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  • 5 tips about the e-commerce gold rush

    It’s a brave world out there for the intrepid that roll the dice in the hopes of cashing in on the ecommerce 2.0 goldmine. My business partner recently equated the advent of the internet as akin to just that – the great gold rush. Have you used internet banking recently? Did you order your groceries online? 10 years ago these simple tasks we take for granted every day as being “just there” did not exist. Think of the gold rush – sure, the prospectors mined away and some struck it rich, but around the miners and their industry, sprung...

  • Company Office

    treadFEST 2017 – five stages with Gangs of Ballet, DJ Ali, Matthew Mole

    treadFEST 2017 presents five stages with a mix of music genres: Gangs of Ballet, DJ Ali and Mathew Mole are just three among a host of bands and DJs in the pipeline. When the award-winning, Durban based, alternative rock band Gangs of Ballet lost their bassist, it didn't stop them in their tracks. They just became a gang of three (comprising brothers, Brad and Josh Klynsmith, and Jonny Rich) and so refined their distinctive sound. After the enormous success of their first album, yes/no/grey the challenge was to move forward to even greater things. Becoming a trio was just part of that journey....

  • New SA crowd-source fund hits R1-million

    Crowdfund is the South African tech industry’s latest step toward fostering a culture of angel investment for online start ups in South Africa, and it’s taken off at rocket pace. After launching in March of this year, the fund has banded together 229 investors to raise a total of R1-million in capital for budding online start ups. After less than thirty days since its inception, Crowdfund is already primed to spark new entrepreneurial life in South Africa. The investors enthusiasm about Crowdfund  illustrates a wide-spread recognition that South Africa has the potential to become major player in the global tech industry if...

  • Rebooting innovation in South Africa

    Since I became the United States Ambassador to South Africa last October, I have met truly inspiring South Africans with great ideas almost every day.  I have been very impressed with South Africans’ ability to link abstract knowledge and real-world application. With such talent, it seems natural that this beautiful, vibrant country should become a global innovation hub for the 21st century. Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan emphasised in his 2010 Budget Speech that “successful developmental states are built not just through public policy and state action, but also through national identity, social cohesion and responsible citizenship - through building social capital that reinforces trust and co-operation, in the...

  • Why PayPal sucks and Kwedit doesn’t

    One of the biggest factors, apart from bandwidth and audience size, that’s restricting the development of the internet and the emergence of startups in South Africa is the lack of a safe and convenient method for consumers to buy goods and services online. The recent announcement that PayPal have officially entered the country through a partnership with FNB could help to solve this problem, but it still comes at a price and only benefits those of us who bank with FNB and have the patience to put up with the rigmarole of getting your PayPal account approved for sending and...

  • Can entrepreneurs thrive in corporate settings?

    Does working for a company preclude an individual from being an entrepreneur? Most certainly not; indeed, some of the best innovations and developments are achieved by people who are working for large corporations. The difference is that within these organisations, entrepreneurship – and critical thinking - is actively encouraged, not only in the research and development departments, but in the managerial suites too. With the global economy slowly coming out of a siege, it is to entrepreneurs that we must look for the kind of lateral thinking which sees opportunity in adversity. There is little debate that the days...

  • Personera launches Facebook print calendars

    Whoever declared that print was dead may soon have to swallow their words. Personera, an online-to-offline media technology startup, launched its unique service to Facebook users around the world this week. The company is offering the world's first print calendar that is fully personalised with a user's Facebook friends' birthdays, upcoming events, and photos. The company says it is also first to launch under the banner of the Silicon Cape initiative, a government and industry endorsed movement to create a global Silicon Valley-style startup culture in Cape Town, South Africa. Personera's website allows people to use their Facebook accounts to...

  • SA study: More people banking with their mobiles than PCs

    According to respected market research organisation World Wide Worx, the number of people banking from their cellphones has exceeded that of people banking from their PCs in South Africa. More than a quarter of bank customers are turning to their cellphones for services ranging from informational transaction types such as balance enquiries to financial transaction types which include account payments. This was one of the key findings from the consumer phase of the research company's Mobility 2009 research project. The study was backed by First National Bank (FNB), leaders in cellphone banking in Africa, and Research In Motion (RIM), the...

  • Opening speech @ #SiliconCape

    Here is the text of the speech I gave at the opening of Silicon Cape in Camps Bay. I'm not alone in saying that this was an inspiring and well-supported event. Welcome everyone and thank you all for coming. A special welcome to the Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, Dr Mamphela Ramphele and Mr Johann Rupert. It’s an absolute honour and it’s humbling to be speaking in front of such an important gathering of tech people in this country. I think we all realise that we’re part of history here. Here, today, history is being made. There are some powerful and...

  • A short word on innovation

    Innovation in a business context is one of the most misunderstood concepts around. I have to admit that I've misunderstood it for most of my life too. I've grown to realise that ideas by themselves are pretty much worthless -- and innovation really arises out of a process of execution of those ideas that tests and combines other ideas, technologies and theories. It's common sense really. It's why Venture Capitalists will rarely invest in ideas (or even a track record), but rather need some evidence of execution (focus and passion help too). Of course there are always exceptions, but the...

  • The surprising science of motivation

    Fascinating TED talk on what motivates people in companies, challenging traditional notions of management. Very relevant to many online companies who are looking at building new and different cultures. (via Wendy Robb @ 20fourlabs)