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Interview: Liquid Telecom CEO Reshaad Sha

Reshaad Sha returns to the podcast in this episode to talk about his appointment as CEO of Liquid Telecom in South Africa.
Sha, who was previously with Dark Fibre Africa as chief strategy officer and CEO of DFA’s Internet of things subsidiary SqwidNet, joined Liquid Telecom two months ago.
In the podcast, he explains why he decided to take up the opportunity and sets out the challenges and opportunities facing the operator formerly known as Neotel.
Liquid Telecom South Africa, which has been through several big challenges in recent years (as Neotel), was originally created as the second national operator to compete with then-monopoly provider Telkom.
Sha talks about where the company is positioned in the market today, where he’s going to focus his efforts as CEO and why the operator's spectrum assets offer huge potential. In the podcast, he hints that a deal is in the works to unlock the potential of that spectrum.
He also explains how Liquid Telecom is positioning itself in cloud computing and data centre infrastructure and touches on the policy and regulatory landscape in telecommunications in South Africa.
It’s a great discussion. Don’t miss it!

Interview: Teraco CFO Jan Hnizdo

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Jan Hnizdo, chief financial officer of Africa's largest data centre operator, Teraco Data Environments.
Hnidzo speaks about the origins of Teraco, why it was founded, who financed it in its early days, its rapid expansion and the investment by private equity firm Permira in 2015. Is a listing on the cards?
In the podcast, he talks about the investments Teraco has made to date in building its various data centre facilities, and why that number will more than double in the coming years.
Hnidzo also explains what’s involved in running data centres at scale, the challenges of ensuring five-nines (99.999%) availability and why major content distribution networks have chosen the company’s facilities as their hub for the African continent.
He talks about Teraco’s expansion plans, its approach to East Africa and West Africa – why the company may pursue acquisitions to establish a presence there – and the impact that the Internet exchange point NAPAfrica has had on Internet costs and communication in South Africa.
It’s a great podcast. Don’t miss it!

Interview: Dimension Data's Peter Gray on the Tour de France

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Peter Gray, senior director of the Dimension Data Global Sports Practice, about how advanced technology is being used at this year’s Tour de France.
Speaking from the race, Gray explains how an advanced layer of technology has been blanketed over the world’s premier cycling event, allowing a high level of real-time data and analytics to be shared with cycling fans and the teams behind this year’s entrants - on television, on social media and the Web.
In the podcast, Gray explains how Dimension Data, which has been involved with La Tour since 2015, has applied machine learning and predictive analytics at this year’s event. He talks about the team of hi-tech vehicles involved in tracking the race, what's involved in following the 176 participants, how all the data that is collected is processed - both in real-time and in the cloud - and the myriad data points involved.
Even if you’re not a cycling fan, it’s a great discussion about how technology can be used to transform a major sporting event and make it more engaging for those involved and for fans. Don’t miss it!

Interview: Aldred Dreyer on digital migration

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Aldred Dreyer, the newly appointed head of the project management office for digital migration at the department of communications, on South Africa's long-delayed digital terrestrial television project.
In the first interview since being appointed, Dreyer explains the current status of the project, what his office is doing and what comes next.
He talks about the department's plan to switch off analogue broadcasts in the Free State by the end of the year and what was discussed at the recent meeting between government and TV manufacturers about producing integrated digital sets for the South African market.
He explains why fewer set-top boxes may be needed to be subsidised for indigent households and weighs in on whether it makes sense for South Africa to scrap terrestrial television altogether in favour of satellite direct-to-home alternatives.
Don't miss the discussion!

Interview: Touch HD founder Tbo Touch

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Touch HD founder Tbo Touch about his life, his business, #datamustfall and his next big venture.
Touch — born in Sharpeville in 1981 — talks about his big plans to enter the video-streaming space with a new venture to be launched later this year called THD. The platform, which will showcase original South African and African content and which will include international programming, will compete head-on with DStv, according to Touch. It will be launched in the first week of October.
In the podcast, Touch talks about his upbringing, why he left the country for the US as a teenager, his experience working in the music business in New York (and interviewing top artists), his return to South Africa and his career in radio.
He recounts setting out on his own, establishing a venture with Cliff Central founder Gareth Cliff and the later launch of his online radio platform Touch HD.
He also talks about the #datamustfall movement, which he spearheaded, and what he learnt from it — while defending himself from critics who have accused him of selling out to the mobile operators. He says in the podcast that he plans to ramp up the #datamustfall campaign in the coming months — which will no doubt not be music to the ears of the big industry players.
It’s a great podcast about a fascinating entrepreneur. Don’t dare miss it!

Interview: Stripe co-founder and president John Collison

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Stripe co-founder John Collison, who in 2016 became the world's youngest self-made dollar billionaire.
Collison, who founded Stripe with is brother Patrick, talks about his upbringing in rural Ireland, how they launched their first business Auctomatic (which they later sold, while still teenagers, for US$5-million), how the idea for Stripe came about and how they built and scaled business.
In South Africa this week as part of former US President Barack Obama's delegation to the country, Collison talks about whether growing up in Ireland - outside of the craziness that is Silicon Valley, where the company is now based - was a hindrance or an advantage. And what lessons does that hold for young South African technology entrepreneurs?
McLeod asks Collison for his views on South Africa and Africa more broadly, how the Internet is going to reshape the global economy from a financial services perspective - are banks, for example, ripe for disruption? - and the likely impact of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the world's financial system.
He also talks about what's next for Stripe and whether an initial public offering is in the works. Finally, Collison reveals some of his favourite books.
It's a fascinating discussion. Don't miss it!

