Inspiring 50 Nominee

What a way to start the week with a nomination for InspiringFifty. Thank you to #CoCreateSA and Holland, for the acknowledgement.

What is Inspiring Fifty?
Inspiring Fifty is a Dutch based non-profit organisation that showcases inspiring female role models in the technology industry in the Netherlands, France, Europe and the Nordics. Built on the core philosophy ”If she can see it, she can be it”, Inspiring Fifty annually awards the 50 most inspiring women in the technology sector with the aim of providing a platform that brings more visibility to the achievements of women in the innovation and technology sector.

On being a recovering “busy” person

I’ve always believed that being “busy” is being productive. Do you feel the same way? If not, I’ll share my story with you.

I am not quite sure where the drive to be busy continuously came from, but busy-ness, in my world, meant working crazy hours, sleeping few hours, working weekends and most importantly the guilt that is attached to non-busy times or times you can’t be busy or “work”.

I’ve lived this way for years, all my life.


Add in a child, a husband, two cats and a business.

Busy, oh expected right?

Busy, oh needed right?

But sometimes, something small (with major impact) happens, when you are sitting in a room with your child, and having just come from work, on your phone/tablet/laptop etc. and your child says “mommy, I am here”.

“Mommy, I am here”.

Those words, powerful and so clear.

We all have things to do. We all have places to go. Deadlines are always there. However, moments with loved ones (family, friends, children, parents), are fleeting.

Busy-ness does not mean results. Busy-ness, does not yield results. Busy-ness is not a measure of how good you are at your job, although many would disagree.

My work days are short, super short. I drop and fetch kid. I am home by 4pm, commencing with the mom/wife/homely thing. By 8.30 most nights I am passed out with kid, at about anytime between 12 and 2am, I sleep walk back to by bedroom and most mornings I am up at 5am to catch-up, before commencing Mom duty at 6.30.

During my workday, my focus has to be very clear on what I need to achieve for the day. I work on my bigger goal, edging my way toward it inch-by-inch.

I do not have to book every minute of my time. My aim is results-driven and not stuff-driven. Sending 100’s of emails a day, doesn’t mean deal-closing and is not an indicator of how effective I was on that day. Engaging with potential customers, follow-ing up, signing contracts and reaching milestones, this is what makes up my results bucket (mostly).

I’ve been listening to so many podcasts and watching Ted Talks on productivity, procrastination, work-life-balance and more and my take-aways are as follows:

  • Continuous busyness is not the way to my bigger goal.
  • Sleep is critical to being productive and being the best version of you.
  • Busyiness is a factor of procrastination (sometimes) and an indicator that something (a project, a person, an engagement) is not being managed efficiently enough.
  • When people distract you, they are taking away valuable (R’s/$’s) time so feeling bad for saying “I really need to get to this” is no reason for feeling guilty.
  • I don’t have to work 24-7-365 to show my value.
  • Sometimes work-life-balance is “better” than others, but there really is no such thing. If you love what you do, you will put in the required time needed to achieve the goal you are chasing.

I have so much more to share on this topic. For now I will say that the biggest lessons I learn (daily), usually stem from my 3,5 year-old boy who keeps me sane, grounded and practicing my negotiations.

Busyness, be gone.

Focus, results, let’s go!

State of the nation

Personally I’m not keen on politics. Too many ways to interpret (even though there are hard rules governing) and too many self-proclaimed prophets.

What I can say is that the messaging about how we engage on Friday 8th April 2017’s nationwide shutdown (and the effects on the economy and especially those who can’t afford to stay away from) remains to be seen.

Personally, I see the point being (irrespective of political party or ideas), that it will show a measure of solidarity in the same way that wearing black on Monday past would show silent solidarity to strangers by simply wearing the same colour.

However, in my opinion, too many people are quick to take to social media and not fast enough to make their voices heard by signing petitions or taking to the streets. I’ve signed every petition, but will I march on Friday? No.

Why? My son’s school is closing down as all the teachers have been warned to stay away and I am not willing to protest with my 3.5 year-old in tow. I will however be there in spirit, sign and share whatever I need to show that I support and feel the way the rest of South Africa does.

We need a new President.

  • One who puts the needs of the country ahead of his own.
  • One who leads by example.
  • One who we can trust.

Can such a person be found? Can a new dawn come to being? Anything is possible. We just need to want it enough and more importantly, we need to do it in a manner that has integrity and honour. Going from one poor leadership style by not following the democratic way, would be seen as counter-intuitive.

I am hoping that the nation pulls together, irrespective of Political party and/or agenda. I am hoping that the political parties for once, put the needs of the country together. There are too many people in lack, too many suffering and too many paying the price.

South Africa, let’s show the world how democratic we can be.

#SouthAfrica, you are a beautiful soul. I hope you continue …. to be.


