Behind David's business

As part of the Xero #behindyourbusiness series, we asked David, the mastermind behind Truth Coffee – a Cape Town-based cafe and roastery – to tell his story.

David from Truth Coffee

Fail big

David Donde is a bit rough around the edges – it’s part of his charm. He reveals, “I’ve got a lot of scars and that’s from my hidden talent which is falling off bicycles a lot.”

But it’s what you do after falling down that matters, and David has learned – from experience – the perfect response: “You’ve got to pick yourself up off the floor. It’s the only thing to do.”

David recalls one of those lessons: “I think the real moment of starting Truth Coffee was when I realised that my previous roastery was no longer mine and I needed to start again.”

True to form, David found his way back to his feet. “I was down to my last dollar in my pocket and I needed to get going and the phone rang and said, ‘I’ll fund you.’”

In fact, if one word could describe David, it would be ‘bouncebackability’. When we asked him about the advice he lives his life by, he responded, “I think the big pieces of advice are to fail big. To really fail doing great stuff, not fail doing mediocrity.”

Nobody could accuse Truth Coffee of mediocrity. David says the purpose of his business is “to bring the joy of the extraordinary to people.” That’s big.

“We are trying to produce the joy of extraordinary truth. We don’t know what that means but we do it by making coffee.”

– David Donde, Truth Coffee

The unreasonable man

It’s clear, David stands out, but all of his idiosyncrasies betray the archetypal entrepreneur – the originator – within, something shown by his source of inspiration…

“The famous philosopher who spoke about the reasonable. He said that the reasonable man adapted into his surroundings and the unreasonable man forced his surroundings to adapt to him, therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

So, it stands to reason that David would look for innovation in his business tools, too. Asked for his recommendation on accounting software, David says:

“I’d say look for something that integrates properly. That’s properly cloud-based. That you don’t need to go in and install software on computers. That you’re not paying per licence. That is truly cloud-based. That there’s no updating, upgrading of software and that everyone’s on the same base. For me, that’s Xero.”

“I’d say look for something that integrates properly. That’s properly cloud-based. That you don’t need to go in and install software on computers. That you’re not paying per licence. That is truly cloud-based. That there’s no updating, upgrading of software and that everyone’s on the same base. For me, that’s Xero.”

Beautiful accounting software means there’s one less hurdle for David to mount, leaving him free to pursue his true passion – coffee.

Reflecting on why his customers love Truth Coffee, he says, “We go back to first principle, how the coffee tastes and bring joy through flavour.”

But, though Truth Coffee is going from strength to strength, David is still learning life’s biggest lessons: “The purpose of my life?” he poses, “I’ll let you know on my deathbed. Until then, I’m figuring it out.”

Visit Truth Coffee >

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Behind your business is a Xero series celebrating the people who power the South Africa’s small business economy.

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The small business owners featured in this series all use Xero – online accounting software that helps them to save time and get paid faster. It’s a helping hand that makes it easier to run your business and write your own story.

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