Ed (centre), Gust and Gordon on stage at the Bookmark awards
As the current COO of Nona, I look after operations throughout the business interacting between every department, from finance to development. I focus on creating systems, processes and repeatable ways of doing things to aid us in scaling the way we produce value reliably.
While we’re still learning how to dominate the sales and marketing functions of the business, I also head these departments. My goal here is to fully understand the processes involved and then hire someone capable of improving them beyond what I can.
I never thought I’d be interested in marketing, but I’m learning a great deal and have a lot of appreciation for it now.
Across my roles, I operate both internally and externally for the business, meeting with department heads as well as clients and suppliers. As a people person, this suits me perfectly. Interpersonal interactions are the most important part of my life and work.
I also see incredible potential for process creation and task automation, as a strategy to unlock real scale for our business.
We’ve hired an amazing team of people and have connected with an incredible set of clients and the chance to service them with our invaluable staff, it has been so exciting. I love working in a dynamic environment, always working on new projects in exciting industries with inspiring people.
It’s really rewarding to deliver excellent work in the market and see real people interacting with our solutions, getting real value from what we do. The constant experimentation with practices and processes, to find the most effective way forward, is incredibly stimulating.
It’s also been an enriching journey, working to create a place of work that values humanity alongside excellence, without compromising on either. We’ve worked hard to create a particular culture within the company, fuelled primarily through honest communication.
The continued growth in pushing our limits and taking on new challenges really excites me.
I’ve always wanted to write a book called ‘How to be Moderately Successful.’ The thing about most business books is that they focus on how to be the next Google or how to earn billions – but these goals are too lofty for most real entrepreneurs to connect with, when they are starting out.
Empowering people to run a moderately successful business that they are happy with, will allow them to reach the next level of growth. Given the many lessons I’ve learnt from ‘bludgeoning’ a business into existence over the past 9 years, I think I’m at the perfect stage of my life to write this book – before I make those billions myself.
Since I’ve worn just about every hat at Nona, I intimately know exactly how we got to where we have.
Ed looking serious giving a talk and trying to explain the major challenges of a recent project
Our primary goal is to continue working on more and more leading blockchain and FinTech projects, bigger and better as we keep learning and growing. We also are looking to take our business, more formally and full-time, into North America.
We’re looking to continue to develop reusable platforms and toolkits to see just how game-changing they can become, and just how quickly they could be used to enable us to develop high-quality financial applications in unmatched time.
Growing our design department, to the same size as our development department, to watch it mature into one of the best teams on the planet is where we’ve set our sights.
Right now, I’m kind of ‘homeless.’ My partner and I are traveling the width and breadth of South Africa, going from one town or city to the next, in my Hilux bakkie (South African slang for a pickup truck).
We spend 3 or 4 weeks at each stop before moving on, taking in as many of the local attractions as possible – from landmarks to hikes to must-visit eateries. It’s been the most amazing, eye-opening experience so far and we can’t wait to keep visiting new, undiscovered-by-us corners of the country.
After high school, I worked as a face-to-face charity fundraiser in the UK. It’s the experience that helped me develop my sales ability – and grit!
Come snow or shine, I’d be standing 6 days a week, trying to convince passers-by to give over their bank account details for monthly donations. I had people constantly shouting at me – even spitting. When you’re going through that, with your hands too cold to even function, it really builds character.
Still, it was an opportunity to travel to over 180 towns and cities across the UK, to make lifelong friends and to grow hugely as a person – along with the occasional cry in a public toilet.
Taking it easy in a hammock during one of his continual road trips
That’s an easy one. I am happiest when deep in conversation with interesting people. Nothing is more important to me than connecting with friends, family, lovers, or strangers in good conversation, each a unique adventure of its own.
I had the most incredible trip in Uganda, going gorilla trekking. This unparalleled experience had me just one or two meters away, on foot, from these gigantic animals, just calmly walking past and going about their lives. It’s something I will never forget!
I love the words of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a Russian author, philosopher, and political prisoner: “Own only what you can always carry with you: know countries, know languages, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.”
In 1999, my life was changed when I saw The Smashing Pumpkins in Cape Town. I was just 12 and will never forget it.
Remember, Ed is happiest when in a discussion so drop him a message and get the conversation flowing.
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