Inspiration Tag

The Pomegranite team has grown by one awesome member!

It’s funny how a joke can change your fate.

As you no doubt saw, last week we started the hunt for a great intern. In the course of my regular banter with our freelance developer, Riyad, he joked that he should apply. One thing led to another and he’s now our newest team member!

Things you need to know about Riyad:

– He’s crazy talented

Having worked for institutions like Media24 in front-end development, Riyad’s certainly got the corporate chops but check out his portfolio on his own website and you’ll see how slick his work is.

– He’s absolutely lovely

Seriously. Every interaction is a pleasure.

– He’s into running and his family and friends and he adores his wife.

– He secretly loves it when we call him RiRi

Exhibit A: last year’s birthday card including some hot photoshop:

Rihanna

– He’s broadening our offering. Not only is Riyad a whizz on WordPress but he’s also a master of mailers, hosting, html, css and SEO not to mention his design skills. We’re excited to see his influence on our projects!

So our road shifted direction and we made a different choice but it was clear during my highly entertaining eye conversations with Sarah during that initial phone call with Riyad that this just felt right. We both trust him, we know his work, we know he’s going to be a great asset to Pomegranite.

He starts on Tuesday and we can’t wait to welcome that cheeky face. Stay tuned for his first blog post next week!

The one where we go to Super Tubes for our inspiration day

By now, you’ll know that every month, Pomegranite takes some time to get out of the office and talk about the bigger picture of the business. We’ve gone for lake-side picnics and forest walks, we’ve been surfing and wondering in tree canopies – anything where we get to do something a little out of the ordinary. And fun. But I don’t think we’ve ever had an inspiration day that was this much FUN!

Allow me to present: Muizenberg Water Slides, better known as Super Tubes.

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Look at all that FUN! And thrilling speed!

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… (yes, this is their scariest slide).

The park’s retro vibe continues next door with some bizarre tuckshop advertising and a putt-putt course straight out of ‘The Jetsons’.

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As we arrived, some dark clouds moved in over Muizenberg and a chill settled in the air. Taking a single layer of clothing off seemed less and less appealing, never mind getting wet. We made a deal, we’d only take an hour’s pass and then treat ourselves to hot chololate afterwards. We were here. We were going to make the best of it.

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We were tickled by the spectator fee (and a maximum of two spectators per slider) but didn’t even notice the sign above. The place reminded us so much of The Way Way Back  – it even had it’s own ‘cool guy’ lifesaver complete with aviator shades and an ankle bracelet (à la Sam Rockwell). If you haven’t seen the film, it’s about a teenager who goes from this cringiness…

to this awesomeness…

…via a summer working at a waterslide park.

I can honestly say, there is nothing in the world like a good old water slide to make you feel like a kid again. After the first whooshing, whizzing, giddy go down the slide, we didn’t notice that we were shivering (or that we made far more noise than all the other kids in the area put together).

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And now, for your enjoyment, a snippet of a slide from both of us. First up, Sarah. You can tell she’s on her way because of the shrieks, but the best part (as your can hear by my chuckling) is Sarah getting swept up in the white water of the (very shallow) paddling pool.

Next up, here I come down the curly whurly, good momentum assisting in my dismount complete with a little yelp.

Guys, things got CRAZY. We did a few slides lying down (which makes you go way faster) and even backwards for as long as we could stand it (which wasn’t long). What a marvellous day. It turns out the sun came out and we didn’t even need that hot chocolate.

Do you have any bright ideas for our February inspiration day?

Let us know – we’re always looking for something new and exciting!

10 quotes to inspire the hell out of you

Everyone loves a good quote. Especially when it’s in a sexy font. Perhaps written over an evocative image. I am a big fan of a well-timed quote that seems to have been created just for me – and the other how-ever-many-thousands-of-women are trolling through Pinterest on a Tuesday morning.

So, for your viewing pleasure, I’ve put together a little montage of my 10 favourite quotes that apply to the work we do – but also the lives we live (or the lives we wish we were living when we read these quotes in sexy fonts).

When you get rid of all the other superfluous stuff, this is what it all comes down to.

When you get rid of all the other superfluous stuff, this is what it all comes down to.

Don't love what you do? Stop waiting around for it to find you. Life is happening right now. Each day you spend in a job that doesn't inspire you is a day wasted.

Don’t love what you do? Stop waiting around for it to find you – get out there and look for it! Life is happening right now.

Once you start, it will get messy before it gets amazing. But sometimes, in the midst of the mess, it IS kind of amazing. Because it's yours.

Once you start, it will get messy before it gets amazing. But sometimes, in the midst of the mess, it IS kind of amazing. Because it’s yours.

What makes you different? Embrace it.

What makes you different? Embrace it.

Set goals. And keep coming back to them. Sometimes that goal is trying not to lose your sense of humour that day. And that's ok.

