Right, so somehow or another I stumbled into the first day of this conference. I think I may have caught every tenth word while the dev guys spoke their dev speak. (Yes, they have their own lingo to describe their own lingo. Wowzers).

Here are some of the things I did actually understand:

Panel with Andy Budd, Dustin Diaz, Joe Stump, John Resig and Jonathan Snook.

  • Twitter is so simple that it means different things to different people (I was thinking: should this be applied to brands? Are we sometimes a little to restrictive or comprehensive about the meaning? There are two schools of thought here – either the brand manager should keep a firm hand on what a brand should mean or he/she should let the consumer interpret it for themselves)
  • The old boss-employee model: The higher up the chain of command you go, the more you know.
  • The new boss-employee model: Those under you should be smarter than you. You should give them the space to do great work.
  • When converting a website to mobile, you have to decide what the core of your offering is. What are those crucial functionalities? Often this is a far better, simpler and less cluttered experience than what is found on the web.

Findings from Stafford Masie:

  • Prices will come down so the providers will need to diversify their portfolio to have other revenue streams
    • It’s about CONTENT, not just voice. Google, Facebook and Youtube are already running through their lines but they aren’t making any money off of it
    • Cell phones are no longer just phones anymore
  • The Internet has created something called Government 2.0. An example is to be found in America. Citizens were able to access some magistrate documents (or something) and an off shoot of this was an iPhone application a 12 year old made. It rendered building plans into a 3D format. Fire fighters were able to use this to save people’s lives.

Find him on Twitter @staffordmasie

From Justin Spratt from Internet Solutions:

  • “If, at first, the idea is not absurd, there’s no hope for it.” – Albert Einstein
  • Telling a good story is critical to starting a business – people need to be compelled; to be converted.
  • There are three important things to take away:
    • Usability: The product has to be customer-centric
    • Adapt: Being adaptable to change is critical for success
    • Love: You can’t do the special stuff without love. You have to be passionate. People want to see that you care about what you do.
  • He was talking about making a difference with marketing budgets as opposed to “sponsoring a rugby team.” He said something along the lines of: “I don’t need branding over-kill. In fact, if you give it to me, I won’t see it.”

Check out his blog

From Derek Wilcocks, opening speaker for Internet Solutions (please excuse me, I’m paraphrasing/trying to work out what on earth I wrote in my scrawly handwriting):

  • Business owners often only recognize the negative impact of employees’ use of the Internet but neglect the positive effect on business:
    • The ability to dialogue with consumers in real-time (it actually is less than 10% of the cost of a call-centre if employees are able to respond to tweets and what not)
    • Create accessibility to the company for stakeholders
    • It enables peer-driven assistance and shared knowledge
    • Creates a web communities
  • Blocking your employees access to the Internet says that you don’t trust then and you don’t want them to innovate
  • Employees with solid digital networks are 7% more productive than the average employee. However, those with a solid face-to-face network are 30% more productive. In other words, digital does help but will never replace face-to-face communication.

Find him on Twitter @derekwilcocks

Other things I noted:

  • Content drives people to adopt the technology; e.g. one of the main reasons people in Africa are upgrading to data-enabled phones is Facebook.
  • Mxit’s launch by using a guerrilla campaign with posters on walls but only reached their tipping point when they ran a refer-a-friend competition: If you were the first to add 10 friends to Mxit you could win a Samsung phone.
  • Necessity is the mother of innovation.
  • A guy working for Nokia traveled the world watching people use phones. He was supposed to report the trends back to management. His conclusion was that you could never predict how the street will innovate. In other words, you have to be as close to the ground as possible.
  • The Internet is indeed a democratizer. Samasource was a wonderful example. Leila Chirayath Janah had the epiphany that the Internet could be used as a virtual assembly line distributing micro work to people who need the work most. Just wonderful.