Recap of TEDxBeijing 2016 Year End Event

This is a recap of the TEDxBeijing year-end event that took place yesterday. It was my first attendance at a TEDx event in China and it was superbly organised. The venue was at Mee Park Cafe inside Universal Creative Park, Beijing.

TEDxBeijing 2016 Year-end event

The 300 RMB tickets were almost sold out by the time I purchased my ticket on the evening before the event. Luckily I took the proactive step of contacting the organisers and asking them to reserve a ticket for a fellow TEDx organiser from South Africa.

The venue was packed – always a good sign.


  1. Rubén Salgado Escudero: It’s always difficult being the opening speaker. Even though there was sound problems, Ruben recovered quickly. His freelance photography from Myanmar was inspired by the impact solar lighting is making in this developing country, the poorest among its South East Asian peers.
  2. Ching Tien: A speaker who packs powerful emotional impact. She runs a charity: Educating Girls of Rural China. During the Cultural Revolution she was sent to Gansu province, in a rural, western part of China. Despite great difficulties, she eventually moved to Canada. It was a little ironic when she quoted Chairman Mao, “Women can hold up half of heaven.”
  3. Greg Smith: He delivered an interesting talk on the pros and cons of building highways. He is the Asia-Pacific lead for the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), a UK-based charity dedicated to creating a world free of high-risk roads.
  4. Hu Weiwei (MoBike): A crowd pleaser for sure. This female entrepreneur shared her passion for encouraging more young people to use bicycles in Beijing and other big cities around China. Ironically, it reminded me of the Katie Melua lyrics, “there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing…”
  5. Saki Chen: This was supposed to be much more exciting as a TEDx Talk. She showed video clips of her in action as the first female-Chinese solo pilot to fly a light aircraft around-the-world. There’s an expression – dynamite comes in small packages – that best describes this young lady.
  6. Qichao Hu: An applied physicist graduate from Harvard. This was a fascinating delivery of a hardcore geek business, i.e. improving battery performance while reducing the size. The potential for providing high altitude wireless Internet through drone technology is astounding. What most impressed me was the developers’ ability to reduce the battery size while doubling the capacity compared with batteries used in the iPhone 6.
  7. Hu Yihan: Another impressive topic, using big data for medical challenges in China and worldwide. There was no mention of privacy concerns during this talk. However, the benefits of the medical advances made in this field may outweigh everything else in the short term.
  8. Yuan Chen: This lady spoke confidently about her work. I did not access the interpretation provided, so I did not get the gist of the topic, except that she has an impressive track record with a Ph.D. and experience in Nigeria and India.
  9. Mario Zaccagnini: What a delightful treat. This food entrepreneur delivered a presentation that I’m sure Ellen DeGeneres or Oprah would have enjoyed. Since moving to Beijing, he has started several successful restaurant ventures: Eatalia Group (La Dolce Vita, Carpe Diem, Unique), Galleria and Feel Bar.
  10. Chen Xu: the Director of the Greater China Observatory Group, responsible for business development and public relations in the Greater China Region.
  11. Hao Zhou: is the founder and CEO of QuantGroup, a web-based credit scoring and data mining system that assesses risk for large institutions, including the Federal Reserve, totalling hundreds of billions of dollars.

TEDxBeijing 2016 welcome

TEDxBeijing 2016 year-end event at Mee Park





Does Money Buy Happiness?

Does money buy happiness or just a big mansion? This funny video by blogger Victor Pride reminded me to always think differently from what Bill Cooper called “the sheeple!” And so after watching this video, think about it for a while, and ask your friends to get their reaction. You will notice the clear bias against money in our society. There’s a built-in guilt that society places on people who want money. Remember “Greed is Good!” and how that became a negative stereotype from the first Wall Street movie with Michael Douglas?

Radio host Tom Leykis truly believes money does buy happiness. Not working and being a slave to the man. Professor Leykis sounds pretty happy when you listen to his old shows on YouTube or his new show, streaming daily via the Tom Leykis show mobile app.

What do you think? Is Tom Leykis right?

