Entrepreneurs: Do NOT pay to present to VCs

I was recently “invited” to present at the New York Venture Summit (run by youngstartup.com) as I’d been “recognized as a Top 50 Innovator”. I asked for more info, and then was I told that I’d need to pay $1500 to present. It didn’t look like a complete scam (SAP seems to back it somehow) so I took the time to tell them that, on principle, I will not support any organization that tries to solicit money from entrepreneurs for the “privilege” of giving VCs an opportunity to invest.??

Expecting that they may reply with a special gratis VIP invite, I made sure to tell them that I would only engage with them further if they changed their business model for ALL entrepreneurs.??

This morning I received this gem of a reply:??

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Adam Negnewitzky <adamn@youngstartup.com>
Date: Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 1:06 AM
Subject: RE: Confirm
To: Henk Kleynhans <henk@skyrove.com>

Hi Henk,

??

You will really be missing out. We’re bringing together over 80 VCs and for a company seeking funding something like this can be of tremendous value. It would take years to setup meetings with all of these investors and we are bringing them all together for one day. We’ve had many success stories and it’s truly a shame that you aren’t able to recognize that we are running a business which is providing tremendous value to both entrepreneurs and investors.

??

The fact that you won’t be joining us will not have a negative affect on the summit – we will sell out and have a waiting list….it’s completely your lose!

??

Adam

??

Adam Negnewitzky??

Senior Associate??

youngStartup Ventures??

Phone: (212) 202-1002??

Email: adamn@youngstartup.com

URL: www.youngstartup.com

I Will Fight for Freedom

Nelson_mandela_boxing_1

This morning, I was reflecting on Freedom Day and what it means??to me as a South African. Although we enjoy many, many more??freedoms in South Africa today, we are still very far??from a point where we can truly celebrate freedom.??

We are not free of violence. The farmer in the Free State nor the??grandmother in Khayelitsha are safe in their homes.??

We are not free to trade. There are major barriers for South??Africans who want to trade on the internet: the world's biggest??marketplace.??

We are not free to fail at business. For most of us, if we fail,??we lose everything.??

We do not have universal free healthcare. And the state provided??healthcare we do have is abominal.??

We do not have the freedom to choose high quality education,??unless we are rich.??

Many of us have fought hard for some of these freedoms, but we cannot fight every battle and every social injustice. I??believe the one thing most important for a thriving new??generation of Freedom Fighters is freedom of communication. Being??able to connect with each other is crucial if we want to see Social Change.??

Therefore, right now, my primary battle will be connecting??people. Skyrove, the company I co-founded, enables anyone to??build & manage Wi-Fi networks, simply. (When we started out,??we were flouting a law which prevented people from crossing public boundaries with any communications device. It was illegal to take 2 tin cans and a piece of string across your neighbours fence. This law was devised to protect the state??owned telecoms company and its foreign shareholders, SBC (now AT&T) &??Malaysia Telecom.)

If people have cheaper, faster options to connect, whether ADSL,??3G, Wi-Fi or smoke signals, it means people have increased access??to knowledge & education. This will lead to more people being free??of violence. It will lead to more people will be able to trade freely & easily and??achieve financial freedom.??

Better, faster & cheaper communication will ultimately lead to a??real, stable & free democracy.

Changing behaviour with simple nudges

I’ve been reading the book Nudge which is about how we can positively influence people’s behaviour by making simple changes to the environment. The video below shows how “Choice Architects” were able to get 66% more people to use a flight of stairs as opposed to the escalator by making a small change: every time you take a step, it makes the sound of a piano.??

How to type international characters (e.g. ??, ??, ??) easily in Windows 7

My aunt, an editor who frequently edits Afrikaans books, asked me if there wasn't an easier way to create Afrikaans letters such as ??, ?? and ?? than using the ASCII / UNICODE codes for them. In the past it wasn't really a problem for her, but she recently bought a laptop that doesn't have a numeric keypad which makes it quite a bit trickier!??

