW 5 Series Sedan (Cd = 0.22 at its most efficient) sets the benchmark in its class.

The next step to a utom ated d riving A wealth of assistance systems are on hand to offer the driver unbeatable support: not only at critical moments but also in less demanding situations at the wheel, such as traffic jams, slow-moving traffic and monotonous stretches of highways. To this end, it is fitted as standard with a stereo camera, which teams up with optional radar and ultrasound sensors to monitor the area around the car. A new feature, alongside the Evasion Aid and Crossing Traffic Warning, is the Lane Keep Assist with active side-collision protection, which keeps an eye on the lane markings and the area around the car, and actively helps the driver to avoid looming collisions by applying corrective steering inputs. The BMW 5 Series takes another step

toward automated driving with extended functions for the optional Active Cruise Control system and Steering and Lane Control Assist. These include adoption of speed restrictions, which drivers can select as part of the Speed Limit Assist option. Drivers can confirm adoption of a speed restriction and make an adjustment of +/–15km/h in the system settings. From rest to 210km/h, the car assists the driver with distance-keeping, accelerating, braking and lane control. This increases comfort significantly, in particular at low speeds and in slow-moving traffic on clogged-up highway sections. The intelligent Auto Start Stop function now adjusts its responses to the route as well as traffic conditions, therefore offering even greater driving comfort.

Intu itive u sa bilit y a nd exten sive comfor t With even greater user-friendliness as its goal, the new BMW 5 Series is equipped with the latest-generation iDrive system. In top

“I’m in no doubt that the new BMW 5 Series will set new benchmarks technologically, but also have huge emotional appeal. It remains the epitome of the business sedan.” —Harald Krüger, chairperson of the Board of Management at BMW AG

specification, it displays navigation, telephone and entertainment features, plus vehicle functions, on a highresolution 10.25-inch screen. The system can be operated using the iDrive Controller, by voice command or gestures, or by touching the display controls directly, as the driver wishes. The large, tile-style panels can be arranged as desired and show the content of the underlying menus in constantly updated form. The latest-generation full-colour BMW Head-Up Display has a projection surface that is 70% larger than before and displays traffic signs, telephone listings, radio stations, music tracks, navigation instructions, and warnings from the assistance systems. Maximising the levels of on-board comfort are extended storage options, greater legroom for rear-seat passengers and comfort seats with massage function, not to mention innovative seat operation using touch sensors and fourzone climate control complete with ionisation and discreet air fragrancing. Special Synergy Thermoacoustic Capsule engine encapsulation technology, the acoustic glazing for the windscreen and the acoustic headliner bring about another noticeable reduction in noise levels inside the car. All headlight variants specified for the BMW 5 Series Sedan come as standard with LED technology. Available as an option are Adaptive LED Headlights with variable light distribution including adaptive roundabout lights, and BMW Selective Beam anti-dazzle high beam with a range of up to 500m.

Adva nced lin k- u p of m a n , m ac h ine a n d e nvi ron m e nt The new BMW 5 Series also offers a compelling proposition in terms of connectivity. Extensive BMW ConnectedDrive features are joined by new services that lavish business travellers with extra comfort and save them time. These include the optional Park Assist, which parks the vehicle


automatically. The optional Remote Parking system allows the BMW 5 Series Sedan to be manoeuvred into even the tightest parking spaces remotely using the car key. And smartphone integration has been further improved—from Apple CarPlay (which, in a first for a carmaker, has been incorporated fully wirelessly) to inductive phone charging.

Person alised conte nt t h roug h BMW Con nected O n boa rd BMW Connected, the personal digital mobility assistant from BMW, has been available in South Africa since October 2016. The next development stage of the system, complete with additional services, is set to be introduced with the new BMW 5 Series. BMW Connected Onboard gives drivers an overview of their mobility-related information. Relevant content such as the upcoming navigation destinations and estimated arrival time recorded in their personal mobility agenda are transferred seamlessly into the car from their smartphone and displayed on the personalised screen. Remote 3D View allows drivers to call up three-dimensional views of the area around their car on their smartphone while on the move—which means they need never lose sight of their car.

BMW 530i a nd BMW 540i: t he new pet rol eng ine s All the engines in the 5 Series Sedan line-up belong to the newly developed, modular BMW EfficientDynamics family of power units. BMW TwinPower Turbo technology imbues all the members of the family with outstanding performance combined with exceptional efficiency. Two diesel engines and two petrol variants will be available from launch, working in tandem with rear-wheel drive. The new two-litre four-cylinder in-line


engine in the BMW 530i develops peak torque of 350Nm and maximum output of 185kW. Its fuel consumption in the combined cycle comes in at 6.2 litres/100km*, which means CO2 emissions of 141g/km—down more than 11% on its predecessor’s figures. The BMW 530i accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 250km/h. The flagship engine at launch will be the 250kW unit under the bonnet of the new BMW 540i. This three-litre straight-six produces torque of 450Nm. Despite its extra output and sharper dynamic edge, average fuel consumption stands at only 7.2 litres/100km*, and CO2 emissions are kept to just 164g/km.

BMW 520d a nd BMW 530d : t he new d ie sel eng ine s The four-cylinder diesel engine powering the BMW 520d develops 140kW and peak torque of 400Nm. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are 4.7 litres/100km* and 124g/km with the eight-speed Steptronic transmission. The sedan accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds (Steptronic). Top speed is 238km/h (with Steptronic 235km/h). The new BMW 530d likewise does a nice line in dynamics and efficiency. Producing 195kW and peak torque of 620Nm, the six-cylinder in-line unit is clearly superior to the equivalent model in the outgoing range. And yet, the BMW 530d also makes do with average fuel con-sumption of 5.1 litres/100km* and CO2 emissions of 134g/km —an approximately 13% improvement on its predecessor. The new BMW 530d races from 0 to 100km/h in just 5.7 seconds, and on to an electronically governed 250km/h. *South African fuel consumption figures were calculated according to the EU test cycle and may vary depending on the tyre format specified. Some figures are provisional.



SOFA SO GOOD Time to saddle up with your new partner in minimalist design and functionality

Always by your side The Sofa Saddle is not only a dedicated stow-away pocket but also protects the sofa arm from stains or spills.

Three remotes, the TV guide, a pile of magazines and a couple of takeout menus . . . If you’re looking to declutter a living area and bring the coffee back to the coffee table, the compact Sofa Saddle is an aesthetically pleasing solution. Created and crafted from highquality felt and leather by local designer Matthew Neilson, it will keep all your ‘me time’ essentials out of sight yet within easy reach. Neilson’s Matblac Studios is part

of the Konnect design network launched last year by urban property developer Blok. It’s a collaborative showcase of local designers handpicked for their creativity and shared passion, coming together to create limitededition pieces. The Sofa Saddle was the perfect complement to Blok’s apartments. According to Neilson, the goal with the Sofa Saddle was to help create a minimalist and organised modern home, small or large.

“We chose the TV room area as the worst clutter offender—for obvious reasons!” It’s not only a dedicated place for your paraphernalia but also serves to protect the sofa arm from coffee or tea cup rings. The Sofa Saddle is an offshoot of the classic carrying-concept of motorcycle panniers. Taking a proven design, like pannier bags, and working it into a new setting gave the best results. “There was no need to reinvent the wheel,” says Neilson.

Any design tweaks in the pipeline? “We feel the design is perfect in functionality, but love the thought of adding pop-colour options for bold personalities.” The Sofa Saddle costs R1 250 and is available in brown and black. All Konnect and Matblac pieces are showcased in the Blok exhibition space at 51 Regent Road, Sea Point, Cape Town. See



“ YOU SIMPLY H AV E TO INNOVATE BEYOND T H E I N N O VAT I O N .” Serial entrepreneur, Dragon and Shark Gil Oved shares why it’s crucial to build a business that can weather the disruption caused by ever evolving technology Interview by Evans Manyonga

Photographs by Judd van Rensburg


With a huge grin, Gil Oved introduced himself to an audience at the Universit y of the Free State back in 2015 . He told t hem h e ’s a b u s i n e s s m a n , a n ent r epr eneur, a n inve stor, a fa sh ion ist a (he was t he 2014 G Q Best Dressed M an), a T V personalit y and a publ ishe d aut hor —“a l l b e f o r e I ’m 4 0 .” T h a t was 16 days unt il his 4 0 t h b i r t h d a y. . .


Witty, energetic, articulate and immaculately dressed (always immaculately dressed), Oved epitomises the modern connected entrepreneur. From a teen TV presenter in the 1990s to a multimillionaire today, he has been a firm believer in his mantra of “passion-fuelled optimism”, which has led to his success as a business mogul as well as the co-CEO of The Creative Counsel, South Africa’s largest advertising agency. As a respected and award-winning entrepreneur, Oved is often called upon to deliver talks or interviews about his journey and to give advice on how to succeed in building one’s own business empire. So it was no surprise when he became a Dragon on South Africa’s version of Dragons’ Den (along with Vinny Lingham, Lebo Gunguluza, Vusi Thembekwayo and Polo Leteka Radebe—with whom he has coauthored the business-insights book, And For All These Reasons . . . I’M IN), and chosen as the first Shark in the Shark Tank SA series. But, as Oved told the UFS audience in 2015, “I still feel like I have a lot to do, I’ve got a long way to go. I’m very ambitious—I feel like I’ve only just begun.”

How did you enjoy your time on Shark Tank SA? My time in the Tank was incredible! It was a wonderful opportunity to be a part of such an illustrious panel of investors—and to take part in a show that sparks conversations that need to be had in South Africa far more frequently. Those are, of course, conversations about entrepreneurship. The format is such that you have no preparation for who’s coming into the Tank. You don’t know if they’re going to be old or young, man or woman, tech or other. . . and that’s a very strange dynamic. The cameras are rolling and mics are on. You have a few minutes at best to try and get your mind around what their business is all about, and decide if you would back them. Simultaneously, you need to outwit the other Sharks: If they suspect you’re onto something good, they might bid you out of the deal! Shark Tank South Africa is not only about an entrepreneur selling his or her idea to an investor but also about the mentor/investor selling himself or herself to the entrepreneur, while competing against the other Sharks. It’s intense and exciting. On a personal level, it was an important platform for me, as it allowed me to live out what I feel very strongly about: inspiring entrepreneurs and engaging them.


“Start thinking about how to become so good at something, and so creative in your approach to it, that computers and machines simply can’t compete.” and a few months later the campaign’s rolling out and is there for everyone to see. That’s a very exciting thing to be part of. We have a very diverse set of clients in various industries, each with their own challenges, target markets and unique stories. The type of advertising we do is also very unique; it’s fast-growing, ever changing, non-traditional advertising. It’s a mixture of social media, technology, online and on-the-ground brand activations that are direct and very personal, and that’s where the money’s going. We are pioneering new things all the time. I love this space!

It was not only about the hundred or so entrepreneurs who came into the Tank, but about the other tens of thousands of others who watched the show and saw the possibilities. The show gives entrepreneurs a licence to take risks, a licence to live their dreams, and a licence to succeed—and that’s what is incredible about these kinds of programmes.


Describe a day at The Creative Counsel. There’s no such thing as a typical day— but that’s both tough and thrilling. The beauty of living this kind of life is that it can be turned on its head by a single call; a single brief can change the trajectory of the business. One minute you’re imagining something in your head,

You have clear opinions on the impact of technology on our future. What do you see as an effective transition solution to ease the strain on the economy once jobs are automated? According to 2015 Gartner research, by 2025 a third of all jobs will be lost due to new technologies. For example, artificial intelligence and robotics mean not only blue-collar but also a lot of white-collar, intellectual jobs will become obsolete. And we’re not talking about in the next 100 years—we’re talking over the next eight years. The question is, what does this mean for people? The lingering debate—and this is a huge concern—is that all too often, we talk about what technology is doing positively in our lives, but forget the pitfalls. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge tech freak (I love it), but at the same time I don’t think we should assume it’ll only have positive benefits. Tech will make numerous jobs redundant, and we’re not talking about this reality. I don’t think we’re adequately addressing the downside. I don’t believe that as many new jobs will be created as old jobs lost. During the Industrial Revolution, similar predictions were made; however, more jobs were created than consumed by automation in the past. That’s not the case this time round. The Industrial Revolution caused tech to change manual, physical jobs into mental jobs. The problem now is that the new wave of technology is

replacing mental jobs. All we have to offer as humans is brawn and brain. So if the brawn jobs have been taken, and the brain jobs are going to be taken, then how much more value can humans actually offer? I think it’s an inevitability that tech will result in mass unemployment. And the discussion is not just about what value a human can add to the world; it’s also a question of what a human will derive from his or her life if the person doesn’t have a purpose—very often created in the work environment. To some extent, it may be argued that people won’t need to work as much and will be wealthier than they are now. The truth is that the world’s GDP has increased tremendously in the last 100 years. While there’s still an unacceptable number of people on the poverty line, relatively speaking there are a lot fewer people who are at the bottom of the poverty scale than there ever have been in history. Speaking to the world’s population, even the poorest of the poor have more access to sanitation than ever before, partly due to technology. Humans have created tech, and tech has helped to increase wealth even for the poorest people, relatively speaking. So these are big, important concepts. But having said all that, massive unemployment looms— and this must be addressed. The question then is, what do you do about it? Start thinking about how to become so good at something, and so creative in your approach to it, that computers and machines simply can’t compete. It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in—it’s all going to get disrupted. There’s nothing that’s immune to tech. The only thing that can help you survive in this scary new world is keeping a keen eye on the trends and staying ahead of the curve. You simply have to innovate beyond the innovation.

We need to stay alert, and hope to be on the right side of all of this.

