Friday, 4 February 2011

Silicon Cape & South Africa's bright future

Last Tuesday made me love South Africa even more.

Those who know me, know that I am quite vocal about my belief in this country's future.  Put simply, I have invested my future here because South Africa rocks.  Two important companies made my belief even stronger last Tuesday, namely: Cell C and Sun International.

Firstly, Cell C sponsored a Silicon Cape event that launched an exciting product called MyTools - in fact, they launched to the Silicon Cape community *first* - clearly a great accolade of the things being done in Silicon Cape.  Essentially they launched a "Cloud" (in the web) based product that allows their customers to manage the mobile telephone through a web interface, from address books to different voicemails for different users.  The roadmap looks exciting for this service too.  Cell C are the first mobile carrier globally to launch such a cloud based management tool, a very bold move if you know the nuances of the Industry.  They are also the first mobile carrier to sponsor a Silicon Cape event too.  Lars (Cell C CEO), the Cell C team, the fonYou team from Spain and SCI's Roger Norton really did put on a superb event with absolute professionalism.  I was impressed.

Prior to the event, the Silicon Cape Board (and for the first part Roger) convened a board meeting to map the future of the Silicon Cape Initiative.  In attendance at the SCI board meet: Andrea Bohmert, Matthew Buckland, Justin Hartman, Dave Duarte, Henk Kleynhans, Rob Gilmour, Rob Stokes and myself - absent was Arthur Goldstuck but who had tabelled his item prior.

What was awesome about this was that Sun International (another big South African company) had reached out to provide both a venue and all expenses paid lunch at The Atlantic Grill, The Table Bay hotel.  The lunch was prepared by the increasingly famous @ChefDallas and hosted by the gregarious Shaun Wheeler, GM of The Table Bay.  The food and the view were impeccable.  What I loved most about this lunch is that they thought our Silicon Cape Initiative (SCI) was important enough to offer the lunch without any strings attached.  They care.

Are these two companies unique in South Africa?  Yes and No.  Yes because they have "invested" early in  us, when we readily admit we still have a long way to go.  The investments were high risk...  And possibly they are not unique, because South African companies for the most part understand that investment in the community is required to make the better future.  My view is that South African companies do this better than those in Australia and United Kingdom, countries I have lived for long periods.

This is why I love South Africa.

(Disclaimer: Sun International is a Quirk client.  This lunch offer was made to the Silicon Cape board directly not through Quirk.  I work for Quirk, although not on the Sun International account, and sit on Silicon Cape board) 

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