I decided to put together the following visual tutorial to help out. It is based on this Microsoft article.

Firstly, click on Start and type in??

intl.cpl.

1

Click on the result above to run the program and open the Region and Language dialog. Click on "Keyboards & Languages" tab.??

2

Click on the Change Keyboards button.??

3

You'll see your default keyboard selected. In my case, a US keyboard.??

Click on Add…

5

Under English (South Africa) -> Keyboard click on Show More… A long list of options will display.??

6

Click on United States-International and then click OK.??

7

You will now see United States-International added to the list. Click on OK.??

8

Click OK again to Close the Region and Language dialog.??

On the bottom right hand corner of your screen, you should now the "Language Bar" displayed (the icon of a keyboard). Pointing your mouse at it will briefly show you what keyboard setup your computer is using.??

9

Click on the keyboard icon and select United States-International. (UPDATE: I've noticed that it often defaults back to the US option automatically. Not sure why…)

10

Once you've done this, you'll be able to type international characters much more quickly. E.g. to type the letter ?? simply press ^ and then the letter e. Or to type ?? simply hold the Right Alt button and press S.

See the picture below for some common characters.??

11

More character mappings are available at??http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306560??

Vodacom 3G Ping Speeds – Green Point10 AM

ubuntux:~ henk$ ping thegrid.co.za
PING thegrid.co.za (41.0.27.139): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 41.0.27.139: icmp_seq=0 ttl=242 time=1151.076 ms
64 bytes from 41.0.27.139: icmp_seq=1 ttl=242 time=1368.852 ms
64 bytes from 41.0.27.139: icmp_seq=2 ttl=242 time=2108.878 ms
64 bytes from 41.0.27.139: icmp_seq=3 ttl=242 time=1872.578 ms
64 bytes from 41.0.27.139: icmp_seq=4 ttl=242 time=1567.398 ms
64 bytes from 41.0.27.139: icmp_seq=5 ttl=242 time=908.488 ms
64 bytes from 41.0.27.139: icmp_seq=6 ttl=242 time=1509.194 ms
64 bytes from 41.0.27.139: icmp_seq=7 ttl=242 time=1027.203 ms
64 bytes from 41.0.27.139: icmp_seq=8 ttl=242 time=927.071 ms
64 bytes from 41.0.27.139: icmp_seq=9 ttl=242 time=645.758 ms
64 bytes from 41.0.27.139: icmp_seq=10 ttl=242 time=906.774 ms
^C
thegrid.co.za ping statistics —
12 packets transmitted, 11 packets received, 8% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 645.758/1272.115/2108.878/433.295 ms

Quickbooks vs Pastel

[UPDATE] Have a look at www.xero.com

In short: Quickbooks is better. It has more features and is easier to use.

Hopefully I can save you some time evaluating accounting systems. We’ve run both packages in our business and even had a consultant (who’s an expert in both) come and see us.

At some point someone (typically someone smart, with an accounting background) will tell you to use Pastel. For some reason it’s popular with accountants.

Have you ever heard about how, in software, when you have a bug you simply re-write the manual and call it a feature? Well, that’s what Pastel did.

So whenever someone comes out in favour of Pastel, they’ll cite the old marketing spiel about how you can’t go back and change transactions (a bug) as if that’s a good thing. They’ll say that Quickbooks makes it easier for someone to commit fraud. This is not true: Quickbooks has a full audit trail, so even if someone did go back 6 months to “cook the books”, they’ll leave tracks.


Now let’s just hope Quickbooks sorts out their Windows 7 incompatibility issues…

 

Nokia E71 gets Ovi Maps

I got really excited when I first saw Ovi Maps, Nokia's brilliant (and free) navigation software. However, I was pretty disappointed that it wasn't available for the Nokia E71.??

Today that changes! Nokia has announced on the Ovi Blog that Ovi Maps are now available for Nokia E71 and Nokia E66.??

Nokia_ovi_maps

Thank you Nokia!??