On Flying


โ€œJonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull’s life is so short, and with those gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.โ€ Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. For as long as I can remember, Iโ€™ve been enamoured by all things related to flight. It started with birds. As a boy, I persuaded my father to help me build big walk-in...

How I built an Afrikaans AI Poetry Bot


After letting go of my childhood dreams of building my own Terminator (or Chappie or JARVIS) I settled for something that writes (pretty bad) Afrikaans poetry, among other things. Hereโ€™s how I did it. First, What is AI? Read ten books about it and youโ€™ll probably end up with ten different definitions. Broadly, however, it is about softwareโ€™s ability to make sense of data and take the action that...

Chasing the spirit of Caballo Blanco in the bottom of a Mexican canyon


(This article appeared in issue 38 of Trail Mag) โ€œIf you’re going through hell, keep goingโ€ Winston Churchill. โ€œWait, why exactly are you doing this again?โ€, came the Nagging Voice, who sometimes joins me on my more adventurous runs. Iโ€™d been running for more than seven hours under a merciless sun pelting down on me, amid a harsh landscape of gleaming rocks, dirt, and cactuses. I was...

How my friend and I created a fake group and performed at a Taiwanese music festival


Preface  I’ve been hesitant to write about this fun episode, mostly because of my immense respect for Taiwan and the original Spring Scream festival organisers. I do not want to sour any relationships or future opportunities. That said, it was an immensely successful (and funny) marketing exercise and I’ve been asked about it by many friends, so here goes. Taiwan. Touch your...

About me

Werner van Rooyen

Formerly Business Development and Marketing at Luno (where we went from eight nerds in a tiny office to hundreds of people spread over three continents) and before that Marketing at PayFast. Currently investing, paragliding, and doing research, mostly in Mexico.