Do you see potential openings in new jobs as emerging technologies arise? If so, how could this help countries like South Africa? I’m seeing incredible opportunities in

fintech, agritech and civictech. Absolutely I see these helping South Africa—in fact, I see them helping Africa! There’s a whole discussion around the fact that there are populations who’ll never engage with a PC or computer, but will understand connectivity entirely through their

Which technologies do you think are going to make a massive impact? Blockchain and cryptocurrency are two technologies that are going to change our lives fundamentally. These two are going to up-end the entire way the world does business. That will disempower central banks—which will come with its own set of challenges and opportunities. Governments will fear becoming much weaker and losing control. History has shown us that governments don’t respond well to loss of power, so unquestionably they will try to intervene. That will cause volatility, which will create things like populism and a degree of anarchy.


phones and mobile devices. That’s amazing; it means that many African and developing countries are leapfrogging the kind of costs that were incurred by Westernised societies. There are exciting tech scenes in Nairobi, Lagos, Kigali and Cape Town. I’m seeing an incredible blossoming tech scene out of Joburg, too. What’s cool for me is that there’s a dire need to find African solutions to African problems. One that’s always quoted is M-Pesa, the African money-transfer system started by Safaricom in 2007, and which now caters for 40% of Kenya’s transactions—that means 85% of Kenya’s population uses M-Pesa. It’s made Safaricom the most profitable company in East Africa, and it’s changed the way East Africa does business. Rural fishermen in Kenya used to be price takers, hoping that whatever they caught would earn a good price. If there was an oversupply, they’d sometimes earn a lot less, and sometimes nothing. But now with M-Pesa and related technology, fishermen know in real time what the market is paying, and they hone their efforts in the right direction; as a result, they’ve become price makers and not price takers. For thousands of years, these fishermen survived because of entrepreneurial flare, but now because of technology, they’re not only surviving but thriving—and that’s incredible. So I look at Africa and see the potential tech brings, and I get excited. All over the world, there’s an ageing population placing a burden on government budgets, which continue subsidising these ageing and declining populations. Contrast that with Africa: currently at 1 billion people, but set to grow by an incremental 3 billion over the next 85 years. By that time, 40% of the world’s youth will call Africa home. All these people will need to be fed, housed, educated, entertained etc. You fly over Africa and you see huge empty spaces that are completely uninhabited, with no infrastructure. There’s need for trains, roads, hospitals, malls and schools—and, of course, a plethora of tech solutions unique to the continent. Opportunities to create


30 SECONDS WITH… GIL OVED Favourite quote? “Leonard Bernstein, the famous composer and genius behind some of the most-loved 20th century musicals including West Side Story, gave a series of lectures in 1973 at Harvard. He finished off these lectures with: ‘I’m no longer quite sure what the question is, but I do know that the answer is yes.’ ” Favourite book? “It changes all the time, but at the moment it’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.” Favourite city? “New York, baaaaby!” Favourite tech gadget? “Right now, it’s gotta be my Amazon Echo—I love Alexa!” Your ideal day? “Waking up thinking it’s going to be just another day, and getting the one phone call that changes everything and changes the trajectory of your day, week and month.” How do you unwind and relax? “I do transcendental meditation at least once a day for 20 minutes; and unwinding and relaxing after my team Spurs has won. The problem is: when they lose, it’s the extreme opposite. . .” On how he has accomplished so much thus far: “I have one word: ‘why’. . . I learnt to say it a lot. In fact, if you add another word to that word ‘why’, it becomes even more powerful: ‘Why not?’. Why not me? Why not here? Why not now?”

that infrastructure exist, but don’t expect a guy in Silicon Valley to come up with the solutions. And this is what bothers me. Uber is coming in, the Chinese are coming in, yet we who live in South Africa—the gateway to Africa— and who are in the same time zone in many cases, are not grabbing the opportunities presented by this huge growing population. You have smartphone penetration coming in at double-digit growth and sometimes tripledigit growth. Data costs are plummeting. So we need to start planning for this massive boom. And that’s what gets me up in the morning.

Do you see, in the next 30 years or so, more technology being implanted in the human body to increase lifespan or quality of life? How far should we go with such tech? Since time immemorial, people have been looking for the elixir of youth, the holy grail of immortality; it’s been a conversation piece since man became civilised. It’s a simple question, just ask anyone: Would you like to stop ageing? Well, is there any individual who would say ‘no’? Would you like to live forever? Of course yes! People will try to be philosophical about it; there’s nothing glorious about ageing, so people have looked for ways and means to do so gracefully, at great cost and expense to their quality of life. I think ageing is a disease, like catching a cold, and is therefore avoidable. Tech will bring about a situation where it will not only retard ageing but will stop it altogether. We’re programmed at a cellular level to age, just like a flower is programmed to wilt at a certain stage; and just like people can extend the life of flowers, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to dramatically extend our lives and, rather than a 43-yearold ageing gracefully, not age at all. I’d rather grow wise and not grow old! So tech will do that. There have been amazing advances. It’s said that people being born now will live to 100 years. As for implants, there are already things you can swallow that will help assess your vital stats, and that’s going to increase lifespan. There’s always going to be a push back to tech becoming more pervasive. There’s always the conservative query of, Where do you draw the line? That line can be drawn if you wish, but it’s like the inevitable wave: You draw a line in the sand and a wave comes and obliterates it, and you have to draw another line further away from the tide. But the tide is always moving. Each of us, even those claiming to block the march of tech on their own lives, is already living in an augmented-reality world. Every time you pick up your phone and watch a Facebook Live event, and every time you go into a shop and look up a product, or book a movie ticket on the way to the movies—that’s an augmented-reality world. It’s a world where you’re not living in the two-dimensional space your body is in. It has already happened. So, it’s not a question of if, but to what extent you’re going to engage.

What can companies start doing now to prepare How do you see the advertising for the move to a more automated, robotic world changing once more items environment? are manufactured via 3D printers, and more designs can be It’s simple. The way I see it, every company in today’s new downloaded from the Internet? modern economy needs to see itself as a tech company, regardless of which industry it’s in. In fact, every division The whole thing is going to completely within that company should see itself as a tech startup. revolutionise the industry in a way we As soon as companies and management embrace this and can’t even imagine. A quick anecdote restructure their organisation to suit that, the less chance that I enjoy: When electricity was first there’ll be that a disruptor will come in and usurp them invented, for the first few decades from their place. I’ve always lived my life thinking that everyone kind of knew it would change I’m six months away from liquidation, and that kind of the world, but they had no idea how, wariness and trepidation has allowed me to stay one step and they didn’t know how to apply ahead of the game. You can’t afford to take your eye off the it. Until electricity got into homes ball, because it’s always just a matter of time until comthrough sockets and grids, there petitors come in and eat your lunch. You have no idea wasn’t much use for it, because which industry will merge into another. You could be a electricity wasn’t ubiquitous. One telco that gets into banking, or a bank that gets into finof the few applications, believe it or tech; better still, a startup garage company that decides to not, was ‘amusement parks’ where do money transfers and, before you know it, completely scientists [such as Giovanni Aldini] eats Western Union’s lunch! Companies need to immerse used to get fresh cadavers, place themselves in tech and overinvest in it. I always worry them on chairs and electrocute them. that you get companies that don’t want to introduce new products that will cannibalise their margins. You talk about products and services that are ‘margin“ I t doesn’t matter which industry dilutive’. Here’s the bottom line: If you’re you’re in—it’s all going to get earning a certain margin, if there’s a new disrupted. There’s nothing that’s product that your guys can come up with that will be margin-dilutive but a immune to tech. The only thing superior product or service than one you that can help you survive in this currently offer, why would you be so scary new world is keeping a arrogant to think that only your guys can come up with it? Surely, if your team can keen eye on the trends and come up with it, it’ll be a matter of time staying ahead of the curve.” before someone else comes up with it. The difference is that it’s not margindilutive for them—it’s absolute profits they wouldn’t be making otherwise, and one is greater than zero for that competitor. This is how As a result, they would reanimate—the companies like BlackBerry and others failed, because bodies would move around and their they didn’t want to introduce innovation that was margineyes would flutter. It was a big treat dilutive. Competitors didn’t care, because they were for people in the late 1800s/early 1900s. entering a market they weren’t in before. So the many Now, if you think about what electricity incremental profits are profits that they didn’t have before. has done for the world since, it’s unfathomable. I imagine 3D printing will be similar. Right now, you get Are there certain fields of study a young person people buying them and printing should consider for a future in which more jobs flimsy things like a comb or a little will be automated? toy, but it’s going to be a fundamental Since no one is immune to the intervention of technology, seismic tectonic shift—and it will my advice is to get involved in industries that require happen very quickly. 3D will come massive creativity; the more creative the job profile, the into many industries, and I don’t doubt longer you can stave off the imminent risk of tech eating for a second that this is imminent. I into your job potential. It’s more about a mindset than foresee a situation where every home an industry. The only thing that humans can now has a few printers, and whereas most actually offer that computers are yet to offer is of the products you can buy online highly sophisticated creative input and output.

now, you’ll soon buy only the designs, and the rest you’ll print. There are implications for job losses in manufacturing. Imagine a life where, if you wanted a toothbrush, you could go on the Internet and pick the exact one you needed with the exact specs at the time you wanted, and it suited your exact needs—and you only printed one, because you only needed one! There’d be no wastage and you’d get to use it in minutes of deciding what you want to buy, and you’d do it at a tiny fraction of the price. So that will destroy industries and create new ones. For us in advertising, it means we’ll have to think completely differently about how we engage consumers, how we market to them, what we offer them; and, to be honest, I don’t think anyone can predict what the consequences will be. Again, it’s about gearing yourself up for being nimble and dynamic, and seeing the changes and facilitating for those changes before they hamper your margins and growth.

With the movie industry being so good at playing on people’s fears, do you see society initially rejecting artificial intelligence? Art imitates life, and life imitates art; for every movie coming out showing you the scary side of AI, there are movies showing you the amazing benefits of it. Movies, theatre and entertainment are all a reflection of the psyche of individuals. Forty to 50 years ago, there were sci-fi movies that showed the worst of things that are now pervasive in our lives. With any new tech, there will be the critics, naysayers and doomsayers who will present the scariest outcomes. And, certainly with AI, there’s a lot to be scared of. There’s no reason to believe that AI won’t at one point risk humanity. We’re so reliant on tech and so connected that if AI got the better of us, it could risk humanity. But is that a reason not to try and make it work for us, and to put things in place so that it doesn’t destroy us? No, it’s not! The immediate benefits of AI are incomprehensible. We need to embrace new technologies while being aware of the risks.


Future Now

SNAP, PIN, POST TAG, LIKE, BUY How social media is set to change the way we conduct our lives, both online and offline By Tacita McEvoy

“I googled you on Facebook!” shouted a fellow hiker to an old friend he bumped into on the mountain. Wait . . . what? That doesn’t make sense; as a selfproclaimed techie, overhearing this abomination left me cringing, but also made me think: Could the social media giant reduce our beloved Google to a mere verb? Every month there are new plays made by the social media

powerhouses, and mindblowing innovations become reality. The social landscape is on a takeover path, and there are quite a few changes in store for us in 2017. Here’s a glimpse of what to expect.

Augmented reality and wearables AR plus social media is a match made in heaven. Immersive

experiences are the future of how we connect and share online. 2016 will forever be known as the year of Pokémon Go, the app that got us off our chairs and into the real world, bumping into other fanatics on street corners. When it comes to wearables, the hype around Google Glass might have been too soon, but there’s no doubt that the future of social will be whatever and wherever we want

it to be. Imagine: instead of viewing your friend’s holiday snaps, being able to share a cocktail with the person in Bora Bora during your lunch break.

S-commerce Social commerce, or s-commerce, is the next phase of the e-commerce experience. S-commerce will be the driving force behind mobile shopping, making it natural for users to do purchases on the go. The expected explosion of the buy

buttons on Instagram and Pinterest are yet to contribute toward sales, but why? This could be due to the information overload we’re already experiencing on these platforms, the lack of inventory structures and browsing capabilities. But instead of taking e-commerce to social media, why not take social to e-commerce? In the movie The Intern, Anne Hathaway plays a founder of the fashion e-commerce startup About the Fit; they introduce a new feature

enabling users to see what other shoppers put in their carts in real time. This creates a demand for items, and makes online shopping more interactive and social—which is something we’ve been waiting for.

Lenses, filters, masks and more Social media has created a demand to showcase our best selves online. With beautifying apps and colour-saturation filters, everyone is a supermodel. Snapchat took the filter culture

one step further and embraced augmented reality through live animated masks; the app now has 10 billion daily video views. As new platforms pop up, the big players need to keep up. Facebook acquired the Masquerade face-tracking and 3D effects–rendering SDK (software development kit), and is now offering face masks on its live video—basically Periscope meets Snapchat. All we can do now is wait for the next big thing, and hopefully it improves our selfies.



Total domination, or niche segmentation As seen by addictive Snapchat filters, innovation is exploding in the social media space, but what all the big players do is recreate their ideas on their allinclusive platforms. Is the space being monopolised by the heavy hitters, or will platforms start to segment into niche networks? Until recently, there were three major players in the social media space: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, which each filled slightly different niches. This has changed to include Snapchat and Instagram (now acquired by Facebook). As each social network becomes overcrowded by ads, and their newsfeed algorithms can’t keep up organising relevant content, there’ll be no other option than segmentation. Moms will flock to their specialised social network to share their magic moments, and the fitness fanatics will post their #inspo posts on their niche network.

Social search Back to “I googled you on Facebook.” Social media will become the future of search engines. When you hear about a new restaurant, it’s now a toss-up between googling it or searching for its Facebook page to view up-to-date patron reviews and real images. Apart from search, there has always been a debate between the influence of social media on search engine optimisation. The Twitter Firehouse deal with Google in 2015 was a game changer. Google is now indexing selected tweets, which provides real-time updates to your search results page. Brands are latching onto Twitter as part of their SEO strategy, which actually alters the core of the conversation platform to be more broadcast-focused. It’s

Future Now

for Facebook, even without the ads, is not a favourite business communication tool. Slack has become the social network where we spend our workdays. Traditionally a business communication and project management tool, users are now sharing music and making lunch plans through their Slack channels. The key to workplace social networking is focus: We want to be able to interact without being distracted by funny cat memes and ads for Dunkin’ Donuts.

Whenever, wherever “The key is to incorporate social media into your business and daily life— and just go with the flow,” says Tacita McEvoy.

Time to go live

Social media will become the future of search engines.

early days for social indexing, but the merge between search and social will come sooner than we think; if only Google+ had hit it off, the war would’ve been over before it started.

The everyday influencer If ever there were a social network killer, sponsored content would be the numberone suspect. The advertising content overload on our newsfeed is enough to make us run for the hills. What we’re mainly interested in is what our friends are doing. With the rise of social came the rise of the ‘social media celebrity’: an influencer in the space with a large following of fans interested in their content. Brands pay big bucks to get these influencers to curate posts about their


products, which results in sales from loyal followers. As with any advertising message, trust is the determining factor. Do you trust a brand is the best because it says so, or because the instacelebrity says so, or maybe even because your friends say so? The rise of the everyday influencer is imminent; brands will enlist a larger number of users to review products or services, and post their experiences to their network.

Changing the way you work Social media has changed the way we stay in touch with our friends and family, but what about how we work? Some organisations have banned social media sites in the workplace for productivity reasons, but some have embraced the platforms as a means to improve efficiency, staff morale and project management. Workplace by Facebook is an app that allows organisations to build teams and collaborate on projects without the distraction of sponsored content or one’s personal newsfeed. But surprisingly enough, Workplace

Live video has been around for ages, from watching sports matches to seeing your local radio DJ in studio via webcam. But social media live streaming is still in its infancy. Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Periscope Pro are the frontrunners, though the revolution has not even started in earnest— it’s looking for someone to take the lead. We’ll be able to broadcast our own reality TV show at the tap of a button. The way we communicate personally and in business is evolving at an overwhelming speed—we just can’t keep up! But should we just roll up on the couch and not give SmileVine a go? (Before you google that, it doesn’t exist yet . . .) I guess the key is to incorporate social media into your business and daily life—and just go with the flow. Take it easy and see what works for you and your business. You may miss a few trends, but don’t worry: There’ll be something even wilder just around the corner.

Tacita McEvoy is the founder of the Cape Town–based digital marketing agency Social Media Now, and a partner in the accelerator/incubator Idea Camp.

Fast Company promotion

Get ready for lift-off!

