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    Mandela lessons in leadership

    What Madiba’s 100 birthday can teach us about leadership and our hopeful future.

    On this very special Mandela Day, celebrated on the 18th July, we are not only called to engage in acts of kindness for 67 minutes.  To honour Mandela’s first birth centenary, the Mandela Foundation has appealed to all South Africans to “Be the legacy”, rekindling Madiba’s commitment in creating a better and more just society. 

    Making an impact in society has become a current motive in most conversations we have, at a professional or social level.  While it’s important to be aware of the role we play in, quoting Barack Obama, “bending the arch of the world toward justice”, the concept can sound daunting. Besides political affiliations and with complexities set aside, the personal story of Mandela undoubtedly embodies crucial values that guided his life and informed on leadership. While his story remind us that the ability to lead is not “built in a day”, it provides the opportunity to look at three crucial characteristics of Madiba’s leadership, which in turns inspire us to re-imagine our human abilities to advance freedom and social justice in the world.

    Listening

    In a series of articles on Nelson Mandela, Raymond Suttner reminds us of Mandela’s ability to listen since his early days as a lawyer with his partner Oliver Tambo. Clients would talk for hours, covering well above what would be relevant in court. Mandela was interested in what people experienced, and had the ability to give them undivided attention. This attribute does not only underpin respect towards others, but it is fundamental in developing a political vision that is shared, and that speaks to the people involved; this is essential for positive buy in.

    The Freedom Charter reflects this approach to problem solving; 50 000 volunteers were sent out around the country in 1955 to collect freedom demands for a non racial South Africa. The charter did not only inspire young freedom fighters but it was partly included in the Constitution after the 1994 elections.

    Do we really listen? This skills helps us refocus the conversations we have with people that we meet, or happen to meet when we go about our daily lives, dismissing any preconceived assumptions.

    Commitment

    During the Rivonia Trial, in April 1964, Nelson Mandela delivered a riveting speech, in which he outlined his position and the reasons for turning to violence against an unjust government. In this historical speech he declared, in front of local and international ears, his unwavering commitment to a democratic and non-racial South Africa, “[It is an ideal] for which I am prepared to die.” This was also his last public appearance for the following 27 years, and he was sentenced in June of the same year, alongside his comrades.

    Mandela devoted himself to the vision of an equal South Africa, to the expense of his personal life and the lives of his loved ones. His sacrifice came at a high cost, but its outcome was the achievement of building one nation that now sings one anthem out loud, under one flag.

    What am I committed to? This is a question that we need to ask ourselves.  As humans, we constantly change; the huge amount of information processed daily makes an impact on what we think and, forgive the clumsiness, what we think we think. Fake news and confirmation bias play a role in reaffirming where we stand and what we stand for, today. We all need time out to get in touch with what we are committed to and how we want to add value to a cause.

    Flexibility

    Nelson Mandela’s headstrong commitment coexisted with wise flexibility. The use of violence to fight government that was not ready to renounce the unfair apartheid system, changed to enduring and collaborative work to ease peace and reconciliation.

    When Mandela saw the opportunity to secure sustainable peace and freedom, he initiated talks with the apartheid government. Leaders are required to continuously gather new evidence on which to base strategies, and Mandela offers a precious example of willingness to change approaches to achieve a shared good, with no personal gain. In fact, Mandela never entertained offers of release on conditions he rejected the cause and the struggle.

    Like a spot-on business plan, his transformational leadership exemplifies the process needed to ensure that our actions and tactics will still make a positive impact on your cause for all the individuals involved, with a changing environment. It does remind us that life is a cycle of trial and errors, of eureka moments and humble decisions; most of all, it replaces the “I” with the “us”, raising the bar of collective achievements.

    The world needs a little Madiba

    During the 16thMandela Annual lecture yesterday, Barack Obama confessed in front of a packed stadium, how he was deeply influenced by Nelson Mandela, as a Law Student across the globe. While Nelson Mandela fought for a democratic South Africa, he influenced and inspired the world with his moral example and transformation that he fought for.

