Learning new tricks

By Louis Eksteen

Paddling at Emmarentia dam yesterday, I regaled my early morning kayak school buddies with my latest midlife crisis. I was in Durban last week and “had to” go around to legendary shaper Spider Murphy’s Safari Surfboards. I walked out with a 9.6″ L2Pro longboard, just in time for the holidays.

Yes, I’m going to try to learn how to get up on a surfboard, even it’s only once. I’m properly stoked :)

This potentially foolish act got me thinking about learning new tricks. One of the most enjoyable things about our Twisted Toast business is all the new stuff we had to learn. When fellow Toaster Kim Browne and I embarked on our new business journey in 2011, little did we know how much we would need to learn to be able to offer a compelling range of marketing products and services to clients.

Even as traditional print magazine people, we had a good idea of what the potential of the internet was. (We won our first digital award for Electronic Publishing for Media24 Magazines way back in 1997.) But little did we know that knowing about something and turning it into a profitable business are two very different things.

We now had to create a brand new business from our knowledge, expertise and experience in a different category. This was way harder than we could ever have imagined.

Positively, we benefitted greatly over time from being forced to learn new things. Investors in tech startups love to say everybody has to be young in these businesses, because only the young truly understand the new connected world. I beg to differ. Some of the best tech people I know are north of 40. If you’re willing to learn, nothing can stop you.

One of the areas in which we have become experts over time is live auction systems. The technology we’re in the process of developing for a future proof integrated auction system could revolutionise how live auctions are managed. Our system is ready and the first range of tests in a semi-live environment has gone well. Another new learning is now going to be the rollout of a simple, easy to use user interface to allow auction managers the ability to do everything themselves.

Our new cloud-based auction management tool is called Altum Systems and will be ready to go to market in about June 2018.

We’re also super proud that we will be assisting a major role player in a new category for us, with marketing products and services during 2018. We can’t wait to get to know this remarkable logistics brand better.

Overall we believe diversity is a great advantage in business, because it allows for differing ideas, opinions, attitudes and results. It’s also a great way to learn new things from others, including clients.

Have a great holiday, with many new experiences thrown in.