If I consider that 10 months ago at the first 27dinner in Jozi we publicly launched Cerebra (and only really started doing significant business after that), I’m absolutely thrilled at where we’ve grown to. We’ve learned stacks of lessons as a team, not all of them easy, but all of them valuable.
Still, I probably owe you – the community around the brand – a bit of an apology. Things have transpired in such a way that I have been forced to bury my head in the sand just to cope on some days, meaning I often neglect to keep you updated and informed of new developments.
Let me give you the synopsis. For 14 months, up until January this year, I consulted to South African companies under the banner of the TomorrowToday.biz futurist strategy group. They are largely responsible for encouraging me to turn my passion into a business, into presentations and eventually into consulting that led to the birth of Cerebra.
From the early days I knew exactly what I wanted Cerebra to be – a dedicated, specialised, global social media company. This drive meant that soon I connected with smart folks like Carl Spies and Dave Duarte. I shared the vision for Cerebra with them and they ‘joined’ to help me build it. I cannot understate the patience and good nature of these two humans. Working with me must be a significant challenge.
Then quite serendipitously I met with Angus Robinson at Vida in Rosebank early this year. We clicked – Angus with his vast knowledge and experience in the mobile arena and me with my, um… stuff – and I had a real sense of conviction from day one that we would probably land up working together. Angus moulded into the Cerebra network but kept his mobile strategy, advertising and media company Brandsh running – a smart idea in retrospect.
Now I’m trying to remember what happened next… We started to land some significant business and were suddenly getting calls from top SA brands and ad agencies asking us to help them figure out the social revolution. I met Deshanta Naidoo after the first 27dinner (she spent the entire evening stuck in a lift – eish), and we offered her a job as a content manager for our key accounts. It was round about this time we started to talk to Toyota, Samsung and Standard Bank.
I met with Tyler Reed after being very impressed with his content, presence and passion. Tyler joined us for a few weeks but both of us realised fairly early on that he was destined for bigger things (and I say this with no undertone whatsoever) – he expressed his desire to start his own thing and I encouraged it 100% – we continue to have a brilliant, mutually beneficial relationship.
At about the same time Dave expressed that his passion for social media had shifted more into the educational space and that he too wanted to build his own brand. This was a difficult time for me – and probably my ugliest moment as for a short time I made Dave’s life a bit difficult. I wanted his brains you see 🙂 Fortunately good sense prevailed and as Dave pours his energy into Huddlemind and his new partnership with Neville at Muti we continue to connect regularly and Dave continues to grow the 27dinner movement (rather effectively) in the Cape Town region. I cannot speak highly enough of Dave’s integrity – he deserves the best and will get it.
Moving on. We were starting to become a whole team, but were running out of capacity quickly. We snatched up design and dev talent Andre Ellis and Palesa Sibeko to add to our content offering, but still lacked one very key component to the business – an accounts director. You see I can sell but am a shocking project manager. Angus can sell and runs many of the operational components of the business. We needed an accounts champ.
Enter Gino Cosme! Yay! It was a bit of a no-brainer offering Gino a position as our accounts director. I think this is a particularly exciting development for us as a business. There’s no questioning Gino’s knowledge of big business and social media, and add to that his experience in account management and I think we’ve finally got a complete team. You can read his post about the new move here.
I’d love your comments and questions about the business. We rely heavily on your trust as an online community to stay relevant and innovative!