    At a time of political instability and media dominated by “disturbing headlines” , I have to recognise that the world needs a little Madiba to re-magnetize our own moral compass and confirm the small or big role we play in society. The struggle Madiba fought for is relevant not only to the South Africa of today, but sadly to most countries around the world. Racial discrimination, gender and economic inequalities are some of the issues that still affect our society.  The struggle is not over.

    While we honour the memory of Madiba, the Father of the Nation, we are also called to continue living in his path of deep listening, commitment and flexibility to achieve the shared goal of seeing a new world order, where individuals are truly equal and free.

    How can we Be the Legacy?

    Be the legacy is a very important appeal to connect and tap into solidarity with our fellow human beings.

    Be the legacy is a call to make the active citizenship that characterises Mandela day a lifestyle and not a once-off.

    Be the legacy is an invite to live the principles Madiba embodied, to continue working towards his vision for a free society where we are all equal.

    Be the legacy is asking us to connect. The Apartheid system was not brought down by Mandela alone, and many fighters joined and supported the struggle with a sacrifice they paid with their lives.

    Barack Obama says that it’s an amazing gift to be able to help others and that is undoubtedly true. Inclusivity in our society cannot be achieved by inspired leaders that act alone. Being the founder of the Cape Town Office, you can imagine what my next words will be (apologies if you got there first). Put your skills together to amplify your impact, collaborate and network with people from different walks and businesses. Make your principles and values relevant by engaging with one another. Some of the finest things in life and business come from a collective of ideas, trend makers, change makers, leaders, who share common ground and a vision of hope.

    Let us make the first centenary a memorable one, with the hope that it will inspire us to commit to “Be the Legacy” throughout the year, and years to come across the globe. After all, “It’s in OUR  hands to make the world a better place”.

    July 18, 2018
    Business Business Plan Cape Town co-working Collaborate community cowork coworking Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Network networking Start-up

    POA

    P.O.A Sessions @ CTO

    Greetings fellow Entrepreneurs and Hustlers out there. I bring you good tidings! In January, yes next month, we kick off the first in a series of P.O.A Sessions at CTO. I know we love a good ackronym, so let me not keep you in suspense any longer. 

    P.O.A = Plan Of Action (can I hear a hells yes!)

    So, what it is and how does it work?

    In a series of Monday morning sessions, Cape Town Office coach Lauren Franze invites you to be part of this dynamic group coaching forum designed to support you, the Entrepreneur in taking your business to the next level.

     

    The POA focuses on 5 key aspects:

    • Think better and bigger
    • Design and execute a highly efficient strategy
    • Examine habits and mindsets which undermine productivity
    • Consider your skill set and identify development areas
    • Optimise your energy flow

     

    Each 2-hour session allows for both group and individual participation. Members can both be coached, and observe others receive coaching. Collaboration and group support is encouraged and facilitated as well, to build a constructive, supportive environment for the individuals, and the forum.

    Why should you do this?

    A recent ICF (international coaching federation) study published the following results from organisations who made use of business and personal coaches for their staff or teams, and this was the result.

    Productivity improvements

    • 70% in work performance
    • 61% in business management
    • 57% in time management
    • 51% in team effectiveness

    When / Where / How much?

    Session 1: 22 January
    Session 2: 29 January
    Session 3: 05 February
    Session 4: 12 February

    Time: 08h30 to 10h30
    Where: Cape Town Office, 62 Roeland Street, Gardens 8001
    Cost: R850.00 per person [Public] / R650 per person [Cape Town Office members]

    For more information on Lauren Franze, please visit www.laurenfranze.com 

    Sessions are limited to 8 participants at a time, to ensure a close-knit group dynamic, optimal individual attention and time efficiency.

