Best and worst investments from ISP execs

MyBroadband BusinessTech recently asked South Africa’s high profile Internet Service Provider (ISP) executives what their best and worst ever investments were, and this is what they had to say.

Douglas Reed
Douglas Reed

Vox Telecom CEO Douglas Reed
says that the best money he ever spent was to invest in a few startups. “I have often invested in small Entrepreneur’s startups that have given me the best return,” said Reed. Reed was less impressed with the returns from conventional JSE share investments which he says was his worst investment ever.

Rudi Jansen
Rudi Jansen

MWEB CEO Rudi Jansen
says launching uncapped Internet services rank as the best investment he ever made. “Launching uncapped Internet access has been a major milestone. We achieved most of what we have set out so far and it has been a huge catalyst for change in the Internet landscape in South Africa, not just for ADSL,” said Jansen. Jansen says that his worst investment was some of their earlier online businesses. “In the early days we tried a number of online businesses that we started that was simply too early for this market.”

Derek Wilcocks
Derek Wilcocks

Internet Solutions CEO Derek Wilcocks
says that his best investment in his life is to continually grow his knowledge and invest in his education. “I’m a bit of a bookworm, so I am constantly reading. This means that I am constantly investing in my education, which is the best investment anyone can make in my opinion,” said Wilcocks. Less profitable was Wilcocks’ decision to migrate Internet Solutions in Apple Mac in the mid-1990s. “In 1995, when I first joined Internet Solutions, I decided that the company would migrate to Mac. At the time Apple was headed for a rough patch, so the technology we acquired was not well supported at the time.” “We really battled to make these computers work for us. That lesson has stuck with me and has made me more cautious about the technology I buy and how well it is supported,” said Wilcocks.

Roelf Diedericks
Roelf Diedericks

Neology CTO Roelf Diedericks
says that their first HP server, Cisco switch, and Jura Coffee machine were the best investments they made as a company. As an individual investment Roelf says that paying R5000 for Neology’s VANS license paid off handsomely. According to Roelf the worst money they ever spent was to try to win tenders and trying do business with government.

Laurie Fialkov
Laurie Fialkov

Cybersmart CEO Laurie Fialkov
says the offices they bought for Cybersmart in 2002 before the property boom was his best investment ever. Not so profitable was Fialkov’s decision to invest in an IRU on Seacom on SAT-3. “This was not necessarily a bad investment, it was just too big for us. It used up all our “rainy day” cash and when prices dropped we could not afford to react fast enough,” says Fialkov.

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Best and worst investments from ISP execs