You Don't Need Bandwidth to Be Awesome
Always-on, high-speed connectivity is the ticket to doing awesome stuff in technology today.
But in a continent like Africa, ‘The Cloud’ is something ‘The Rain’ falls out of.
And still, innovation in the technology realm has managed to flourish and even outpace the more developed world.
We’re talking about television services that use the DVBH standard to beam football matches and news into rural villages; social networks that were designed for exclusive use on mobile phone platforms; funds transfer and electronic payment systems that require nothing more than a SMS text message; insurance products that can be provisioned and procured from the most rudimentary mobile phones.
Outside of the ‘never say die’ innovation Africa employs there’s a great deal the developed world can learn from the developing world, particularly when it comes to building practical solutions that solve real problems.
And with global growth being led by the developing world, these are lessons worth learning.
Andy Hadfield is a digital native (can’t really remember life without the Internet) and is fascinated with the impact it is having on our lives and businesses. An entertaining and compelling personality, Andy speaks with authority and insight about the new shape of life, work and play in the digital world.
Importantly though, he’s not a “techie”! Andy understands the hard realities of business, and delivers pragmatic, realistic lessons from the future, which every business will find valuable. His intensive front-line experience underpins these viewpoints.
He has played in every corner of the digital industry, launching his first startup at age 19 - getALife (gAL) was a social network before the word was even invented. A political and community mouthpiece for South African students between 1997 and 2005, the site was covered on every major media platform, including Time Magazine. It also has the dubious honour of being sued by Robert Mugabe.
He then spent the next 7 years honing his strategic skills across a range of industries, including finance, professional services, construction and media. With The Virtual Works, this included building the digital platform that underpins “The Deloitte Way”, a real time strategic assessment, staff engagement and reward programme. He was also involved in creating South Africa’s first monetised niche social network, DesignMind, which drives communication and collaboration across the construction industry.
At First National Bank, Andy helped develop a team to manage digital strategy across the consumer banking segment. This included projects such as corporate crowdsourcing, the bank's first official FaceBook presence, a major overhaul of the consumer website and a world-class “Amazon-style” online sales system for end-to-end fulfilment of financial products.
Out of corporate and back into the entrepreneurial space, Andy spends some time with a few (highly innovative, highly awesome) corporate clients, but his passion really lies in his 2 startups. Real Time Wine is a retail discovery engine and consumer review community for the wine industry and Mzansi Gold is a Johannesburg based Angel Investment and Entrepreneur network.
Andy is a regular speaker on the African circuit and often works with the internationally renowned FutureWorld Group.
You can find him on www.andyhadfield.com or tweeting his love for cricket, wine and the new style of business on www.twitter.com/andyhadfield.