About Gideon Botha

Gideon Botha

Having grown up in a very small town in South Africa, living in London is the equivalent of trying to buy toothpaste in a very big supermarket - the wide range of choice can leave you just standing there for 15 minutes, staring at tubes full of multi-coloured floride.

He says of London, "It took me quite a while to adjust to the pace of this magnificent city. But, I do owe London a lot when it comes to shaping certain ideas. For now, when it comes to my blog, I feel a butterfly of excitement tickling in my stomach at the idea of putting ideas and stories in public space and seeing what might become of them."

Latest Posts by Gideon Botha

Alternative Coffee Shop Model?

December 9, 2011 by  


I can probably look up the value of the market for take away coffee and write some statty-sounding blurb about how much profit is made on a single cup. The fact is selling coffee makes loads of cash – if you can get customers to buy it given the Starbucks and Cafe Nero on each corner.

Facts, themes and sentiments:

  • To make a cup of coffee is quick and cheap.
  • To wait for a cup of coffee in a queue is annoying.
  • To be a member of a club feels cool.
  • To support small business is cool.

The idea is as follows:

Create a coffee shop chain where each shop has two counters, catering for two tiers of clientele;

Counter 1

  • Customers buy coffee like in any other coffee shop (queue for it, choose it, pay for it, wait for it, leave with it or, sit and drink it)

Counter 2

  • The second counter will be for “club” customers only.
  • These customers pay a monthly membership fee and can have as much coffee as they like.
  • A single, “coffee-of-the-month”, selected from artisan roasters, is served in the normal formats of -pressos and -chinos.

How can you afford to give coffee away for free?
To make the coffee is cheap and the membership fee will work on the same principal as a “eat-as-much-as-you can” pricing model in that the average person will drink much less coffee than he initially thought he would, leaving you with a profit.

The following should happen.

  • Your members will form an online community of coffee aficionados. They will discuss and star-rate the coffee of the month.
  • Your website should become synonymous with great quality coffee, produced by independent producers.
  • You then sell the featured coffees online with customer ratings automatically driving the best coffees to the top of the pile.
  • The whole concept should grow itself as long as you are actually serving good coffee.
  • In effect, you are using your club as a market research collective and as advertisers – both elements that can be expensive and not always accurate in the traditional format.


  • A fair share of regular. club customers will drink coffee at the same place every day. Not wanting to wait, they can have a mobile app to pre-order coffee so that it is ready just before they arrive. The details of such an app will need to be worked out but I cannot see how this should be too difficult.
  • All things coffee related can be booked or bought online e.g., barista courses.
Just a thought on how to get the most socially acceptable drug to operate in a more socially responsible manner.

Online Food Shopping Benefits & It Seems to be Growing…

November 28, 2011 by  


Using Ocado as an example, but most online supermarkets work in a similar way.

  • You have the option to choose a recipe you like.
  • All the ingredients needed are listed.
  • You then have to select each ingredient individually to add it to the shopping basket or, alternatively, you can select “Add everything”.
The idea flips this logic on it’s head.
Let us take this Spinach Lasagne from Ocado as an example.


  • 250g Spinach Lasagne sheets
  • 500g Tomato Passata
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 500ml Milk
  • 2 tbsp Plain Flour
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Pepper
  • 1 pinch Nutmeg
  • 3 leaves Fresh Basil
  • 1 ball Mozzarella, diced
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
All 13 these ingredients will cost me £16.36. But I have garlic, olive oil, milk, butter, salt and pepper in my pantry.

After removing these 6 ingredients, I am left with a total cost of £9.87 (60% of the original value) for the 7 ingredients I need to buy.

Currently, I am ADDING ingredients to a shopping trolley. I see the total cost rising with each addition and it “feels” like I am spending money.

Alternatively, you can re-design this whole “buying-from-a-recipe” experience as follows;
  • You select a recipe and immediately it shows you the total cost in case you wanted to buy all of the ingredients.
  • The shoper now DE-SELECTS those items that he/she does not require. You see the total cost decrease with each de-selection and it “feels” like you are saving money.
The argument against this is that it will put the buyer off as all recipes will initially seem very expensive. That is easily remedied by adding two additional costs along with the total potential cost of buying all the ingredients;
i) Average cost per serving and ii) The average amount people who bought the ingredients for this recipe spent on it.  Looking at these two indicators, customers can then get a very clear understanding of how much they can expect to pay.

The small amount of customers being put off by this “flip around” should be far less than those appreciating a more honest way to estimate the cost of recipes. It is also much easier to de-select what you do not want as opposed to select what you do want – adding to the overall experience.

To test if you agree is simple.
  • Register on Ocado.
  • Select a recipe with 8 or more ingredients.
  • Click on “Add everything” to see the total cost – note this down.
  • Now de-select all items you do have in your kitchen (e.g., salt, pepper and milk) whilst keeping an eye on the total cost of your basket.
Do you find it quicker to de-select those items you already have?
Does it “feel” like you are saving money when seeing the price drop each time?

This can be implemented by the online shops themselves or by a “compare-the-market” type online shop where you shop from recipes pulling from various supermarkets.

Looking forward to hear your thoughts.

A Mobile App to Rate Your Local Sex Appeal?

November 28, 2011 by  

When I started to ask people about the following idea, there were various opinions about the statistical validity*, how many people you will need to make it work, blah blah blah. But, one thing that there is consensus about is that most people play this game in their heads anyway. Here’s the idea: Rate your local sex appeal. The premise of the game is to rate the sex appeal of strangers in an area, using a mobile application.

Under your profile you would enter your gender, age and whether you are straight or gay.
The interface of the mobile application will be simple.
  • Two voting buttons; “Would you?” or “wouldn’t you?”
  • A countdown timer; Users can choose to play for 3, 5 or 10 minutes.
  • The amount of alcohol (in units) consumed at the time when the game is played.
There will need to be some controls to ensure the parameters entered are statistically reliable*, of which the key ones to get right will be; (examples at the hand of a heterosexual woman)
  • Dismissing scores when the location is too quiet (think deserted island). A score of 1 out of 4 means you only saw 4 men of which you found 1 sexually appealing – too few to base a statistic on.
  • Dismissing scores when the location is too busy (think clubbing night). A ridiculously high total scoring means you are seeing too many men at the same time so you might be double counting or not counting all men.
Once you have played it a couple of time you would be able to;
  • Compare your own scores, over time, against location – see where are the most attractive people, according to you.
  • See correlations between your scores, alcohol consumption and the time of day.
Once enough people are playing the game, you would be able to;
  • Compare your scores to other people’s in a given area to decide if you are “picky” or “desperate”.
  • See infographical “hotspots” in your city or town.
  • See how alcohol consumption and time of day influences average scores (testing the Beer goggle theory!)
You can then post your scores and results, like everything else, to Twitter or Facebook.

I am well aware that douchebags and jocks will abuse such an app to a certain degree, but it should not be developed with them as the primary market.

Your thoughts?