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Interviews

  • Patrick Meier on single-click volunteering, the good side of tech

    "If you can click on a Facebook picture, you can be a digital humanitarian," author and technologist Patrick Meier says. The old sentiment “Information is power” is so much more pertinent in today’s age where, every minute, over 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube and 300 000 tweets are posted. Beyond all those funny videos of cats getting vacuumed and celebrity twars, there is stuff being done on social media that can make a real difference. Gathering this data and making sense of it all is where the real challenge lies. And it has never been more critical in times...

  • African women in tech: Rebecca Enonchong on concealing her role as founder

    "For a long time, to obtain enterprise customers, I concealed the fact that I owned the company. I never lied about it, but I never volunteered that information. My business card didn't even have a title" -- Rebecca Enonchong. Where are the women in tech? Who are the women building technology or working in technology in Africa? These questions and many more are asked on a daily basis. When it comes to technology in Africa, the general consensus is that women are not present. We beg to differ. Africa has a range of women working and building cool technology for...

  • Creating a more curious generation through memes: Q&A with Reddit GM

    It's a slightly gloomy Seattle day but the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) is packed with students and members of the public. I am sitting at the museum's cafe with the General Manager of Reddit, Erik Martin, (who, like me, had a slightly rough night out with Microsoft's Imagine Cup group). The cafe is a bit noisy as the staff get ready to feed the hoard outside. "I hope you don't mind if I record this, I am rubbish at taking notes" I ask him. "Not all," he responds kindly. Martin has been at the helm of Reddit, arguably one of the...

  • Africa’s mobile ways fit in well with us, says Twitter

    Twitter seems hell-bent on pushing its business solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses, and like many big tech companies, Africa has entered its sphere of thought. Last week, the social media platform officially launched in Africa via a partnership with contextual ad network, Ad Dynamo. It was announced a month ago that Ad Dynamo had partnered with Twitter to become its exclusive advertising partner in South Africa. Highlighted as one of Twitter’s fastest-growing markets when the company went public, South Africa has an estimated 5.5-million Twitter users (a 129% increase in just a year). We caught up with Ali Jafari, Twitter's head of Europe,...

  • Jawbone founder: the web hasn’t really empowered average people the way it promised to

    Opinions are everywhere, pretty much everyone in the world has them. These opinions have a right to be aired irrespective of who you are, where you live and what you do. This what Jawbone founder Alex Asseily believes. It's this belief, more than anything else, which inspired the launch of State, a new global opinion network that links individuals based on their point of view. The London-based company was founded by Asseily and his brother Mark. The opinion platform recently made a move into Africa through South Africa and has been targeting emerging market countries in the last few...

  • Why social is broken and how we can fix it: Q&A with Caleb Gardner

    You may or may not know who Caleb Gardner is, but he's got a lot to say and is articulate when he says it. Many more people now do know who he is after a post he wrote on Medium went somewhat viral on LinkedIn early last week. That, and he manages the content team that runs the third largest Twitter account in the world. We grabbed him for a quick interview to see why he thinks social is so broken... Memeburn: You recently wrote "The Social Media Industry Is Broken—And It’s Our Fault" -- talk about what drove you...

  • 3 factors that will see robotics play a role in the most unlikely places

    Robotics are on the rise, and with Google’s recent robotics acquisitions, some techies are hoping that the long-promised era of helpful robots may one day soon be upon us. Tijn van der Vant is co-founder of Robocup at home -- a branch of the same Robocup foundation that brings us the annual robot soccer competition. In addition, he is also a professor at the University of Groningen, and CEO of Assistobot -- a robotics company designed to help monitor and care for the elderly in home and medical settings. In the last five years, Van der Vant has seen an increasing...

  • From Google Now to Bang with Friends: our biggest tech interviews of 2013

    From the man who invented WordPress to the lady behind a site that is now bigger than the New York Times, we've spoken to dozens of interesting tech leaders this year about their efforts in the space and their vision for the future. They're working on projects ranging from a social discovery engine to the most intelligent personal assistant to ever grace your phone, but they all shared their thoughts on their disruptive pursuits and innovations in technology. Missed all the Q&As? We've rounded up a few of our most popular interviews from this year, and highlighted a key...

