Fun with a little madness these holidays :)

The festive season is around the corner. It’s the season for family and in our case, competitive board games for the whole family! Our sponsor for today, King Price, knows best about family values. One of the family values they live by is ‘fun with a little madness’ – I think my families board game obsession falls right into that world.

We don’t have much time together in the year but when we get those few days off we spend our spare cash on board games. I dig finding cheap hidden gems – like this Marvel Monopoly below. Granted it’s only cheap because we bought it in Hong Kong but still. It’s MARVEL Monopoly!

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Getting the same insurance cover, but with super cheap premiums, allows us to consider that extra family board game for the Christmas holidays. Preferably one involving Superheroes 😉 But how are you meant to decide on the geekiest family board games to buy this festive season? Luckily we’ve done the research for you!

 

1. The Big Bang Theory board game

board game -  big bang theory

2. Batman Snakes & Ladders

board game - batman snakes ladders

3. Star Trek Uno

board game - star trek uno 

 

Hope you manage to dedicate some time to family fun these holidays. My family is into board games, yours might be into beach vibes. Either way, try not to let the budget stress get you down during the holidays.

Thanks again to King Price for supporting the geeks. If you want to support them in return AND save money at the same time, go here for a quick quote!

 

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The lessons I learned through @GeeksDoingStuff #MakeItHappenZA

This eCommerce store is one of three businesses that I run. It’s the smallest business but also the business that has taught me the biggest lessons. I’m not always sure how its grown, but what I can share with you is the lessons I learned along the way. Lumia is running a rad campaign where they help people turn something small into something big. They are helping people Make It Happen. Today I’ll share my story with you but tomorrow you might be sharing your story with the world? Click here to tell them what inspired idea you want to make a reality.

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Opening an eCommerce store has definitely forced me to keep learning. So today instead of sharing my big story I’m going to share my big lessons. If any of these lessons help you Make It Happen then I’ve had a good day 😉

1. Listening to advice is far more important than asking for it

Everyone tells you when you venture into a new industry to ask questions and talk to the market to ensure there is a need for your product. The problem with entrepreneurs is that we tend to be bull headed at times. So we’ll ask for guidance and advice, but it’s often in the hopes that it lines up with what we were already planning. Be honest. We’ve all been there. Before we imported our first load of stock into the country, we asked the community to answer a poll about which geek branded merchandise they would want to purchase.  I took those results and based about 60% of my order on the community’s guidance. The rest of the order was based on my own personal choices. Needless to say, the stock the community wanted sold out. The stock I chose is currently gathering dust. It seems simple enough but we’re all guilty of asking the right questions and only listening to the answers that align with our plans. When you ask for advice or guidance, don’t use that as a benchmark for whatever you were going to do anyway. Listening to advice is far more important than asking for it.

2. When people abandon their carts, it’s usually your fault

Our eStore had huge issues during the opening month. Only 4% of people hitting the checkout button actually paid and checked out. We asked the community, trialed the system ourselves, and came up with a list of problems that could be causing this. It turned out that we had three issues:

  • People wanted to know what the delivery fee was upfront
  • People didn’t understand that the ‘PayFast’ option meant that they would be taken to a separate, secure payment page
  • People didn’t know what to expect – they were unsure of delivery lead times, if they could use a postal address, if they could return items, etc.

When we figured out the actual problems it was easy to implement solutions. It was our fault that our customers weren’t being communicated to correctly. They weren’t spending money because we weren’t giving them the information they needed to feel safe shopping online. By simply giving people the right information, our checkout rate increased from 4% to 36% over three months. We just needed to take ownership of the problem as our own, and learn to communicate with our customers better. A lesson that can be applied to any business. 

