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Showing posts from November, 2006

Tech4Africa 2007 - Mobilise the troops!

Saw this pop up yesterday on the blogosphere. I could be out of date - but seems like a good idea anyway. They say on the site:

Hello, thanks for stopping by!

We're trying to figure out whether there is demand for a web and technology conference in Southern Africa, and we'd really appreciate your help if you can spare a few minutes.


Sounds like a great idea. Will have to compete with things like Internetix - which started to touch Social Media issues in 2006 - but there's nothing like a conference to promote a growing industry.

My 2c would be a serious networking component. Not the after-conference drinks, but some form of show-tell for participating companies. In fact, might be able to use live collaboration tools / cute little Web 2.0 gadgets to facilitate this? Now THAT would be cool.

We've stuck in our vote, and virally spammed our mates about the conference. You should too. Visit them HERE.

Yahoo Internal Memo... A Jerry Maguire moment!

Yes, yes... it's everywhere. I hopped this off Vinny Lingham's blog. It's a great piece - so I'm quadruplicating content as a sign of respect.

In all seriousness... there's a lot we can learn from this memo. It's frank, it's brilliantly written and it applies to all South African businesses. Learn a lesson. Just print it out and Jerry Maguire it. With Google around - the web is just too dangerous!

1 x Tom Cruise moment follows:


Recognizing Our Problems

We lack a focused, cohesive vision for our company. We want to do everything and be everything — to everyone. We’ve known this for years, talk about it incessantly, but do nothing to fundamentally address it. We are scared to be left out. We are reactive instead of charting an unwavering course. We are separated into silos that far too frequently don’t talk to each other. And when we do talk, it isn’t to collaborate on a clearly focused strategy, but rather to argue and fight about ownership, strategies and tacti…

Just what is Web 2.0?

Between trying to chase down a comment from Standard Bank - and finishing up work for year end - we've been having some interesting internal tussles. In fact, its prompted a series of blog posts on, well, blogging.

From a marketing point of view. What is blogging? What is new media? What are all these fancy buzzwords that are flying around? And do they actually mean anything? Can you quantify a blog? Has anything really changed, or are we on the cusp of a media/marketing trend that is going to change the world as we know it?

As a prelude to the series, we tracked down two great videos which try to explain the mother of all buzzwords. WEB 2.0.

The first is a ZDNet video, whiteboard style, which explains the buzzwords within the buzzwords! Confused yet? Well, try this on for size. Just because I'm using a digital publishing tool like Blogger and YouTube in this post - it's a Web 2.0 compliant (if there is such a thing) post!


The second video features a whole bunch of CEO's f…

Google Reader learns how to speak South African!

Playing around with Google Reader recently – it's a really great content aggregator in a funky Web 2.0 interface. Anyway, came across this pearl of South African culture when changing my blog tags (tags are Google's way of letting you file blog posts / blogs under "folders")


I can like to use Google in my home taal, ne?

Standard Bank Spam: The Unusual Suspects

Standard Bank seems likely to come under fire in the near future for an interesting interpretation of data privacy laws.


In a recent email sent to what looks like the entire Internet Banking customer base, Louis Blom, head of online banking at Standard Bank says, “We are obliged to send this email to you as an Internet banking user, even if you have unsubscribed to our emails…”

Reading between the lines, we started wondering if it really meant… it’s more cost effective to break the law than it is to handle all the telephone calls we’re getting! Louis. We understand people are “concerned” when an SMS doesn’t arrive and your customers are unable to use certain Internet banking functions. But, hell man…

Every digital marketer worth his salt HAS to be wondering what damage this might do to the Standard Bank brand. They’re invading a personal medium. Picture the customer segment who have expressly gone through the process of opting out… and then been summarily ignored. How loyal do you think …

Google Maps South Africa... MapIt terrified.

It's about time! Reported a couple of hours ago on CherryFlava - Google Maps has switched on the light in darkest Africa. Darkest, of course, because up till now we have been a fairly insubstantial white blob in the world's most popular online mapping service.


