StartUp Tip #8: Do work that matters


For humans born in a time when resources were limited and dangers were great, our natural inclination to share and cooperate is complicated when resources are plenty and outside dangers are few.

When we have less, we tend to be more open to sharing what we have.

A Bedouin tribe or nomadic Mongolian family doesn’t have much, yet they are happy to share because it is in their best interest to do so.

If you happen to come across them in your travels, they will open up their homes and give you their food and hospitality.

It’s not just because they are nice people, it’s because their survival depends on sharing, for they know that they may be the travelers in need of food and shelter another day.

Ironically, the more we have, the bigger our fences, the more sophisticated our security systems to keep people away and the less we want to share.

When we succeed, our desire for more, combined with our reduced physical interaction with the “common folk,” starts to create a disconnection or blindness to reality.

The more we believe we have arrived, the more distance we build from the common folk.

Abundance can be destructive because it abstracts the value of things. The more we have, the less we seem to value what we have.

And if the abstraction of stuff makes us value it less, imagine what it does to our relationship.

We no longer see each other as people, we are now customers, shareholders, employees, avatars, online profiles, screen names, personal brands, email addresses, expenses to be tracked, followers to be collected, business cards to be collected.

The human being really has gone virtual.

Now more than ever before, we are trying to work and live, be productive and happy, in a world in which we are strangers to those around us.

Don’t fall into the trap of being a rich but poor person. Being successful and rich physically and materially but poor soulfully.

For what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

Appearing on TV, front cover of magazines, people quoting you, more followers on social media, may seem great, but remember fame is overrated.

Be smart, generous, witty, interesting, curious, engaging and most importantly be down to earth.

Be respectful, sincere, and honestly invested in other fellow human beings. Don’t do it for media and publicity, do it because you genuinely care.

Sharing an idea you care about is a generous way to change your world for the better.

It takes guts to say, “I read this and I think you should too.” The guts to care enough about our culture (and your friends) to move it forward and to stand for something.

We will judge you most on whether you care enough to change things.

Doing work that matters is sharing is caring.

By all means succeed, but continue to care and share.

I have no doubt that people reading this will succeed, the question is will you matter?

I hope you will.

Portrait: Four People Sharing a Meal, 1885 – Vincent van Gogh

StartUp Tip #7: Spend some quiet time


If you wake up chasing the morning because you woke up late, you’ll always be in a rush mode the entire day.

The first 10 minutes of how you start your day determines how you spend the next 10 hours of your day.

The inability to manage time means you’re always chasing time which means you’re always chasing your life instead of managing your life

Start your day with mind training.

By meditating, you are starting your day by practicing focus when it doesn’t matter [sitting on a couch for 10 minutes] so that you can focus better when it does matter [negotiation, conversation with a loved one etc.]

Meditation acts as a warm bath for the mind.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree & I’ll spend the first hour sharpening the axe.”- Abraham Lincoln

Meditation allows me to step back and gain a “witness perspective of my life and day,” so that I’m observing my thoughts instead of being tumbled by them.

Spend some quiet time in the morning, reflecting, thinking, breathing and listening to inner voice.

This helps you track your emotions and feelings throughout the day.

StartUp Tip #6: Losers have goals, winners have systems


Focus your mind on “systems” instead of “goals.”

This involves choosing projects and habits that, even if they result in “failure” in the eyes of the outside world, give you transferable skills or relationships.

In other words, you choose options that allow you to inevitably “succeed” over time, as you build assets that carry over to subsequent projects.

Fundamentally, “systems” could be thought of as asking yourself, “what persistent skills or relationships can I develop?” versus “What short-term goal can I achieve.?”

The latter has a potent snowball effect, while the latter is a binary pass/fail with no consolation prize.

StartUp Tip #5: Make your bed


If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day.

It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

Completing one task well in the morning gives you a sense of accomplishment and courage to go on to accomplish other tasks.

It is not about the task per se [making the bed] that is important but the “completing the task” that is more important. Making your bed is a much easier task that you can complete within 3 minutes at the beginning of your day.

By the end of the day, that one task completed in the morning will have turned into many tasks completed throughout the day.

Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

Ps: Unfortunately most people look at making their beds a chore or something that should be relegated to the housekeeper, they look at making their own beds as a low-level task and therefore don’t do it missing out on the easy wins in the morning.


