Thursday, May 22, 2008

Babalife & Babajob

I have always believed that traveling is a good thing to do. It broadens your spectrum and you get to see ideas, things and concepts that you would never have previously come across. I have traveled to many places and one of the most interesting and different places I have been is India. It is a place filled with such a type of dynamism that it is hard to put your finger on it. I only spent 10 days in southern India a few years ago and it was truly a magical experience.

So it was with no surprise that, while doing research into SMS technology that I came across Babalife and Babajob.
They are sister companies that provide social networking for job seekers and job hunters. The really incredible aspect of it is it is primarily built around the ability to utilize SMS technology. You, as someone looking for a worker, can query the system via SMS. While checking on the background of people via your social network - how are they connected to you or people you know. Kind of a six-degree's of separation idea.

This is brilliant!! I have to tell you. And, it is something that so speaks to how the rest of the world is going to grow up interacting with the web. Their interactions are not going to be computer based - rather they are going to interact via cell phones. They are going to text, use WAP and eventually 3G cell based interactivity.

I realized this while I was in South Africa this winter. Everyone outside of the USA uses text way more then voice, not to mention the cell phone is so much more ubiquitous. In fact - it is the primary life line for the majority of people. Many of these people have never had a land line, never mind a high-speed internet connection.

You see we forget that the way we interact with the web is not universal and that the future is going to be very different for the majority of the world. India is showing that as are many other companies that are emerging from the rest of the world.

I of course have not used Babalife or Babajob, but even if the service is not very reliable the technology and the structure are what will be the start of a whole much bigger revolution. It is like cell phones are still in the "dial-up" phase with the MS-Dos screen.

More to come......I'm sure of it!!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

TED Africa 2008 - Canceled

Okay - well I will be the first to admit that I am completely biased towards anything positive and exciting about Africa. After all I am an African and grew up on the continent. After 15 years of living in the USA I will be returning to explore opportunities, to enjoy the sun and to relax on the beach all while ingesting the loveliness and magic of the African soil.

So, it was with a very sad heart that I saw this blog post from one of my favorite African bloggers - TED Africa Canceled. The reasoning appears to be pretty vague - something about the delay in getting licenses sorted out. I am not sure - I wish I knew more about why because I would gladly donate my time to getting the conference to happen.

For those of you that have not heard of the TED Conferences you should most certainly check out there website. The original conferences happened in Monterey, California and have brought together some of the most exciting and greatest minds in a broad range of fields - technology, arts, academia and more. There conferences are legendary and I have salivated (as has my wife) thinking about having the blessing of attending one of these workshops.

In true form to the basic motto or goal of the TED conference: "Ideas Worth Spreading" they hosted a TED Global in Arusha, Tanzania in 2007. This was a very successful conference and everyone was excited about a followup in another part of Africa. Perhaps it would be better to host it again in Tanzania, after all they already have the know-how and have done it before.

I am South African and would love to see it hosted in SA - but I would rather see it happen in Africa this year then it not happening at all. Who knows, perhaps something miraculous will happen and it will be pulled together. In the mean time other efforts will continue I am sure.

I think what this all points too is the growing importance of the "emergent economies" of the world. (Yes, emergent and not emerging - think about it and let me know if you have a question about the use of the term). These economies in Africa, Asia and S. America are going to reshape the world over the next 20 to 30 years. The odds are shifting - you can feel it in the air (or at least I can) - and these places are where so much ingenuity and creativity is going to explode into the global scene. This time, I hope and I pray, that the "forgotten" part of the world will actually prosper and benefit and show how it can all be done differently.

Hopefully the NextEinstein will be from Africa!! I am almost certain that he/she will.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Emptiness-Hidden Potential

I have started reading a book called "The Diamond Cutter" by Geshe Michael Roach**. I have only read the first 4 chapters and have found it rather interesting. The subtitle of the book is: The Buddha on Strategies for Managing your Business and Your Life.