We’re in this together

How L aunchL ab helps earl y-s tage s tar tups and entrepreneur s in Africa to ge t their business of f the ground

The Nedbank–Stellenbosch University (SU) LaunchLab is a mixed-use incubator that focuses on early-stage startups. It is an initiative of Innovus, the university’s industry interaction and innovation company. LaunchLab is home to many software-based businesses including marketplace and blockchain solutions, as well as electric cars, tree-nut spreads and satellites (yes, the kind in space). The initiative incubates sophisticated entrepreneurs and connects them to partners, investors and top corporates for economic impact. How is this achieved? LaunchLab partners with universities across Africa to help their talent, expertise and infrastructure work to support new businesses and foster a culture of entrepreneurship. Through SU and its partner campuses (Wits, University of the Western Cape, University of Johannesburg, UKZN and Botho University in Botswana), diverse experience and skill sets are leveraged to: advise entrepreneurs on strategy; connect them to expert service providers; provide entrepreneurial education programmes; introduce them to investors; hold networking events, and host inter-national groups. The focus is on the entrepreneurs themselves, and helping them build a viable business through coaching and mentorship programmes. How does LaunchLab help entrepreneurs? It provides access to market and funding—the two biggest needs of startups in South Africa—through its extensive network of investors and corporate partners. It also provides

LaunchLab helps startups build a viable business through coaching and mentorship programmes.

a platform for corporations to partner with, learn from and invest in the premier up-and-coming startups to increase their success in the ecosystem. Two LaunchLab startups Custos Media Technologies is a spin-out of SU’s Media Lab. Founders Prof. G-J van Rooyen and Fred Lutz discovered an opportunity when Van Rooyen purchased an e-book with his credit card details on every page. Custos pairs blockchain technology with its network of privateers (hackers) in order to stop media piracy by embedding bitcoin bounties as watermarks within videos and movies. Custos is part of the Lift-Off Programme at the LaunchLab, and is also in Knife Capital’s Grindstone Accelerator. LaunchLab’s primary partner Nedbank is leading a national blockchain movement, and Custos is a great example of the opportunities within this tech. PICSA provides a groundbreaking savings solution to farmworkers. The startup is busy with a potential acquisition with a large global company to aid its efforts in offering financial services to agri-

LaunchLab provides access to market and funding—the two biggest needs of startups in South Africa—through its extensive network of investors and corporate partners.

cultural workers. PICSA (also part of the Grindstone Accelerator) is involved with dozens of farms in the Cape, and is looking to expand throughout Africa. With PICSA’s financial assistance, farmworkers can save for things like university fees for their children or a car, through a savings account aiming at a 10% return—for as little as R10 per month. These two startups have one thing in common: They saw a need and they provided a solution, which has resulted in a major impact. What else does LaunchLab offer? LaunchLab Ideas Programme LaunchLab’s corporate-backed Innovation Challenges help you understand which kinds of businesses its corporate partners are looking to invest in and partner with. If your business idea qualifies, you can introduce it to a panel of industry experts at the Pitching Platform, and win support and incubation from LaunchLab and its corporate partners. Lift-Off Programme Receive a portfolio manager who knows your business, and be part of a community of entrepreneurs in a similar phase as your startup. This incubation programme gives you the support you need to start, build and grow your company, including access to angel- and seed funding. Visit or follow on Facebook and Twitter (TheLaunchLab) or LinkedIn (the-launchlab).




PEER-TO-PEER NETWORK Why co-working spaces are the new business incubators and accelerators By Simon Capstick-Dale


“Working alone sucks.” Ashley Scott elicits laughter from her TEDxLafayette audience, as if they know that all too well. “And it can get pretty lonely if your business requires you to just sit at home, toiling away behind your computer screen every day. Co-working is the cure—because it encourages you to get up, get out the house and get active.” Since 2006, the number of seats in co-working spaces has more than doubled each year—with 1 in 10 white

collars now operating from outside a traditional office. Some explanations for this explosion may be the solution to isolation that co-working offers freelancers, contractors and startups, as well as the incubation and acceleration opportunities these spaces can provide businesses until their time comes to fly the proverbial coop. At MatchBOX Co-working

Studio, Scott cultivates an environment that supports budding entrepreneurs as they launch small businesses in the greater Lafayette, Indiana. “It’s for the hobbyist with a crazy new idea, the moonlighting entrepreneur, or the professional office nomad. It’s for developers, designers, strategists, artisans, writers, makers and change-makers

of all types,” the company states. Research conducted by the Global Co-working Unconference—responsible for hosting numerous co-working conferences worldwide—found that the average co-worker is 39 years of age; members of coworking spaces are comprised of 51% independent workers and 49% company employees; and, of

company employees, 35% work for small businesses or startups, 9% work for companies of 100 or more employees, and 5% work for smaller non-profit companies. Built on the foundations of community and collaboration, coworking offers a shared working and networking environment where the question, ‘How can we make work better?’ is continually being asked by its highly integrated members. The GCUC research also revealed that increased engagement, motivation and networking are some of the key benefits that members stand to gain from assimilation into such a setting. While working independently, members subscribe to the values of their co-working organisation and those of the global community. The co-worker benefits from the unique synergies that occur when doing business alongside like-minded individuals outside of a traditional office environment, as well as the latter’s inherent hierarchical and interpersonal politics. A fundamental benefit for co-workers is the flexibility and freedom they are afforded to grow and adapt as the business landscape around them changes—something never in the realm of possibility for the premillennial workforce. Julien Verspieren of Work & Co, a co-working space in Cape Town, believes that time spent strengthening his member network is integral to the success of the space. In fact, his business card reads “Connector” rather than his more formal title of CEO. He spends most of the day alongside the community managers, finding ways to connect his fellow co-workers for the further growth and acceleration of their businesses. In 2014, Verspieren sold his recruitment firm in France and moved to Cape Town, where he saw an opportunity to engineer a co-working space that was conducive to productivity, networking and social interaction. From freelance writers and



designers to tech startups, marketing and events companies, Work & Co’s space in Bree Street is home to 80 businesses and 230 active members. Verspieren believes the biggest advantage of co-working is that members of these spaces are able to maintain their independence while never feeling isolated. By its very nature, the co-working space makes collaboration easier, giving life to members’ ideas and finding solutions to business problems communally. Having visited co-working spaces in New York and London, Schuyler Vorster, director of Inner City Ideas Cartel and Cartel House, identified the need for spaces in South Africa that could offer more than just a desk but also “a pleasant workday and the opportunity to connect with the right people to accelerate their business.” He also realised the unique potential of these spaces for incubating and accelerating businesses. Within four years of subletting 50 square metres for his first co-working operation in Waterkant Street, Cape Town, his business has blossomed to occupy 14 floors—and continues to grow at an extraordinary rate. Vorster’s Cape Town Cartels are more like luxury hotels than office blocks, and promise a lifestyle in addition to a workspace. Scalable offices are customised to the needs of businesses, which benefit from a 250-strong member network and access to high-speed Internet, meeting rooms, concierge services, a library and barista. “What our Cape Town Cartels provide is a space where a startup can be introduced to people who have already done it all before— and incubation can occur naturally. We are always looking to accelerate the businesses around us,” says Vorster. He takes pride in accelerating businesses within his space, and says quite frankly that “if you’re operating a space which isn’t incubating at some level, then you aren’t


delivering on the promise of co-working.” Encouragingly, there are numerous examples of Cartelfounded startups that are partnered businesses and which offer services on site to members, while the Cartels also help to grow and accelerate member businesses by buying goods directly from them to be used in their office spaces. New businesses that often lend themselves favourably to incubation and acceleration within co-working environments are tech startups. Start With 7 (Sw7) is a large organisation based in Rivonia where mentorship, lean startup methodology, peer support and experiential learning are combined to create tech accelerator programmes that include individual and group mentoring sessions. The @Sw7 Workspace in Sandton is a co-working, incubation and acceleration space dedicated to the tech community, with highspeed Internet, hot desks and meeting rooms. Sw7 has partnered with Microsoft BizSpark and Standard Bank Incubator in its annual Sw7 Accelerate programme to support the technology and high-growth innovation markets. This programme is Africa’s largest mentor-led tech innovation accelerator, with tech founderCEOs involved in assisting startups strategically: from late ideation through to launching, acceleration, growth and exit. Sw7 not only provides new businesses with mentoring and support through its Accelerate programmes and extensive mentoring community but also offers “deal flow”, which is critical for startups to become profitable. “Often, what businesses need most is low-friction access to a quality pipeline, which is the problem we solve for them. They require connections with funders or commercial enterprises, so we


provide the platform to digitally accelerate these businesses, on demand. Through our mentor pool of approximately 100 tech founder-CEOs, we have engaged with over 150 businesses and we are excited to be entering discussions with large corporates. The year 2017 will be a pivotal one as we switch our model from traditional incubation and acceleration, to a digital scale model,” says Sw7 founder Odette Jones. University of Johannesburg– owned Resolution Circle is a tech incubator that provides an ecosystem for the commercialisation of technology and engineering skills. The organisation offers 29 standardised commercialisation services geared to assist companies with product development, training and public projects, while also offering small-scale manufacturing, tech stations and lab rental. Within this co-working and incubating ecosystem, its “Idea-to-Barcode” services are specifically aimed at reducing founder risk. While Resolution Circle primarily incubates earlystage tech startups that require design, prototyping and commercialisation of products, more established companies also benefit from its help to design new products and product lines, improve existing ones, and test designs using prototypes. “We have developed more than 60 products in the past three years while supporting over 100 startups, from grassroots entrepreneurs to high-tech companies,” says Resolution Circle CEO, Professor Willem Clark. “Our services, professional employees and technology stations are a combined capital investment of R380 million. We also manage the investment of R50 million for innovation competitions, and are proud to be the commercial partner of many public and private research

GOING GLOB A L Leanne Beesley, founding CEO of ratings and reviews platform Coworker. com, last year partnered with Nomad List to ask more than 3 000 participants to name the best coworking spaces in the world. These spots made the top 10: 1

Proximity Space Montrose, Colorado, US Why it works: Gigabit Internet connection; 24-hour access 2

Coollabore Itajaí, Brazil Why it works: A number of private rooms; outdoor lounge (with hammock!) 3

Cogite Les Berges du Lac, Tunisia Why it works: 900m 2 of usable space; on-site restaurant; swimming pool; cat-friendly 4

Betahaus Sofia, Bulgaria Why it works: Two conference rooms; betacafé; betalab with spare parts and equipment 5

KAPTÁR Budapest, Hungary What makes it work: easily accessible via public transport; impressive check-in system; library corner; Skype pods

Amazing space Creativity greets you in the reception area of Work & Co (right). Inner City Ideas Cartel (below)—more like a luxury hotel than an office—promises a lifestyle in addition to a work area.


Weserland Berlin, Germany Why it works: 24-hour door access via personal PIN code; spacious and cosy workspace; fully equipped kitchen (as much coffee as you can drink, at a flat rate) 7

KoHub Koh Lanta, Thailand Why it works: Tropical paradise–themed, openair space; on-site café; co-living accommodation 8

Northspace Toronto, Canada Why it works: Private offices; free and paid food options; games room; telephone rooms 9

Cape Town Office Cape Town, South Africa Why it works: Two floors; chalkboards throughout; vibrant décor (with PacMan murals); on-site security 10

Hubud Bali, Indonesia Why it works: Relaxing jungle-themed bamboo design; open-plan layout; “lightning-fast” Internet; organic food café

institutions as well as other incubation programmes.” A meeting point for business, government, academia and civil society, MTN Solution Space at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business campus provides students and startups with a fertile co-working environment where knowledge and expertise are shared and innovative business solutions are built for Africa. MTN Solution Space manager Sarah-Anne Arnold explains: “As a preaccelerator, we can have significant impact on a startup in the early stages when it is easier for founders to change direction or alter decisions. Before our space, there was little incubation support available for

entrepreneurs at the postclassroom, pre-first-investment and accelerator stage in the startup life cycle.” The university-based workspace plays a crucial role in supporting startups through its Venture Incubation Programme that is specifically designed to help entrepreneurial teams test and validate their business models. “Our accelerator’s structured process is ideal for establishing whether products are market-fit, and the viability of new solutions. We have found that our space builds a community of early-stage founders who have the additional benefits of skills exchange and peer learning that are conducive to this knowledge-rich and

collaborative environment,” adds Arnold. With the number of coworking spaces reaching more than 10 000 worldwide, this global movement will unquestionably continue to gain momentum while continually shifting the way we think about work and the workplace. With the rise of these collaborative working spaces, member businesses have benefited through knowledge and skills sharing, networking, mentorships, commercialisation and funding. The fertile environment these spaces cultivate utilises a flexible combination of infrastructure, business development processes and human resources to nurture startups through the vulnerable stages of early development where failure is most prevalent. The staggering number of success stories that began in the many co-working spaces offering incubating and accelerating strategies and services is highly encouraging for the country’s entrepreneurial landscape. With increased public and private sector investment, the financial risk and costly time-wasting for startups can be even further reduced to the benefit of South African business—and its increasingly fragile economy.


Most Productive Companies

RAISE UP YOUR STAFF 5 unusual office quirks and perks that are changing the world of work

The lifestyle business model is constantly evolving, and companies are forever testing new ways to improve productivity by creating flexible environments where employees can work and relax—challenging the traditional distinction between work and life. There are critics, however, who argue that perks like free sushi and massages are nothing but decorative fluff, offering no increase in productivity. But whatever your opinion, you can’t fault the following companies for their refreshing creativity. 1 Gloucestershire, England Office in a castle In January, founder and MD Chris Morling unveiled his 3-million-pound (R50.5-million) renovation of an old English castle. However, the eccentrically decorated estate is not for the comfort of the serial entrepreneur’s family but rather his employees. The Star Wars–themed cinema room, an ice cave and a library with a secret door are standout peculiarities. “I wanted to create

a motivating, uplifting environment which gave my team flexibility and encouraged collaboration,” explained Morling, who has been dubbed “Britain’s best boss”. 2

Runzheimer Racine County, Wisconsin Treadmill desk Business vehicle and expense management services provider, Runzheimer International, has just achieved the WorldatWork Seal of Distinction for commendable workplace practices and philosophy. Given some of the company’s office quirks, it’s easy to see why. While yoga sessions and massages are familiar perks, what really stand out are the treadmill desks that run throughout the office. It’s certainly one way to keep employees on their feet.



Trupanion Seattle, Washington Bring Your Pet to Work Day— every day While the idea may seem barking mad, studies have

shown that employees are more willing to work long hours in the company of their pets. On top of that, it can reduce stress and improve resilience when tackling a particularly tough problem. The policy is being adopted in

many workplaces internationally, but pet insurance company Trupanion has set the standard by providing baby gates, tethers and a pet play area. 4

FullContact Denver, Colorado Paid holidays You may be familiar with Netflix, Virgin and others offering salaried employees unlimited leave, but Bart

Lorang, CEO of cloud-based address book company FullContact, has taken it one step further by paying employees a monstrous $7 500 (more than R100 500) to go on holiday. The only catch? They have to disconnect entirely from work. “The benefits have been improved productivity, improved processes, more rested workers and amazing recruiting,” revealed Lorang. “We have people go all over the world.”


Avanade Seattle, Washington No more job titles Margaret Heffernan, author and lecturer at the University of Bath, has suggested a radical idea to improve impetus and productivity in the workplace: the abolition of both job titles and ranks. While your first day at work may be a little confusing, Heffernan claims that in the long run, this sort of hierarchical breakdown sees

results. “You take away the status symbols over which people are inclined to compete,” she explains. “You motivate people by talking about what they can achieve together.” IT consulting firm Avanade has already followed this advice. “Our biggest challenge isn’t underperformance, which is probably a 5% problem, but giving people the safety, freedom and trust they need to grow and develop — which is the 95% problem,” adds Heffernan.







