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  • Four things large companies can learn from startups

    Any startup company is agile by design and necessity. There are certain characteristics of a startup that make an agile approach come naturally, and allows startups to achieve far more in a month than some larger companies do in a quarter. Paying attention to these key principles, one can encourage the startup approach in larger organisations - not just in the design and development teams, but beyond to all areas of the business. As a disclaimer, let me say upfront: this is not a technical discussion. It’s not about how to implement a specific Agile methodology, but more about finding...

  • How should brands respond when being cyber-bullied?

    Many brands are struggling with the burden of social networking and the power it has put in the hands of the consumer. In days of old, you phoned a customer complaint line, and they told you that they were recording the call for quality assurance. Your complaint usually fell on deaf ears, because brands weren't that worried about a private phone call between the company and an individual. Now imagine broadcasting that recorded message to a possible listenership of 500-million users on Facebook. Imagine thousands of people agreeing with your complaint and voicing their own on this public platform...

  • Tencent, Qihoo need to ‘strengthen professional ethics’: Chinese govt

    Two of China's leading internet companies, Tencent and Qihoo, have been forced by the Chinese authorities to issue public apologies over a nasty spat marked by accusations of unfair market practices and privacy infringement. Tencent, China's premier online game operator and its largest instant messaging provider, and security software developer Qihoo 360 issued the apologies late on Sunday after being ordered to do so by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The Ministry said both companies need to "strengthen professional ethics" to prevent such a spat from happening again. Tencent, parent company of the popular instant messaging service QQ, is partly...

  • Stop whining: You’re losing influence

    Gary Vaynerchuk, the famous host of Wine Library TV, a daily internet webcast on the subject of wine, mentioned in his SXSW 2010 keynote that inevitably we’re all going to be in one industry i.e. customer service. I have to agree, over the last five years, the internet has become more a platform for people to express their opinions and less about porn and music. Even more so, by empowering the average consumer, the internet has become a reverse mass medium. How so? Well, in the glory days when television was the mass medium, brands used to talk...

  • ‘Social’ still a key part of Google’s strategy

    Internet search behemoth Google said social media was "absolutely" part of its strategy and would be embedded in "many of our products" but played down its rivalry with networking icon Facebook. Chief financial officer Patrick Pichette said that Google was at the centre of an exploding digital economy where computer power was "relentlessly, dramatically increasing" and innovation was crucial to survival. "Search is clearly the core product of Google but many of our other products are having phenomenal trajectories," Pichette told Australian public television. "The first driving principle of Google is in fact not money -- the first driving principle of Google...

  • Newscorp’s big budget, dedicated iPad newspaper set to launch

    After months of top secret development, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. appears poised to take the wraps off a digital newspaper for the iPad called "The Daily". News Corp. has been tight-lipped about the project but the Australian-born media mogul acknowledged its existence for the first time in an interview last week with his Fox Business Network. Asked what "exciting projects" his sprawling media and entertainment company was working on, the 79-year-old Murdoch cited The Daily but offered no further information about the tabloid for Apple's touchscreen tablet computer. Details about the project have been dribbling out in the US media for weeks,...

  • Chinese woman sentenced to labour camp over a tweet

    A Chinese woman sentenced to a year in a labour camp could be the first person in the country persecuted over a tweet, human rights groups said Friday, as Beijing tightens its grip on social media. Cheng Jianping, 46, was convicted on Monday of "disturbing social order" after she retweeted a Twitter posting that mocked anti-Japanese protesters and suggested they attack the Japanese pavilion at Shanghai's World Expo. "To my knowledge it is the first time ... someone was sent to labour camp for tweeting," said Vincent Brossel, a representative of Paris-based Reporters Without Borders. Even though Twitter is blocked in China,...

