For a free conference to bring over 400 geeks, marketers, students, designers, developers and 1 Social Media Scientist in Cape Town is pretty freaking amazing. Along with some of SA’s top speakers AKA Net Prophets speaking, a number of people where damn impressed, including me.
You were an idiot for not attending
For those of you that couldn’t be there because you have a 9 – 5 day job, and didn’t want to waste your precious day’s off, shame on you. The fact that it was free, didn’t for one second mean it was worth nothing. In fact, I would’ve paid around R3000 – R4000 to attend a conference with the quality of speakers and organisation of this conference. Not only that, the knowledge that you could of gained, would of put you one step closer to breaking free of your cubicle farm shackles.
What I got out of Net Prophet
With the quality of the talks at Net Prophet, everyone was bound to find value in almost every slide that was displayed up on that massive projector screen. These were my observations.
The MC: Rob Gilmour did a great job of MC’ing the event. I noticed that after each speaker, he commented on a small aspect of their presentation as well as added some extra value to the conference (Rocky Mountain News for example).
The organisers, venue & sponsors: The quality of the venue and PA system added to a thoroughly well organised event that was held at the Old Mutual Business School. From registration, to tea and coffee breaks, everything went off without a hitch. Sure, there wasn’t enough food for everyone at lunch, but with it being free and all, no one could complain that you could walk 20 meters to the cafeteria and buy lunch yourself.
Henk Kleynhans, Mike Stopforth, Dave Duarte & Andrew Smith: delivered the more engaging, funny and interactive talks of the day. I said to Henk that I felt his talk had a certain TED quality to it, while Andrew’s presentation was one of those cut-through-the-bull-sh*t-here-are-the-facts type of talks. Hilarious and thought provoking. Dave is the consummate professional, having spoken at more conferences than I have Twitter followers and there is always value in whatever double D has to say. Ol’ Mike on the other hand, is in another league in my opinion. The way he manages to make you feel as if he is talking directly to you, offering great insight into who he is as well as how he thinks. His personal case studies and business ventures are something to aspire to and he definitely is someone I draw huge inspiration from. (Oh ya, and Mike, *those* “titles”, you just make them up. Although in my case, scientists seem to blow things up a lot more than a guru or expert would! :) )
Arthur Goldstuck, Herman Heunis & Hannes van Rensburg: Although they are not the most engaging of speakers and were very methodical at times, the amount of knowledge, stats, figures and business ideas these speakers have, is mind boggling. It was more of an honour to hear them speak if nothing else. Arthur’s stats on broadband and mobile penetration in SA and the World, insight into MXit’s numbers, how they operate and how close it came to going belly under from Herman, and reaffirming my thoughts that SMS is the past, present and future of the mobile web economy from Hannes, was what I took from their various talks. Amazing value in their talks, if you just sat and listened, like most did.
Peter Flynn: was paid an exorbitant amount of money by an anonymous sponsor to show a slide of my name and tweet I put out a couple of days ago, as well as making me stand to tell me it sparked a interesting discussion in their office. The 20 odd new followers is a daily record for me. :)
and last, but definitely not least, Charl Norman: If you had to choose one presentation for its value in content alone, Charl’s was worth at least $10 a minute while he was on stage. He took everyone through the tools, tips and tricks he uses to run his blog network. He gave it to us straight with his quick talking, no nonsense approach. He cut through the crap and gave people exactly what they wanted – the exact tools and ways to market and manage a blog in order to make some serious money from it. Although I never wrote anything down from his talk as I pretty much talk the same language as Charl, every single person had a pen writing down frantically everything in the slides as if they had just been give the answers to their high school science test happening tomorrow. Charl proves that people love hearing how to make money!
Wrapping it all up
Finally, for those that helped the hashtag #netprophet reach Twitter’s trending topics for most of the day, friends and followers online that bumped into me and said “hi”, the organisers and sponsors, RSAWeb, White Wall Web and Innovation Fund, big kudos to you. Once again proving Silicon Cape is the business.
Kudo’s also to these fine folk for attending Net Prophet (Click and follow them on Twitter): @marlonparker, @kerry_anne, @MarcPerel, @obox, @geniusboywonder, @Amyburgh, @mattyza, @mattinsa, @tessneale, @danbaileyuk.