Reflections on A Ten Year
A little background.
I have been a community activist for as long as I can remember. As a kid I recall my dad telling me that I would be a good union leader because I championed for better living and working conditions for our employees on the farm. In the 1980’s as an anti-apartheid activist I worked as a project coordinator helping black communities to grow new businesses after being forcibly resettled to an area west of Lichtenburg. In the late 1990’s I chaired the steering committee that set up the Muizenberg Improvement District, SA’s first residential improvement district; in three years we turned a derelict suburb into the “hot investment area of Cape Town” (cover of Property Magazine). In 2008 I wrote the Coalition of Hope, one man’s manifesto for a winning South Africa.
Then in 2009 my property development business stalled and crashed, virtually wiping out my retirement plan. I mothballed my development and began designing a new game plan for my life. Tapping into my activist energy, I explored ways to use my community development experience to grow an online-to-offline social network to empower local communities.
Below are a few of the milestones.
I should add that when I started, all I had was a composite picture in my mind if what a resilient community might look like; a mix of all the good I had been privileged to witness. I had no idea where it would take me nor how long it would take.
On 1 January 2011 I set up a Facebook group called Motivate Cape Town (MCT) to challenge Capetonians to contribute two hours a month to “DO SOMETHING to make Cape Town a better place for SOMEONE ELSE”. In June 2011 I entered MCT into the TEDx Stellenbosch CityAfrica challenge “How do we create a more cohesive society?” and was one of the six winners. I formed a joint venture with a web-developer and launched MCT in October 2011. We harnessed the knowledge and expertise within the MCT community to help six social impact projects; one of which was recognised as “Change-maker of the Year” in 2014. In 2012 MCT became the most popular venture on VC4Africa.com. One of my LinkedIn connections offered to recruit a top-notch CEO and connected me to a former South African living in the USA; together we raised $1,000,000 to launch the global company, Motivate My City. But before we concluded the funding deal a medical crisis took out my CEO; it was crushing blow for all of us. At the end of 2012 I mothballed MCT and went back to the drawing-board. Down but not out.
2013 I designed a way to reduce risks for small businesses and called it the Triangles of Power (TOP) Business Development System; harnessing a community’s wealth of Knowledge, Expertise and Money to reduce risk and accelerate growth.
I received funding from a private equity company but, when the funder tried to change the deal, I terminated the agreement and “paid back the money”; at least most of it.
The TOP system later became the template for my strategy consulting business.
2014 I realised that small businesses are the economic engine of the local community; if they flourish, their communities flourish with them. Although the risks of owning a small business are huge, I believe that the TOP system can significantly reduce the risks for a lot of small business owners.
2015 I began working on a small business network similar to BNI but with more focus on business support. Despite three failed attempts in 2015, 2016 and 2019, a new model is awaiting trial sometime in the future. “Failure is an opportunity to start again more intelligently” (Henry Ford)
2019 I studied how to set up an online course (looking for a more efficient way to finance my vision) and decided to start with the Wealth Diamond Accelerated Retirement Plan; I had designed the Wealth Diamond back in 2009 as my game plan to rebuild the millions I lost “in the shortest possible time, with the least amount of risk” (but would only teach it when I was back on my feet).
I wanted to focus on Boomers who haven’t saved enough for a financially secure old age; a potentially motivated market.
Boomers own a massive reserve of Knowledge and Expertise; what if I could help a bunch of Boomers to capitalise their decades worth of Knowledge and Expertise and, in so doing, accelerate the growth of their retirement funds with the least amount of risk?
What if we could grow a community of Intelligent Active Investors? Investors of knowledge, expertise and money; the very building blocks of the TOP Business Development System.
What if our investments could also have a positive impact in our local communities?
We could all “Get Rich!”
2020 I have committed to helping at least 360 Boomers to capitalise their Knowledge and Expertise to accelerate their retirement funds.
Hopefully we will be able to grow a community of Wealth Diamond investors.
Maybe together we can “DO SOMETHING to make our community a better place for SOMEONE ELSE”; which is what the “Win” stage of the Wealth Diamond Financial Fitness Program is all about.
To demonstrate what I mean about “Win”, 30% of Wealth Diamond quarterly profits will go towards social impact projects nominated and voted on by the Wealth Diamond community.
It’s been a long road. Every turn, every failure, every lesson learned, has served to clarify the vision and strengthen the plan.
Watch this space.
Three (of many) lessons I have learned.
1. To count my chickens after they hatch; there’s a lot that can happen between the egg and the chick; between a promise and its delivery. By counting chickens after they hatch you can stop the domino effect and hopefully disappoint fewer people.
2. An ecosystem is complex but it can be reduced to simple parts; as far as possible, share the simple parts separately and one at a time. In 2020 the “one simple part” of my ecosystem is the Wealth Diamond Accelerated Retirement Plan for Boomers.
3. It’s usually much harder than the optimist in me imagines but that’s okay as long as I know where I am going and willing to persist. “Success is going from one failure to the next without losing your enthusiasm.” (Winston Churchill)
At sixty four, my life philosophy is rooted in a wonderful Greek proverb;
“A society grows great when old men and women plant trees in whose shade they will never sit”
I am doing my best to ensure that our children and grand-children inherit a more kind and caring society.
Three things that have kept me going in tough times.
1. The best gift I ever received, five words from one of my earliest mentors who decided to become an investor; “I never back a loser”. Although my mentor died many years ago, I still try to honour his faith in me.
2. Napoleon Hill’s story of his twenty-five year journey to fulfill Andrew Carnegie’s commission as told in “Outwitting the Devil”, a book that lay unpublished for over seventy years for fear of repercussions. His story feels a lot like my story.
3. Last but not least, a Big Hairy Audacious Goal that took hold of my heart and mind and won’t let go until the job is done; as Jim Rohn said, “You will see me at the top or dead on the side but I ain’t coming back.” This is the final act.
That’s it for now.