StartUp Tip #4: There are no super heroes


The superheroes you have in your mind [idols, titans, billionaiers, etc] are nearly all walking flaws who have maximized one or two of their strengths.

Humans are imperfect creatures.

Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of, that do things no one can imagine.

Successful people don’t have super natural powers, they are normal humans who managed to capitalize on their strengths.

You don’t succeed because you have no weaknesses, you succeed because you find your unique strengths and focus on developing habits around them.

Don’t wait to be perfect before you start.

Start with your strengths and build from there.

You have that one strength that can make you great.

Everyone struggles. Take solace in that.

StartUp Tip #3: Adopt a producer mindset


When was the last time you created something?

Wrote something from a blank page?

Drew something from a blank canvas?

While you are still thinking about it, how about this question:

When was the last time you bought something?

The answer to buying something is easier than the answer to producing something.

Is it because it is easier to buy than to create, to consume than to produce?

Efosa Ojomo has said before:

“Anyone can consume. But not everyone can create. Focus on creating, & consumption will happen. Focus on consuming, & debt & bankruptcy await.”

The customer is king, but in the long run, though, the smart producer wins, because the consumer comes to forget how to produce.

The more you consume, the more consuming becomes your way of life.

Your happiness as a consumer depends on your consuming.

If you don’t go shopping, you don’t feel complete.

When you are unhappy about something, the shortcut path to happiness is to go shopping. Hence we call it retail therapy.

As producers consolidate (and they often do) they are the ones who ultimately set the agenda.

Producers produce first before customers consume.

From a marketing and business perspective, the customer is king because he chooses who he spends his money on, but from an entrepreneur perspective, the producer sets the agenda for the consumer to follow.


StartUp Tip #2: Begin with the heart


Appeal first to your customer’s heart and you will have a customer for life.

We live in a product flogging world.

Products are pushed at us. Technology rains down on us through mass communications.

We are bombarded with adverts, billboards, tweets, text messages, tv ads, newspaper ads, everywhere you look is adverts.

Rather than push features, technology and price, appeal to the customer’s heart more.

The beginning is “heart work,” not “head work.”

So much of the job is more emotion, and “heart work” than it is “head work.”

The head comes in after, to look at what the heart has presented and to organise it.

But the initial inspiration  comes from a different place, and it’s not the head, and it’s not an intellectual activity.

Treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.

The same applies to your team.

You should treat your team the same way you treat your customers. Respect, attention to detail, & always willing to go above & beyond.


Patience: for growth, impatience for profitability


Entrepreneurs obsess with growing big.

They obsess with the number of users, number of sign-ups, number of registrations, number of followers, number of branches all over the country or continent.

They adopt the attitude of “If we build it, they will come.”

Seldom do they talk about profitability.

It is assumed that if we can grow big, we will be profitable.

This thinking is erroneous because there are big businesses that are not automatically profitable due to their sheer size.

There are a number of small businesses that are profitable.

Profitability is not a function of size. 

Prof Clayton Christensen in his book The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth says:

The best money during the nascent years of a business is patient for growth but impatient for profit.

What he is basically saying is your business model better be making money, fast.

Many startups focus on acquiring as many new users as possible, only figuring out later how to convert those users into revenue.

There is no time for such a strategy in this market. You will run out of money before you get there.

Focus on sales, on cash flow, on profitability while you are still small and once the business is profitable, then grow it.

Be impatient for profitability but patient for growth.

Chasing growth before profitability hoping that once you are big you will be profitable is like saying I will only be happy when I’m a millionaire.

You need to be a happy person now with or without millions.

Patience: Show up, do the work, and go home

Long Term written on a wooden cube in a office desk

Show up, do the work, and go home.

That blue collar work ethic married to indomitable will.

It is that simple.

Nothing interferes.

Nothing can sway you from your purpose. Once the decision is made to adopt a patience approach, simply refuse to budge. Refuse to compromise.

Accept that quality long-term results require quality long-term focus.

No emotion. No drama. No beating yourself up over small bumps in the road.

Learn to enjoy and appreciate the process.

This is especially important because you are going to spend far more time on the actual journey than with those all too brief moments of triumph at the end.

Off-course celebrate the moments of triumph when they occur.

More importantly, learn from defeats when they happen.

In fact, if you are not encountering defeat on a fairly regular basis, you are not trying hard enough.

