This week our spotlight is on the founder of the not-so-little media platform, 2OceansVibe.com, Seth Rotherham.
This guy has the word entrepreneur tattooed on his heart (if it’s possible, we’re pretty sure it’s true), and just doesn’t stop going. Some would be content with one claim to fame – not Seth. From catching the blogging bug before it was even a thing, to starting a side cane furniture business by accident, Seth is carving a very interesting journey for himself.
We’ll let him tell you all about it.
1. What made you decide to start 2oceansvibe back in 2002?
I wanted an outlet for my rantings and the photos I was taking at parties. No-one really had digital cameras so I was initially just posting pics for my friends. More and more people started reading 2oceansvibe and there was much excitement surrounding my observations and public battles. I started to enjoy writing and amusing a constantly growing audience.
2. Which is your favourite social media platform at the moment, and why?
If you had asked me 6 months ago I would have said Instagram but I’m getting bored of that now. The insecure postings by people I know and inspirational messages are becoming a bit much. By far the most exciting social media platform for me right now is OurHood – the private digital platform for neighbourhoods. Finally you can engage your neighbours without the noise and trolls of Facebook and the constant pinging of Whatsapp. Everything from lost dogs and nanny referrals to crime posts and sharing ladders – this is what communities desperately need. They have a desktop version and apps for iOS and Android.
3. Talk us through your average day?
I do the headlines and Morning Spice and emails from 5am to about 8am. It’s pretty chaotic at my house in the mornings, as my wife, Samantha also works and we have a 6 month old – Francesca. I’ll eat at home if I don’t have a breakfast meeting and I’ll squeeze in a quick 5km run on the Clifton promenade if possible. Depending on the day’s line-up I’ll either jump on the Vespa or get in the MINI and head out. If I don’t have errands to run or people to meet (usually at the Mount Nelson hotel – zero parking hassles and minor chance of running into weirdos), I’ll go to the office to be with my team. It’s not essential as we use Slack for communication (it’s awesome) and I do emails on the go with my iPad. But I dig them and like to engage with them offline as much as I can. If it’s a Tuesday or Thursday I will drop off Lacoste, our chocolate Labrador in the morning and pick her up in the arvee from Proud Hounds – her Doggie Daycare centre. No, I’m not kidding. Go home, turn on the music, open a bottle of Haute Cab, light a million candles, start a fire inside if it’s cold or a braai outside if it’s warm.
4. You’ve expanded 2oceansvibe in so many different directions – what’s next?
With the main news site getting half a million unique readers a month (double last year) and the added value of the radio, 2ov Media is as solid as ever. With operations handled so well by my incredible team, I’m able to focus on other ventures, with 2ov forming the backbone of most of them. My cane furniture operation which I found by accident (malawicane.com) is thriving and I’m now focusing on international export. I started getjet.co.za – an empty leg jet charter booking service and co-founded OurHood, South Africa’s fastest growing social media network for neighbourhoods. I wrote a book last year (sethbook.co.za) and this year I got my pilot’s license and became a dad. So not much else on the cards – I want to focus on all of that for now.
5. What would your 10 year old self think of what you’re doing now?
He wouldn’t be entirely surprised. I was always dying to be older and involved in business and was confident that I would be doing my own thing. My mother used to stress about exams and my scraping-through results and I remember reassuring her that everything would be ok – I just needed time to go by. In my teens I was building computers and selling them via community newspaper ads. I always struggled with people not taking me seriously because of my age which obviously changed over time. Perception is a funny thing – I once made up a personal assistant, who had her own email address and everything – ‘she’ would create the illusion that I was very busy and this in turn raised perceptions for whomever I was communicating with. A few grey speckles in the stubble helps 😉
6. Describe your ultimate weekend?
Absolutely no plans, just my wife and baby and dog – opera music playing – swimming in the pool and braai and some Haute Cabriere Punot. That’s the one day and then on the Sunday I’d go flying just outside Stellenbosch and right next to where my wife horse rides at the same time.
7. What’s your best piece of advice in 10 words?
Don’t suffer fools and spend time with like-minded people.
8. Which content medium speaks to you more – written articles or radio? And why?
Written articles. You get to keep them, revisit them and consume them in silence.
9. What’s been a highlight of starting OurHood?
Having the chance to impact real lives and being able to solve a real problem. It’s a terribly exciting project and the response has been phenomenal. Watching 2oceansvibe’s audience grow was and is incredible – but with OurHood you’re watching it grow AND watching them engage each other – it really is a very thrilling experience.
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