13 Sep

This blogpost is in the form of a short-story. More specifically, a real-life short-story that recently played off in my life. I guess you could find it humorous and call it a comedy, but I’d like to place this one under adventure. Why? It’s one heck of an exciting story.

19 June 2017 – I just finished my first semester of engineering studies and on this day, wrote the one subject that I failed. Miserably. I’m not even ashamed to mention this as EBN is considered harder than playing darts with spaghetti by first-year engineers. Anyway, I just came from 3-years of doing triathlon as a professional with almost no academic stimulation other than reading travel itinerary. Triathlon allowed me to explore 28-different countries, and while most of the time on my own – the strangest things happened. I will still write up a fair amount on these experiences (perhaps a few good candidates for the comedy section). Seeing the world at the tender age of 22-years old opened my mind to view my surroundings a bit differently.

Not being used to holidays whilst doing professional triathlon, it was no different when I laid down my pen after writing EBN and found myself in the freedom bracket for the first time after school. I’ve always been a vivid entrepreneur, from selling musical instruments than I bought on auctions, helping my dad sell vehicles, tendering for portions of code for iOs app development, starting a storage and transportation business for students leaving res over holidays, importing and building a 3D printer to sell all kinds of stuff from ram tubes for racing cars to fidget spinners, and a few more business ventures. Thus, my free-time holiday was spent in no other way than to start a new business. I had this idea that I compare to a seed in my brain, and the more I thought of it – the more the seed got water and the idea would grow.

What was this idea? Two and a half months later, you already found it somewhere either on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, a flyer or someone told you about it – the idea was Hoorah Online shops. The first of it’s kind multi-vendor marketplace where ANYONE can create a quick and powerful online shop. I almost went into overdrive to explain the perks of a Hoorah shop to you in this blog, but I just realized it’s described much better in our Youtube Tutorials and FAQ. Anyway, the seed rolled down the mountain of ideas in my mind and became a reality. Soon after the June/July holidays, Hoorah Online Shops officially launched.

At varsity, I met Geoffrey Ellis. We only met because the first letters of our surnames forced us to sit next to each other in physics practical groups. Geoffrey is one of not only the best gingers, but also friends that you’ll ever meet (he’s even got his own Youtube channel called GingerPro TV). One week after Hoorah launched, Geoffrey invited me to attend a lecture on technological disruptions, hosted by guest-lecturer (and Geoffrey’s girlfriend’s dad) Willie Schoeman. Willie, being high-up in Accenture’s technology department, is a very well known guy in the corporate world (and possibly the most open-headed person above 40-years old that I know). This description does very little justice to the guy that he is, but is enough for now. Willie’s lecture left me in awe of the exciting times that we find ourselves in. Economies are being disrupted by simple ideas fueled by technology and creativity demand in the business-ecosystem is constantly calling for entrepreneurs to discover the latest disruption. My mind went into fifth gear during the lecture and I knew I had to spend time with Willie, as he deals with innovation and entrepreneurs on a daily basis.

In a class filled with post-grad computer science students, it’s hard to ask a question related to technology without making it obvious that you haven’t also spent the last 4-6 years of your life studying computers. So I raised my hand to ask Willie a question about something I know a fair amount of, common sense. Willie still doesn’t know it, but it couldn’t bother me less if it was a stupid question – whilst he was explaining a model of 5 ways to identify the next disruptive technology and “bulletproof” companies against disruptions, I interrupted the class to ask if common sense shouldn’t be the sixth way and gave my little argument. For me, it was not so much about the question, but rather making a bold move in front of a class filled with post-grads to get Willies attention. Willie invited myself, Geoff and his daughter for a coffee after class.

Geoff, being the kid that gets excited about anything out the box, had told Willie all about Hoorah even before I met Willie. During our little coffee-date, I mentioned briefly that a partner would be ideal for Hoorah moving forward. One thing lead to the next, fast forward a week or two and Willie was my new partner with 50% equity in Hoorah. We decided to take the site offline, brainstorm, get the business and all documentation in order and develop the site to something that will change the course of entrepreneurs in South Africa for the better. During all this excitement, I was writing engineering week tests (one week, 5 modules of writing tests every day).

I would force myself to study until 10pm each night, when I closed my books I would open my laptop and start working on Hoorah until 2am the next morning. The excitement could not be contained – I would read up on entrepreneurs, explore possible features to build into the site, research piles of successful e-commerce sites and there seemed to just be a endless source of energy fueling me to get Hoorah live again. I was faced with a decision to do two things half, or one thing properly. My studies was busy frustrating me as I was researching the latest trends and the future they’re shaping, while being forced to study chemistry and statics which I could not see the relevancy of. I know these things have a place in the world, but in my case I was in the mindset of developing something great and researching every single thing to optimize the odds of Hoorah being successful. I also started questioning what we were being taught in engineering the more I did research on the way the world is shaping, but that is a story for another day.

Nobody can predict the future, but the past tells us that the odds are that you’re much more likely to succeed when you put more effort into something. I decided to equip myself with short Nanodegrees though online learning platforms. The current Nanodegree that I’m working on is Udacity’s Advanced Data Analytics course, which I will use to optimize all the tons of data we will be gathering from Hoorah. One thing I’ve learned though triathlon, is that it’s not how you perform on the day, it’s how you perform everyday – this will be my motto when constantly working with Willie to make empower entrepreneurs through Hoorah.

So here is a fully-functional platform driven by a desire to succeed in it’s goal and shaped by one very cool story. It’s been on track so far only because it is a platform that is in God’s hands, one single challenge at a time.

What an adventure. This is living.

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