The best business advice I’ve ever received was never actually given to me and wasn’t about business in any way. Where it did arrive from was a family members mild eccentricities and love for bicycles.
I’ve had the pleasure of being on a counselling course for the past three months where we’re being taught how to counsel callers that are in potentially life threatening situations. It’s a tough ask, you could have someone literally about to blow their brains out and need to somehow be talked off that literal or metaphorical ledge. You would be correct in saying that this is a fairly pressurised situation. I’m not going to talk about counselling per say but more about the two important business lessons I’ve managed to get out of this process.
Last week I ran my first marathon in over a year. I’d been avoiding it for one simple reason: it’s a damn hard process. I was under trained physically and mentally. I’ve been jumping between cycling and running and with the addition of a social life and work (which is probably a life in itself) I’d not trained enough. Unfortunately this was the last qualifying run for the Two Oceans Marathon so I had no choice.
I’ve written before about Uber and how I thought it was a bad idea in South Africa (read about it here). I’ve used the service in both Joburg and Cape Town and have been suitably impressed by the service. You request a cab on your phone, they call you to confirm and then pick you up. Simple and easy. In Cape Town the pricing was totally different making the service both affordable and easy. In Joburg though the minimum cost per trip was R85, making it quite expensive. Things have changed and these are the new prices:
This year I’ve had the pleasure of hiring a few new staff members as well as branching out into the recruitment business. I’ve also recently seen a lot of bad hiring decisions on behalf of some friends and clients and felt it would be a good time to discuss some thoughts on hiring.
When you’re in a big corporate you’ve got an entire HR department to handle situations such as this. They’ll accept CV’s, filter through the candidates, interview them and then check for cultural fit. It’s a slow process but there are reasons for that.
Those who know me will be aware of the fact that I’m a big Nokia fan. The first phone I ever got was a second hand 5110 and I owned six or seven Nokia’s until I got an iPhone in 2007. While supporters had to suffer through the brand insisting on using Symbian for their operating system about two years back they ditched Symbian for Windows Phone and the Lumia range. Since then there’s been a lot of uproar about Windows Phone not having the same level of apps that iPhone and Android and while this is true, the reality is that living with a Lumia isn’t as crippling as one would think. As an experiment I decided to use a Nokia Lumia 925 and use it as my primary phone for two weeks. I’m not going to speak about the phone (despite it being great) but focus specifically on the operating system. Before I go into the phone I’ll quickly describe my general use case.
I’ve recently had the pleasure of getting an LG G2 to review and I actually cannot wait to review this bad boy. I’m surprisingly loving an Android phone and more importantly, it’s not junk. I was always skeptical of LG devices but I can safely say that after using the G2 and the LG built Nexus 4 they’re definitely one of the better Android manufacturers.
So here’s the thing: I’ve recently tried the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and a Sony Xperia V and I’ve been loving Android lately. It’s very, very good and much more innovative compared to Apple’s iOS 7. At heart I’m still an iPhone guy but that’s because I’ve got a Macbook and iPad so everything connects perfectly together. That said, I am very much in the Google ecosystem (all my business emails go through Google Apps) so this isn’t a tough transition. Lets get on to the device before I get into an ecosystem discussion:
It’s not often I post something personal on this blog but I felt now was a pretty great time to do so. The last three or four months have probably been the most amazing ever for me from a business perspective. In pure currency terms I’ve basically tripled my one companies retainer revenue while at the same time growing my second company from nothing to making more in a month than I’ve made in my best solo year. I’m not here to brag, I’m here to talk about attitude.
I’ve recently changed a lot about my attitude and bought into what I am calling the “enthusiasm economy”. Essentially it’s using enthusiasm to create something; whether it’s motivation or something more tangible. Now I’m probably starting to sound like the first chapter of “The Secret” but let me explain: I don’t believe in visualising what you want in order to manifest it: I believe in enthusiasm motivating you.
I’ve owned a fairly substantial amount of phones. From my first Nokia 5110 to my current iPhone 5 I’ve owned and reviewed more phones than I can even count. However, if you ask me what my favourite phone of all time I’d have to say it was my iPhone 4. For a device to last me the usual two year cellular contract period is highly unusual. I loved that phone and even after two years it was still going relatively strong. In the end though, the contract cycle continues and I got an iPhone 5. Such is the vanity of the iPhone owner. Interestingly you can still buy the iPhone 4 and 4S, a testament to the longevity of these devices. No one is still buying a Samsung Galaxy S2, it’s a thing of the past.
I got whirled down to Durban for a brief spin in the soon to be launched Ford EcoSport, a small SUV aimed at young, sporty people. The EcoSport was originally designed in Brazil and now built in India. Ford South Africa will be importing these models directly from the subcontinent. We’re getting the second generation of the EcoSport; there are three spec levels, three engine options, two transmission choices and eight different colour choices. The name of the car is a portmanteau of Eco (economic) and Sport (lifestyle implications).
This is very much a car for the B-segment buyer (Ford Fiesta or VW Polo) looking for the SUV lifestyle and a vehicle that is more aspirational than your hatchback runaround. According to Ford the B-segment makes up 24% of yearly sales in South Africa, making this a smart move on their part. Competitors in the “B-SUV” segment include the Daihatsu Terios, Suzuki Jiminy and to some extent the Nissan Juke.