Blake Dyason, while working at branding agency CN&CO, added in the company blog that the great—and different—thing about the lifestyle side of the business is that you don’t have to be in the office at a certain time; “you just have to do amazing stuff and deliver.” Much has been written about lifestyle businesses, like CN&CO, and the many perks that come along with this model. (Fast Company SA ran its first article on the subject in last year’s March/April edition.) Some advantages include: being able to control most aspects of the business, easily and quickly, with no red tape or bureaucratic processes; deciding on which working hours suit you (and your productivity levels); working as hard as you like to attain a certain level of income to sustain a particular lifestyle; and taking time off to travel or get family chores done, as and when it suits you. One of the biggest perks is the freedom it provides. However, while a lifestyle business and the flexibility it provides sounds incredibly appealing, this immense autonomy may bring with it many more difficulties than one may first realise. ● When you first begin working in this type of environment, you have all the time in the day to get through your work. In theory, that sounds great; your time is your own and you’re more than confident you’ll get everything done. Rob Christian, co-founder of CN&CO, points out that the problem begins to creep in when, because you have the whole day at your disposal, you start procrastinating. A task that should take one hour somehow ends up taking three. “The key is to introduce discipline in how you work, and to work at times that suit you,” he says. “Perhaps you’re a night owl? Then don’t worry about not getting things done in the morning. Go to gym, sleep in, do some admin. Then tackle the big tasks when you’re at your most productive. By forcing yourself to work at certain hours of the day, you soon get out of the procrastination mindset. Have a task, get it done, move on.

For Belinda Mountain (left) and Catherine Black, it was the flexibility for family time that was a big inspiration for starting their lifestyle business.

“It does take a concerted effort to change your mindset to this style of work, as you’re not bound by office hours, therefore you theoretically could always be working—but you won’t be productive all the time. You have to make it work for you.” But sometimes, as Christian points out, it’s not up to you. “When your friends get home from work, they can often leave their work at the office. Since we aren’t office-bound and don’t have set working hours, wherever we go we take our work with us. You’ll sometimes have to work at random times of the week, weekend or even on holiday, but that’s the nature of the work model we’ve chosen. With that in mind, you need to learn to switch off properly. Turn your phone onto flight mode for an hour when you’re socialising; focus on the moment you’re in and don’t let work problems wander into your mind. By fully appreciating the time you spend offline, you’ll find that you often feel refreshed at a later stage, leading to increased productivity.” Echoing Christian’s thoughts is Belinda Mountain, co-founder of Black Mountain. “The fact that my working hours are not set in stone is both a pro and a con,” she says. “It’s a pro because I can attend my daughter’s swimming gala in the afternoon, but then I might have to work from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. that night once the kids are asleep. I don’t mind this at all, because in this way my work adapts around the rest of my life—and not the other way around. “My business partner and I try to manage this challenge by not emailing each other about work after 6 p.m. during the week, and certainly not on weekends—unless it’s something urgent. I also try to ensure my laptop remains shut from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. each night, which is when my family is my priority. Those client emails can wait!” This flexibility-for-family-time was a big inspiration in starting up Black Mountain, which was formed in 2012 when Catherine Black (Mountain’s business partner) was doing freelance social media consulting, and

Mountain was a client of hers, working at a publisher. “I’d been wanting to team up with a partner for a while, and as a new mom, Belinda was looking for more flexibility in her job,” says Black. “We both wanted to do something that involved writing, which is

a passion of ours. We noticed a gap in the market for well-written content that was also optimised for search. Today, it’s a full-time job for both of us, and we have several corporate clients on retainer as well as smaller niche projects that we take on.”


● While family time is a plus to a lifestyle business, Black notes that a major downside (for Black Mountain, particularly) is that they’re not building a company they’d be able to package up and sell in future to an investor, and then walk away. “This is because our competitive advantage is closely tied to our specific skills: our experience in the specialist fields, our background, our client relationships. Also, we’re not producing a product—we’re selling time. So any time we’re not working, Black Mountain is not operating,” Black explains. This is a big difference between a startup and a lifestyle business. As Corbett Barr, author of the Lifestyle Business Weekly newsletter, puts it: “A startup’s job is to grow big enough to provide a return to investors. A lifestyle business’s job is to provide a great quality of life to its owners.” That said, Black Mountain’s business model is perfectly suited to its owners’ lifestyles and family focus. Josie Dougall, co-founder of CN&CO, spent many years in the corporate world, but she too crossed over into a lifestyle business for its flexibility, where she could dedicate time to starting a family. And while the business

As an event co-ordinator, Rikus Kok can ‘work and play’ at function venues.

A LIFESTYLE BUSINESS REQUIRES A LOT OF SELFDISCIPLINE, PASSION AND FOCUS. model is an ideal fit for her long-term lifestyle goals, she highlights that its lack of structure and boundaries is one con of the model. “Having climbed the corporate ladder for 15 years, and now finding myself in

a lifestyle business, the lack of boundaries and structure can sometimes be overwhelming. This can easily be overcome with a bit of experience in the lifestyle business model, where you learn to put your own boundaries in place and gain immense gratification from sticking to them. The resultant freedom from having personal boundaries that suit your lifestyle makes you feel that you’re absolutely winning at life!” ● The travel industry is one often associated with the lifestyle businesses model. Lesego Matabane, marketing manager for Club Med

WORKING IT TOP BOSSES ON HOW TO MANAGE FLEXIBLE STAFF SUCCESSFULLY #1 Pick the right employees. Finding people who slot seamlessly into the lifestyle-business structure is challenging. Naturally, flexible hours and leave attract all sorts of undesirable applicants. While some will thrive in this environment, others will milk the benefits and simply burden the business. Unfortunately, when recruiting, companies don’t have the luxury of a crystal ball, so promising candidates will often prove to be disappointments. Sir Richard Branson, long-time champion of employee well-being, and whose staff are entitled to “essentially unlimited” leave, has a favourite question during the recruitment process: What didn’t you get a chance to


include on your résumé? “Obviously, a good CV is important, but if you were going to hire by what they say about themselves on paper, you wouldn’t need to waste time on an interview,” he writes in his book The Virgin Way: Everything I Know about Leadership. This approach aligns with the lifestyle-business ethos of blurring the lines between work and life: Employees shouldn’t leave their personality behind in the workplace but rather carry it with them in everything they do. Getting to know employees in this way is crucial at the interview stage. Brain-teasers can also prove revelatory. In Elon Musk’s biography, it’s claimed the entrepreneur proposes the following quandary to candidates: “You are standing on the surface of the Earth.

You walk one mile south, one mile west, and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?” Those who answer correctly and don’t freeze up in the moment demonstrate confidence, and this self-belief is a sign of the kind of self-reliant employee who could get on with tasks without being baby-sat.

#2 Success = freedom + responsibility It was Netflix’s management philosophy of “freedom and responsibility” that inspired Virgin’s liberal leave policy. Like Branson, CEO Reed Hastings gives hourly freedom to salaried Netflix workers—a policy he claims can breed “stunning” workers who “thrive”. However, he’s quick to underline that only

CN&CO’s Colin Ford says it’s all about getting the job done, “whenever, wherever”—even if that means taking your laptop along on holiday.

Southern Africa, is quick to point out the amount of self-discipline it takes to work within the industry when you have some of the most beautiful places in the world serving as your backdrop. “I recently visited our Finolhu Villas in the Maldives for a media shoot. From the outside, it seems I’m living the life, jet-setting to one of the planet’s most breathtaking islands. What people don’t see is me working all day on location at a shoot in the Maldives. That’ll end at around 5 p.m. Maldives time. Because of the time difference with South Africa, at 7 p.m. in the Maldives—when I should be winding down for dinner—my laptop is out and I’m answering emails and attending to urgent requests from my team at home, because South Africa has only just started its workday. I’m then getting to bed at around midnight. I know I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to travel for work, and yes, to some of the most beautiful places on Earth, but with it comes a lot of self-discipline and my having to be strict with my time.” Perhaps one of the most popular advantages of a lifestyle business is the fact that its owners and employees have the opportunity and

responsible people are “worthy” of freedom. For the CEO, responsible people are “selfmotivating, self-aware, self-disciplined and “self-improving”. Equally, employers have a responsibility to punctually unburden themselves of mediocrity, reminds Hastings. While Netflix’s employees have comparative freedom, they must perform like members of a pro sports team, otherwise they’ll be ‘cut by the coach’. This approach contrasts with the liberal aspects of the lifestyle business model and attitudes of loyalty that we typically associate with a healthy workplace culture. But while Hastings admits “people who have been stars for us, and hit a bad patch, get a near-term pass,” he stresses that “unlimited loyalty is not what we are

about.” As increased productivity is one of the goals of the lifestyle business, employers should not settle for anything less than high performance.

a lot of vacation, and I’m hoping that certainly sets an example,” he says. “It is helpful. You often do your best thinking when you’re off hiking in some mountain or something. You get a different perspective on things.”

#3 Don’t forget to live.

Finding the right balance is no walk in the park, however. “Achieving work-life balance is like walking a tightrope,” Branson cautions. “Lean too far one way and you’ll lose your stability, and topple.” He recommends phrasing the division as “doing and being”. “Alongside the meetings, appointments and email replies, find time to be inspired, take in the beauty of the world, and laugh with your loved ones. If you slow down, breathe, and be present in the moment, you will find balance more easily.” —James Orme

It’s important to remember that in a lifestyle business, employers should have the same relationship to the business as their staff. Make sure you structure your own business to accommodate a desirable work-life balance. Why? For the same reason employees should: to increase performance and productivity. Hastings’s salaried employees are entitled to huge amounts of leave, but he, too, ensures he takes as much holiday time as required. “I take


Lesego Matabane, marketing manager for Club Med Southern Africa, says it takes great discipline to work when your ‘office’ is the island paradise of Maldives.

“ I T D O E S T A K E A C O N C E R T E D E F F O R T T O C H A N G E YOUR MINDSET TO THIS STYLE OF WORK, AS YOU’RE NOT BOUND BY OFFICE HOURS, THEREFORE Y O U T H E O R E T I C A L LY C O U L D A L W A Y S B E W O R K I N G — B U T YOU WON ’T BE P ROD U C TI V E A LL TH E TIM E ,” S AYS CN & C O ’S R O B CH R I S T I A N . freedom to work from wherever they choose. While this may sound ideal, Blake Dyason (who’s now the founder of Love Our Trails), notes that this, too, is one of the model’s downsides. “Working remotely, and often alone from home, means there’s no one to share ideas with or bounce questions off. It also gets quite lonely,” he says. “I’m the type of person who wants to be constantly surrounded by interesting and inspiring people, and so I’ve made it part of my structure to work from coffee shops, include regular meetings, and ensure sports and training are regularly integrated into my everyday routine. This helps me to share ideas, brainstorm, get feedback and be creative. “We often discount the value of working with people, but I’ve learnt that just working around people, even if they’re in a different industry, will spark new ideas and generally


open your mind to new opportunities and solutions.” ● So, working within a lifestyle business requires a lot of self-discipline, passion and focus. Sure, there are downsides, but as long as you stay committed and figure out the best way to make the model work for you, you should overcome the disadvantages in your stride. But that doesn’t mean that a lifestyle business will suit everyone, as Colin Ford, cofounder at CN&CO, points out. “A couple of months ago, I was working on the rebrand of an insurance brokerage. The company was rebranding because of a change in structure. According to the remaining partners, one of their shareholders had left because ‘he wanted to run the company like a lifestyle business.’ The comment was delivered with a grimace as the partners around the table shared a look

of incredulity. ‘Have you ever heard of such a thing?’ Much tut-tutting and head shaking ensued before we got down to the business of the day. I felt like a Capetonian must feel when he first discovers that not everyone wants to live in the Mother City. But it’s true, the lifestyle business is not for everyone. We don’t have office hours. There’s no landline, no leave, no bonus. Hell, there’s not even a monthly salary if we don’t keep the ship afloat!” That means getting the job done, whenever, wherever, Ford adds. It means always taking your laptop on holiday with you; it means home is work, and work is home; it means accepting that your teammates sometimes go sailing on a Thursday, or spend a Monday afternoon with their grandparents; it means turning away work that doesn’t work for you, even if it’s potentially lucrative (this is more difficult than you may think); and it means delivering to your own standards (even more difficult than declining jobs). “So,” says Ford, “if you’re the type of person who needs a place to go every day at 8 a.m., a list of policies and procedures to guide your behaviour and interaction with others in the workplace, someone on call to set up your email account or fix the printer, a library of PowerPoint templates for your presentations (internal and external), and an excuse to ignore work calls after hours—a lifestyle business may not be right for you.”



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8-to -whenever



By Edward Love


J O N A S CA R P E N T E R * I S 3 0 Y E A R S O L D.

He sports long blonde hair, whitened by the sun, and wears baggy T-shirts paired with chunky skater shoes. His office is next door to his cupboard, a few yards from his bed, and consists of an Apple iMac, a stylus and a mouse and keyboard laid out in neat order. Twice a week he’ll switch up the shoes for a pair of Chelsea boots and don a blazer, hiding the baggy T-shirt beneath. It’s on these days that Carpenter travels a single kilometre to the Cartel House co-working building in the centre of Cape Town’s business district. Laptop in tow, he disembarks his skateboard and heads inside to join the ranks of a small, closely-knit advertising team renting desks in a corner of the building. This advertising team is his biggest client: a company for which he freelances at a fixed price (give or take a thousand rand or two) every month. Twice a week, he shows face to pick up new briefs and catch up on gossip. After a few hours, he heads back home, safe in the knowledge he can work the evening if he needs more time. Carpenter is free—and indeed, encouraged—to pick up other clients throughout the rest of his week. So he does. As an ace graphic designer with a rigorous work ethic and an unfailing ability to deliver on deadline, his network is expanding all over the globe. Some of the briefs he receives he can’t tackle himself (be it coding or website building); he passes these on to his main benefactor, and gets a small kickback as a reward. Not long ago, he was slaving away at a digital agency as a mid-level designer, working 14-hour days and bending his back for two years straight. Carpenter is never going back. “I understand the necessity of burning the midnight oil, but when the five o’clock briefs started arriving like clockwork and I was stuck at my desk for an extra four hours every day, I grew resentful of a model designed to rinse employees for all they’re worth,” he says. Not only did he find the long hours a form of punishment for staff (a type of military training to break down their willingness to resist the unreasonable demands on their time in future), but he noticed an amusing trend developing in himself. Exhausted by a life spent under the halogen glow of the office lights, and disheartened by the prospect of not leaving until dark, he began


to slow his output to a crawl, conserving his energy like a mountaineer tackling a cliff face. “I was not in control of my time. So what incentive did I have to burn all my energy early on?” Money has always been equated with freedom, but as the New Economics Foundation think tank sagely notes in a recent article on the subject, the money argument masks a more sobering inequality: the freedom of time. For people throughout the working world today, their time is a fragile commodity in the hands of others. Some businesses are agreeable to their workers, showering them in 13th cheques and keeping unreasonable demands to a minimum. Others are less charitable, and there’s a rising trend in finance, media and advertising that everyone’s replaceable. And that a day not spent at the office is a day wasted. Like a lot of talent, Carpenter believes the office is actually at odds with producing one’s best work. “Traditional offices are breeding grounds for wasted time. The entire idea that you’re measured on the number of minutes you sit at a desk is laughable. So much of the day is wasted twiddling your thumbs, waiting for work to pass through the system. The entire approach is geared toward passivity.” Today, he makes a habit of working no more than six hours a day. But during those hours, he pours himself into whatever creative endeavour is on his plate. What he can do in an hour takes junior creatives four times as long. Yet, he isn’t dilly-dallying. Those junior creatives could match his speed if they were incentivised to do so. Sometimes Carpenter will work weekends, because he enjoys the “creative process” and wants to make an extra-good impression. But he’s never forced to. He controls his time. ● Area 213 Communications is based out of Cartel House, an officesharing space in Loop Street. It’s here that Carpenter meets up with his team, led by founder and director Ben Wren. “Historically, freelancers were unemployed staff interviewing for a job,” Wren says. “Not anymore. Jonas is just one in a pool of freelance talent working on projects big and small—and delivering amazing work.” Wren has seen the advertising industry change. He began life working at established firms in London before moving to Cape Town in 2007. He has worked as a cog in the corporate machine, as well as a boss presiding over the machine. Long hours have been commonplace. When Wren started Area 213 Communications in 2015, he saw an opportunity to tap into the burgeoning tool of freelance talent and test the hypothesis that productivity, not long hours, could have a positive effect on the bottom line. To do that, he upped the freelance ratio and decreased the usual quotient of in-house staff. To keep overheads at a minimum, he excised the biggest parasite on profit: the office. Staffers on the payroll can work from home on days it’s more convenient for them, so long as they’re productive.

