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All posts by Mich Atagana

  • Screw the robot apocalypse, our tech future is all about doing good

    After a 20-something-hour flight, I am about to face an immigration officer in the United States – not always the best experience. It's my turn and I edge forward. "What is the purpose of your visit?" he asks me. "I am here for Microsoft's Imagine Cup," I respond. "That's great," he exclaims (surprising). "Are you one of the students? What have you built? Will it change the world?" Unfortunately I had to inform him that I am not a developer genius about to change the world, but he's right, there are students from 34 countries here that are about to. Microsoft created the...

  • Many fragments of a whole: unmasking Nigeria’s tech industry

    "Things don't work like that here," someone in the audience responses as Gareth Knight, founder of popular tech conference Tech4Africa, talks about the need to learn on your feet. There seems to be an underlying negativity when it comes to the tech ecosystem in Nigeria. There's a sense that it will always be a struggle and a hustle. One with no glorifying future in sight. I am at lunch with three startups, one has a solid footing on the market and well on its way to becoming an SME, another tried a few things but reckons this new thing...

  • 12 Honest trailers you have to watch, trust us

    We love trailers. Trailers are how studios get us interested in an otherwise not-so-interesting movie. A good trailer leaves us wanting to see a move immediately, even if you know it will be bad. However, what we really love is Honest Trailers, a very cool YouTube show by Screen Junkies that gives you an honest look at what to expect from some of your favourite movies. As the channel puts it: "In a world full of movies and television, only one channel is keeping them honest -- SCREEN JUNKIES! A channel so shameless, we'll show you this trailer so you...

  • Taking Nigerians cashless: Q&A with PayPal’s business lead for Africa

    Nigeria’s 170-million plus population has an estimated 60-million internet users, making it the largest potential market for PayPal of all the countries it has entered in recent months. Before now, attempting to use PayPal in Nigeria would have lead to the blocking of your PayPal account, with the service hardly viewing the service in the most favorable light. However it seems all that is changing as the country's young professionals with disposable income come online in search of places to spend their cash. Read more on Ventureburn.var 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");

  • Disrupt everything: Lagos and the transportation overhaul

    The streets are flooded, it has been raining all night and all morning, and I need a cab. I have a couple of meetings to get to and I don’t really know the city that well. I would order an Uber but it doesn’t operate here… yet. I am in Lagos and everywhere I look is chaos and masses of cars… Transportation is a major problem here, so much so that a number of startups and established companies have decided to throw their hats in the ring and disrupt the space. This is good — in a city so densely populated,...

  • Is Africa ready for the $50 smartphone? [T4ALagos]

    There are around 750-million SIM cards in Africa (versus 220-million desktops), which means that the US$50 smartphone presents a massive opportunity for the continent. But are African tech entrepreneurs ready for the coming explosion? When US$50 smartphones become the norm, only those who are able to build for them will survive. “Do we want the Germans coming to our shores and eating our lunch?” Gareth Knight asks the audience at Tech4Africa in Lagos, Nigeria. “When the US$50 smartphone hits the continent, where will they get the apps and who is building those apps for them?” Knight, who has been running...

  • Google celebrates Mandela Day with artful Doodle

    Today is Mandela Day and all over South Africa and the world, people are taking 67 minutes of their day to help their community and those less unfortunate than themselves in honour of the late global icon. To celebrate what would been the stateman's birthday, Google has created a Doodle slideshow that takes users through Nelson Mandela's pivotal moments accompanied by insightful quotes from the great man. The doodle is a fun artful illustration that captures the life of South Africa's most important figure. Doodle creator Katy Wu said that at first she was very intimidated to create a doodle...

  • Angry Birds Epic review: wicked fun, but bores easily

    "Mich, will you review Angry Birds Epic?" the Gearburn editor asks me. I answer before he finishes the question. I like Angry Birds, it's my airport/can't fall asleep/on the train activity. Interestingly, I had not downloaded this version of the game prior to this conversation, so I quickly do so and begin my review. You have to hand it to Rovio (creators of the Angry Birds series) for taking a very simple game and creating an empire out of it. Every mobile game released today is simply hoping for the success and addiction that Angry Birds has. The game creator...

  • The Western Cape Taxi Council is not loving Uber and its tech savvy ways

    It's the end of the work day, I get into my Uber and settle in for contemplative ride home. The driver begins the trip and starts a meter as well. I am not sure why he has done the latter but I say nothing and we begin. Half way through the ride as I direct him toward the turn into my neighbourhood, he says to me: "don't worry about the meter, it is just a precaution." My first thought is that perhaps the cab company he works for (that has now joined Uber) is comparing prices to see if...

  • South Africans mourn Nadine Gordimer on Twitter

    Celebrated South African author and Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer died today at the age of 90. Gordimer was not just a writer but a political activist whose works were banned during Apartheid. According to reports, the author died in her sleep last night. "She was 90 years old, will be lovingly remembered by her family, friends and literary colleagues," her family said in a statement. Since the new broke, South Africans have flocked to social media to express their thoughts and well wishes to the family. SA has generations of writers and political activists whose success and/or survival is attributable...

  • The German football team really, really likes their World Cup trophy

    In case you didn't know, Germany (after a three tournament attempt) has finally clinched the deal and taken the FIFA World Cup trophy home. This team that has come so close in previous years has finally done it and all of Germany rejoiced. After such a long wait, it is understandable that the German team would react emotionally to the win. We didn't realise they would get this emotional. Thing is, they loved winning so much that the trophy seems to be the latest love interest for the team. So like all German fans out there, we have put...

  • ‘Work is a sideline. Live the holiday’: welcome to the cult of entrepreneurship

    I have a penchant for books about entrepreneurship and starting a business from almost nothing. Books about ideas, making those ideas work for you and the importance of building a sustainable company. So when I got asked to review Seth Rotherham's foray into the world of lessons learnt from starting an online business I thought, why not? The book, titled Work is a Sideline. Live the holiday, arrived at my desk via a messenger fairy with a note of thanks (pressure!). Read more on Ventureburn. var 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");

  • Ouch: 11 tweets from Brazil’s devastating defeat to Germany

    Making every single loss that much worse, social media (especially Twitter) is not a good place for the Brazilian football team right now. In a recording setting defeat for the country, last night the German football team beat the host nation 7-1, knocking the hopeful South American nation out of the tournament. A much talked about game, the heat map for this match pulsated at crucial intervals of the game making it the most talked about game on social media since the start of the tournament. According to Twitter's stats the game saw a record breaking 35.6-million tweets making...

  • Is Greenpeace taking on Shell with LEGO?

    "Everything is awesome, everything is cool when you are part of a team," so says the now famous song ingrained in our brains by the indelible ink of the LEGO movie. Capitalizing on that, Greenpeace has put out an ad that uses LEGO to tell Shell, the mega oil company, it's time to stop dumping oil in the Arctic. The tagline for the ad: "Shell is polluting our kid's imagination". So what's that got do with LEGO? Greenpeace reckons it is time LEGO ended its partnership with the company. "We love LEGO. You love LEGO. Everyone loves LEGO,"...

  • Uber [enter African city here] is happening sooner than you think

    Like it or not, Uber's path to world domination cannot be stopped. The San Francisco-based car ordering technology company is making its play for every market there is with hunger and urgency. A few months ago, Uber's International Launcher, Patrick Studener, took a trip to Nigeria to explore the possibilities for Uber there. An entry in Africa's most populous nation would mean the company was serious about the continent it seems things have tunred exactly that way. Some weeks ago, job ads starting popping up in Lagos from, yup, Uber. That only means one thing -- Uber Lagos is...