When you listen to one of his older shows, you may start to question this common falacy. Religion is not really to blame for this belief, instead I believe it’s our society’s belief in altruism. Ayn Rand was one of the biggest opponents of altruism in the history of the world. And she is still vilified about her books, interviews and opinions on helping others to your own detriment.

Do you remember the safety advice on your last flight? In case of emergency take the oxygen mask and put it on your own face first before you try to help children or anyone else like disabled people.

Incoming search terms:


SATweetups Wants Event Host and Ambassadors

Top 10 South African motivational speakers on TwitterEarlier this year Joburg Tweetups died and #SATweetups was born. We’ve hosted numerous events over the last few years attracting over 428 people to join the group.

Our Tweetups was always simple and social events for people who  follow each other on Twitter to meet in-person. There was no speakers or speeches. This is the most popular way social media spills over into the real world. Tweet about an event long enough and reach influencers, and people show up no matter what the actual occasion.

Since I took over I’ve introduced guest speakers like Melanie Minnaar, Haroun Kola, Bruce Mabuyiwe, Xavier Saer and Marc Rees. My aim is to provide an alternative to 27Dinner. After years of hosting and speaking at their events, I no longer participate.

For some time now I’ve worked diligently to recruit Ambassadors. WIFFM you may ask? What’s In It For Me? Search marketing guru Tony Roocroft always reminded me of the importance of asking this question when doing any form of marketing whether online or not. Here’s what Ambassadors gain from hosting events in your area:

  1. A cool badge designed by our graphic designer Rekha Kalan for your blog
  2. Access to the platform to build a cohesive local community with the full RSVP process integrated Twitter & Facebook marketing.
  3. Branded Posters & Nametags for use before & during events
  4. Support from the most well connected networking people in South Africa
  5. Gaining experience in hosting events
  6. Practising your MC skills
  7. Increasing your Social media profile
  8. Interacting with people passionate about their causes

To continue to host these events we must increase achieve the following goals:

  • Grow membership to > 1,000 people
  • Appoint Ambassadors in each province, so we need 9 people to volunteer for the training to host these events by July 2013, before International Social Media
  •  PR Co-ordinator to contact local media and set-up interviews for guest speakers

What can you do to assist?

Please help grow the #SATweetups community by joining the group. So help me by posting a comment with your suggestion and sharing this on your Twitter network. I’m very excited that we’ve been growing steadily from 2009 to date. In November we’ll be celebrating our 3 year anniversary.

To cover some costs like the dues, please donate $10 or more using Paypal. To assist with any of the above, simply contact our office between 8am-8pm daily.


Siyavula Open Source textbooks information evenings

Siyavula open source maths science text booksToday we had two conversations with Edu-board in East London who referred us to the Team at Siyavula in Cape Town. Following our telephone conversation, I must share the information below on their information evenings in Durban and Cape Town. We’re looking for a way to bring them to Port Elizabeth and East London, to major metropolitan areas in Eastern Cape. This will ensure the Eastern Cape refugees get text books depending on government or political assistance.

Siyavula Information Evening: Everything Maths and Science Textbooks

I think our website outlines most of what we do, but just to fill you in a bit further:

Siyavula is an education technology company, spun out of the Shuttleworth Foundation. We are a social enterprise that believes in sharing, community, collaboration and openness, and through the use of technology we strive to produce the best quality free educational resources out there. We write openly licensed textbooks, and this year our Grade 10-12 Maths and Physical Science textbooks were printed by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) for free distribution across South Africa. Every single learner in a government school that is taking Maths and / or Physical Science in Grades 10-12 should have received a copy of our textbooks, paid for by DBE. This is hugely exciting for Siyavula, but also for the world of open educational resources – as far as we know, this is a world first. The maths books and science books have their own websites. Mobile versions can be viewed on your cell phone at and

Additional Information:
Our textbooks are freely available for all educators and learners across the country to use, and are available in hard copy,  freely accessible online, in PDF for printing, EPUB format, via mobile phone and Mxit. Filled with relevant rich-media (YouTube videos, PowerPoint presentations and simulations), our digital textbooks are completely interactive and a dream to teach from. Educators can contextualise these digital textbooks by making their own versions of them.  Use our textbooks in conjunction with our online practice service, which compliments and supports the textbooks.  It shows learners where their weaknesses in the curriculum lie, and lets them practise exam style questions. Should you wish to own a hard copy, it will cost you R95 for the printing and postage, and the subscription to the Intelligent Practice Service costs R150 for a full year of practise, or R200 if bought with a textbook.

