Posted by: Carel | October 24, 2007

Just-in-time (JIT) training for entrepreneurs

I think that the exponential increase of on-demand video (youtube.com, Yahoo! video) will allow entrepreneurs to learn on-the-fly from some incredible sources. The problem with Youtube is that it takes time to find quality videos, like this Sellingpower interview of SAP Americas CEO, Bill McDermont.The Stanford’s Educations Corner is an entrepreneur’s best friend. It contains wisdom, knowledge, tried-and-tested experience from very well-known and experienced business people like John Doerr (Kerner Perkins), Carly Fiorina (former HP CEO), and Guy Kawasaki (Garage Ventures). This month’s Futurist click-of-the-month is SciVee.tv. This is a great example of a site aggregating some quality videos.

We expect to disseminate science to the widest possible audience, thereby bringing the YouTube generation–who are the next generation of leading scientists–the best science using a medium they have adopted and use on a daily basis,” says University of California, San Diego, pharmacy professor Phillip E. Bourne, one of the directors of the SciVee project.

Apple’s iTunes now contains a section called uTunes. uTunes contains audio lectures from prominent universities like MIT, Stanford, Duke and Berkley.Another interesting site is slideshare.net. On this site you’ll find lots of very well articulated business presentations. Again, you’ll have to search a little to get gems like this one:Which sites do you use for your JIT training?

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Posted by: Carel | October 18, 2007

South Africa vs England in the Rugby World cup finals

South Africa plays England in the 2007 Rugby World Cup finals, Oct 20, 2007. South Africa were the world champions in 1995 beating New Zealand in a triumphant final on home turf.

Go Bokke!!!

UPDATE: South Africa is the 2007 Rugby World Champions. 

Posted by: Carel | October 8, 2007

US-Africa Business Summit 2007

The Corporate Council on Africa’s sixth US-Africa Business Summit, taking place in Cape Town in November, will see some of the world’s top business leaders discussing trade and investment opportunities in Africa, best practices, and how best to grow business in ways that will promote sustainable growth on the continent.

Pat said that this was the first time that he will give this keynote on his new book: “The Three signs of a Miserable Job.” He is also the author of “The 5 dysfunctions of a team”.

I think work is under-focused on in our lives. Work is thought of that other thing we do. Popular TV shows don’t show people working. People on Dirty Jobs seem happy with their jobs. This is amazing because they have bad jobs. CEO, execs, football players are unhappy. Is your job fulfilling? Misery at work is universal – clock watching, Sunday night blues, ahhh I have to go to work tomorrow.

People need to be reminded more than being instructed. – Samuel Jackson

The 3 signs of a Miserable job

  1. Anonymity – All humans have a need to be known. If we feel anonymous we don’t feel appreciated. Managers should care about their people. We have to life coach the people who work for us. Why aren’t we all doing it? We’re too busy. Interest needs to be genuine. [The handouts read, accountability instead of anonymity — funny…]
  2. Irrelevance – You make a difference in some one else’s life. As managers tell people how they make a difference.
  3. Immeasurement – Measure for themselves why they’re doing what they are doing. Salespeople like their jobs because they know where they stand. We all have a need to measure. This is what I do, and this is how well I’m doing.

Someday I what to retire. Don’t wait until you retire to start your ministry. The way you treat your people will influence the people around them. Management is ministry!

Pat’s final comment: Work becomes a great source of fulfillment and ministry.

Posted by: Carel | October 4, 2007

Andy Stanley – The most powerful man in the room

[Note: ok I couldn’t do the real live blogging thing. The WiFi connection wasn’t strong enough, sorry…]

Andy Stanley started off with a confession – I’m nervous talking @ Catalyst. He said, “We are like peers. You guys are like the leaders. What am I going to talk about next year?”

Then he started his talk on “the most powerful man in the room”.

If God trusted you with leadership — you wield power (we like to use the word influence). Our words have power. Whether you like it or not — you have power as a leader. How do we use it to honor God? Double-edged sword of power. Regulation is not the solution to control power. Same problem in churches. Always work in teams. Follow we, instead of follow me. Not the solution.

What do you do when it dawns on you that you are the most powerful person in the room?
This is the moment in the life of a leader that makes or breaks us and shapes our character. It says so much about your confidence in God. You have no idea how God wants to use you. Your fear of power (abuses you’ve seen) may be what God wants to use. God wants to entrust even more to you. Biography – read story of Moses. I (Moses) don’t want to be in a position of power — maybe God wants to use you.

John 13: 1-7, 12-17, so he got up from the meal, and he wrapped a towel around his waist.

