October 10, 2010
One Day One Life: Tell Your StoryBrandon Litman and Kyle Ruddick from One Day One Earth came to Los Angeles to tell 140 Conference attendees and speakers about their story, which encompasses so many others from around the world.
One Day on Earth started in September of 2008 with the goal of creating a unique worldwide media event where thousands of participants would simultaneously film over a 24-hour period. The idea for the project was conceived while watching musicians from very different regions of the world collaborate on stage at the opening night of the 2008 World festival of Sacred Music.
Their initial attempts to create music together were awkward, and it was clear that they had never collaborated prior to this moment. Eventually though, over the period of a couple minutes, what was disharmony became harmony, and a beautiful fusion of music came together for the first time. The moment inspired a similar vision for another universal form of communication—cinema.
As for how this initiative took off, he says, "we talked to the United Nations about a collaboration for when we went live. We start encouraging conversations to happen on the site and people realized they were not alone, and the idea started to live on its own." He then shows us a moving video that someone created from south Africa.
October 10, 2010 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Events, On Africa, On People & Life, On South Africa, On Technology, Reflections, Social Media, Videos, WBTW | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 03, 2010
What Would It Mean If Every Child Had a Tablet?Imagine if every child were issued a tablet computer? This is the next step beyond Nicholas Negroponte's "laptop for every child" initiative. Below he speaks with GigaOm's senior writer Matthew Ingram and Marvell's Co-Founder Weili Dai on the Mobilize stage in San Francisco this past week.
The idea behind creating a new platform opportunity for developers is that getting tablets in the hands of children can help to fix IT literacy problems around the world, particularly in developing nations.
October 3, 2010 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Europe, Events, On Africa, On Australia, On China, On Education, On Technology, On the Future, Videos, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 01, 2010
Acumen Fellows Program Applications OpenThe Acumen Fellows Program is now accepting applications for 2011 and 2012.
The Acumen Fellowship is a one year program that immerses Fellows in world-class leadership training, field work with social enterprises on the front lines, and a community of change makers and thought leaders.
For 2011, they received over 550 applications from over 65 different countries for 10 positions. While each Fellow comes from a diverse background and brings a unique skill set to the Fellowship, below are some key indicators of a successful Fellow:
* Proven track record of leadership and management responsibilities
* Experience working in emerging markets
* Unrelenting perseverance, personal integrity, and critical thinking skills
* Strong passion and commitment
* 3-7 years of work experience
* Graduate degree preferred
Below is a synopsis of some of the fellows and what they have done and where.
October 1, 2010 in America The Free, Europe, Israel, On Africa, On Australia, On Being Green, On Education, On Health, On Innovation, On Science, On Technology, On the Future, Science, Videos, WBTW | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 14, 2010
Use Motribe to Build Your Own Mobile Social Community
Motribe, goes live today, a South African start-up which has created a platform to enable users, brands, agencies and publishers across the world to build and manage their own mobile social communities.
Talk about a speedy execution; founders Vincent Maher and Nic Haralambous built and launched Motribe in just under 6 weeks.
They are targeting the overlooked and neglected developing world market, where they'll offer a customized mobile payment plan. People using the Internet on their cell phones will be able to build and own a fully-featured social network optimised for the mobile Internet.
Motribe will be able to activate plugins for their network including blogs, photo sharing, real-time chatrooms, user rankings and customizable HTML snippets amongst various other plugins. Various themes will be available to premium account holders for their networks as well as the ability to take earn revenue from advertising within a community.
While many companies have chosen to ignore the developing world market, Motribe is taking that market as well as the developed world head on and providing practical solutions to their social networking and communication needs.
The technology being offered up by the company is globally applicable and relevant. Users, brands, agencies and customers from across the world, in any and all markets will all find a use for a Motribe community and immediately see the value of the product.
With very little knowledge or Internet experience everyone from the man on the street all the way through to the most sophisticated advertising agency will be able to build, manage and generate income from their very own mobile social networks.
August 15, 2010
Tech4Africa: Building for a Global Technology Market in Africa
If only Johannesburg were closer. Too many buds and too many interesting discussions were happening at the Tech4Africa Conference. Below is a recap taken from MemeBurn, which focuses on web and innovation technologies for the emerging market sector.
The panel discussion was called: “Building for the Global Market. Lessons and Learnings From The Coalface.” Leila Janah of Saiasource, Sheraan Amod of Personera and Malcolm Hall of Open Box Software discussed the challenges of building tech companies from Africa. The discussion was facilitated by Toby Shapshak of Stuff magazine. MemeBurn's wrote-up below.
ON BREAKING INTO THE AMERICAN MARKET
Leila Janah: The biggest challenge we face is that Africa has a damaged reputation in the service sector. And being a non-profit doesn’t exactly help us either. There is a perception that people in Africa can’t do this kind of work. Many educated people in the West don’t even know that there are PC’s in Kenya, let alone that there are over 2 million Kenyans on Facebook.
