Drink that champagne, dammit!

There’s been a bottle of champagne on my desk for more than a year. When Pomegranite was as new as a wobbly-legged lamb, we decided that we would only drink that bottle when we earned enough on our retainers to pay my rent and Liz’s rent.

When we reached that goal, did we pop those bubbles in celebration? Of course not. That would mean admitting that we felt like a real company made up of real people who knew how to run a business.

Instead, we shifted the goal posts. Again and again, and again. I can’t even remember what each new green light for bubble guzzling was. There were that many. Until one memorable day at a waterpark in Muizenberg when we decided that enough was enough! We had to allow ourselves to celebrate our achievements.

So we agreed on a non-negotiable milestone.

And last week, we reached i

You would think, being proud Rhodes alumni, it wouldn’t take much for us to climb into some fancy champagne. But I actually had to convince Liz that it was time to drink it.

And when we popped that cork on the stairs of our new offices, it felt like something shifted. A gear change, if you will. Pomegranite 2.0 had arrived.

So, the moral of my story is threefold:

  • Set goals. They must be goals that you really want to achieve, but out of reach enough for you to have to put in the work to get there.
  • When you reach those goals, allow yourself to celebrate them. Because you worked your ass off to get there and you need to acknowledge how far you’ve come in order to figure out where you want to go next.
  • When you’re getting close to that goal, for the love of all the bubbly gods, please put that bottle in the fridge. ROOKIE error, Pomegranite.

Pomegranite’s NEW office

You guys, we have BIG news! We’ve moved into a brand new office and it’s great.

It all happened quite suddenly so here’s the full story. We had been at our lovely spot on Long Street for just over a year when Sarah went to meet with one of our first clients (and now good friend) Helen from White Rabbit Days. Returning from the meeting, Sarah made a convincing case to go and check it out so I did and I fell for it too. Two weeks later and we’ve started our first official week at 75 Harrington Street. We’re even on the wall!

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What made us so keen to move is that, while it’s a co-working space, it’s not just plonk at your desk and put your head down. This is a real community of a wide spectrum of small businesses including everything from The Braai Tool to Gravity Ideas to NGOs like Open Streets and artists and freelancers of all descriptions. The building connects us all.  It’s abuzz with entrepreneurial energy and that’s what makes it greater than the sum of its parts.

When we first met Steven Harris, who is the driving force behind 75 Harrington and who owns and runs The Design Bank next door, he compared the space to Darwin’s idea of the tangled river bank and I totally get how this building is an ecosystem. There’s growth, there are thought-provoking conversations, there’s a bagel joint across the road, there’s competition, there are events, there are connections, there’s life! Here’s the Darwin quote before I get too poetic:

“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. […] There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.” 

We’ll be posting a bunch of photos of our new spot so you can have a good old digitial snoop soon but here are some teasers for now.

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12 tips for live tweeting a conference

You know that feeling, when you’ve been concentrating so hard for so long that when you finally hit your pillow at night your brain still has a million tabs open and you feel like you sort of need a “control, alt, delete” function?

That.

Over the past two weeks Liz and I have been crazy busy live tweeting two very different, very interesting conferences: the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) in Cape Town, and the South African Impact Investing Network in Joburg.

Today is the first day we’ve been able to sit down, see each other’s faces, and fill each other in on February, basically.

Part of that “filling in” involved compiling our top 12 tips on live tweeting a conference – just for you. You’re welcome.

1. Turn on your Twitter analytics before the conference starts. *cough* Liz. *cough*.

2. Use a platform like Tweetdeck which allows you to see columns of ALL the things at once: your feed, your mentions, your notifications, the conference hashtag, replies, messages, etc. In the beginning it will feel like you’re sitting behind a control desk of a big plane. But you sort of are – do NOT crash the conference.

3. Make sure that the handle you’re tweeting from and the official hashtag are displayed somewhere prominent at the venue, and everywhere else you can get them – on the website, in the brochures, just in people’s faces. You don’t want to miss out on some tweets because people are using the wrong hashtag.

4. If the AV set-up allows it, use a programme like TweetBeam to project all conference tweets onto a screen. Just plug in the hashtag and you’re set.

5. Things will be hectic. Your fingers have never moved as fast as they will when you’re live tweeting. Do yourself a favour and schedule some tweets ahead of time, letting people know about upcoming talks, breakaways, etc.

6. Visual elements stand out in a Twitter feed. Make sure you tweet some photos of the event every so often and tag the speakers/delegates/sponsors if you know their handles. You’re more likely to earn retweets this way.

7. Live tweeting doesn’t mean you’re required to take a live dictation of the event. Know what to tweet and what not to.

8. Make friends with people who are tweeting well and see how you can complement each other (with an “e” – not as in “that is such an interesting hair colour…” Rather, how can you work together?)

9. Daily blog round-ups are a great way to sum-up the day and share on Twitter.

10. Make a plan to have back-up 3G. If the internet goes down, you’re screwed.

11. Where possible, avoid using a laptop that is on its last legs as it will overheat on your lap and you will get what feels like third-degree burns on your legs.

12. Be a boy scout. Always be prepared. You never know what’s going to be thrown at you – in terms of a logistical challenge or otherwise. Be creative in figuring out solutions. Case in point: This very profesh group photo taken by Liz at the AMI.

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How? Like this.
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Content marketing: The great divide

We speak about content marketing quite often at Pomegranite. It’s the fastest growing form of marketing and the way brands go about it changes from week-to-week. That’s what makes it so exciting – and challenging.

This infographic by the folks at One Spot illustrates this brilliantly: one the one hand, there are so many reasons why it’s crucial for brands to invest time (and money) in content marketing, but, as is true of anything in the business world, it comes with its own challenges.

Sure, it costs a whole lot less than traditional marketing – but people still tend to expect a lot more than budget constraints allow. Yes it’s an important way to extend the reach of your brand – but how many people actually track the ROI (or at least attempt to measure this)?

At the end of the day, it’s about being realistic, working with what you have, being creative, and keeping a finger on the pulse of this ever-changing, fast-moving, always-evolving industry.

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Fetaure image courtesy ddpavumba, FreeDigitalPhotos.net