And absolutely refuse to accept less than your best.

Throw out a timeline. It will take what it takes.

If the commitment is to a long-term goal and not to a series of smaller intermediate goals, then only one decision needs to be made and adhered to.

How long is your long term?

A simple question with an answer that’s difficult to embrace.

What are you willing to give up today in exchange for something better tomorrow? Next week? In ten years?

Your long term is not the sum of your short terms.

When we commit to something for the “long term” the things that go into reaching that long term goal are more than the sum of the short term things we give up to get there.

The journey to your goals and dreams will encompass more than just plans and numbers. It is a life experience, not a business plan of numbers and predictable events.

Enjoy the ride.


Patience: Building a business


We all get frustrated.

I’m particularly prone to frustration when I see little or no progress after several weeks of working on something new.

Dealing with the temporary frustration of not making progress is an integral part of the path towards excellence.

In fact, it is essential and something that every single elite athlete has had to learn to deal with.

If the pursuit of excellence was easy, everyone would do it.

In fact, this impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason that most people  fail to achieve their goals.

Unreasonable expectations time-wise, resulting in unnecessary frustrations, due to a perceived feeling of failure.

Achieving the extraordinary is not a linear process.

No great thing has been created suddenly.

Some things take time.

Listen to your vision and make something for the long haul. Because that’s how long it is going to take, guys.

The secret is to show up, do the work, and go home. 

Show up, do the work, and go home.

The 4th Annual StartUp Revolution: Innovation and Entrepreneurship Workshop


The StartUp Revolution: IE Workshop (Innovation and Entrepreneurship) is our 4th Annual Entrepreneurship Workshop. Last year we hosted 20 exceptional entrepreneurs and thought-leaders.

The content changes and is updated every year, if you attended the previous workshops, even more reasons to attend this year’s workshop.

This year is going better:

  • New thinking in imagining the future of entrepreneurship
  • Improved content;
  • Practical case study on innovation;
  • A guest entrepreneur;
  • Two Books: The StartUp Revolution: Fit In or Stand Out; and Turning Into Passion

I love innovators and entrepreneurs. Not only do they bring the promise of rapid growth and real change, but everything is up for grabs to them.

Businesses that start with a clean sheet of paper have the difficult task of paying the bills, but they also have the luxury of ignoring yesterday in order to focus exclusively on tomorrow. This workshop is for those who are passionate about ideas, problem solving and want to start/grow their businesses to the next level.

Through the years, I have started a bunch of companies and enjoyed brainstorming with the people who have launched companies big and small. I mentor a number of startup entrepreneurs and worked with startups in other African countries.

What is the Course Content for the day?

  • Case study on Innovation
  • Tools of Entrepreneurs
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution [Industry 4.0]
  • Exponential Technology
  • The Second Curve
  • The New Phase of the Startup Revolution
  • Innovator’s Dilemmas and Challenges
  • How to best to set-up your Social Enterprise
  • Disruption and How to disrupt
  • How to think big
  • Abundance
  • Why building the future matters
  • Adjusting the Course. Nature does not allow the vacuum
  • Innovation, Creating Scarcity
  • The Art of Pitching and Storytelling
  • Essentialism and the art of focusing on one thing
  • Permission and Trust
  • Raising Money and Cash Flow
  • Guest Speaker: An Entrepreneur
  • Two Books: The StartUp Revolution by Roche Mamabolo and Turning Passion Into Profit by Jabu Stone

What are the workshop details

Date: Friday, 16 June 2017

Time: 09h00 – 18h00

Number of delegates: 20 only (First come, first serve)

Venue: Midrand

How much does it cost?

A lot. R800. Not R799 or R750 or some clever amount. And it is not just the money, it is the time you will be spending as well.

There are two reasons for this fee. The first is that this workshop requires a significant amount of commitment. Not only time, but the decision to overcome your status quo. One way we can make that likely to happen is to raise the stakes.

If this sort of change or investment is too much, we totally get it. This workshop probably is not for you. The good news is that all the content is in the world, free online or in accessible books. There are no secrets.

You are paying for the experience of being in the same room with other change-makers, discussing how to challenge and overcome your status quo. It is difficult to put a price for that.

The cost includes:

  • Access to the workshop material;
  • Two books: The StartUp Revolution and Turning Profit Into Passion Book
  • Guest Speaker;
  • Refreshments; and
  • Lunch.

