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.

Here’s the a quick summary of the 4 guest speakers:

  1. Gareth Osche explained what Buzzfuze is, and how its adding value in a crowded social media market globally. Their membership doubled in the last month and content tripled. I am still reserving my opinion on whether it’s worth the effort participating from a revenue generation perspective for bloggers.
  2. Jo Duxbury (is she related to the modem company?) founder of Freelance Central shared 5 tips on freelancing. This was definitely the best Powerpoint presentation of the evening. Just yesterday I asked for my profile to be deleted because the do not provide this mechanism in the account settings on her website. It boggles my mind 15 years after the Web was created, professional still ignore the basics of web usability.
  3. Jonathan Miller (namesake to Dr Jonathan Miller who used to be co-director with me at the Computer Society and ICDL Foundation) gave a quick round-up from the annual Affiliate Summit 2008 in America. He is the CEO of Forge Business, the biggest affiliate marketing business to come out Africa, as far as I can tell. And he seems to have built a very solid reputation for himself and his company globally. How relevant this is, may be questionable because I doubt most of the bloggers or audience for that matter is into affiliate marketing in a substantial manner.
  4. Brian Carl Brown and Doug Vining rounded off the evening demonstrating the video network on the Blue Catalyst portal to great amusement. I think they make a great team and complement each other.

Some other people I met were Peter Maree, the demure Telana Simpson, Colette Symanowitz and hubby Gavin, Kate Elphick and a other notables like Jaco Meiring.


Author: RJ Thomas

RJ Thomas is an International Relationship Builder. He was born in South Africa, and moved to China in 2013.

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  • Gee… thanks Ramon! Just to clarify: the 27Dinner is a community based initiative. Blue Catalyst sponsored this 27Dinner because we wanted to make sure that the 27Dinner initiative continues to grow and prosper as well as to showcase our new video enabled portal. We haven’t overstepped or encroached on the non-commercial nature of these events by trying to become permanent ongoing organizers or sponsors, but rather have chosen to support the 27Dinners going forward with our presence and by marketing these events to our audience of innovative entrepreneurs. We will occassionally sponsor the 27Dinners with offerings such as free dessert, or providing infrastrucure such as A/V equipment, etc. and we encourage other individuals and companies to actively participate in whatever way they see fit. 27Dinners are fun and profitable. Long Live 27Dinner!

  • Thanks for the PPT compliment, Ramon 🙂 Re not being able to delete your Freelancentral profile yourself, we actually made a conscious decision not to enable our members to do this as we see them leaving us as an opportunity to find out if there is anything we could be doing better – or whether we need to fix something. We have had some great feedback that way. If any of our members want to remove their listings, they just need to email our info email address and we’ll happily remove it – but we are always sad to see anyone leave our community! We like to have a personal touch in what can be a very impersonal online world.

  • Could you recommend any specific resources, books, or other blogs on this topic?