What’s your first move when you become a powerful person? Jesus sheds his symbol of authority his robe. Jesus disciples were stunned by his humility. Jesus sheds all his authority (his robe is the symbol) and became a humble servant.

What do you do if it dawns on you you’re the most powerful? Jesus just gave as an example. Your first line of respond is to shed symbols of authority and show humility.

Don’t leverage your power for your own sake, but for the sake of the other people (in the room). Look for opportunities to leverage your power for the other people in the room. If you don’t apply this principle it shows your weakness. Jesus didn’t do it. [Note: Later in the day Rick Warren said a similar thing: He leverages his fame and influence to give people (the poor) influence who don’t have any.]

George Washington story – he surrender his power. If decides not to be King he would be the greatest person in the world. Supreme example of a leader that can be trusted with power — he gave it up.

Legacy of your leadership will be to decide: I’m not greater than my Master and Saviour. He leveraged His power for the benefit of the others (disciples) in the room. We should do the same.

I’ll be attending the Catalyst 2007 conference at the Arena in Gwinnett County, just North of Atlanta, Oct 4-5, 2007. This conference usually draws over 10,000 people and is aimed at sharing leadership insights with young, upcoming leaders. It’s a great event with an impressive list of speakers including:

My plan is to do some live blogging for the first time. Let’s see what happens. Hope to see you there.

Even though Lyndon Rive is the architect and builder of a successful IT company and now serves as CEO of a growing solar power operation, the most interesting thing about this 30-year-old South African may be that he plays mid-mid position on the (and I’m not making this up) U.S. Men’s Underwater Hockey Team. The sport works pretty much like ice hockey except, of course, the playing field is the bottom of a swimming pool. Two teams of six players each hold their breaths for as long as they can and smack the puck around the pool using a foot-long stick. Rive’s been playing since 1992.

Hockey aside, his head seems to be placed well above the water. Rive, along with brothers Peter and Russ head SolarCity, the leading provider of solar energy systems to homes and businesses. They want to bring solar power to the mass market by making it affordable. SolarCity’s method of accomplishing this is by group buying. The company’s sales force blankets a targeted neighborhood and when it gets 50 or so commitments, buys the solar panels and sends out installation teams to erect them. Customers save 20-30% from the group discount.

Rive thinks America is ready for solar power. “People want to go green,” he said, “but they won’t do it if it costs them an arm and a leg. Even the extreme environmentalists can’t justify it.” He feels mom and pop solar operations don’t offer the stability that SolarCity provides, backed by capital provided by his cousin, Internet giant Elon Musk (who serves as chairman at SolarCity) and JP Morgan Bank. They recently received $21M in new funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson. SolarCity employs around 150 full-time employees and installs 60 to 70 systems a month. It concentrates on California but has plans to expand to Colorado.


Rive @ the Going Green 2007 conference.

In 1998 Lyndon and Russell Rive created Everdream, which serves small businesses that have fewer than 20 employees by providing computer hardware, round-the-clock technology support services, desktop management services, Internet access and free online training for a single monthly subscription charge of about $150. Offerings include application management, software distribution, hardware integration and help desk services. The brothers started selling their services going door-to-door on skateboards and, after securing some seed money, grew the business within eight months into a 100-employee operation occupying a 40,000-square-foot space. The Rives have since replaced themselves at Everdream with another management team so they could start SolarCity, but Lyndon still serves Everdream as vice president.

Rive’s past business ventures include an alternative health production and distribution company, which he grew to over 1000 sales representatives with multiple product lines within four years.

At this month’s Solar Power Conference in Long Beach, Calif., Rive said that payback is not the way to look at the decision to use solar energy. “Return on investment is the way to think about it. A savings account gives you 2% return. Solar system return on investment with a utility like Los Angeles Department of Water and Power that has lower rates is 5%-6%. Solar system return on investment with a utility like Southern California Edison that has higher rates is 10%-12%. And studies show a solar system increases the value of the house more than the cost…..It is the best home improvement you can do for property value.” On why he is now in the “green” market Rive, in an interview with ABC News, said,”Looking at the world’s biggest problems, software is not going to address it. It’s one of the few industries where you have the opportunity to make some money and do good.” Here’s another writeup on SolarCity in Fast Company.

Rive does have other interests besides business and underwater hockey. He lists his hobbies as kitesurfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding and mountain biking.

Posted by: Carel | September 24, 2007

Blogs on SAP’s Business ByDesign

My plan was to report in depth on SAP’s Business ByDesign product, however I decided to rather point you to a number of well crafted blogs summarizing the launch.