You need to overcome bias at the start and the best way is to get results. We did many trial jobs for free to build a relationship and people were pleasantly surprised. You can’t compromise on quality when you’re a non-profit, especially when you’re from Africa.
Sheraan Amod: In the US, there is a lot more energy and innovation than there is in Europe or anywhere else, and people are willing to speak to new businesses. To succeed, you need to stand out. I preach 2 major actions if you want to build a product business that can scale to the US.
Firstly, your product needs to be something they have never seen before. If it’s unique, they will see it and they will take it seriously. Secondly, you need to get a solid introduction to the people who matter in Silicon Valley. That introduction is like a stamp of approval. We are lucky to have Vinny Lingham as an investor, and he is very well connected in the San Francisco tech scene so he setup a few crucial introductions.
Leila Janah: We have to work as hard as a “for profit” company, because leads come in because of who we are, but no one will sign on the dotted line because of a good story. There is a lot of anti-outsourcing sentiment right now because of the crisis in us. We want people to understand we’re not in to screw American workers.
Malcolm Hall: The key differentiator is the quality of your product. I don’t believe that it matters where you are. If you deliver something good, then people will use it, no matter where its from.
ON MAINTAINING A PRESENCE IN THE UNITED STATES
Leila Janah: There’s a benefit to understanding what your customers are doing so it makes sense to have part of your business where your customers are. You need to have a great product/customer fit and living amongst them is so important. Whether it’s from casual conversations or more formally, you have to get feedback from your customers.
Malcolm Hall: Certainly it’s important to have a sales and marketing presence in the larger markets. That then allows you to have developers back here at home working comfortably in T-shirts and slip slops. And getting paid in rands.
Sheraan Amod: If you haven’t lived where your customers are, then probably don’t start. It’s critical that you understand how they live.
ON FINDING THE RIGHT MARKETS FOR YOUR PRODUCTS
Leila Janah: Outsourcing requires pretty mature markets. Our market is definitely in the Fortune 500 companies. But if you can monetize many tiny transactions, like M-Pesa has done then perhaps your focus is different. But at Samasource, when we talk about technology companies, we gravitate towards the United States.
Audience: The BRIC countries are very interesting markets for South Africans. We are in a unique position of being comfortable in transitioning between 1st and 3rd world environments in the same country. We can navigate all of that very easily and should take advantage of it.
Toby Shapshak: My contention for a while has been that Africa is the next China, the next Russia and Brazil. So it’s very important to grow your market right here in Africa and South Africa is going to be the springboard to all of that. It’s an exciting time. I always say that South Africa’s best export is South Africans.
August 13, 2010
New Photo Books Now Out: Faces of London and Post Apartheid KidsI've been working on a series of Photo Books of various eclectic and wonderful places around the world - from American cities and cafes to people, places, designs and architecture in Europe, Africa and Central America. The first two are now out: Faces of London and Post Apartheid Kids. Below is a little background and a sneak peak of each.
Faces of London shows the surprises you get from walking through the streets of London. If you spend enough time people watching, you'll notice a wide range diversity of cultures who now call themselves Londoners -- from countless countries around the world.
Did you know that at the time of the Roman Invasion, London was called Londinium? In Saxon times, it was referred to as Lundenwic, and during the Kingdom of Alfred the Great, the city was known as Lundenberg? It is a city rich in history, diversity and miraculous transitions.
Today, London represents countless cultures from around the world. Regardless of what part of the city you're in, the experience is always breathtaking, energizing and stimulating. Ask someone a question and be challenge and inspired at the same time -- again and again. Faces of London shows these transitions. It shows London's diversity through beautiful, colorful shots of its people in a wide range of neighborhoods throughout the city. From east to west and north to south, join us on this colorful and artistic journey.
Below, you can get a sneak preview of Faces of London:
Post Apartheid Kids takes you on a journey through various parts of South Africa - both rural and urban - capturing wonderful and surprising moments of children in a post-Apartheid world.
Take a journey through a post-Apartheid South Africa and see it in the eyes of its children. It's a visual story of one child's face after another -- their smiles, their eyes, and their energy. Because of deeply-rooted pains of South Africa's complex past, we don't ask to forget, but we do ask for a harmonious life for the next generation.
We meander from Johannesburg, the Transvaal and Venda in the north through to Natal, Swaziland, the Orange Free State, the Highlands, the Cape and the beautiful and desolate Karoo.
Below, you can get a sneak preview of Post Apartheid Kids:
August 09, 2010
RASH Hits NYCHow many solo plays have you seen about a Scottish Jew who falls in love whilst investigating the genocide and human rights abuses in Rwanda? RASH, which began as a vignette of short monologues based on a personal experience of living in countries in crises, is hitting New York next week.
RASH is the story of how Jenni Wolfson ended up working for the UN in Rwanda after the genocide and how that experience changed her life.
Through her experiences, Jenni wanted to give people a taste of what it might be like to live, love and laugh in the midst of horror and tragedy. RASH makes something as huge and incomprehensible as genocide personal.
