Growing up in Eldorado Park in Johannesburg, 38 year old Stafford Masie, was, like most of us, exposed to the harsh realities of gangsterism and violence. All around him the guys in the nice cars were the gangsters and the community thought that the only way to make an honest living was to become a bank clerk, a teacher or a security guard. Stafford however, wanted more out of life. It was then that Stafford’s father, a political activist at the time, decided to provide his son with the necessary opportunities by sending him to Tel Aviv University in Israel where he studied computer science.
When he came back from Israel, Stafford began his career as a technology analyst for Telkom, working hard to make his way to the top. He eventually began his rise, becoming the National Software Strategist for Dimension Data, the Co-CEO and strategist for Redstar Networks, the Product Marketing Director for Novell SA, the Global Business Strategist for Novell Inc (based in the USA), the Global Corporate Strategist for Novell Inc (based in the USA), a Managing Director for Novell SA and then, finally, he became Head of Google South Africa.
To get the job as the head of Google South Africa, Stafford had to go through 18 interviews with Google representatives around the world and if one person had submitted a negative report, he would have been out of the running. Everybody thought Massie was the most competent person for the job and the founder of Google, Larry Page, personally signed his employment contract (it is known that Page only recruits the best).
After leaving Google, Stafford started his own company called, thumbzup. Through thumbzup, he raised R80 million and spent two and a half years inventing the ‘Payment Pebble smartphone payment device’, which allows merchants and ordinary people to make easy online card payments.
Stafford says that the best advice came from his father. While he was working for Telkom, he came across a lot of discrimination where people wanted to stereotype him according to what they thought brown people should be like. He told his father and the advice that his father gave was, ‘you can choose one of two things: you can either choose to become the victim, or you can choose to stand up in front of that crowd of people and be the best. If you do that, not only will you personally overcome, you will also help to break the stereotype’.
Stafford Masie is described as smart, interesting, driven and an out-of-the box thinker. He is the proud father of 2 young ones, the owner of his own multimillion rand company, an inventor, he flies his own planes, he likes to dive and ski, and he has met everyone from Micheal Jackson to Steve Jobs. From the streets of Eldorado Park to the towers of Sandton, Stafford Masie, an international man of success.