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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

A Note to South African Startups: Make Quality Shit

In the past, I've been very critical of (some / most, but not all) South African startups that tend to work on ideas that are either a poor man's version of an existing (international) product / service or just completely lacks any kind of quality. Stumbling onto new startup, MoneySmart, has restored my faith in my fellow countrymen.

I've not even got to the point where I've signed up and used the product, but everything else just oozes quality: the design on the sales page looks quality, the sales video is nicely done and previewing bits of the UI via the feature tour makes the product look mightily inviting. If it wasn't for the domain or the fact that they just support South African banks at this stage, I wouldn't have known it is a South African startup. This is actually something that I might use myself.

This has always been something that I've tried to do with WooThemes: create an internationally recognized product, whilst still being proudly South African. Fact is that I designed & developed the first product (which eventually lead to the creation of WooThemes) from my small apartment in Stellenbosch whilst I was studying. Yet very few people - and I'd bet a fair chunk of change that 99% of WooThemes customer - know that we've been born & bred in South Africa.

So what's the lesson here? Make quality shit and always aim to be on par internationally with the quality of your design & code.

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