Mxit: The social broadcast network

29 November 2011 At its most basic level, a social network is a “bush telegraph” system.[1] This seems particularly apt for a network such as Mxit when one considers that most of Africa is bush and Mxit is the biggest social network in Africa! And since man originated in Africa, that would make Mxit the…

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The decision that made dodos famous

28 November 2011 Decision-making is like evolution. The wrong decision and you’re dead. No decision and you’re dead. Right decision and you’re alive. The dodo is a great example. At some point in history, a dodo was born that could not fly. The (temporary) lack of predators on Mauritius meant the non-flying dodo could survive…

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My kids and social networks

I have two young daughters. The most beautiful little girls in the world, and I can see the not-too-distant future where I am struck with fear that they might walk into real life and get into trouble…What happens when they start going to parties, talking to boys, and using social networks like Facebook and Mxit!Now…

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The importance of having children – Part II

Yesterday I awoke with a giant pimple on my forehead. I read the paper to discover that Bafana Bafana had in actual fact not qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations. And then, just in case things couldn’t get worse, the Boks lost to Australia in the quarterfinal of the Rugby World Cup.Life is grand.When…

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The truth about data networks

Have you ever considered how hard it is to actually do things? Build a bridge? How hard can that be? Write the Google algorithm? It’s just a string of words, piece of cake! Connect to the Internet? What could be easier! As an accountant, I tend to oversimplify and underestimate the magic of much of…

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Secrecy vs Privacy

There is a difference between secrecy and privacy. Secrecy is the hiding of facts from the light of day. Privacy is the ability to be by oneself. Alone. Undisturbed. With the arrival of the Internet, mobile phones and social media, secrecy is dead. There are no more secrets. This makes the world a better place….

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The test for uselessness

Some jobs are easy to measure. Some jobs are difficult. That’s how life is. Big corporations spend millions of Rands and hours trying to create measurables to determine whether their people are doing their jobs effectively.Why? Because big companies have too many people. Too many people means the boss can’t know everyone, which in turn…

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VAS vs Apps

(co-authored by Peter Matthaei) Not so many moons ago, the only meaningful way to offer a service for cellphone users was through the Value-Added Services (VAS) channels that the network operators provided.  These include SMS, USSD, interactive voice response (IVR) and carrier billing (where the user can pay for mobile content from their airtime). It…

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The importance of having children

There are many good reasons to have kids. Beer-fetchers. Garden-mowers. They support you in old age. They are a legitimate excuse to watch cartoons. They provide an object to be named humourously.But the most important reason is more subtle.Lets start with Nazi concentration camps. Viktor Frankl, a psycho-analyst, survived 5 years in WWII camps. He…

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Social Capitalism

Social buying, social reading, social TV, social music. Everywhere you go, every magazine you open, every link you click, “Social” is the wave of the future.I read this morning that Mark Zuckerberg is the billionaire with the greatest increase in wealth in the past year. $11billion, no doubt due to the streaking success of Facebook…Facebook…

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The USA riots

Why haven’t we seen riots in the USA similar to what happened in the UK? First, the police in the States are not to be messed with. They have serious guns, serious insecurities, and serious powers to put you in prison should you so much as roll your eyeballs. Second, the USA hasn’t started austerity…

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The importance of risking everything

To me, an entrepreneur is anyone who risks everything to follow his or her passion. Period. The key ingredient is “Risk everything.” All in, no going back, no plan B, sell your house if it doesn’t work. This is not easy. This single element – EVERYTHING – separates the entrepreneurs from the business owners. (Starting…

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