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  • Vuvuzela frenzy: Now embedded in YouTube. Sigh.

    YouTube is the latest to join the world-wide frenzy over the vuvuzela. The South Africa instrument's distinctive drone can now be heard by any curious football World Cup fanatics when they click a newly-placed football-shaped button, found in the bottom right corner of all YouTube video frames. Upon clicking the obscurely placed button, a loud blast from a vuvuzela hits unsuspecting viewers like a 90th minute winner for Team USA. YouTube were so proud of their addition that they tweeted it to the world with, “Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz #vuvuzela” - @Youtube Google early this month also incorporated a vuvuzela into Street View. That...

  • Vuvuzela iPhone app now a world-wide top seller

    A Dutch mobile development company has shot to fame (or notoriety depending on your point of view) for building a Vuvuzela iPhone app that has quickly become the number one downloaded app in many parts of the world. Love them or hate them -- everyone will agree that the Vuvuzela has made the FIFA World Cup in South Africa the loudest in the tournament's history. Everyone has caught onto the Vuvu bandwagon, and sales around the world are skyrocketing. In the UK, Tesco’s recently reported sales of one Vuvuzela every 20 seconds during one of the recent England games. But...

  • Four reasons why advertising doesn’t work in the way it once did

    The industrialised model of advertising isn’t working as well as it once did. For many years brands were built by creating performance and emotional associations with the brand in the minds of customers primarily with the weight of advertising. Share of mind was created by share of voice (ad spend), and this equated to share of market. The Internet, whether accessed via desktops or mobile devices such as cellphones and iPads, has changed everything. This is why: The most powerful force in the Internet is that it connects people, and so pools the knowledge of your friends with yours (so you are...

  • Richard Branson on open source, Twitter and entrepreneurship: The Memeburn interview

    Virgin founder Richard Branson recently slipped into South Africa to check up on some of the success stories at the Branson School of Entrepreneurship in Johannesburg. Memeburn.com caught up with the world-famous entrepreneur to find out his views on open source, Twitter, and how to make it as an entrepreneur in this day and age… Memeburn: In the Internet age, where it should be getting cheaper and easier to start businesses, is it now more than ever an entrepreneurs' world, or is that just a myth? Richard Branson: I don’t think it’s a myth. Obviously the current financial climate has most...

  • Financial Times crowdsources growth strategy with SA company

    The London-based Financial Times, a leading global newspaper specialising in financial and business news, has commissioned a South African company to help it crowdsource ideas on how to increase the number of new subscriptions to its online offering, FT.com. The financial broadsheet approached the Cape Town-based Idea Bounty with the task -- a local community site that allows brands to tap the collective intelligence of creatives all over the world. While crowdsourcing ideas is not a new concept, Idea Bounty claims it is one of the first in the world to award prize money for ideas alone. The newspaper is facing...

  • Six ways “Young World” entrepreneurs are changing the business landscape

    A lot has been written about the “digital generation” – the cohort that grew up marinated in high tech, and whose worldview reflects their constant exposure to information, communication and collaboration, media and multitasking.  But the greatest impact this generation is having on the world is when they have a blank canvas to start their own businesses – and nowhere is this felt more profoundly than in those parts of the world where young people are most numerous: emerging economies. Over the past two years, I’ve been studying the most innovative young entrepreneurs on five continents and observing how the values of...

  • Tech4Africa conference driven by “anger and pride”

    After four years of trying to get it off the ground, the Tech4Africa web and emerging technology conference is all systems go for mid-August in Johannesburg. However, it hasn’t been a project without criticism or naysayers. Tech4Africa founder Gareth Knight explains rather candidly the need for the conference, its "no ties" policy, why they are looking to stir the pot, and why they’ve gone looking for speakers who aren’t necessarily on Twitter. Why are we doing TECH4AFRICA? Africans are natural innovators and entrepreneurs, and I think that gradually the conditions are aligning to create an environment where a combination of access to cheap...

  • Is “The Singularity” the elite geeks’ version of “The Rapture”?