3. The best advice comes from people who don’t realise they’re giving you advice

People don’t have to be world renowned entrepreneurs to share valuable advice with you. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned have come from simple things my mom, friends and colleagues mentioned in passing. Often they aren’t trying to give advice, they are simply telling you a story about an issue they overcame. What’s important in those stories is to extract how they overcame their issues. I think you’ll find more often than not that their leanings can be valuable to your business. One of the best lessons I’ve learned came from watching my mother interact with my nephew. He adores her more than he adores anyone else in the family. When I watched them carefully, I noticed that this is because she does something simple. She listens to him. She listens to what he wants and needs and interacts with him accordingly. Too many businesses try to give their clients what they think that customer wants or needs. But this isn’t always the right. I was adamant that my customers wanted new products and limited edition stock, but when I actually looked at what they reacted to best, the answer was content. People loved the geeky content. The more content we supplied, the higher the traffic spiked, and only then were more orders were placed.

4. Think about the value of your business

Something this eCommerce business has drilled into my life is understanding the value (or potential value) of your business, and allocating your time accordingly. As much as I love GeeksDoingStuff.com because it’s a business born out of passion, I need to remember that it’s not my only venture and I need to give it the time that it’s potentially worth. Initially I invested too much time. I was wrapping orders, calling customers, writing blog posts and more. These were things that helped the GeeksDoingStuff.com brand grow, but I had to be brutally honest with myself and admit that the eStore needed to make more money. It wasn’t doing badly, but it needed to start giving me a better return on time invested. Ever since I’ve started monitoring the time I spend on the eStore, I’ve become a lot more conscious of optimising that time by using it to grow the business and fix problems that could potentially increase sales. When I look 12 months down the line now, and the time I allocate to GeeksDoingStuff.com, I really do expect this little eStore to give me a good return on my time.

5. Businesses are about people. That doesn’t mean the only way to make money is to sell products to those people

This actually stems from the point above. One of the things I did while optimising my time was to look at new ways GeeksDoingStuff.com could generate profit. To be honest, the difference between the effort versus the financial reward of selling geek merchandise was becoming more and more apparent. I was forced to look at all the things we had that were valuable. Besides stock, the next most valuable thing was our engaged, targeted community. I realised that my audience wasn’t only valuable when they purchased products; they were just as valuable when they came to window shop. That opened up the door to advertising. I knew that the only way I’d be happy with the eStore as a business is if it generated “X”. In order to do that we needed to adapt our model and find another method of income. Advertising closed that gap. Although it wasn’t what we originally set out to do, it’s now become part of our business model. Geeksdoingstuff.com taught me that sometimes the goals you set when the industry was new, might be harder to reach than you expected. But that doesn’t mean they are unachievable, you might just need to add a second path to help you get there.

Maybe that second path involves Lumia? Let them help you turn your ‘something small’ into something big. Click here or on the image below to tell the Lumia team what inspired idea you want to make a reality.

I have a gift for the people of Joburg. Meet @ArcadeJozi.

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Hello geeks. Hope you’re having a good week.

If not don’t worry, it’s about to get a whole lot better 😉 I come bearing good news this Friday. All you Jozi streetgeeks are about to get your worlds turned upside down. In a good way.

Last night saw the launch of a new pop up arcade bar in your very own hood. @ArcadeJozi  is now OPEN. I think the name pretty much explains the concept but in case you need me to spell it out. It’s a bar where classic arcade video games can be played to the sounds of retro 80’s and 90’s hip hop. Of course bars also need food so you can snack off a menu of corn dogs, chicken fried waffles and even throw back some craft beers while you’re arcade hopping between games.

So get down to the Alex Theatre in Braamfontein and play some games at @ArcadeJozi this weekend… you know you want to 😉

More info on their website > www.barcadejozi.co.za

Here are a few pics of the launch last night. Credit to @Za5 for the pics.

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Is this not the coolest news?

See you there x

@KirstyCarrot

THE QUADROCOPTER IS COMING

You know how much we love things that fly in the air?

Well, we like thing that fly in the air on their own just a little bit more and this is why it’s time to get excited, specifically if you are in Cape Town.

Basically it’s the robot on a whole other level…

There is a free demo on 29 August at 4:15 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, where a team of roboticists from Zurich will show how these machines dance, build towers, catch balls and juggle poles.

