Well, this is more of a blog than anything I’ve written for a while... Covid has come to CliffCentral. We like coming up with clever alliterative phrases for new ideas and divisions in the business - like CliffCentral Communications, CliffCentral Campus, CliffCentral Creative and CliffCentral Collaborations. Now we have CliffCentral Contagions...

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Not a week goes by where you don’t see two neanderthals abusing each other because they have a different point of view online. Do you wonder, like I do, if their anger and stupidity could be channeled into great arguments that might change minds and move us all forward, instead of making us dumber and more primitive?

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Sometimes you need to stop and take a breath. Perhaps last year’s pandemic and the resulting drastic lockdown measures gave many of us that opportunity. Armed with an excuse, some of us have used this time to appreciate the extraordinary changes in our lives. The most valuable businesses - like Amazon, Netflix, Google and Facebook  - didn’t exist 30 years ago, now they’re the ones we can’t live without...

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His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh died on Friday the 9th of April 2021, at the age of 99. I had the pleasure of meeting him when I was in my final year of high school. The headmasters, head boy and head girl of each of the schools in Pretoria were invited to a garden tea in honour of The Queen’s State Visit to South Africa and Nelson Mandela. Through family connections, I was invited along...

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The old aristocracy of Europe, the dying embers of which glow faintly in the monarchies of the West and whose blood dilutes itself in far-flung corners of old empires, used to pride itself on something called 'noblesse oblige’ - the idea that to those whom much is given, much is expected. The idea here was to protect, teach and give succour to those in your care: An accountability for others in exchange for the privileges that fell upon you. Many wicked men failed to live up to this, but a great many more tried, and succeeded - so much so that to be called noble or a gentleman became the highest aspiration of all...

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On Friday I became a trending topic on Twitter. Nothing unusual here – I’ve been used to this since social media became a big deal in South Africa, but it’s still never welcome news. Someone posted a tweet saying that when she and her friends were 15 (she’s 27 now), she met me at a nightclub and I bought them drinks and propositioned them. Needless to say it took off on Twitter and other fallacious titbits piled up about everything I’ve probably never done, including that I should be de-platformed for among other things, “He disputed the US election result”… as though I was Donald Trump himself and responsible for the insurrection on Capitol Hill.

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Maybe I’m getting old - or wise (I'll leave it to you to decide) - but I’m taking more and more pleasure in small rituals. Perhaps the relative monotony of lockdown is to blame, but I have discovered magic in unexpected places. If you’re about to give up on me, hold on. Let me explain by way of some examples, and this might convince you neither of us are going mad...

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2020 will soon be behind us, and with the possible exceptions of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, nobody will be sad to see the back of it. But if, like me, you absolutely cannot spend another minute talking about vaccines, masks or curfews, then what I’m about to tell you will (hopefully) feel like something fresh...

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Every year I write something hopeful, something that I wish would help just one person who reads it to have something to reach for in the new year. This has been such a tumultuous year that it almost feels like I need to reconsider everything, even my parting shot for 2020. But have no fear, there’s enough inspiration to go round, even after an annus horribilis like this. I’ll start with the things that have kept me going this year, that have given my life meaning, and perhaps they will strike a chord with something in your life...

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The Internet isn’t real life. Look, I’m, sure you know this already, but let’s all take a minute in what has been a very difficult year, to take stock of our lives. Thanks to Covid, for many people the Internet is the only kind of social activity they’ve had. It’s frighteningly unhealthy and you must do everything you can to break free before you lose your soul online. That may sound dramatic, but the evidence of mental and emotional breakdown is there for everyone to see. Don’t let it happen to you. Here are the twelve online commandments...

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