Talent Times

Talent Times is the Newsletter of the Cape Town Talent Exchange


  1. Letter from a technophobe
  2. Top trader: Aubrey Dampies brokers goods in Delft
  3. Markets at a crossroads
  4. Hold your own event
  5. Time for a Talent Shop
  6. Help get businesses on board
  7. Breakthrough as first property advertise

The Talent Exchange — where your wealth is your talent

Welcome to the Talent Times

This new format of the newsletter aims to tell traders’ stories, give technical tips, highlight the vision behind the CES and describe new developments. The purpose is to help us all to trade more easily, bring in more of the goods and services we need, and make the exchange an even more fun place to trade.

In each issue I would like to print a letter from a trader, describe how a prolific trader operates, tackle a problem and tell an inspiring story or two. Please email letters and ideas to josmetherham@gmail.com. To those of you who have already contacted me, thanks very much. I’d also really appreciate feedback and suggestions.

Looking forward to a full mailbox,

Jo-Anne Smetherham

1. Letter from a technophobe

“If the talent exchange web site looked something like Gumtree, I would be able to spend my many thousands of Talents. I'd have well over T30,000 by now if I took all the payments due to me. I could be buying and selling about T10,000 per month every month. The trouble is, I find it such an impossible schlep to find what I want to buy, that I'm unable to spend my talents.

“Maybe there are many other technophobes with limited time available who don't have the mental space or emotional energy to sort through enormous lists of offerings. I'd give my right arm for a list that said ‘Office Equipment’.

“But I have a great positive too. I advertised my Neurolinguistic Programming course and I got six responses. So thanks millions to the Talent Exchange. Now what on earth am I going to do with all these talents?”

Dr Terri Ann Laws

Response from CES site designer Tim Jenkin:

'Office Equipment' is an excellent category and we have just added it to the site. To create a new category is as easy as typing in the words.

The database has provision for sub categories too, such as 'Office Equipment - fax machines' but we have never felt the need for that as the number of offerings has never been so great that it has been impossible to find things. There is also the search facility which it seems is not widely used.

We love to have feedback from users and always try to implement what is requested. However, when something new is requested it must be useful to all users in all exchanges and not be something meaningful only to one exchange or group of users. What with 170 separate exchanges in the network, it is impossible to program in exceptions for each one of these.

If anyone wants to make a comment or suggestion about anything please write to the address below, to the CTTE administrator or pick up one of the generic addresses on the site. We want everyone to feel that the exchange is theirs, and not something provided by 'them' out there like the conventional money system. So please, send your feedback!

2. Aubrey Dampies brokers goods in Delft

Aubrey Dampies shuns Rands altogether these days, trading only in Talents. Operating as a broker, he buys goods from people across Cape Town on the exchange and sells them at a profit at markets that he sets up in his community of Delft. Aubrey has bought a car and cellphone, among other hard-to-find items, and has sold everything from CDs to a hand-held GPS and external CD writer. “Ask anybody – the stuff I put on the exchange is not junk,” he says. “I was going to hold a market in Delft this Saturday, but I couldn’t get the hall. It will be the first thing, for the New Year.”

Aubrey, who lives with his wife and two sons, has made T239,000 on the exchange and spent about the same amount, trading more than anybody except exchange steward Dawn Pilatowicz. He started offering maintenance work but at the first market he attended, realised he could make a good profit from buying and selling goods. “The exchange is exciting. I prefer to deal in only Talents,” he says.

“I’m a businessman and I really value my talents.  But the main thing is the friends you make on the exchange. I’ve made some really good friends.”

3. Markets at a crossroads

CTTE board member Roy de Vos has poured huge amounts of energy into developing the markets and is at his wits’ end. When he emailed the 38 members of the 'CTTE Subscribing Members & Board' group, only 13 replied – evidence of the traders’ apathy about markets. All those who responded said the markets were a great idea, but the quality of goods was poor or they were too lazy to turn up.

“Commercial markets are shooting up everywhere. If we want to get traffic to our markets, we have to compete with the very slick operations like the Old Biscuit Mill, Triangle Food Market, Porters' Farm Market etc,” says Roy. “Please let’s discuss strategies. The fact that we have almost 4,000 members yet are unable to motivate one-tenth of them to become regular market participants means that what we have being doing up to now has been a failure.”