    Sign up / Find out more – send Lauren an email now. 

    December 06, 2017
    Business Cape Town co-working Collaborate community cowork coworking Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Network Investment networking Pitch Shared Office SME SouthAfrica Start-up

    Growth

    Growth: how do I grow my business? 

    You’ve done the important bits. You’ve taken the idea you came up with at 3am in the morning and turned it into a business. Through your immediate network of College or University buddies and family, you’ve signed up your first customers and things are going well. And now, you’re in that uncomfortable, comfortable position of having happy clients that keep your cash flow ticking over, but no new business. The uncomfortable bit, in case that wasn’t clear, is the thought of “What happens if I lose one or more of those first clients”, what then? 

     

    I’ve spent the last 12+ years working with startups and small businesses, helping them create, expand and nurture their prospect and sales pipeline. It’s a field I know well and have come and believe vital to the survival of these businesses. What surprises me more and more, however is just how few of the companies I encounter here at Cape Town Office, a coworking space, pay any attention to this practice. 

     

    Why?

    A lot of the time, founders of startups are way too busy to dedicate the time needed to make some cold calls, attend networking functions and set up meetings to grow their audience. The other part, and probably more key, is the lack of funding to employ a seasoned new business developer that can fulfill this function for the business. Granted, these are two pretty valid “reasons”  but, there if you think there’s a choice in the matter, I’m here to tell you that you’re sorely mistaken.

    Developing a sales pipeline is not glamorous or sexy, but it’s as vital to the growth of a new business, just as the air you’re breathing right now. There is no maybe, but or perhaps, you HAVE to do this, or as good as your idea might be, that’s all it will remain…an idea. 

    I’d like to provide you with some ideas on how you can bootstrap your lead generation process, which you can adapt and expand as you grow. 

    1.  Set up a CRM platform, one that you like to use! 
    2.  Funnel your contact list into the CRM, from ambassadors to influencers and prospects
    3. Spend no less than 5 hours per week on growing this database 
    4. Proactively communicate to your audience weekly; either by phone calls or emails 
    5. Set targets: make sure you get out of the office at least 3 to 4 times a week meeting with potential clients 

     

    Resources

    1. CRM: I’ve used a bunch of them in recent years and find the differences between them to usually be small. Affordability is a key driver, so make sure you’re not paying $100’s for functionality that you might never need. Keep it simple. 
    2. Consultants: Reach out to the experts to help you define a clear strategy 
    3. Join a co-working space, which makes sharing of resources and knowledge far easier than being on your own

     

    At the end of the day you can’t expect to grow your business without new customers and you can’t expect to gain those new customers, if they don’t know about your business. So, that’s my thought of the week for you. Go out there and talk to as many people as you can about what it is you do and why they need to jump on board! 

    Go get ’em! 

    October 23, 2017
    Cape Town co-working community cowork coworking networking Shared Office SouthAfrica

    Beyond the square meter

    As the host, or operator of a coworking space, I field a lot of enquiries from people who have never worked in one before. The most commonly asked question? “Can you tell me what’s included” and “How many square meters does this buy me”. For those of you who are familiar with the concept of Share Economy, you’ll understand just how 1990’s those questions are.

    Coworking or Shared Offices spaces like Cape Town Office are as much a disrupter to the traditional office space business model as Air B&B is to holiday accommodation or Uber to taxi services. It challenges the belief that one must engage with these operators in the same manner as you would back in the 90’s when an office space meant square meters tied to a 3 year lease. Coworking is so much more than just an office space. For example, how do you quantify or place a monetary value on the networking potential a well run community provides? How do we as coworking space owners and operators even begin to advertise or sell the value of what it means to be part of such an interactive community means? The short answer for me, is you can’t. You can wax lyrical about how great it is, post photos of your social activities and use formats like a blog to write about the amazing projects your members are involved in, but until that person standing on the outside steps in, you’re wasting your time.

