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  • Reid Hoffman’s ten rules of entrepreneurship

    You may not have heard of Reid Hoffman, and if you were introduced to him you might be forgiven for underestimating him. With his scruffy jeans, his coke bottle glasses, and his excited giggle he may be mistaken for a common or garden nerd. But Hoffman is a key member of what is called - only partly in jest - the PayPal mafia. Hoffman was a founding board member at PayPal, and was instrumental in its acquisition by Ebay. Since then he has co-founded LinkedIn and led it into profitability as its CEO, before moving his focus to Greylock -...

  • Yuri Milner: Making billions in the new bubble

    Craig Mellow, at The Deal Magazine has a fascinating profile of Yuri Milner, the Russian investment banker who runs Digital Sky Technologies(DST), a multi-billion dollar fund. Milner has garnered tremendous amounts of publicity for his investments in Facebook, Groupon and other high flying US companies. Late last year, DST partner Alexander Tamas, defended Groupon’s rejection of Google’s acquisition bid, citing that Groupon could become one of the most important companies on the internet. Tamas also said that DST looks for companies with a valuation of at least US$1-billion and it only invests in internet companies that have the potential to become the...

  • ‘Users spend 700-billion minutes a month on Facebook’ [Infographic]

    Facebook is without a doubt the biggest social networking site in the world. The number of people within the social network is growing on a daily basis with 500-million users. Non Facebook users always attribute their reluctance to join the site with still wanting to remain connected to the "real world". Our society has become so immersed in the online world that some might even say real life interaction is threatened. Though those immersed in the online space may counter by questioning the concept of "real" --what makes online not real? After all you still communicate with your network of friends,...

  • Study shows India not bridging the digital divide

    Despite India's booming information technology industry and over 5 million broadband subscribers with a 7% internet usage penetration with over 81 million online users, the rapidly growing BRIC economy still lags far behind China and it's BRIC colleagues in bridging the "digital divide". The 7% penetration online of Indians that are connected to the web pales in comparison with the 32% in China with fewer than 1% of Indians having access to mobile internet services, despite the recent leapfrogging of mobile networks and 3G services into the country. A Digital Inclusion Index compiled by British risk analysis firm MapleCroft put India...

  • Fibre to the home: lessons from Kenya

    With i3 Africa’s announcement earlier this month that fibre to the home was finally going to be a reality for South Africans, I thought it high time we checked in with the FTTH pioneers in sub-Saharan Africa, the Wananchi Group, to see how its Zuku service has been received in East Africa. You may remember the Zuku triple-play service (voice, data and TV) was announced mid-2010 to much gnashing of teeth and shaking of heads in South Africa, especially when Wananchi chief executive, Richard Bell, said the company would be in South Africa in a heartbeat, if only it could...

  • Three million works deleted in Baidu’s move to curb copyright suit

    Chinese search engine giant Baidu said Wednesday it had deleted nearly three million works from its online library in a three-day blitz aimed at ending a copyright dispute with writers. Company spokesman Kaiser Kuo said the firm had deleted "nearly 2.8-million potentially infringing items in total in the literary section." "It took us three solid days working round-the-clock. I'm told that what remains is all licenced, and that any additional uploads to that section are being carefully vetted," Kuo said. The row erupted when more than 40 authors, including top-selling writer Han Han, signed a letter blasting the Chinese firm for providing...

  • ‘Cloud Drive’ — Amazon leaves Google and Apple in the dust

    US online retail giant Amazon has joined the music streaming game with the launch of "Cloud Drive" and "Cloud Player". Cloud Player is a music player that allows users to upload their music to Amazon’s servers -- Cloud Drive. Users are given five GB of storage for free which allows them to access their media content from any location. Cloud Player is available as an app for the web and Android. Both apps allow users to upload their music, create playlists and organise their lists. The music and settings can be accessed from any compatible computer or Android device. The service...

