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  • A short word on innovation

    Innovation in a business context is one of the most misunderstood concepts around. I have to admit that I've misunderstood it for most of my life too. I've grown to realise that ideas by themselves are pretty much worthless -- and innovation really arises out of a process of execution of those ideas that tests and combines other ideas, technologies and theories. It's common sense really. It's why Venture Capitalists will rarely invest in ideas (or even a track record), but rather need some evidence of execution (focus and passion help too). Of course there are always exceptions, but the...

  • Mobile strategy for publishers

    Here's an edited presentation I did a while ago on mobile strategy at 20FourLabs.com. If you're not a handset maker, a mobile operator or MXIT, then you face some tough challenges in the mobile web environment. The business environment of the mobile web is dominated by a few proprietary players and is not open season like the desktop web. It means your approach needs to be different and involve heavy business development if you want to see big numbers. The presentation covers the basics, and then looks at the latest bit of buzz: Augmented Reality (AR). It's a technology using...

  • Google sends out the cars for Street View SA

    At last: Google today announced that it will begin imagery collection in South Africa for the Street View feature in its Google Maps. In the coming weeks Google, using Toyota Prius models, will begin driving around South Africa and taking photographs of locations, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Durban. Street View is a hugely popular feature of Google Maps that is already available in more than 100 metropolitan areas around the world. It allows users to virtually explore and navigate a neighbourhood through panoramic street-level images. It is also available in Google Earth and on Google Maps...

  • The surprising science of motivation

    Fascinating TED talk on what motivates people in companies, challenging traditional notions of management. Very relevant to many online companies who are looking at building new and different cultures. (via Wendy Robb @ 20fourlabs)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");

  • Media? What's that?

    There is so much confusion on the future of media, journalism and news -- demonstrated with utmost clarity (or lack thereof) here in a Spiegel interview with Chris Anderson, Wired editor and respected author of the Long Tail. In a fairly grumpy interview, Anderson himself seems to get confused -- at first refusing to use the terms, then appearing to concede. I wonder why? Time zone issue? Woken up for the interview at a ridiculous time in the morning? Or is it because dislike of media (mainly traditional media) is all the more vogue these days? This is how the interview...

  • Bloggers now eligible for major journalism award

    Just been informed that bloggers are eligible for the prestigious Webber Wentzel Legal Journalist of the Year award. They're opening entries to bloggers "in recognition of just how important the blogspace has become in shaping opinion and providing analysis on matters legal..." Off the top of my head I can think of one candidate in particular, Gill Moodie of Grubstreet, for her coverage of the Mpshe-Zuma judgement. Moodie tenaciously tracked down the Hong Kong judge in question (Justice Conrad Seagroatt) for an exclusive interview, bringing another angle to the unfolding events. The categories and prizes are: 1) Print and online, including blogs: ...

  • Furious MXIT lashes out at media

    MXIT is a world-wide mobile instant messaging tool (now evolving into a social network) with around 15-million users (claimed). It's based in South Africa but has offices around the world and substantial numbers in countries like the Phillipines. Every time there is an incident via their platform, journalists with scant understanding of the technology tend to focus on MXIT as the source of the problem, rather than the real issues. Mainstream media, in particular, tend to get it wrong. It's part of an ongoing problem with journalism and media here, which sees a lack of seniority and too many junior...

  • Online chess play scoops $1.25m in funding

    ChessCube has concluded a US$1.25m funding agreement with Venture Capital fund, InVenFin (Pty) Ltd. InVenFin, the VC-focused subsidiary of VenFin Limited, invests in intellectual property-based start-ups with global potential. This transaction brings ChessCube’s total funding to date to US$1.8m. ChessCube is an online chess site, which allows players of all skill levels to compete and learn chess, while socializing with others. With a potential market of over fifty million active chess players in the world, ChessCube.com has already attracted over 650,000 registered users across 207 countries -- making it one of the leaders in the growing online chess market. Mark Levitt,...

  • 10 questions for new Google SA head: Stephen Newton

    New Google SA Head Stephen Newton (Credit: FM Tech). Stephen Newton is the country's new Google head. He's an American who has been living in the UK. He's now based in Johannesburg, heading up the local Google office. He studied as a lawyer, has previously been the GM of Hitwise UK, a Vice President at Double Click, and then Google EMEA Head of Analytics & Commerce. Newton describes South Africa as "Africa’s entrepreneurial heart" and is looking at ways of broadening the country's internet access. He's a rugby fan, and a nice, down-to-earth guy to have lunch with. I asked him...

  • HTC confirms August Android Market launch in SA

    As predicted by Ron Bach on the 20FourLabs blog, the Android market will soon be launched here. Leaf International Communications, the distributor of HTC in South Africa has confirmed the Android Market, Google’s mobile application directory, will be available to South African users from August 2009. “HTC was the first to launch Android-based handsets in South Africa during May 2009,” says Stephen Strachan, marketing director at Leaf. “At the time, the Android Market was unavailable to local users and, while we have developed a local application portal, it is great that consumer demand has resulted in Google allowing local users to...

  • You can't wrap fish & chips in pixels

    This is the second Prezi presentation I've done, first introduced to me by Phil Barrett of Flow Interactive via a post on Life Hacker. This one was for Th!nkFest at the National Arts Festival. I owe the title (or is it that I owe him one?) to Tony Lankester, the Festival CEO. It's a look at the future of media, with an Eastern Cape twist. It also delves into the world of augmented reality: the internet as a data layer over reality. (There are quite a few...

  • Web development: The great convergence myth

    I've always learnt that converged systems are the best way to go. In theory they are: An integrated site should ultimately allow you to do more with your site's content and resources. It should save you time because you are not going backwards and forwards trying to get one Content Management System (CMS)* to speak to another or one paradigm to work within another. There should be a cost saving, because you're now working with one system, not eight. Well that's the theory. The reality is that it doesn't work like that. Not even close. The ideal vision of a converged...

  • A collection of quality articles on the future of journalism and media

    Some good reads on the future of journalism and media: News Flash From the Future: What Will Journalism Look Like? Can Computer Nerds Save Journalism? The State of the Media: Not Good Don't Let Yellow Press Standards Define the Future of Journalism The way we'll work How to save your newspaper How Social Media is Radically Changing the Newsroom Journalism 2.0 Get Off the Bus The Future of Journalismvar 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");

  • Nandos strikes with Confed Cup viral campaign

    It's so rare that Bafana Bafana win, so when they do we revel in it. For some inexplicable reason, we also particularly revel in beating Australia and New Zealand (at pretty much everything or anything). Enter Nandos with this clever viral marketing campaign: 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");

  • Twitter, journalism and Iran

    Some questions I answered for a newspaper article on journalism and social media, specifically with regard to the Iran uprisings and the use of twitter: 1. Twitter is being used quite extensively at the moment in Iran. Could this be regarded as some kind of turning point for social media? I wouldn't call it a turning point. It's part of an ongoing trend that sees technology and the internet making media and broadcasting more accessible to people on the ground. The internet allows ordinary people to tell their stories through their own media via their blog, their Twitter or Facebook accounts,...