March 2008 27Dinner Recap

This is the first time I’m writing a review of the monthly 27Dinner meetings that happen across South Africa. These meetings have matured over the last year into a worthwhile meeting place for innovative minds. These are likely to be the entrepreneurs who will steer the direction of business in South Africa for the next 50 years as the baby boomers go into retirement and die off 😉

Wherever Brian Carl Brown goes, I will follow. That may sound quasi-religious but I mean it because he is such a dynamic man, with a ton of energy and he knows how to bring that to the audience or the room. After rumours of a downturn in 27Dinner, Brian through his organisation, Blue Catalyst Network, stepped in as a sponsor and co-host of these excellent events. What struck me as a really positive sign is that these events continue to draw new people, who are not even blogging, into the fold. And I estimate there would a high conversion to becoming active bloggers or at least learning how to blog from these newbies.

After my initial apprehension that 4 speakers were to many for this format event I was impressed by how smoothly it all went. And because these events are hosted in public restaurants (like Primi Piatti in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg) it is difficult to have a Q&A. The speakers all asked if there were question but I noticed very little responses forthcoming.

Continue reading “March 2008 27Dinner Recap”


Reducing Technology Stress in a Wireless World

You are invited to a this event hosted by Ramon Thomas in association with BulkSMS. These briefings have been designed to be fully interactive and will be looking at real-life examples, common mistakes and effective ways to reduce technology stress in a wireless world.

The cellphone has become an indispensable part of our working life, but our increased accessibility comes at a psychological cost. The cellphone comes with the blessing or burden of the ring. The phone rings and it needs to be answered or left to bother us or those around us. Our decision to answer the phone, be it at home or at the office, means that we disturb the people within earshot of our conversation. Personal issues could be verbally displayed in and around the office, interrupting colleagues. Work could be discussed in the confines of our homes taking up the precious time spent with family. People should be empowered to control their phone, otherwise their phones will control them.

The increase in cellphone usage for work and private calls or messaging can be a source of irritation. This talk will focus on ways that the cellphone and SMS messaging can be used to improve workplace productivity keeping the, sometimes welcome, interruption that the cellphone brings to a minimum and also ways that current technology can be used to reduce what is becoming commonly known as technology stress.

Dr Pieter Streicher BulkSMSSpeakers include Dr Piet Streicher, MD of BulkSMS and Ramon Thomas, leading authority in the psychology of technology.

Other information:
Participants will receive a comprehensive set of notes relating to the workshop, together with supplementary handouts. Participants will also receive tip sheets, and other supporting information, to take away for future reference. Each workshop will be 2 hours long and cost R150 pp.

Some of the topics that will be discussed include:

– 10 Steps for Cleaning up Information Pollution
– The Mobile Worker in South Africa
– The Multitasking Myth
– Increasing Focus and Productivity in the 21st Century office
– Strategies for the Automated Lifestyle

Cape Town:
Date: Thursday 17 April
Venue: The Cullinan Hotel
Time: 15h00 – 17h00 with networking afterwards (drinks & snacks provided)

Date: Thursday 15 May
Venue: Balalaika Hotel, Sandton
Time: 15h00 – 17h00 with networking afterwards (drinks & snacks provided)

Date: Wednesday 28 May
Venue: Blue Waters, Central City District
Time: 15h00 – 17h00 with networking afterwards (drinks & snacks provided)

To register, email Deirdre van Zyl Smit at or call her on 082 3244 639 today.


TEDAfrica in Cape Town opens for registration

I learned from Erik Hersman over at that TEDAfrica is open for registration. This is technically the 2nd TED conference in Africa, although its the 1st to named TEDAfrica, a new annual conference focussed on bringing together the Cheetah generation with global visionaries in one mega conference. I also echo his sentiments that if this is even close to TEDGlobal in Tanzania, in 2007, it’ll be a huge success. And in the words of George Ayittey, these conference will rank as the most important events at the beginning of the 21st century for Africa.

To all the TEDGlobal Fellows I look forward to meet you again in my country, and one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town.

TED Africa Cape Town 2008


Announcing the next TED Africa 2008 in Cape Town!

