“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ― Confucius

If I remember correctly it was around September 2009 when I had this idea about having public transport information available on mobile phones. This is how the story unfolded..

I had promised my wife and our 3 boys (there were still 3 of them at the time) that I would take them to a very popular mall in Cape Town for the day. That particular day, as fate (lets call it fate for now) would have it, I had car problems and didn’t really want to go anymore but I had made a promise to my family was forced to follow through or I would never have heard the end of it. So I checked the airtime balance on my mobile phone and luckily I had enough credit to contact the call center to find out what time there would be a bus. I got the info and we made our way to the bus stop.
The time came and went by and the bus did not turn up. So, there I was thinking: “Did I get the correct information?”, “Is the bus delayed?” “Maybe the bus was cancelled…”. We stood at the bus stop and didn’t know what to think. I didn’t have enough credit on my mobile to make another call to find out whether the bus was still on it’s way or not. While standing there a thought crossed my mind: “What if I could access this information from my mobile phone?”. That is where it all started for LetzGo! With a simple thought of how I could address a problem that many other people were facing on a daily basis. It took endless hours of research of what was already out there and many more hours lost in thought about how this could work.
Finally, after quite a few years, there was good news for me! In 2012, RLabs ran an incubation program for social entrepreneurs and LetzGo! was accepted into the program. Read more here…
I  knew that the idea I had would work but I had no idea how hard it would be to turn this simple idea into a business. I learnt that if you have a dream you need to keep working at it until you have achieved it. I know that there is still a lot of work ahead of me to make LetzGo! a success but I’m gonna see this one through to the end.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confuscious

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Are you ready to man-up?

I was recently asked to do a “motivational talk” at one of my cousin’s 21st party. I reluctantly agreed to do it because I had no idea what I was going to talk about. I put it in the back of my mind as this was the easiest way to deal with it at the time, but of course as the time grew nearer for the 21st birthday party I couldn’t put it off any more.

I think it was about 2 days before the party I really started thinking what I could share with my cousin who was now venturing into a new chapter in his life. As society  prescribes he now has to now “become a man…” But what does this mean? How do you become a man? What happens when you become a man?

I decided that I would ask him the question, Are you ready to man-up? In African tribes they have customs and ceremonies that boys have to go through where they have to endure terrible ordeals sometimes for days in order to prove their manhood. After these ceremonies they are left exhausted and bloodied, but they are overjoyed. The boy would be beyond glad to participate in the ritual. This would be the greatest day in his life, because that is the day he became a man!

We don’t have such kinds of rites of passage in modern western society. So, what clear markers are there for our boys on their journey to become a man? If you ask young men when the transition occurs, you will probably get a range of different answers depending on the society they live in and what outside pressure come with that. The type of answers you will probably get are: “when you get a car,” “when you graduate from college / university,”when you get a real job,” “when you lose your virginity,” when you get married,” “when you have a child.” Truth be told, the process of becoming a man, ceremony or not, does not happen in a single moment. In my opinion, the transition happens when the boy makes the decision in his own mind that he will now become a man. When this happens his view on everything changes, he becomes responsible for his own actions and society starts to respect him as a man. The boy only becomes a man once he makes up his mind that he now needs to “man-up.” This is very evident in community I live in where I see males well advanced in their years who still have not made the transition from a boy to a man. So the question begs. Boys are you ready to man-up?

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REVIEW: Boulders Beach Guest Lodge and Restaurant

Last week I had the pleasure of staying at Boulders Beach Guest Lodge & Restaurant. My wife and I made our way to Simonstown on a beautiful spring afternoon to enjoy an overnight stay at this perfectly located guest lodge. I was immediately mesmerised by the donkey-like sound of the  African Penguins as well as the sound of the ocean in the background. I spent a few minutes just fascinated by the sound of nature. We get so caught up in the hustle bustle of city life that we don’t realise how soothing and calming mother nature can be. Anyway, I digress.

Check-in was smooth and the service was exemplary. We were shown to our room and all I could do was admire the view from balcony. Look at this view… you got to love it!!

We decided to have an early night and we simply just relaxed in our very comfy bed and quickly dozed off into dreamland. In the distance I could here the rain beating down and the wind howling outside, but I thought it was all a dream. When I woke up the next morning it really was raining!! Only in cape Town…

Breakfast at Boulders Beach restaurant was good. The setting was perfect. Great views all round, with mountain behind us and ocean in front of us. Service in the restaurant was excellent!! Soon after breakfast we checked out and went to check out the penguins. This is one of the many gems tucked away in the awesome Cape Town. I recommend this to anybody who needs a break away from the busy city life.

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A sneak peek from From The Balcony

Hi, I am Clinton Liederman and this is my blog. On this Blog I will share stories about my life, my family and places I discover. I will be sharing from my balcony where the inspiration came from to start this blog. I work for RLabs, an organisation with its global headquarters based on the Cape Flats. I am a “Change Agent!

I am on a journey of discovery about what the online world offers. You are free to join me on my adventures in the wwworld and share with me my experiences in life as an ex-drug addict who is transformed, striving to be a “good” husband to my wife Shameez and the best Dad I can be to my 4 beautiful boys. I am a budding entrepreneur and I love Jesus, gadgets and technology in that order.

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Review: Break away at Inverdoorn Game Reserve & Safari Lodge

I know it’s been a while since I last blogged here, almost feels like I was in hibernation or maybe it was too cold to blog. Whatever the reason may be there is something that is worth getting me out of hibernation.

