Day 2 opinions – Clarity seems key

News from the conference room: this is a series of blog posts in which blogging experts briefly review key Tech4Africa 2010 talks and panels from Day 1 and 2.

Day 2

Day 2 of the Tech4Africa conference showed a much more relaxed atmosphere shown very evidently in the casual attire of the attendees. It was started off with a great introduction by Marcel Klaasen re-iterating FNB’s commitment to startups and a couple of his view on the state of entrepreneurship in SA.

Soon to follow was a very informal and highly interactive session on Social Media. With the panel all dispising the title of Social Media Guru’s I could help but notice that they all are about as close as you could get… maybe their definition was skewed, but they all seemed to fit the mould of being able to effectively use Social Media to enhance a companies brand – IMHO I don’t know what else would constitute a guru. The topic tended to sit quite heavily in the philosophical side of the media and less on the local case studies. This could this be to the distinct lack of local case studies (Outside of Cell C) but an interesting angle would have been what types of Social Media wold work for different companies? There definitely seemed to be a heavy focus on Twitter and Facebook, but what of Youtube of Flickr?

At the end of the day, the “success” of your social media campaign depends more on the quality of your product and how honest you are with your customers. Apple was highlighted for various reasons, but I think that the case highlights a very interesting point on how to maximise on social media by not interacting. I would have loved to see this discussion between the panel and the audience continue for about 3 hours, just to see what path it would follow and where it would polarize. This method my produce more concrete outcomes and more clearly highlight the relevant points.

The second talk was very different but just as interesting as the panel had taken a well known site and redesigned it. They led us through the very interesting process resulting in a much more effective site layout and flow. Although it was a great concept and they will give the content generated to to use as they will, it could have been taken a little further. Possibly with a bidding process by companies and the final product being sold to the company of choice with some of the funds going into sponsorship for the event. it could add a whole new level of hype.

Find here the slides of the presentation “How we redesigned, and why you need to know”.

Traditional media as a hotly contested topic was an interesting talk. Mostly due to the lack of continuity in definitions for the terms, with few points that they did agree on Bing that journalism is not only writing. It is all the background research and reporting that goes on. The Traditional Media model of finding a way to make revenue from any means possible and use that revenue to fund the journalism side. Apparently tablets will save Traditional Media by providing a more sexy, appealing way for us to receive verified news.

With a keynote by Clay Shirky to follow and then the afternoon session on entrepreneurship, startups and funding I’m really looking forward to what the last quarter of T4A 2010 has to offer.

Roger Norton

2 thoughts on “Day 2 opinions – Clarity seems key”

  1. Hey Roger,

    would be interesting to see how a bidding process could work – the process provided a tailored solution for payfine, and would only really have been appropriate for them. Or did you mean for the bidding process to happen before the event – so companies would bid to have their site redesigned by the panel?

  2. Hi Allen

    As an initial thought I would suggest to enter a bidding process before the event where companies can submit their sites for consideration. Alternatively you could have a panel suggest sites and then invite the owners to participate. Having the company involved in the process from before hand (but probably not at all during the design…) might help set more relevant guidelines and goals.

    The chosen site can then be re-designed / Modified and the result given to the respective company, for them to use as they will. The company would then either pay a set fee price or make a donation towards the conference as a sponsorship. The participants get the company exposure for their companies and the conference attendees get to see the process form both sides and gain an insight into what it takes for a re-design.

    Payfine did help sponsor one of the participants flights down, so this did occur in some way but it could add another interesting dynamic to the conference yet one more way for it to help distinguish itself from the rest.

    Just a thought… Use it, don’t use it…

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