The radio commands that instruct the high-speed machines are transmitted at 50 times per second yet balance objects on their heads and hover perfectly.

Need more?

A little demo: http://bit.ly/1rWRFun

Twitter : TheQuadrocopter

Instagram: TheQuadrocopter

If you’re looking to register: http://bit.ly/1oDZTmU

This might just be the cutest thing you see all week!

There are hedgehogs.

And then there is a hedgehogs holding dinosaurs.

You’re welcome.

hamster t-rex

Best gift EVER. @The_SneakyZebra team has struck again!

This time the Sneaky boys hit up MCM London Comic Con. 

Video footage of awesome as always!

Check out their YouTube channel for more of this…

#PickMeMashable for The @Mashable First 100 – a request by @KirstyCarrot

Not sure if you’ve been following but Mashable is running a video series that tells the story of early employees in start ups. It’s exciting. It’s risky. It’s passionate and it’s the best adventure i’ve ever been on.

Seems there are a whole bunch of early employees in America who share my feelings on the topic. So as you can imagine i’m a little addicted to the The Mashable First 100 series – a video series profiling people who got sucked into the early start up life.

This is one of the videos from their series.

Obviously i mailed them, because i wouldn’t be a Sharman if i didn’t try get an interview 😉 This was my speech. —————————–>

Hi team,

Absolutely love what you’re doing with the First 100 series – I was the first employee at a South African start up and I’ve watched every one of the videos you’ve released so far.

To cut to the chase… I feel I have a story worthy of international coverage. I’ve written a piece for Venturebeat.com before but would love to talk more about my first year at Retroviral and the progress I’ve made within the agency. It’s a risk vs reward game and I’ve loved every second.

This is the story of Retroviral > Retroviral turns 4  

And this is the article I wrote for Venturebeat.com about joining a start up > The 5 most important things i’ve learned working for a startup and watching Anchorman  

Would love to come chat to you guys and get South African start ups on The First 100 map!

#PickMeMashable for your next video. I’d love to get involved.

Also, this is the campaign I launched to actually get the job at Retroviral > Do you think Retroviral should invite me round for an interview? – it ended up going viral and is still used on sites like ResumeBear today as a case study. Apparently kissing a horse gives you all sorts of cyber street cred 😉

I’m willing to fly to America.

Yes/No/Maybe/How soon can you come?

#PickMeMashable

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You know i’m all about crowd sourced decisions. Even though i mailed Mashable directly with the request above, i’m sure they get thousands of mails with tips and requests just like this.

That’s where you come in…

If you think i’m worthy of a spot in the First 100 video series, then let the Mashable team know by hitting the tweet button below.

Thank you kindly x

The best piece of content i’ve seen this year. Wow.

I’m in digital. So i know what goes into making branded content.

We talk about making videos shorter to optimise them for online. We talk about adding a ‘sharable’ factor to get people to engage. We talk about creating content based on trends and industry research.

I love this piece of content because it breaks all those rules. It’s so good that nothing else really matters. It just absorbs you. Probably the most beautiful thing i’ve seen this year.

Well played @RedBull… as always.

Of course having Danny MacAskill on your team does help 😉

Happy weekend kids!

Pac-Turtles Vest Of Awesome

Design Center Job Spec - RETROVIRAL

I want to wear this on my body. Even though it’s winter.

Pacman + TMNT =

Design Center Job Spec - RETROVIRAL

Source: Fashionably Geek

Zumanjaro. Probably the scariest ride in the world.

41 stories.

90mph.

Taller than London’s Big Ben.

This is Zumanjaro. The world’s tallest drop ride in the world.

Zumanjaro---scary-ride-0 zumanjaro---scary-ride-3 zumanjaro---scary-ride-2 zumanjaro---scary-ride-1

 

There is also a video. Obviously.

Pretty sure this is the scariest ride in the world. Unless you know of another one? This video is my proof.