Global experts to share knowledge at Tech4Africa workshops

Thu, 2010/07/01

Some of the world's leading minds in the fields of technology architecture, user-interface and product development will be sharing their experience and skills in four full-day workshops ahead of the Tech4Africa conference in August.
The conference, the first of its kind in South Africa, brings together experts such as Clay Shirky, Matt Mullenweg and many more to share their knowledge and experience. The conference is being hosted at The Forum in Bryanston, Johannesburg from 12-13 August 2010, with the workshops running during the two preceding days.
“While we have some very bright people in the local industry, too few have extensive experience of working on products or systems that enable them to compete globally,” says Gareth Knight, MD of Technovated, the company behind the event. “These intensive workshops therefore aim to impart practical skills that the delegates can apply in their own products and projects. They also give effect to the 'Learn from the best' conference theme.”
Andy Budd, for example, will be presenting 'A masterclass in Usability and Accessibility' to help delegates understand the requirements in planning, organising and moderating usability tests. As MD and User Experience Director of UK-based ClearLeft web design agency, Andy is a regular speaker at international design events such as SXSW, has helped judge several international design awards, is on the advisory board for .Net magazine, and is the author of the best selling book, CSS Mastery.
Another widely-recognised expert in his field is Canadian Jonathan Snook who will be leading the workshop on architecting applications for the web. He is currently working at Yahoo! as a front-end engineer on the company's web interface.
“Jonathan will be sharing his knowledge on best practices for developing applications and how to do so while letting developers work faster and with greater agility without sacrificing robustness or security,” says Knight. “Introducing considerable experience such as his to local audiences will be hugely beneficial to companies and developers who struggle with issues of scalability in their own products.”
Another clear leader in the field of innovation is Apple, who will be represented at the workshops by Erin Caton, a Senior Engineering Project Manager at the company, who will be presenting a strategic look at the digital project implementation lifecycle. The focus will be on acquiring project management skills and methodologies, effective use of different software and platforms and client and development team communications and management.
The fourth workshop will be presented by Sarah Blake, head of optimisation at Quirk eMarketing, a local Internet marketing consultancy, who will be dissecting the proper and effective use of Google Analytics and how to gain maximum benefit from this service.
Knight says delegates can expect to gain essential knowledge that they can apply in their own environment, and that the workshops are designed not only for developers, but also for business users who wish to improve their knowledge.
“The only way we can galvanise the local web and tech communities into developing with the bigger picture in mind is by creating that base of understanding and knowledge. South Africa, and Africa more broadly, now has the bandwidth and infrastructure to make a global product, but not always the skills to do so as a viable and sustainable business. And that we aim to address through these workshops.”
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About Tech4Africa
Tech4Africa runs from 12-13 August 2010 at The Forum in Bryanston. Workshops will be held on 10-11 August. The event is targeted at business professionals and technologists from businesses of all sizes, from entrepreneurs and start-up owners through to professionals working at large organisations. Clay Shirky - one of the world’s leading thinkers and writers on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies - along with Matthew Mullenweg - the founding developer of WordPress, the blogging software that runs millions of Web sites around the world - will be the keynote speakers at the inaugural Tech4Africa Conference. Shirky and Mullenweg join a stellar line-up of international speakers – including leaders from organisations such as Twitter, Mozilla, digg and Yahoo! – and African technologists from companies such as PesaPal, Ushahidi, Obami and many more.

About Technovated
Technovated is a leading Web 2.0 provider in South Africa and London. Technovated enables content management, delivers e-commerce stores and search engine marketing, provides social media management and stimulates growth for foreign markets through authentic user engagement.

About Gareth Knight
Gareth is a digital maven and open source evangelist. Educated as a zoologist, he is a veteran of two dot com crashes in London, one web 2.0 acquisition, and runs Technovated. Previously, Gareth served in London as Director of Product Management for, a global family genealogy company based in Tel Aviv. Before joining MyHeritage, Gareth landed seed funding from London’s top early stage investors to co-found, a global family social network with an international team spread around the world. He then led the Product team in London to roll out a localised version of Kindo in 17 languages within 6 months, as well as an aggressive search engine campaign, both of which resulted in users from circa 220 countries and an enviable growth rate. Kindo was voted one of the top 3 most promising Internet companies in the UK for 2008, and was later acquired by MyHeritage in August that year.

About Tech4Africa partners
Both global and local leading companies from a variety of industries will support Tech4Africa. Delegates will have the opportunity to interact with industry leaders in the vibrant expo environment at the conference.
Tech4Africa partners include:
Seedcamp: -
Old Mutual: Scholarships Partner -
Zoopy: Official Social Media Partner -
Digital Edge: Official Podcast Partner -
Bizcommunity: Offical Marketing Media Partner -
ITWeb :Official Media Partner -
Memeburn: Media Partner -
Balancing Act Africa: Media Partner -