How do I sign up?

This workshop is for doers. If this sounds like you, we invite you to apply.

To sign up: please send an email to

Who is the Guest Speaker?

The guest speaker to be confirmed. We will have a thought-leader, an entrepreneur to share their thoughts on their journey, challenges and successes and tell stories of how they overcame their failures.

What does the books entail?

The books to be handed out to entrepreneurs:

The StartUp Revolution: Fit In or Stand Out – Roche Mamabolo

cover (1)

For more information on the book, following this link: The StartUp Revolution: Fit In or Stand Out.

Turning Passion Into Profit – Jabu Stone


For more information on Jabu Stone’s new book: Turning Passion Into Profit.

How is the program structured?

There is a video case study, there is a guest speaker, there is presentation of coursework and there are group case studies and discussion. It’s about practical application.

The first hours of the workshop we will talk about the fourth industrial revolution, and what it means for entrepreneurship, the updated startup revolution, the future of the revolution, organisation, innovation, storytelling (to the public and to the investment community), the economic structure of your offering (free, expensive or in-between) and strategy and tools of entrepreneurs.

I’m very interested in helping entrepreneurs see the relationship between identifying problems and building solutions. There will certainly be a bias toward businesses that can solve major continental problems, use technology and can grow to employ more people, but not exclusively.

A startup is a special moment of time, when all decisions are on the table, when the entrepreneur has a clean sheet of paper to think hard about strategy and how you will create value.

I’m most interested in two things:

  • Discussing how an entrepreneur can re-architect and re-organise their plans to make them considerably more likely to succeed; and
  • Helping entrepreneurs engage with other entrepreneurs in the same stage of development to help them dramatically increase their skills at the same time help them.

What will the typical day look like?

We will start outlining the future of entrepreneurship, the major challenges faced by the world and how the new breed of entrepreneurs should solve them and from there we will watch a video documentary of how entrepreneurs are introducing products to save the world and in the process making money followed by a class discussion.

There will be a lot of presentation of practical workshop material and discussions.

You will spend the day with other attendees in small group work, designing multiple scenarios to present to the class at the end of the day.

After-Workshop-Session is optional where a guest entrepreneur will share his/her business experience, and we will also assist groups as they work through choices and pitches.

The workshop is limited to 15 people only so that it can be manageable, intimate and efficient. First come, first serve.

Refreshments will be served. Pen and pad will be provided.

Who will present the workshop?

I will present the workshop, I have presented this workshop before for the past three years, and in the process have presented similar topics for the past 10 years.

For my resume, please follow this link: Roche Mamabolo profile

There will be a guest speaker who will be announced in due course.

Who is the ideal candidate for this workshop?

This is for:

  • Entrepreneurs;
  • Social entrepreneurs;
  • Managers;
  • Artists;
  • Innovators;
  • Designers;
  • builders;
  • Doers; and
  • Makers.

Our alumni are from various organisations.

Typical participants have at least 2 to 10 years of work or entrepreneurship experience.

Past delegates have come from industries including:

  • Technology;
  • Communications;
  • Consumer Products;
  • Financial;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Nonprofit;
  • Consulting;
  • Law/Legal Services;
  • Raw Materials/Energy; and
  • Retail.

Regardless of industry or job function, this workshop is for people in a hurry to create disruptive change. It is for change-makers who want to sharpen their strategic thinking and add more frameworks to their toolbox.

How do I get to the venue?

3 Tybalt Place, Waterfall Office Park, Bekker Road, Vorna Valley, Midrand.

The venue is accessible and is central, between Pretoria and Johannesburg. There is secured covered parking at the venue.

This workshop is for people who are willing to invest in their career growth. Your mind will be stretched, you will be challenged, but you will be exposed to new thinking, and you will have fun.

Looking forward to seeing you leap.

The Spectator Sport

spectator life logo

The thing with being a spectator is that, at some point you become critical.

In the long run a spectator becomes a critic. Not just an ordinary critic, but an angry bird.

You can’t be a player and a spectator at the same time. Just like it’s not good manners to eat and talk at the same time, those who are doing seldom have time to be critical at the same time.

Even those who criticised the Wright Brothers, when they got onto an airplane, they didn’t apologize to these engineers on their way in.

Spectators pay, doers get paid.