I know that the subtitle makes it sound kind of cheesy. And, I wouldn't normally pick up a book like this. But it came highly recommended by my wonderful father, who I turn to regularly for reading material.

The first major "lesson" in the book is around the concept of Emptiness or Hidden Potential. In summary the idea is that everything in our lives has hidden potential and that that potential in great part is dependent on our perception. That any single event, person or action acquires differing values dependent on the perception of the person viewing/experiencing the action or event.

For me personally this is nothing new. It is one of the things that I have struggled to integrate into my life for a long time. It requires you to kind of take a step back and evaluate things very differently. Or, at least, that is how I have gone about dealing with it.

This being said how does one pay attention to the way we are perceiving things? Can one change one's perception? If so, how do you go about doing that? I think that these are questions that will be answered later on in the book.

I have had a recent experience with this in my work/career life. I have identified some, what I perceive to be, fundamental flaws in the structure of a certain company that I have interacted with. One could perceive this as a purely negative thing - but this is exactly the crux of the argument. An event, situation, action is not in its purest sense anything more then an empty moment waiting for the varying perceptions that help "define" it. So - something is only what it is through perception.

I think I am going on a little tangent here but I am going to follow it anyway, because I think it gets at some of the esoteric and quantum physics elements of this argument. We know that our perception our "action of watching" an event affects the outcome of it. So, therefore an event or action is more of a container filled with an infinite amount of possibilities. Which possibility actually plays out and how it affects the viewers is dependent in great part by how it is is perceived.

One of the easiest ways to think of it is in the negative/positive dichotomy (though I hate binary thinking). Some people will perceive the collapse of a house as negative; the occupants, the owner. This is an accurate and fair perception. Yet others may perceive it in a positive light; the contractors, the architect. Once again this is an accurate and fair perception after all the collapse of the building has created additional work for these peoples.

So, we have to always remember that an event or an action are not inherently bad or good, but are rather open to multiple perspectives and interpretations all of which may be accurate.

To get back to my story about the "flaws" that I spotted in a business. These flaws can be perceived as "fundamental" and therefore prevent the company from growing in any long term situation. Or, it can be viewed more positively and a solution may be proposed, which is exactly what I did, that provides additional opportunity and creates new "hidden potentials".

What this understanding does on one level is it frees us up from being concerned about the inherent "rights" and "wrongs" - the good and the bad decisions. And, allows us to become far more empowered. We can now affect the outcome because the outcome to a great deal is dependent on our perception. Or rather the result can be interpreted in many different ways.

This is where the personal becomes so important. We have to take control of the situation in our selves, in our minds in our emotions and understand that how we are perceiving things is what is affecting the power of the events. That we can truly affect how experiences effect us.

I will keep you guys posted as I progress through the book and let you know if I have this right according to Roach.

**I want to note here quickly that there is some controversy surrounding Geshe Michael Roache as a person and some of his practices. I am not interested in commenting on this aspect of him personally but rather on his book and some of the ideas that he is sharing. If you want to read more about the controversy check out

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Kelly Tells You About Our Trip

Hello All! - near and far, far & wide!


O.k. - we've been in Cape Town for 4 months now - we are leaving today!
It's been full of adventure.
We had 12 guests in total - 2 of whom we, unfortunately, had to kick out!, but 10 who were lovely! :)
2 who came for 6 days and 7 nights ( 30 hour+ flights both ways), jet-lag included!
2 who came solo - (I think they had the best time!)...
& the list goes on...
but a few of our very closest friends, whom it was so sweet to share this existence with!
It felt nice to have "home" here with us!

As you may remember, we lived (are still living), RIGHT on the beach.
We woke up (wake up) to the sun rise in our face (literally - we see it in bed), to the wave's crash...
Saul goes down every single morning to meditate, do yoga, and go for his daily swim.
Eyala and I join him sometimes...
(she watches us do yoga) :)
Otherwise, we sit there & watch the sun/eat sand ourselves.
We've gone for MANY a walk!
We did buy a surfboard, signed up for pilates, french, & dance...
all of which we're essentially taking "rain checks" for!
At the end of the day, between work & baby, the walks & sun rises out the window, etc., were all we needed on this round!

what else?
things have happened here.
We've been bombarded by "business ideas".
BASICALLY - this is California at the tip of Africa.
But - this is California at the tip of Africa in the 60's...
it's fresh.
it's fertile.

