I knew that this week was going to be a mad week for Mobile in South Africa. What I didn’t know is just how valuable this week would be.
It all started with Mobile Monday year end party, which was also the start of Mobile Web Africa 2011. I can only describe it as a mad Carnival of serious Industry Gurus from around the Globe all getting together to share all things mobile. A bit of a mouthful but an accurate description.
At the outset, I must congratulate the Mobile Web Africa event organisers (Matthew Dawes Managing Director All Amber & his team) for putting on such a conference. Every detail was taken care of with no fuss. I knew it was going to superb when every table had power so we can run laptops the entire day – now that is smart thinking.
When I attend these conferences, I can usually suss out pretty much who is going to say what. But not this one. The speakers were superb, very knowledgeable in their fields and they spanned across a broad range of topics. So much so, that it is actually impossible to Blog a snapshot of every speaker in one post – it would just be insanely long.
So I decided to break it up and cover various speakers and themes over multiple post. A series of Mobile Web Africa report back.
So for the first in the series, I would like to start with the two speakers who were the highlight for me. These two speakers were the “international” flavour. Dr. Marc Smith & Tomi Ahonen.
Dr. Marc Smith – Social Media insight is hard to come by:
Dr Marc Smith is Chief Social Scientist at Connected Action Consulting Group, USA. I looked up Dr Smith’s topic in the programme which is listed as: “Bringing social media swarm into focus – how to reveal key people topics & sub-communities in the conversations that matter to you.” – as the kids say: OMG. This guy is about stats, number, going to be talking about Verticals, nodes, swarms…I wonder what time lunch is ?
However, when Dr Smith started his talk – I was immediately captivated. This guy isn’t going to bore us with stats and pie charts. Nope, Dr Smith took a topic that could be as boring as Grade 7 Algebra and made it so appealing that the entire audience hung onto his every word and every joke
Dr Smith, a very approachable, down to earth guy who clearly loves his work has managed to take Social Media and make sense of it all.
Some Key points include:
- How to think about Social Media ? Answer: Think LINK ! Think Networks which are structures and not page views.
- Internet has its own set of verb:Link, Like, Rate, Review, Friend, Fwd, Edit, Tag, Comment, Check in. These all leave “footprints in the sands” which tell a story.
- Not everyone is equal. You need to find brand champion who love your product AND is loved by others
- Who cares about the total number of Followers you have on Twitter ? What we do care about is how influential they are.
- Can they get their community to talk about your product and service ?
- Are they the tipping point that will change your business ?
Dr Smith uses NodeXL to import such data and produce fantastic graphs that reveal the true story of who is who and what is what.
Here is the diagram from the conference that Dr Smith produced. At first it looks confusing but once you start zooming in on it, you can clearly see who is linked to whom and who is influential. Imagine applying this to your brand/ company/ data. you can see the relationship in a visual way between data – wow ! Social Media finally unlocked.
Tomi Ahonen – Bestselling Author and Consultant (and he wears a hat !)
I was once again WRONG.
No one in the room was prepared to hear Tomi and now I realise that no matter what I type here, and no matter what I tell you, nothing will prepare you to hear Tomi. If you get a chance to hear him speak – GRAB IT !
So in my own way, let me attempt to share some Tomi Insights:
- Tomi has managed to prove that Mobile is FAST. In fact its 720 times fast.
- There are TWO internets: One traditional and one mobile – they are not the same. Do not treat them as the same. Many examples of when Mobile internet is optimised sales grow via that channel.
- Mobile is at the centre of digital convergence & Mobile has evolved through 13 functions. There are $309 billion of extra revenue is available that was not possible on 1G phone. Grand convergence is bigger than Global Music, Global Video & Global Cinema combined !
- Advertising and Money will merge into Advocurrency – Turkey has given a date of 2025 where they will stop using cash. FULL STOP. Will only use mobile to make all forms of payments.
- When creating mobile money solutions, make mobile services magical. for example: My Art Space created by 3 UK museums that takes children on a treasure hunt inside museum. Kids loved it so much they spent 4.5 times longer at the museum then they normally do.
The greatest insight of it all – The fastest way to make money in Mobile: Must create Social Network as people love to share. Must add virtual currency. Must have Virtual gifts
Like Tomi said: The worlds richest man in mobile is not from the US but from Mexico – so there is no reason why the next big idea to take on the “big guys” can not come from South Africa ! Who would have thought that a computer manufacturer with a fruit as a logo would dominate the Music space ? Sony didn’t see that coming – but look at Apple now..
So thats the story for now. I am looking forward to the Workshops that both Marc and Tomi are holding on Friday and as lots of ideas swell up around my head of how to make the next African Fortune, I doubt that I will get any sleep tonight….
Tomi’s offered his latest book for FREE – go get it NOW !
More in the Mobile World Africa series: