My (entirely satirical) predictions for digital in 2015

Without fail, around November we start to see “Marketing Analysts” provide the top trends they predict for the coming year. I see these “Analysts” using this platform for speaking gigs, further writing opportunities and general fame so I thought I would take some time out on a rainy Sunday and look into my crystal ball of future knowledge in order to tell you what to expect.

1) 2015 will be the year of the mobile

I know, I know we hear this every year but I’m telling you that 2015 is the year that mobile adoption is going to hit the mainstream. Smartphone’s will be everywhere and we can see the start of this with Vodacom selling a smartphone for a mere R549. Smartphone adoption in Africa is also going to grow; I know this because of the graph below:


2) Content, content, content

I can’t beat this drum enough: content is king. We all know your users wake up daily in order to find out exactly what you want to say to them. I can’t be more proud when a Community Manager asks users whether they’ll be having a “insert brand here-licious weekend?” or runs a Twitter “retweet” competition. In 2015 I see this growing more and more, with content focussing on questions that require users to favourite if they agree and retweet if they don’t.

In addition I see Content Marketing becoming a “thing” that’s spoken about in marketing departments. Whether it’s text, video or audio: everyone wants to hear about your brand. I have this picture of a funnel to fully explain my point when it comes to Content Marketing:



Trust me, I’m a “Market Analyst”

3) Integration is key

We’re seeing more and more digital agencies start to take the lead on large accounts and we’re seeing more and more traditional agencies buy digital agencies in order to compete. 2015 is the year we get digital agencies building hardware and I predict it’s time that these agencies focus on products rather than service. A perfect example of such integration is the brilliance of the “Dove – Real Beauty Sketches” campaign and how it merged online with traditional, above the line work. In case you’ve missed this video at every conference for the past two years I’ll help jog your memory:

4) Brands will expand into Africa

Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt and Tanzania are all rife for the picking. If you see point 1 of my predictions you’ll see that smartphones are going to be massive in Africa. Whether it’s FMCG, Automotive or Financial services, Africa is no longer being seen as “that place with poor people and Ebola”. Many companies make the mistake of dividing Africa into West and East regions however it’s a waste to separate the two as Africa is not about differentiation but a place to make a quick buck.

Look, Africa can fit the US and China in it’s landmass:


5) 2015 is the year we finally get decent broadband in SA

Trust me, I’m an “Analyst”.


The Huawei P7: proof that well priced doesn’t mean junk

You could say I have a borderline weird fascination with mid-range Android phones. The Android device I ever owned was a Motorola Milestone and while it promised decent performance at a reasonable price; it was absolutely rubbish. It was so bad that I ended up forking out the cash for an iPhone rather than pull my hair out using it.



My perception didn’t change three years later when I helped a family member with a Samesung S4 Mini. Performance wasn’t bad but you shouldn’t have lag on a phone straight out of the box. I have a simple rule: avoid anything but an Android flagship device like the plague.

Bearing this in mind I wasn’t sure what to expect with the Huawei P7. Firstly, there’s a perception that since it’s a Chinese made device there might be an inferior build quality and secondly, this was a firmly mid range device.

I could waffle on for hours about specs such as processor and memory but in the real world those mean very little. At the end of the day owning a phone comes down to one, simple metric: does this phone make me want to throw it against the wall? Good news on that front, the Huawei was returned to their PR company in one piece.

Day to day the Huawei is a very pleasant device; it turns on quickly and gets does everything you need. There is some lag when installing apps but I’ve found this on almost every Android device I’ve used. As a bonus it has LTE meaning you get super fast data access assuming you find a tower that supports the service. Build quality is also great with the phone looking very much like an iPhone 4 just squashed flat and, as a result, slightly stretched out. It’s light and slips into your pocket easily. So far, so good. Being an Instagram fan I must say the camera is pretty great as well. There was something about a 5-megapixel front facing camera but for me that means I can just take higher resolution pictures up my nostrils.

I had one major frustration with the Huawei in that the company has created their own Android skin that takes a bit of getting used to. It’s essentially a copy of an iPhone in that there are pages of apps rather than an app drawer ala Samesung, HTC, LG and the rest. In addition you can download some truly heinous themes and none of them really ever visually appealed to me. However for under R5,000 I can cope with a bit of visual confusion.