Ramon Thomas & Emeka OkaforIt seemed that all discussions around the next TED Africa had gone quiet. Now I get this email in my Inbox and the excitement from Tanzania returns with thunder! Wow I knew Cape Town is a good choice, but I’m biased because I spend so much time there.

Anyway read my own blogging from TEDGlobal 2007: Africa the Next Chapter. And here’s the full announcement of the next conference.

Dear TEDizens,

We’re delighted to tell you that there will be another TED conference in Africa next year and that we hope to make it an annual event on the continent!

TED Logo Ideas Worth SpreadingTEDAfrica will be held in Cape Town, South Africa on September 29-October 1, 2008 (save the date!), and will follow the format of this year’s event in Arusha, Tanzania.

The conference will be organized by a wonderful local team with whom we have just signed a license agreement. The four-person team includes TED Fellow Kelo Kubu and the conference will be operated out of a new South Africa-based non-profit organization devoted to promoting a better future for the continent, the “TED Africa Foundation”.

We will be supporting the foundation both financially and logistically to help ensure that the event maintains and builds on the quality and success of the Arusha event.

Initially we had intended that conference to be a one-off, but we received such enthusiastic feedback that we had to find a way to bring it back and in the summer we invited groups to apply for a license to host the conference. Kelo’s team were one of several who submitted bid and we were stunned by the quality of the proposals. The winning bid included several brilliant ideas to make TED Africa even better, and also featured a strong plan to ensure the event’s financial success and long-term sustainability. We therefore have enormous confidence that the next TED will every bit as exciting as Arusha was.

The organizers have already begun feverish preparations and when registration for the event formally opens, we will put out another note. Meanwhile, if you want to suggest a speaker, discuss sponsorship, or offer other help, you can write to A new website promoting the conference will eventually be launched at

Kelo wanted us to forward the following note:

“It has been an honor and a privilege to be part of the TED Africa process . The team is naturally excited to be hosting TEDAfrica 2008, and we look forward to the challenge of generating the usual TED cocktail of inspiration and magic. The task is undoubtedly a daunting one but Africa provides the perfect platform, and Cape Town the ideal location for yet another memorable event.

We look forward to welcoming the world to the southern most tip of Africa to share, spread and nurture groundbreaking ideas that could open new possibilities to growth and prosperity on the continent.”

Our congratulations to her and her team. We hope to see you in Cape Town!

Very best,

Chris Anderson
Emeka Okafor


Get Ahead in your Career, Work and Job Update

My friend Yusuf Mahomedy invited me to join his next seminar: WORKSUCKS, MAKE WORK WORK EXPRESS 2007.

Get Ahead in your Career, Work & Job like never before.

Do you really want to take charge of your career before 2007 ends?Are you ready to create your work success with stuff that is not available to 99.99% of South African employees? Do you want to break free of a dissatisfying job? Are you job hunting? If you are serious about getting ahead in your working life and wondering what more can you do, this experience could be a turning point in your life. For over 3 years, Worksucks has been covering the SA Market through a unique lens and assisting individuals create their work success.

This one of a kind presentation for career seekers, employees and students, will cover

  1. The Realities of Working in SA
  2. Work Success – Fulfilment, Fame, Fortune
  3. The Job Hunting Game
  4. From Employee to Entrepreneur
  5. Real Life Opportunities
  6. Finding your next job using online Social Networking (Ramon Thomas)

The experience includes hard hitting strategies, examples from SA companies, playing the recruitment game (gain the upperhand over agencies), analysis of employment documentation (packages, contracts) and stuff that you can apply immediately in your career. No B.S. No motivational drivel. No Hype.


  • Yusuf Mahomedy – In the past decade, Yusuf Mahomedy (CA(SA), CPA(SA), AdvTax)) has accumulated a wealth of expertise around the new work economy. His professional background combined with experience in a small practice, tax consulting in a ‘Big 4’ firm and heading the remuneration department at a telecoms group; provides a multidisciplinary lens on the business of work. He founded WORKSUCKS in 2004, a unique venture to assist corporates, small business and employees, ‘Make Work, Work’ in rather unconventional ways. A self professed ‘Work Radical’, he wears several hats – reward consultant, employees tax specialist, coach, futurist and sometimes, undefined ones.
  • Ramon Thomas – At the forefront of a new breed of professional speakers emerging from South Africa, my unique ability is always communicating the big picture to help my clients solve problems and make better decisions. My speciality is in the Psychology of Technology.

