Twenty Seventeen

It feels like it’s been a significant year, worthy of etching in this sparsely populated digital memory bank.

A challenging personal year embarking on re-invention, with little daily structure or operational responsibilities. A year sans a professional title and many coffee meetings explaining why… A year of much envy and privilege.

A year of many learnings, pursuing back burner passions, and traversing family adventures with young children…

The catalyst

In February, Magnus and myself made the humongous decision to hand over the reins to a team lead better equipped for this next chapter of WooCommerce’s growth. Free from our founder biases. Nearly 10 years since our first explorations with commercial WordPress themes, and 2 years since Woo’s acquisition by Automattic.

An acquisition is an emotional process to navigate. Your DNA, as a founder, is so intertwined with that of your business, and the culture and reputation that grows and matures within your business becomes so engrained in your identity. As people, beliefs and cultures merge, change naturally results from it. You need to be open to it and adapt your ways.

I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on all these hugely valuable business experiences, dissecting our journey, understanding the magnitude of serendipity, and trying to recall many of those aha moments lost in the blur of our hyper growth years.

Initiating 2.0

Now with the fortune of time and capital to re-invest I’ve enjoyed immersing myself in relationships, businesses and investments outside of my immediate bubble.

It’s been humbling to meet smart, passionate people with innovative ideas in the early stages of their startup journeys. Their entrepreneurial optimism is contagious, and welcomed against the backdrop of so much political and economic turmoil in South Africa.

Twenty seventeen has also been dedicated to re-connecting with my right brain. Taking photos, making videos, listening to podcasts, attempting to read more books, and pushing pixels around.

Most importantly, I’ve been very fortunate to be present at home. To cherish a very different kind of hyper growth – the physical growth of little humans.

Trying my best to avoid applying business logic to hormonal, irrational, sleep depriving situations. To practice patience and act deliberately slower. To disconnect from devices, and connect more genuinely. (I think my wife will attest that I’ve still got a very long way to go…)

So thank you twenty seventeen, for the gift of time. I look forward to being more purposeful with our next orbit of the sun.

Mataffin

Last week we celebrated the life of my grandpa on the farm where he was born and died 93 years later. Seeing the farm from high above highlights the changing landscape of Nelspruit. It’s amazing to see how the farm has shaped the city’s growth.

Being on the farm brought back wonderful childhood memories of adventurous, outdoor holidays. As one mighty tree fell, we planted another in remembrance.

Legacy

Today you breathed your last breath and said farewell to a world so very different to the one you entered 93 years ago. Yet you died on the farm, only meters away from the very same house you were born.

You were our heroic grandfather, and great grandfather – the finest and most dignified of gentlemen – who served both our country in the most monumental of wars, and our family with a Lowveld legacy so pioneering and significant.

You enriched and magnified what the Halls family is and proudly represents to so many.

Today Gran finally welcomes you with open arms and your kind twinkly eyes shine even brighter in our night sky.

♥️

I went droning in Mauritius

In the spirit of trying to adventure more, coupled with a personal challenge to capture, create, and actually publish more content, I’ve made a short edit of our family holiday (family not included in the video…) to Mauritius.

I’m completely amazed what can be achieved with an iPhone, a GoPro, and a very smart drone. I almost edited this video on my phone to try and prove a point to myself, but got a little frustrated and retreated back to Final Cut Pro.

That said, it’s entirely possible and wildly addictive creating stories from a trifecta of pocket sized devices. 2017 is rad.