    There is of course the monetary value that you can highlight, such as Enterprise level internet or fully kitted kitchens they get to enjoy, included in the membership fee. Which in itself is something, especially if you consider the cost of proper uncontested, unshaped fibre internet in South Africa.

    But for me, 6 years in, it’s the deeper questions I most welcome. Questions like, how social the community is or asking what the best way is for me to engage my services with the community. The value each of my CTO Chief(ette)s bring to the greater community, is exactly what makes it the most valuable asset and also the most difficult to market. It’s what helped Cape Town Office achieve quite the accolade in 2016 by being ranked in the Top 10 “Best Coworking Spaces on Earth”. It had very little to do with how fancy our light fittings are, or how many arcade games we have (we have 2 by the way), but it had EVERYTHING to do with our community and their interaction with their space. You see its not owned by any one member, but instead it’s a Share Economy made possible for all. They all share in the spoils of amazingly fast internet and on Fridays when we have beers on the balcony, we share the work in carrying up sound system so we can have some tunes. It’s about signing for a delivery when a coworker just popped out and keeping it safe for them till they return. It’s about rallying around a member who falls ill and take hospital visits in turns, so everyone gets a break. It’s about community.

    And so yes, it’s far beyond the square meters you get when joining a coworking space like Cape Town Office and now that we’re expanding, yes we’re adding more of them squares to our space, you’re very welcome to join us!

    If you’d like more information on who the top 14 players are in Share Economy, check out this piece on Forbes.com

    May 22, 2017
    Business Cape Town co-working Collaborate community cowork coworking Design Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Network Internet networking Shared Office Social media SouthAfrica

    I left the house, and I liked it.

    I left the house, and I liked it

    Reflections of a first time coworker…

    This month we asked CTO Chief, Sarah to reflect on her first month (ever) in a coworking space and here is what she had to say. 

    242h

    So, my thoughts on my first month of being in a coworking space: I can honestly say that now that I’m able to look back on my time working from home, I can only laugh at myself in semi-exhausted hysteria. We all hear the stories of entrepreneurs and how tough it is, the sleepless nights and needing to be a jack of all trades. Not to mention that creating a successful business becomes synonymous with how little sleep you are getting, instead of how efficient you are actually being. Now two thoughts come to mind: first, that the jack of all trades is the master of none, and second, a line I remember from Scrooge Mc’Duck: “work smarter not harder.” I am now acutely aware of both in hindsight. 

    So perhaps, before I go on, I should mention what it is that I do for a living (to put this all in perspective). I am an Airbnb host, as well as an interior designer for Airbnb spaces and vacation rental homes. The focus of my interior design company is offering e-design packages, and while I’m based in Cape Town most of my clients thus far have been based in America. Sounds ideal, right? Airbnb host and designer, working from the comfort of home with an incredible view of Table Mountain, earning in US dollars.

    No, No No. Let me elaborate. Airbnb guests, as incredible as they are, are more interested in discussing the tourist attractions the city has to offer than your design conundrums (or, more importantly, acknowledging your looming deadline). The two roles become very blurred, and it’s hard to distinguish which one is the most important to nurture in that moment, as both are in fact income-generating. The human desire to be “likable” wins, and you find yourself negotiating how many hour of sleep are necessary for human survival while answering trivial touristy questions.

    The fallacy that I am living the dream of living in Cape Town while working with American clients and earning US dollars needs to be right sized, and quickly. Why? Well, I have two reasons, but both come down to the same frustrating issue: the internet. Firstly, have you ever tried having Skype consultations while you are trying to troubleshoot your WiFi connection? Let me tell you, it is most unpleasant. Secondly, the Design software I use is available online, which has two benefits: I don’t have to pay for licencing software, and I don’t have to upgrade my laptop (which solves the start-up’s ongoing problem of managing expenses). Have you ever tried to explain to Americans, a nation renowned for suing the likes of Nike because their shoelace came undone, that you are unable to meet your deadline because the internet has stopped working? There is not enough Prozac in the world to prepare you for that WhatsApp conversation.

