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The Engineering Question: can you create a breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements? The Durability Question: will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future? Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
The wide scope of online identity fraud has goaded the FBI, FTC, and independent businesses to issue warnings on how to avoid online scams and keep yourself protected.
Always question e-mails and opportunities that seem too good to be true, because they almost always are.
Variations of this scam have been around in snail mail form since the 1920s, but they have only become more advanced as technology has grown. This scam is particularly despicable because it victimizes those who have already been victimized. A recent spin has the scammers pretending to be legitimate companies such as Google, Microsoft, or a security company, telling you they’ve remotely caught a virus. Contact the supposed funeral service if the e-mail looks suspicious, to confirm the funeral. He is based in South Africa and passionate about starting businesses in the telecoms, media and tech sector. These people will go to great lengths to con a poor, unsuspecting samaritan into giving up their pertinent information, identity, details, or bank account numbers. The first step on this list is always this: Do not respond to unsolicited e-mail, and do not click on any embedded links within those e-mails. You would think everyone would know about this scam in 2014, and that nobody would fall for it, but you’d be wrong. A wealthy Nigerian family or a widowed African woman is trying to get money out of the country.
These scams promise to refund and recover money already lost to schemes (such as the Nigerian Wealth scam).


They say they’ll issue refunds if you provide bank information for the direct-deposit reimbursement. Malware crusaders steal the names of legitimate funeral homes, send invitation notices to an unnamed friend or relative’s memorial service, with an attached link to celebrate the friend’s life. As long as people are falling for these too-good-to-be-true opportunities, the prevalence of these scams will only increase. The scammers create phony recovery programs to restore a victim’s lost money, but first you must pay an up-front fee. The invitation appears authentic at first glance, but the danger is in the attached link, typically downloading malware to your computer rather than redirecting you to a funeral service site.
And ask yourself: Do you have any recent friends who have died who would invite you to such an impersonal service? While the Internet and online security become more and more advanced as the years pass, so to do the tactics of these e-scams. Make sure to research a link: A legit, secure URL will redirect to an ‘HTTPS’ address, not just ‘HTTP.’ If you feel that you must open a link, open it manually into your browser, just don’t click any links! Just ask yourself this: How many wealthy Nigerians do you know that need your specific help, and why do they need you? What use is a laptop without Word and Excel?My wife suggested I call her brother, who in turn suggested I call his friend, a BSc Computer Science student at University of Stellenbosch who was the family’s go-to guy for all IT problems.I called him.
He arrived 11pm on a Friday and my laptop had a pirated copy of MS Office installed by midnight.I offered him a job on the spot and he accepted. He dropped out of his Masters program and moved to Pretoria that weekend.Pierre single-handedly coded our prototype and recruited our development team.
Most of my ideas have come from intersections rather than deep-digging.For example, I recently started a business in the telecoms industry after reading a book about the USA cable industry in the 70’s.
Just be careful if they were a few layers removed.People are great actors, so you sometimes get the wrong impression. Be tired, be uncomfortable, be hung-over, let your subconscious surface and you’ll soon be flooded with ideas.Once you have ideas, start sharing them with everyone you know.


Now you need a customer.If you’re in the consumer space, then define your ideal 1,000 customers. Approach as many targets as you can and then pay attention to where you get traction.When we started Project Isizwe we had to figure out who is our customer. You want to avoid competition!Find something useful that no one else wants to do and you have a monopoly.The idea you must chase is probably not the idea you want to chaseFor example, at the beginning of 2013 I was at a loss as to what to do.
I was still eagerly looking for money-making opportunities, trying to get back on track to buying a jet one day.Luckily, after a few months, I opened my ears and eyes and listened to the Universe. We eventually had to ask ourselves, who wins in the short term by providing Free WiFi to the poor?And the answer came: Government.
Free WiFi = Happy Citizens.So we started approaching municipalities, provincial administrations and national government departments. Customer, tick.Now for the million-dollar question (pardon the pun): How are you going to fund your business? My dad gave me the best advice on fund-raising:“People don’t invest in business plans and excel spreadsheets.
Instead of trying to shape your dream to the audience’s interests, tell your honest story and see who’s interested.Be careful. Beware eager investors, you may end up with an STD.The best investors are just like the best spouses. Without a network you can’t get introductions, you can’t get trust, you can’t get ahead.Your personal network limitations are particularly sharp if your parents come from a marginalised community.Imagine you grew up in Mamelodi and your parents were domestic workers? Or a customer?For some great advice on building a network read this piece.The gist of it is that you must find a company you like, and get into it in any way you can.



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