Set goals. And keep coming back to them. Sometimes that goal is trying not to lose your sense of humour that day. And that’s ok.

Corny? Perhaps. True? Mmm-hmmm.

Corny? Perhaps. True? Mmm-hmmm.

There's always a way to figure it out. Sometimes you just need a dance break in between.

There’s always a way to figure it out. Sometimes you just need a dance break in between.

Sometimes clients come with their own drama. And you need to step back and realise what's theirs and what's yours.

Sometimes clients come with their own drama. And you need to step back and realise what’s theirs and what’s yours.

Also - THIS. You'll need it from time to time if you start your own business. But you know what? It's one hell of a party in those pants.

Also – THIS. You’ll need it from time to time if you start your own business. But you know what? It’s one hell of a party in those pants.

Follow Pomegranite on Pinterest for more of this cheesy goodness.

Our top music blogs

So you’re tired of hearing the same old thing on the radio and you want to hear some tantalizing new tracks? These four blogs are at the top of their game slinging you beats that might just lead you to your favourite new band.

1. Noonday Tune
First up, a well-established communal local(ish) blog that serves up a treat from one of its 14 contributors every day at noon. It’s a great way to discover new music and, because it’s only one track a day, it’s all about discerning listening. Each song feels like a beautifully wrapped treat – the ideal way to approach something new.

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Noonday Tune also offers playlists of their previous daily offerings via 8tracks which are solid companions at work. Our tip: follow Noonday Tune on Facebook so that your midday treat shows up in your newsfeed.

2. Pitchfork
Fancy something broader? No problem. Check out Pitchfork: a Chicago-based site devoted to daily music criticism and commentary, music news, and artist interviews.

Since it started in 1995, the site’s focus has been on independent music and is now considered a barometer of public opinion. Our tip: use the extensive staff lists to broaden your musical knowledge. It’s the musical equivalent of poring through the annuls of the Bodleian library. True story.

3. Stereogum
Looking for something more newsy? I’ve got just the thing. Stereogum is a highly acclaimed daily music news and commentary site that covers the full gamut of the music industry.

Established in 2002, the site has released six of its own albums comprised of commissioned covers of iconic albums. They’ve got music heavyweights to pay tribute to the likes of The Strokes’ Is This It?, Bjork’s Post, REM’s Automatic for the People and Radiohead’s OK Computer. Our tip: head over to the Music page to stream tunes right from their regular playlists: Latest Songs, The ‘Gum Mix, and Most Popular.

4. Consequence of Sound
More into a live jam? Not to worry, I’ve got you covered. Consequence of Sound features news, album and concert reviews, and editorials with a bias towards live gigs, concerts and festivals.

In February 2012, the website launched a long form writing section, Aux.Out which is a refreshingly in-depth look at music and artists in a new industry of punchy news nuggets. Our tip: keep up with the moving and shaking in the US festival scene with the site’s Festival News and Rumours radar.

Enjoy!

Feature image source.

Partnership, a possum and a flying bulldog

For this month’s Inspiration Day, we decided to get out of the office and get into “the nature”. It was a little chilly for skinny dipping in Silvermine dam so we went for a walk in one of Cape Town’s gems, Deer Park. It’s a tranquil forest nestled at the foot of Table Mountain, just a stone’s throw from the CBD.

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A classic case of a city photo bombing a forest.

We’d just started our stroll when I saw something dash into the brush to our left. It was swift and agile, moving low to the ground – not a rat or a dassie – but it was long and skinny – it definitely wasn’t a squirrel. I stood aghast, filled with the excitement of big game spotting, pointing at it where it was a moment ago, willing Sarah to see the creature but completely unable to find its name. Eventually, I uttered, “possum!” at which point he popped his head out from behind a bush and looked at me as if to say, “Seriously?” and Sarah doubled over laughing. After a few moments, she managed to get out the words, “It’s a mongoose!”. Satisfied that he had been correctly acknowledged, he scampered off again after throwing me a disdainful scowl.

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Sarah, the river sprite.

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Pondering the path of least resistance.

We clambered over some rocks to sit next to a stream in the wintry sun. With some exciting new things happening for Pomegranite very soon, we had the chance to talk about how we wanted our business to work and how we would work together. A guy ran past with a dog trotting behind, obscured but the long grass. Our conversation stopped abruptly when we witnessed a stocky bulldog flying through the air in mid bomb-drop. She landed in the little dam with a glorious splash and I’m pretty sure her flapping cheeks were curled upwards at the edges. Soon enough, she bobbed to the surface, under-bite first and paddled back to her human for more, curly piggy tail wiggling.

