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All posts by Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas
Stuart is the editor-in-chief of Engage Me Online. After pursuing an MA in South African literature, he spent five years reporting on the global technology scene. Intrigued by the intersection of technology and work, he joined Engage Me as the editor-in-chief. He is a passionate runner, and recently ran his first ultra marathon.
  • Cracked: could this comedy site’s model prevent another ‘Shelley Garland’?

    I’ve been reluctant to add my voice to the hailstorm of opinions surrounding the ongoing Huffington Post South Africa 'Shelley Garland' saga (you can read a full summary of the events here). Suffice to say it's a mess. People have used the opportunity to settle personal scores, throw around racial slurs, and defend ethically questionable journalism. Not only is this not helpful, it means that some of South Africa’s most senior journalists have wasted energy venting anger, rather than trying to find practical solutions. That's a pity, because there are solutions. They don't require slamming shut the gates of publishing, or burning the whole...

  • Naspers: what next for South Africa’s most important internet company?

    Naspers' marketcap recently went past the R1-trillion mark, making it Africa's most valuable company Much of its success comes from a 2001 investment in Tencent, begging the question: what next? Why has it battled to find real organic success? Does its next big investment lie in India or Silicon Valley? Under CEO Bob Van Dijk, outlook is more global Right now Naspers is an unstoppable juggernaut. On 31 May, its market cap went past the R1-trillion mark, with its shares touching a record high of R2314.98 per share. That means it's currently worth more than the South African GDP and is officially the most...

  • #Brexit: 29 tweets that tell the story of Britain’s crucial ‘leave’ vote

    Britain has voted to leave the European Union. In the early hours of Friday morning it became increasingly clear those those wishing to leave (in favour of #Brexit) outnumbered those wanting to remain, albeit by a margin which appears to show a nation (or, more correctly, an assemblage of nations) at odds with itself. According to The Guardian, the "Leave" campaign received 17 410 742 (or 52%) of the vote, while the "Remain" camp received 16 141 241 (or 48%) of the vote. The winning camp's victory appears largely to have come on the back of older voters and those...

  • M&C Saatchi snaps up Dalmatian Advertisng

    M&C Saatchi has on Tuesday announced that it had acquired Dalmatian Advertising, a small Cape Town-based agency. Formerly known as Domino Digital, the agency's clients include I&J, Falke, and MiWay and was reportedly acquired to operate "conflict business" alongside the UK-based company's existing South African presence M&C Saatchi Abel. For those not familiar with the industry, that means Dalmation Digital can take on clients who operate in competition with M&C Saatchi's current client base. The company was founded in 2011, by Clinton Bridgeford, Bruce Norris, Leon Potgieter, and Gabrielle Weinstein. The founding team has since been joined by another...

  • Sir Martin Sorrell: disruption means companies are more local and global all at once

    Disruption comes in two forms: geography and technology. That was the message from WPP founder and CEO Sir Martin Sorrell at the Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit, underway in Cape Town this week. He should know too. As head of one the world's largest advertising holding companies, he oversees an empire of agencies who are both massively affected by, and at the vanguard of, both forms of disruption. Then again, riding the waves of disruption is built into WPP's DNA. When it was founded in 1985, WPP was in the business of making shopping baskets. Today, it is the world's...

  • What should we make of the Mitsubishi Outlander hybrid hack?

    Over the past few days, the motoring community has been abuzz with news that a team of hackers managed to wirelessly hack a Mitsubishi Outlander, taking control of its electric charging and alarm systems. While this is far from the first time a car has been remotely hacked, it has raised fresh fears about just how easy it is to break into contemporary vehicles. But just how worried should be?

  • Meeker Files: the age of easy growth is over

    The past few years have seen explosive growth in internet and smartphone usage, driven by plummeting costs in connectivity and manufacturing. But as of now, anyone looking to exploit those sectors is going to have a much tougher time. That's the standout message from Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (KPCB) partner Mary Meeker's annual trends report. Often referred to as the "Queen of the Internet", Meeker's report is something that everyone in the industry sits up and pays attention to. As well as trends in internet and smartphone usage, the report illustrates the challenges developed tech markets will have going...

