I formed Crossbolt Intellisys in 2001. A few weeks earlier I had quit my job as a systems engineer. Oddly I had just returned to head office in Johannesburg after wrapping up a year on site on a spectacularly successful project. Perhaps it was the interminable traffic jams, the gloomy weather or the anti-climax of returning to a cushy corporate world after the thrill of building a large, highly-automated factory. I’m not sure, but I resigned within three days of my return.

It was hard to walk away from what was a perfectly acceptable looking future. I had a lot of time to think about it as I sat in traffic and felt the wrath of summer Highveld storms through the canvas roof of my 75 Alfa Spider. There was enough cash saved to last me 4 months…and no prospects, just the craving of something new and different. I oscillated between anxiety (panic at times) and excitement as I worked through my month long notice period.

I finished my last day on a client’s site wrapping up some outstanding work. There was no farewell party, just a lonely Friday night flight from Port Elizabeth back to Johannesburg. As I’d been away for most of the previous year, I didn’t even have a place of my own to go to.

The view from my first week in office

On Sunday, two days later my brother called me with a project lead. I caught a guy at the airport who was in transit between Durban and JFK (NYC) and had a brief chat. “Can you join me in LA later this week?”. And so it began.

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