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The Spirit of Travel

BELOW: After double distillation, the spirit is matured in Limousine French oak casks which gives the Eau-De-Vie both its colour and contributes to the taste.

Eaux-De-Vie to be aged in the very best barrels. Each year the Committee tastes around 10 000 Eaux-De- Vie from the Hennessy reserve – the largest in the industry. Once they reach the point of elegance, they are blended by Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, the 8th generation Master Blender to achieve the excellence and consistency that is associated with Hennessy cognacs such as Very Special, V.S.O.P Privilege and X.O. Founded by Richard Hennessy in 1765, who later partnered with the Fillioux family as the master blenders, their unwavering commitment to quality now spans eight generations. A celebrated and sophisticated cognac, Hennessy continuously pushes boundaries and has captured the hearts of gamechangers across generations.

HENNESSY: CHAMPIONING THE EXCEPTIONAL SINCE 1765 You’re anything but average and that’s why, like Hennessy, you should never stop and never settle – an innovative brand that stays true to its ethos

The Founders Cellar at Hennessy, one of the largest reserves of aged Eau-De-Vie in the world.

TASTE THE RICH HISTORY OF COGNAC The roots of the world’s bestselling cognac can be traced back to the Cognac region in Southwestern France. Cognac is created by double distilling wine, primarily from harvested Ugni Blanc grapes, in copper stills to create Eau-De-Vie (water of life) that is then aged in oak barrels and blended according to strict rules in order to protect the craft, as has been done for centuries. At Hennessy, The Master Blender, together with the Tasting Committee meet every morning at 11am to select the

THE STORY BEHIND HENNESSY V.S.O.P PRIVILEGE In 1818, the Prince of Wales, a cognac connoisseur and the future King George IV of Great Britain, personally requested a ‘Very Superior Old Pale’ from the House of Hennessy. The new classification ‘V.S.O.P’, created by Hennessy as a first for the industry, became a benchmark for all Cognac makers as a sign of elevated quality and aging. Reflecting the selection of firmly structured Eaux-De-Vie, with subtle French oak tannins and balanced aromas of tobacco, candied fruit, cinnamon and clove, V.S.O.P is not only great in cocktails but is also a brand that can be found in the best bars and night clubs around the world. V.S.O.P is the choice of hiphop royalty, vanguard creatives (who the brand collaborates with frequently) and other pioneers shaping culture by pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Embodying perfection and potential, Hennessy has been toasting the exceptional since its inception. Contemporary and creative, it’s a brand that appeals to the irreverent, the dreamers, the movers, and the change-makers.


The Master Blender, Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, together with the Tasting Committee meets every morning at 11am and taste around 10 000 Eaux-De-Vie a year.


T H E H E N N E S SY S O U R The balance of the sweet and sour allows the Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilege flavours to shine. 37.5 ml Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège 12.5 ml Fresh Lime Juice 12.5 ml Fresh Lemon Juice 25ml Simple Syrup

Garnish: Lemon Twist Glass: Rocks

» 1. Add all liquid to a shaker tin with ice and shake until chilled 2. Strain into a rocks glass with ice and 3. Garnish with a lemon twist

The roots of the world’s best-selling cognac can be traced back to the Cognac region in Southwestern France

The Head Office of Hennessy in Cognac, France


jan-feb 2020

The one and only David Beckham, p54


THE COVER Photography by Matthew Brookes. All prices quoted in this issue are approximate and subject to change.

Speakers include:

va Vodiano Natalia odel and Superm ropist Philanth

Barrère Hubert irector, D c ti is rt A Lesage

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500 luxury and fashion decision-makers, innovators, creatives and business figures will gather in Vienna, Austria, to discuss the topics that matter for the global luxury and fashion industry. The conference programme will explore the power of Central and Eastern Europe as a new consumer market for luxury retail, as well as a source of dynamic and innovative creativity. Speakers will also explore the critical topics of technology, inclusivity and sustainability, and the role of the artisan in the digital age.

Topics include: • The definition of “Luxury” • Size inclusivity in the luxury market • Luxury and fashion retail in Central and Eastern Europe • The relationship between commerce and creation • Sustainability in luxury

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jan-feb 2020 DEpaRTmEnTs 10 Letter from the Editor 12 GQHQ FEaTuREs 54 The life and times of David Beckham 62 Attack of Silicon Valley’s tech giants 68 Cynthia Erivo finds her voice 74 Work smarter EssEnTials 17 The 80s are back, but in a good way 22 Naomie Harris on her film future 24 Tshepo the Jeanmaker 28 Sending nudes before the first date 32 Phrases and words no one should ever use 34 Legal repercussions in the digital age THE EDiT 104 Beckham: The one-man brand

WEalTH 44 The future of digital banking 46 Talking shop with a boss barista 48 The buzz around co-working spaces The new class of 2020, p89

06 / january/february 2020

sT YlE 81 The new class of 2020 96 Grooming imperatives 100 A dad bod isn’t a bad bod 102 Directory

PhotograPhy by Sven KriStian

GEaR 38 Porsche Cayenne Coupe 42 Jaguar F-Pace SVR

TAG HEUER CARRERA CALIBRE HEUER 02 Chris Hemsworth works hard and chooses his roles carefully. He handles pressure by taming it, and turning it to his advantage. #DontCrackUnderPressure was coined with him in mind. TAG Heuer Boutiques: Sandton City and V&A Waterfront Also at selected fine jewellers nationwide For further information please call 011 669 0500.

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EDITOR In chIEf Nkosiyati Khumalo EDITORIal

Lesley Mathys Walter Hay ward

group MAnAging And sy ndicAtion editor MAnAging And sy ndicAtion editor

fa shIOn

Jason Basson Mira Leibowitz Tania Durand

group FAsHion director FAsHion editor FAsHion As sis tAnt aRT

Robyn-Lee Pretorius Keenan Jeppe

Ar t director gr ApHic designer


Jesé- Ché Lillienfeldt

gro oMing editor

fE aTURE s

Shannon Manuel Thobeka Phanyeko

senior content produ cer content produ cer

c OnTRIBUTIng EDITORs Dieter Losskarn (Motoring), Walter Hayward (copy editor) c OnTRIBUTORs Thomas Barrie, Sophia Benoit, Charlie Burton, Sophia Epstein, Elle Hardy, Dylan Jones, Daphne Leprince-Ringuet, Stuart McGurk, Christopher Riley, Emma Sheppard PhOTO g R aPhERs anD IllUs TR aTORs Lalalimola, Matthew Brookes, Angela Ho, Sven Kristian, Elliott Wilcox c OnDÉ na s T InDEPEnDEnT Maga ZInE s (P T Y ) lTD Acting ceo Mbuso Khoza HeAd oF FinAnce Paul Myburgh aDvERTIs Ing Advertising Account MAnAgers Lorraine Bradley (JHB), Jacqui Erasmus (JHB), Wendy Robinson (JHB), Charlotte Nutman (ct) Advertising LiAison MAnAger Natasha O ’ Connor sALes representAtive itALy Angelo Careddu (oBeron MediA) DIg ITal onLine editor Molife Kumona sociAL MediA MAnAger Arthur Mukhari senior grApHic designer Viné Lucas content producer Gugulethu Mkhabela content producer Amy Saunders content producer Luthando Vikilahle BR anD PROPERTIE s BrAnd properties MAnAger Desiree Kriel BrAnd properties AssistAnt Ntokozo Masinga E vEnT s events MAnAger Thobile Sithole events co-ordinAtor Lindiswa Putuma production MAnAger Jean Jacobs / production co-ordinAtor Charné Phillips circuLAtions MAnAger Frederick Smit / circuLAtions co-ordinAtor Bertina Ellis personAL AssistAnt And oFFice MAnAger Karen Shields DIREc TORs cHAirMAn Dr Iqbal Survé Takudzwa Hove caPE TOWn hE aD OffIcE condé nast independent Magazines (pty) Ltd, 10th floor, convention towers, Heerengracht st, cape town city centre, 8000. po Box 16414, vlaeberg, 8018. tel: 021-344-0500; email: gq @ JOBURg OffIcE condé nast independent Magazines (pty) Ltd, vunani House, Block c, vunani office park, 151 Katherine st, sandton, 2196. tel: 011-263-9560 reproduction Studio Repro printing Novus Print Montague Gardens distriBution Allied Publishing, 32 Wepener Street, Booysens, Johannesburg product MAnAger Soraya Pretorius, 011-248-2418 © 2019 Condé Nast Independent Magazines (Pty) Ltd. Copyright subsists in all work published in this magazine. Any reproduction or adaptation, in whole or in part, without written permission of the publishers is strictly prohibited and is an act of copyright infringement which may, in certain circumstances, constitute a criminal offence. ‘The paper used for this publication is a recyclable and renewable product. It has been produced using wood sourced from sustainably managed forests and elemental or total chlorine free bleached pulp. The producing mills have third-party management systems in place, applying standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. This magazine can be recycled either through your kerbside collection or at a local recycling point. Log onto to find your nearest sites.

ISSNs: 1562-4366

There are no constants in nature. Rainfall, soil conditions, temperatures. Countering the uncertain ensures a harmonious blend every time. Nothing left to chance. This is mastery.

insidE GQ lE t tEr from thE Editor

Wh e n I WAs yo ung , nothing was

more exciting than going into the Big CityTM with my mother. These outings were usually restricted to very special occasions, or on odd days when I didn’t have school but was too young to be left alone and babysitters were too much of a hassle. 10 / january/february 2020

nkosiyati khumalo Editor-in- ChiEf


advertising Liaison manager N ata s ha O’C ON NO r natasha started off her career as a junior admin in House & Garden; nine years later she now works across GQ, Glamour and House & Garden. Besides analysing sales figures and keeping the advertising sales team on their toes, she is a devoted and loving mother.

Brand properties manager D es ir ee Kr iel Desiree is no rookie in the media industry, with 18 years under her belt, she cut her teeth in educational publishing, later moving into custom, then consumer magazines as a managing editor. Although her first love is print, Desiree has found her home in the Brand Properties Department managing omni-channel commercial campaigns across the group.

PhotograPhy by arthur dlamini/dart PhotograPhy

A whole new way to work

On those days, I’d get a kick out of imagining how I would look doing adult things: Drinking from my favourite coffee mug! Wearing sneakers onto the commuter train and changing into formal shoes at the office! Reading a memo! Writing a report! (Big nerd, I know.) My mother worked at the UN headquarters in New York City, so visiting her at work had the extra flair of multiple accents flying around and lots of translated signage and the unique aura of a space that’s technically international property. I loved stopping right before we walked into the building and stare straight up its almost-solid glass

surface, dreaming of what it would one day be like to work in an important office in the Big CityTM. This was, after all, the sign that you had made it: a demanding, yet cushy corporate job and a steady path into the corner office, or better yet, a higher floor. That was the dream. Now I can say with an increasing sense of finality that the traditional office is dying its slow death. In Cape Town alone, I can stand on one street corner and count five different co-working spaces, with another three under construction. Even amidst what appears to be the spectacular crash and burn of the WeWork unicorn, it seems the new dream is the gig-office: a space you pay for as you need it. And with the hybridisation of many of these spaces – have a drink at the bar / visit the pool / hop on the treadmill / jump onto a video conference / rent the apartment upstairs – the lines between work and personal life may soon be gone forever. We spoke to some of these new-gen landlords to find how they’re shaping the future of office culture (p48). So will all of that change the way we actually work? To paraphrase a line from one of my favourite sitcoms: ‘Office politics have always existed. That’s why they built offices – to make a space for the politics to play out.’ As a handful of experts reveal on page 74, these new playing fields demand a whole new set of skills to remain competitive, productive and copacetic – even in the most coeverything environments.


2 RICK AnD MoRT Y Crazy, irreverent, and stupid-fun, Rick and Morty (now back after a two-year wait) follows a sociopathic genius scientist, Rick, who drags his inherently timid grandson, Morty, on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe.


Hit List Indulge your inner bingewatcher with these hot picks now streaming

6 unDERGRounD Six individuals from all around the globe, each the very best at what they do (led by Ryan Reynolds), have been chosen not only for their skill, but for a unique desire to delete their pasts to change the future.




Stand-up comedian Ramy Youssef is in politically-divided US, where he’s caught between a Muslim community and a millennial generation.

Based on South African author Deon Meyer’s best-selling novel of diamond smuggling, rhino poaching, and an international terrorist plot to attack Cape Town, Trackers boasts a star-studded SA cast including James Gracie, Rolanda Marais, Thapelo Makoena, Emmanuel Castis and Sisanda Henna.

Based on the best-selling fantasy series of books, The Witcher, starring Henry Cavill, explores the intertwined destinies of three individuals in a world where the magical battle to survive and thrive.




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groundbreaking collaboration. Made in Italy by Prada, the sneaker features a simple premium full-grain leather construction with a rubber shell toe and matching rubber cupsole.

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Accompanying the shoe is a version of Prada’s bowling bag tote that matches the footwear and draws on the functionality of Adidas gym bags. The Prada x Adidas Superstar and Bowling Bag Set will be limited to just 700 pieces. Great blends have the power to influence more than just a palete. Tullamore D.E.W. is the original triple distilled, triple blend whiskey. Learn more at

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Find your craFt A new scent that pays homage to the first, the Tabac Original Craftsman is a fragrance for the man who takes matters into his own hands

S o m e t i m e S yo u j uS t h av e to tac k l e t h i n g S yo u rS e l f !

This is the spirit of the Tabac Original Craftsman creation, which exudes determination, zeal and enthusiasm in an aromatic fragrance. Dynamic freshness for real men: this is the distinguishing feature of the Tabac

Original Craftsman fragrance. The concept is inspired by the trend of craftsmanship, which relies on quality, durability and traditional manufacturing. Producer, entrepreneur, and Tabac brand ambassador Thapelo Mokoena says being an ambassador means he’s able to represent the idea of the craftsman. ‘My journey as an artist complements the craftsman journey – and it allows us to celebrate ourselves as nuanced individuals. It’s about defining greatness on our own terms.’ Tabac Original Craftsman is now available at all leading fragrance outlets. Tabac Original South Africa @ tabacoriginal_sa

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@davidoofficial ALTE BADDEST #AGT For @GQSouthAfrica


@umgnigeria Big shoutout to @nasty_csa as he is named the @GQSouthAfricaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s musician of the year and also gracing the #GQ front cover.

@AsandaSizani A well deserved win! Congrats @_ThebeMagugu_ . GQ Men Of The Year award winner! #GQMOTY19

@JohnKani2 Thank you to GQ and Hennessy for this honour. Thank you to Yati the Editor in Chief of GQ South Africa.

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Woman We Love

upper levels

Moonlight made her a capital-S Star. Now, she’s taking the lead in police thriller Black And Blue and preparing to return as Moneypenny… stuart mcGurk

elliott wilcox

rebecca corbin-murray

Naomie Harris was HaNd-delivered tHe script for tHe latest BoNd film, No Time To Die, but it wasn’t a studio runner or even the director who did the deed. For the latest in the ever-secretive franchise, the woman who plays Moneypenny was visited by non other than the legendary Bond producer herself, Barbara Broccoli.

So no men with briefcases handcuffed to their wrists? ‘No, not quite that,’ says Harris, laughing. ‘It was the personal touch.’ And so, straight after, she sat, read it in one go (‘There was no putting it down, no stopping for anything’) and decided two things: it was very good (‘It’s going to be fantastic’) and it has huge twists. ‘It’s a tie-up of Skyfall and Spectre. But with massive, massive surprises that even had me like, “Oh, wow!” So I think we’re going to really shock people.’ At the British GQ Heroes summit in May, Harris had said, ‘The Bond of old, his days are numbered.’ Now she’s read the script, has that proved to be the case in what might be Daniel Craig’s last outing as

22 / january/february 2020

007? ‘I would say that he’s reconnected with his heart. We’re definitely seeing a Bond who’s more in touch with his feelings and more open to falling in love.’ The return of love interest Dr Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) from 2015’s Spectre is, therefore, no coincidence. As Harris adds, ‘At the end of Spectre there are women he gives his career up for: there’s no more emotional attachment than that. It’s just about moving with the times and recognising that women can no longer be seen as eye candy.’ After being nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Moonlight, Harris is now being offered more leads, hence Black And Blue, in which she plays a police officer who

witnesses an illegal killing by corrupt cops and goes on the run after recording it on her body cam. ‘It’s completely different,’ says the 43-year-old of the film offers she gets now. ‘I expected [Moonlight] to make a difference but not on the level it has. It’s completely changed my career. It’s changed how many offers I’ve got, the fee I can command, my standing in the industry, the respect I get given. It’s huge. I wouldn’t have been offered something of the exposure of Black And Blue before Moonlight.’ Black And Blue is a thriller that tackles the thorny question of police body cams. When I ask what surprised her about the issue, Harris says, ‘I think it’s more what depressed me, actually, just the level of police brutality and abuses of power. I just found it all quite distressing and hugely shocking. It’s really sad, but it’s an amazing time that we live in, that people can record abuses of power on their phone and bring those people who would normally have got away with it to justice.’ There’s a line in the film in which Harris’ character is upbraided by a senior cop: ‘Rookie, you think you’re black? You think they’re your people? They’re not. You’re blue now.’ So, I wonder, as a black woman has Harris ever felt discriminated against by the police? ‘Never, ever,’ she says firmly. In fact, almost the opposite, recently she had her can number plates stolen and after worrying about the trouble that was in the post (“They’re probably currently being used in a bank robbery or something!”) she drove

without plates to her local dealership to get new ones. It wasn’t long before the police stopped her. ‘But they were just so sympathetic and understanding. Like, “All right, love. No worries.” And it wasn’t because they recognised me or anything like that. In my dealings with police I’ve found a great deal of humanity and people who really care – the kind of police officer that my character actually wants to be.’ If empathy is an emotion she’s fully in touch with, anger, she says, very much isn’t. When she played Winnie Mandela in biopic Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, she says, the most difficult thing to get her head around was the righteous rage that drove Winnie: ‘It’s one of the things I’m really bad at. And I think that’s why a lot of the characters I play are angry, because the one thing I try to avoid in my own life is anger.’ She never blows her top? ‘I would say once every… between four to seven years.’ In fact, says Harris, she’s so lacking in anger that she recently took an anger management course in the hope of discovering some: ‘I had to try to get in touch with my anger, because sometimes you need it to show people where your boundaries are.’ Still, going to anger management did present some problems. Namely: angry people. ‘Most people there had real anger issues. And I found it terrifying, because there I was trying to learn, trying to get in touch with my anger. But I hate it when people are angry. It really, really terrifies me. And there were all these very angry people!’

born with good jeans We’ve all experienced the struggle of finding the elusive perfect pair of jeans, an enigma that meets our extensive list of requirements – enter Tshepo Mohlala, the local denim designer with a royal stamp of approval.