Please let me know should you need anything further.


International Social Media Day 2012

International Social Media Day South AfricaSomeone once said the Geek may inherit the Earth 🙂 South African Geeks are coming out in droves on June 30, 2012 for International Social Media Day. There’s free drinks and in some cases snacks to be enjoyed with your fellow social media fanatics. Mashable a leading blog on technology and social media started International Social Media day for the last three years. This is the perfect events to meet people you’ve been following on Twitter or Facebook, and getting to know them in the real world.

Anyway here’s the most important events listed happening around South Africa. All events start 7pm, so arrive early to ensure you get the best seats in the house. Take a moment to follow the key contacts for each city as I’ve linked directly to their Twitter accounts for easy access:

  1. Cape Town Social Media Day: taking place at Fire & Ice Hotel. Contact Fatima Razzak
  2. Johannesburg 1st Social Media Day event: taking place at Nino’s Rosebank. Contact  Tallulah Habib
  3. Johannesburg 2nd Social Media Day: taking place Fire & Ice Hotel, Melrose Arch, Contact Jodene Shaer
  4. Durban Social Media Day: taking place at Livingstons Gastropub. Contact Fred Felton

You can simply show up although it helps to RSVP before hand so you can checkout who else is going. Social media is not only for geeks but everyone who enjoys using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Be sure your smartphone or iPad is fully charges because you’re bound to spend some time connecting with the people you meet, following them and asking them to follow you back.

  • When tweeting use #smday or #smdayza to localise your Twitter messages to South Africa
  • Also use #FollowSA hashtag originated by Jodene Shaer.

Before you leave, take 6 minutes and watch this video on how Social Media helped other business people grow their companies and profits.


Joburg Tweetups launches on Youth Day

This Youth Day the first ever Joburg Tweetup takes place in Soweto. The event hosted by Internet evangelist, Ramon Thomas, takes place on Saturday, June 16 at the renowned Wandies Place starting 1pm. We invite you to join this special occasion, raising awareness of the extraordinary power of social media among to youth of South Africa’s largest township.

Haroun Kola Blogger Your Day Tweetup SpeakerHaroun“As Twitter drives social change and social networks become mainstream, the youth have a critical role to play driving the communication channels of tomorrow.  The 160 character limitation of Twitter is an ideal medium for kids brought up on a diet of SMS-lingo,” says Haroun Kola, one of the speakers at the #YouthDayTweetup.

Joburg Tweetups have grown to over 400 members since launching in 2009. Many of the members are among the most influential or Twitterati like Melanie Minnaar, the founder of Twitter Blanket Drive and Bruce Mubayiwa, the LinkedIn Coach, both speaking at the #YouthDayTweetup.

“Tweetups are social meet-ups where we get together and chat about Twitter and how we use in our daily lives,” asserts Ramon Thomas, the new organiser of Joburg Tweetups. “The key to networking is meeting people and establishing trust, honesty and respect. Tweetups are the perfect platform for formal networking and informal networking.”

To grow Tweetups we add value to Twitter users by providing a safe and fun environment for them to meet, chat, laugh and network. As we launch the #YouthDayTweetup in Soweto, we acknowledge the revolution that broke the camel’s back, took place exactly 30 years before Twitter launched in 1976. Twitter made headlines over the last two years as the main ingredient in the Arab Spring uprisings across the Middle East.


Melanie Minnaar Soweto #YouthDayTweetup speakerAfter lunch starting 2pm three speakers will address the #YouthDayTweetup discussing how they use Twitter in their personal and professional lives.