In today’s digitally-connected era, the misconception that thousands of followers or Facebook friends indicate true connections or friendships is mis-guided. Science and Robin Dunbar (Dunbar’s number) indicates that as humans, we can maintain about 150 social relationships with as little as 5 to 15 being in our inner circle.

So what have we lost and what have we gained? The ability to read body language, communicate more effectively in social settings and engage without a device between you and your connection is growing and even personally I find that watching instead of participating is “safer”.

So how can we connect more? An old friend (more than a decade ago) shared his rule for getting to know someone (and really just good manners) was to leave your cellphone in your handbag or pocket. If you are waiting on a call (perhaps you have children), leave the phone, face down on the table out of reach.

Rule 1: No social media at the dinner table

What else? Whenever you attend an event, our instinct is to hide behind our devices. This sends a MASSIVE “do not engage” signal to anyone around you. In return, it makes it harder when you do eventually need to “connect” but no one seems interested. Funny isn’t it.

Rule 2: keep our body language open, use devices minimally and smile to create a more open rapport.

Anything fundamental? When chatting to someone you’ve just met or even someone you know, try and NOT discuss work or what you do. Show interest in them, ask questions about their families, their friends, their interests. This opens the possibility for discussion work later and you’ve learnt some aspects about that person you may need at a later stage.

Rule #3: when connecting, ask questions about anything else but business. Get to know the person and the business will follow.

More tips on connecting to follow. For now, remember, everyone has the same fears and needs. Put yourself in the other persons position and be mindful that sometimes people are going through things that cannot be left at home.


Giving back

Giving back doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Helping someone cross the street, giving some money to a homeless person, or just being kind.

Ten years ago, I was tired of waiting for the grand moment to do something good for someone else. That was when The Annual Toy Drive was born. It started as an idea and ten years later, 100’s of kids, and beneficiaries later we are still around.

This year marks TEN years. I am very proud of this. Even though we can always do better, there are always those who support us. Thank you and please continue to share the message that every bit counts.

Donate to our 10th Annual Toy Drive today or via PayPal (

If you happen to be in Johannesburg on the 8th April 2017, join us at 2pm in Delta Cafe.

Startup Tip

Make entering competitions a strategy to refine your business plan, get professional feedback and free media exposure. You may win cash and / or business support but if not, you’ve improved your idea and business strategy.

– Shana Kay

#DreamBig with Microsoft BizSparkSA and PowerFM

What a fun week this has been! Taking what I do and live everyday to identify great technology ideas. This week I was a judge (alongside some amazing people) in the #DreamBig BizSpark SA competition powered by Microsoft and PowerFM. The PowerFM studios are full of energy and some really cool people. Being in-studio was also quite fun, although I admit that being a judge is not easy. So many criteria to consider, especially in terms of each entrant.

We are being featured on the dynamic and lovely Iman Rappetti’s Power Talk show (at 11.30am) and the judges are:

  • Andile Khumalo – Powerhouse and host of Power Business show
  • Warren Larken – Microsoft BizSpark SA PR Lead and champion for startups
  • Moosh Ntanzi – Entrepreneur and current BizSpark member

The finalists have now been selected and tomorrow the big winner is announced. View the prize here.

We judged according to criteria such as application quality, online presence, business idea and innovation of execution. We also looked at the entrepreneur and their team or skill set. There were some novel ideas and in the end, we are down to 4 finalists who have been entered into the big draw tomorrow.

Who will win? Tune in to Powerfm on 98.7fm today to hear who the 4th finalist is and  tomorrow to hear all the excitement for one lucky startup who will win R75000 worth of business support and other prizes.


Most impressionable quote at the DWEN Summit

I’ve always believed that in order to do lots of good in the world, one has to do well. At the DWEN Summit I attended in Cape Town last week, this belief was flipped around by Ashish Thakkar who believed that if you “do well you will do good“. I love this philosophy so much more.

I then researched this phrase and it’s been around for ages and used in various ways.

As I am going through a challenging period at work, I haven’t been thinking about the good I do or the happiness and laughter that I usually am all about doing and sharing.

So … to share some inspiration – Ashish Thakkar’s book is available on Amazon and shares the true story of a booming Africa often not seen by media’s hunger to sell stories of negativity instead of hope and growth.

To spread happiness, unless you’re easily offended, watch some of Amy Schumer’s stand up or if you looking for something less “offensive” watch some of James Corden’s karaoke carpool, here is one of my favorites or Ellen always manages to make me laugh and cry. Subscribe to her YouTube channel and be inspired everyday

As Ellen would say “be kind to one another”. Thank you Ellen, I needed to hear that from you today.

Bringing happiness into the lives of others since 1978.
Shana Derman


Birthday month 2016

On the last day of birthday month, my true self gave to me, one Starbucks coffeeeee. On the last day of birthday month, my truelove gave to me, one hour just for meeeee. On the last day of birthday month my true self gave to be, one hour to reflect, one Starbucks to get set and one blog post updaaate!