Date: Wednesday, 24 October 2007
Time: 18h00-20h00
Venue: Sandton Library (Tel 011 881 6440)

Fee: Career Seekers/Employees – R80 (including VAT) or Full Time Students – R30 (including VAT)

Guarantee: If this Express Event does not demonstrate value in your working life, claim a full refund. Register: e-mail Yusuf Mohemedy with your name, address, contact number and student number (if applicable)


Breast Cancer Awareness Month Fundraiser Event

Learn the Secrets about Cancer the Pharmaceutical Industry does Not want You to Know About

Join me for an informative and entertaining video screening at the Preview Theatre. I will be screening two interviews from Conscious Media Network to raise awareness on Cancer and raise funds for Women of Vision.

You will learn about alternative treatments for cancer from two world-reknown experts. You will also receive copies of these interviews on DVD to share as widely as possible at your own discretion. The money raised at this event will go toward Women of Vision, a charity that helps abused women and children. Sophie Okeke, founder of Women of Vision, will be the guest of honour.

You will receive a glass of champagne on arrival.

The 1st interview is with Dr. Lorraine Day, an internationally acclaimed orthopedic trauma surgeon and best selling author who was for 15 years on the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine as Associate Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Orthopedics. She was also Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at San Francisco General Hospital and is recognized world-wide as an AIDS expert.

We will break for 20 minutes to enjoy tea and coffee before we continue…

The 2nd interview is with Burton Goldberg, the publisher of a series of books on alternative medicine. He has spent over 30 years carefully researching every aspect of holistic medicine, from California to Israel, Mexico to Russia. But it?s taken only a few years for this self-made businessman to emerge as ?The Voice of Alternative Medicine.?

The venue for this event is The Preview Theatre, run by Italo Bernicchi, who managed the Victory Theatre in Orange Grove for 35 years. Parking is outside his house and champagne will be served on arrival in the beautiful rose garden. Call Italo on 011 640 1061 for directions.


  • Cost: R40 pp, 2 tickets R60 or 4 tickets for R100
  • Date: Saturday, 20 October 2007
  • Time: 4h30 for 5pm (duration 2 hours)

It’s easy to book for this event: Call Mandy on 076 890-8687.


Sexpo 2007 Workshop Schedule

DAY 3 (Saturday, 29 September)

  • 11:30 – 1:00 The Secret DVD viewing
  • 1:15 – 2:15 Learn How to Pole Dance presented by BodyMind Studios
  • 2:30 – 3:30 Sex Toys 101 presented by Lola Montez
  • 3:45 – 5:15 Tantric Workshop presented by Jonti Searll
  • 5:30 – 6:30 Datability: Would You Date You? presented by SMARTdate and Ramon Thomas
  • 6:45 – 8:15 Sensual Massage – Talk and Demo presented by Jonti Searll 8:30 – 9:30 Sex Toy Overview presented by Matildas
  • 9:45 – 10:45 Learn How to Lap Dance presented by BodyMind Studios

DAY 4 (Sunday, 30 September)

  • 11:30 – 1:00 The Secret DVD viewing
  • 1:15 – 2:15 Sex Toy Overview presented by Matildas
  • 2:30 – 3:30 G-spot and Female Ejaculation presented by Jonti Searll 3:45 – 4:45
  • Learn How to Pole Dance presented by BodyMind Studios 5:00 – 6:00 Awakening the Erotic Spirit presented by Jonti Searll 6:15 – 7:15
  • Sex Toys 101 presented by Lola Montez
  • 7:30 – 8:30 Datability: Would You Date You? presented by SMARTdate and Ramon Thomas

This is the first time in South Africa any of the dating agencies is teaming up with a dating expert to improve the results their clients obtain from using their services. Worldwide this is the great value being added by such relationships.


Reflections on 2007 Digital Citizens Indaba

It’s been a week after the 2nd annual DCI event in Grahamstown. This event is a sidekick to the much larger and more established conference Highway Africa. As with all these types of events it’s layered with good intentions. However, the practical side of it sometimes leaves much room for improvement. The highlights were certainly the keynote by Ndesanjo Macha and my friend Daudie Were. During the later sessions Vincent Maher delivered the geekiest presentation I’ve ever seen at a conference. And he’s well on his way to becoming everyone’s favourite geek in South Africa.