A former film s t u d e n t, h e A bA n d o n e d f i l m m A k i n g At A f dA

to study fashion design at the University of Johannesburg. Within two years, he was crowned King of Denim alongside his then-partners African Swiss at SA Fashion Week. In 2015 Mohlala launched his self-titled denim brand Tshepo Jeans and his first pair of crafted jeans, which he coined “The Presidential Fit”, kickstarting his career. ‘I started the brand with only 100 pairs of jeans, which took me six months to sell to

becoming a global hit. I’m really happy with the direction the brand is taking and we’ve become an authority in the South African denim culture. You aren’t allowed to talk denim, if you don’t talk about Tshepo Jeans,’ he laughs. ‘Making jeans is not easy, it’s a skill. I enjoy pattern making and cutting, because that’s the soul of every pair. If the pattern and fabric cutting is wrong the fit is compromised, and getting that fit right and seeing it in action is what I got into the business for. The most priceless feeling is seeing

24 / january/february 2020

somebody wearing and appreciating something that we’ve created. It’s the feeling I keep chasing.’ Choosing to specialise in denim due to its distinctly nostalgic character is what guides much of his design process. ‘Denim has always been the fabric with purpose. It is understandable to many, loved by everyone and psychologically has an emotional connection to the owner. You are freer when wearing jeans than when wearing a 3-piece suit,’ he says. A perfect fit happens between the ears, it’s an emotional buy. You could find the perfect fit but not the perfect pair. A perfect pair ticks all the boxes: the fabric, the fit, finish, and most importantly the emotional connection. For Tshepo Jeans, each and every pair of jeans and range they make tells a story. His own story starts in a small township in the far east of Johannesburg,

called Tsakane, where three strong women – who inspired him to be the man he is today – raised him. ‘My mother who taught me how to hustle, my grandmother, a masterful storyteller, whose words “Tshepo, you’re a gentleman and you always have to look like one” dance in my head as I get dressed every morning, and then there’s trendy aunt Takalani, who brought the fashion we used to see on TV to reality,’ he says. ‘Growing up in Tsakane wasn’t the best but thinking about it today, I had an amazing childhood. Though I come from a previously disadvantaged background and becoming Tshepo Jeans was not an easy process – from selling jeans out of my backpack, running away from landlords, going to bed with no food – it was the part of my journey that taught me to stay focussed and keep my eyes on the prize.’ »





He describes his own style as ‘everyday practicality, lifestyle functionality, and inspired by a number of designers’. One in particular being Nigerian designer Tunde Owolabe, who manufactures his fabrics by hand. As to what gets him in the mood to create? Playing Pink Floyd, Kanye West, or Philip Tabane. The brand has amassed a loyal following and among their most famous local fans are Austin Malema, Sibusiso Mahone, Bridget Masinga and Maps Maponyane. Popular items include the Presidential slim-fit jeans, denim dungarees and shirts – all of which come with Tshepo’s distinctive crown logo embroidered on them. ‘I have been in business for four years now. We’ve had a couple of missteps and been given second chances, and today we’re bigger, we’re better and people are showing support. I am happy that we’re living in a time were most South Africans are proud to be Africans and you can see it from the jeans they wear.’ The journey is not without its challenges, however. ‘Being in the South African textiles and clothing industry is

26 / january/february 2020

tough. Unfortunately we don’t have a lot of CMTs (Cut, Make & Trim) that manufacture high end denim, which means our brand is forced to look at other African countries in the SADEC region to collaborate and manufacture world class ready-to-wear jeans in the most sustainable and ecofriendly way.’ He sources his fabrics from Mauritius and Japan. ‘Our bespoke selvedge denim is one of the most beautiful pieces of cloth. The cotton sourced from Zimbabwe, fabric hand woven and naturally dyed in Japan, brought back to South Africa, and made by women in our atelier.’ Achieving a global footprint is at the top of his list, and he is even more optimistic about the visibility of the brand after offering his services to Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, who he met on the Royal South African tour last year. He designed a pair of jeans for her and dungarees for baby Archie. ‘Their visit was just affirmation that we’re doing something great and the world is watching closely. It is one of my career highlights and I will always strive for the best.’ - shannon manuEl

PhotograPhy suPPlied by tshePo Jeans

‘we’ve become an authority in the South african denim culture’


Sex & Relationships

should You send Nudes Before a first date?

T h i s s u m m e r, N i c k s e N T h i s f i rs T d i c k p i c. As a 35-year-old straight

man, he wonders if he’s a bit of a late bloomer in the dick-pic department. Via Instagram, a mutual friend had connected Nick with a woman because he thought they might hit it off. And they did. After a day or two of flirting over texts and phone calls, she sent him a nude picture. After a few days, Nick wondered what he should do next. Was this an invitation to reply with his own nude? Would sending a nude be the best way to make sure she sent more pictures of herself? Isn’t it weird to send nudes to someone you haven’t even met in person? Often, the virtual exchange of nude pictures before a first

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meeting establishes both parties’ intent to have sex. Many people who I spoke to for this piece said swapping nudes before meeting in person tends to imply a one-time encounter, or at least, a purely sexual connection. Rather than making the first date weird, the folks I spoke to said they felt more comfortable because the intimacy of seeing each other naked tends to signal more open attitudes toward sex. Sometimes, if incompatible schedules make it difficult to meet up with an internet match in a timely manner, sending nudes can help maintain interest. Sharing nude pictures isn’t always a prelude to physical sex; it can be the main event. Our dominant cultural attitudes towards

sex define physical, penetrative sex as the default and most valid sexual expression, but sex can be anything consenting individuals want it to be. After sending his first dick pic, Nick tossed and turned wondering if sending his nude in response was inappropriate. The quickest way to figure out if someone wants to see a picture of your genitals is direct communication. From a practical standpoint, you can’t assume your sexting buddy is at home alone. When it comes to being asked for nudes, everyone has their own preferences. Personally, it’s important that my partner makes it clear they’re placing a request rather than an order. For others, a simple ‘send nudes’ may suffice.

‘The quickest way to figure out if someone wants to see a picture of your genitals is direct communication’

W o r d s b y s o p h i a b e n o i t ; i l l u s t r at i o n b y s i M o n a b r a n o W i C Z

For some folks, knowing their date’s already seen them naked takes the pressure off a first meet-up

GQ bespoke

build shopping centres in the same way that we build stadiums, where there’s not much parking, but there’s a racetrack-like platform, where car services can drop and go. We have to think about autonomous cars and how that will feature in building designs. Location is a different story now; it’s more about timing.

creating a sustainable future Property magnate Rali Mampeule reveals the next big thing in real estate

GQ: How did you get started in real estate? Rali Mampeule: I started my career selling boerewors rolls while raising money to finish my BCom studies. I met Charles Everitt, owner of one of the biggest real estate firms in the country, and asked him if I could work in the industry. He gave me an opportunity as an assistant estate agent with one of his brokers, and the rest is history. GQ: Today, what keeps you motivated in what must be a trying industry?

RM: We need to do something about affordable housing – it’s a bit of a crisis in the country. For that, we created the South African Housing and Infrastructure Fund, and the aim of it is to accelerate the delivery of affordable housing in South Africa. GQ: Do you need a lot of capital to get started in real estate? RM: You don’t. When I started, I didn’t have a lot of resources, but what helped me is mentorship. Skills development and training is very important to me,

along with spending time with younger generations – and it is a passion I share with Louis XIII cognac. I created the Rali Mampeule Learnership, which we use to bring new blood into the old veins of real estate. I really believe in role models, especially in the background I come from – it’s very important [for young people] to see those who have made interesting moves, and giving back is quite powerful. GQ: What is real estate’s next big thing? RM: I’ve been studying out of the country, and one of the things I learned in Boston is that real estate and development has changed from the old adage of ‘location, location, location’ to ‘timing, timing, timing’. If you look at how we’re going to be building malls in the future, for example, we won’t need parking. We’ll need to

GQ: Where do you see the future of your industry in 100 years’ time? RM: We believe the industry will certainly change in terms of certain fundamentals – technology, etc. Yet we see apartments turning into smaller form factors where you just have a bed, and you’ll see buildings with a thousand such units, and downstairs you’ll have a common area, where people just go upstairs to sleep, and they’ll work and live in the same area. GQ: What will your legacy be? RM: I want to solve a South African crisis in terms of housing – we want to build affordable housing in a space that can be sustainable, and also find ways to work with both the private sector and the government, to deliver sustainable and affordable housing. For more stories about the next 100 years, visit Brought to you by Louis XIII – the king of cognacs.


GQ: What informs your selection of wines – what makes the cut and what doesn’t? JW: There’s no hard and fast rule. There’s a few factors we look at, but the most important is what we call internally the “smashability” of a wine. We taste in large flights, head to head, and select the top three or four stand-out wines in each flight. Then we look at the story behind the wine, and of course price point and value. If those two areas are strong then we re-taste the shortlisted wines. If we can happily say we could drink the whole bottle, without food, for the wine’s pure enjoyment, then we list it.

photography supplied by frogitt & vonkel; getty iMages

Wine Cape Town’s best new wine bar was 16 years in the making Words by Nkosiyati Khumalo

DoWn After 16 yeArS of DiStributiNG SA WiNeS around the world, Frogitt & Vonkel’s founders Claire and John Woodward opened their first brick-and-mortar location on Cape Town’s Bree Street. Here, John spills on the backstory – and busts a few wine myths.

GQ: What should people know about serving and storing their wine, especially in South Africa? JW: I personally hate the idea of ice in wine, but if that’s how you enjoy drinking it, who am I to stop you? The big thing in SA is storage. People store wine in garages, with metal roofs, and fail to realise that’s the same as storing it in a convection oven. If you can, buy a nice cheap secondhand fridge for the garage and keep your wine there on a low setting. GQ: When it comes to serving or enjoying wine at home, do you believe in wine “gear”, such as aerating devices? Do we really need them? JW: You don’t “need” them but they are useful. I often use an aerator for certain wines. But pouring a small glass, replacing the cork and gently shaking the bottle pretty much does the same. A vacuum pump also allows you to drink or have several different wines open at one


time without them quickly going off. GQ: tell us about the journey towards opening your first physical space. JW: For 16 years we’ve grown our customer base every year. And more and more people were enjoying our selections of wine, we felt we needed somewhere that we could meet and interact. When an opportunity to repurpose a large historic building in Bree Street with a top chef friend of mine came along, it all dovetailed. GQ: What makes the location special? JW: I love the basic historical features of the space. Original exposed Dutch brickwork. Original Hout Bay Yellowwood flooring and ceiling beams. And being on the right end of Bree puts all our efforts in the cool part of town. GQ: What’s your approach to making a space like yours more accessible? JW: While we take selecting wine seriously, we have a much more light-hearted approach to drinking wine. Every wine in the bar is available by the glass, and there’s always over 30 wines to choose from. To get the right environment we invested heavily on making the space somewhere easy to hang out in.

j a n u a r y- f e b r u a r y 2 0 2 0 / 3 1



‘For the gram’

When addressing a colleague, this is nakedly disingenuous, manipulative conviviality.

5 ‘It is what it is’

You’re allowed to use Instagram, but you’re not allowed to “Phraseify” it.

The posh “whatevs”.


Only an idiot would use this clearly made-up word.



You’re not a child, so stop talking like one.

6 ‘Can I get a...’

You sound both entitled and pathetically impressed by American TV shows.


‘Exsqueeze me’ Really? Wayne’s World? Really?



“We stan hard,” tweets the Beyhive, missing the irony of Eminem’s original point in “Stan”: that it’s not healthy to be an obsessive fan. If you really “stan” someone, you would chuck them in the boot of your car and hit the highway while chugging a bottle of vodka.

You haven’t returned to your family after a tour of Afghanistan. You’ve gone to Plett for a week. It’s a holiday. Call it what it is.



It’s “lessons” for God’s sake.

‘I’m not sure I have the bandwidth for...’ You mean “time”. You’re not sure you have the time. You’re not an AM radio or a dial-up internet connection.

12 ‘u ok hun?’

So you’ve tweeted this at a politician. Newsflash: you can’t patronise someone who doesn’t know you exist.

i l l u s t r at i o n b y l a l a l i M o l a

4 ‘Mate’

Inside Info


‘THIS’ As in, “This tweet is correct, but not just correct: profoundly true, morally righteous, this tweet will change your life if you only click on it, you feeble, simple mortal human.” Please: go away. That.


‘WITH ALL DUE RESPECT’ Prepare to hear something containing absolutely no respect whatsoever.


‘SO RANDOM’ Congratulations. You sound like a 16-year-old.



‘TUMMY OR ‘WILLY’ Creepy if you’re over the age of 12.


‘I’M GOOD’ Not at speaking English, though.


‘BREWSKI’ Get out.


‘ACTION THAT’ I think you mean “Do That.”

‘Small-batch’ and ‘micro’ anything

You’re not an artisan. You’re a chap with a man bun who makes beer that tastes like grapefruit juice.


‘THANKS IN ADVANCE’ Bit presumptuous, no?

23 ‘Nice to e-meet you’ The fastest way to e-lose any e-respect your email’s recipient might have e-had for you.

‘I’m off on my holibobs...’ Please don’t come back.


‘CURATED’ Unless you’re talking about an exhibition, there is no context in which this should be heard. Ever.


‘CIRCLE BACK’ Stop pestering me.


‘FEARLESS’ Unless you’re actually in combat, this is meaningless and actually rather offensive.

‘And so, moving forward...’ Was there another direction you had in mind? If you’ve figured something out that the rest of us haven’t, we’re all ears.



‘THE BIG SMOKE’ It’s not 1865. Just call it London. The same goes for “The Big Apple” or “San Fran”.



‘ADULTING’ What do you want, a gold star because you did your tax return?

30 ‘Yeah/no’

People who acknowledge your question and then immediately say they’re not interested. Can’t you simply make up your mind?


‘Thread 1/ [insert end number here]’

Wasn’t the original point of Twitter to keep things pithy and succinct? If you’re regularly writing 30-tweet screeds, you’re a) probably using the wrong platform and b) absolutely insufferable.

‘I feel The millen nnial, nonconfro ontational alternativve to “I think””. It’s OK to think You Y should


‘It’s really wearable’

It’s an item of clothing. That’s the point.


‘Blessed’ Oh, shut up.

january/february 2020 / 33

Consent and consequences in the digital age

Author and lawyer Emma Sadleir is one of the country’s leading social media legal experts. Founder of The Digital Law Company, she’s the first point of call for anyone who’s in a bit of trouble as a result of misusing social media.

GQ: What inspired you to create The Digital Law Company? Emma Sadleir: I was at a big law firm working in media law just as the social media revolution was erupting and I saw a gap in the market for a specialist in social media. There were a couple of cases that really made me realise that I needed

to create something in this space. A young woman had been surreptitiously filmed having sex by her ex-boyfriend. He was ostensibly playing music using his laptop but was actually recording her – in such a calculated way that his face was out of the shot. Six months after they broke up he uploaded the video onto a whole

lot of porn-sharing sites, tagging her identity. I’m afraid it’s so common now, but back then I was absolutely horrified and really wanted to help her. A parent whose son had created a spoof Twitter account in the name of his high-school principal also contacted me. It was a typical schoolboy prank but he was expelled from school on the cusp of his

final exams. There was a need for education and crisis management – I realised that people were clueless about how badly things could go wrong and that there were actual laws that could help and protect people. I left the big law firm, cashed in my provident fund and started on my own. It was just right time, right place!

P h oto g r a P h y b y J u s t i n d i n g wa l l

GQ: What types of cases do you usually deal with? ES: Harassment, cyberbulling, hate speech, crimen injuria, revenge pornography, ‘sextortion’, image-based violence, defamation, privacy infringements, employment law, social media grooming, identity theft, reputation management, crisis management, and intellectual property issues. GQ: There have been many discussions about the dangers of social media posts and how it could affect your hiring potential – legally, can companies use your social media posts against you? ES: I think it’s not a question of if a potential employer might check your online presence, I think if they don’t they are acting negligently. When you start working for that company – all the customers/clients/ colleagues/business partners will check you out online and if there’s something dodgy, the employer must know about it. Essentially, when you start working for a company your online reputation becomes inextricably linked with the reputation of the company. That said, in the Facebook stalking, social media audit phase of recruitment, the potential employer will likely come across personal information that you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to ask in the recruitment process. For example, religion, political views, health status etc., and here, the potential employer may not discriminate on the basis of this information.

