Last Friday I finally made it to 27Dinner in Cape Town. This particular event was oversubscribed, which is a healthy sign for any event organisers and sends a positive message to all the participants. It reminds me when someone said, the geeks shall inherit the earth This is really a superb way to meet the most prolific bloggers around South Africa. I have been recommending the students from my blogging seminars, including many from the PR industry, to attend these events. And they have done so with great feedback.
The Wild Fig restaurant, which has served as venue for several previous events, is an awesome retreat from the insantiy of Primi Piatti, the venue of choice in Johannesburg. Even though it took me about 30 minutes of driving around Observatory it was well worth it in the end. The first people to arrive was Dave Duarte and Max Kaizen, the hunter of genius. Does anyone else know they brother and sister?
It was very important for me to meet the Cape Town bloggers in-person because I have communicated with many of them online and those connections only become valuable once the in-person contact is made. I have been a strong advocate of bringing the online connections to the offline world.
The format of the 27Dinner is informal although the speaking sessions are well structured. The first speaker was slightly unusual because he is an entertainer by profession and happens to be a geek as well. Corporate magician, Marcel Oudejans quickly got the crowd on his side with some magic tricks like inflating a crushed coke can and pouring real, drinkable coke from it afterwards. After he gave us all a crash course in his marketing magic I realised why he was invited to speak at 27Dinner. His talk was a great lead into pitching his book. I immediately bought a copy of his book. And he took my R50 note and turned it currency that looked like a cross between monopoly money and the Zim dollar
Anyway next up was Jo Duxbury, the owner of Freelance Central, who made a persuasive call for attending the first Flying Solo Unconference in Cape Town and Johannesburg. I signed up immediately as a speaker for the Cape Town conference because I want to share my business networking tips with them. I have been flying solo since 2004 even though I have had different people assisting me from time to time. However, I recently employed Gareth Roberts as my full-time remote personal assistant. We are starting to build good momentum after 1 month of training.
Rafiq Phillips, probably the most prominent blogger in Cape Town after his Carte Blanche debut, and my fellow TEDGlobal blogger, was up next discussing microblogging and Twitter in particular. He has grown in confidence since we first met, and he introduced me to the TED videos at the end of 2006. He told me about how his exploits on Twitter has landed him a new position working inside a special online research unit inside Naspers, the owners of Media24, the biggest online publisher in South Africa. You can checkout his presentation with comments on his blog here. Now I am not convinced about the value of microblogging and therefor I will agree to disagree with his comments. Value can be derived by a small minority of people who basically have to live online. I deleted my Twitter profile about a month ago and should in fact write a more detailed post about the motivations.