Checkout the new coda.coza: Presenting v6

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Respek for Damien, he’s produced something fresh and easy on the eyes ;-)
_ Presenting v6 – blog – coda.coza

My previous design lasted for almost half of that time. Despite its shortcomings (lack of a feature-rich CMS) and obvious design flaws, and given the amount of recognition that it received, I became hesitant to change it much. Until the waves of spam attacks began.

Since my blog was running on a bespoke system, it became increasingly difficult and time-consuming to manage, which partly explains why I haven’t been posting as regularly.

So after a tricky data migration and clean-up (the volume of crap I’ve written in the past 6 years is embarrassing), a tiresome metadata capturing process (adding titles and tags to 770 posts), and a couple of design revisions later, this blog has undergone a complete overhaul and is now powered by WordPress 2.5.1 with a super collection of plugins.

SxSW Day 4 – Final day thoughts and wrap up

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So it’s a few weeks after SxSW now and I’ve been meaning to write this post for ages but haven’t had the time or energy to do so for a while now… so here it is ;-)

The last day for me was primarily about catching up with work, then preparing for the core conversation I did at 5pm, but inbetween that I did manage to take in “Considerations for Scalable Web Ventures” which for me was probably one of the most interesting and relevant panels of the conference.

I found the panel knowledgeable and happy to give away hard earned secrets and useful wisdom, which was cool. My humble recommendation is that if you have the opportunity to go see any of them speak, then do – you’ll walk away richer for it ;-)

I’ve promised that I’m going to send the content of the core conversation I did to the people that attended, so in the spirit of sharing I’m gonna upload it here as soon as it’s in a form that I’m happy with. More on that soon though.

As for the conference itself, I’m super happy I went. This time around the jet lag hasn’t been as bad, and having had the experience of the last time (cabs, locations, where to go, food to eat, when to sleep when to work when to panel) I enjoyed this time around more. I think that because it’s a huge melting pot of really cool people in the industry, where everyone’s interested in learning from each other, discussing stuff in the halls, and socialising (where all the cool conversations happen of course). London’s probably not the best place for a web startup for a number of reasons, so it’s a real inspirational change to be in the same place as loads of other people that are all in one way or another in a similiar situation to yourself… so it was good. Another humble recommendation – if you get the opportunity to go in the future, go! ;-)

Welcome to the Kindo Beta release!

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This has been a long time coming, and it feels good to finally get there, albeit with a mountain still to climb!!!
Personal reflective blog post to follow soon…

A little while ago we released an Alpha to a small group of people, to gather valuable user feedback. Thanks to those great people, we’ve had our heads down improving Kindo, and as a result we’re releasing the Beta, and at the same time opening it up to a wider audience for more feedback.

We’ve made the following progress:

  1. Kindo is much faster now
  2. The Kindo tree is now much more stable and knowledgable
  3. You can invite family members to your tree
  4. Many more user interface improvements and enhancements
    • *Note: we’re continually adding more, so please tell us about things you think should work better or be more obvious.
  5. The internet is global now, so we’re releasing in 7 languages:
    • English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Afrikaans, Polish; with Russian, Turkish, Hindi, Hebrew and Arabic on the way.

Our mantra has become “Speed, Simple, Pleasure“, so in a nutshell that means we’re always trying to make Kindo faster for you, simpler, more intuitive and perhaps most importantly a pleasure to use.

Our new URL is http://beta.kindo.com/.

What can we do to make Kindo better?
If you dont like it – tell us why.
If you do like it – what are you missing?
Join the conversation on our blog, we’d love to hear your opinion.

Don’t worry – the same login details apply, and your data is all still there.

Have fun!

What’s happenning to Tech for Africa?

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I’m the first to admit that I’ve had my head in the sand the last few months, and have received many emails asking what’s happening with Tech for Africa... So I thought that posting something public would be the best way to communicate what’s happening for everyone to see ;-)

Must say that the last few months have been a blur…
Since January of this year, Technovated has gone from 4 people, to 10, to a venture funded project with 14 people in all, over three office moves and many many late nights and long weekends.

There’s a blog post coming up about it all soon, but the long and the short of it is as follows:

  1. I’m responsible for getting our venture funded application out the door soon, so I’m stacked as it is
  2. I’ve battled to find dates this year that get the right mix of African and international speakers together at the same time
  3. I’ve battled to find the right kind of sponsorship early, which would mean the difference between something good and something mediocre – mostly related to point 2 (since sponsors like to be linked to speakers and topics)
  4. I’m convinced that it would be a loss maker if we didn’t get the right speakers – there’s a very fine line between raising enough sponsorship to make the cost for attendees affordable as well as afford to bring out good speakers; all before you have fixed numbers that are all paid up… and without a pot of cash to dip into, it’s harder to take risks

So, in truth I’m not 100% happy about it ‘cos I’ve been talking about it for a while and I’m the kind of person to do rather than talk wherever possible, but I’ve taken some good advice from people who are helping out, and the consensus is that we should be aiming for around March / April next year rather, to give us more time to get points 1 through 4 above right. I certainly don’t want to spend time, effort and potentially my goodwill only to get great speakers out to SA and the event is a dismal failure and costs me more money than I have or can afford!

Anyways, this isn’t a sob story if you were thinking you were gonna be reading one.

A lot of people have either told me to give the idea up, or told me that I’m crazy, but I believe that they’re wrong. I’m pretty sure now that the original format and idea that I had bubbling in my head is going to have to be re-thought to take into account the difference environment, the cost of long trans-Atlantic flights, and the relative expense that something like this is when compared to someones monthly salary.

That said, I think the direction to take is to adapt and give more time to finding the right dates so that the right speakers can congregate for the event. Once that is done getting sponsorship will be easier and therefore the chances of success higher.

So, bottom line is that I’m still personally 100% committed to getting this off the ground and happening in Africa, even if it has to be delayed some – I would rather delay by 6 to 8 months and make it a good one where everyone benefits, than rush to make it work in October and end up with something that is mediocre…

So, I ask you to bear with me, and to stay tuned. It will happen.
;-)