From med school drop-out to winning best international mobile app of the year and MTN Business app of the year, both in 2013. Andre sold his first company at 27, lost it all again at 28. He was there when text messages were free and developed the first commercial MMS enterprise.
I Am Driven By | The excitement of creating something new, different or better. It wakes me up at 3 in the morning and has my mind spinning. I love that feeling. And it happens without warning. I’d see something today and match it with an idea I saw 3 years ago and suddenly it all makes sense. And then I start building and scoping in my mind.
And the flip side of it is, because I can. And so can anyone, just get doing stuff. I recently brought out a wine label under my name, for no other reason than I thought I could and wanted to try it.
You honestly just have one shot at this delight called life – take it. You owe it to yourself and those around you.
My Highlights | In my life there are so many highlights but I think they all stem from a feeling and belief that we have this one life, take all the chances you can get. So I’ve done SO many things that are amazing and fun and noteworthy (well for me that is).
We all start with 24 hours every morning – make the most use of every single minute. One might want to read or look into the teaching of Eckhart Tolle and the Power of Now, or as Jim Rohn used to tell me, if you’re at a place, be there. Some of the wisest words I’ve ever heard – go think about it.
Career wise I like to better myself in each challenge. So where I am right now, is definitely one of the bigger highlights, we’ve taken what was a small little 5 man company 3 years ago and can now claim the following:
- 700% growth in 3 years,
- our mobile app was voted as the best mobile app worldwide in 2013 (beating 150 000 others);
- 5th most visited e-commerce site in SA and
- Our current app has 1:1 usage month on month (meaning that effectively everyone that downloads it, uses it) with about 600 000 downloads and the same amount of monthly uses.
People like what we do. And in the process I’ve built an amazing team of people that will take this experience with them through their lives.
The Difference Between Good And Great | The differentiator here is sometimes so small yet so important. It is either that extra hour, or real time spent with staff, or flying to be at that one meeting. I’d say, it’s the little extra you do, every day, that add up to making the change. Be that practicing a musical instrument, to running that extra mile.
As I shared with my team at the start of the year, you’ve got to do the hard things. Wake up ½ hr earlier, make that phone call, go and see that client, do the hardest thing you don’t want to do today – it will change everything.
To use and example, we recently we saw the listing of Alibaba in the US – biggest listing of all time. A Chinese success story that beat the US at capitalism (imagine the irony). And their CEO, Jack Ma, said a few years ago, if you just work from 9-5, you won’t be any great success, it takes dedication and effort. And so they put in the extra hours, did that little but more. And it pays off, faster than you will know.
A Key Talent | One of the biggest areas of my success has been the people I work with. And there are a few issues that make this more than just a comment that people are good – they aren’t. Nothing gets my back up more than incompetence or just plain laziness. I’ve selected and also been lucky at times with the people I work with and that work for me. A good team of people that work well together needs to be selected and chosen.
We’ve had very well qualified candidates interview for some key positions yet they weren’t team players and wouldn’t fit in the culture, and that made them unsuitable to join.
Taking this idea further and what makes success critical are the words: ‘Let’s’ …I look and do all with my team from the point of ‘Let’s go do it’. Not ‘You’ go do it, no; let US go do it. One needs to get their buy-in and see that you’re part of the solution. The only way you carry your passion is to get involved.
I see too many people get into positions of power and then think work needs to be done for them. It doesn’t work that way. If you want to grow something of real value, get everyone involved and share with them where you’re going and what you want to achieve.
The Characteristics Of Success | I’ll try and steer clear of the clichés here, though some are very relevant – put in the hours, make the effort, it’s what you do when others are not watching that count.
But more so, I’d say it is my thirst and desire for knowledge that has played a big part to it all. I’m forever reading, printing, looking into articles and things that interest me. And this gives me a wide range of knowledge areas to draw from. Steve Jobs once said creative people know how to connect things. And I find the only way I can naturally connect things is to have points of reference.
One doesn’t need to know everything, you just need to know where to find it.
Principles I Live By |
- Do no harm to others.
- Sometimes you have to take a chance and say why the hell not. You’ve got nothing to lose.
- Always keep on hustling.
How I Use My Mind | I honestly do think about things a lot. My mind is constantly reconsidering options and ways things could be done. And if you leave it for a while with a problem, it will get the solution. Oh and don’t be afraid to screw-up, take the chances, there is magic in that.
I believe the universe conspires to help you, but only if you make the effort and put your foot out the door.
Lessons I Have Learnt | It takes 15 years to become an overnight success.
Not always in effort but in the time you have to put in to become the person that is successful. Money is not success; I had it at times when I was younger without knowing what to do with it. It is the years of experience and failing and making mistakes that make you successful. How boring would life be if one achieved ‘success’ in your twenties and had no challenges going forward.
Too many people give up on their dream of more than mediocrity when they’re still young and then live quiet lives of desperation.
Performing At My Peak | I don’t, one of my favourite sayings in life is: ‘Only mediocre are always at their best.’ We all have our ups and downs, yet it does come down to getting up one more time than you fall. Just one more time.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I’m forever buying new and interesting books in book stores (I love a big library at home) and on my Kindle. There are ranges of industry sites / newsletters I follow which keep one very informed. The most prominent ones that jump to mind would be http://www.businessinsider.com/, www.zite.com (on my iPhone), www.mashable.com, www.techcentral.com, and www.ted.com.
In movies I always look for the one line or message to take home with me …I started with quotes received out of Dead Poet’s society and grew from there.
Play chess – it will teach you to think ahead.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | The one things that sometimes scares me – in a good way, is that we only have one shot at this life thing. It is such an amazing time we live in and there is so much we can get to do, yet we only get a shot at it once. So I try and do all I can, if it means an early wake-up to climb Lion’s head or a drive out to the beach to surf, when one is so keen to just stay in bed.
I wouldn’t say there is one specific goal that comes to mind, trust me they are constantly there. In business I have visions and dreams to deliver the best product in the market, not just a good product, no, one that changes lives. And I use that with every product or solution we go to market with.
The Meaning Of Life | What an unusual yet smile inducing question. To me it is very simple, to take every opportunity given to you. They’re all there and waiting, all you need to do is uncover them. It might take some effort though (smile).
The Best Advice I’ve Received | When I was a young upstart, just gave up my studies on a specific career and thought I knew everything, I was told that: It will take 15 years to become an overnight success. At the time I didn’t understand it, I do now.
And a close second would be: If you’re at a place, be there. Don’t live in the past, don’t just dream of the future, don’t sit on your phone in a conversation, give wherever you are right now, your undivided attention – your life and results will be so much better.
Advice On Building Wealth | Grow and invest more in yourself, your time, your reading and studies. The money and other trappings of wealth will come – if you want them. By being hungry for knowledge you might realize you’d much rather become a National Geographic photographer or a teacher of school kids, and the latter is so important. I have seen the pleasure one gets out of helping a child grasp a new idea and that beats riches any day of the week.
Few things compare to the knowing that you’ve left a child with a vision. So help others, and you’ll be helping yourself – use this in wealth building and you’ll see how unbelievably successful you become.
My dad showed me, that you’ll never stand as tall, as when you kneel to help another.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | The idea that anything is possible.
It truly is, even though at times it might not seem that way, there is always a way out. But like a clever maze, life needs to be experienced to find these ways. Enjoy the adventure along the way. Stop, smell the flowers, play with your kids, take a day off. But when you’re at work, make every second count.