GQ: Can you give us some insights into SA’s most problematic online areas? ES: The biggest issue is holding international companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google accountable under South African law. They take the approach that they do not have jurisdiction in SA so if you want to sue them you need to follow them to America. These big companies are very slow to hand over identifying information of who is behind illegal accounts. For example, someone will start a “teen sluts of Jozi” Instagram account. Sometimes we are successful in getting Instagram to shut down the account, but they won’t hand over the identifying information of the account creator unless there’s a court order, which is often prohibitively expensive to get. We need greater buy-in from these companies to keep users safe. GQ: Is there still a line between personal and professional in relation to social media? ES: I don’t think there is such a thing as personal capacity. You are who you are in the real world when you go online – there’s no magic wand you can wave which would absolve you of your duties to your employer. I see disclaimers like “I work at X company but I tweet in my personal capacity” – if the first tweet below that is something racist you WILL be fired. I also see a trend towards people not saying where they work on Facebook or Twitter, but then they have a LinkedIn account, which makes it very easy for the digital

‘If someone says no the answer is no. The more private the content, the greater the need to get consent’

vigilante mob to see where you work if you get it wrong and cause a social media stir. Bottom line is that as an employee of a company you can’t bring that company into disrepute by your conduct online – or your conduct in the real world which is filmed or documented and posted online – even if that conduct is outside of work hours and outside of work premises. For example, the PWC employee who was recently fired after ranting at a woman at Cape Town International Airport – it had nothing to do with his job but it was recorded and circulated, which led to his firing. GQ: What have you found to be most lacking in digital and social media education?

ES: How dangerous digital content is. When something is digital it’s out of your control. Phones get lost, phones get stolen, accounts get hacked people are malicious and people take screenshots. GQ: What is a social media trap that both adults and teens tend to fall into? ES: Believing that people are who they say they are on the internet. GQ: In terms of brand management and fixing a damaged reputation – what pitfalls should you avoid? ES: Adding fuel to the fire. Sometimes by responding or seeking to take legal action to get something removed – you actually make things a whole lot worse and more people find out about it. We call it the Streisand Effect. For example, take Malusi Gigaba’s private sexual video. It had only been seen by a handful of people when he released a statement saying how it violated his rights – then the whole country basically saw it and it landed up on PornHub. Sometimes it’s better to just to sweep things under the carpet. GQ: You have successfully campaigned for new laws and the updating of old ones. Can you please tell us more about this? ES: The most important recent law reform came about with the introduction of a revenge porn criminal offence – what we should call image-based violence. I made various submissions to Parliament on the new law. The law says that ‘any person who knowingly

distributes private sexual photographs and films in any medium including through the internet, without prior consent of the individual or individuals and where the individual or individuals in the photographs or films is identified or identifiable in the said photographs and films, shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding R300 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding four years or to both a fine and such imprisonment.’ BOOM! GQ: Social media has normalised the idea of sharing without consent. When it comes to consent in the digital and social media space, is it clearly defined in black and white? ES: It’s a pretty grey area. I would never post a picture of someone else’s child without asking the parents for permission. If someone says no the answer is no. The more private the content, the greater the need to get consent. As much as I sound like a killjoy, it’s not your human right to take pictures and videos of your friends in embarrassing and obscene situations. When your mate is drunk and can’t say, ‘don’t take the picture’, then don’t take the picture. GQ: What are the toughest cases to successfully prosecute? ES: The most difficult cases are the anonymous ones where we don’t know who is behind the account. The root of just about all evil on the internet is anonymity. – shannon manuel

january/february 2020 / 35


The art of craft We gathered some of Joburg’s most creative artists to explore the next chapter in the Tabac Original journey

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W i T h a 6 0 - y e a r h i s To ry o f c r e aT i n g Wo r l d r e n oW n e d g ro o m i n g p ro d u cTs , Tabac is no

stranger to celebrating the individual. This year, the collection gains a fresh burst of energy with the introduction of the all-new Tabac Original Craftsman, created for men of action who take matters into their own hands. To dig deeper into the Craftsman story, we held an exclusive unveiling event at Joburg’s Truffles in the Park restaurant on 31 October. Guests enjoyed a delectable summer harvest dining experience, punctuated by a create-your-own cocktail experience and fiery musical performances by Terrence Mckay, DJ King Ice, and LA-based rapper, Gin. Nkosiyati Khumalo led a lively conversation with producer, entrepreneur, and Tabac brand ambassador Thapelo Mokoena on what being a craftsman means to him. ‘Being an ambassador means I’m able to represent this big idea of the craftsman,’ he said. ‘My journey as an artist complements the craftsman journey – and it allows us to celebrate ourselves as nuanced individuals. It’s about defining greatness on our own terms.’

See more at g q. c o. z a

photographs by arthur dlamini/dart photography


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Porsche finally entered the coupĂŠ SUV segment with a variant of their third-generation Cayenne. This rather attractive lifestyle version features the characteristic 911 roofline, and appeals to a new, younger target market. GQ experienced it on some twisty mountain roads in the South of France.

j a n u a r y- f e b r u a r y 2 0 2 0 / 3 9

Porsche Cayenne Coupé

T h e ro o f o f T h e Cay e n n e C o u p é resembles

the surface of a smartphone and the silhouette is clearly 911. The designers did an amazing job in putting the 911 outline on top of the muscular SUV body. The large 2m² fully panoramic glass roof is tinted, making the Coupé’s top appear to be even lower. The alternative is an optional carbon roof, which is 20kg lighter. The sculptors in Zuffenhausen dropped the A-pillar, mounted a new, less steep windshield and widened the rear quarter panels. Altogether about 30% of new parts were added, including doors and fenders. The ‘lifestyle’ Cayenne is 20mm lower and 18mm wider in the rear than the regular model. The large rear hatch features a fixed spoiler at its top edge and an active spoiler, that tucks away under the lower edge of the rear window

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at slower speeds. You can almost feel the rear spoilers pressing the coupé’s behind into the gripping tarmac of those narrow French alpine roads. The new Cayenne is beautiful inside and out. It comes standard with 20-inch forged alloy wheels, 22-inch ones are optional. The interior is about the same as in the normal Cayenne, though, the rear seats are mounted 3cm lower to allow some comfort to adults there, despite the lowered roofline. The engines are carried over from the regular models – and they do sound amazing, especially in Sport mode, with the exhaust button activated. Prices are higher, but include more extras, like the Sport Chrono package. I was very impressed by the performance of the entry-level Cayenne Coupé. On twisty mountain roads you don’t actually need the mighty Turbo S for double the price. Rather buy a Boxster with the money you saved. If you love the

Macan, but fancy more back room, go for the Cayenne Coupé. It’s much younger and fresher than a regular boxy Cayenne. But is it a sports car? Yes, it is. A real four-seater one. And for your pub evening talks, yes, even the top model Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupé won’t be able to reach the magical 300km/h, which family members Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus go beyond effortlessly. Verdict: A hot piece of light-footed sports equipment and a grand looker. I think Porsche’s prediction of 20% Coupés in future Cayenne sales is not too optimistic. – Dieter losskarn

porschE cay E n n E coupé EnginE 3.0-L V6, V8 plus electric motor, all paired with an 8-speed Tiptronic S auto box & AWD

powEr 250-500kW and 450-770Nm

Top spEEd 243-295 km/h 0-100km/h 6-3.8 seconds

pricE R1 303 000-R2 817 000

photography supplied by porsche sa


Porsche didn’t rush it , but it was clear that the company would introduce a coupé version of their

best-selling Cayenne at some stage. The Coupé was part of the plan ever since development of the third-generation Cayenne, introduced in 2017, began. This new variant is finally here to compete with the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé, Audi’s Q8 and obviously the trendsetter and segment founder himself, the BMW X6.


Jaguar F-Pace SVR

A Jaguar with a lion heart

The F-Pace is Jaguar’s first SUV to receive the SVR treatment, transforming it into a proper wild cat. GQ motoring editor Dieter Losskarn took it for a rather dynamic road trip into the Karoo.

Being germAn, p eo p l e sometimes Ac c us e m e of Being A Bit BiAsed towA r ds t e u to n i c Au to m o B i l e p ro d u c ts. Well,

true or not, I was recently blown away by an English car – the incredibly impressive Jaguar F-Pace SVR. Having gone fully electric with the I-Pace to calm the world-wide Greta crowd, Jaguar didn’t forget their enthusiastic V8-loving clientele. A year later than originally planned the most powerful F-Pace ever was launched, having received the full SVR (Special Vehicle Racing) treatment. Making it only the third car in the group, after the F-Type and Range Rover, to be blessed with this exciting performance upgrade. The heart of Jaguar’s wildest cat

is the supercharged 5.0-L V8 petrol powerplant, putting out 405kW and delivering 680Nm of torque, resulting in a top speed of 283km/h and an acceleration of 4.3 seconds from 0 to 100km/h. That’s not mere sporty, that’s supercar territory. This would usually come with severe limitations to comfort and luxury. Apparently this is not the case. The best way to find out is a little road trip into the Karoo. Along the twisty R44, between Gordon’s and Betty’s Bay, the performance is already convincing. It feels very similar to the F-Type SVR – a thoroughbred sports car. Throwing a two-ton plus car around bends like this is a rather exhilarating affair. As soon as the road smooths out and there is no more traffic ahead, the wild cat turns into a pussy cat again. Pawsome. The F-Pace SVR is a refined, comfortable luxury

SUV and a highperformance race car at the same time. Despite being so quick, you’ve also got all the space inside for your road trip luggage. Emitting a wild roar, it almost feels like an old-fashioned hot rod – with excellent brakes thanks to larger discs. Even standing still the SVR SUV impresses. The 21-inch wheels are standard, 22-inch alloys are optional. Front and rear bumper are new and the car is 30% stiffer than the regular F-Pace. At traffic lights, the SVR looks proper mean and even a Cayenne driver would look, listen and mumble: ‘Mmmmmh’. Our first overnight stay is as stylish as our ride. The Grootbos Forest Lodge is an architectural glass, wood and steel dream, built

into the fynbos high above Walker Bay. The Grootbos bush dinners are legendary, but don’t overdo it, as their breakfasts are incredible as well. Between Gansbaai and Bredasdorp you’ll find some great open country roads with perfect tarmac and no speed traps in sight. You get my drift? Acceleration and composure of the performance F-Pace are once again impressive. But as soon as the road surface changes to gravel it’s another story. It’s where performance SUVs with 22-inch wheels shouldn’t be. In order to reach our next overnight destination, Gondwana Game Reserve, we have to cover some dirt. We have to take it so easy that even beat-up bakkies are overtaking us. Embarrassing. Once inside the reserve we swop our comfortable leather fauteuils with the canvas covered benches of a game drive vehicle. The Jaguar sleeps tonight.

GQ Recommends GRootbos FoRest LodGe – WaLkeR bay A world-class lodge, surrounded by an abundance of Fynbos beauty and Walker Bay on the horizon. The stunning architecture of the Forest Lodge is complimented by excellent cuisine and immaculate service.

GondWana Game ReseRve – GaRden Route A malaria-free Big Five game reserve in a Fynbos biotope, close to the Garden Route and Mossel Bay. Great morning and afternoon drives with knowledgeable rangers.

beRGkant LodGe – PRince aLbeRt The best place to stay in PA is the historic Bergkant Lodge from the mid-1800s, with two magnificent pools. Stay in the old part in five tastefully furnished rooms with antiques, or in the new contemporary addition with four suites.

jaG ua R F - Pac e svR enGine

photography supplied by jaguar

5.0-L V8 supercharged petrol, paired with an 8-speed auto box

PoWeR 405kW and 680Nm

toP sPeed 283 km/h 0-100km/h 4.3 seconds

PRice from R1 530 000

After all, can you imagine the lions’ faces spotting a foreign cat in their backyard? The next day it’s tarmac again, in the shape of twisty Robinson Pass, connecting the Garden Route with the Klein-Karoo. With less potent SUVs I would have chosen my favourite mountain road, Swartberg Pass, to reach Prince Albert. But for the

F-Pace SVR the sweeping curves of Meiringspoort are the more appropriate choice. Prince Albert is named after Queen Victoria’s hubby, so our Jaguar sucks in some English heritage, which culminates the following day in the tiny hamlet of Matjiesfontein. A chunk of Britain in the middle of nowhere, including the spooky Lord

‘The F-Pace SVR is a refined, comfortable luxury SUV and a high-performance race car at the same time’

Milner Hotel, a typical pub, and a vintage double decker bus. The Jaguar has an absolute blast here. You almost expect Mr Bean stepping out of one of the historic buildings. I

am sure comedian and car nut Rowan Atkinson would not only appreciate the quirkiness of this location, but also the excellent British automobile parked next to the red London bus.

j a n u a r y- f e b r u a r y 2 0 2 0 / 4 3


WEALTH Create a more bankable you

Ketley notes that there is much focus on new digital and lowcost banks these days, with some banks even closing branches. ‘So in choosing a bank a customer must be clear on how comfortable they are transacting digitally, when it comes to the full range of products they need,’ he says. If you prefer walking into a bank to chat to a consultant about your financial needs/goals, then it’s a good idea to consider a bank that has a branch near you. Another factor to consider is that most South African banks have “segmented offerings” that target different population, age and income groups with a range of products and related benefits. Ketley recommends doing research to find out what each bank offers for your segment and whether it appeals to you. Factor in the kind of relationship you want to have with your bank when

making your decision, ‘most banks present us with a tradeoff between service and fees; do you want to be able to call your banker (who you know by name and knows you) and pay for the piece of mind?’ The number of cards you want is also a factor, ‘most banks offer a confusing array of different cards, each of which has costs associated with them. So ask yourself if you value the benefit of being able to use different cards for different purposes or value a slimmer wallet with one card in it?’ When it comes to fees and rates, it’s not always clear what you’re paying for. Ketley explains that most banks offer a combination of flat fee and fee per activity, ‘flat fee may be easier to understand but look carefully at how you actually transact before you decide, based on past activity.’ If saving costs is a priority for you then consider using your card to swipe instead of withdrawing money. ‘This will allow you to enjoy the benefits of the loyalty scheme the bank provides, but make sure the benefits of the scheme are relevant to you.’

The future of banking You might be wondering what the move towards digital means for your financial future. Richard Ketley, director of financial services and infrastructure at Genesis Analytics, breaks it down – and we offer a roundup of five SA Banks.

W E A LT H o p e n e r

Mobile Banking

For millennials and Gen Z, mobile banking is the answer to a busy lifestyle, as it allows you to keep track of your finances through the various banking apps on your phone. You can do anything from transferring funds between accounts, payments, buying airtime, managing debit orders and much more. FNB offers the notifications feature, which reminds you of any scheduled debit orders so you don’t find yourself falling back on payments. Mobile banking also supports the move towards a paperless society to protect the environment.

Standard Bank Banking App features: > Make local and international

payments and transfers > Change your payment limits > Buy data, airtime and SMS

bundles > Buy pre-paid electricity > Send cash vouchers to

anyone with a cellphone > Block lost or stolen cards, and order new ones > Get pre-approval on car financing > Manage your car and home loans > Submit and track building insurance claims > Get officiated statements, bank letters and tax certificates > Open savings accounts > Link your accounts to your share trading profile

FNB Banking App features: > Accounts and balances P H O T O G R A P H Y b Y c l AY b A n k s / u n s P l A s H

> Payments and transfers > Buy airtime, electricity, lotto > Access to coupons, vouchers

and specials > eWallet and cardless cash withdrawals > Global payments and access to Forex > GEO payments > Digital on-boarding (selfie banking) > nContact secure messaging > Share trading, buying > Krugerrands

Capitec Banking App features: > Buy airtime, data, SMS

bundles, electricity > Pay a Capitec Bank client

using their verified cellphone number > Pay DStv accounts > Add, sort, update and delete beneficiaries > Add recurring (stop orders) and future-dated payments > View transaction or beneficiary payment history > Do credit facility transfers > Stop and/or dispute debit orders > Email electronically stamped statements > View credit plan balances and details > Do credit facility transfers > View your credit rating and find ways to improve it > Step-by-step guide to create your budget > Track your spending and take control of your money > Apply for funeral cover for up to 22 people > Block lost or stolen cards immediately > Loan management function


The move towards a pure electronic banking system means a bulk of our currency is now digital so banks use rewards as a way to encourage consumers to use their cards to swipe instead of carrying money around. Not only is it safer for you but you also save money on transaction fees and you can use the points accumulated to buy the products you need.

Standard Bank – You earn UCount Rewards for using your debit or credit card for daily purchases, whether in store or online. Your UCount rewards can be redeemed for food, airtime, flights, accommodation, car hire, etc. The fee for this service if R24 or R288 per year, and you can improve your rewards tier to get more rewards points. Based on your monthly banking activity and the number


of Standard Bank products and services you use every month, you automatically get tiering points which put you into one of five rewards tiers. The more products and services you use every month, the higher your rewards tier will be – and the more rewards points you will collect from your qualifying purchases.

bank fees and you’ll have access to the GoalSave tool which allows you to save with no restrictions, fees or penalties and earn up to 10% savings interest per year. Rewards: You earn Smart Shopper points wherever you shop, and double points when you use your card to swipe or pay at Pick n Pay.