  • GroupMe adds brands to group messaging

    Dominating Twitter streams at the recent SXSW event in the group messaging class with 65% of the overall mentions (according to social media analytics group Simply Measured), GroupMe, the New York based mobile group chat startup, yesterday revealed its plan for bringing brands into its new business model: Featured Groups. The new big initiative opens up the mobile group chat platform by allowing brands an opportunity to participate in group messaging conversations directly related to the brand and thus actively engage users, thereby driving up its user growth and overall usage. Users who attended SXSW in Austin earlier this month, will already...

  • Twitter brings back Jack Dorsey as Executive Chairman

    Twitter's seesaw problems with product development entered a new phase this morning as the company brought back former CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey. He will take over product development from co-founder Evan Williams, as Executive Chairman, but also run his own startup, Square. The move makes sense. Evan Williams involvement in Twitter has been questioned by myself and others. He spends little time at the office and his use of Twitter is extremely low, tweeting just twice a day and sometimes none at all. Co-founder Biz Stone is even less interested in tweeting. Take a look at my recent survey of the...

  • New York Times rolls out paywall globally

    On Monday The New York Times rolled out its paywall system which means readers will now begin paying for full access to the site. The site also dangled a heavily discounted introductory offer intended to lure its first digital subscribers. The newspaper is offering three digital subscription packages, including an all-access option, so you can choose a plan that is right for you based on which device you use to access the site -- computer, smartphone or tablet. For now however the site is offering its three digital subscription plans for the same price of US$0.99 for the first four weeks. The...

  • 6 eCommerce steps to online profit

    You may have just launched an eCommerce site, or perhaps your business is considering the advantage of the massive online market space. Don’t underestimate the growing potential. For a start consultant Neil Turner has been passionately devising ways to ensure maximum online profit and we’ve identified six steps in particular that will ensure you grow your business across the web. Identify users with their email address Identifying people with their email addresses is much better than doing so with usernames. We’re all likely to forget usernames for once-off subscriptions. Rarely do we forget our own email addresses. As email...

  • South Africa’s Presidency calls for a social media dialogue on nation building

    The South African government is reaching out via social media to the nation in an attempt to "stimulate a constructive Nation Building debate on values and ethics". The debate is taking place from the 28th of March until the 1st of April on the Presidency's Facebook page. This national outreach program has been created by the National Planning Commission (NPC), a body chaired by the Minister in The Presidency for National Planning, Trevor Manuel. The NPC has been tasked with developing a draft long term Vision Statement and Strategic National Plan 2025 for South Africa. It was nearly one year...

  • Mozilla Firefox 4 now available in Zulu

    Translate.org.za and its community of volunteer translators have customised Mozilla's hugely popular Firefox web browser to support Zulu. This is the culmination of work that started in 2009 through Translate's participation in the African Network for Localisation (ANLoc), a project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). One day after the global release of Firefox 4 on 22 March 2011, the web started buzzing with many conversations, blogs and comments about 'cool features to drool over in Firefox 4',  Zulu speaking South Africans can for the first time join in the conversation. Ten percent of South Africa's population, about 5...

  • The Bees: Global social media awards were postponed, now back on again

    It's been a topsy-turvy week for The Bees, the international social media awards which debuted in 2010. On the 24th of March, an email went around the social media community announcing that the awards would be "postponed until further notice due to insufficient funding". But a search to the website four days later revealed that the awards were back on again with a simple paragraph on the homepage, which says "The Bees are back! We apologise for the interruption. The show will go on. Agencies, brands, consultant, students, and companies are invited to submit their social media work to...

  • China’s top internet portal drops Google for own technology

    Sina, China's largest internet portal, said Tuesday it has replaced Google's search service on its websites with its own technology. A move that further dents the US giant's presence in the Asian nation. "Our contract ended this month and the whole websites are now using our own search technology," Liu Qi, a spokesman for Sina said, adding the Chinese firm no longer had any cooperative agreements with Google. The US web giant has been losing search engine market share in China since January last year, when it said it was no longer willing to self-censor content to comply with...