• Ronnie Apteker

This is short and SEXy

Sometimes we need to be bold and just have fun. Of course, no one likes exploitation and when things are done in bad taste it can backfire. But, never forget that laughter is the best icebreaker and most people enjoy a good chuckle. So we aim to have more fun and not be afraid to push the envelope. Be sexy — be real — be adventurous. The English language is overflowing with opportunities to use words to our advantage. Embrace it.

This was the message I shared in a blog post a few years ago. Its wisdom is timeless and in our new venture PYGIO we are breaking the ice each and every week. Trying to bridge cultures requires us to be bold and have fun.

At PYGIO we are trying to get two very different cultures to interact and bond. Yes, language is one aspect, but culture is a more fundamental consideration. Just because two nations can converse in the same language, English, it doesn’t mean they understand each other. On the South African side, English is spoken from birth, but on the Ukrainian side it is something most learn to speak at school. Some speak it well and some struggle a bit with the vocabulary. But again, English is often not the challenge.

Just because two nations can converse in the same language, English, it doesn’t mean they understand each other.

People from Eastern Europe, in my experience, are shy, and they don’t engage and open up so easily. They often will remain quiet and not ask questions, even though they have things they want to find out. To try break down the barriers we often need to have a bit of fun and sometimes quirky and unusual antics get everyone relaxed and then they start talking.

Breaking the ice is an art form. I am convinced of that. To some people it comes naturally but I reckon to most, it is a struggle. In this day and age of political correctness we all are on our guard when it comes to making jokes. But sex can be a funny subject, and when one makes jokes about one’s self, it does tend to unnerve people. If we are chatting with our teams of computer programmers and the silence is intense I may pipe up with “I am feeling very sexy today” or “this is a very sexy project”). Of course, what does even mean, but one thing is for sure, the introverted talent on the call has heard this and is now curious. I once asked some programmers from our team if they were wearing a condom on the Google Meets call, and I went on to say “One always has to be careful, especially when coding. We need the code to be safe and secure.” This broke the ice and there were a few smiles and some chirps, and voila, people started to talk. Sometimes, what we do is un-sexy. Software development can also be likened to plumbing. It needs to get done, or there is a mess everywhere. Some support and maintenance tasks are boring and not sexy. We always try to find what makes the work interesting, and yes, sexy.

But yeah, sex sells: tell your clients your software is developed by sexy, intelligent Ukrainian devs and they will have that image in their mind for a long long time.

Google is a sexy company. Apple too. And it is not only because they are high-tech firms. The image they project, the innovations they drive, the philosophies they share… all of these play on our imaginations. We have all used this word “sexy” to describe something or someone that has appeal. Sexy is a metaphor for so many things. And many entrepreneurs aspire to create sexy companies.


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