The markets are at a crossroads, so if you’re a would-be stallholder, do something about it soon and join the market sellers group on the exchange – there’s a link under the ‘markets’ section on the home page. I’d also like to hear your thoughts on markets, on josmetherham@gmail.com.

4. Set up a mini-market

Can’t get to a market to sell your wares? Hold your own event. And if you want to meet more women/plumbers/artists or any other category of trader, this is your chance. Talent exchange steward Dawn Pilatowicz held a “Ladies Meet and Greet” at her Marina da Gama home in mid-November and did a roaring trade, selling clothing and BodyTalk sessions. Others sold massages, gifts, ready-made meals, bags and spiritual art mapping. We were all delighted to meet more kindred spirits - and at how much we traded - so Dawn held a second event on November 26. To follow her example, go to ‘groups’ on the toolbar, then click on ‘create new group’. The instructions are easy to follow. When you’ve finished, email those you’d like to attend, make an announcement on the ‘announce’ toolbar, and let me know on josmetherham@gmail.com if you want free advertising in the next newsletter.

5. Time for a Talent Shop?

Any suggestions for premises for a talent shop, whose rent – and shopkeeper - could be paid in talents? The CTTE used to have a shop but it wasn’t a great success. The time might now be ripe for a better shot at it. The jury’s still out on this one … see the entry on businesses below.

6. Lets get businesses on board

CES board member Ken Meek’s passion is to persuade businesses to join the exchange, bringing in goods and services that the exchange sorely needs. Have any of you got contacts in industry whom he might approach?

The idea is that the businesses use their spare capacity to make extra hard goods and services, which would be sold for Talents. Property owners, manufacturers, agriculturalists and any others with spare capacity could trade. If we had a Talent Shop, it could ask manufacturers for small orders.

The obvious question is ‘What’s in it for the factory or business?’ They could save cash by using their Talents to buy goods and services, from computer services to basic labour. They could also give Talents to staff as bonuses, overtime or incentives, or donate them to charity.  The businesses would be contributing towards resolving a socio-economic crisis and doing good by building up the local economy. 

A second pie can be baked from the off-cuts of the first. Using this metaphor, Ken says the businesses could be part of a group The Pie2 Association within the exchange. Pie2 could be used for branding and marketing, much as the Proudly South African logo is used.

Inspired? Contact Ken on lawdocs@mweb.co.za.

7. Property advertised on the CTTE

Sharon du Plessis is offering a stand in Yzerfontein, on the West Coast, to CES members only, for goods and Talents to the value of 22,000 and R370,000 in Virtual Rands. It’s a bargain – such stands usually go for R590 000, she says - but Sharon has a vision.

This includes opening up the possibility for CES members to property at below-market prices, for a group of like-minded people to buy shares together, and possibly to become part of a Transition Town community, in which the focus is on sustainable living. She also hopes to donate a percentage of the sale to charity. The use of Virtual Rands will ensure that “abundance is shared in the CES pool,” she says. “The choice is yours. Water and nurture this seed, this potential tree, this vision of a forest… into existence, so that one day many may find solace and safety in the branches.”

To find out more, search under Sharon Du Plessis or account number CTTE2101 on the exchange.

Unsubscribing: How to get off this list?

If you would like to unsubscribe from the Community Exchange News mailing list please do not write to the Admin and ask to be removed. You are in a position to determine what you receive and for how long you do or don't receive anything. Simply access your account and click on the [My Record] button at the top. In your personal profile you can tick which publications you don't want to receive.

Back issues

If you would like to read back issues of Community Exchange News, they are all on the web site at www.ces.org.za/cen/ctte. You will also find the Newsletters of other exchanges on the CES network in the same place.

CES User Guide

  • Do you wish you knew how to update and delete your offerings and wants?
  • Do you wish you knew how to delete an incorrect transaction that you have entered?
  • Do you wish you knew how to...?

All the answers are available right from your account on the CES web site.

Download the CES User Guide. To do so, log into your account on the CES web site at www.ces.org.za. On the left hand side of your home page you will see the User Guide in various formats. Download either the PDF, OpenOffice or MS Word versions. You can also view the HTML version on the screen.