  • Bruce Mubayiwa: a top LinkedIn Coach is proud to be African. He loves LinkedIn & Social Media, Technology & Innovation. He uses Twitter to motivating & uplifting others with solid advice on careers and business networking.
  • Haroun Kola: Eco geek, blogger and social entrepreneur has a diverse experience using Twitter ranging from topics on the the spiritual life to subtleties of software. He will talk on how he makes money from blogging.
  • Melanie Minnaar: is managing director of Halo, a marketing agency. She’s a mom to archangels, wife to an IT geek and proudly part of the Chinese diaspora. Her passion on Twitter is annual Twitter Blanket Drive #TBDZA which had collected over 1,000 blankets for homeless children.


— ENDS —

Media Contacts

: To interview any of our speakers before or during the #YouthDayTweetup contact them directly

  • Ramon Thomas: 081 4399 555
  • Bruce Mubayiwa: 072 385 8520
  • Haroun Kola: 084 511 7613
  • Melanie Minnaar: 082 880 4855

South African Social Network FACTS


Andrew Horton's Social Media Strategy

Andrew Horton PSASA professional speaker memberDate: Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Venue: Bryanston Sports Club
Speaker: Professional Member, Andrew Horton

Members attend for nothing. Guests R200. Please book your place with Simone Scholtz.

Discover How Andrew Horton Made R500 000 in Speaking and Training Engagements
Out Of Social Media in 2011

This is a practical presentation, which is packed with real ideas, tools and concepts, that I have tested and proved effective, in the laboratory of my own speaking business over the past few years. My social media strategy has seen me earn more than R 500000-00 from my social media activities during 2011. My goal in 2012 is to double this. I do not understand or speak about the buttons to push, this talk delivers practical social media strategies and sound business principles that when applied, will deliver similar results in your speaking business. I will highlight the need to be a great matchmaker, networker and strategic marketer and how to leverage social and online marketing as a power tool to accelerate and assist these efforts. Yes we need to be seen, build credibility for our brand and bring attention to our businesses. So it is imperative that we have a blog, comment on other peoples blogs, retweet things that are aligned with our vision and values and most importantly, we must make online intros between people that we feel will benefit from connecting with each other.

These new high-tech methods of networking has opened new doors of opportunity. We can very easily identify and meet the right people and have direct access to our markets. This ability to communicate a relevant message that is of value to our market makes creating awareness about our products and services simple. It allows us to appear to have a very large presence in the market place. When managed properly all this marketing will not cost you a dime, which is ideal for businesses on a tight budget.

My goal is to show you a few online marketing and social media tips that I have used very successfully in my own speaking business as effective marketing tools. This will give you access to a system that will allow you to leverage maxim advantage from technology for very little cost. During this entire process, always stay focused on building only mutually beneficial relationships and you will have the added benefit of enriching your life too.

The art of connecting, referring, helping people and sharing information about products and services has not changed. Networking remains a mutually beneficial process where people share ideas, leads, information, resources and support each other. None of these universal truths has changed. The main thing technology has changed is the pace of discovering the right people to connect with and number of contacts we can make in a very short space of time has grown exponentially.

Please book your place with Simone Scholtz


18h00 – Speakers Forum
19h00 – Convene and welcome, Welcome new members to chapter
19h10 – Andrew HortonSocial Media Strategy
20h00 – Snacks and networking
21h30 – Workshop: Back of Room Sales – Andrew Horton
22h00 – General feedback

PSASA Members attend for nothing. Guests R200.


INK Conference 2011, this December in India

Ramon Thomas with TED curator, Chris Anderson in 2007In 2007 I came a TED Fellow after attending TEDGlobal also known as TEDAfrica in Arusha, Tanzania. This has been a wonderful journey and many relationships have blossomed with TEDsters all over the African content. It’s with great pleasure that I share this announcement from Chris Anderson below.

Dear Global TED Community,

By now you may have heard of the annual conference in India that has lots of links to TED.

The INK Conference (which stands for INnovation and Knowledge) is being run by longtime TEDster Lakshmi Pratury, who co-hosted TEDIndia with me in 2009. We’ve signed a content partnership agreement with INK that allowed us to bring the best of their talks to Last year’s INK Talks posted on (including Anil Ananthaswamy, Arvind Gupta, Simon Lewis and Susan Lim) have proved popular online, and we’re excited to continue this collaboration.