FNB – Your reward rate

Discovery Bank is the

determines how many eBucks you earn, this is the percentage of your qualifying purchases that you earn back in eBucks (eB10 = R1 for example).Your reward level is determined by how many points you have collected in a calendar month. You collect points based on how you use your bank account(s). So the more points you have collected, the higher your reward level and the more eBucks you earn. To start earning eBucks, you must first meet the qualifying requirements specific to your FNB account.

Capitec – The Global One

Facility also gives you access to travel discounts, online courses, car rental services and Uber rides.

Digital disruptors Tyme Bank is the first digital retail bank in South Africa; it does not have any physical bank branches and relies on an Android banking app, an banking website and a partnership with retail chains PicknPay and Boxer stores to host a national network of selfservice kiosks that facilitate the process of opening an account. If you’re digital savvy and priceconscious, you’ll appreciate this offering which allows you to do all your banking online. It takes less than five minutes to open a bank account either online or at the two retail chains. There’s no paperwork required which makes the process quick and easy. Accounts: The Everyday Account – there are no monthly

world’s first behavioural bank; a banking system that encourages consumers to make better financial decisions and get rewarded for it. This promotes a healthier banking culture, and allows you to generate higher saving levels. The ultimate vision is to reduce debt and focus on saving which will lead to increased wealth for all South Africans. Discovery aims to effect change by encouraging clients to change these five key controllable behaviors: spend less than you earn, save regularly, insure for adverse events, pay off your property, invest for the long term.

Accounts: Credit card – an interest fee

account for up to 55 days, paired with a day-to-day transaction account. Vitality Savings Account – a single credit facility, which puts you in control and offers comprehensive benefits. Rewards: Vitality Money; a behavioural change programme that aims to guide and incentivise financial resilience. As a client you will have a vitality money status which ranges from blue to diamond. Your interest rates for loans and savings will be based on your status, and you will be rewarded and move up the levels for making financial savvy choices. You can also download the Discovery Bank app. The mobile banking security features will give you peace of mind by making use of the most advanced fingerprint and facial recognition technology. Biometric identification ensures that no one else will have access to your app. – thobeka phanyeko

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I T I s n oT A n E x Ag g E r AT I o n To sAy T H AT A f T E r WAT E r, c o f f E E I s T H E m os T popuLAr drInk Wo r L dW I d E . As complex

and beautiful as the finest wines in the world, from its aromatic allure to its spellbinding power to turn a casual coffee shop chat into a memorable experience, one thing is for certain; there is an inexplicable power to the coffee bean. A power which Luigi Vigliotti knows all too well. A coffee shop entrepreneur with plenty of insight into making it happen, this fetching owner is passionate about coffee and what it represents. ‘Coffee is so much more than just a beverage. It’s a culture, a lifestyle and an experience. Originally coffee was the gel between

scientific ideas, a place of nonjudgement. Coffee represents exactly that. It’s all about the people you meet and experience it with.’ Originally a dancer, a lot of his inspiration for his cafés came from travelling as a performer and, of course, his Italian roots. As both his parents are entrepreneurs, he was influenced by that environment and has always desired to start his own businesses. But the move into budding businessman was a leap of faith more than a transition, he says. As to what’s tougher, being a dancer or entrepreneur, – ‘Hands down, being an entrepreneur’. He reveals he did a year’s worth of research prior to opening the first Shift Espresso Bar in Green Point in 2014, and chose Cape

Brewed for success Since arriving on the coffee scene, Shift Espresso Bar has been a hit with patrons in love with the trendy decor, welcoming and comfortable atmosphere and delicious coffee. Words by Shannon Manuel

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PhotograPhy suPPlied by shift esPresso bar

Town since the culture lends itself to a busier café day-to-day. So what has he learned about the Cape Town coffee culture since opening in 2014? ‘That’s is a tough question – Cape Town’s coffee scales from the sublime to the mediocre at best. I think this comes from the idea that opening a café is easy and that chilling, drinking your own coffee is living the real life. Unfortunately, one week in and this dissipates instantly. I would say that the guys doing the best coffee are guys that have dedicated to the craft and not the ideal.’ On the secret to differentiating between a good and a bad coffee he says, ‘Its actually a pretty complex process. I would say bad coffee can be picked up in smell, pull, tiger stripping and obviously flavour profile. The beans are the first step, then the roast, followed by the process of grind, tamp, pull and pour.’ Vigliotti surveyed around fifty different roasters before settling on one that could offer him beans good enough to delight all levels of coffee drinkers.

‘To be frank, my roaster is an actual coffee goals world champion roaster and can look at the grind and pull a world-class coffee. He has trained many of our baristas that have travelled to the world championships. He is excellent and coffee is instinctual for him.’ With a brand motto of “death before decaf ”, his edgy personality is apparent from the moment you walk in. His not-somainstream café space blends a dark-toned indie aesthetic with industrial touches, that creates a stress-free and laid back vibe. The standout feature of Shift is, of course, the coffee, which also shies away from basic “cuppa Joe” standards. Though the expected cappuccinos, lattés and Americanos are all present and accounted for, Shift whips up a few specialty options too. ‘We have some seriously unique concoctions, my fusion is basically like a tonic which refreshes you and side steps your expectations. On the opposite side of that spectrum is Avocados Anonymous, which is avocado and espresso – it’s lit, believe me.’ Additionally, customers can

‘Success is an interesting concept. i would say it’s like perfection – not something that should be attained, only strived for.’

enjoy a tasty menu of light meals, of which a Cortado double shot and lentil salad with sirloin strips is a personal favourite. When bringing his vision to life, things he would absolutely not compromise on was family, quality and not accepting mediocrity. ‘These are my pillars. Family, because all my customers and staff are like family. Quality and not accepting mediocrity,


because I take immense pride in everything I do and I like to see things being done as if I was serving customers myself.’ His insight to budding entrepreneurs is to not think small as that only yields small results. ‘However,’ he cautions, ‘at the same time, don’t get attached to a fantasy. Business-at-large is finding the balance between the dream and the reality of achieving it. Seep yourself in the reality and work daily to create the dream. Finally, the best way to succeed is to work your business yourself, this means 12-16 hours a day. I’m only three stores in and I still work 14 hours a day, six days a week. ‘Success is an interesting concept. I would say it’s like perfection – not something that should be attained, only strived for. I’m on the ground with my staff and I lead from the front. I take what my customers say and attempt to implement anything that will better my businesses. I stay humble and always take criticism.’

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Anybody’s property Co-working spaces are all the rage and those who value flexibility and the company of like-minded people are benefiting from this phenomenon. We chat to the brains behind some of the most innovative spaces in SA. Words by Shannon Manuel & Thobeka Phanyeko

GQ: Please talk us through the concept of Workshop17? Paul Keursten: Workshop17’s purpose is to provide a space and community where people and organisations can be successful, grow and make a positive contribution to others and the world around us. We aim to be a fertile ground for ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. GQ: What’s the significance of the different locations in Joburg and Cape Town? PK: Every location is different. We don’t roll out a formula. The design takes its cue from the environment, the character of the building and the people we are expecting in that location. WEsTErn CApE Our V&A Waterfront location is very open, transparent, and colourful, maximising the views in line with the Watershed building, which is open and public. Our location in Kloof

Street is in a heritage building, which makes it homely and full of character, while the new floors on top are very transparent and connect you to the buzzing street environment and views of Table Mountain. Our location in The Harrington in Cape Town’s East City is in a trendy, up-and-coming area filled with modern art. Tabakhuis in Paarl is our first location in a non-urban setting and caters for professionals and businesses who choose to enjoy the great lifestyle the area has to offer. It is in an old tobacco storage, with thick walls and is oozing character. It’s also our first location to house a professional pilates and yoga studio. GAuTEnG We started in 2012 in Maboneng, a very open space, with a central indoor nine-hole putting course, and caters for inner-city entrepreneurs and houses various learnership programmes. Our Sandton space is the first office in the

area where you can walk in off the street. We took down the fence, which is characteristic for all Sandton office buildings, and created a public café with a large terrace where public and members can meet. Its internal open staircase keeps people out of the lifts and has become the place for lots of accidental meetings and connections. Our space in The Fire Station in Rosebank is in part modern, with floor to ceiling windows allowing great views over the parks all the way to Magaliesberg, and in part heritage, with character and warmth. GQ: What does the demand for co-working spaces speak to? PK: From being a niche market for startups who can’t afford their own office, it has become a mainstream offering. It speaks to the need for flexibility, change and connections. It is also a reflection of how work has changed: less and less people work or want to work 9-5

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every day in the same cubicle. Technology has allowed us to work everywhere and our work is a combination of meetings, connections, teamwork and individual concentrated work. Traditional offices don’t cater for this very well. People want to be in a space that is beautiful, inspiring and where they meet interesting people, in a space with a positive energy. Smaller companies who can choose themselves prefer this. So do more and more larger companies, who understand that they need to provide an aesthetic work environment to attract and keep talent. Thirdly, it takes away all the hassle of setting up and managing your own office, dealing with service providers, internet, printing and aircon issues and the like. If you can get a great office without the hassle, with flexibility, community and at similar or even lower costs than when you would do it yourself, why wouldn’t you go for it? GQ: Who would you say is your target market? PK: We are an inclusive and diverse community, ranging from grass roots entrepreneurs to large companies, and from learners to very seasoned professionals and (ex)CEO’s who left their corner office. GQ: What gives Workshop17 the edge? PK: I believe it is our unique mix of public café’s, accessible to everyone, meeting and eventing spaces, which bring in thousands of people and cater for meaningful events of which

our community benefits, flexible and dedicated open work areas, and dedicated offices. We don’t have long passages with doors to offices on either side. We carefully design a mix of open and closed areas, concentration and creative areas, individual and team spaces where energy can flow. Secondly, it is our community of over 1 500 members accessible in our spaces and on our virtual platform. If you need support or ideas, chances are someone amongst these 1 500 can help you. Thirdly, and very importantly, it is the network of trusted partners we built over the years and who provide value to our members through expertise and events. Think of Heavy Chef, The HookUp Dinner, StartupGrind, Future Females, and Simodisa, amongst others. GQ: What do people mostly seek out in co-working spaces? PK: A combination of comfort, community, functionality, lifestyle, beauty and flexibility. GQ: Do you think traditional office spaces will soon be a thing of the past? PK: They will still have their place, but co-working (or flexible office spaces) will become a much larger part of the market and will grow to 20%-30%. We are seeing rapid growth in South Africa already, and when you look at how it has already developed on other continents, we are just scratching the surface. Offices will become a service instead of a building. And the service needs to be of high quality. GQ: What do you think makes the model so successful? PK: Work has changed and needs a different environment than the traditional office. The economy is uncertain and companies need flexibility and don’t want to be tied into 5-10 year leases. Companies want to cut their office costs in a tough economical environment. And the traditional office market


Paul Keursten

Chief Executive Officer, Workshop17

doesn’t cater very well for smaller companies and startups. Larger companies understand that their innovation and business development teams need a different environment than their head office offers and need to be exposed to ideas and developments outside. Co-working has come a long way since the early days of the grungy spaces with a bunch of tables and eclectic chairs. The quality and diversity of the offering have grown tremendously, which means it now has offerings across the spectrum from basic to advanced, from alternative to the mainstream. And this speaks to a more varied market. GQ: Are you looking to expand to other parts of the country? PK: Yes. We are looking to create a national footprint and are well on our way. We want to provide access points close to where people live, close to where they need to be to meet other people and clients, and across the social and economic spectrum of South Africa. »

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Carolyn Elliman

Sales Director, International Workplace Group, Spaces

GQ: Please tell us more about Spaces. Carolyn Elliman: Spaces – part of the International Workplace Group (IWG plc) – is a creative work environment with a unique entrepreneurial spirit. Our dynamic workspaces in 12 key locations in South Africa (300 globally) help our members think, create and collaborate. We believe work is about interesting people doing exciting things, and that everyone should feel welcome. We develop inspiring workspaces and community events – with a love for design, where our energetic team takes care of all the details so our members can focus on developing the next big idea. GQ: It seems that the term co-working can mean a lot of things to different people. CE: Though co-working and flexible working are often used interchangeably, there are differences. Co-working offers a collaborative, open-plan environment which can mean either a dedicated or an open desk and access to a telephone and communal spaces and services, whereas flexible office solutions may include an office with access to utilities, meeting rooms, administrative support and mail handling services. GQ: Where does this

concept stem from? CE: The work landscape has undoubtedly changed. We talk about “Generation Flex” – an ever-expanding pool of independent, skilled workers across generations for whom employment no longer means a destination to reach or a rigid daily routine. Tech-savvy, smart and dynamic, this is a modern workforce that expects – indeed demands – a more flexible approach to working. With the benefits of flexible working for businesses including increased productivity, lower overheads and accelerated speed to market, it’s no coincidence that, over the past decade, 85% of employers have implemented a flexible workspace policy or are planning to do so according to an IWG Global Workspace survey.

business associate, you may find a friend. Add an international network of mobile workspaces and a full calendar of business events, speakers and networking lunches – we work hard to keep our clients engaged and to spark creativity. GQ: Is the traditional office dying out or is it just evolving into a new normal? CE: I think it is evolving from a 9-5 mindset to one of better balance. Smart offices are fast becoming the norm. Smart furniture and technology are coming together to help better support mobility in

the workplace. Employers are now incorporating some of the elements of co-working like desk-sharing and better communal zones in their traditional offices. With the popularity of co-working spaces, it is no surprise that many companies are also exploring the option of moving their business into the hub of a dynamic co-working environment. GQ: What do people want in terms of a co-working space? CE: It depends on the individual and their reasons for using our space. Some are trying to negate the loneliness

GQ: The co-working space in SA has grown rapidly. What do you believe are the factors behind this? CE: South Africa’s current local and global economic and political climates and the uncertainty around it, has seen the flexible workspace market prove that the co-working model offers the most attractive and appropriate solution to an uncertain economy. The lack of surplus funds and an expanding entrepreneurial community has seen higher demand for flexible workspaces for three reasons:

> Digitalisation and new technologies are changing how people work > People want the benefits of flexible working  > Businesses want the financial and strategic benefits of flexible working  GQ: Do you agree that co-working spaces foster “a culture of community” and a more “innovative and creative thinking working space”? CE: It certainly is so with Spaces. The energy of the community is contagious – and even if you don’t find a new

Co-working spaces are causing an industry-wide evolution, with individuals and companies alike preferring a more communal and aesthetically pleasing environment.

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that comes with working at home and want the buzz that comes with our coffee shops and communal workspaces. Others require privacy and peace and quiet at times for phone calls (hence the handy phone booths) or for more mentally intensive work. We have something for everyone. GQ: How does the design process of a co-working space differ from that of the traditional company office? CE: Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just about ping-pong tables, meditation rooms or beer on tap in the communal

lounge. The secrets of a truly great office lie deeper – in its fundamental design. A welldesigned office can boost employee happiness by 33%, while more than half of workers believe their productivity would increase if they could attain their ideal office environment. It’s important to create the same Spaces look and feel at every location, but it’s a challenge. When you walk through those doors, anywhere in the world, you immediately get that homey feeling created by the inviting seating, the European design and the entrepreneurial spirit that makes this dynamic workspace work.

‘Co-working opened up a world of value-added services within a community of opportunity at a price that suits both parties’


GQ: What is Ideas Cartel and what inspired it? Schuyler Vorster: Ideas Cartel is a co-working and shared office space solution in Cape Town. Memberships are available to individuals, teams and businesses that require a workspace conducive to productivity, creativity and opportunity. I was working remotely in Cape Town for a Johannesburg tech company and the shared office I was renting depressed me. Whilst on a holiday to New York, I visited a shared workspace in the Ace Hotel and realised that there was a much better way of working and that I could create it back home. GQ: Can you give us a bit of insight into what co-working is and who it’s for? SV: It’s for anyone, big or small that would like a value added relationship with their office and its general community. It’s not for everyone, but those brave enough to try it, generally stick around for a very long time.

Schuyler Vorster

Founder, Ideas Cartel

GQ: Why do you think the co-working space in SA has seen tremendous growth over the years? SV: Traditional landlords are not very flexible and are not used to treating tenants like customers. It was a very arm’s length relationship. Co-working opened up a world of value added services within a community of opportunity at a price that suits both parties. GQ: How do co-working spaces differ from the traditional office space? SV: Term of lease, smaller office space, but with amazing shared facilities and a general dialogue amongst tenants encouraged by the weekly events organised by a community manager. GQ: And in what ways are they more beneficial? SV: A member just needs to concern themselves about their actual job, the rest is taken care of by the co-working space. Most people want to be a part of something, being a part »

of a co-working space opens up unlikely friendships and opportunities.

but want an inspiring space they can meet others in or just grab a meal.

GQ: With regards to Ideas Cartel, what are most of the co-working spaces made up of? SV: Private office spaces of 4-20 people with a hotel and members club arm. The office space ranges from co-working, shared offices, private offices, boardroom and meeting room facilities to communal breakaway areas and relaxation lounges. The members club is for those who already have an office,

GQ: Do you think the traditional office is dead? SV: Never. Brands and businesses that want to acquire their own property and decorate or run it their way will always exist. GQ: What do people want in terms of a co-working space? SV: Essentially they want convenience in a well-designed and decorated environment.