    So five consultants and a few twitter posts later I realise that I need to “cease fighting” and get on with the designs that are now very overdue, as Uncle Sam is a bit hot under the collar. The only problem is that the WiFi still isn’t working, and the technician is only due the following day. So the only solution is the WLAN cable (which is too short to reach the desk) and I end up setting up shop on the kitchen floor. My Airbnb guest is strongly advised that cooking dinner is a really bad option given the current state of affairs, and is thrust a takeout menu.

    The other conundrum one faces is the design of your interior space: Is it that your bed is too close to your desk, or your desk too close to your bed? Both are true. There are days when you just seem to be in the flow and the ideas feel endless and you really want ride the wave, so to speak. So as you climb into bed and the next idea hits you like a lightning bolt, the desk is just too close to resist jumping up and switching on the laptop to start beavering away again till the early hours. The following day is generally when your motivation and your concentration are at an all-time low. Then it the bed that is too close to your desk. It would be so easy to just jump in and have that refreshing nap, the only thing stopping you is guilt. If it weren’t for that feeling of guilt and the fear of missing that one email that is about to change your destiny forever, you would Nike it (or said another way, Just do it). 

    275hSo instead you convince yourself that to carry on working is the best option. You spend hours researching whether a WordPress or Wix website is the best option. So the journey into the internet begins, and suddenly I am wondering when it was that I started caring about Brad and Angelina’s divorce? And just as I am arriving at a point where I am about to make a decision as to whether I am team Brad or team Jolie, the internet bombs out on me, again. 

    So, given my flair for drama, I think I have painted a fairly accurate picture of some of the frustrations experienced while working from home. It still does not negate that starting a business is stressful, and there are serious and sometimes paralyzing fears regarding expenditure. So why did I opt to join a co–work space? Sanity is the most concise answer I can give you. I based my final decision on this simple formula: Number of chargeable hours lost due to internet issues multiplied by my hourly rate. Viola! It suddenly made sense. 

    In fact I could in all probability rent two desks a months based on my elementary calculation. Why would I even contemplate two desks? So that I had somewhere for my ego and a whole new set of fears to sit while I was trying to get work done. I could not believe that lunacy had returned on my first day at my new desk – it was like my first day at school all over again. What if nobody likes me? What if everyone thinks what I do for a job is stupid? What if they peer over my shoulder watching me as I surf the World Wide Web?

    Honestly, as if someone could even read the words on my screen when they are five desks away. The words are smaller than the last letter on those eye tests that optometrists make you take. The other truth that was hard for ego to digest is that people are not like cats: they don’t hover around my computer watching the mouse dart across the screen. They are genuinely interested in themselves and committed to their daily tasks.

    Having said all that, it does not mean that they don’t care about you – there are plenty of opportunities to engage over the coffee machine, while preparing lunch, or on the collaboration platform. And yes, they may know someone who knows someone who is interested in your services. With such a variety of companies that use the space, I have been fortunate enough to meet someone who has untangled the spider web of confusion I had spun around WordPress vs Wix. So, combined with the advice, step-by-step guidance, and fear of what people will think of me if they find out if I am team Brad or team Jolie, I have managed to focus my efforts and get on with tasks.

    What it really comes down to is – yup, you guessed it – connection, both internet and human.

    Sarah is the founder of Urban Savvy Design, a consultancy based in Cape Town that provides bespoke design services to Air B&B hosts and operators.

    Contact her:

    [email protected]https://www.facebook.com/UrbanSavvyDesigns/

     

    March 21, 2017
    Africa APP development Business Business Plan Cape Town community Digital Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Network Investment networking Not for Profit SouthAfrica Start-up Uncategorized Visionary sources

    Share the Failure

    FuckUp Night, Pt. 2

    Thursday, 9th of March we had the 2nd ever FuckUp Night in Cape Town, and my goodness, what a night. First off, we had 4 Entrepreneurs this time, not just the usual 3 and they were as diverse as they were entertaining! But before we get there, first some housekeeping.