A couple of weeks ago I won a competition on facebook on The Next 48Hours fan page and the prize was an overnight safari for 2 adults at Inverdoorn Game Reserve & Safari Lodge, a private Game Reserve and Safari lodge about 2½ hours from Cape Town in the Ceres area, South Africa. Inverdoorn provides 5 star accommodation and Game drive safaris among their 1 200 free roaming wild animals.

My wife and I made our way to Inverdoorn around 10am hoping to get there before 1pm for lunch. When we got to Ceres for some reason the gps navigation did not work and suddenly I felt lost, excuse the pun. What did we do before the technologies of today? I had a look at the directions that were a bit confusing (in my opinion) and caused me to turn around and drive back to Ceres after about 20 kms. When I got back to Ceres we decided to call Inverdoorn to ask if we were lost or on track, and the friendly and very helpful Candice reassured me that we were not lost. Candice agreed to save our lunch as were probably not going to make it on time. Lunch sorted, now we were all good to go again and were on our way. After a bumpy stretch of gravel road we finally reached our destination. Oh and I suggest you go with a 4×4 vehicle that will be more comfortable and alot quicker along the gravel road. When we arrived Candice came out to meet us just to make sure we were arrived safely and to let us know that our lunch is ready. This level of service just set the tone for us for the rest of the weekend.

After a very tasty lunch we were taken to our chalet and we were pleasantly surprised to see that we were booked in one of the Luxury Chalets that has an incredible view of the vast African landscape. Our chalet was also fully equipped with air conditioning, fire place and a honesty bar and a very nice bathroom. Check out the pics below of our luxury chalet.

   

At 15:30 we had an afternoon game drive and boy was it it cold! The game drive was good but the cold was just too much. Luckily for us there was a scheduled stop at a lookout point where we all got some much needed hot drinks and snacks. Soon after we made our way back to the lodge to freshen and warm up for be fore dinner.

Compliments the the Chef and the team for the well prepared dishes. All 3 courses were remarkable and was just enough for us to retire for the evening, well fed. We decided not to go on the early morning game drive because it was just too cold. Overnight the mercury peaked or didn’t peak at -2 degrees and it was a no-brainer that we were going to stay in our very warm and cozy luxury chalet until breakfast. Breakfast was served at 09:00 and immediately after breakfast we were taken on a cheetah interaction session with the beautiful Velvet, a 2.5 year old cheetah. Meeting and interacting with Velvet was one of the highlights of our stay at Inverdoorn.

I recommend Inverdoorn to anybody who needs a break away from the busy city life. Here you can unwind and just enjoy all that nature has to offer. For updates on anything to do in Cape Town follow the The Next 48Hours on facebook. I have another break away lined up but more on that closer to the time. Glad to be back :)

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REVIEW: Aquila Private Game Reserve

This weekend my wife and I went to Aquila Private Game Reserve for an Overnight Safari that included 3 meals, 2 game drives and accommodation in the very cosy “Honeymoon Suite”. We were lucky in that we won a competition on the Fiona Furey Show in partnership with the Saving Private Rhino initiative on facebook.

Arrived at Aquila to a very warm welcome with complimentary drinks and meet some of the staff. Check in was done swiftly and we were then taken to our chalet nicely tucked on a mountain slope, oh and with its own private Jacuzzi. The room had a wood cabin feel to it. It was perfect. See pics below.

      

This was my first time at a game reserve and boy was I excited at the prospect of seeing the Big 5. On the 3 hours evening  and 2 hour morning game drives we got to see hippos, elephants, giraffe, rhinos, springbok, antelope, zebra and so many more. Yes, we did get to see lions who were in a seperate enclosure. We got to see the lions feeding of a carcass! It was an awesome experience seeing these majestic animals in action. We also got to see cheetahs and a leopard who were also in a seperate enclosure across the road at ARC (Aquila Rehabilitation and Conservation Centre). The game ranger was very knowledgeable and passionate about the wildlife on the reserve. He explained every detail of the reserve to us as well as supplied us with some interesting facts and general knowledge of the animals in the reserve.

      

      

Truly African cuisine is on offer in the restaurant. There is just too much food to mention, all 3 courses were out of this world! All in all this was a truly wonderful experience.

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Exemplary Customer Service

If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.

I love what says Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.com says in this quote after all it is the customer that pay salaries not the boss, they only handle the money. I am passionate about good service and always make a point of delivering nothing but my best.

I worked in a high volume call centre that serviced customers based in the USA and Europe. This is where I discovered how passionate I was about customer service. I remember an incident very clearly where I was challenged and had to deliver exemplary customer service or loose a loyal customer.

The customer had to receive a huge payout and was required to send in some personal documentation first as per company policy. After emailing the documents on several occasions and somehow it not reaching email server the customer was understandably irate. I was the lucky consultant to handle the call at this stage. Naturally I had to apologize profusely to the customer and offer a solution and it all had to happen very quickly. This is how I handled the situation.

I explained to the customer that I am giving him my company email address and that it goes against company policy,  but I had to resolve this issue or risk loosing the customer. I then kept the customer on the line while he sent the documents and I could confirm receipt thereof as soon as it arrived in my inbox. I personally took the documents to the relevant departments for verification and processing and could call the customer back with a payout date.

I got into a little bit of trouble but felt really good after delivering “remarkable” service. The only way I was affected was that I had to change my email address. A small price to pay for exemplary customer service. Share your examples of when you delivered such service.

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