I haven’t fully explored this but I’m pretty sure that the Huawei P7 is the cheapest Android phone with LTE and in my opinion if you want a well built, speedy and attractive device for a great price then you shouldn’t even bother looking at Samesung alternatives.


It’s time to “just let go”

I’ve had the pleasure of being on a counselling course for the past three months where we’re being taught how to counsel callers that are in potentially life threatening situations. It’s a tough ask, you could have someone literally about to blow their brains out and need to somehow be talked off that literal or metaphorical ledge. You would be correct in saying that this is a fairly pressurised situation. I’m not going to talk about counselling per say but more about the two important business lessons I’ve managed to get out of this process.

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Why running a marathon is the most terrible and wonderful thing I’ve ever done

Last week I ran my first marathon in over a year. I’d been avoiding it for one simple reason: it’s a damn hard process. I was under trained physically and mentally. I’ve been jumping between cycling and running and with the addition of a social life and work (which is probably a life in itself) I’d not trained enough. Unfortunately this was the last qualifying run for the Two Oceans Marathon so I had no choice.

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An Uber in South Africa update

I’ve written before about Uber and how I thought it was a bad idea in South Africa (read about it here). I’ve used the service in both Joburg and Cape Town and have been suitably impressed by the service. You request a cab on your phone, they call you to confirm and then pick you up. Simple and easy. In Cape Town the pricing was totally different making the service both affordable and easy. In Joburg though the minimum cost per trip was R85, making it quite expensive. Things have changed and these are the new prices:

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Hiring the right people isn’t as hard as you think

This year I’ve had the pleasure of hiring a few new staff members as well as branching out into the recruitment business. I’ve also recently seen a lot of bad hiring decisions on behalf of some friends and clients and felt it would be a good time to discuss some thoughts on hiring.

When you’re in a big corporate you’ve got an entire HR department to handle situations such as this. They’ll accept CV’s, filter through the candidates, interview them and then check for cultural fit. It’s a slow process but there are reasons for that.

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My two week #LumiaChallenge

Those who know me will be aware of the fact that I’m a big Nokia fan. The first phone I ever got was a second hand 5110 and I owned six or seven Nokia’s until I got an iPhone in 2007. While supporters had to suffer through the brand insisting on using Symbian for their operating system about two years back they ditched Symbian for Windows Phone and the Lumia range. Since then there’s been a lot of uproar about Windows Phone not having the same level of apps that iPhone and Android and while this is true, the reality is that living with a Lumia isn’t as crippling as one would think. As an experiment I decided to use a Nokia Lumia 925 and use it as my primary phone for two weeks. I’m not going to speak about the phone (despite it being great) but focus specifically on the operating system. Before I go into the phone I’ll quickly describe my general use case.

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A first look at the LG G2

I’ve recently had the pleasure of getting an LG G2 to review and I actually cannot wait to review this bad boy. I’m surprisingly loving an Android phone and more importantly, it’s not junk. I was always skeptical of LG devices but I can safely say that after using the G2 and the LG built Nexus 4 they’re definitely one of the better Android manufacturers.

So here’s the thing: I’ve recently tried the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and a Sony Xperia V and I’ve been loving Android lately. It’s very, very good and much more innovative compared to Apple’s iOS 7. At heart I’m still an iPhone guy but that’s because I’ve got a Macbook and iPad so everything connects perfectly together. That said, I am very much in the Google ecosystem (all my business emails go through Google Apps) so this isn’t a tough transition. Lets get on to the device before I get into an ecosystem discussion:

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The “enthusiasm economy”

It’s not often I post something personal on this blog but I felt now was a pretty great time to do so. The last three or four months have probably been the most amazing ever for me from a business perspective. In pure currency terms I’ve basically tripled my one companies retainer revenue while at the same time growing my second company from nothing to making more in a month than I’ve made in my best solo year. I’m not here to brag, I’m here to talk about attitude.

I’ve recently changed a lot about my attitude and bought into what I am calling the “enthusiasm economy”. Essentially it’s using enthusiasm to create something; whether it’s motivation or something more tangible. Now I’m probably starting to sound like the first chapter of “The Secret” but let me explain: I don’t believe in visualising what you want in order to manifest it: I believe in enthusiasm motivating you.

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