Interview: BitFund co-founder Joshua Miltz

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Joshua Miltz, co-founder of a new South African cryptocurrency platform called BitFund.
BitFund offers access to about 20 of the largest digital currencies worldwide. Miltz talks about why BitFund is a platform for crypto investment more akin to an asset management firm than a crypto exchange, where the idea for the business came from and how it’s being funded.
In the podcast, he explains how security is at the core of what BitFund does – it stores investors’ coins in hardware wallets, which are in turn stored in secure physical vaults. He also talks about why the company regularly rebalances the funds to ensure optimal exposure to the biggest cryptocurrencies.
Miltz explains BitFund’s fee structure, how the company is regulated – and how it’s preparing for regulation – and how it helps investors comply with South African tax legislation.
It’s a fascinating discussion about a new asset class. Don’t miss it!

Interview: Suveer Ramdhani on the past, present and future of Seacom

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Seacom chief development officer Suveer Ramdhani about the past, present and future of the telecommunications provider.
Ramdhani talks about the origins of the Seacom project - to build a subsea cable system along Africa's east coast connecting the continent to Europe and India - and how the business has changed since then.
In the podcast, he talks about how submarine cable systems work, why Seacom's business model shook up the telecoms industry in South Africa and the broader continent, and why it expanded into providing more than just subsea capacity.
He explains the decision to launch Seacom Business, the company's acquisition strategy - it will be announcing two new deals in the coming weeks - and where he thinks the industry is going.
It's a fascinating discussion. Be sure not to miss it!

Interview: Etion CEO Teddy Daka

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Teddy Daka, CEO of JSE-listed Etion (formerly Ansys) about the technology group's growth plans and its intention to move from the AltX to the main board of the JSE in the next 12 to 18 months.
In the podcast, Daka talks about background - from growing up in Livingstone in Zambia to studying abroad - and his career in business, including his decision around the turn of the century to launch his own investment group, Tedaka Investments, which has made investments in a wide range of industries, from broadcasting to telecommunications.
Daka, who took the reins at what was then Ansys about five years ago, talks about the company's growth plans, why it wants to switch to the main board of the JSE and what it needs to do before that happens.
He explains how the business has shifted focus from being a mainly engineering-focused and -led technology group to one that is focusing more now on digital solutions. A pioneer in black economic empowerment in South Africa, having advised several cabinet ministers, Daka also provides his views on BEE in 2018 - what has worked and what hasn't.
It's an interesting discussion. Don't miss it!

Interview: Thingstream IoT VP Neil Hamilton

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Neil Hamilton, vice president of a new Internet of things (IoT) provider in South Africa called Thingstream.
Thingstream, which is part of a Swiss group, is leveraging the GSM networks of Vodacom, MTN and Cell C to provide IoT products and services that leverage the operators' USSD, or unstructured supplementary service data, protocol to communicate with low-power IoT devices.
Thingstream, which is expanding into South Africa via a local partner network, delivers a global IoT connectivity platform that connects via GSM networks using a combination of the MQTT and USSD messaging protocols.
Sectors showing particular interest include vehicle tracking firms looking to update and reduce the cost of their existing systems; the manufacturing sector; and supply chain and logistics firms seeking enhanced security and more efficient supply chain and asset management.
It's a new entry into what is quickly becoming a highly competitive IoT market in South Africa.
Don't miss the interview!

Interview: TrustBar co-founders Bheka Mchunu and Mark Smith

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Bheka Mchunu and Mark Smith, co-founders of a new decentralised cryptocurrency exchange called TrustBar.
TrustBar will allow for the transfer of value, not just intra-blockchain, but also cross-chain, allowing users to swop tokens from one blockchain to another in one click.
In the podcast, Mchunu -- who serves as TrustBar's chief operating officer -- and Smith, its chief financial officer, explain what it is they're building and the problem they are trying to address.
They talk about the difference between centralised and decentralised exchanges, what TrustBar plans to do differently and how the company plans to bake security into its product.
They also explain the initial coin offering they have planned, and how to participate in it -- they are hoping to raise as much as US$35-million through the ICO.
Mchunu and Smith talk about TrustBar's business model, how the platform will work technically and how exchanges like this one are subject to regulation.
It's a great discussion about an interesting South African start-up. Don't miss it!

Interview: Entrepreneur and author Nic Haralambous

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews entrepreneur and newly published author Nic Haralambous about the highlights -- and the dark side -- of entrepreneurship and why he wrote a warts-and-all book about it.
The book, called "Do. Fail. Learn. Repeat.: The Truth Behind Building Businesses", details Haralambous's upbringing, his time at university -- including working on the student newspaper and starting his first business from campus -- to his time as a journalist and ultimately venturing out on his own.
He talks about his time as a journalist at the Financial Mail, why he later joined the Mail & Guardian, why he quit to join online video start-up Zoopy and his decision to join his friend "V" -- who he doesn't name in the book -- at Vodacom. He talks candidly about their venture, Motribe, moving to Cape Town, raising venture capital and how things ultimately came apart at the seams.
Haralambous, who now runs retailer and who has recently become involved in launching cryptocurrency website, talks in detail about the tough times he has faced as an entrepreneur and why he decided to write a tell-all book about it.
It's a great interview, with detailed insights into the difficulties involved in starting and building a business. Don't miss it!

148 episodes

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