Socking it to the traditional office The rise of the Internet has birthed a new generation of self-employed who control their own time.

If they want to come in, there’s a desk waiting for them. The 8-to-5 doesn’t enter the question. “All I want is six, focused, billable hours a day,” Wren says. “My aim has been to encourage staff to buy into the idea that they’re entrepreneurs. The office is a one-size-fits-all approach, and it doesn’t fit everyone snugly.” Efficiency is the driver of the business. Spend less time chit-chatting and more time working—and why not leave after lunchtime? Wren’s approach may be viewed as radical, but he believes in trusting good staff. Nor is he a fan of the 8-to-5. ● In Europe, an interesting case study reveals the benefits of a shorter workday. At a Toyota plant in Gothenburg, staff weren’t servicing cars quickly enough. Worse, mistakes were being made, and senior management were left red-faced in front of angry customers. One of the problems was the workday itself, which was rigid and encouraged too much idle time. Technicians would clock in at 9 a.m. and clock out at 4 p.m. In between, they enjoyed an hour-long lunch break, a stop for tea, and a quick chat over coffee. CEO Martin Banck resisted the temptation to punish staff with a longer working day, realising that wouldn’t solve the problem. Technicians would simply drag their heels more. Instead, he cut the working day by two hours (or a whopping 10 hours a week) and asked mechanics to work six-hour shifts. “You might as well send your people home after six hours—they get nothing more done after that,” Banck wryly acknowledges in a speech recorded on YouTube. Cheered by the prospect of a shorter day at the plant, staff worked with purpose—and productivity boomed. Fewer mistakes were made, and the mechanics accomplished so much during their truncated workday, that

Banck and Co. billed eight hours for their time. Examples like this one are important in a day and age when it’s becoming normal to push young staff to breaking point. Every day we hear about workers at the edge of reason. For what end? The human brain is physically incapable of achieving productivity after a certain threshold. But this dangerous standard is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. As young staff are subjected to the treatment, they learn to mete it out to juniors with gusto when their chance finally arrives. The good news is that the rise of the Internet has birthed a new generation of selfemployed, using their talents to make a difference. As people like Ben Wren and Martin Banck have found, the corporate machine is often the reason we struggle with productivity. In fact, one thing is very clear—a shorter workweek can help productivity boom. And the core idea is simplicity incarnate: We accomplish more in a concentrated five- or six-hour burst than we ever could in a day where we’re watching the clock.


*Name has been changed.



Creative Conversation

“ DREAM AS BIG AS YOU CAN” Anina Malherbe-Lan on succeeding in the high-end luxury brands market and the business of polo By James Orme

It’s an old business truism that the best time to start a business is during a downturn—and Anina Malherbe-Lan would agree. As founder and CEO of luxury brands marketing firm VIVIDLUXURY, she had some humbling experiences when the recession struck during her first year of business. But in the time since, by staying true to her passion for luxury goods, the fine-arts graduate has forged a marketing tour de force—securing top names like Gucci, Bentley and Jimmy Choo as a matter of course. Ten years on, during

Impeccable reputation “It’s easy to have one or two success stories, but to have an impeccable track record for 10 years is not that simple,” says the VIVIDLUXURY founder and CEO.

a period when competitors have collapsed, VIVIDLUXURY has cemented its reputation as a leader in luxury brand marketing communications in Africa. In addition to winning the most coveted PRISM Award for its Belvedere campaign, VIVIDLUXURY held the first-ever event at the exclusive R100-million penthouse of the One&Only in Cape Town; achievements Malherbe-Lan professes she is “incredibly proud” of. To add to an already impressive dossier, she also spearheads VDELUXE: a joint polo venture with Simone de Wet, MD for Val de Vie Events. The prize-winning pair and their team of experts have presented a number of world-renowned polo events including the Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo Cape Town which, on March 4, celebrated its seventh year. It’s a festival of equestrian sport and bubbly which has become a must-attend fixture on the Cape Town events calendar. What has been the biggest achievement of your career to date? My biggest achievement was capturing and owning a niche in the market which, 10 years ago, no other communications agency really focused on as a speciality. Many luxury brands were only then starting to enter the South African market, and we decided to offer a niche service focusing on localising their brand positioning. Another proud moment was when, after a seven-year joint venture, we decided to launch a new luxury polo brand platform called VDELUXE, which is co-owned by VIVIDLUXURY and Val de Vie Events, and spearheaded by myself and Simone de Wet. Together, our dynamic team of experts have conceptualised and executed more than 18 world-renowned polo events over the last seven years, including the Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo Cape Town, the Cintron Pink Polo, the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup for HRH Prince Harry, the Joburg Polo Classic and many more. It’s clear you have had tremendous success with your company, but have there been any challenges along the way? I think the biggest challenge is to sustain the business. It’s easy to have one or two success stories, but to have ongoing success and an impeccable track record for 10 years is not that simple. It’s been a lot of hard work, sleepless nights and a relentless pursuit of excellence. Making the business viable, sustainable, and breaking through the glass ceiling is the most difficult part, but also the part that provides you with the best learning you can imagine. How do you intend taking this year’s Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo to the next level? We continue to reinvent and innovate every year, as this is what has made the event successful and one of the top polo and social events in Africa. This year we’re taking our PR and media campaign to the next level, particularly strengthening our media partnerships. We have an increasingly close partnership with our broadcast media partner, E! Entertainment, and this year we’re not only increasing our visibility across the E!, Universal and Studio Universal channels but we’re also for the first time (a first for Africa!) bringing out an E! News reporter from LA, Zuri Hall. E! will broadcast the event globally, and have an extensive E! Africa post-event campaign. In addition, we’re strengthening our digital and social media visibility, and aligning closely with our MC Nomzamo Mbatha, who has a significant following. We’re also excited about a new theme this year called “Clicquot Journey”. In line with Veuve Clicquot’s current global campaign, we’ll be showcasing various iconic cities in which the brand is enjoyed, such as Paris, New York, London and Tokyo to name a few. So, expect some interesting offerings by these cities,

Absolutely fabulous Malherbe-Lan with fashion designer Jacques LaGrange at the 2015 Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo.

“Our polo events offer all the right ingredients: a luxury lifestyle environment where the right people gather, with just the perfect drink, food, décor and entertainment.”

and more, in terms of food, bars, décor and experiences around the polo. There are some exciting new sponsors on board this year— including Jaeger-LeCoultre, Vodacom, Guerlain, GHD and the new Ritz Hotel as hospitality partner—alongside long-standing event sponsors such as Ferrari, ISPS Handa and Shimmy Beach Club. What is your role in all this? Are you very hands-on? Yes, I’m very hands-on, as is my polo partner Simone de Wet. I’m a little OCD, so I like to see every little detail, but I’m essentially very involved in the conceptualisation process, sponsorship management and the marketing strategy. Why Val de Vie Estate? Did you have any other locations in mind? Our partner Val de Vie Events is based there, and the estate is the number-one polo and lifestyle



Creative Conversation

estate in South Africa—the most beautiful location with all the luxury amenities one could ever hope for. We will never move the Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo away from there. For any Cape-based event, we will use Val de Vie Estate; for any other region, we’ll simply choose the best polo venue we can find in that particular city. Sunshine and Champagne is a magical combination. How many bottles of Veuve Clicquot do you expect to go through? We go through record numbers at the Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo every year. You’ll be surprised how much Champagne people can drink when there’s sunshine, exquisitely beautiful people and action-packed polo involved during a five-hour afternoon! Watching world-class polo sounds like a superb way to spend a day, but how else will visitors be entertained? We have a full programme of activities. Firstly, the Fashion Show is normally a big highlight, being centre-field, as is the Best Dressed Competition (judged by Elle magazine). The half-time divot stomping and Ferrari showcase,

plus the After Party experience by Shimmy Beach Club are other big highlights. There’s not a dull moment during this action-packed day. We’ll also have food inspired by some of Veuve Clicquot’s most iconic cities such as New York, Tokyo, London and Paris, and games on the grass such as table tennis and pétanque. Why are events like these important? It’s a natural transition from the luxury communications business we created. With the current global trend for luxury brands to offer more ‘experience-based’ value to their customers, and the need for these brands to engage with high-networth individuals (it’s historically difficult to get face time with these kinds of customers and to find a platform to build relationships), it was an opportunity for us to take luxury brand marketing to the next level and to get to interact directly with these consumers. Our polo events offer all the right ingredients: a luxury lifestyle environment where the right people gather (for many, even the super-rich, this is also a networking opportunity) with just the perfect drink, food, décor and entertainment. You have a captive audience for at least five hours.


“Starting and growing a business is as much about the innovation, drive and determination of the people behind it as the product they sell.” —Elon Musk FAVOURITE BOOK?

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg FAVOURITE DESTINATION?

“Paris during Couture Fashion Week.” FAVOURITE TECH GADGET?

“My rose-gold MacBook Air.” YOUR IDEAL DAY?

“Starting the day with some t’ai chi, followed by herbal tea with my husband. We both lead fast-paced lives, so I love spending quality time with him.” YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION?

Business and pleasure It’s not only about the Champagne and polo at Val de Vie Estate, but also about networking and deal making.

“Arianna Huffington, the Greek businesswoman and author.” BEST MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE?

“Getting married in Mauritius. It remains one of the most special days of my life.” ON WORKING WITH LUXURY BRANDS:

“When you’re dealing with a luxury brand, it’s more about understanding its intrinsic elements. You need to be creative, welltravelled and exposed to global trends.”


What attracted you to the game of polo in the first place? Getting involved in polo was a major vision for us; a new industry which, I thought, had a lot of potential for growth in South Africa. In the beginning, the industry was typically (as with many sports and industries in the country) dominated by an older white male fraternity—we were looking to change that as well. We furthermore felt that the polo events here weren’t up to standard, and certainly not in line with other top international polo events. If we wanted to change the perception of the industry, we had to make radical changes throughout: firstly, to the general event lifestyle that it offered and the quality of polo events in South Africa; secondly, to the target market that polo was attracting; and thirdly, in the way polo was marketed. Over the last seven years, we’ve generated close to R100 million in PR (media value) and created events that are every bit on par with some of the best international polo affairs, particularly those in New York, LA and Dubai. Polo is the ultimate dealmaking event. Gone are the days of deals being made in conference rooms. Golf has been a favourite due to the serene atmosphere and the possibility of uninterrupted conversation. But we’re seeing that best of all is attending a polo match. Not only is the setting tranquil but the premier lounges offer opportunity for conversation, and the sport attracts a wealthy mix of dealmakers. If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be? Don’t limit yourself. A lot of people think too small; dream as big as you can, and find a way to make it happen. Put together a solid business plan, make sure it’s sustainable, and go for it. There will be many naysayers along the way, but just keep focusing on the target, and you’ll eventually achieve success.

“You simply have to innovate beyond the innovation.”


Founder, co-CEO, The Creative Counsel




How to succeed at a lifestyle business Pros of the 30-hour workweek

Why co-working spaces are the new business incubators


“Design, art and culture are strategic assets for the continent”.


Creative director, Design Indaba 2017 R35.00



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“ YOU SIMPLY H AV E TO INNOVATE BEYOND T H E I N N O VAT I O N .” Serial entrepreneur, Dragon and Shark Gil Oved shares why it’s crucial to build a business that can weather the disruption caused by ever evolving technology Interview by Evans Manyonga

Photographs by Judd van Rensburg













How great leaders encourage creativity D O N ’ T D I CTAT E “Present your ideas, then ask your team: ‘What do you think? Is there a better way?’ Don’t tell everyone what to do—lead by questioning. It’s much more productive [when] everyone’s visions of the project are adapting at once.” Dror Benshetrit Founder, Studio Dror

Hair: Harry Josh at Jed Root; makeup: Hung Vanngo at The Wall Group (Kloss). Groomers: Alex LaMarsh, Stacy Skinner at Celestine, Michael Johnson at Celestine (package)


Karlie Kloss

Model, founder of Kode With Klossy

As one of the world’s most indemand fashion stars, Karlie Kloss has appeared in dozens of ad campaigns and walked countless runways. But in her free time, the Victoria’s Secret model is more likely to obsess over code than clothes. “I like knowing how apps and hardware work and why,” says Kloss, who is pursuing a degree at NYU. That interest in technology inspired her to found Kode With Klossy, a summer computing camp and scholarship programme with a mission to empower young women. Along the way, Kloss has learnt three techniques that can further any passion project.

meeting all these entrepreneurs and was fascinated by the things they were building. But I couldn’t understand how [these products] worked. What did they know that I didn’t? What secret language was this code thing? I follow my nerdy passions, even if they are kind of unexpected. Being true to yourself, as cheesy as that sounds, is important. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing—if you’re pretending to be something you’re not—then it’s not sustainable.”


Part of what Kloss loves about programming is the challenge of applying her brain to sticky problems: “Creative problem solving,” as she calls it. “It takes a while to get something to work. It takes a while before

Kloss didn’t set out to learn about coding, but as she got more interested in business and tech, she realised it would be an essential tool. “As a model, I was

Photograph by ioulex


you can build an app or even write your first line of code. But these skills—seeing a problem and finding the solution using code—are so important. [They] help you understand how to think about things. It’s a valuable skill set even if you don’t become an engineer.”

GO HARDER In addition to everything else, Kloss is a committed baker who has created a popular line of dessert products with Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi. Juggling all those obligations can be exhausting, but it’s a big part of what keeps her engaged. “I am the daughter of an emergency-room physician, and I’ve watched my dad work 12-hour night shifts for as long as I can remember. It’s inspired me and is definitely a part of who I am and the way I live.”

“Share information. We make friends with people we admire, including those you might consider competitors, like Charity: Water, Kiva and Global Giving. We get on a call with them and exchange experiences.” Charles Best CEO,

AVO I D THE OBVIOUS “We put people on projects where they bring their unique world view. Years ago, the guy who ran Subaru for us hated cars, so he had to fall in love with them [to do the job]. That point of view cuts through. It sounds different.” Karl Lieberman Executive creative director, Wieden+Kennedy

HIT RESET “Sometimes you just need to throw everything out the window and re­­ build it right on the spot. Think big—no limits. Then work from there.” Vee Bravo Filmmaker, Tribeca Film Institute




C R E AT E YO U R PAT H “I tried to be a lawyer and I got fired, so I talked my way into technology. It’s about having the raw moxie and sense to figure it out.” Lesley Grossblatt COO, VP of Product, theBoardlist

OVERCOMMIT “I do more than I should. I’m a pleaser. [But] a lot of great jobs and experiences came because of my instinct to say yes.” Susan Lyne President, founding partner, BBG Ventures

CONNECTION IS CRUCIAL “[We have to] start translating [complex food-policy] issues into a language that people can relate to and can understand.” Sam Kass Food entrepreneur

FIGHT FOR YOUR BELIEFS “We’re not a non-profit, but social advocacy is part of being a leader. It would be irresponsible not to be speaking out. It’s inseparable from our brand.” Meika Hollender Co-founder, Sustain Natural


EMBRACE L I M I TAT I O N S “We all have constraints. In design, constraints are where the ideas come from.” Ayse Birsel Co-founder, Birsel + Seck

O P E R AT E AT YOUR PEAK “We’re constantly pushing ourselves to over-deliver. It’s about having a vision of not settling, and having [your team] aligned with that vision.” Bobby C. Martin Jr. Founding partner, OCD

Photographs by Samantha Casolari

BREED UNITY “People don’t work for companies, they work for people. We don’t have company meetings—we have family meetings.” Jonathan Neman Co-founder, Sweetgreen




Melinda Gates

Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

With her latest philanthropic campaign, Melinda Gates is trying to bring more women into the tech industry by helping to build a better pipeline. Gender diversity is an issue the former Microsoft executive knows well, which makes her advice especially valuable.