Very similar to how a hotel guest chooses their hotel. Everyone is different, but we do make sure that a gym, restaurant and bar is attached to the membership. Our concierge service does assist our members daily. GQ: How has Ideas Cartel evolved since its creation? SV: We started as a co-working space, but now our hotels and members club have equal focus. A work-play-stay environment all at the convenience of an app. The members club looks to empower entrepreneurs in South Africa so that they can

empower others. Cartel Members Club is a members club for founders, funders and freethinkers. Founders of companies need safe spaces to meet, work a while or just eat a good meal. The difference between a members club and your office or co-working space, is that you do not sit amongst fellow co-workers all day, so the chances of them distracting you is removed. Instead, members club spaces allow you to get away from all the noise and focus on what you want to do.

p h oto g r a p h y s u p p l i e d b y W o r k s h o p 1 7 ; i n t e r n at i o n a l W o r k p l a c e g r o u p ; i d e a s c a r t e l

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g q s t y l e v o l .1 5

Even in 1999, no one believed Manchester Unitedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s historic treble season was the peak of his career. Twenty years (and multiple GQ covers) later, David Beckham has bought out his business partner and is building an empire to stand the test of time. For his ongoing projects in fashion, football and philanthropy, we commend the player who changed the game for everyone. Dylan Jones

Matthew Brookes


Cathy Kasterine

‘i’m proud

of the fact that i’ve come so far, because i could easily have gone in the other direction’

It was the baby oIl I remember most .

We were in an old converted warehouse in Manchester, 2002, and David Beckham was almost naked. His fingernails were painted black, a fake leopardskin shawl was wrapped around his neck and his Dolce & Gabbana trunks were looking decidedly snug.

We were there to shoot him for the World Cup cover of British GQ. A small army of GQ imagemongers had been ferried up from London, while photographer David LaChapelle had flown in from Los Angeles to add some high-gloss camp to proceedings. Victoria and Brooklyn were at the shoot and I remember we had discussed in the office just how involved the former Spice Girl might get in the styling (making our Fashion Director, a nervous soul at the best of times, rather stressed). It wasn’t Victoria who interfered, though, it was David, who flicked his way through the rails of clothes as though he were a veteran buyer from Bloomingdale’s or Harrods, carefully picking out the things he wanted to wear. He chose two outfits: one channelled David Bowie’s Thin White Duke, in a white Tom Ford suit and cream Lock & Co fedora; and in the other he appeared to invent a completely new stereotype, ‘butch hoolie’, in which LaChapelle photographed the England football star pumping iron while wearing only a pair of tight denim cutoffs and a thin layer of sweat – which is where the baby oil came in, poured over his body like liquid honey. ‘My style? It’s from another planet,’ he told his interlocutor that day, David Furnish. We ran two covers that month, both featured Beckham and quickly became media talking points. Here was Roy of the Rovers looking like a matinée idol, looking like a gay pin-up, looking like, well, a meta David Beckham, exuding confidence and vim. This was during the period when everything he did became tabloid fodder.

56 / january/february 2020

Whatever happened at Old Trafford, or indeed at any other stadium, the Manchester United midfielder couldn’t leave his house without the papers getting in a tizzy. No matter what he did – sartorially, tonsorially, don’t even mention the tattoos! – it was analysed in obsessional, often granular detail. These days, Beckham contextualises all the hysteria in a way he never attempted to at the time, principally because he was too busy winning football matches. Sitting in his personal desk-free, mid-century modern office in his new Central London HQ – just a very short walk from the BBC and barely 370 metres from the old offices of his first “lifestyle” PR back in 1997 – he dumps a bunch of context on me. Because in 2019, David Beckham can see his trajectory far better than anyone else can. ‘What thought was I giving to the future back then?’ he repeats, looking at me in a way only the truly confident can. ‘To be honest, all I ever wanted was to be successful as a footballer. Obviously, I always did things outside of the game and outside of my footballing career that were slightly different at the time. I think it’s more acceptable now to do some of the things that I did, some of the covers, some of the photo shoots, some of the sponsorships, but I think my focus back then was to just win trophies, be successful with Manchester United and never leave United. Anything outside of the game was just a bonus.’ When did that change? ‘I don’t think it ever changed. My bread and butter was always what I did on the field and the reason I was successful off the field is because of what I did on the field. Back in the day it wasn’t normal to do a shoot with David LaChapelle. It wasn’t the thing for sportsmen. But I knew that as long as things off the field didn’t affect my performance, I could continue to do that.’ With hindsight, that seems like something of an understatement, as Beckham has continued to build one of the biggest brands in the world, a brand that revolves around sports and sports ownership, but which also entails endorsements, sponsorship, pro bono educational and charitable programmes, product launches, talent management and, of course, his Major League Soccer team, Inter Miami CF. He also recently bought a small stake in Salford City FC alongside former Manchester United teammates including Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. Since leaving Simon Fuller’s organisation earlier this year, Beckham has quickly built an entire team around himself, one with enough flex to cope with the myriad opportunities coming his way. David and Victoria bought out Fuller’s 33% stake in their businesses for about £38 million. The deal gives them full control of Beckham Brand Holdings, which includes a stake in Inter Miami CF, the Seven Global and David Beckham Ventures businesses. This has allowed him to establish a fully independent commercial operation, which now handles his brand name and partnerships with global organisations including Adidas, Haig Club (Diageo), House

99 (L’Oréal), Kent & Curwen, Coty, Tudor, AIA insurance and Las Vegas-based hotel group Sands, who he is working with to create his first interior design project (hotel suites in Macao). And next up Beckham will channel inspiration from icons such as Paul Newman and Steve McQueen when he launches his first standalone eyewear brand with Italian manufacturer Safilo. ‘I think the change happened when I started seeing things differently on the business side and largely because I was enjoying it a lot more,’ he says, clearly proud of and excited by these new developments. ‘Consequently, I started to focus and then started looking towards the end of my career and what I was going to do, setting up a team and at some point owning my own team and owning my own office and being able to actually control everything that was going on in my world. I was probably in my late twenties, early thirties when I started to readjust. And it looked very different from when I was 21.’

Back then, the 21-year-old didn’t look

much like a businessman, but then no one expected him to, not least himself, Sir Alex Ferguson or his millions of fans. And the year that followed, the only by-products of his success were a tabloid obsession with his “adventurous” fashion choices and his relationship with a pop star, the aforementioned Posh Spice. Back then, he was the victim of the media, whereas now he is more in control of it. Nowadays, Beckham talks like a statesman. Burnished by hours of media engagement and by two decades of having to defend himself while having microphones, cameras and telephones thrust in his face, he is a world away from the nervous ingenu who stumbled through interviews in a tremulous voice that was sometimes a little high pitched. His speaking voice was a gift to cruel comedians, who patronised him because he didn’t talk like Darth Vader and who displayed the very worst kind of old-fashioned English snobbery that the egalitarian Nineties were meant to eradicate.

These days he talks in perfect paragraphs, with consideration and in a voice even John Wayne would have taken seriously. He rises above it all by being quiet and stoic and, increasingly, by doing a lot of other things too. Last year the British Fashion Council announced Beckham’s appointment as ambassadorial president, a newly imagined global role created in order to support the organisation in its goal to build networks and partnerships in the US and Asia. His job was to partner closely with the BFC team to help them boost support for the industry on a global scale – raising the profile of emerging British fashion talent with global investment and media communities alike. One of the salient reasons Beckham was interested was because the BFC also wanted his involvement in mentoring, too. In addition to promoting innovation in the sector, a key focus of the role is supporting the BFC across its education pillar, helping reach young »

‘pl ay ing football

was the only time i could be myself... and gq shoots, obviously’

‘there was never an agenda to anything i did. i just saw a chance to work with great people and

does their boss’ comfort zone look like? As he increases his global reach and his seven-star network – the number of influential people Beckham can’t get on the phone shrinks every day – he knows his options expand accordingly. But he is only one man, after all, and even David Beckham only has so much bandwidth. Some projects have been planned for a while. In July he announced the launch of Studio 99, a content studio that will develop documentaries, TV and other formats, and also will undertake commercial work as a creative agency for brand partners. The studio already has a slew of documentary projects in development – including some that will feature Beckham – with stories spanning sports, travel, fashion and entertainment. He has cofounded Studio 99 with longterm manager David Gardner, who is managing director of David Beckham Ventures, and Nicola Howson, his strategic advisor, who will be Studio 99’s MD.

do something different’ talent from all backgrounds, through Saturday Clubs, scholarships and apprenticeships and via engagement in arts education. He might have spent 20 years building his brand, but the next five years is all about building an empire. Having worked with various business partners since he retired from football in 2013, after a phenomenal career, he is now breaking out on his own, building a company that can serve his interests while still assiduously burnishing his own image. But at the heart of Beckham’s world and reflected throughout his office is his 20-year relationship with Unicef. It’s a point of passion for Beckham, a relationship that began during his time at Manchester United and deepened when then UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon asked him to become a goodwill ambassador. Ten years later, Beckham launched a standalone fund, the 7 Fund (the only Unicef goodwill ambassador to have done so). It’s a big deal and a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly. Put simply, his work helps highlight the issues that stop children reaching their full potential – and helps get the funding in place to make sure they do. No mean feat, but he’s in it for the long haul. In fact, Beckham takes all this very seriously and a walk around his rapidly expanding HQ in Central London highlights not only his hands-on approach, but also his ability to distil information extraordinarily quickly. When you’re building a company this fast, the most precious commodity is care and the decisions Beckham makes regarding his extracurricular projects are shared and stress-tested with a slowly expanding team of hand-picked experts and trusted lieutenants. Common sense determines all internal decisions, plus a shared understanding of what the Beckham business can, and should, look like, which sectors make sense, which won’t and – saliently – what

The umbrella

organisation Beckham is building has been inspired by the way US sports stars use their influence when they finish playing and he is following in the footsteps of other pro athletes who have established media ventures, including NBA superstar LeBron James. In fact, Studio 99 has already secured a development agreement with Uninterrupted, the media company co-founded by James and his business partner, Maverick Carter. Their first project is a documentary series charting the creation and development of Inter Miami CF. Quoted at the time, Carter said, ‘David Beckham typifies the “More Than An Athlete” mentality’. That mentality is playing through so many ideas and projects orbiting Beckham, including a new standalone fashion/leisurewear hybrid brand in the works. Studio 99 couldn’t have been called anything else, being named after the momentous year in which Manchester United won their unprecedented treble – the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League – and the year he married Victoria as well as the year the couple had their first child, Brooklyn. Coincidentally, 1999 was also the year that Beckham secured his first British GQ cover, as one of the stars of our second Men Of The Year Awards. He has now graced the cover six times, more than anyone else (two of those issues had multiple covers, so it is actually eleven in total). In 2019, it seems, David Beckham is so much more than the sum of his parts. GQ: I remember the first time I met you, in the mid-Nineties, at a fashion event in the West End. Although you were renowned for having a laser-like obsession with football, you gave the impression even then that you were looking at the bigger picture. True?

David Beckham: I don’t know. Obviously I was with a Spice Girl and had the opportunity to go to certain events, although I actually didn’t go to that many. I was obsessed with performance and didn’t want anything to get in the way of my game. In fact Victoria probably would have wanted me to go to more events. But when I was out with Victoria, I probably wore different clothes than I would have worn if I wasn’t with her at the time. I started to not exactly enjoy the events, but it was becoming a bit more normal. I still stayed away from a lot of things, though, because when you are a Manchester United player and when you’ve got Sir Alex Ferguson as your manager, a) you don’t want to upset the other players and b) you don’t want to upset the manager. Actually, b) should be a)! GQ: When did you start thinking about the future? DB: I always surrounded myself with the right people. When I was a young United player there was a manager called Tony Stephens, who looked after Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and David Platt. I felt he was the right person to look after me on the commercial side and he did a really good job. Then I had different managers over time, leading up to where I am now. I always wanted to be surrounded by people who understood what was important for me. They knew that football came first and whatever came along, whatever big deal, whatever opportunity, if it wasn’t right for me on the football side then it was a no-go. But now I have my own office, my own team and have built something that has taken me to a different level on the business side. After a while with Simon Fuller I thought I can do this myself. My parents were hard-working and I always surround myself with hard-working people. That’s something I believe is really important. As I say, I always have done. GQ: How have your ambitions changed in the past 20 years? DB: They haven’t, to be honest. I have always been ambitious in everything that I do. Whether it’s playing in front of 90 000 fans or playing with the kids at home. I always want to win. I always want to work hard. The reason I was ambitious as a footballer made me ambitious as a businessman. I have an office of 16 people now and I’m here almost every day when I’m not travelling. If the guys in the office never see me, it sets the wrong example – and I just really love the energy of the team and working together and I guess, in a way, dreaming together. GQ: What’s the model of David Beckham Ventures? DB: I looked up to people like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Athletes like that have had successful careers in business after they finished playing. Those were the templates for me, looking at people who have built things properly. I was probably in my early thirties when I started thinking beyond the sponsorships and » january/february 2020 / 59

partnerships, about owning and building. That’s when it really changed for me. For previous generations, the only options for ex-footballers was management, punditry or opening supermarkets. Management never interested me. I always enjoyed coaching kids, but I never ever had any aspirations about going into management. I think it’s great for other players, because they have the experience and that can be great for clubs, but for me personally I never felt that it was something I would be good at. I’m sure I would enjoy it and I’m sure I would grow into that role and eventually be good at it, but, to be honest, I just loved playing the game. Now, I’m much more interested in owning a team or running my business. Maybe if the right job had come up... who knows? I remember coming towards the end of it all and we had just been knocked out of a World Cup and someone from the FA told me to start doing my badges. So I think some people within the FA saw me possibly as a future England manager, just because maybe I had had a successful career being England captain. GQ: You never had ambitions to manage United? DB: No, not at all. If someone turned around to me and said, ‘If the England job came up, would you take it?’, I mean of course I would think about it, because I’m a passionate Englishman and I’m passionate about our national side, but would I be any good at it? Who knows? It’s a dream job, but Gareth is doing the most incredible job for us right now. He’s brought energy and excitement back into the game and the fans – myself included – are enjoying that. GQ: Did Victoria’s success as a designer influence your decision to start your own business? DB: I’d obviously seen what Victoria’s done for her business and it’s been a lot of hard work and I knew that if I was going to start something I needed to be ready physically, mentally and be very much invested in what I believe is going to be a success. She’s been extraordinary in what she’s done. So, yes. It’s inspiring. GQ: You’ve started representing footballers, as well, as an agency. Why? DB: I am not an agent and I’m not a manager, but I have an unbelievable team around me who are some of the best in the world. Combine that with my experience both on and off the field and I think we can offer something really unique and strategic to these young players and athletes. Our clients have got to be people who want to learn, who are good people, good human beings. I’ve always given players advice – mostly how to behave and how to act when they’ve gone through difficulties on the field and I guess this is the next step on from that. It’s about creating a long-term plan, but one that is true to who these players are and what is important to them.

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GQ: You must be approached every day about another charitable opportunity. Why did you choose Unicef? DB: Being a Unicef ambassador is something I’m very proud of. The reason I wanted to be part of an organisation such as that is because of what they do for kids. I have four young kids myself, so that chimes with me. I am passionate about it in a way I’m not sure I’ve ever been passionate about anything. So that really is our numberone focus in this office. Unicef is a priority for everyone. Now we’ve obviously taken things to new different levels with the 7 Fund and in the first four years we’ve managed to raise a huge amount of awareness about important projects and really engage with global stakeholders around the issues, which we’re very proud of. GQ: You’ve been very good at showing off in the past. What are your memories of the David LaChapelle GQ shoot? DB: I remember being fascinated by the process. Also, to go that far, as I did, I look back at it now and I think, ‘Wow. I really did that.’ So, yeah, it was quite risky at the time. I think I just felt comfortable. When someone asks if you want to wear a little pair of denim shorts and a pair of knee-high socks and then put oil all over your chest and paint a stripe on your hair, you’ve got to be comfortable with that. I always knew the pictures would work. Even though I was quite naive back then, working with your fashion photographers, and I’d never worked with people like David LaChapelle before, I just knew it would work. To be honest, the only time I’m really that confident is on a football pitch. I’m actually quite a shy person, so the football pitch was the only place I could be myself, the only place I could express myself. On a football pitch and being covered in baby oil on a GQ shoot, obviously. GQ: Did it make you realise just how much influence you had? For a working-class sportsman to show your body in that way was an incredibly positive thing to do and it showed you weren’t scared of or hidebound by gender stereotypes. DB: I think that’s where you’re right and that’s when it became powerful. It wasn’t that I’d come from money. I didn’t know that world. I was from the East End of London, with working-class parents who worked their backsides off to provide for me and my sisters. And you’re right. The fact that I was doing things like the GQ shoot was kind of saying, ‘It’s all right to do this and I’m comfortable with it. So, you could be too. What’s the problem?’ There have been many times when people have taken issue with what I’ve worn, but I simply don’t care. It’s never fazed me. It never made me sit back and think, ‘Well, maybe I shouldn’t do that next time.’ There is literally no photo shoot I regret. Not one. I enjoyed them all. I really enjoyed working with people like David

LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz and Mario Sorrenti. They were all great opportunities. There was never any agenda to anything I did. I just saw an opportunity to work with great people and the opportunity to actually do something different. And I wasn’t scared to do it. When people say, ‘You’re a role model,’ I get embarrassed, because I just don’t think of myself in that way. But I’m proud of the fact that I’ve come so far, because I could easily have gone in the other direction. There were certain moments, like the sending-off in ’98 or kicking out at someone or reacting in a certain way, when I could have gone off the rails. Those things could have affected me in a way that I might not have had the career that I had. However, I have to be a role model for my children. In the same way that I had father figures in my own life, men like Sir Alex Ferguson, like [then-Manchester United youth coach] Eric Harrison, like Brian Kidd – and, of course, my dad. These father figures taught me how to be a man as well as how to be a good footballer. And I still carry all of that with me, because there are a lot of responsibilities that come with having the kind of profile that I do and I want to respect that. You know, we all make mistakes. We will make wrong decisions at times. And I tell my children, ‘You’re young. You’re allowed to make mistakes, but it’s how you behave after that counts.’ I tell them not to shirk their responsibilities, because I don’t. I’ve always stood up for myself, I’ve always admitted the mistakes I’ve made. GQ: David Beckham, what will your legacy look like? DB: My legacy has to be my family, having four amazing children who are passionate, determined, polite, who are good human beings. Victoria and I always say that our family is our biggest accomplishment in life. We’ve been married for 20 years, and together for 23 years, so the love we have, the family we have, the careers that we’ve had, lives we have, that is our biggest accomplishment and I’m proud of that.