This is important why? Well, it's free of course. And Google Maps has this nifty little interface where you can plugin and geomap any point... gratis. Companies like MapIt and others who have been hoarding this service for a small fortune must be quaking in their map-making boots.

(Apologies for singling out MapIt, but last time I got a quote for some substantial geo-mapping, it worked out cheaper to hand-sketch my crinkly old Book of the Road!)

Expect to see a proliferation of Google Maps chatter in the near future:

Companies will add buttons to their websites where you can autozoom to a GoogleMap. Sales forces will start GooglePinning their customers. Property websites will be scrambling for developers as consumers sta…

Smart, Smarter, Smartest Countries...

I think we all agree that South Africa needs to urgently create jobs, or social stability will suffer. We also know that Government has identified a number of priority sectors to support, in an attempt to boost their output and job creation. These include Manufacturing, ICT, BPO and Tourism.

However, world experience shows that capital does not just look for the cheapest labour; rather, it looks for the most productive labour at the lowest price, and any country hoping to attract long-term investment has to get all 3 factors right. The jobs are going to go to countries with the best-educated workforce, with the most competitive technology infrastructure and an environment that supports creativity. For example, investor Rolls Royce no longer looks at developed, developing and underdeveloped countries - it looks at smart, smarter and smartest countries.

Ireland has started a campaign to double the number of PhD graduates in science and engineering by 2010, India produces 400,000 engineers…

Cowboys & Engines is the “Blog of the Week”

And from way out of leftfield... a little nomination for Blog of the Week! Couple of pats on the back. A quick look at the stats to see the droves of traffic about to come flooding!

Thanks to SA Blog Directory for the kudos - and to all the loyal readers.

See our nomination here:

South African Blog Directory: Cowboys and Engines is the “Blog of the Week”

Fighting crime in the digital age…

Wonders in the world of technology will never cease. Here’s a new option for the super paranoid – your own 10cm security guard! This palm-sized remote/web controlled video security sensor (that’s a mouthful) that can pretty much look after your house while you’re away (and provide days of gadgety fun). This invention from Surveyor has the following features:
A video camera. A wireless transmitter that interfaces with your PC Java based host software, complete with web server – you can see what is happening from Anywhere in the world! All video surveillance can be recorded. Proximity sensors to assist with driving. Auto-roam – send it on a randomised patrol of your premises! We’re really impressed. So impressed that we’ve come up with some ideas for a future, more South African version:Emits tear gas.A howling shriek with the ominous sound of rifle loading. Or… on a more serious note:API into South African Police Force (well, if the Post Office can Instant Message, why can’t the police …

Spending corporate bucks for the sake of it?

In the age of the hosted app, why are large corporates spending vast sums of money supporting ancient desktop applications?

For the sake of anonymity, I’ll refer to my target as an international medical insurance giant (which recently announced an average contribution jump of 7.9%) and is well respected by many IT players. They are well ahead of their nearest competitors from an infrastructure perspective and can be proud of their track record. But the rabbit hole goes a bit deeper…

Company-wide, there are 4000+ employees all working on the same desktop application. Can you imagine the costs involved for licencing and support? The scenario stands as such: The same version of the application is required across all work stations within the enterprise Compatibility issues are experienced with different computers across the network running on different hardware, different groups within AD and different OS patches. Supporting this is, simply put, a bitch. The same dinosauric strategy has bee…

Simplicity and Million Dollar Ideas...

We've been chatting a lot recently about innovation, especially after Jon's post. What do you have to do in a digital world of a couple of billion websites, 50 million blogs, a bunch of really useless content and a microscopic world where just about everything has been done?

I guess the answer lies, once again, in simplicity. Simplicity of everything: ideas, site design, strategy, technology, usability. As the world and the Internet gets bigger, it's up to marketers and technologists to simplify and filter the torrent of stuff that's out there.


YES... yes... yes. It's old. So old. But dammit... Talking about simple, brilliant ideas. This one still takes the cake. A Million Dollar Home Page. It's so simple, it makes me want to cry. $1 per pixel. 1 000 000 pixels. Sold out. Own your piece of that wallet!

I wonder if he'll license?