  • Mutants with wheels: what (production) cars would the X-Men drive?

    Given that the protagonists have superpowers (some of which allow them to fly), it’s not all that surprising that cars don’t play too big a role in the X-Men universe. In fact, the only mutants to consistently have their own vehicle is Cyclops, who has a motorbike and various types of car, and Wolverine, who has a Harley Davidson. But the other grown-up mutants must have their own cars too. After all, Storm’s hardly going to summon the weather to pick up a few things at the grocery store (there’s also the fact that at least one movie shows a...

  • Jonathan Margolis: the harsh truth about tech predictions [EMEA Atmosphere]

    Nothing makes people quite as uppity about the future as technology. And few things get as much attention as a high-profile tech personality making a wild prediction about the future. Take The Singularity -- the point at which progress is so rapid it outstrips humans' ability to comprehend it -- for instance. In 2006, Ray Kurzweil predicted that it would occur by 2045 and that the outcome would be less than favourable for human beings. Similarly, Stephen Hawking has warned that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could end humanity. Thing is, those kinds of predictions are a complete crock and should almost always...

  • The network of the future is all about context [EMEA Atmosphere]

    Technology is changing everything. As a reader of this site, you know that all too well. But what you might not know is that some of the biggest changes are occurring thanks to changes in the networking space brought about by the consumerisation of enterprise tech. While some of those changes have been scary for network administrators, the ones who've adapted have actually found that they suddenly have eyes on some incredible contextual data that is immensely useful to other aspects of the business. That was the message from HPE Aruba CTO Partha Narasimhan during the day two keynote at the...

  • We’re in the era of the intelligent workspace [EMEA Atmosphere]

    By now, pretty much everyone in the business world understands that people want their device experiences at work to match their device experiences at home. Everybody gets it, but there are still plenty of businesses which are still suspicious of this state of affairs. Thing is, they don't have to be. In fact, the workspace revolution that started with people wanting to use their personal mobile devices for work purposes, could fundamentally change the workplace as we know it. And if the right structures are put in place, leading with a mobile first approach could actually result in happier, more...

  • Ford Focus ST: feel the power!

    “Be careful, it’s fast”. That was the warning given to me by a Ford representative when he dropped off the Focus ST at Burn Media HQ. I nodded my assent, but was quietly confident I could handle this muscular-looking beast. A week later, I’m still not really sure who handled who. You see, the ST is perfectly capable of handling everyday driving tasks with relative comfort and ease, but it doesn’t take long before you find you realise that nothing about this car says “everyday”.

  • 32 of the most influential women in SA digital marketing [Digital All Stars]

    Digital All Stars is a series of 24 articles which aims to celebrate the best of South African digital. The articles, which will appear on Memeburn and Ventureburn, recognise and celebrate South Africa’s best digital entrepreneurs, business people, advertisers, and media professionals among others. The All Stars listed in the articles are compiled using a combination of our editorial team’s own knowledge and that of experts in the fields covered by each article*. While there hasn't been any recent research on the matter, you only have to go to a few industry events to see that digital marketing in South Africa...

  • How can South Africa drive youth innovation and entrepreneurship?

    Nearly a third of South Africa’s population is under the age of 14. As things stand, their future is uncertain. The economy is stagnant, the political landscape is shifting, and unemployment is at a record high. It’s possible to turn all that around, but doing so means equipping young people with skills beyond those found in the schooling system creating an environment which doesn’t just see entrepreneurship and innovation as viable options, but as necessities. There was the consensus of a panel on driving innovation among South Africa’s young people at a Road to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held at Cape...

  • 10 things we just learned about the Berlin startup scene

    Berlin is one of Europe’s startup hot-spots and is often held up as an example of the cool and at-ease-with-itself contemporary Germany likes to project. That’s all well and good. Being home to large number of startups can give you serious kudos as a city. After all, entrepreneurship is key to building a country’s future. But what about the people who work at those startups? What kind of salaries are they earning? How do they feel about the positions they’re in? And do they face similar problems to people in other startup hubs around the globe?