One of the things you soon notice about Beckham, and that his friends always point out, is his disarming relationship with fame and unwanted attention. He is one of the most famous men in the world, a man who regularly shows off his face, his body and his ability to make dreams come true. But make him the centre of attention, when the focus is on him not his image, and he will shrink back. What you see when that happens is what we saw in the Nineties – the football-obsessed teenager, the Manchester United ingenu, the starstruck boyfriend of a Spice Girl, wandering along the red carpets of Cool Britannia looking like a boy from East London who really didn’t know what had hit him. Beckham can still see him too, not that he dwells too much on all that stuff. Because right now, right here, it’s all about the future. Baby oil or not.

Over the past decade, some of Silicon Valleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brightest ideas have evolved into the biggest, most powerful companies on the planet. And as the likes of Amazon, Google and Facebook continue to infiltrate almost every aspect of our everyday lives, they might promise innovation, opportunity and convenience â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but at what cost? Words by Elle Hardy Illustrations by Angela Ho

It’s a question many of us have asked at some point in our lives. But Ray Kurzweil, renowned futurist and the godfather of Silicon Valley, thinks he already has the answer: ‘not yet.’ Kurzweil, 71, is the man who famously predicted that technological singularity – the point artificial intelligence becomes smarter than us – is going to happen. So, at least if he’s right, we’ll have to wait until 2045. It seems a funny thing happened on the way to the future. Between dreaming up the next big startup concept, some of Silicon Valley’s finest minds have turned

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their disruptive zeal to metaphysics. Anthony Levandowski, a brilliant engineer who pioneered driverless cars at Google and Uber, has already built the altar. In 2017, he formed the Way of the Future Church, which wants to create ‘a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet from people to people + “machines”.’ Comforting stuff. ‘What is going to be created will effectively be a god,’ he told Wired magazine from his home in northern California. ‘It’s not a god in the sense that it makes lightning or causes hurricanes. But if there is something a billion times smarter than the smartest human, what else are you going to call it?’ The invasion of the tech giants is underway. The figures looking to inflict the technoapocalypse have ridden in not on horseback but

on their “unicorns”, the name given to private tech companies that have reached a valuation of over US$1bn. Since the term was coined six years ago to describe the phenomenon of Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook, Google, and Uber, their number has risen from 39 to 334 and counting – worth a combined US$1tn. Yet we know very little about them – and they know almost everything about us. What we can be sure of is that we were promised this great tech revolution was going to be democratising. Instead it has been dehumanising. Author Shoshana Zuboff calls the effect that Silicon Valley technology has on our lives ‘surveillance capitalism,’ where people have been turned into instruments for generating data for private companies to sell to the highest bidder. If you’re not paying for it, as the old marketing adage goes, you’re the product. Now home to nearly four million people, Silicon Valley is said house US$3tn in wealth. South of San Francisco Bay, the region’s strategic location was long a hub for telegrams and

communications in simpler times. A steady trickle of science and tech companies and government research labs were founded there across the 20th century, developing a symbiotic relationship with nearby Stanford University – perhaps now more famous for its dropouts, including Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Tesla owner Elon Musk, and now disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. Companies such as Atari, Microsoft and Apple were founded in the Valley in the 1970s, followed by Microsoft in the 1980s, before the apps that we can’t live without sprouting from its fertile soil as we rapidly moved our lives online. Google and Facebook now receive 73 cents of every dollar in digital advertising revenue in the US, dominating a market that is generating more revenue than television, radio, and newspapers combined. The ad-tech model that fuels them favours emotive, personalitydriven, partisan stories that drive shares and likes. Complex algorithms run a simple business model, geared towards working out what you’re going to click next, and selling that information to businesses who want to know that. Sounds simple enough. Only it’s not just the local pizza shop that wants to know what you’re thinking. Last July, Facebook agreed to a settlement in the United States Federal Trade Commission for US$5bn for breaches associated with Cambridge Analytica – the shady political firm that used masses of Facebook data to secretly target voters in

200 elections around the world, most notably the Brexit referendum and 2016 US Presidential election. Although the largest tech company fine in history, US$5bn is still just one month of revenue for Facebook – and just under a quarter of its US$22bn profit in 2018. No one serious is arguing that the elections were stolen by data firms, but it’s not a stretch to say that they have had some influence. The overarching goal of ad-tech, to predict our behaviour and to drive our clicks in certain directions, is working. Take the re-election of the Liberal National Party in May. The results from Australia’s general election came as a surprise to most pollsters and journalists – Labor had been ahead of the coalition on every recent two-party preferred poll, except the one that mattered – but not to Griffith University data analyst Professor Bela Stantic. Stantic had also previously predicted Donald Trump’s election and Brexit by using data on what people had searched for on social media. The most-searched story in Queensland in the lead up to polling day was a false claim about Labor’s death tax. Labor was trounced in the state. ‘It is scary how accurate prediction can be done by analysing social media,’ he told reporters at the time. ‘The amount of data that all of us generate is truly staggering, and it is continuing to grow. This publicly available data is secret treasure of information if we know how to discover it.’ ‘One of the defining cultural features of Silicon Valley is technosolutionism – the idea that problems can and should be solved

technologically, or technocratically,’ says Douglas Rushkoff, academic and author of Team Human. ‘Things can’t simply remain in a state of compromise or imperfection, they have to be somehow “fixed”. In their view, people are the problem, and technology is the solution.’ The unpredictable and the unknown have to be eliminated. Everything needs to be reduced to a metric in order for it to exist. ‘Today’s digital companies are not selling products to consumers – they are selling their stock to investors. It’s the company itself that’s for sale. Likewise, we consumers are for sale. It’s not more money they want, it’s our data. We are being colonised.’ Facebook was built to exploit ‘vulnerability in human psychology’, its founding president, Sean Parker, admitted last year. ‘It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.’ Social media platforms use algorithms similar to those used in poker machines that ‘give you a little dopamine hit’ every time someone hits the like button to keep us engaging with the platform. ‘Ultimately, it’s a form of fascism,’ Rushkoff says. ‘Silicon Valley values push both sides of the political spectrum toward fascist extreme. It’s really two, circular firing squads. No room for error. No one can have a past.’ Levandowski says that he is sympathetic to the pushback against Silicon Valley and everything it represents. ‘Tech companies are extremely powerful, and it can be difficult and personally

very risky to attempt to drive change from within or from outside,’ he told GQ through several layers of public relations consultants. ‘Silicon Valley is built around an ethos of disruption and overselling an automation utopia.’ t’s not only ethos that appears unsustainable – the economics are questionable too. Ever since Steve Jobs, many tech pioneers have been able to operate under the assumption that their leadership adds value to the company’s stock that will be realised over time. Elon Musk built Telsa – after he wrestled control of the company from its founder – on this basis, and it has little to show for great expense, other than his reputation as a tech billionaire. Tech startups usually work on two business models: collecting massive quantities of personal data without necessarily knowing how it might be used in the future, and creating monopoly industries. Investors are often playing a long game, which involves setting fire to a lot of money in the short term. Uber lost US$1.8bn last year, with venture capitalists hoping to one day cash in on the riches of driverless vehicles, which many believe is Uber’s end game (and why it poached Anthony Levandowski from Waymo – Google’s self-driving car project – promoting a massive lawsuit that the two giants settled in 2018). “Fail fast, fail often” is the ethos that echoes around the Valley, and it’s not hard to imagine that the unicorns may be galloping headfirst into bursting their own

bubbles. But that leaves the not-so-small problem of us, and our consumerdriven society. Peter Thiel wrote in his book Zero to One that ‘every great business is built around a secret that's hidden from the outside’. For Silicon Valley, it is about extracting value out of our weakness. The unicorn Peter Thiel co-founded, Palantir Technologies, appears to have little trouble making a profit, taking mass surveillance and data collection to a new level. Palantir, which has 21 offices around the world, uses algorithms to trawl social media history, government records, facial recognition technology, and other mass data. Its programs have included top-secret predictive policing technology in New Orleans, mass surveillance in Los Angeles, secretly analysis of airline travellers for the US government, and identifying undocumented immigrants for deportation. In addition to Palantir’s many government contracts, Thiel himself is a close ally of Donald Trump and something of an unofficial technology advisor to the president. In July last year, Thiel told one of Trump’s favourite Fox News programs that Google was ‘committing treason’ by working »

‘We consumers are for sale. It’s not more money they want, it’s our data. We are being colonised.’

with the Chinese government. Trump tweeted that he would investigate the claims, which Google has denied. But the search engine has a long history of working with the only organisation that can rival its business for power and control: the US military. Google survived the Dot Com crash of 2001, and from that experience developed the scale and scope of the surveillance economy. Another big thing happened that year, and that event has helped further entrench the power of surveillance: the creation of Keyhole EarthViewer, the technology that would later become Google Earth. Today, Google sells its Google Earth technology to, among other things, help the US military fight the Iraq War, and the CIA’s top-secret operations. Private tech firms like Palantir and Google have been able to carry out a lot of dirty work that military forces and spy agencies want to do in the post-9/11 world, without the constraints of constitutions and democratic governance. The trend towards privatisation and deregulation of business in recent decades has married up perfectly with the security state. In a leaked video in

‘Silicon Valley often lives by the creed that it’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission’

2015, Palantir CEO Alex Karp told employees that the CIA ‘may not like us. Well, when the whole world is using Palantir they can still not like us. They’ll have no choice.’ One of Google’s 10 guiding principles states that ‘you can make money without doing evil,’ which might seem slightly at odds with Project Maven, the lucrative Pentagon contract that saw it build AI for US military drones. (Google dropped the contract last year, following internal protests, but reportedly still lends its Google Cloud technology to the program). But Silicon Valley often lives by the creed that it’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. Venture capitalist Roger McNamee, Mark Zuckerberg’s former mentor, outlined the typical tech industry public relations playbook whenever a company finds itself in trouble. ‘Deny, delay, deflect, dissemble.’ From there, only come clean when forced to, and reveal as little information as possible. Then ‘apologise, and promise to do better.’ uckerberg may have read the script to perfection in 2018 when he testified in front of the US Congress about the Cambridge Analytica scandal. ‘Yes, they did not want their information to be sold to Cambridge Analytica by a developer,’ he said. ‘That happened, and it happened on our watch.’ In spite of his polished contrition over 600 questions over two days, regulation of the tech giants now feels

unavoidable. But instead of looking to the future, we should look to the past. What’s known as “antitrust” legislation came into force in the US at the end of the 19th century to deal with the industrial titans of the time who had monopolies on critical services such as railroads. ‘There’s a reason we’ve started calling today the second Gilded Age,’ says historian Richard White. ‘The kind of inequality we associate with the Gilded Age has reappeared now. Silicon Valley becomes one symbol of the sort of vast fortunes, and how far away they are from the reach of most working people.’ White says there are many parallels between the ultra-wealthy of then and now, particularly when it comes to ostentatious consumption and extreme inequality. ‘People back then began to resent a privileged group of people having control over things that are essential to the society as a whole. My sense today is that both on the left and on the right, you're getting stirrings of a new kind of anti monopolisation. The kind of power and control that these companies have achieved is dangerous, and it has to be curtailed.’ Sarah Miller, deputy director of the Open Markets Institute, a think tank devoted to curbing big tech’s economic dominance, says that firms are uniquely equipped to get away with breaching our trust. ‘Consumers don't have any power in the way that they would in a functioning market, where if they’re unhappy with the way customers or workers are being treated, they can take their business elsewhere.’

Since the Reagan era, antitrust legislation has rarely been used in the US in favour of a total embrace of the free market. Miller says that mergers, such as Facebook buying Instagram and WhatsApp, have meant that it is almost impossible to get through your day without encountering, either knowingly or unknowingly, one of these large technology platforms. ‘Lawmakers haven’t been asleep at the wheel, they’ve been in a coma,’ he says. ‘They have waved many, many kinds of anticompetitive and deeply concerning mergers through, and these companies have been able to cement monopoly power across several lanes of commerce, and utilise information flows that are incredibly dangerous for democratic societies.’ This lack of oversight is fast becoming an issue for the 2020 US presidential election, with leading Democratic primary contender Elizabeth Warren pushing to break up the big tech companies through antitrust law. President Trump regularly rage-tweets about regulating social media giants and Amazon, although Miller says that he already has the power to clamp down on these companies, but federal agencies are not politically inclined to do so. Nor does there appear to be much of an appetite to introduce an offshoring tax. Amazon actually received a tax credit of US$129m last year on a profit of US$11.2bn – an effective tax rate of -1%. It is estimated that US$237bn is lost around the world each year in multinational tax avoidance. Less money

coming into public coffers, combined with job losses from AI, are the perfect storm for a political and social crisis. Even with the downturn in car manufacturing, General Motors still employs more people in the US than Apple, Facebook and Google combined. If Anthony Levandowski’s driverless trucks become a reality, some economists have estimated we could be looking at 40-50% of America’s 3.5 million trucking jobs – the most common profession for men in the country – becoming vulnerable over the next decade. Meanwhile, the other profession being rapidly automated, cashiers, is the most common job for women. inkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman believes that half of his colleagues have become “preppers”, building underground bunkers for a looming apocalypse – that is, financial and social collapse caused by staggering inequality, automation of jobs, and lack of faith in political and economic systems that govern us. In rural Texas, Rising S Bunkers has become one of the largest makers of private shelters in the world, as the wealthy begin to build their own walls. ‘We get a lot of inquiries from people in Silicon Valley,’ says general manager Gary Lynch. ‘It’s liberty or death – and it’s up to you to come and take it.’ Lynch’s bunkers usually sell for up to US$14m, and are built into hills and underground in secret locations. In the event

of a crisis, some want to get out of America completely. Lynch says that he has dropped bunkers by helicopter on to private islands, while Peter Thiel is one of a number of billionaires who have bought land in New Zealand to see out the apocalypse. There’s no room for zombies in this future, because our billionaires are heavily invested in finding eternal life. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has invested in firm developing a cure for ageing, along with Thiel, who injects the blood of teenagers in his quest to find the fountain of youth. ‘There are all these people who say that death is natural, it’s just part of life, and I think that nothing can be further from the truth,’ said Thiel said in 2012. ‘Death is a problem that can be solved.’ Perhaps aware that they have helped make the planet unlivable, some of our tech overlords have set their sights on leaving earth entirely. ‘Fundamentally the future is vastly more exciting and interesting if we’re a spacefaring civilisation and a multiplanet species than if we’re or not,” said Elon Musk, whose company SpaceX is intent on colonising Mars. Bezos, meanwhile, wants to create floating colonies in space that can sustain agricultural land and residential settlements. ‘This is Maui on its best day all year long. No rain, no storms, no earthquakes.’ That the masters of our world have little faith in it should be cause for concern – yet some of the most optimistic people about the future are Silicon Valley’s biggest

critics. Shoshana Zuboff says that ‘if we name the problem of surveillance capitalism, we can do something about it,’ while Douglas Rushkoff thinks that the tech community is crying out for salvation. ‘They are at the mercy of their shareholders. The engineers and developers do not want to be doing the horrible things they’re doing. They feel really bad about contributing to the annihilation of the planet, its species, and our civilisation. But they’re in competition with one another, and so they feel they can’t stop. They would love for government to come onto the scene, and give them an excuse to stop killing us all.’ It is clear that it will take some sort of mass social and political movement to hit back at the big tech companies, and the ways in which they altering our lives, jobs, and cities. No matter how woke it may want to appear, its ideals fundamentally clash with our interests. If Silicon Valley could write an algorithm for a perfect world, is it one that would eliminate everything that makes us human?

‘The more automatically people react, the more predictably and mechanically, the easier it is to make money off them,’ says Rushkoff. ‘Technology is understood as a way to manipulate people’s behaviour, no matter the cost their autonomy or will.’ This is the hidden secret of Silicon Valley that Thiel says is central to every business: we are not only being invaded by robots, but we are being turned into them. We are being given eternal life as a data-

generating instrument that tells a machine how humans behave, and manipulates humans in how they behave. And if Ray Kurzweil is right, and machines become smarter than us, then the tech giants would have us become the programmable imitation of the smarter thing. ‘I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that,’ warned Elon Musk back in 2014. ‘We’re summoning a demon.’

