Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt on Women in Tech

During a public talk held recently in Washington DC, Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt, said that the impression that the tech industry advances minorities and women is because the hidden biases that drive white male behavior are difficult to hide in the tech industry.

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Google Glass: Computer in your Eye

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | March 13, 2014

My first encounter with Google Glass came on a Thursday in March when I responded to a call for a demonstration of the wearable device at the University of Maryland’s McKeldin Library. Yitzy Paul, the tech sherpa, wore the glass beaming and explaining everything that he was doing on a large television screen.

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“I think it’s pretty great. It’s a really interesting device. It puts the computer at your face which is something that you don’t usually have. It helps with ease of use. When I’m in a meeting it’s really inappropriate to look down at your phone when you get an email et cetera but its perfectly fine when its in your line of sight,” he said.

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Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt, On Shared Leadership

By Chief K.Masimba | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | February 28, 2014

Leadership is highly rated in population imagination and typified through individuals that supposedly have amazing skills. But, according to Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt, an appropriate leadership model is one that regards leadership as a shared effort.

He said that the idea of an omnipotent, brilliant single leader and decision maker is a wonderful myth.

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Google+ Google’s Golden Goose

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | February 17, 2014

Google Plus, the social networking and identity service operated by Google Inc, pales in significance compared to Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter but there’s more to it than meets the eye – all in favor of Google. Through Google+ (pronounced and sometimes written as Google Plus /ˈɡɡəl plʌs/) which has approximately 540 million monthly active users, Google harvests critical information about users’ online behavior.

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According to the New York Times, though Google+, which has 29 million unique monthly users on its website and 41 million on smartphones,  is not much of a competitor to Facebook, the platform is central to Google’s future because it provides a way to understand users’ digital lives. It’s a collection basket of user data, so to speak. Continue reading

A Question of Social Media Etiquette

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor-At-Large | January 01, 2013 | @ChiefKMasimba

Many a time I find myself thoroughly outraged by social media. My blood boils. I cringe, gritting my teeth. My frustration is not at the technology itself but the way some users post half-formed, uninformed, misogynistic, racist, homophobic, narcissistic, splenetic comments. Even if you try to comment, what I have realized is that many of these postings have little engagement value or quickly degenerate into rants.

To save myself, I breathe in and out – slowly. Thank God, social media’s ephemerality helps to calm my nerves.  I don’t mean to be censorious. It’s just that I find myself scouring the social web for discussions of value, spending precious amounts of time, to only come up with zilch. As a firm believer in freedom of expression, I am aware of the deep and sweeping vista of opportunity to free expression opened up by social media.

In fact, the power of social media has been evident in dislodging dictatorships and giving goose bumps to those cloistered in corridors of power. With social media information is moving at a faster pace making the world flatter. It’s a great connector. It has helped me to connect with friends and relatives, some of whom had fallen by the wayside.

Maybe social media’s global capacity to connect everyone is also its source of banality. As New York Times’ columnist, Frank Bruni, puts it, “it feels at times as if contemplation has given way to expectoration with speed overtaking sense and nuance exiting the equation.” He even suggests reading fiction as a counter to the rit-tat-tat nature of social media conversations.

Lack of civility and decorum in many social media conversations is certainly undermining the medium’s value as a connector, town crier or public square. Instead of serving the common good, social media has fast become a poster for a rapid succession of inconsequential conversations, escapism, pandering to the base and vulgar. At  worst, it provides a false sense of participation – a voyeuristic fetish – in causes that more often than not need foot soldiering.

Even the role of social media in the Arab spring was not merely in relentless postings and rants but in people taking to the streets to fight for a new political order, risking life and limb. Everything happens too quickly on social media, maybe a tad too quick for sensibility which is essential for engagement.

As long as its used a megaphone for self-centeredness, rants and diatribes, social media’s full potential will never see the light of day. That is why its important to have a sense of decorum next time you make a posting social media. A bit of etiquette on your part can help to build a social media universe that advances humanity.

Why the Internet Matters

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor-At-Large | January 01, 2013 | @ChiefKMasimba

With an estimated 2 billion people now connected to the internet, and the number growing by 200 million each, the internet is changing everything from business, politics, education, communication to how we find love and everything else in between.

By 2016, there will be 3 billion Internet users globally – almost half of the world’s population, according to Boston Consulting Group, adding that the internet economy will reach $4,2 trillion in the G20 economies.

Fully capitalizing the potential of the internet is increasingly a must for individuals and governments around the world. The good news is the internet is still evolving with prospects for greater power and reach.

In two decades, the internet has changed the way we live, the way we work, the way we socialize and meet, and the way our countries development and grow, according to McKinsey & Company, a global research firm.

The medium has opened up new and unprecedented opportunities to the world, improving the instant exchange of ideas, facilitating communication and closing the gap between inspiration and action when it comes to launching things. It is also opening up access to information in a way never seen in human history, in the process, making the world flatter.

It’s global capability to connect anyone with anything is literally and figuratively redefining modern lives and livelihoods.

It facilitates new ideas to show up that no-one would have ever thought of thereby giving birth to new products and services that have a potential to makes our lives easier and the world a better place. In a word, the internet is changing everything.

“The Internet embraces all of us: businesses, individuals, governments and entrepreneurs. The Web has made possible new models of business models and entrepreneurship but has also led to radical innovations for accessing, using, and delivering goods and services for everyone. It has transformed industries and governments through innovative approaches and changed how users engage the world,” states McKinsey and Company in a report titled, “Internet matters: The Net’s sweeping impact on growth, jobs and prosperity.”  

A study of 13 countries that account for 70 per cent of the global GDP revealed that the internet accounts for an average of 3.4 per cent of the GDP. In Africa alone, the upsurge in internet usage could add could add $300bn a year to the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, according to McKinsey and Company.

“The leapfrogging effects of the Internet make it the most interesting development on the African continent since the wide-scale adoption of mobile phones,” says Armando Cabral, a Director at McKinsey & Company.

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the internet has become an essential tool for creating an environment that nurtures the technological and service innovation, and triggering positive change in business processes as well as in society as a whole.

Twitter.com Stock Seen As Overrated

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | December 30 2013 | @ChiefKMasimba

The 140 character-limit micro-blogging platform, Twitter, which launched on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to much aplomb in November has been in the news headlines recently for being overrated with its rise seen as largely a product of speculation.

There are fears among analysts that the company’s shares, currently trading at $60.27, are overpriced. Twitter’s stock has been on an upward trend ever since it went public on November 6 at $26, reaching a high of $74 before taking a huge shed.

“At $45 billion, the company may have the highest market value of any firm that isn’t generating any earnings since the dotcom bubble of 1999-2000,” New York Times quoted Barron’s, an investment advisory publication.

It is estimated that are 230 million active users on Twitter who post an average of 500 million Tweets every day but questions abound over its rating ahead of other tech companies with more robust models.

“Twitter, which has triple-digit revenue growth but no profits is trading at a much higher valuation than proven Internet powerhouses like Facebook and Google. The company has released no major news or financial information since its initial public offering that would shape invest or perceptions about the company,” New York Times reported.

Because Twitter is mobile friendly, there are expectations that it will benefit “from the shift of the Internet use to mobile devices and the migration of television advertising budgets to the Internet.” There is expectation that Twitter’s best days are still ahead; it is regarded as a potential advertising behemoth.

Created in 2006, Twitter is a global real-time communications platform with 400 million monthly visitors to twitter.com.  With that number of users and growing daily, Twitter is sitting on a goldmine, that is, if it can deliver advertising in a way that does not irk its huge user base.

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