FIND YOUR OWN STYLE Gates had a long, successful career at Microsoft, but it took her a while to find her way at the company. “When I started, I loved the industry and what we were building, but I didn’t love the [corporate culture]. So I finally decided to quit. But then I thought, I’ll just try to be myself for a while [at Microsoft] and see what happens. And I started becoming a lot more successful. I was a manager by then, and people [were] flocking to work in my area. It turned out they were people who wanted to have their voices heard [too].”

CHANGE THE PERSPECTIVE Some of the Gates Foundation’s most successful campaigns— such as an effort to rethink how to get birth control to women in the developing world— couldn’t have happened without a female point of view. “If we didn’t have women working on it, we wouldn’t [have found the

solution]. Men don’t see it as a problem; birth control is not their issue. That’s exactly why we want women saying, ‘I’m going to work on [applying] tech and innovation and science toward humanitarian problems—whether they affect women or men.’ ”


in situations where, say, a man restates something that a woman already said, or talks over her at a meeting. And Gates is equally eager to correct herself when she makes the same errors. “It’s important for all of us who have a seat at the table—men or women—to stand up and say what we see. We have to be transparent about it and realise that we all make mistakes.”

At the foundation, Gates makes a point of speaking up in support of female colleagues


Photograph by Melissa Golden

David Lauren

Vice chairperson, chief innovation officer, Ralph Lauren

BE A SHARK To keep stalwart preppy brand Ralph Lauren relevant in a fastfashion era, David Lauren is looking for fresh ideas at every level of the company. “When I started, about 17 years ago, there were about 6 800 employees. Today, there are 26 000. My job is to make sure we’re protecting the brand DNA and innovating. It’s hard to move large organisations, no doubt about it. It’s about [finding] entrepreneurial energy. You have to figure out ways to think small. At our company, although it seems like we have a lot of employees, when you go in and meet each team, it’s just a handful of people. The more nimble we can be, the more we can be tuned in, so we’ll hear the [next] idea and try it. “The truth is that innovation comes from every group. When you walk into a store, there’s a guy in the back who looks like he’s just stocking shelves. He may have the best idea. You have to take your ego out [of the

Photograph by ioulex

equation] and recognise that the idea could come from anywhere. We’ve [also] created a culture where you don’t feel intimidated to bring your ideas forward. Failure is built into it: We’re making millions of products every day, and maybe we’ll sell a ton of one jacket, but five other

jackets may not sell as well. And we learn. The goal is to see what works, and to be able to say, ‘That’s not working—evolve it.’ It’s kind of like Woody Allen [says] in Annie Hall: A shark has to keep moving forward or it dies. You have to keep moving forward.”


How great leaders hire the right people HUNT FOR HUNGER “I look for someone with something to prove— to your old boss, your dad, your third-grade teacher, yourself. I don’t care where it comes from: You need that hustle.” Emily Weiss Founder, CEO, Glossier

G O N E G AT I V E “I ask, ‘Think of your worst day—what happens?’ You learn about people’s pet peeves, about what environment won’t work for them. Sometimes they disqualify themselves without realising it, because they reveal they don’t really want the job.” Tom Ogletree Director of social impact, General Assembly

P USH PAST STOCK RESPONSES “Give me an example of when you failed, and another example of when you failed, and a third example of when you failed. Ninety-nine point nine percent of people are out of their stock an­­s wers at that point, and they have to go beyond the script.” Will Dean CEO, Tough Mudder

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE FIT “[In a candidate,] social intelligence is as important as a professional CV. How do you integrate yourself into a group without losing yourself?” Martin Gran MD, Snøhetta


Regina Dugan VP of engineering, Facebook

C O G N I T I V E D I V E R S I T Y I S TH E M O S T P O W E R F U L TO O L As the head of Facebook’s secretive new hardware unit, Building 8, Regina Dugan leads a team of engineers who are trying to develop breakthrough technologies, much as she did when she was the first female director of DARPA. She’s learnt that assembling a diverse group of perspectives is essential to the creative process. “There’s very little difference between scientists and engineers and artists—they just use different tools. We [all] want to make things that haven’t been made before, and that’s tremendously exciting. It’s exhilarating, it’s invigorating, and it’s hard. Diversity is absolutely key to innovation. It’s just hands-down true. When we are working on very difficult

problems, it’s essential that we have different voices in the room. In my teams, it’s common to see Oscar-winning directors working side by side with coders, or physicists working with textile manufacturers. The ultimate goal is cognitive diversity, and cognitive diversity is correlated with identity diversity. That means it’s not just about [getting] women in tech. It’s about broad voices, broad representation. But we can’t step away from the idea that in the workplace, diversity also looks like identity diversity. You have to get to the place where you aren’t made comfortable by the fact that everyone is the same, but rather feel inspired by how different we are. We get better problem-solving that way.”

Photograph by Melissa Golden






THINK DEEPER “The Wright Brothers invented the airplane, but first [they did experiments in] the wind tunnel. To design something, you have to learn the principles behind it.”

FOSTER COMMUNITY “If you can’t create a sense of belonging—a sense of appreciation for what’s unique about your team members—then people [won’t] feel safe. [You don’t get] the smartest idea. ”

Christina Agapakis Creative director, Ginkgo Bioworks

Candice Morgan Diversity and inclusion leader, Pinterest

NAIL THE RIGHT TONE “It comes down to emotional intelligence. I’m hot-headed. [A] passionate nature works in pitching, [but it isn’t great for] board meetings.” Ellen Jorgensen Co-founder, executive director, Genspace


BE AN ENERGISER “I should always be amplifying the voices on my team. The best thing you can do with power is give it away.” Jason Cornwell Communications UX lead, Google

FORGE FRIENDSHIPS “In a [new] partnership, we think about what we both care about, [then] make progress from that place of intersectional interest. There’s no such thing as an unlikely ally.” Ai-jen Poo Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

DO SOME DIRTY WORK “I still take minutes [at meetings] sometimes. Don’t ask people to do anything you’re not willing to do. You’re never too good for those things . . . even if you’re the CEO.” Philippe Cousteau Co-founder, president, EarthEcho International

Photographs by Samantha Casolari

C U LT I V A T E SELF-AWARENESS “Find a good shrink. You need to understand where you’re good and where you’re not good.” Gilonne d’Origny Development director, New Harvest




Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud Vice president for women’s affairs of the General Sports Authority in Saudi Arabia

A leading advocate for Saudi women, Princess Reema has learnt how to make a difference without alienating people.

BE THE FIRST DOMINO Princess Reema is heading Saudi Arabia’s effort to get women involved in sports and exercise, which is both a health initiative (Saudi women have high rates of obesity and diabetes) and part of a mission to diversify the oil-focused

economy. Even developing one sport can have a big impact. Right now, in Riyadh, there is just one small retail chain dedicated to serious sports bikes. “My role would be to look at bicycling—or any sport—and say, ‘How do we expand this?’ We will work with [government agencies] and young entrepreneurs. It’s not just the store that sells the bicycle. You need the individual who is repairing [bikes]. You will [also attract] the store that


sells bicycling clothing, and hopefully a bicycle magazine in Arabic. My job is to make all the dominoes fall. But first it’s to set them up.”

MAKE YOURSELF HEARD— AND ALSO LISTEN Because of strict religious codes and a paucity of women in the workplace, Princess Reema often deals with men who’ve rarely or never been in meetings with women. That can work to her advantage. “Because they’re so uncomfortable with it, they listen. That’s actually awkward. I’ll say, ‘I don’t know if I’m right. I’m just voicing an opinion. Feel free to [disagree].’ The other awkward thing is Saudi is a classist society, so I walk in with a title and that makes people want to be quiet. That’s not healthy. I have to repeat, ‘If we’re colleagues, then we’re equals, and if we’re equals, we all have a say.’ We’re working toward the same objective. It’s not that I want resistance—just feedback.”

TRY DIPLOMACY As a former CEO of a major Saudi retailer and the founder of the social enterprise Alf Khair, Princess Reema has helped women enter the workforce and take control of their own healthcare. But she’s always been careful not to push too hard. As an example, she mentions Saudi laws that assign every woman a male relative to be her “guardian”. Though she believes guardianship to be outdated, she’s thought carefully about what might change it. “I’m never an advocate for aggressive campaigns. I don’t agree with that methodology, even if the message is correct. The issue is, how do you explain to a community of men who historically are taking care of you, that you don’t need them in the same way? You could do it aggressively, or you could say, ‘Thank you for the time and care you’ve given me. I appreciate it. But I’m evolving, and let me show you what I can do.’ I don’t want to minimise it, because it is so difficult for many women. But there’s a better way to handle it.”


Singer, actor

WEAKNESSES CAN BE STRENGTHS With a new show that debuted in Las Vegas in February, and more than 3 million followers relishing her emoji-stuffed (and often politically charged) tweets, Cher knows how to hold an audience’s attention. It’s a skill she developed in the face of adversity.

“When I was growing up, no one knew what dyslexia was. My teachers would say things like, ‘She’s really smart, but she doesn’t apply herself.’ [With Twitter], at the beginning, my tweets were frightening. I would read them back and they didn’t make sense. But then I started using emojis, which was heaven. They’re like hieroglyphs. I learn so much about what’s really happening on Twitter. I mean, there’s a bunch of crap, but then there are some fabulous things. What I get from Twitter are ways that I can enrich someone’s life, enrich my life, or do some good. I love the creative process. I believe that my job onstage is to take people away from their lives and problems and whatever. I always design the shows to entertain me, and they seem to entertain my audience, too. When I first started [performing] after Sonny and I split up, I didn’t want to just go out and sing. I thought, I’ll be bored to sobs if I do that. So I made this amazing show [which ran at Caesars Palace from 1979 through 1982]. Everyone hated it. They went, ‘Oh, Cher and her stupid Las Vegas show.’ But [everyone] is doing that today!”

Photograph by ioulex




Yasmin Green

Head of research and development, Jigsaw

As a core member of Google’s Jigsaw division, Yasmin Green is using technology to tackle online extremism. Jigsaw is identifying people vulnerable to recruitment by ISIS and other groups, and trying to de-radicalise them through targeted online content—a challenge that requires persistence and empathy.

BELIEVE IN YOUR MISSION When Jigsaw (then called Google Ideas) launched in 2010, it faced scepticism. “It was difficult to get anyone to take you seriously when you said the Internet had anything to do with violent extremism. Now the pendulum has swung so far the other way, there’s hysteria that the Internet is the root of extremism. And neither of those is the case.”

P R OV E T H AT YO U CA R E If you truly believe that what you’re doing matters, push yourself as much as you can. “Give a damn about the people who work with you and give a damn about the people you serve. How do you show you care? Time. Spend time understanding others’ needs. Provide and solicit feedback.”

GET CLOSE TO THE PROBLEM To more effectively counteract propaganda, Green and her

team are trying to understand why people may be drawn to extremist ideologies in the first place. “I went to Iraq and Europe to interview defectors from ISIS. I wanted to hear about the human experience of radicalisation—and get former loyalists’ input on designing a solution. [It’s easy to] think anyone who decides to join must be a psychopath or a despicable person,” she says, but some ISIS recruits are lured by false promises rather than being attracted to violence. “This is an access-to-information problem. They are making bad decisions based on bad, partial information.”


Photograph by Samantha Casolari

From left: Phil McIntyre, Joe Jonas and Kevin Jonas II

Joe Jonas Musician

Kevin Jonas II

Co-CEO, the Blu Market

Phil McIntyre Founder, CEO, Philymack

Photograph by ioulex

Since pop trio the Jonas Brothers disbanded in 2013, the siblings have been pursuing other projects: Joe leads a group called DNCE, Nick has a solo singing career and is also acting, and Kevin is a tech entrepreneur and co-CEO of influencer marketing company, the Blu Market. Joe and Kevin join their long-time manager Phil McIntyre to discuss their new careers.

DON’T FEAR THE UNKNOWN “With each artist, you’re essentially the CEO of their little enterprise,” says McIntyre. “At [Philymack] we had success so quick with the Jonas Brothers and Demi [Lovato], and then we went through a rough patch where we failed to evolve and

find new business opportunities. My job is to continue to diversify and to find new areas of revenue and inspiration. We made a commitment in this next phase to not make fear-based decisions, but to go where we felt truly inspired.”

HUMILITY HELPS “After the Jonas Brothers, I was like, What is next?” says Kevin. “I always had a passion for [tech]. They even called me KT&T for a while. I am not an expert, but I’m a fast learner: Surround yourself with people who will make you better, and learn to listen. It was humbling to see my brothers blowing up in music while I wasn’t in the public eye, but it was also gratifying, because I’m doing what I love, and the self-esteem

you get from that is so much better. When you can take away the ego, you learn a lot about yourself and the world around you.”

WELCOME CHANGE “I took a few years off to figure it out,” says Joe. “I [opened a] restaurant, deejayed, tried a little acting. During [one] meeting, Phil was pretty real with me—a mini intervention. He said, ‘You should be doing what you do best, and that’s music.’ Things are happening so fast now, especially with all the different social [media] outlets. It used to be you’d release one song and that’s your whole year or two years, and now you can release a song a month if you want, or every week. As an artist, I’m like, Great!”




CHANNEL YOUR CHILDHOOD “What did you do for fun when you were 10 years old? Bring that into your adult life as a way to recapture enthusiasm.” Gretchen Rubin Author

ADAPT FAST “In a hypergrowth company, everyone will soon be managing more people than they’ve ever managed. Put smart people on hard problems with easyto-measure goals.” Noah Weiss Head of the search, learning and intelligence group, Slack


SEEK PEOPLE WITH PASSION “[In interviews, I ask] ‘What would you do if you didn’t have to work for money?’ What makes [them] tick?” Abby Falik Founder, CEO, Global Citizen Year

FOCUS ON R E S U LT S “Be really clear that [you] value impact. Often we’re more comfortable with activities that make us feel like we’re doing something as opposed to actually [achieving] a goal.” Darren Walker President, Ford Foundation

ENCOURAGE AUTONOMY “Help people see what they might not see. Lead by trying to inspire another way of looking at a problem.”