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HOW cYnThia Erivo

FOUND HER VOICE The Nigerian-British actor conquered the stage in The Color Purple, stole scenes in Widows, and is ready to soar on screen as Harriet Tubman in an eagerly awaited biopic. Words by Yohana Desta Photographs by Micaiah Carter Styled by Samira Nasr

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‘Erivo’s voicE is a clEar soprano that can stretch until it’s a hundred feet tall; it is as if silk had a sound.’

e’re 52 minutes into lunch when Cynthia Erivo remembers she has to call someone to sing them “Happy Birthday.” ‘I’m the singing friend,’ she explains – a mildly amusing declaration because, well, have you heard Erivo’s voice? It’s a soft, clear soprano that can stretch until it’s a hundred feet tall, even though it belongs to a five-foot-one-inch woman whose own friends occasionally mistake her for a child. It is as if silk had a sound. Erivo, 33, formally honed her gift at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; after graduating, she landed a starring role in the London production of The Color Purple in 2013. She stuck with the production for its Broadway revival, collecting a Tony, Emmy, and Grammy along the way. In other words, unless Erivo is only friends with Beyoncé clones, there’s no way she couldn’t be the singing friend. ‘I’m careful about how I use it; my voice has given me so much over the years’ she continues, speaking a hair above a whisper – but not actually whispering, because that can harm the larynx and Erivo would never do that. Erivo’s career has come to a boil in recent years. After landing supporting work in the noir Bad Times at the El Royale and opposite Viola Davis in Steve McQueen’s Widows, she’s moved into lead roles in the upcoming HBO series The Outsider and a sweeping Harriet Tubman biopic, Harriet.

If you were to play Find the Breakout Movie Star among this Brooklyn vegan restaurant’s lunch crowd, you’d land on Erivo in about a second. She’s wearing a black denim minidress with a long-sleeve white shirt tied in front. A black baker-boy hat caps her snow-blond hair. The look is generously speckled with color: chunky orange Nikes, acid green glasses, bright blue nails. Taken together, the ensemble doesn’t scream ‘Look at me’ so much as it posits a matter-of-fact question: ‘Why would you look anywhere else?’ Then there are the 20 ear piercings and a floral tattoo on her thigh, one of dozens covering her midsection. ‘I like the mystery of it,’ she says, sotto voce. ‘I like that nobody knows it’s there except me.’ Erivo grew up in London, in a proud Nigerian household where Igbo and Pidgin bounced off the walls. Her father was just barely in the picture until he disowned Erivo when she was 16. Her mother and younger sister, who are both in the health field, have always been supportive of her creative career; her mother knew her Cynthia would be a performer because, as a child, she hummed as she ate. Erivo’s Hollywood climb was precipitated by The Color Purple. McQueen was a fan; Harriet producers Gregory Allen Howard (who also co-wrote the script) and Debra Martin Chase scouted Erivo during her run as Celie on Broadway. Harriet is the first major biopic to be released in theatres about the abolitionist who freed hundreds of enslaved people, led an armed regiment in the Civil War, and fought for women’s suffrage. As such, the film is burdened with so many expectations that even Erivo’s casting received backlash. Detractors wondered why a Brit should play an African American icon; some skeptics have even gone so far as to call Erivo’s casting disrespectful. Erivo, who grew up admiring Tubman, can understand the criticism – ‘I can’t say that I’m not surprised’ – even if she didn’t quite see it coming. Director and co-writer Kasi Lemmons had an inkling the » january/february 2020 / 71

casting might cause a stir, but says she saw an undeniable upside. ‘I thought, Okay, here’s a petite woman who’s very strong, who can sing, who’s West African… I found a lot of similarities,’ Lemmons says. Erivo researched Tubman’s life and employed a dialect coach. Lemmons loaded her up with material, determined to create a portrait of Tubman that included both her heroic deeds and her less known personal life. The rough cut of the film I saw this summer included sequences depicting Tubman’s parents, her doomed marriage, and the head wound that gave her seizures, sleeping spells, and religious visions. In Erivo’s hands, Tubman is humble but steely, a quick and quiet speaker who rises as a determined, formidable leader. The experience has made Erivo an ardent Tubman fan and scholar. Between bites of her pho bowl and soy nuggets, she swipes open her phone to show me Tubman-inspired signet rings and pendants she just purchased from Brooklyn jewellery designer Sewit Sium. They’re thick and gold, depicting Tubman surrounded by swirling stars and moons. It’s not lost on Erivo that Tubman’s legacy – with its moral clarity and literal heroics – makes her a ready subject for such 21st-century iconography and, regrettably, our current culture wars. Tubman’s portrait was to appear on a $20 bill redesign

announced by the Obama administration. Trump treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin delayed it six years, citing technical difficulties. ‘It annoys the hell out of me,’ Erivo said. ‘I don’t understand how he can do that.’ Erivo is generally frustrated by the current political climate. She tries, when she can, to shut Trump out of her mind: ‘What he’s doing is not remotely new at all. It’s just loud.’ She is even more critical of Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson. ‘He’s just so unintelligent,’ she says For the most part, though, Erivo is optimistic and ebullient, willing to engage on any topic. When asked about her love life, she again produces her phone to show off photos she took with her boyfriend, Mario Martinez. ‘He chased me,’ she says. He’s not in the industry, but he’s adjacent enough that they saw each other often; whenever they did, he would ask her out even though she was dating someone (her ex, the actor Dean John-Wilson). ‘Then the last time, I was not with my ex anymore – except this time he did not ask,’ Erivo recalls. ‘He just walked up to me and gave me a kiss.’ They’ve been together for two years. She’s open about her life and forthright about her career goals. She’s got an album on the way. It’s her dream to play Serena Williams in a biopic one day. When she mentions career idols she goes straight for the juggernauts: Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston. But it took time to build that resolve. Erivo wouldn’t change going to RADA, but she says that there were times it was frustrating to be one of a handful of black students at a school that felt ill-equipped to handle people of colour. When she was cast in a small role in one big musical, for instance, one of the leads lost her voice. Erivo was asked to go behind the curtain, Singin’ in the Rain-style, and perform so the other actor could lip-synch. ‘To this day I’m still like, Why did I do that?’ she says. ‘It still feels a bit yuck, to be honest’ – to think about loaning out her voice, considering how far it’s taken her.

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ge t it

Pop wisdom will tell you that we all have the same 24 hours in a day â&#x20AC;&#x201C; yet more things demand our attention now than ever before. We solicited the advice of a few experts to find out how to win the battle between busy and productive.


Balancing a packed schedule while nurturing a team, Elizabeth Varley has turned TechHub’s co-working culture into a transatlantic business Charlie Burton

How to manage your time like a pro


or Elizabeth Varley, productivity isn’t just a virtue – it’s her business. As co-founder and CEO of TechHub, she builds co-working spaces to help startups perform at their best. The firm operates in six cities worldwide and, over the past eight years, has supported thousands of companies that have collectively raised more than $1bn. Varley is a high-achiever herself – she also sits on boards at both Imperial College London and the Open Data Institute. With TechHub’s New York opening creating a whole new set of transatlantic demands on her time, how does she fit in so much?

give yourself space

‘I live on a garden square and every morning I walk through the garden to get to the Tube to go to work. I have a new rule, which I started last year: I do not look at my phone in the garden. It takes me one or two minutes to walk across it, but it's this moment that's just for me. I look around and see the changing seasons, the squirrels running around – and just enjoy it.’

Waking up to the working week ‘I tend to group my meetings into Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Mondays I might still have

meetings, but they'll tend to be internal meetings, so that I’m around for the team. Fridays are wild card day. But whatever the day, I wake up at around 6am. People often wonder how I do it – but really I'm just a morning person.’

A day at home is valuable

‘I work from home on a Wednesday every week. I get up, I don't have to travel anywhere, I don't have to get dressed, I don't have to worry about what my hair looks like or any of that external stuff that doesn't really matter to your job but still

takes time and effort, and I sit down with my laptop. Everybody in my team knows that that's the day that their inboxes will fill up with things I need to delegate or send on. I also use that day for bigger things that I find much harder to get done if I'm having to stop every now and again for a meeting.’

Keep meetings to the point

‘There are some people on my team who tend to go into a lot of detail and narrative when presenting data. That's something that I find challenging unless that's the point

of the meeting. I like to focus on strategy and action. We can expand the conversation if necessary, but I'm not a fan of going through everything just ‘because’.”

embrace Siri, embrace alarms

‘I never used Siri until I saw a friend go, “Set alarm, 8am” – and I was like, “Oh, that’s so useful!” Manually it takes about seven presses to get there. If it's something urgent, I'll set an alarm rather than a reminder, as you can still put text against an alarm. I do that is because I have to actively turn it off.’ »

if everyone isn’t yoga-ing or hiking, you’re doing meetings wrong More active meetings could help make employees happier and more creative. Meet the startups that are making running meetings look sedentary.


he Ancient Romans believed that a healthy mind depended on a healthy body. Fast forward 2 000 years, and science supports this wisdom. Exercise helps us be more productive and make better decisions because it boosts our memory, focus and mood. Even walking can be effective – recent research by Stanford University suggests that we’re 60% more creative when we’re on the move. Entrepreneurs now hope that these findings can help to bootstrap their fledgling businesses. An approach that was immortalised by Michael J Fox’s 1987 film The Secret of My Success, it’s becoming a trend

76 / january/february 2020

at small and large companies alike. Google’s new London headquarters is set to have a rooftop running track and 25m swimming pool, and Reebok’s office in Boston has a boxing ring and a spin studio. Adobe Systems runs a whole series of networking events anchored around cycle rides. And at dog food startup Pooch & Mutt, the team takes regular screen breaks to do as many star jumps, planks or tricep dips as they can in a minute. Increasingly, stand-up meetings are out, in favour of walking or running appointments. ‘A sudden rush of endorphins [released during exercise] is going to make your stress threshold higher,’ says business psychologist Rob

Stewart. The reason humans get stressed is because the front part of the brain (the prefrontal cortex) becomes hyperactive, generating multiple possible scenarios, which cause more tension. When we exercise, that part of the brain calms down because its attention is elsewhere. ‘You’re going to be more aware of your muscles moving, you’re much more in touch with your senses, the smells, sights around you and what you hear. ‘If we want people to be happy and engaged and work hard, be focused, creative and innovative, we actually have to provide them with the means to do that,’ Stewart says. Peter Brown, chief executive of advertising agency Prophecy

Unlimited, started running with clients in Bristol a year ago. ‘It’s not for every client,’ he says. ‘But when we run, we’ll talk about things we wouldn’t talk about face to face. It’s a different dynamic … there’s less pressure.’ At the fintech company Oradian in Zagreb, Croatia, all one-to-one reviews happen while walking through the city. Management meetings take place while hiking in nearby Mount Medvednica, and team members often arrange to walk, bike or run together at lunchtime or over the weekend. Mihaela Smadilo, head of talent and culture, says taking work discussions outside of the boardroom has really helped. ‘You’re more direct, more genuine, more human almost,’ she says. ‘Three hours walking in a forest on a brainstorming session really changes your perspective and brings more passion. That’s how people feel more engaged and happy in a job, even if it’s a tough day.’ She recommends others give it a try. ‘Just start and do it when it seems appropriate. You’ll find more and more occasions when it is.’ Paying for personal trainer sessions during the work day for each employee may not be in every entrepreneur’s budget. But Tim Fung, the co-founder and chief executive of the Australian outsourcing marketplace startup Airtasker, says it’s brought the team at the company’s Sydney headquarters closer together. ‘We have seen more team spirit and energy, and the scheme has had a tangible effect on morale,’ he says. ‘My employees return from a session refreshed and better focused on their job. I’m a firm believer time lost on exercise is made back and more in terms of improved productivity.’

i l l u s t r at i o n s b y G e t t y i M a G e s

Emma Sheppard


o whom it may concern: writing emails is painful. It’s bad enough finding the time to write them, but once you’ve done it, checked it and removed all the excess exclamation marks, you’re still not guaranteed a reply. There’s some good news though: psychology can help. By factoring in a bit of behavioural science, and tweaking your emails to match, you can give your recipients a little more encouragement to respond. It’s not about tricking people with mind games – that’s a bit sinister. But these psychological tactics could edge your next email into RE: territory. First, make it easy to respond. You’ve heard that before, we know, but chances are you haven’t been taking it far enough. ‘The strongest effect you’ll have, in any environment, is by making things easier,’ says Max Mawby, head of behavioural science at fintech

startup Plum. Your words should be easy to understand, your recipient should be able to figure out what you want them to do, and what you’re asking for should be easy to accomplish. Nobel Laureate Richard Thaler won the prize for his work that was centered around that concept. ‘If you want to get people to do something, make it easy. Remove the obstacles,’ he wrote in his book Nudge. It sounds simple, but the best advice usually is. ‘At the end of the email you just put exactly what you want the person to do,’ says Mawby. ‘Don’t dress it up at all.’ Try to incite as little thinking as possible. People often assume that someone will want to know everything there is to know about something before making a decision – but that can get overwhelming. ‘Information overload does not lead to people doing things,’ says Mawby, ‘it actually reduces the likelihood that people will take action.’ The easier, the better. In the few sentences you do write, make sure your request is the bit that gets their attention. That’s the “attractive” part. Our brains find it much easier to complete a task if we’ve got something to aim for. Next, make it more social. Humans are rigged up to be influenced by what other people

How to use psychology to get people to answer your emails Sometimes people just need a nudge in the right direction Sophia Epstein

say and do. ‘We all keep very, very precise ledgers in our brains of things that people have done for us,’ Mawby says. ‘And when someone does something for us, we feel compelled to do something for them in return.’ This is the concept of reciprocity. If you’re sending an email to a prospective employer, for example, don’t just ask for a job, give them something first. Share a marketing idea, a design suggestion or a way to improve the company’s code – at the very least, show you’ve invested some time and energy into researching the brand. ‘This may seem quite basic, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t bother,’ says Clare O’Connor, the editorial director of dating app Bumble. ‘Showing you’ve done at least a modicum of research really helps ensure you’ll get a reply.’ Just being polite on a basic level also helps, says Mai-Chi Vu, a product designer at email plug-in Boomerang, which uses machine learning to calculate the likelihood you’ll get a response. The company’s algorithms factor in politeness levels. ‘Emails on the politer side get higher response rates,’ she says. Reciprocity comes in here too.

Thanks in advance was the most effective sign-off, with a 66% response rate, beating Thanks (63%) and Thank you (58%) by a slim margin, but totally annihilating the classics like Best (51%). Perhaps we’ve subconsciously realised that no one is actually “sincerely” sending their “best wishes” or “kind regards”, but still feel obliged to complete a task we’ve already been thanked for. It all comes back to making things easy. But Mawby also let us in on a little trick. ‘This is one to use sparingly,’ he says, or it’ll become more annoying than clever. ‘You can arrange your email so that if the person doesn’t do anything, something good happens.’ People are intrinsically lazy, so they often just go with the default option. ‘But do you even need a response?’ asks Mawby. ‘Set it so that the default, if they don’t do anything, is that you go ahead.’ Email me if you aren’t convinced. If I don’t hear anything, I’ll assume you’re satisfied. Sound good? Thanks in advance. »

Productivity life hacks from successful entrepreneurs Time is precious. Here’s how to make it worthwhile – from those who can’t afford to lose it. Daphne Leprince-Ringuet


e more productive” often stands at the top of the list for New Year resolutions – but actually finding the tools to implement it in everyday life is a different kettle of fish. Especially when tips from technology moguls like Tim Cook include setting an alarm to start their day at 3.45am every morning. We’ve asked successful entrepreneurs and chief executives from various industries, ranging from gaming to transportation, about their own secret productivity hacks – and the good news is, none of them mentioned sleep deprivation as a personal favourite. Here is a round-up of the real tricks you can apply to your life to boost your productivity in your free time, at work and for your future targets.

to better manage your free time

Be lonelier When facing a day that is sure to be full of face-to-face interactions, Jen Rubio, the co-founder of Away, has taken the habit of spending the first hour of her day completely

alone. She calls it ‘owning the first hour’. She may meditate or workout, or she gets straight to work and start answering emails; but she always takes that time to be on her own. ‘I’m at my own pace, free of meetings or push notifications.

isn’t a status meeting,’ he says. ‘We encourage teams to say nothing if their work doesn’t have immediate impact.’ A way to take the pressure off while ensuring that each department is aware of what others are doing in the company.

