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7 things I’ve learnt from Malan Joubert

  • By Alan Knott-Craig
  • October 30, 2014

malan joubert


I’ve known Malan Joubert since 2010. I first met him in a meeting arranged by the landlord of his company, FireID. The landlord was hoping I’d invest in FireID so that the lease could continue.


I demurred. But we had a walk after the meeting and it took me five minutes to realize Malan is a special person.


Since then we’ve done a coiple deals, one of which resulted in him repaying me with R50,000 in ice cream vouchers. I still have some of those vouchers, I don’t think my daughters will ever know what it is like to pay for ice cream.


Malan has taught be seven lessons:


  1. Speed is everything. If you can’t move fast there’s something wrong and you’re about to die.
  2. Scaling tech is easy to talk about, much harder to do. It’s not sexy. It’s painstaking and requires brains, patience and perseverance.
  3. There’s no substitute for raw horsepower. All things being equal, the cleverest people win.
  4. Don’t trust anyone unconditionally until you’ve known him or her for a long time.
  5. Start small.
  6. Forcing tech down people’s throats is insanity. Give people what they want, not what you think they need.
  7. The easiest way to fund your business is through revenue. Bringing on outside shareholders can be dangerous.

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