VA LU E S H AV E VA LU E “Consumers want to trust the brands they buy. [They] gravitate toward brands that represent their values. There’s trust in consistency. ”

Jeremy Goldberg Product designer, Facebook

Kirsten Saenz Tobey Co-founder, chief impact officer, Revolution Foods

DISCOVER YOUR VOICE “[I had a hard time] seeing myself as a leader, because [most] didn’t look like me. Speak up. Sit at the table.” Ellen Stofan Chief scientist, NASA

Photographs by Samantha Casolari


How great leaders improve meetings USE THE SITCOM METHOD “Meetings should be like an episode of Friends: You know how they’re going to end when they start. When people come in knowing what 30 minutes of their time is going to accomplish, they galvanise around the mission.” Brad Soulas Associate creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi

FINESSE THE GUEST LIST “Only invite people who need to be there. And always invite people who need to be there. They are two sides of the same coin. Too often you’re inviting everyone because you’ve got a culture where you need to cover yourself in some way.” Susan Reilly Salgado Founder, Hospitality Quotient

M A ST E R T H E C H AT “We favour quick, one-onone conversations over gathering 18 people in a room. Walk to people’s desks, ask a question, and resolve it quickly.” Merrill Stubbs Co-founder, Food52

GET SHORTER “We’re experimenting with meetings that are 20 minutes rather than 30, or 45 rather than an hour. That time can be wildly productive, and no one has ever said, ‘I wish that meeting was 10 minutes longer.’ ” Trevor O’Brien Chief technology officer, partner, Deutsch


Photograph by Samantha Casolari



Kimberly Bryant Founder, executive director, Black Girls Code After earning a degree in electrical engineering and spending years working as a product manager in the pharmaceutical industry, Kimberly Bryant wanted to help girls of colour get involved with computing. So in 2011 she launched Black Girls Code, a non-profit that is inspiring students to learn more about technology at workshops in more than 10 locations around the US.

E N G A G E M E N T M ATT E R S Attracting the right team is about more than just talent. “If people are not tied to the work from a mission-driven focus, I don’t think you’re going to motivate them. And people need to grow. I ask people we’re interviewing, ‘What do you want out of this experience?’ Then I can give them assignments that [make them] feel fulfilled.”



When your business is thriving, it’s tempting to expand your vision. That isn’t always the right move. “There’s not enough said about the beauty of being able to focus on what you do well. We know how to reach black girls. If we just do this and we get it right, our impact will be indelible. There is strength in that. As business leaders and entrepreneurs, you can get distracted by all the opportunities. But we’re going to focus, we’re going to get it right, and we’re going to do it better than anybody else.”

Bryant has never hesitated to share her message of empowerment. “From the beginning, [I have dealt with] naysayers. You know, ‘Why does this need to be called Black Girls Code?’ Someone recently tweeted to me that ‘your organisation is unapologetically black.’ That’s right. We are unapologetically black. My goal is to make sure the girls understand there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. This is about taking pride in our culture and advancing our culture.”




H AV E P U R P O S E “Always remind the team about the mission. If I can link [work] to a cool purpose, I’ve got way more chance of doing it.” Rich Pierson Co-founder, Headspace

CHALLENGES ARE POSSIBILITIES “Only 7% of venture capital is going to women-owned companies. This is a problem. We have to start shifting and thinking about this in another way— as an opportunity.” Elizabeth Gore Entrepreneur-inresidence, Dell


TURN COMPETITION I N TO M OT I VAT I O N “Leaders should have the proper lens on what’s happening outside [their company]. Intuit those trends and reflect them back on your team.” Lili Cheng General manager, Microsoft Research

BE PRESENT “Practise better listening. It’s not just appearing as though you are paying attention. And try to embrace the things you don’t want to hear.” Joy Howard CMO, Sonos

Joeun Lee (Howard)

MEANING IS KEY “[As a designer] I don’t think it’s about the quality of the image as much as it is the quality of the message. Iconic messages are carried by images, but the message has to be first.” Carly Ayres Partner, HAWRAF

Photographs by Samantha Casolari

YOU CAN’T KNOW IT ALL “[We have users] in 197 countries, and what is taboo is vastly different. [My] challenge is to check my ego about what I know works in the United States and really listen to what [locals] say is going to work.” Jack Harrison-Quintana Director of Grindr for Equality, Grindr




“DON’T DEFINE SUCCESS BY COMPA RING YOURSELF TO OTHERS. I H AV E A S A Y I N G : ‘ C O M PA R E E Q U A L S D E S PA I R .’ B Y F O C U S I N G O N W H A T W E A R E U N I Q U E LY P O S I T I O N E D T O A C H I E V E , W E C A N H A V E A [ B I G G E R ] I M P A C T.” Scott Norton Co-founder, Sir Kensington’s



“H I R E E X P E R T S I N A R E A S Y O U W A N T T O [ K N O W ] A B O U T. M A K E T H E M E X P L A I N T H I N G S T O YOU TIME AND TIME AGAIN UNTIL YOU SEE THE RELIEF I N T H E I R E Y E S T H A T Y O U F I N A L L Y G E T I T.” Jonny Bauer Global chief strategy officer, Droga5

“ The one thing you

“ W E ’ R E A LWAY S O N

think you can do better than everyone else— go out and do that. The light shining out of your eyes should blind people. You should be on fire all the time.”

Alan Tisch Founder, CEO, Spring

“Leadership is about creating guardrails for the company. You are saying,


Garrett Oliver Brewmaster, Brooklyn Brewery


‘Here is the sandbox in which you can play as hard as you want. Just don’t go beyond these boundaries.’ ”


Miki Agrawal Co-founder, CEO, Thinx


COMPEL US TO JOIN THEM IN THEIR OBSESSIONS.” Dean Cappello EVP, chief content officer, WNYC/ New York Public Radio


Deborah Dugan CEO, RED

S O LV E P R O B L E M S ; E X P E R T S C A N ’ T WA I T T O T E L L Y O U T H E A N S W E R. ” Tim Jones Director of strategy, 72andSunny


“I believe in teamwork, and I don’t like to micromanage. [But] sometimes I have to come in and be like, ‘Just do this.’ I struggle with that sometimes.” Chanda Gonzales-Mowrer Senior director, Google Lunar XPrize



Blythe Harris Chief creative officer, Stella & Dot





R E A L LY D I D N ’ T D O T H A T . IT’S MY TEAM.” Aria Finger CEO,

Michael Ventura Founder, CEO, Sub Rosa

“There’s a tendency for entrepreneurs to roll up their sleeves and get everything done because only they can do it the right way. That ’s the definition of a company that fails—because it doesn’t scale.” Aaron Shapiro CEO, Huge

“I F Y O U ’ R E T H E S M A R T E S T P E R S O N I N T H E R O O M , Y O U H A V E N’ T H I R E D W E L L .” Rory Brown President, Bleacher Report

“Allow your consumers to be a part of something bigger than just a brand. Get the word out there, and tell your story and engage others.” Lauren Bush Lauren Founder, CEO, FEED



“ E N G E N D E R T R U S T, E N G E N D E R T R U S T, E N G E N D E R T R U S T. I T R E A L L Y H A S TO D O W I T H B U IL D IN G E M PAT H Y A N D V U L N E R A B IL I T Y IN YO U R S E L F A N D Y O U R T E A M . I T I S R I S K Y T O D O T H A T, B U T T A K E T H E R I S K .” Kate Bednarski Chief experience officer, Live in the Grey



How they get it done

Ide ntif yi n g visu al sim ila ritie s

PINNED ON PINTEREST How the image-sharing site is using artificial intelligence to keep users engaged By Steven Melendez

Illustration by Amrita Marino

Machine learning can not only determine the subject of an image, it can also identify visual patterns and match them to other photos. Pinterest is using this technology to process 150 million image searches per month, helping users find content that looks like pictures they’ve already pinned. Pin a photo of a cheetah-print pillow, and Pinterest will serve up animal-print décor from other users. Future iterations of the Pinterest app may let users simply point their cameras at real-world objects to get instant recommendations.

Categori si ng a nd cu rati n g If a user pins a mid-century diningroom table, the platform can now offer suggestions of other objects from the same era. The key? Metadata, such as the names of pinboards and websites where images have been posted, helps the platform understand what photos represent.

Pred icti n g eng ag ement While many platforms prioritise content from a user’s friends and contacts, Pinterest pays more attention to an individual’s tastes and habits—what they’ve pinned and when—enabling the site to surface more personalised recommendations. After all, friends who like the same recipes may not agree at all on fashion.

Prioriti si ng local ta ste Pinterest is an increasingly global platform, with more than half of its users based outside the US. Its recommendation engine has learnt to suggest popular content from users’ local region in their native language. One finding: Slow-cooker recipes are more popular in the US than the UK, where the appliance isn’t as common.

Goi n g beyond im ag e s Thanks to recent gains in machine learning, computers are getting skilled at picking out patterns and features in text and images. That’s how e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay build sophisticated recommendation systems, and how social networks like Facebook and Twitter are tweaking feeds to keep users hooked. Pinterest is no exception, with 30% of engagement tied to personalised real-time suggestions. Here’s how Pinterest engineers are leveraging artificial intelligence to keep the website’s 150 million–plus users pinning and sharing.


Analysing what’s in a photo is a big factor in the site’s recommendations, but it doesn’t offer the whole story. Pinterest also looks at captions from previously pinned content and which items get pinned to the same virtual boards. That allows Pinterest to, say, link a particular dress to the pair of shoes frequently pinned alongside it, even if they look nothing alike.




A dependable drive The new 2017 Corolla continues to build on Toyota’s philosophy of QDR: quality, durability and reliability.

Like a fine wine, the Toyota Corolla just gets better with age By Evans Manyonga

What makes a really great car? Consensus is as elusive as flying saucers. A vehicle that has been part of South Africans’ lives for the past 40 years, and of which one million units have been produced right here on home soil and 45 million sold globally deserves some credit. If that’s not impressive enough, 100 cars are being built and sold every hour— that’s one every 36 seconds. The Toyota Corolla definitely ranks as one of the best auto brands ever manufactured. Now well into its 11th generation, and more than 40 years since being introduced onto the market, there’s no doubt Toyota has had enough time to perfect its Corolla recipe. Not only does it remain the world’s bestselling marque in automotive history, it’s still one of the most popular vehicles in the Toyota line-up. It’s currently sold in about 150 countries, including South Africa, and accounts for about 20% of Toyota’s global sales. Time and again, the Corolla has delivered as an affordable, reliable family car—now the 2017 model features an even more prestigiouslooking exterior design, with strong emphasis on sensory quality in the cabin. The car continues to build on QDR (quality, durability and reliability), with significantly enhanced quality in every aspect of its design and engineering, while still being great value for money.

When developing each of Corolla’s 11 generations, Toyota has maintained its original principles: building a car of superior quality, enduring durability and indisputable reliability. Furthermore, with each new model produced, Toyota has analysed customer feedback to ensure the Corolla lives up to expectations. Right from the start, the Corolla was designed to have wide appeal. As a “people’s car”, it was affordable; as a family car, it was generous on space while displaying higher build quality and considerable equipment features. When it launched in 1966, Toyota certainly had high hopes that the Corolla would go on to be a great success. Its name is derived from the Latin corona, which means “crown of flowers”. In just three years the Corolla became Japan’s top-selling model, and its success quickly spread to other countries around the world.

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2017? The new Corolla upgrades include exterior front- and rear-end refreshments as well as enhanced interior modifications to give it a classier feel: The small upper grille is flanked by new headlamp clusters, and there’s a revised front bumper incorporating a lower grille. The design is further accentuated by the LEDs (Exclusive models). The engine hood has been raised and the bumper corners

deeply sculpted to enhance the Corolla’s 3D effect. To improve passive safety, both Vehicle Stability Control and HillStart Assist Control have become standard on 1.6 models and above. Rear styling has been enhanced through the adoption of LED tail lamp clusters (1.8-litre models) and a redesigned chrome garnish that further emphasises the vehicle’s width. Inside, the instrument panel has been updated with a layered structure that hides joins, along with a redesigned climate-control panel and circular air vents. Audio touchscreen/DVD has been increased from 6.1 to 7 inches (Prestige models). Other upscale touches in the interior include a piano-black centre-cluster surround and chrome-plated ornamentation. Picking up where the previous generation left off, the 2017 Corolla has competent performance and consistently good fuel economy, both of which translate into attractive cost-of-ownership benefits. The engine line-up remains unchanged, featuring a choice of a 1.4-litre D-4D turbodiesel and three petrol engines; a 1.3-litre Dual VVT-i unit; a 1.6-litre Dual VVT-i engine; and the 1.8-litre Dual VVT-i unit. All engines are fitted with 6-speed manual transmissions. Revised tuning of the CVT transmission delivers shifts that are quicker, crisper and smoother,

with better matching to engine speed. The CVT also helps generate suitable engine braking when downshifting, including deceleration control that activates the fuel-cut system and holds the pulley ratio to maintain revs and enable easier re-acceleration. The front MacPherson strut and rear torsion-beam suspension systems adopt larger-diameter shock absorbers to enhance damping force for an improved balance between ride comfort and handling stability. Improved mounting rigidity for the upper body and suspension, plus an additional rear damper bush contribute to improved handling performance. Other changes that reduce noise, vibration and harshness include beading on the front fender liner to reduce turbulence inside the wheel housing, a thicker inner silencer for the dash panel, and a denser material for the floor insulation. The Corolla is still comfortable, well-equipped and affordably priced. Here’s to the next generation!

PRICING 1.8 Exclusive: 1.8 Exclusive AT:

R336 300 R349 400

All models are covered by a 5-year/90 000km service plan and a 3-year/100 000km manufacturer warranty.


Fast Company promotion

Rise of the digital entrepreneur Technology is no longer a separate aspect of a business— it’s cutting across, and enhancing, every thing else

You’re on the move, with your business— your life, your livelihood—in the palm of your hand; where you go, it goes. The scene, let’s say, is OR Tambo International Airport. Boarding gates; laptop slung in a bag over your shoulder; people for Africa. You may look alone in the crowd. But not so: Equipped with your smartphone, you’re a roving hub of multitasking, cross-territorial communication. On voice, you’re doling out sweet charm and banana oil to a prospect in Addis Ababa; in and among this, emailing a client in Amsterdam, paying a restless supplier in Durban by EFT, and texting a colleague in Cape Town to ask politely where on earth his paperwork is (“R U out surfing, dude?”). Take a selfie for the kids—it’s all for them, anyway—and bin the Styrofoam coffee. The plane lifts off, up and away, questing on. It’s a fact: Digital technology is breaking through the barriers of geography and time with ever increasing speed. In the process, this is changing the face of whom we do business with and where, when and how we do it, and leading to the rise of a new force in the


Digital technology is breaking through the barriers of geography and time with ever increasing speed.

game—the digital entrepreneur. Who is this person? The answer is important to know. It’s no longer that stereotype of the 1980s, the braying computer nerd. Nor is it only the dot-com tycoon of the 1990s, or the Y2K–era, tech-talking gadget geek in a goatee. And the digital entrepreneur isn’t simply a guy or gal blogging to build the biz or selling wares on an e-commerce website. Nowadays, nearly all businesses are digital in nature, to one degree or another. They’re out there using computers, networking with each other on the Internet and, more and more, deploying smartphones as portable


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flight decks on which to collaborate—coordinating and advancing the growth of the enterprise across its many physical and virtual points of presence. For long, the tendency has been to think of technology as a separate, even if key, aspect of a business. The truth is that it’s cutting across, and enhancing, everything else, from financial and human resource management to sales and marketing and field service—and all the time getting easier to use. So, who is this rising digital entrepreneur? Whether you realise it or not, and whether you’ve embraced your secret identity or are only starting out, it’s you, the business owner. You. We. Us.