MAKe An online to-do liSt Colour-coded post-its are good, but they also accumulate, and it all goes down from the moment you lose your to-do list. Todoist lets you keep track of the tasks you need to complete, the plans you’ve made with friends or the books you want to read by organising them more efficiently and centralising them on your phone. A personal favourite of Christine Foster, managing director at The Alan Turing Institute: ‘I use it to get to “inbox zero”. I love jotting down plays that friends recommend or fun places to take my children.’

drAW tHe line BetWeen WorK And PleASure This one is for those working in the creative industry: how do you make sure that you remain aware of your productivity goals when your work is your passion? Alex Ward, the co-founder of Three Fields Entertainment, explains the challenges he faced when gaming, which began as a hobby, became his nine-to-five activity. ‘Playing games can be individual and solitary, whereas making them requires working as part of a team,’ he says. It is crucial, he continues, to always remain focused on collaborating, problem-solving and stepping in to lend a hand in different areas.

to improve efficiency in the workplace

orgAniSe inForMAl MeetingS ‘The traditional meeting is a dated concept,’ says Clare Gilmartin, CEO at Trainline. Its corporate atmosphere can indeed be daunting, with team members potentially feeling the pressure of being judged by their superiors. That is counter-productive, says Gilmartin; she prefers to organise small, mission-based informal meetings throughout the day. A better way to let her team share ideas informally, and to boost creativity and innovation. MAKe Sure everytHing iS coMMunicAted Scott Walchek, CEO at Trov, still maintains that meetings are crucial to let teams communicate. He makes sure each week starts with a 20-minute long recorded meeting for different departments to explain what they are doing. ‘This

inveSt in quAlit y Although it may be tempting – and financially sensible – to constantly chase the lowest price, business coach Christine Hassler says that it is worth looking at the quality of investments, too. And putting more money in when it is worth it. ‘In the first five years, I thought I could save money by doing many things myself or hiring the person with the lowest fee,’ she says. But that cost her opportunities – ‘now, I hire the most qualified people for any job.’

to make sure you reach your future targets

don’t overtHinK Overthinking causes worrying, and worrying stands in the way of accomplishment. It is better, sometimes, to take a risk and go for it, according to Hayden Wood, the co-founder of Bulb. He remembers starting his company, and still not

having a name two months before launch because the team was afraid of getting it wrong. ‘My advice is: don’t overthink or worry. Once it becomes yours, it’ll feel right.’ cHAnge tHe lit tle tHingS Small changes can contribute to improve your overall quality of life. For Robin Chase, the co-founder of Buzzcar, it starts with commuting. From spending 18% of her income on transport, she went to spending 8%, ‘and my quality of life is better,’ she says. Chase walks and bikes, or books a seat in a shared autonomous vehicle. Yet another reason to cut the time spent standing on the tube during morning rush. doWngrAde your StAndArdS (WHen tHey Are too HigH) ‘Don’t get it right, get it written!’ – a familiar piece of advice for Elizabeth Varley, the CEO of TechHub. ‘My mother would tell me this when I’d be meticulously wording a paragraph of an essay due the next day in school,’ she says. Getting things right is important – but if your standards of “right” stop you from accepting an option that is perfectly good, it becomes counterproductive. In many cases, it results in tasks not getting done at all. You can start embracing low(er) expectations, or so it seems. get uSed to criticiSM Another parental piece of advice, this time from the mother of Otegha Uwagba, who founded Women Who: ‘Not everyone’s gonna clap for you’. That’s particularly true if you are working in the creative industries, where your work is almost certainly bound to be met with negative criticism at some point. ‘Not everyone’s going to like, appreciate or be into whatever you’re doing,’ says Uwagba, ‘and that’s okay. Learn not to take it personally, and to move on.’








2017 2


P h oto g r a P h e r ’ s a s s i s ta n t : J o h n M a r k s @ h e r o C r e at i v e M a n a g e M e n t ; Fa s h i o n a s s i s ta n C e & P r o d u C t i o n : M i r a L e i b o w i t z & ta n i a d u r a n d ; h M u : s u a a d J e P P e @ o n e L e a g u e ; M o d e L s : t e r e n C e @ M y F r i e n d n e d , M o e a & b r a n d o n b @ Fa n J a M

We live in an age where you can wear jeans and a tee to work, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make an effort or at least show some basic modesty. Go for darker denim washes and long sleeves, then amp up the style.

Brandon wears: Hat R1 000 GOOD GOOD GOOD, Specs R379 H&M Eyewear, Top R299, Belt R129 Cotton On, Jeans R1 780 AKJP

GQSTYLE lo oking b ack_ moving forward _

ThE KniT PiCKEr A lightweight sweater is a quick fix for office attire thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not too hot, not too serious and not too casual. Modern variations come in beautiful artsy colours, motifs and textural variations that all nod to bygone eras of great style.

Terence wears: Pink Polo R2 950 Knit R16 650 Emporio Armani, Navy Yellow Trim Trousers POR Calvin Klein, Shoes R599 Gino Paoli

ThE nEw CLaSS of 2020

PrEP To iT WASPing is not just for G&T’s on the lawn. Those preppy classics look good in an office environment, too. Look for check trousers and woven polo shirts.

Moe wears: Neckerchief R1 800 Knit golf R22 000 Pants R12 000 Dolce & Gabbana

Photographs by Sven Kristian Creative Direction & Styling by Jason Alexander Basson

Let’s redefine our dress codes and make way for office attire that’s inclusive of next-gen careers and contemporary workspaces… all with an ironic sprinkling of early ‘80s style. It’s what works for you.

aCTuaL worKwEar Whoever said boiler suits weren’t a thing clearly hasn’t worn one. They’re comfortable, practical and ideal for manual labour, workshops and general stunting around town. We wear ours unbuttoned with a plain tee, socks and sneaks. Belt bag and utility specs optional.

Brandon wears: Clay Boiler Suit R1 495 ALC Man, White T-shirt R169 Cotton On, Brown Leather Bag R499 Zara, White Socks Stylist’s own, Sneakers R1 649 Replay

ThE wovEn onE In office employee vs sub-zero aircon, a short sleeve woven ‘shwolo’ (shirt polo) always wins. It’s just the right level of smart, can easily be layered over a tee and makes for a cool resort or poolside lounging piece after work.

Terrence wears: Shwolo R2 650 GOOD GOOD GOOD, Stripe T-shirt R249 Cotton On

GoLfEr GoLd The golfer is work casual 101 in South Africa, but think of the possibilities! Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re obsessed with these retro print and colour combos. Be the life of the office cubicle.

Moe wears: Specs R3 290 Jeans R3 295 Giorgio Armani, Shirt R1 650 Pringle, Belt R950 Replay, Plaid Shirt R379 H&M Brandon wears: Shirt R1 650 Pringle, Hat R999 Bag R999, Jeans R3 699 G-Star RAW Terrence wears: Specs R1 890 Ray-Ban, Shirt R5 495 Versace, Belt R129 Cotton On, Jeans R2 399 Tommy Hilfiger

Chino GinELLi Don’t forget that dad dressing classic – the beloved chino. Today’s versions comes in slimtailored and even sportier varieties. There’s also denim in khaki washes, so you can look the part without feeling like a sellout.

Terrence wears: Stripe shirt R2 500 GOOD GOOD GOOD, Blazer R3 250 Pringle, Chinos R3 199 Calvin Klein Moe wears: Hat R1 499 Diesel, Shirt R1 999 Chinos R2 199 Tommy Hilfiger

PEdESTrian CroSSinGS Is it a suit or a denim co-ord set? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s both, but still better than the Benoni special of yesteryear or what Justin and Britney wore that one time. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all in the retro, formal detailing and boxy cuts.

Brandon wears: Shirt R349 Cotton On, Jacket R4 199 Pants R2 499 G-Star RAW Moe wears: Print shirt R579 Zara, Stripe Jacket R999 Stripe Pants R999 Vans, Specs R2 690 Burberry

ThE BiG ShirT Tuck it, flip it, dip it real low. Your work shirt is a declaration of who you are, not your work ethic. So have fun with it. Go full tuck, French or half way. Or just let it all hang loose.

Terrence wears Shorts R11 300 Shirt R10 400 GUCCI, Afrocomb modelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own

dorKY dETaiLS Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t snooze on the job. Being fashionably accessorised doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make you an accessory to crimes of fashion. Bad taste, irony and retro-dressing are all the rage. And where better to wear suspenders, OTT specs or a tartan watch than in the office?

Brandon wears: Specs R4 990 Tom Ford, Shirt R579 Suspenders R459 Zara, Pants R599 Cotton On

SuiT, rEmaSTErEd We love a classic, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s how you wear it that makes all the difference today. Why not go for the remix? Wear yours with a loosebuttoned resort shirt and some bold sneakers or retro shades.

Moe wears: Suit R10 899 Calvin Klein, Floral Shirt R249 H&M

cleaning up

For a summer filled with stylish occasions, timeless tailoring is your best bet

Double-breasted blazer, shirt, trousers Zed Menswear, Sunglasses modelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own

january/february 2020 / 93

Suit, shirt, tie, pocket square Zed Menswear

T h e r e ’ s a c e rTa i n p o i n T i n yo u r l i f e

when the weekend ragers and all-nighters give way to weekend weddings and a ton of end-of-year functions. When choosing a look for such a fête, GQ has long preached the gospel of fit above all other considerations – and that’s not going to change anytime soon. By now you know that you should always, always

get your clothing tailored – whether it’s shortening the hem or sleeves, or slimming down a trouser leg, this makes the difference. That extends to your casual looks (including denim) as much as it does to the smarter pieces in your wardrobe. The ultimate experience, of course, is a custom-made suit. Getting something made that fits you and how you move is guaranteed to make you

feel like Batman and look like Bruce Wayne no matter where you go. With 17 years of experience in the suiting game, Willem Venter founded the Zed Menswear brand to create exceptional looks suitable for any occasion. Fabrics are imported from Italy and Germany, and after all measurements and fittings are done, the brand’s custom-made offerings are

assembled overseas. But his specialty has been the relentless journey to perfect the shirt. Engineered with brilliant details – such as hidden buttons which keep the collar upright, along with firm cuffs and front panels built to keep things sharp – they’re ideal for formal or semiformal occasions. Plus, the excellent cut and custom fitting makes it easy to move around in.

Shot on location at Quoin Rock Wine Estate, Knorhoek Valley, Stellenbosch. Visit

p h o t o g r a p h s b y a r m a n d h o u g h /a n a p i c t u r e s . models: luc da motte / twenty model m a n a g e m e n t, h a n k s i t o t o / z e d m e n s w e a r , willem venter/zed menswear

Suit, shirt, pocket square Zed Menswear

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Getting something made that fits you and how you move is guaranteed to make you feel like Batman and look like Bruce Wayneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;

Zed Menswear founder Willem Venter

january/february 2020 / 95

BODY sTeeze Isn’t it time you thank the skin you’re in? think exfoliating Body wAsh, a thai massage and a spritz of cologne to top it all off. new sKIn, who this?

A new year calls for a grooming overhaul. Get your headstart here with our top-to-toe essentials. Andre wepener

Jesé-ché lillienfeldt

robyn-lee pretorius

FROM LEFT: The Body Shop Thai Wooden Massager R270; The Body Shop Skin Sponge R120; Babylonstoren Orange Blossom Hand & Body Lotion R220; Jimmy Choo Urban Hero R1 395; Africology Body Wash R320; NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil R530.

hair whiz It doesn’t take a village to deeply nourIsh and moisturise your hair and scalp. A few choice-picked products ensure a well-tAmed mAne all year round.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Woolworths 2 IN 1 Shampoo & Conditioner R74.99; L’Occitane Huile D’Olive Nourishing Shampoo R345; Aloe Unique Hair Body & Face Wash R95; Freestyle Travel Hard Finish brush R65.95; O Way Men Raw Mud R400; American Crew Fibre Grooming Foam R395.

january/february 2020 / 97

face spruce even if you’re two-faced, ensure both are glowIng. From body grooming to anti-wrinkle eye cream, beard oil to cleAnsIng gel; you’ll be serving face to friend and foe.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Philips Body Groomer R899; Diego Dalla Palma Purificante Purifying Cleansing Gel R345; Dermaceutic Hyal Ceutic R870; Tweezerman Moustache Scissors and Comb R309; Marvel Hydro Shot R1 050; Woolworths Men Beard Oil R89.99; Mineraline Aloe Vera Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream R199; L’Oréal Bar Club Styling Creme R129.99; Fino Soothe Man R54.

hYGieNe haBiT

stepping out? ensure your nail beds are nourished, breath is beyond fresh, and teeth are peArly whIte. trust us. they’ll notice and they’ll appreciate.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Mavala Emery Boards R87; Dadi Oil R270; Earthsap Tea Tree Foot Powder R44; Philips Sonicare BreathRx Mouth Rinse R270; White Glo Deep Stain Activated Charcoal R119; Faithful-To-Nature The Environmental Toothbrush R53; Elgydium Sensitive Gel Toothpaste R69.99; The Body Shop Wooden Nail Brush R80.

january/february 2020 / 99

Body positivity: where is the healthy in-between? Female body positivity might be reaching new levels of inclusivity, but the same cannot be said for us men – and it’s only getting worse

W h e n Ja s o n M o M oa i s g e t t i n g Bo dy s h a M e d , you

know things are out of control. After being photographed on holiday last July with his family, trolls took to social media to alert the world to the fact the Aquaman star had let himself go. One reminded Momoa ‘to start lifting again’ while others were more blunt, telling him he was ‘fat’ and had a ‘dad belly’. Admittedly, the ridiculously chiselled physique we’ve come to expect of Momoa as the King of Atlantis was, this time around, a little less defined. But was he out of shape? No. He just wasn’t shot in perfect lighting and likely hadn’t dedicated himself to the same gruelling training regime for his holiday as he did for the filming of Aquaman. The nerve. When it comes to criticism,

Momoa isn’t alone. In the same month, British Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford posted to Instagram about taking part in a charity swim. Instead of messages of support, all anyone could talk about was the former long jumper’s newly acquired dad bod. Even with abs and biceps clearly visible to even the most discerning of trolls, it wasn’t enough. We’re at a point where the aspirational body image for men is so narrow it’s unattainable for the majority. A year ago, Rutherford and Momoa would have been body goals. Now, they’re deemed laughable. It begs the question, where is the healthy in-between? Because, how realistic is it to look like Chris Hemsworth? Who has the time for hours of training, let alone the luxury of a dedicated trainer and chef? Short answer, very few of us. And this is taking its toll on our mental health. In 1972, 85% of men were happy with their bodies, according to a study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

P h o t o g r a P h y b y g e t t y i m a g e s / s i lv e r s c r e e n c o l l e c t i o n ; i n s ta g r a m / c h r i s h e m s w o r t h ; J a s o n m o m o a f o r P o P s u g a r

A similar study in the journal Body Image found that figure now sits at just 28%. This dissatisfaction breeds anxiety and depression. Meanwhile, the opposite can be said for women. Plus-sized models are becoming increasingly more visible, helping to do away with the idea that you have to be skinny to be beautiful. Models like Ashley Graham and Australia’s La’Tecia Thomas are better described as activists, empowering women to feel better in their bodies, whatever the shape or size. We need to find that same space for men. This doesn’t mean we advocate ditching the gym altogether – it’s about recognising the phase of life you’re in. For all the A-Listers out there playing superheroes, it makes perfect sense to become a human incarnation of a Greek god. For everyone else, not so much. Likewise, for Jason Momoa to be sporting a “dad bod” when on vacation again makes perfect sense. He’s enjoying himself and prioritising his wife and kids over his abs. The same goes for the rest of us: with more and more demands on our time, sculpting a body like a finely tuned machine may not be our priority. And that’s OK. On the other hand, if we’re using being busy as an excuse

for being lazy and our health and self-esteem are suffering, we should do something about it. It’s about finding balance – and if that means occasionally hitting the breakfast buffet, then we’re here for it.

THE SUPERHERO COMPLEX Barely a week goes by where a superhero film isn’t occupying the box office. And in almost every one you have a male lead who’s cut like Adonis post chest-session.

This comes with the territory, sure, but superheroes aren’t just robotic machines, they’re bastions of good vs evil. They’re courageous, honourable and selfless – none of which necessitates being ripped. And so, by having the superhero identity aligned so closely to a hulking muscular frame puts muscularity as a sign of goodness. Boys as young as six are internalising these signs. A recent study from The University of Sydney found that primary school children ‘overwhelmingly’ preferred modern-day muscular versions of superhero figurines compared to the slimmer versions of the past.

In fact, 86% chose the presentday versions, with most saying their choice was down to the physique. However, there are signs that we can break this pattern. Chris Hemsworth’s turn in Avengers: Endgame spoke of Marvel’s willingness to change the narrative. Thor appears on our screen lost and discernibly fat and as he stumbles toward his inevitable turnaround, we’re expecting it to be followed by a physical rebirth. But, spoiler alert, he saves the world without a six pack. With the recent news we’re soon to have our first transgender lead, 2019 could be the year superheroes start to look a little different. About time, too.

CHECK YOURSELF Toning your body in the gym can be time well spent. But, be careful to recognise when things are being taken to unhealthy extremes. Here are two terms you should know:

social pressures for boys and men to be large and muscular almost certainly contribute to the development of muscle dysmorphia’ and those suffering score ‘notably worse in all mental health domains’ than the general population. In other words, this is serious. If you have a friend who works out excessively and yet still believes their body is inadequate, talk to them about seeking help. OVER TRAINING

If you’re hitting the gym several times a week but the effects are plateauing, you’re feeling consistently sore and your workout routine has ceased to be enjoyable, it’s likely because you’re overtraining. Dr Brad Roy in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal tells us, ‘too much overload and/ or not enough recovery can result in both physiological and psychological symptoms’. Moral of the story, resting should be just as much a part of your workout routine as training. Remember, more is not always better. – CHRISTOPHER RILEY


A form of body dysmorphia that, according to medical journal The BMJ, ‘occurs almost exclusively in men’ refers to a ‘preoccupation that one’s body is too small and inadequately muscular’. Katharine Phillips, director of Body Dysmorphic Programme, argues that ‘recent

‘With more and more demands on our time, sculpting a body like a finely tuned machine may not be our priority. And that’s OK.’

january/february 2020 / 101



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