Tech 4 Africa – Gaining momentum

by oneafrikan on November 28, 2006

Technology for Africa '07

And so it begins…. We’ve started getting some really good feedback for the Tech 4 Africa conference (last check we were up to about 30 replies after a day or so of being up and emailing to an initial beta group for testing) which has totally surpassed our expectations. When the automated notification emails started coming in, you shoulda heard the shouts of joy! ;-)

Almost surprisingly, the feedback has been along the lines we were expecting:
people would be willing to go to JHB,
wanna know about stuff around web2.0 primarily,
want to hear international speakers, and
think the conference would benefit the African web community.

On top of that, we’re getting some good coverage on the blogosphere so far:
Update as of 27/11/2006:
David Duarte
Cowboysengines (business site: http://www.virtualworks.co.za/index.asp)
Hash @ Whiteafrican.com
Update as of 28/11/2006:
Coda.co.za
Scott.za.net
Muti.co.za
http://digitalafrica.blogspot.com/

Anyone else we don’t know about yet? (If you’re going to blog about it, then please use the following Technorati tags: tech4africa07,T4A7 or T4A)

Which is all good. ;-)

Some people have asked why we’re not just launching with dates and relying on “if you build it they will come” to make it a success – in short, 2 reasons:
1. We are speaking to some really, really high profile international speakers, who naturally want to allocate time to a conference on the other side of the world if they feel there are going to be enough people to make it worthwhile. We’ve invested the time up front to collect some real data, that goes beyond a thumbsuck, to show we’re serious.
2. We believe that business rules should apply – we need to at least break even, and we need to justify further time put into the project, so it makes sense that without real data we can’t make any assumptions beyond that we reckon 10 – 20% of people we email should respond to the initial email asking for feedback.

So, if you’re reading this and haven’t filled in the feedback form on the site then please do, just to prove us wrong ;-) The more data and feedback we have, the more likely we are to actually hold the event and make it something truly special!

I’ve also been asked what I’d personally like to see at the conference, so for posterity, here goes:
1. Web app dev in Africa – what it takes, how to do it, what markets are ripe
2. How the web can help Africa lift itself up – technologies that come into play, mindsets that need to change, strategies that work
3. What Africans need to do to compete internationally – once we’ve gotten over the bandwidth issue, what needs to happen for Africans to create more Thawte’s and PayPals.
4. What web 2.0 really means for business – technologies, trends, people -> how can it be leveraged?
All underscored by a good vibe, good music, good networking, and some good ‘ol fashioned fun of course ;-)

If you want to stay tuned to what’s happening, then watch this blog, and/or our business’ blog category wev’e setup for the conference (yes, I know the theme is still default K2 – something about the cobblers shoes I think…;-( – so it will change soon enough, as well as being an addition to our shiny new site which is being designed as we speak).

Also, we’ve been asked what to do if folks are interested in helping out:
1. Email us to say so whether you think you can help with something small or big – the more help we get the better – and we’d really appreciate it. Up front, we don’t have cash to pay people now, but as and when that happens then we’re all about getting the right help, so that may be an option. Right now, telling 10 of your mates would be the best help in the world!.. and…
2. Blog it – please blog it and help to moibilise the troops ;-)
3. If you have a speaker you would really like to hear, then please do email us to say so – being able to tell speakers they’ve been asked for by people is good motivation for them!

Cool – more soon – time to go to bed ;-)

9 comments

Hey Gareth,
Great job so far. It seems like you guys have the right attitude and approach to this kind of conference.
Seriously looking forward to it.
BTW… I also saw a posts at scott.za.net and coda.co.za.

by Dave Duarte on November 28, 2006 at 6:02 am. Reply #

Yep, I think this is a great idea. It’ll be interesting to see the feedback you get, as well as see who ends up on the speaker list. Good luck, and keep letting us know how we can help.

Also, you might go for a shorter tag, maybe “T4A7” or just “T4A”? Just a thought.

by hash on November 28, 2006 at 7:10 am. Reply #

@Dave: Thanks, and thanks for the heads up ;-)

@Hash: We’ll be releasing a page shortly, which will show all the feedback (anonymously of course) that we get in much more detail, so everyone can see. That should open things up a little ;-) As for the speaker list, thanks for your feedback, and yea, that’s going to be a real challenge – Africa is pretty far away for a lot of folks…
Updated the tags as well – thanks ;-)

by Gareth Knight on November 28, 2006 at 12:59 pm. Reply #

You might as well send this guy an email about it:

http://www.markshuttleworth.com/biography/

by jk on November 28, 2006 at 1:30 pm. Reply #

And I too have added a minimilased linkbadge to my sidebar (I am famous for my linkbadge blogroll so please copy and paste the Tech4frica linkbadge all over the blogosphere) and I will do a write-up next week.

by Robert on November 28, 2006 at 7:22 pm. Reply #

@JK: Yea, he’s defo on the list of people we’d like to speak ;-) Will get onto that when we’ve got a few more people in the database so we can show real data.

@Robert: Great idea – thanks!!!
For anyone interested, here’s some sample code (view source):
Technology for Africa 07

(PS: Robert, your site link above doesn’t work – http://www.iscatterlings.com/)

by Gareth Knight on November 28, 2006 at 7:57 pm. Reply #

Gareth

Fixed the comment url error.

I have posted something! I rustled up a new Ooze Tech4frica07 cartoon and have posted it. I could not use your yellow so went a bit orange in the cartoon to make the ‘4frica’ stand out against my blog’s background. Hope you do not mind!

by Robert on November 28, 2006 at 9:38 pm. Reply #

I really like your blog. It is great to see what you are doing. Oh by the way, thats a now that’s a real blogroll you’ve got there!

by benin"mwangi" on December 8, 2006 at 4:34 am. Reply #

I posted an article at my blog HERE.

Have had a chat this morning to a senior VP about Tech4frica07 and I have an appointment booked to see him next week.

Need to do a presentation to him so Gareth….. need help buddy! We can speak on Monday. OK if I give you a call?

Regards

Robert

by Robert on December 8, 2006 at 2:24 pm. Reply #

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