TEDIndia in 2009 was a thrilling experience, attracting a sold-out audience of 1,000 attendees from 46 different countries. It was always planned as a one-off to bring TED to South Asia. So we’re delighted that the momentum generated by TEDIndia is continuing with numerous one-day TEDx events around the country — and the longer INK conference hosted in association with TED.? The first INK conference was held in December 2010, and Lakshmi pulled together a fine speaker lineup spanning business, science, technology, nonprofit organizations and the arts.? And she’s done so again with the lineup for the second INK Conference, being held in the colourful Rajasthan city of Jaipur, December 8-11, 2011.

The theme is “Power of the Journey,” and confirmed speakers include the first woman private space traveler, Anousheh Ansari; oceanographer David Gallo; music conductor Itay Talgam; director Julie Taymor; and the chair of UIDAI and co-founder of Infosys, Nandan Nilekani. INK is modeled on TED, and the talks will fit the familiar TED 18-minute format.

As an organization, the INK Conference remains 100% independent of TED. They are fully responsible for the event. But we’re happy to be offering strategic advice and content distribution. ?If you want to attend a live TED-like event in India, do consider registering for INK and joining up with movers and shakers from a wide variety of industries, organizations and countries. There’s more information at

Chris Anderson
TED Curator


Chinese Revolution

Tai Chi Master Jet LiTo my surprise I have been invited by Selwyn Klaas from the Preview Theatre, to participate in the celebration of the Chinese Revolution on 10 October 2003 at Sandton Sun Hotel. You can read this article from the South African Communist Party’s website about the 50th anniversary of the Chinese Revolution. This is very exciting as I have long held an interest in Chinese culture and history.

While I was growing up I was teased for looking Chinese. Back then I hated it but I’ve learned to turn it to my advantage! Two years ago I started doing Tai Chi classes. My first exposure to this ancient internal martial art was from a Jet Li in the movie called The Tai Chi Master. Then in Cape Town during 1999 I learned more about the health benefits of Tai Chi that makes it the perfect exercise.


Baby shower in Honour of the Door Of Hope Children's mission

Door of Hope invitationAfter giving it good consideration I’ve decided to support Doors of Hope charity for abandoned infants for the rest of 2011. Something about this baby shower just touched me on a very deep level and I became very emotional reading about what these babies have to endure when their mothers cannot look after them. So after my friend Rekha Kalan asked me to spread the word, I immediately offered to do more than just forward her emails. I’ll be delivering a short inspirational talk during the baby shower this coming Sunday. All the details are on the attached event flyer, and you can also RSVP via the Facebook event page.

So what’s this all about? We’re having a baby shower in Honour of the Door of Hope Children’s Mission, as our way of giving back and helping them raise funds for their day to day needs for running such wonderful homes.

Attached is a letter from Door of Hope’s Operations Director and below is a list of their current needs. Contact Rekha 082 521 4427 to pledge any of the items and I’ll arrange for collection from you if you cannot make it for the baby shower.


  • Welcome @ 14h00
  • Introduction by Carmen Pretorius, Operations Manager, Door of Hope
  • Video Presentation of Door of Hope
  • Break ( snacks , activities, visit from few babies)
  • Motivational talk by Ramon Thomas
  • Auction/Raffle
  • Vote of Thanks


  • Fresh fruit & vegetables
  • NAN 2
  • Purity – Fruit
  • NAN H.A 1 & 2
  • Tissues
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Latex Gloves
  • Black refuse bags
  • Domestos
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Air Freshener
  • Baby Bottle Cooler Holders (to fit Avent & Nuk bottles)
  • Nappies


  • 2-minute noodles
  • Futurelife or Oats cereal
  • Long life milk
  • Stevia (Sugar)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jam
  • Finger biscuits / marie biscuits
  • Cheese Curls / crisps
  • Fruit Juice


  • Viral Guard Syrup
  • Allergex syrup
  • Teejel / Vidol