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  • Three great social media campaigns from 2011

    As we start winding up 2011, it's time to look back over the year and see which social media campaigns made the grade and really achieved the goals that they set out to. The following list is a grouping of my three favourite international social media campaigns from 2011. I chose these three campaigns because they cross the boundaries between online and offline and really make those influenced by the campaigns “live” the brands. KLM -- The airline (yes it still exists) At the beginning of 2010, KLM the official airline of Holland, embarked on an aggressive social media listening exercise....

  • Seven rules for building a mobile campaign

    So you've decided to build a mobile campaign. It makes sense. Everybody has a mobile phone right? And you know a few marketing basics from that course you did once a few years ago. It should be easy right? Even though we're all marketers now, it’s a little more complicated than that. Here are eight things gleaned from three people deeply ingrained in the emerging markets mobile space. The three -- Brett St Clair, head of Mobile for Google South Africa, Nic Haralambous, CEO and co-founder of Motribe, a platform that allows people to create virtual mobile communities and...

  • PES 2012: Off the pitch winner or on the pitch failure?

    How does Konami’s latest football title fare against its arch-rival, and will it convert new followers to the long-running series? If you are a soccer fan, and you like video games, even just a little bit, you’ve probably heard of the EA Sports FIFA series and Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) series. Five years ago it was easy to differentiate between the two. Fifa was always the Britney Spears of soccer games; easy to pick up and play, easy on the eye, and catered to adolescents. PES on the other hand, was a soccer simulation. It was slower, more realistic and...

  • ‘Artists helping artists’ with Headliner.fm

    Queen once sang, "I want to break free". They might easily have been talking about recording artists breaking free from the shackles of the traditional music business model. Headliner.FM embraces this and wants to "spread the music", helping artists to connect with their fan base. Facebook and Twitter users are invited to the party to swap music recommendations based on personal choice and the option of raising awareness for one of the 110 000 musicians currently registered on Headliner.fm. Headliner.fm is a meaty concept, with plenty of sinew to chew on. Essentially a recommendation and promotion engine, Headliner.fm "lets artists market themselves...

  • Africa: Turning the tech world upside down (Part 2)

    In the first part of this article I discussed -- picking up from talks I gave at PopTech and Nokia World 2011 -- "The Idea of Africa" and how Western abstractions of the continent are often mired in the past, and, with examples, how Africa was turning the world upside down because disruptive ideas happen at the edge. Now, I want to look at the Two Big Trends. Trend #1: Adoption by Africans as consumers is increasing Trend #2: Technology costs are decreasing At the panel discussion I participated in at Nokia World 2011, I mentioned how: 87% of sub-US$100 phones sold by Nokia...

  • Searching for ‘piece of mind’

    Sculptures inspired by fishnets, a bicycle with a built-in record player and furniture from discarded road signs. Or go in search of a Piece of Mind. Well strung American artist Janet Echelman creates large-scale sculptural installations using age-old net-weaving techniques she learnt from fishermen in India. The installations are either hand-woven or machine-woven, depending on the requirements of the specific project. The sculptures are often suspended between buildings where they interact with the wind and sunlight in an almost magical way. When the sculptures are lit at night they add an inspiring light to the sky that resembles the...

  • Nintendo faces billion dollar loss

    Nintendo’s US$925 million losses are staggering, with the Kyoto videogame company blaming a lack of stellar titles and an ever-climbing Yen. For Nintendo, this is a full-year loss and for any other company would surely be a nail in its coffin. Nintendo issued a statement preceding the sales report. “Profits suffered due to re-evaluation of assets in foreign currencies, exchange losses totalling 52.4-billion yen (US$711 million) occurred”. Read more at Gearburn.comvar vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Android triumphs over iPhone app store

    The endless war between Apple and Android has seen a decisive victory, for the Android app store at least. In the second quarter of 2011, more Android apps were downloaded than iPhone apps, according to a recent report. ABI researcher, Lim Shiyang said, "Android's open source strategy is the main factor for its success. Being a free platform has expanded the Android device install base, which in turn has driven growth in the number of third party multi-platform and mobile operator app stores. These conditions alone explain why Android is the new leader in the mobile application market”. The growth figure...

