Archive for July 2010

All my passions in a few days!

You know, four years ago when I started my one matchstick journey, I knew nothing about social media and the extent of the possibilities of the internet. I knew about emails and bit of HTML, and had just started to hear about blogs.

Then everything changed when I heard of Kyle, and my journey into the world of possibility and Web 2.0 started. Over the fours years I've learnt a lot about blogs, facebook, twitter, myspace, google, websites, etc and the technology that's most useful to manage all this. On the other side I've learnt heaps about negotiation, bartering, resilience, writing, and met the most wonderful people along the way!

And now I get to step up again in my learning and learn from the best in the WORLD about these things, and where technology is heading- especially in Africa.

In two weeks time I will be attending the Tech4Africa conference here in Johannesburg. As I mentioned previously, a lot of what I have learnt so far was applied in getting me to the conference, and now it's just a few days away.

I have been researching all the speakers and topics so that I can squeeze every opportunity out of this conference, and wow is there a line up of fantastic speakers!

Having just upgraded my phone (am I still a closet geek?) to a smart phone, and knowing that Africa has led the way with a few of the applications of mobile solutions (like the example of Nigeria to America, that Clay Shirky shares in this video), I am looking forward to hear Jonathan Snook of Yahoo! talk about the latest stuff with smart phones.

And then there's one of the panel discussions about where the mobile industry is going with applications like banking and weather alerts and more. Also Justin Spratt is going to be talking about wireless and how more of and cheaper communication is coming Africa's way.

I'm especially looking forward to hearing about building a brand on line from Alex Hunter, and all about Social Media from the panel including the likes of Walter Pike, Andy Hadfield, Mike Stopforth and Alistair Fairweather- all experts who I know I'll learn a lot from, having met some of them already!

There is also the key note speakers: Leila Chirayath Janah, the most innovative woman in technology who is combining crowd sourcing and mobile technology to give farmers in Africa work tending to virtual farms in social networks, where they could earn more than ploughing their land. And the Clay Shirky, who says that the internet runs on love!

And then – the cherry on the top of highlights for me is going to be the Q & A session with Andy Budd, Dustin Diaz, Joe Stump, John Resig and Jonathan Snook – For the coach in me this will be fascinating, to hear how they overcame challenges and their personal experiences on their respective journeys.

And then the Bootstrap session with the panel of entrepreneurs- hearing how Brett Haggard, Barbara Mallinson, Gareth Knight, Eve Dmochowska and Andy Higgins think! The theme of the session is that ideas are everywhere, but execution is everything! So true!

So for those that know me, you should by now have an idea of why I am so over the moon about the Tech4Africa conference! It combines all my passions in a few jam-packed days: technology, entrepreneurship, learning, networking, Africa, the Internet, and love!

Gareth Knight- the visionary behind Tech4Africa- says he hopes "to inspire a generation of Africans to go and do extraordinary things with the Web and other emerging technologies" through this confernce.

Well Gareth, so far you've inspired me! Let the extra-ordinary start rolling out!

matchstick girl+ubuntu girl=motivational talk for a Tshirt

I had such a lovely day yesterday, connecting with amazing people and watching them make connections as well!

Last year my friend Adin- the No Money Man- (and he's still living without money) was telling me about Sonja Kruse. I've been following her journey ever since, as she has moved around South Africa from East London, around the Cape, through the Freestate and now to Gauteng. When I heard she was in Johannesburg, I got in touch with her and had the fortune to spend my Sunday with her.

What a bundle of energy, love and inspiration Sonja is! She stored away her belongings in October last year, packed a few clothes and her camera into her backpack, gave away her car and with just R100 in her pocket started walking. It was finally time for her to act on her vision she had 4 years earlier.

She has story to tell which will be shared through a book, about ubuntu in South Africa. It’s about the generosity and spirit of our nation and it's people, and how very ALIVE it is!