    The Singularity is a belief that our technology will inevitably collide with our biology, and that this will give us mastery over our mortality. We will be able to cure diseases, stop our aging, and also control our senses with augmented created experiences. The resolution of those augmented experiences would be indistinguishable from the natural world. We will be able to create a reality that is indistinguishable from our "natural" reality. We will be able to choose the "matrix" as Hollywood knows it (Singularitans hate that term). . . . Ashlee Vance in the The New York Times wrote an interesting report recently...

  • Social media noise: 6 tips on how to communicate correctly

    As social media evolves out of frenetic innovation and into a mainstream medium, more and more marketers are including it as a fully-fledged channel in their campaigns. But social media has a distinct set of unwritten rules and norms that make it both more difficult, and also potentially more rewarding than traditional mass mediums. Given the scale of the audiences on sites like Facebook and Twitter, and the fact that messages are essentially free, many marketers give into the temptation to post every single offer or promotion, assuming that someone in those vast crowds will bite. But this wallpaper approach...

  • 4 funny Tweeters cheering up #worldcup supporters

    At around R25-billion in value, football is a serious business for FIFA. While all this seriousness can easily weigh on the game's natural "joie de vivre", there are still some mavericks out there poking fun at the expense of the giant, mini-dress hating, wad of cash that is FIFA and its associated media circus. Here are four Twitter accounts worth following this World Cup if you're looking for a good dose of humour: Name: @FIFAGlobalPR Location: We are everywhere Bio: This page exists to get FIFA's message and mission statement out into the twitterverse! Best Tweet: We love vuvuzelas, they distract the public from...

  • African Google Doodle winner squares off against international competition

    Young artists from all around South Africa have been have been hard at work creating Google doodles for the search giant's "Doodle 4 Google" competition, this year themed on "I love football". Since the competition began in April, more than 35 000 children across 17 countries have submitted their designs. Now it’s time for South Africans to rally behind their local winner as the competition enters the global voting stage. Last week, South Africa’s winning doodler from Port Elizabeth, Nikisha Lalloo, 13, had her design shown on the Google South Africa homepage on the opening match day, after the public chose...

  • Hitler on those blasted Vuvuzelas (Just had to happen)

    It had to happen. Following the great tradition of parodying a particular excerpt from the Nazi movie Downfall where Hitler and his generals have a heated exchange -- here's yet another parody. This particular Hitler excerpt deals with the controversy surrounding the trumpet-like Vuvuzela at the Fifa World Cup. The South African instrument has become a topic of conversation world-wide to the extent that it has been trending since the start of the World Cup on Twitter. It was even mentioned with the official release of the world-famous blogging platform, Wordpress 3.0. 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");

  • WordPress 3.0 arrives… with vuvuzela mention

    Wordpress 3.0, the blogging software that runs millions of websites around the world, has officially launched. The official blog post about the launch starts: "Arm your vuvuzelas: WordPress 3.0, the thirteenth major release of WordPress and the culmination of half a year of work by 218 contributors, is now available for download." The Vuvuzela mention is in reference to the love-hate, noisy instrument of the Fifa Soccer world Cup in South Africa that has attracted rapid, world-wide attention. According to Wordpress founding developer Matt Mullenweg, the 3.0 release also includes a "sexy new" default theme called Twenty Ten. "Theme developers have new...

  • Twitter fail: Six lonely hours in June

    If there is one cliché that seems to apply perfectly to Twitter right now, it is this: ‘be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.’ This seems to be the central dilemma facing the upstart company that went from cult favourite to mainstream giant faster than it took you to write 140 characters. The surge of traffic that has accompanied the FIFA World Cup has had them scrambling for weeks now, and frequent downtime has been experienced across the globe. According to Pingdom, Twitter has been down for just under six hours so far during June, which...

  • Are classified sites in Africa profitable?

    You’ve probably heard of these very popular online classified sites, Craigslist and Gumtree. Both sites offer buyers and sellers an opportunity to engage in a free and open market. With the success of these sites in their respective countries and beyond, African entrepreneurs are keying into the online classifieds market. Today, there are probably more than 20 classified sites in Nigeria alone that offer the same service, but with different business models and technical functionality. Some of the popular niche classifieds sites include Nairalist.com, Txtoweb.com, Chukslist.com, Gbogbo.com, Bunchbay.com, Kerawa.com Nigeria, and WhoGoBuy.com. In addition, other Nigerian websites also offer online classified...