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The Great Innovation Frontier

M i l l s Soko

ONE FLYING DONKEY DOES NOT A SUMMER MAKE Disruptive innovations can thrive in Africa, but measuring their real impact is not that easy to do

If necessity is the mother of all invention, then Africa, argues the World Economic Forum, has the edge. Recent innovations making headlines include small cargo drones known as “flying donkeys”, created by IBM to deliver cargo to remote areas or to take food to refugees at low cost; a much cheaper and more readily available malaria medicine; and a software solution that determines patients’ potential responsiveness to antiretrovirals. Most people think Africa’s future development will depend on disruptive innovation—which will, ironically, occur specifically because the continent faces unique social, political and economic challenges. “When the slow pace at which Africa is developing is combined with the demographic transformation, contrary to the sentiments of many optimists, the future does not look bright. But it can,” writes Efosa Ojomo on the World Bank blog, AfricaCan. Omojo’s research with Harvard professor Clayton Christensen argues that no country has developed sustainably without disruptive innovations. “It is tempting to discount the possibility of executing disruptive innovations in Africa because of the many obstacles to innovation, including poor infrastructure, the difficulty of doing business, and very low incomes. But when these obstacles are framed as opportunities, innovators can build truly disruptive companies. In fact, it is precisely because these obstacles exist that disruptive innovations can thrive in Africa.” Ojomo is a self-confessed Afro-pessimist—or at the very least, not an Afro-optimist. It’s one thing to argue the importance of innovation; it’s another entirely to determine if this innovation is actually good for the continent in the long term. Critically, we need to be sure that after the first flush of headline-grabbing success, innovation works to improve lives and livelihoods on the continent in a way that is lasting and measurable. Even at an organisational level, it’s challenging to measure the impact of innovation, although metrics


Sometimes a more subtle innovation, like getting teachers to diagnose and treat malaria in remote schools, can be just as effective as an expensive new medicine on the market.

do exist. Beyond the obvious—an increase in revenue—there are other examples, such as impact on the broader innovation ecosystem (partners, customers, suppliers and others); an impact on brand and image (which can be measured through market research); or impact on innovation culture (an increase in innovation projects, for instance). The simplest way to measure the impact of innovation in African countries is by tracking gross domestic product, but this is not an exact science; furthermore, it does not provide the full picture. To begin with, many African countries receive a large portion of their economic contribution from the informal sector, but few have made a concerted effort to understand the impact of innovation in this area. It is also difficult to track and measure the quality of life of beneficiaries of, for example, social innovation initiatives. To gather a more comprehensive picture of impact requires extensive quantitative study, such as an evaluation carried out in Canada to assess the impact of several government-funded innovation projects. Even this study was limited, the authors noted. They cautioned that robust and reliable estimates of returns (financial or otherwise) require a significant amount of time and are extremely costly, and in some areas, viable and agreed-upon indicators for policy-making and demand are simply not yet developed or, where they have been developed, may overlook contextual factors. Even in the best-case scenario the assessment of impact is massively complex. In poorer countries, the challenge is proportionally bigger. Measurability is key not only to help guide the ethics of innovation but to secure investment, be it from the private sector or the state, which is also a key for sustainability. But if one wishes to have a degree of certainty about impact, it is costly and resourceintensive. We need to exercise patience: Many of the most worthwhile innovations will only allow us to reap the rewards in years or decades to come. We would do well to guard against falling for the hype and taking our eyes off the true goal of innovation in Africa: to meet real needs. Sometimes a more subtle innovation, like getting teachers to diagnose and treat malaria in remote schools, can be just as effective as an expensive new medicine on the market. Mills Soko is the director of the UCT Graduate School of Business and an associate professor specialising in international trade and doing business in Africa. With a career that has spanned business, government, civil society and academia, he is uniquely positioned to understand the role these sectors have to play—collaboratively and individually—in addressing the critical issues of Africa’s development and competitiveness.

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Fast Bytes Fast Company SA takes a look at the innovative new ideas, services, research and news currently making waves in South Africa and abroad

Luxury goods for all New tech startup Luxity aims to give everyone a chance to sport stylish designer handbags, sunglasses or high heels at affordable prices. Unlike other second-hand marketplaces, the company focuses on buying and selling authentic used luxury goods that are still in great condition. “At Luxity, we take authentication extremely seriously, and offer a full money-back guarantee should you ever prove that we sold you a fake or counterfeit item,” explains owner Luke Calitz. Interested in grabbing yourself a luxurious bargain? Visit one of Luxity’s social media channels for information on new arrivals, or visit the online boutique at

R1 million in bursaries makes good advertising In an effort to assist the marketing and communications sector, the AAA School of Advertising has offered R1 million worth of bursaries to talented students. AAA is the official tertiary institution for the advertising industry, and successful applicants will receive financial support toward a BA degree in Creative Brand Communication or a diploma in Copywriting. “At the AAA, we look to harness creative talent and deliver to the industry students who are prepared for the world of work, with skills and educational capabilities that are in line with the agency’s requirements,” says Professor Krishna Govender, executive dean and head at the AAA. Bursaries are being offered to first-year students with academic potential and financial need.

Driving a dependable transport network The entire public transport network of Cape Town is now available on transport data platform Where Is My Transport. In a “world first”, the firm has captured, integrated and made available both formal and informally run transport systems. Developers, transport operators and government officials in the Mother City can now forge solutions for the less-thanperfect transport system. Journey planners, fare estimators, communications tools, and connected digital signage are but some of the mechanisms being developed in order to improve access to public transport information. 80    FASTCOMPANY.CO.Z A  MARCH APRIL 2017

Fast Bytes

SA’s latest solar plants switched on

Time to get out the Dodge Durban-based Amcar Imports, which specialises in importing and restoring American muscle cars, in February welcomed a special addition to its range: the first-ever replica of the 1970 Dodge Challenger Dynacorn body. The car, which will be installed with a brand-new 2016 HEMI Hellcat V8 engine, can now be fully customised by a lucky (and wealthy) purchaser. “What this means is that we will sell the car with the old-school look and original components, but with modern and state-of-the-art specifications,” says Amcar CEO Craig Buck. Low production numbers and luxurious aesthetic made the original a relative rarity compared to direct competitors Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro.

Celebrating the forgotten places Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha have been given a negative rep, but local sisters Michelle and Natasha Talliard are fighting back— this year launching an online platform aimed at rebranding these areas that are the result of apartheid spatial planning. Communities and townships on the Cape Flats are seen mainly as places of deprivation and crime, an impression “grossly exaggerated at times by the media,” the sisters say. Made in Everywhere, a marketing and brand agency, is their response. Initially an e-commerce platform, the venture’s goal is to highlight and celebrate these places, explains Natasha, giving them an opportunity to showcase their ideas: “allowing locals to connect, to create an open space, and build interest in developing new places and investing in forgotten ones.”

The Northern Cape and Free State’s newest solar photovoltaic power plants began operating in February. The two plants were commissioned by Italian energy firm Enel, which hopes to continue its successful green push into South Africa. “Together with our local project partners, Enel Green Power SA’s renewable energy projects are already making a significant contribution to the country’s economy, and these two new solar facilities are expected to add further value to those efforts,” says Enel country manager for South Africa, William Price. The Adams plant in the Northern Cape and the Pulida in the Free State will generate 318GWh of energy each year and avoid emissions of nearly 300 000 tonnes of CO2.

#DataMustFall The Communications Regulators’ Association of Southern Africa is considering a proposal to create a set of universal mobile data tariffs for the Southern African Development Community by 2019. Speaking to The Source website, chair of the Crasa subcommittee on electronic communications Richard Makgotlho confirmed the plans. “We want to make sure that mobile operators are encouraged to reduce data prices—and if they cannot do that on their own, we will then come up with a regulation that will restrict and force them to do so.” High data prices in the region resulted in the #DataMustFall hashtag trending in Zimbabwe and South Africa last year.

Cape Royale takes the crown The 5-star Cape Royale Luxury Hotel situated in Green Point has been announced as the 2017 Luxury Hotel Location of the Year for Africa and the Middle East by the Luxury Travel Awards. The hotel is a favourite haunt of internationals due to its choice location (the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town Stadium and the Sea Point promenade are just a stroll away) plus exquisite room options, Zenith Sky Bar and Casuarina Wellness Centre. Revenue, sales and marketing manager Vincent Bouwer: “With our 5-star offering, designer suites and pristine restaurants, guests can submerge themselves in the height of luxury.” MARCH APRIL 2017  FASTCOMPANY.CO.Z A   81

Fast Events Local conferences, talks and meetups we think are worth attending

Impact Hub Johannesburg Official Relaunch

CPD200: Developing Solutions for Google Cloud Platform

Date: 2 March Time: 19h00–23h00 Location: Impact Hub Johannesburg, Rosebank Cost: Free

Date: 13 to 15 March Time: 09h00–17h00 Location: Google Johannesburg, Bryanston Cost: R19 200

Impact Hub Johannesburg is relaunching its state-of-the-art co-working, private office, event and incubation space, and invites the public to join the festivities. As well as drinks and light snacks, up-and-coming food vendors will sell their unique fare, and a cash bar will help raise funds for Impact Entrepreneur programming.

Google & Siatik Systems invite solution developers for a CPD200 class at Google’s Joburg headquarters. The three-day session—with a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations and hands-on labs—will teach participants how to develop cloud-based applications using Google App Engine, Google Cloud Datastore, and Google Cloud Endpoints.

Blockchain Africa Conference

IT Leaders Africa Summit

Date: 2 & 3 March Time: 08h00–16h45 (day 1); 08h00–16h30 (day 2) Location: Focus Rooms, Sandton, Johannesburg Cost: R3 500

Date: 15 & 16 March Time: 08h00–18h00 Location: Century City Conference Centre, Cape Town Cost: R9 000 (2-day delegate package); R5 000 (1-day conference pass)

International organisations are looking at blockchain technology like never before, as they recognise its security, transparency, full life-cycle transaction history, real-time nature, immutability and costefficiency. Come listen to talks from experts like Farzam Ehsani, leader of Rand Merchant Bank’s Blockchain Initiative; Rocelo Lopes, chair of CoinBR Bitcoin Services; and Accenture’s John Velissarios. (A separate workshop on March 1 will provide training on blockchain and digital currencies.)


Join leading IT executives from around the continent at this educational and insightful showcase of technology, experiences and solutions including 35 speakers, keynotes, panel discussions and workshops. Key topics include: Strategy in a Changing Landscape; The Human Element; Valuedriven IT; and IT Security Risks. Guests will have the opportunity to hear from esteemed executives including Peter Alkema (FNB) and Thabo Ndlela (Tiger Brands), making it a must-attend for anyone with an interest in the African IT landscape.

Fast Events

Cape Town Carnival Date: 18 & 19 March Time: 15h00–00h30 Location: Green Point Fan Walk, Cape Town Cost: free (standing room); R300 (seated); R1 300 (VIP exclusive)

Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon Date: 12 to 14 April Time: various start times (see website) Location: Newlands (marathons); UCT (trail run and fun runs)

A glamorous celebration of the creativity and African identity. Expect a diverse array of communities and cultures as the event inspires Cape Town and her people to create, build and play together. Each year thousands of spectators come together on Green Point’s famous Fan Walk to join in an extravagant parade of costumed performers, musicians and moving floats. This year’s theme is “AMAZA! Ocean Odyssey”.

Participants from around the globe will put their body to the test over the Easter Weekend as they take part in “the world’s most beautiful marathon”, sponsored by Old Mutual. The weekend will host a variety of running events, each one a challenge. If the 21km half-marathon isn’t long enough for you, you can turn it up a gear for the Friday 24km trail run. Still have energy left? Have a go at Saturday’s modest 56km ultra-marathon. (2km and 5km fun runs are options for the little ones.)

IoT Forum Africa 2017

World Travel Market Africa

Date: 29 & 30 March Time: 08h00–17h00 Location: Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand, Johannesburg Cost: free (exhibition only); R4 950 (delegate pass)

Date: 19 to 21 April Time: 10h00–18h00 (day 1 and 2); 10h00–17h00 (day 3) Location: Cape Town International Convention Centre Cost: free (online registration before 18 April); around R1 100 (at door)

The Internet of Things Forum will bring together key industries for a day of top-level content, solutions-based case studies and robust discussion. More than 30 thought leaders, solution providers and key players—representing industries such as manufacturing, transport, health, logistics, government, energy, insurance, retail and automotive—will try to capitalise on the enormous potential of IoT on our continent.

Don’t miss out on this year’s WTM, the travel industry’s biggest marketplace on the continent and an indispensable business and networking opportunity. The expo will present a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to South African, African and international travel professionals, with exhibits from tour operators, wholesalers, airlines, transport companies and more.



Team Spirit

M a rk McCh le r y

IT’S ALL ABOUT PASSION Build a relationship that fosters a dynamic culture to support the power of a flexible workforce

Dwight Morrow wisely stated that “we judge ourselves by our motives and others by their actions”. This insightful observation has been bouncing around in my head as I’ve fumbled through the start of 2017. To reconcile your motivation with the benchmark you’ve set for yourself is the easy part. The paradox lies in what you’re deemed to have achieved based on what you portray to be achievable. To many of us in the workforce, this ‘own goal’ happens so often that we gloss over it with excuses rather than apology—and, more importantly, without conscious assessment. The romantic notion that the modern workforce can work from anywhere at any time has one major hurdle, and that’s accountability. The culture in any organisation is a byproduct of its function and form, and is inextricably linked to the calibre and maturity of its team from the bottom up; a team devoid of doubt on what, where and why they’re even there. If the ‘top down’ reporting line is designed to mentor, collaborate and develop, then it’s that relationship that fosters a dynamic culture to support the power of a flexible workforce. Conversely, if this reporting line is designed to ensure everyone is, in fact, doing what’s expected, the reality is that a significant part of your day is assigned to the CYA (Cover Your Ass) syndrome—even worse, probably from a cubicle or office with bad coffee, noisy colleagues, and limited or no beanbags in the break room. We owe everyone around us the strongest foundation possible but, more importantly, the optimism that they can reach a little higher. It’s about passion: passion in your life that manifests in your personal relationships and your career. Business is a science—agreed—but it’s also an art. Its elements are its elements, but only through immersion does each element start to talk to you. And when it does, it tells you what it can handle


The culture in any organisation is a byproduct of its function and form, and is inextricably linked to the calibre and maturity of its team from the bottom up.

and, above all, shouts out about what it needs. When this happens, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Take any organisation: so many disparate products, concepts and ideas that need to come together. By approaching your work with reverence and pouring yourself into it, it begins to take on a life of its own—and dare I say, you become very fond of your creation. It’s the impresario mindset of initiation and improvisation that should lie at the heart of what you do. In her TEDx talk, Martha Mosse profoundly berates our search for perfection: “Perfection masquerades as a compliment; it poses as an achievable idea, but it is a lie to aspire to!” “I’m not cross, just disappointed!” invoked the most profound reaction in me in my younger days. Great teams are driven by this mantra (even though our labour laws make it easier to deal with a boss who’s cross). The problem with this is that we end up giving so much of ourselves, that the greatest risk is focusing on the wrong things—the little things that paint the imagery of positive and plaster over the negative for the sake of perceived perfection and performance. Every day we give a little piece of ourselves without realising it. Our bravado and entitlement reassure us of what we get back in return, but when we don’t balance the books, we give more freely than we collect; that toxic relationship between our action and intention shortens the lifespan of our participation in our social and economic ecosystem. Mark McChlery is an established businessman and regular contributor to various media and innovation congresses on the topic of business. He has become a specialist in process and technology integration, with a rich curiosity in people dynamics and the exponential potential of a great idea.

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