August 01, 2010
TECH4AFRICA Hits Jo'burg
TECH4AFRICA is coming to Johannesburg on August 12-13, 2010. Bringing together the web & emerging technologies, the event will focus on the latest emerging trends for Africa from a global perspective. Other discussions will include:
* Applications for Web 2.0 in Africa
* Mobile & wireless innovation and trends for the next 3 years
* Cloud computing and it's relevance for business in Africa
* Startups & business opportunities in Africa
* African success stories
* The funding landscape in Africa
While there is a long line up of African speakers, yanks like Clay Shirky, Matt Mullenweg, Dustin Diaz, and Joe Stump are making the long trek for the occasion.
Seedcamp is also participating, which is a program created to jumpstart the entrepreneurial community in Europe, and now Africa. They connect next generation developers and entrepreneurs with over 400 mentors from a top-tier network of company builders; including seed investors, serial entrepreneurs, product experts, HR and PR specialists, marketers, lawyers, recruiters, journalists and venture capitalists. We met with their England team in London during our UK Traveling Geeks tour.
May 19, 2010
Should You Pack Candles for the World Cup?
In January of 2008 South Africa endured blackouts that crippled the country, shutting down some of the major industries for days and causing a general drag on the economy.
Power has been rationed to the major consumers and general public since then and other conservation measures have been in effect.
Yet blackouts continue, in spite of a reduction in demand due to the global recession's effects on South Africa's economy. The problem is a result of decades of neglect in capacity generation and is exacerbated by power cable theft. Increased supply is supposed to help the problem but this isn't coming until 2012.
The problems were serious enough to draw the world's attention and questions have been raised about whether the country would be able to power the World Cup.
A trip to South Africa 18 months ago included a meeting with Eskom, the public utility which supplies 95% of the country's electricity and is one of the world's ten largest producers, and a meeting with FIFA, the international football organization presenting the tournament.
Questions to Eskom were met with brief and confident responses, and FIFA's answers focused on the games themselves, with reassurances that power generators would provide sufficient electricity for the stadiums during play.
When the same questions were asked of business leaders and the general citizenry the responses were much less certain. Many people mentioned crime and public safety as a trouble spot, but electricity was the primary infrastructure concern cited, with ground transportation a distant second (freight transport workers are on strike and the passenger train unions joined them earlier this week).
Now with the tournament less than a month away it is clear that authorities are worried. Eskom recently released a statement saying that they "expect quantities to be sufficient" but acknowledge pressure on the system and increased their calls to spare usage. Color-coded referees will appear on television to alert citizens and visitors about imminent reductions in power, at which point people will be asked to limit their usage to one light and one television.
Hopefully they are also asking people to "power pool," something that would make sense for a social activity like watching football. Perhaps an ad campaign of "Got Torch?" (We call them flashlights in the States).
The scheduling of matches can't help. FIFA understandably wants to avoid overlap. But 19 of the preliminary round's 48 matches are at night, with an additional 19 finishing after dark. Only 10 are day games. Among South Africa's biggest electricity consumers are the natural-resource extractors, but these consume electricity day and night. Residential consumption increases dramatically in the evening, and the games are taking place during South Africa's winter, so people are going to need heat as well as light.
In addition to concerns about the effect on the games themselves, there is the considerable matter of public safety, particularly with large crowds. It's not going to matter that FIFA has sufficient generator capacity to keep the bulbs on in the stadium if the traffic lights, street lights and public transit are shut down.
Meanwhile, here in San Francisco the first matches begin at 4:30 in the morning, or at nautical twilight, which is the point at which seafarers are able to discern a soccer ball against the horizon. Our biggest concerns are whether to stay up all night or wake up early, and how to change the city's liquor laws so that the game's first match can be met with a civilizing Bloody Mary or Mimosa. How about a new pub tradition called Groggy Hour? Ah, the problems of a first-world nation in consumptive decline.
Which brings us to the matter of global perception. This is being pitched as South Africa's coming-out party. It's been 17 years since the end of white rule, close to a generation, and the country is eager to demonstrate its modernity and readiness for a prominent place among the many new players in the global economy.
But what happens if the lights go out while everyone is watching?
June 09, 2009
An Early Reading of Eve Ensler's New Play O.P.C.
Pat Mitchell moderated an on-stage chat with playwright Eve Ensler and Global Green's CEO Matt Peterson after an early reading of Eve's new play O.P.C. at Santa Monica Bay Woman's Club earlier this month.
The cast includes acclaimed actress Stockard Channing, a favorite of mine, who as always, managed to add charm to her character, the mother of the lead, who is running for Senator.
O.P.C. is short for Obsessive Political Correctness, which combines all things green or lack thereof, over consumption, alternative energy, the ozone, wildlife, carbon footprint meets addiction to Prada, politics and the questions we face during our 'coming of age' and beyond.
Below: Eve with Pat and Matt in a discussion after the reading