  • My friend Tom Otter provides an insider’s view.
  • Bob Warfield writes a great blogs on all things SaaS, and Web 2.0. His BbD summary is very good.
  • Jeff Nolan over at Venture Chronicles is always insightful. Another good summary.
  • Joshua Greenbaum is another good read.

and for fun check out these:

SAP’s official magazine SAP INFO is also interesting reading.SDN may have some interesting information soon. Not too much at the moment.I still have many open questions:

  1. How (if at all) will SAP partner regarding BBD? ADP is listed as the only partner.
  2. Will SAP release an SDK for BBD?
  3. Will BBD be the end of SAP’s All-in-one and Business One?

Do you have answers?

SAP Business ByDesign

SAP officially launched A1S today and it’s called: SAP Business ByDesign. It will cost $149 per user per month. A quick initial review of SAP BBD looks a lot like current self service scenarios and webdynpro transactions. I will do an more detailed review soon.

Mark Shuttleworth is a young, South African multi-millionaire who places himself in the category of people who are both privileged and lucky and want to do something positive with their good fortune. His Ubuntu Project, HBD enterprise, and the Shuttleworth Foundation all serve as reflections of that thought.

Born in Welkom, South Africa in 1973, Shuttleworth grew up in Cape Town and graduated from the University of Cape Town with a business science degree in finance and information systems. While still in college he founded Thawte, a company that specializes in Internet security and digital certificates. Thawte became the first company outside of the United States to offer an encrypted server, making commerce over the Internet more secure. In 1999, he sold it to VeriSign for stock valued at $575 million.

Using the profits from that sale Shuttleworth founded HBD Venture Capital, a group that invests in South African companies that hold the potential of serving a global marketplace. HBD refers to “Here Be Dragons,” a term used on ancient maps to mark uncharted territory. HBD invests in an interesting array of business ventures, from Themepack, a company that uses pencil cases to deliver messages to schoolchildren, to incuBeta, a Web2.0 company supplying paid search engine advertising and optimization. HBD recently invested ZAR25mm ($3.5mm) in incuBeta.

Other investments include EDH, Metricap, Mybeat, and CSense Systems. HBD also offers managed investments: Impi Linux, Ubuntu’s provider in Africa; HIP2BSquare, which presents math and science to students as cool subjects and well-worth their time; and Fundamo, a leading company internationally of providing ways for organizations to do banking and other transactions from their mobile devices.

Ubuntu logo

In 2004 Shuttleworth founded the Ubuntu project, a free, open source, Linux-based operating system that’s growing in popularity among businesses and individuals. “Ubuntu” is an African concept and was once described by Archbishop Desmond Tutu as defining an open person who is available and affirming to others, and who knows that they are part of a greater whole. The Ubuntu platform contains around 1,000 pieces of software that include spreadsheet, word processing, Web browsing, instant messaging and presentation programs. Several Dell computers now come preloaded with Ubuntu. Google also uses Ubuntu on the computers in their offices. Shuttleworth’s Canonical Ltd., headquartered in Europe, is the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu.

Another example of Shuttleworth’s philosophy of sharing his wealth to benefit others is his Shuttleworth Foundation. This organization funds projects aimed at improving the quality and reach of education in Africa, and has done work in all nine provinces of South Africa. It also serves to fund ideas that can create positive change in civil society. The ideas selected must originate in South Africa or come from another part of the globe but be beneficial to South Africa. It is estimated that Shuttleworth has given away nearly half of his fortune to charitable causes.

In April of 2002 Shuttleworth fulfilled his dream of space travel by flying with the Russian crew Soyuz TM-34 to the International Space Station. He spent a year of his life and $20 million of his bank account training for and paying for the privilege of becoming the second-ever private citizen (and the first African) to be launched into space. His trip wasn’t just for fun, however; he conducted several experiments during the flight, including research on AIDS, stem cells, and muscle development and atrophy. He trained in Star City, Russia, for the eight-day mission. Since he has been back on earth he has shared his experiences and at the same time promoting science and math to more than 100,000 students. This, in turn, led to Hip2BSquare.

His blog, lists many of his likes and dislikes. They include Cesaria Evora, Sinatra, flashes of insight, skinny-dipping and the string theory (likes) plus legalese, wet grey winters and public speaking (dislikes). Shuttleworth is single and lives in London. He spends his spare time reading and lists travel, naturally, as a favorite hobby. He gets to travel the globe in his own jet, a Bombardier Global Express.

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