  • Global internet trends you should know: From the Meeker Files

    "Queen of the Net" and acclaimed web analyst Mary Meeker delivered one of her landmark presentations on worldwide internet trends at a recent Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. When Meeker speaks, people listen. They listen very carefully. Meeker has become famous for her incisive presentations on the state of the internet, bringing it all together in a way that makes sense. In "Ten Questions Internet Execs Should Ask & Answer", Meeker touches on the state of the web worldwide and how the net is evolving, analysing how the global internet order is changing with some new emerging market challengers....

  • Engaging your Facebook fans: 5 tips from Simphiwe Dana

    On October 29th 2010, a fan posted on Afro-Soul singer Simphiwe Dana’s Facebook wall this message: "I love the fact that you actually interact with us. Happy to be your friend" With social media making it easier to reach superstars, the ones who see the value of interaction are the ones who reap the rewards of the medium. Simphiwe recently posted an update on her Facebook status, lamenting the fact that she was finding it hard to find a good school in Cape Town that offered her children an indigenous language as a first or second language. The post...

  • Curation: The algorithm of our human essence

    There is no doubt in my mind that the topic of curation and the Internet, is an important one and that it will be a dominant topic in 2011. Curation is important because we are reaching the limits of what can be achieved through algorithms and machines in organising and navigating the Internet. Aggregation looks like curation but it's not. I define curation as a person, or a group of people, engaged in choosing and presenting a collection of things related to a specific topic and context. Aggregation employs software (algorithms) and machines (servers) to assemble a collection of things related to a...

  • 7 ways to make the most of your Twitter Profile

    Cast your mind back -- how much time did you spend on your Twitter profile? Probably less time than you spent tying your shoes this morning, right? It’s the first thing someone sees when they click on your user name, but too many people (and brands) neglect this space or fill it with rubbish. Take the time to craft your profile – including your picture, bio and wallpaper – and you'll reap the rewards of more interesting followers. Here are a few ways to do just that. 1. Don’t leave your bio blank It’s not mysterious or intriguing, just annoying. Most...

  • Facebook moves into MySpace

    MySpace this week began letting members tap into entertainment preferences expressed in Facebook profiles in a deepening of ties with the firm that snatched its social networking crown. A "Mashup with Facebook" feature being rolled out globally lets MySpace users click on a "Connect" icon to customise profiles at the News Corporation-owned social network with likes and interests shared at Facebook. "We are thrilled to further our collaboration with Facebook," said MySpace chief executive Mike Jones. "This new feature is a great illustration of our strategy around social entertainment and enabling the real-time stream." MySpace is among more than a million websites...

  • Is this the future of online gaming?

    OnLive videogame systems that let people play titles on-demand in the Internet "cloud" will make their debut in the United States in December. The Palo Alto, California-based firm was taking orders on Thursday for US$99 dollar "microconsoles" that will let gamers play major titles such as "Assassin's Creed", streamed to internet-connected television sets. OnLive micro-consoles are about the size of a deck of cards and wirelessly link to hand-held controllers. "This is the device that is going to bring on-demand gaming into the living room," said OnLive senior product manager Michael Miller while demonstrating the system at a major videogame conference in...

  • LinkedIn adding a member every second

    Business networking website LinkedIn is adding a member a second as users seek to keep their professional lives separate from private antics they may share at Facebook. LinkedIn chief executive Jeff Weiner said that LinkedIn had 85-million members and was growing faster than ever as the economy recovers and people get back to cultivating connections that could land them better jobs. Half of LinkedIn members are outside the United States, with China and Brazil among the countries where the social network is seeing its fastest growth, Weiner said during a talk at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. When asked what...

  • SA startup selected as one of Techcrunch’s ‘Best New Startups’

    The TechCrunch Europas, the European Startup Awards for tech companies, has listed Cognician, a South African technology startup, as one of the top 11 Best New Startup's in 2010. The Europas serve to honour the best technology companies and startups across the web and mobile space. The awards span 22 categories and recognise and celebrate the most compelling technology startups, internet and mobile innovations of the past year. Cognician, the original thought processor that presents content in the form of provocative questions, helps users to apply the author's ideas to their own tasks, so that they can think better, further and...