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The site of the flying bulldog

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We saw a path striking out from the clearing around the waterway and decided to see where it would go. Once I had got us properly lost and we were wandering around just trying to find our way back to the car park (all romance of the adventure long gone), it struck me how similar getting lost together is to running a business. Both can be tiring and uncomfortable situations where you have to negotiate choices and make decisions. You have to rely on your partner’s skills and trust them. There’s no one else but you and your partner to get through challenges and so you have to stand by him or her and figure it out. Most importantly, you don’t split up. Ever. Because that’s a classic start to a horror movie.

An office with a view: Pomegranite inspiration day

Before the cold front rolled in and botched beaching weather for this weekend, Pomegranite took to Clifton Fourth this morning for this month’s inspiration day.

The weather was already threatening which meant that we had the beach almost to ourselves if we put up with the odd gust of wind and a little extra crunch in our chip rolls. The other beach goers included a man in jeans and leather shoes (gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it), a family with young kids and a prone sunbather (she didn’t moved in the time we were there. Perhaps we should have checked that she was breathing).

A mutual respect grew between us as we saw each other’s determination to have a good time. Having found a sheltered spot, we got to work Instagramming the crap out of the scenery to make everyone at a desk was jealous.  Herewith, the evidence:

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Glorious Cape Town! We love you despite still cleaning sand out of our ears!

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Lying against a big granite boulder (let’s all just agree it was granite) the perspective of a wide open sky above us felt apt as we discussed Pomegranite’s major developments in the upcoming months. We talked about what kind of business we want to be, how we want to work, what kind of clients we want and who we want to work with. We see the business moving into a new phase and we realised it’s not going to be okay. It’s going to be great.

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massage

Hitting targets and reaping the rewards

Which Downton Abbey character are you? And other important conversations

When you start your own business, it’s important to step back from time to time and see how far you’ve come. It’s equally important to set targets in order to ensure that you actually put enough distance between yourself and the starting blocks – otherwise it’s not much of a view when you do take that step back.

When Liz and I first sat down together to write our business plan, we made sure to include targets we wanted to reach – and rewards we would claim when we got there.

We reached our first target ahead of schedule, and didn’t waste time in enjoying our reward: a 30 minute back, neck and shoulder massage. Ok, originally it was a foot massage, but, being on crutches (still – I know), my ankle wouldn’t have appreciated that very much. So, being accommodating and adaptable, we graciously opted for a back, neck and shoulder massage.

The problem was – we both badly needed haircuts too. I know. Dilemma. So we spent a blissful Wednesday afternoon attending to our tresses and stresses.

The nice thing about these kinds of days is that they give you the opportunity to have really important conversations. Case in point: If you were born in the Downton Abbey time period (early 20th century), would you have been upstairs (upper class) or downstairs (a servant)?

We quickly decided that Liz would have been downstairs and I would have been upstairs. It became important to decide which character we would be in the series, and, interestingly, we came to the answer within seconds, and agreed completely. Liz would be Mrs Patmore, the mouthy, bossy cook, and I would be Mary, the aristocratic ice queen.

Am I right??

We then proceeded to cast everyone we knew in the series, which kept us entertained for quite some time.

That evening, we went to our monthly girls’ dinner, which was hosted by the lovely Vanessa. We were telling her about our day and showing her our new haircuts – to which she said: “Oh, did you cut each other’s?”

Yes, well. You can’t win them all.

Step. Away. From. The. Computer.

When your work revolves around the bright and shiny space that is “the internet”, and digital platforms that are constantly evolving and popping up all over the place like mushrooms after a soaking rain, it’s hard not to get sucked into your screen and forget that there is actually a real, live world out there. I’ve found that, when working from home where there are no office happenings to distract you, it’s important to remind yourself to take a moment to step. away. from. the. computer. From time to time.

During September, we were pretty busy with client projects and kept pushing some internal Pomegranite work aside. I’ve also found myself becoming increasingly jealous of all the runners taking advantage of the beautiful weather in Cape Town. I glare at them malevolently out of my car window, crutches firmly on the seat next to me. Most of the time, all I really want to do is climb a freaking mountain.

So, when I woke up on Wednesday and the sun was shining, cabin fever was in full swing, and there was a gap in our diaries allowing us to give Pomegranite some love, it was pretty clear what needed to be done.

I got hold of Liz. “Pack a picnic and the sun cream. We’re working from Silvermine today.”

(She forgot the sun cream – sorry shoulders.)

It was so lovely to be in such a beautiful place, surrounded by peace and quiet (except for the frogs – and you can’t get annoyed with frogs when you’re blissed out next to a lake in the sunshine).

The result of dedicating a day to getting away from our desks and out into the (natural) world – apart from working on our tans – was that we were in exactly the right mindset to focus on the work we needed to do on Pomegranite. And we were ridiculously productive, if I do say so myself.

It was such a great day that we decided to make it a regular outing. Once a month, we’ll go somewhere beautiful in Cape Town and spend the day working under a big sky, taking stock of Pomegranite and life in general.

Yip – being your own boss is tough. It comes highly recommended. As does Silvermine.

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