  • Endless choices for gamers this holiday season

    For gamers, the dry season is over. The time leading up to just before Christmas is usually filled with triple-A titles and 2011 is no exception. In no particular order, the following games will be played on consoles across the globe this holiday season. Rage, available for multiple systems is many years in the making and comes from the same stable asDoom and Quake. Id Software has created a startling version of our world, only one set years after a nuclear apocalypse. Rage is currently available. Read more at Gearburn.comvar vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Big Data: It’s both about size and technique

    We're in the age of the petabyte, exabyte and zettabyte. We're being overwhelmed with information, and we don't know what to do about it. There has been a data explosion in the internet age, brought about by the digital era where entry barriers have been lowered, allowing the masses to publish, to tweet, to build open source applications. The age of automation has also resulted in information generated by computers on an automated basis. Former Google CEO Eric Shmidt says that we now, every two days, create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until...

  • Five ways Africa can move up technologically [Tech4Africa]

    Africa is lagging in technological innovation says TED Fellow, Ndubuisi Ekekwe. The continent's obsession with consuming technology has left it lagging as a technological creator. Ekekwe emphasises five things that can pull Africa from a "technological downstream to a technological upstream" at this year's Tech4Africa conference. He calls on all African technological enthusiasts to "Think. Invent, Redesign Africa". This is how he proposes going about this redesign: The right ecosystem Ekekwe believes that Africa needs an ecosystem for ideas, a comfortable space where Africa's young innovators can come together to share and implement ideas. He also believes...

  • Naspers closes African eCommerce sites

    Emerging markets media giant Naspers is set to discontinue a number of African ecommerce platforms. In a brief statement on dealfish.co.ke, the company's investment arm MIH said it would be closing down Kalahari Kenya and Nigeria. According to the statement, the decision was made because "the performance of the service has been below expectation since launch and reaching profitability was not a reasonable near-term prospect". MIH launched online retail services in Kenya and Nigeria under the Kalahari brand in October 2009 and January 2010, respectively. In South Africa, Kalahari is the company’s flagship ecommerce site and like Amazon.com runs on...

  • UX: 5 Pearls of Wisdom from UX Designers [Tech4Africa]

    As far back as the days of ENIAC and old-school IBM punch-card computers, users have been trained to adapt their experience to the capabilities of the computing devices available to them. And, as we all know, there has been a 30-year evolution of usability and functionality that has been working towards the clear goal of making every aspect of the tech experience easier. Whether it be a device, an operating system, a web-site, or a dozen of the every-day amenities of life, the shift in priorities is clear -- User Experience Matters. This was the overwhelming message from Cennydd...

  • Death is the default for startups, and your little idea means nothing

    Death is the default for startups, reckons Amazon Web Services Technology Evangelist Simone Brunozzi. Apart from having a really cool Twitter handle @Simon, Brunozzi has founded a few startups himself, so speaks with some authority. Speaking at a Tech4Africa conference in Johannesburg he mentioned that there was quite a bit of confusion at what constituted a "startup". He emphasised that most new businesses in the world were actually not startups, but were "service companies". I guess they like to call themselves "startups" because it's very funky and trendy to call yourself one these days. But to qualify as a startup, says...

  • Angry Birds means Nokia will win in emerging markets

    The headlines from Nokia World in London have centred around two things: Its new smartphones running Windows Phone (the new Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 710), and a persistent message around "connecting the next billion". While its marketing message has the convenience of a Really Big Number, connecting a healthy portion of those next billion will keep Nokia relevant. This is not about smartphones. It needs to attract those customers in "high-growth" markets (its term for describing emerging markets) because those customers on more basic devices will be the smartphone users of the future. Its new Asha range of phones...