    First up, the venue, Canterbury Club on Canterbury Street did a fine job in keeping the attendees, speakers and production team well lubricated with a beautiful array of Mexican inspired “Minty Mojitos & Tequila Sunrise” on the night at the more than reasonable cost of R45 each! And they were damn tasty folks! [see pic] 

    Mojitos by Canterbury Club

    Refreshments keeping our Entrepreneurs fueled on the night.

    Doors opened at 17h45 and everyone had an  hour to grab a drink, meet some new people and settle in to a good seat for the night. Our MC’s for the night, were none other than CTO Chiefs (that’s members), brothers Ollie & James Boyers of Chartall Business College. For those of you who don’t know, here’s a brief snapshot of what they do…

    Chartall Business College provides accredited online learning to individual and corporate clients in South Africa. 

    First up, we had the very accomplished Founder of Thope Foundation, Rethabile Mashale Sonibare to deliver what was an insightful look into the complicated world of growing an NPO in South Africa. The complexities of skills required are not dissimilar to those required in running any other business, from managing finances to finding the right people to help you drive the mission forward. 

    Thope FoundationThope came close to running on empty, when Rethabile took the brave and somewhat radical decision in 2016 to change the business model to pursue what many might consider a more sustainable business model that actually looks to create and maintain a revenue stream, outside of what donors and benefactors bring to the table. This shift, has seen a successful bid to financing their own school, that will remain focused on providing STEM education to young girls in Khayelitsha. To keep up with their progress, on the school and how you might be able to get involved, follow www.thopefoundation.org 

    Our second speaker for the night, Mr Kean Graham Founder and CEO of Monetize More shared the tale of a most extraordinary challenge in 2013. One morning, he opened up his laptop to find that Google has not only banned  one their top clients, but were also withholding more than $2m in revenue! It was a long and painful path that lay ahead for the Monetize More team, but they managed to come out stronger, with more robust security features and screening processes and despite the tremendous cash flow problems, retained all their staff! 

    keangraham

     

    His parting words to the audience….simple.

     

     

     

    After a 10 minute interval, so we could refresh our drinks and run to the loo, the 3rd speaker of the night was up, Thorsten Rauser! His story was a simple one, albeit and expensive one. In an attempt to immolate the great game shows of the day, he came up with a revolutionary online game where a small entry fee could see you take the pot of winnings at the end of the game. He sought the advice of some pretty experienced folks and despite their advice to NOT do this, Raus pushed ahead and created the game. 

    Thorsten Rauser

    He raised a whopping R20m in venture capital funding and off he went. However, a few months in….the dreaded reality set in, the advice he was given by the experts, were in fact, right. Raus went from a Jaguar driving multi-millionaire to having to hand the keys of his beloved steed back in a matter of weeks! The fall was hard, but like all fuckups, the learning invaluable.

    Today, Raus is heading up his new startup, The Binary Family, and with a formidable team they create beautiful mobile application and brain teasing games that keep millions of people entertained! 

    Our final speaker of the night, Justin R.Melville is somewhat of a legend when it comes to startup failures, being the only one of our line up that’s actually referenced by a US University as an example of a spectacular failure. But there is a fine, fine line between one who simply fails and the mavericks of our startup landscape who truly innovate and create the next “big thing”. There are too many great lessons to reference here, sadly you should have been at FuckUp Night to hear them for yourself, but I will leave you with the one pearl of wisdom he left the audience with.

    When things start falling apart, reach out and share it with the world. You never know who might be out there, ready to lend a hand or a few dollars.