Basically, this company Saul's been working for - this PR/marketing firm (on-line), has given him the thumb's up to start to manage a "S. African" wing. Basically, Saul is going to be starting his own company with his dad (who also lives here).
They will be outsourcing work here, as it is much cheaper for the company he's working for now to function this way.
Basically, it's in so many words, they're forming a "call center", but via the internet on blogs! - & with integrity & clear intention.
It's not Saul's dream, but yet it is.
It's an opportunity he cannot pass up!
ps - his job has been a sort of crash course in the corporate ring...
we thought it would've made a tantalizing reality show!...with all the main players in Mauritius, South Africa, Germany, India, & the US.

While doing this, he's also looking at a master's program at UCT.

He's also been working heavily on a travel site (more to come on this), with a bunch of guys in Cali, and his dad. This is a very large-scale project, hopefully to be launched sooner than later.
We'll keep you posted on these details!

I, on the other hand, have connected with the UCT Business school for Messy MOnkey!
Our dearest friend Michaelle set up an "incognito" meeting, if you will.
She invited us all out to her sister's country, and a couple of her other friends she thought we might just hit it off with.
Well, firecrackers, my friends...
The woman is an artist, but has an MBA.
She is connecting me to the most fascinating people in the Monkey world - global.
Basically - she wants me to come back here in August, and work on something called the THINK INDABA.
It's a 2-week intensive "leadership training" program for leaders from all around Africa (usually around 30), who all pay about $8,000 to come take this course.
They want me to do some creative consulting with them, and to integrate some Monkey!
wow. - o.k.!
Cannot pass this up!
But, it's just the tip of the iceberg.
They've also connected me to a company called: CREATEGY (Creativity + Strategy), & HUDDLEMIND - a lab of sorts for creative experimentation of many different kinds...
I've had 5 different meetings re: all of these things since this "incognito" connection occurred!
Again - it's ripe.
It's fresh.
It's California in the 60's.

So - yes, it looks like we must come back here in August.
Think of us as bi-continental people!, 'cause to me, Cali is home.
Oaktown is home!
460 43rd St. is Home!
However, we've gotta follow this lead/these leads!, and eat this ripe fruit!
Opportunity knocks!
(plus, I must say) - living in between the mountains and the sea ain't too bad!
The food is getting better and better!

&, on that note, since we'll be here anyway, I'm starting a farmer's market in this little town we live in!
It's called Kalk Bay, and it's really funky - already.
It's full of hipster color/character, antique stores, fishing boats, and interesting restaurants...mediterranean-style landscape/houses...
BUT, it's seriously missing a good grocery store & a farmer's market!
So - I've already been calling the "council" & meeting with locals to get it sorted.
Since I'll be running it (it'll be called EDIBLE VILLAGE, by the way!)...
I'm also gonna have a taco stand at it, and a coffee cart!
(which they don't have either of yet) - at least not Really!
So - we'll have an umbrella company called: MAMA'S
the coffee cart will be: mama's PAPA DAWG coffee (it'll be drip-coffee, by the way).
&, the taco stand will be: mama's MUCHO BUENO tacos (fresh, stone-ground corn tortillas, heirloom beans & tomatoes, etc.)
we'll start there, and see what happens.