There was some miscommunication between DCI organisers and Highway Africa as they initially asked me to conduct some workshop with DCI delegates. I could not track down anyone from Highway Africa to confirm it but based on the programme I realised it was not worth the effort. I had so much more to share with the delegates. My own talk was more aimed at inspiring bloggers to think beyond just writing and specifically how blogging can bolster their careers. Much of the investment is upfront and the pay-off is over the longer term. There are excellent online role models emerging in South Africa with the likes of Laurian Clemence, who spoke with me on the Moneytising and Marketing panel, launching her Wibble project recently.

What I would like to see more of in the future:

  1. Better planning of the sessions – there were some hiccups later in the day and the timing was consistent between breaks. Maybe the lunch venue can be in the same place as the conference venue because there was time lost walking to the lunch venue.
  2. Quality control on presentation – while most speakers were awesome there was not sufficient glue tying things together. I’ve noticed this is symptomatic of conferences i.e. the program directors are not checking the contents of the presentations or taking a few minutes to discuss with the speakers what exactly they will talk about. Just doing this one thing can take the quality of what delegates get out of this to the next level.
  3. Interaction between speakers – it would help if the speakers are able to have a dinner the evening before the event to discuss their topics and create more synergy.

Blog your way to Being an Expert

This is a summary of the talk and presentation that I delivered at the 2nd annual Digital Citizens Indaba on the Marketing and Monetising panel. My fellow presenters were Laurian Clemence and Matthew Buckland.

I started out telling the story of how I attended the 1st DCI conference last year, met Emeka Okafor, and ended up being awarded a TED Global Fellowship. It’s very difficult to place a monetary value on the experience gained from this event. Simply put the money for my travel, accommodation and conference fees are approximately US$10,000 or more.

Next I showcased my personal development blog, some of the structural elements like the Aweber email subscription form, the TAG cloud, the notable plugin that allows readers to submit my blog postings to Digg, Reddit and other social bookmarking websites. Inside the WordPress Dashboard I pointed out the growing list of incoming links from Blogrolls as the quality of articles has increased over time. There is a direct correlation between this narrowing of my focus, writing more original content, and the increase in traffic I’ve experienced since January 2007.

Next I showed how easy it is to include your blog’s RSS feed into your Facebook profile. There is a regular amount of traffic coming from Facebook users and I’m looking into merging my feeds using Yahoo! Pipes so that I can get even more exposure through Facebook. My LinkedIn profile brings high quality traffic to my this blog.

Next I displayed a awesome graph and quoted some research on a blog entry about how to become an expert. The essence of this is that you need to have persistence and specifically look to continuously improve what you do to set you apart from the drop-outs and the amateurs in your industry. The best example of this Steve Pavlina’s blog and I highly recommend the two articles: Confessions of an A-list blogger and How to make money from your blog, as well as all his podcasts.

5 Steps to becoming an Expert

  • Choose Your Topic (Niche) – it’s very important to differentiate your blog from others in your industry. So spend time using Google Blogsearch or Technorati to checkout your competition.?
  • Read Books – According to Dr John Demartini if you read 72-85 books on one topic it’s the equivalent of completing a Ph.D on that topic.
  • Interview Experts/People – By interviewing experts you can learn from them and also get to know them personally as people.
  • Participate > Online Discussions – It’s very important to go and find where your people are having online discussions and contribute to those. Start with forums, they have been around since before blogs became the rage and some are exceptionally influential.
  • Write Articles Not Blogs – What can I say. This is a must read by Jakob Nielsen.
      Download the presentation from here:

Ansbert Ngurumo on blogging in Kiswahili

Ansbert Ngurumo spoke about blogging in Kiswahili in the Fractured Identities session of the Digital Citizens Indaba 2007. This was in some respects one of the most inspiring talks for me because it is in sync with my own views that one of the best solutions to reducing the digital divide is translation of software and websites into indigenous languages like Kiswahili.

Here’s my podcast interview with Ansbert using my Sony Ericsson w880i: