Links for 30 March 2017 – “The only thing that is constant in life is change”

Within a few days, much has changed in SA reminding us of the famous quote “The only thing that is constant is change”. In our last the post, we remarked about the strength of the ZAR. A few hours later, that had all changed with the uncertainty brought about by Zuma’s supposed plans to axe our finance minister. So far no definitive news has cleared things up, so we wait.

In the meantime, the funeral of struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada was an event that brought the nation together (with the absence of Jacob Zuma who was asked not to attend the funeral). Some wonderful comments and speeches were made both at the funeral and about it, three of which stand out to me in particular:

  1. The quoting of Kgalema Motlanthe of the letter penned by Kathrada calling on Zuma to resign
  2. The event showing non-muslims and reminding muslims of the beautiful simplicity of Islamic funerals. Where a man who is an icon, with former presidents, deputy presidents, ministers and other high ranking individuals in attendance was laid to rest simply in a piece of cloth
  3. A beautiful quote by Professor Jonathan Jansen which is as follows:

“Show me another country where the Anglican Archbishop prays at a Muslim funeral; where a white man chairs the proceedings to remember a leader from a black liberation movement; where a sitting president of a developing country is told to step down in a letter from the deceased stalwart of his own party; where the widow of the black man being buried is a white woman who gave her life to the struggle for freedom; and where Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and other faiths come together in a broad swathe of South African humanity to remember a man who fought for all of us. Where on and off the stage no one racial or ethnic or religious group dominated the event. For a moment, just a moment, it felt good to hope again”

We pray and continue hoping for a brighter future for our beautiful country. It is worth reflecting on the principles Kathrada lived by and the sacrifices he made in his lifetime and to aspire to emulate even a small portion of that. In the struggles we face as a country today, one of the biggest tools we have is entrepreneurship. Building sustainable businesses that foster industrial growth, innovation and employment is key to our country’s upliftment. We at MYCOE would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this.

In other links, we share a hard hitting set of 21 strategies for mastering skills, mentorship and mindsets. This article is a great summary of principles to use in achieving your goals. One of my favourites and part of the reason why MYCOE was started is:

“Surround yourself with people with higher expectations than you have… For instance, scientific experiments have been done on fleas, wherein they’ve been put in a glass jar. Without the lid on the jar, the fleas can easily jump out. However, the fleas can be trained to stay in the jar by putting a lid on it. After only three days, the lid can be removed and the fleas will be constrained by an invisible, mental, barrier. Not surprisingly, the “next generation” of fleas is also constrained by this new and invisible barrier. The Pygmalion effect explains why: the next generation develops the same expectations for themselves as their parents have for them.

If, however, you were to take one of those fleas out of that jar and place them in a bigger jar, surrounded by fleas jumping much higher, mirror neurons would fire and that flea would soon be able to jump higher. Mental barriers would shatter, soon to be replaced by the mental barriers of those in the new jar.

When seeking mentorships, it’s important to realize that the expectations of your mentor reflect the flea’s jar, and invisible barrier, as opposed to your inherent ability. There is no fixed ability. Nothing, and nobody, has an “absolute” value. Everything is contextual.”

Our inspirational link for today is about how the Dollar Shave Club’s founder built a $1 billion company that changed the industry. Founder Michael Dubin founded the company in 2012 when the razor market was dominated by Gillette, which claimed 72 percent of the U.S. market and had been purchased by Procter & Gamble for $57 billion in 2005. Schick was a distant second. But Dubin saw an opening. He could start by undercutting the big competitors on razors, and then build out something that felt less like a shaving supply company and more like a full-scale men’s club — a subscription-based grooming brand with personality, that men actually identify with…In the years that followed, Dollar Shave Club released a full range of products, made a name for itself with viral online videos and produced the kind of growth rarely seen in the once sleepy category of men’s grooming. In July 2016, Dollar Shave Club was acquired by Unilever for $1 billion on the premise that the company Dubin built would stay the same and he would have the financial freedom to truly achieve his vision. The company keeps growing, more than doubling its revenue every year since launching. It started with $6 million in 2012 and is on track for more than $250 million this year.

As always, look forward to receiving your responses, thoughts and comments.

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