Author

Pieter Nel

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Startups and scale-ups face unique challenges due to their rapid growth, need for scalability, and constant pressure to innovate while managing limited resources. Three organizational theories—Conway’s Law, Parkinson’s Law, and Price’s Law—provide valuable frameworks to help young companies navigate these challenges effectively. I imagine them as three wise men—whose wisdom should be guiding even today’s rapid-scaling AI startups. It’s worthwhile realizing that these ARE laws and that they have proven out empirically over decades. It’s…

This past summer, OpenAI released GPT-3, the latest iteration of their research into AI language models. As happens every time there is an advance in artificial intelligence, right away, we saw the breathless and sensational statements in the press that over the past decades have accompanied computer wins in chess, Jeopardy and Go. These range from the passé “the future has arrived” to the clickbait scare-mongering about dystopian futures where poem-writing robots take all our…

My first visit ever to Times Square was in November 2008. I’d just attended the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco and was making my way back to South Africa. Like everyone seeing the circus of light in Times Square for the first time, I was super impressed. I paid specific notice to all the tech companies and took photos of their billboards — MySpace, Yahoo! Wow, to have that kind of marketing budget. Jerry Yang and…

As a startup grows, inevitably the amount of time that founders need to spend on non-core, operational issues increases. Your aim should be to automate and smooth out as many of these as possible, allowing you and your team to continue to focus on the stuff that really matters — growth, revenue, product etc. Mark Suster wrote a great post on this a while back where he explains the need for startups to scale up from their scrappy seed-stage garage mentally.…

As a pilot, I’ve enjoyed the ability to fly to interesting places. However, every so often less than adequate weather will leave you stranded somewhere waiting for the overcast to lift, fog to boil off etc. One of the most common causes of accidents in general aviation is untrained pilots inadvertently flying “into the clouds”. It is almost always lethal to pilots who aren’t trained for it. Without external visual references and a visible horizon…

Since 2007 I’ve been lucky enough to be a member of a volunteer mountain search and rescue team in South Africa. We are tasked with helping authorities with technical mountain rescues as well as search and recovery of missing people in wilderness areas. Few places can provide one with better lessons in leadership than those where lives are at stake. There are five aspects of leadership under rescue situations that I believe provides some insights…

End of expedition, Kathmandu, 11 December 2009 I’ve been in Kathmandu now for a couple of days again, after the always-exciting flight out of Lukla. Beers has been drunk, and some great dinners had in Kathmandu’s finest local restaurants. After spending a month in such a remote area, it took a while to get used to the mad traffic and bustle of Kathmandu again.  At least the Hotel Shanker provides old-world colonial style peace and…

Monday, 7 December 2009 So after leaving Namche I met up with the rest of the team again at Thame. It was good to be walking again, and I felt healthy and keen on the challenge of Parchamo. We overnighted in Thame and moved up to Parchamo base camp the next day. It was a stiff hike, gaining more than 1000m in altitude to get us to base camp at 4900m. Parchamo base camp is…

Monday, 30 November 2009, Namche Bazaar After Pheriche we moved up to Lobuche base camp – the only team there. I was still struggling with a chest infection. To put it a different way, when the others were climbing at 6000m, due to reduced oxygen update capacity, I was effectively climbing at 7000m – and for that I was simply not prepared. This was not just the common Khumbu cough. In the end 2 of…

“Summitted Island Peak at 10am local time, Monday 23 Nov. Back at basecamp, and too tired to write more. More to follow tomorrow. Did this one for my friend Michael, and will give more info tomorrow.” Thursday, 26 November 2009 After the summit we spent the night at base camp and then moved down to Dingboche the next day. From Dingboche we move to Lobuche base camp via the settlement of Pheriche. Pheriche has been…