Friday, May 11, 2007

Make Your Fortune

I had lunch today with my father, and was given a knife (one of those knives for mail), and sent to fetch a package from his office. In the package was a thick blue binder - a history of the van der Leek's going back as far as 1730.

My great Grandfather, Kees van der Leek, had a huge faactory in the Netherlands, where a lot of the family worked as carpenters etc. From there he designed and built not only the exteriors of high quality townhouses along the canals (in Haarlem), but also the interiors. So a lot of carpentry was going on. He then went to Russia (this is before there were cars) to locate cheap timber. After that he went by ship to America and disappeared, but before he did, he went on a womanising spree. He lost everything and basically disappeared off the map, although his factories kept the family he'd left behind well heeled, and led to his children and grandchildren futhering themselves successfully in the building trade.

Over lunch my father described how he had avoided bankruptcy three times. I said that I think it's in the van der Leek's blood to do business for themselves. We're probably too intelligent, stubborn and arrogant to work for other people.

I said that I think starting one's own business in South Africa is very tough, and my father said, 'No, it isn't.' He described how many cars (as a symptom of growth and industry) now queue up to get into the city of Bloemfontein. From our house right up the highway to Spitskop - in the mornings. Something unheard of just 10 years ago.

I mentioned a business idea I did have (a direct marketing channel/medium built over a home delivery service) but he didn't seem to think it would work.

To make money AVOID THE ARTS, he also said.

Meanwhile at work today I've experienced what it feels like to be a Shitscreen. You've just got to keep calm and come up with the information you properly distributed. It's easy to forget that you did something when the evidence seems to point to the contrary.

Last night I didn't go to a Cycling Seminar (Nick Bester was the speaker), nor to the Sendingfietstoer Reunie. Just needed some Time With Nick.

Went to bed early and woke up still tired. Wow, I think I've been burning myself out. Need to get all the sleep I need this weekend.

Meanwhile, today I joined the gym. Time to swap the Michelin Man, for the Ironman.

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