Reading what Archbishop Desmond Tutu has to say about Ubuntu, and Shari Cohen's atrticle about the abundance of ubuntu she experienced during the 2010 World Cup, I realised that Sonja is actually a wonderful example of ubuntu herself! She is open and available to people and generous in so many beautiful ways! And yet she is exploring our country looking for ubuntu- and she is finding it over and over again in the most amazing places and situations!

Me, Sonja, Mongezi & Nthabiseng having lunch

Sonja's been in 6 provinces so far, in 93 towns and cities, connected with 121 families, and experienced 13 different cultures- and what made this all possible is the one thing all these places and people and cultures have in common: their generosity of spirit which comes from knowing that we can not be human by ourselves- we are interconnected even if we appear "different" because of our culture, skin colour, financial status or house we live in. It's what we call "ubuntu".

But let me not keep trying to explain it here in a few words typed on my blog- the best person to explain this- and she really does it justice in her story telling – is Sonja herself.

And she is willing to do just that: talk about how her many stories about ubuntu in our country have broken preconceived ideas, how they have touched not only her soul but many others, and how she has experienced generosity that many of us cannot even imagine exists in our world today. You cannot help but be touched from hearing her stories!

Sonja is willing to give a motivational talk in exchange for a T-shirt.

So- if you have a team you want to inspire, or a company you want to motivate, or a friend who needs to believe in the magic of ubuntu over a cup of coffee with Sonja, then this is an opportunity for you!

All you need to do is call me asap and say you want to experience some ubuntu magic, and all it will cost you is R183 (to get the t-shirt to Sonja as a trade with me!)

If you are in Johannesburg though you need to act VERY FAST- because she is only going to be here for a week to 10 days longer, before she moves on down to Natal.

So if you are interested- CALL ME! 083 730 2979

You'll be touched with Ubuntu magic to share!
Sonja will get a Springleap T-shirt
And I will have traded another of my T-shirts to get me to my goal!

The 'matchstick girl gets to go to Tech4Africa!

This bartering is sure becoming a way of life with me. It seems whenever I hit an obstacle- especially when it's a financial "I cant afford it right now!" something happens, and I end up trading my way to get where I want to go.

The latest bartering opportunity came along after the last 27Dinner in Jozi, where Gareth Knight was talking about why international viewpoints in the technology and digital arena are relevant and significant to us here in Africa.

Gareth is organising Africa's first conference about web, mobile and emerging technology called Tech4Africa. He's got overseas speakers like Clay Shirky, Matthew Mullenweg, and Dustin Diaz sharing their knowledge amongst some of South Africa's best like Andy Hadfield, Mike Stopforth, Justin Spratt, and even one matchstick traders like Elan Lohmann and Andy Higgins! It's quite a line-up of speakers!

One of the areas where my learning and growth has increased exponentially through the last four years of turning my matchstick into a pen into Rod the Frog into books into wine into a holiday into cash into a hot air balloon ride into a party with DJ Al into 375 Springleap T-shirts to where I am now, is my knowledge of the web, social media and technology. And I have so enjoyed learning and exploring this emerging world.

So when I heard of the line up of speakers at Tech4Africa, I immediately felt a huge desire to attend. I saw it as an opportunity to experience consuming a huge amount of useful information is a short space of time for my hungry mind. Just like Neo did in The Matrix movie (my favourite movie, by the way!) when he downloaded Kung-Fu fighting in a few seconds.

I think Gareth must have picked up on the sparkle in my eye or something, and after a brief conversation and a few emails back and forth, I've bartered my way into the conference! Woohooo! Now I've just got to decide on which speakers and what topics I want to focus on during the conference- they even have workshops to consider! (Any tips welcome- the list of speakers to choose from is so awesome that it's overwhelming!)

So I hope to see some of you there at Tech4Africa on 12th to 13th August, to learn and interact with the best. Maybe you'll too see a sparkle in my eye and end up trading with me for one of my T-shirts? ;)

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