    Oh and this peach…the 3 ingredients needed to make your startup a success. 

    justin

     

    Today, Justin is the Founder and CEO of Ekaya.com a property mobile application that connects people looking to rent their dream home, to those who own them. 

    Ekaya.com

    The tool that won a thousand apartments

    The next FuckUp Night will take place on Wednesday, 19 April and you’ll be a fool to miss it. Make sure you follow our social media feeds, from Twitter to Instagram and Facebook – all @fuckupnightscpt for updates, news and ticket releases. 

    If you’d like to get in touch with any of our speakers, please drop me a line & I’ll put you in touch.

    Cheers,

    Lizelle & the FuckUp Night Cape Town team. 

    #ShareTheFailure 

     

    March 13, 2017
    Business Cape Town community Content Creator coworking Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Network networking SME Social media Start-up

    Learning from Failure

    CapeTownOffice“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki

    This year, CTO is proud to bring FuckUp Nights to Cape Town. This event promises to disrupt the “talk” scene in Cape Town by delivering a refreshingly different take; learning from failure. Founded in 2012 in Mexico, FuckUp Nights is a monthly event that takes place in over 200 cities worldwide where 3 to 4 speakers share their stories on business failure. 

    Our first Cape Town chapter took place on the 9th of Feb and we had around 140 people attend. What a turnout, especially since it was the day of SONA as well and parliament is a few 100 meters away from the venue! Despite the chaos that raged outside, inside the venue the speakers we selected for the first event did not disappoint.

    FUNFirst up, we had Khanyi Pupuma, Founder and CEO of Ekhaya Brewery, followed by Elodie Burls Co-Founder of BlinkTower and our 3rd speaker of the night, Fred Roed, CEO and Co-Founder of World Wide Creative

    We could not have asked for better speakers for our inaugural FUN Cape Town chapter. The takeaways were strong and the audience couldn’t get enough. The night ended with a strong Q&A session followed by networking over a few cold beers. 

    Our venue, Canterbury House is a new licensed venue in the East City precinct and we are so fortunate to call this our new home for FUN nights this year.  

    Our next FUN night – 9th March 2017 – has a solid line-up, so be sure to check the socials, Twitter & Facebook for details on the speakers, tickets etc. 

    Can’t wait and hope to see you all there! 

    #SharetheFailure 

     

    February 20, 2017
    Africa Business Cape Town co-working Collaborate community cowork coworking Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Network hub networking Shared Office SouthAfrica Start-up

    Coworking; it’s more than just a desk.

    The journey of any coworker starts with a simple request; “I’d like to rent a desk” and usually followed by, “how does it work”.

    I get asked that question nearly 5 to 6 times a day, from people looking to get out of the house and home office environment and into a shared office, where they can come to and get some work done. Of course, I give them all the information such as cost, what’s included and how our membership is structured, but what I can’t tell them (yet), is just how much more there is to coworking than simply renting a desk in an office.

    I mean, how can you? For the most part,  it’s fair to say that my experience will differ from yours as yours will from mine, but in this world of coworking and indeed Cape Town Office, I can tell you this.  Every single coworker that’s come through the door has at one point or another said this to me…”it’s so much more than I could ever have imagined”. The reason for this in 99% (and I’ll tell you about the 1% is in a moment) of cases, is the people, their new coworkers.

    It’s not just someone that they’re sitting next to in an office, it’s someone they go hiking up Lions Head with before work. It’s someone they go surfing with, or surf school because they’ve always wanted to learn and now they have someone to do it with. It’s someone they go trail running with on a Saturday in Stellenbosch. It’s someone they meet up with on a Sunday morning to watch the cricket over breakfast in the Waterfront, because let’s face it, it’s not something my wife loves doing any day, but especially a Sunday.

    ctocrewlionshead

    The other 1%? Well, they claim it’s Pac-Man ….so who am I to argue with that.