In the meantime, we're excited to go back to Oaktown!
I plan on painting 10 paintings.
I've just been asked to illustrate a children's book.
But, mostly, I plan on hanging out with my Baby!, & all of you! (who apply here! - live locally!),
& work a couple farmer's markets, etc.
do some of that Bay Area stuff I haven't done yet, or in awhile:
full moon kayak,
Tahoe trip...
lots of bbqs,
seek out some good Oaktown gospel church singin'?!
party with Eyala on July 12th (the big: 1)
Speaking of which,

aka: bubu:
(almost) walkin'!
2-teethed CUTIE!
She's doing great.
She spent most of her time on her mama in the ergo-carrier walkin' here/walkin' there...jibber-jabberin' to strangers, etc.
You'll see most all of this in the photos.

basically, we've been camping in a huge, 5-bedroom house, which will be Exquisite when it's restored!.
Regardless of that, it is a gem - location! location! location!
hardwood floors are great, white-painted wood ceilings are great, sun room is awesome! -
what we will look forward to upon returning home to Oaktown is:
aesthetically pleasing sheets,
a nice shower,
Kiran :),
our hot tub,
& an "average"-sized washer!, & a dryer!
(btw, we will not stay here on our return).
We are looking for a 3-bedroom cozy spot in Kalk Bay.

we did also experience:
calling in (911) re: a drowning :(
potent stomach bugs,
Saul fainting in the bathtub,
Eyala's fever of 104,
& then, Eyala's oral thrush/rash...
(seemingly all in a row!)...

(the unexpected moments!):
those moments in the water where you catch the wave!...
(what is that)?!
it always catches me by surprise; bliss!
Saul is often found frolicking back to his beach towel after rounds of this.
best is when we get to do it together (when aunt sasha's around?!)...

Any/everything we do with our friend Michaelle.
She's so cool/fun.
So - there's this big bike race here called the ARGUS.
Anyway, it goes Right in front of our house.
So- we cooked b-fast in the driveway, and danced to Michael Jackson.
Michaelle, Sasha, & I were dancing for all the cyclists.
so much fun.
(only wish I'd had Madonna!) :)

Again, Michaelle hosted us at her sister's country/modern home.
She has a knack for wining/dining/hosting/pampering

She, Saul, & I went and kicked it on this beach the size of your sofa. It's where the 2 of them grew up together.
It was so sweet!

I really like hanging my laundry at noon - when I can still see the moon.

the sunrises!
the sunsets!
the full moons!

Meeting Caitlyn & Jess - the daughters of Penny (the woman who owns the local organic shop).
so sweet.
(love it there!)...
Bubu and I walk there along the sea.
It takes 20 minutes (max).
We also pick up our veggie box once a week at the OLIVE STATION.
We know everyone there too.
Small Town!
Right now we owe Penny for 2 cookies, and the local bakery for an apple danish.
love that! (yes - those are saul's delicacies!)...

spontaneous girly shopping with Dalila & Glendy.

singing rounds with Peter, Mer, & Dalila. :)

all the unexpected:
watching bubu love the rain.

84-degree days (which happened more regularly in Jan./Feb./early March, but sometimes in April)!

sitting in a sandpit (on the beach), as though it were a bathtub, and just watching bubu marvel at the dogs, waves, other babies, birds, & other such Fascinating things!...

&, the coolest thing happened just yesterday (the day before we are to leave!)...
We visited a pig farm in the middle of the City - hidden in the dense residential area...I'm going to try to set up a farmer's market there...
soo cool!

See you all soon.
So much Love!
kel & the wainwrights.


Hey everyone that reads this blog - I think it might only be me that does though....

We are in Washington DC, actually just about 3 miles from the Pentagon. It is very beautiful here and the weather has been supreme. Our flight from Cape Town to DC was just perfect. We each had a whole row of seats to sleep on and Eyala slept for about 14 or the 18 hours of flying. That was fantastic!!! She is such a trooper.

We leave for Oakland tonight at 4:45pm and arrive at 7:26pm PST. Our dear friend Rachel has volunteered to pick us up which is fantastic. I am really looking forward to being home and sleeping in our bed and just enjoying our very cozy home.

I will be posting a whole bunch of photos from the trip in a couple of days so keep an eye out for those. I may start trying to embed the flickr link for those of you who are interested - though the photos will be password protected most often.

More thoughts will follow on this blog in the coming weeks.