Barry Dwolatzky Optimizing - Leading Africa's Digital Future

Optimizing - Leading Africa's Digital Future

Optimizing is a podcast produced by Professor Barry Dwolatzky (also known as "The Grand Geek"). Season 2 features Prof Barry and Kerryn Gammie in conversation with thought leaders and role models in the South African and African digital community. Each conversation is based on the metaphor of a relay race in which the guest is asked to reflect on how they received the baton and what they will pass on to Kerryn and her generation [Evan Wigdorowitz (Edit and Logo Design); Callum Kuhl (Music )]
English Read by Barry Dwolatzky & Kerryn GammieSouth Africa Technology · Documentary Narrated by Barry Dwolatzky & Kerryn Gammie
27 Episodes
1 – 20

Introduction to Optimizing

Prof Barry Dwolatzky introduces his new podcast called "Optimizing - Leading Africa's Digital Future"
Season 1 / Episode 0 10 min

Becoming the Grand Geek - Part 1

Prof Barry talks about his introduction to the world of software via mainframes. In the 1980s he worked on early versions of technologies that now lie at the heart of modern digital transformation.
Season 1 / Episode 1 47 min

Becoming the Grand Geek - Part 2

In 1989 Prof Barry returned to South Africa after 10 years in voluntary exile in the UK to work underground in the struggle against Apartheid. In this episode he talks to Kerryn about some of his secret work as an underground software engineer.
Season 1 / Episode 2 32 min

Becoming the Grand Geek - Part 3

In this 3rd and final episode of "Becoming the Grand Geek", Prof Barry talks about how in the 1990's he and Alan Meyer ran a large research and development effort at Wits that created innovative design software used to support Eskom's efforts to connect 100's of thousands of homes to…
Season 1 / Episode 3 24 min

How to Slay a Werewolf

Episode 4 of our podcast touches on some of the software concepts that gave rise to the “4th Industrial Revolution”. Prof Barry Dwolatzky and Kerryn Gammie discuss OOD, digital twins and robotics + AI. Prof Barry did pioneering work on all of these topics as he became the “Grand Geek”…
Season 1 / Episode 4 27 min

From ad hoc to Optimizing

In the late 1990s a strategy for growing South Africa's IT Industry was developed. Although it offered a clear vision for the future of the Industry, very few of the recommendations were implemented. In this episode Prof Barry discusses South Africa's IT Industry with Kerryn Gammie. He explains why he…
Season 1 / Episode 5 44 min

Tshimologong - Place of New Beginnings

South Africa and Africa need to embrace innovation and entrepreneurship if they are to deal successfully with the Triple Challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Prof Barry speaks to Kerryn and Evan about how and why he set up Wits University's Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein Johannesburg, and how…
Season 1 / Episode 6 57 min

Rebuilding the Skills Pyramid

IT Skills are in short supply around the world. For decades the faster growing digital economies of the Northern Hemisphere have sucked IT skills out of the developing world. South Africa, with its very well established and sophisticated digital economy, has struggled to grow enough of its own skills to…
Season 1 / Episode 7 54 min

Digital Transformation

The term "Fourth Industrial Revolution", or 4IR lacks a clear definition. Prof Barry describes 4 "Design Principles" that lie at the heart of Germany's Industrie 4.0 movement. He relates these to evolutionary and revolutionary digital transformation.
Season 1 / Episode 8 31 min

Trailer for Season 2

Season 2 of the "Optimizing - Leading Africa's Digital Future" has the subtitle "Passing and Receiving the Baton". History is a relay race in which we receive a legacy of knowledge and experience from those who have come before. We then enrich and grow this legacy until we ultimately pass…
Season 2 / Episode 0 5 min

S2:Ep1 - In Conversation with Tshilidzi Marwala

Professor Tshilidzi Marwala is a South African engineer, AI expert and academic leader. In this conversation with Prof Barry Dwolatzky and Kerryn Gammie he talks about his early days and who passed him the baton in life's metaphoric relay race. He discusses some of the very fascinating work he has…
Season 2 / Episode 1 1 hr 19 min

S2: Ep2 - In Conversation with Kent Beck

Kent Beck is an American software engineer, writer and thought leader. He has been, and remains, one of the most influential figures in the field of software development over the past 20 years. He is best known as the creator of the eXtreme Programming (XP) software development methodology and proponent…
Season 2 / Episode 2 1 hr 21 min

S2:Ep3 - In Conversation with Mteto Nyati

Mteto Nyati, CEO of Altron, is in conversation with Prof Barry Dwolatzky and Kerryn Gammie. Mteto, who previously headed Microsoft SA and MTN SA, shares his thoughts on how to lead and how to inspire those who you lead, in the context of South Africa’s digital economy. He also talks…
Season 2 / Episode 3 1 hr 23 min

S2:Ep4 - In Conversation with Mark Harris

Mark Harris is one of the most respected leaders in the South African digital sector. He entered the sector in 1981 as an engineer at IBM. He remained with IBM for over 30 years rising through the ranks to become Head of IBM SA and then Vice President of business…
Season 2 / Episode 4 1 hr 07 min

S2:Ep5 - In Conversation with Pieter de Villiers

Twenty years ago Pieter de Villiers and his co-founders came up with a tech innovation that was a world first. It literally went on to change the world of digital technology. They launched the company Clickatell which now has offices around the world, including Silicon Valley, although most of its…
Season 2 / Episode 5 53 min

S2:Ep 6 - In Conversation with Tim Jenkin

Tim Jenkin is a South African political and social activist and a unique individual. He is the author of the book “Escape from Pretoria” which tells the amazing true story of his escape in the 1970’s from Pretoria's maximum security prison. It was recently released as a movie starring Daniel…
Season 2 / Episode 6 1 hr 15 min

S2:Ep7 - In Conversation with Monica Singer

Monica Singer qualified as a Chartered Accountant. After working for the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants and the World Bank, she became CEO of STRATE, a company set up to digitise the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JCSE). She drove this challenging project with great success. In 2015 she left STRATE to…
Season 2 / Episode 7 1 hr 03 min

S2:Ep8 - In Conversation with Xoliswa Mahlangu

Xoliswa Mahlangu (“Xoli”) works as a Computing Curriculum Developer and Technology Integration Specialist at Future Nation Schools. Her personal mission is to demystify tech and make it more fun and accessible to kids of all ages. She is a Microsoft Certified Innovative Educator Expert and has represented South Africa in…
Season 2 / Episode 8 49 min

S2:Ep9 - In Conversation with Clifford De Wit

Clifford De Wit graduated from Wits University as an Electrical Engineer in 1996. He joined Microsoft in 2000 and from 2009 took on a senior executive role. In this role, amongst other things, he developed and launched the SA BizSpark start-up program, which mentored over 3000 tech start-up’s, managed the…
Season 2 / Episode 9 1 hr 05 min

S2:Ep10 - In Conversation with Nomso Kana

Nomso Faith Kana is a nuclear scientist and founder of two startups. These are “Sun n Shield 84 Technologies” which manufactures fibre optic cable, and “Blaze Away SA”, a business strategy consulting firm. She was also invited to participate as a commissioner on President Ramaphas’s Commission on the Fourth Industrial…
Season 2 / Episode 10 52 min
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