    Coworking is a VERB,  the space we do it in is secondary to the people we do it with is how Adam Teterus of Indy Hall so beautifully explained it at CWA2015. And I for one, couldn’t agree more.

    Happy October kids x

    October 10, 2016
    Africa Cape Town co-working Collaborate community cowork coworking Internet networking Not for Profit Shared Office SouthAfrica

    Conservation Coworking

    Coworking unusual

    CSA Ops Team 2016

    January 2016

    I received a phone call from Amanda, head of Operations for Conservation South Africa. They need office space. I was a little thrown by the idea that a “traditional” crowd like CSA were keen to explore coworking, but Amanda explained that they were in a desperate situation as their current office had awful internet and they simply can’t get any work done.

    When Amanda and the team arrived for the first viewing I could tell from the expressions and the look of fear on their faces, that this would be a giant leap from what they know. “We have to work in an open plan office?” I overheard someone saying and “But what if they hear us on the phone?” from another. As I’ve done my fair share of viewings, I thought, well this was worth a shot, but clearly coworking is not for them.

    To my absolute surprise, Amanda called me a day or two later; “The rest of the team want to see the space, when can we come for a 2nd viewing?” To cut a long story short, they came and saw and the board approved the move. From day one, due to our rather brilliant internet here, the team were up and running with a tunnel straight to their USA data center, a first for team CSA I might add, and they just blended right in to the 3rd floor.

    At first, there was reluctance from the rest of the CSA crew to adapt to this “new” way of working, but to their credit, the Operations team focused on the bits that worked and before they knew it, they were 21st century coworkers and loving it. Meeting new people over a cup of coffee, bringing in cookies to share with the office and even joining the office lunch at Dias Tavern!

    It was an absolute pleasure having the team here for 6 months. They’ve now moved into their own (bigger office) in a more central location (Southern Suburbs) for the extended team to make use of as well.

    Amanda and I got to chatting a few weeks before the big move and what delighted me most was to hear from her that their time at Cape Town Office has hands down been the most productive time, ever for CSA. They’ve learnt so much from the experience in fact that when they designed their new office, they replicated their work pod from Cape Town Office so that the team can continue to work together, rather than splitting them up into separate offices as they did before.

    Well done to Amanda and the team for being brave enough to try something new & we wish you all the best in your new CSA home.

    I thought I’d share this as a testament to the fact that we do work better when we cowork!

    Photocred to CTO member, David Harris

    September 16, 2016
    Testimonials

    Testimonials

    “The Welcome Office”

    “With a friendly welcome every morning, Pac-Man breaks, great coffee, beautiful views and super fast Internet, I would recommend Cape Town Office to any young professional.”

    John H. – Ziora (July 2016)


    “Work hard play hard”

    “CTO achieves just the right mix of hard work and serious socializing! As someone working remotely from the rest of my team it’s great to have a place which make my “remote” working feel less like an individual pursuit. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a great environment to do serious work, and meet some great people in the process.”

    Peter B. – Priory Solutions (July 2016)


    “The best Coworking Space in Cape Town”

    “I’ve been using different coworking spaces for more then 6 years in Cape Town (there was only one in the beginning) and this is by far the greatest place to work at, I’ve come across. Less hipsters and more friendliness. Great people at the space and a fantastic atmosphere. We are three people working there now from our company and really love the positive vibe.”

    Thorsten R. – The Binary Family (July 2016)


    “Why work from home when you can work at CTO”

    “I’ve been working at CTO for about 1.5 years now and have no regrets. I like the fact that we have our own dedicated desks, which is great if you have extra equipment such as a printer or second screen. And there’s no need to worry about leaving your equipment on your desk after hours; there’s a security gate at the entrance and only residents of CTO have access to it. Add to this the great vibe, cool crowd and commitment & dedication of Lizelle who runs the office. I’d never want to go back to working from home!”

    Stefanie Veldhuis – Accentua (July 2016)

    July 15, 2016