  • Facebook’s Middle East and Africa boss on ads, mobile and the scramble for Africa

    Africa is an important market for everybody. Facebook is well aware of this and ready to jump abroad the great innovation train blazing through the continent. Currently towering the world's stage, Facebook has become synonymous with how we as a society connect with each other. On the heels of defining its business model, deciding that it wants to be a utility and doling out millions and a billion for other startups, everyone's favourite social network is finally ready to play for keeps in Africa. The move could not have come too soon for the company. Currently mobile messenger platform 2Go...

  • The intersection of art and tech: we chat to Artsy’s founder about democratising design

    If you are an art lover, you will love this. You know how Spotify and iTunes can tell the kind of music you might like based on previous purchases and listening habits? The same way Foursquare can tell you what restaurants you might like? Ever wish there was a tool like that for art? Turns out there is and it's called Artsy. The company's mission is to make all the world’s art freely accessible to anyone with an internet connection. We got to chat to the company's founder Carter Cleveland, who believes that by combining art and science, the...

  • The future of the web and being cool: .CO’s CEO talks the power of domains

    How does a domain get cool? How does a domain becoming so trendy that everybody wants one? These are the questions that CEO of .CO Internet Juan Diego Calle doesn't have to worry about because he runs what is arguably the coolest domain suffix on the planet right now. At a basic level, .CO is the internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) assigned to Colombia, but it has become a major global internet domain player in recent years thanks to Calle and his team. Used by powerhouse companies such as Twitter (t.co), 500 startups (500.co) and Angellist (angel.co), the...

  • Paywalls, aggregation and the ‘third metric': Memeburn interviews Arianna Huffington

    If you know anything about online publishing, chances are you know about The Huffington Post. The online news aggregator and blog, after all, overtook the New York Times in terms of unique visits in mid 2011 and in 2012 it became the first commercially run US digital media enterprise to win a Pulitzer Prize. Memeburn recently got the chance to sit down with the site's eponymous founder Arianna Huffington. The daughter of a Greek journalist and management consultant, Huffington has been in the public eye since the early 1990s when her then husband the Michael Huffington made an unsuccessful...

  • Shutterstock founder Jon Oringer talks data and going public

    Shutterstock is arguably the biggest photo market place ever. Founded back in 2003, it recently went public -- but for founder and CEO Jon Oringer, it seems things are just getting started. Oringer currently owns an estimated 55% of Shutterstock, and has been called "the first billionaire to come out of Silicon Alley" -- New York's growing tech scene. His current estimated net wealth is in the range of US$1.05-billion. You could say things are going great for Oringer. The tech entrepreneur is crazy about data: just ask him and he will tell you that data is going to win...

  • Senior Google engineer: building innovative products requires team work

    When building technologies that can change the course of history and reshape mankind, team work is pretty important. In a place like Google, where many such technologies are being built all the time, the engineering teams responsible for them should be working together. Google senior engineer Petra Cross agrees. After joining Google in 2005, Cross spent four years developing software for evaluating the relevance of Google's search algorithms and another four years developing for and tech-leading a team at Gmail. She is currently working on a Google Wallet front-end server in San Francisco. Cross, who will be speaking at the Tech4Africa...

  • ‘Making sure nothing broke': Obama’s campaign CTO on keeping it together

    "Technology didn’t win the campaign and should get little credit really," says Harper Reed, CTO of Obama’s campaign HQ in Chicago for the 2012 presidential election. Reed, who has been working in the tech space for a long time now, says that technology "really made it easier for the team to do their work". Reed believes that the success of Obama's use of emerging technology can be attributed to one man: David Blouffe. "He is the senior advisor for President Obama and is a big believer in innovation," says Reed. "It’s this belief that is the single reason for...