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 Gammie South Africa Technology · Documentary

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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 about some of the important lessons he has learnt in his own life journey. In 2019 Mteto became a best-selling author with the release of his book “Betting on a Darkie”. Don’t miss this entertaining and inspiring episode of the Optimizing podcast.

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 development for the Middle East and Africa region. In 2013 he left IBM to become CEO of Kagiso Media. In 2019 he joined Altron Nexus as its CEO.

Over the years Mark has nurtured and mentored many young South Africans, some of whom have gone on to fill top leadership positions. One of these is Mteto Nyati who featured in one of our previous podcast episodes.

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 developers still sit in Cape Town.
Apart from being a successful South African tech entrepreneur, Pieter has worked really hard to encourage and develop local innovation and entrepreneurship. He is also working on an initiative to grow digital skills in South Africa.

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 Radcliffe as Tim. He developed cutting-edge data communication technology in the 1980’s for the ANC’s underground. He is currently involved in Community Exchange which is paving the way for a world without money.

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 become an evangelist for Blockchain, a technology she sees as having the potential to eliminate many forms of financial corruption.

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 the international educator exchange. She was featured as Tech Magazine’s Mover and Shaker and has spoken at numerous youth and women in tech events. Xoli has an MEng in software engineering from Wits University.

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 Microsoft relationship with South African universities, managed the DevOps business in South Africa, and ran and keynoted several conferences including TechEd, DevDays and Build Tour.
After almost 18 years with Microsoft Cliff decided to build a start-up of his own and in his current role, he is the CTO and co-founder of a new digital business.

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 Revolution (or 4IR). She has worked hard to encourage young Africans – particularly women -to become involved in STEM.

S2:Ep11 - In Conversation with Sifiso Skenjana

Sifiso Skenjana is one of South Africa’s top new economists. He is the Chief Economist and Thought Leadership Executive at IQ Business, the leading independent management consulting firm in South Africa.
Prior to joining IQ Business, he founded and managed an economic research and strategy advisory company. He has previously held roles in asset management, strategy and management consulting.

S2:Ep12 - In Conversation with Tiyani Nghonyana

Tiyani Nghonyama finished high school in 2010. Nine years later he was named by the IITPSA as its “South African IT Personality of the Year” for 2019. He is, so far, the youngest guest we’ve had in Season 2 of the Optimizing podcast and yet, in terms of his impact on future digital leaders, he is quite possibly one of the most influential.

S2:Ep13 - Epilogue

Season 2 of the Optimizing podcast has come to an end. Prof Barry Dwolatzky and his co-host Kerryn Gammie have presented 12 episodes in which they have conversations with leaders, role models and influencers in the Digital Economy in South Africa, Africa and the World. The metaphor in this season is "life as a relay race" and each guest was asked to pass "batons" to Kerryn and her generation of future leaders. In the epilogue Prof Barry and Kerryn reflect on these conversations and review the batons that were passed on.

Introduction to Season 3

Optimizing - Leading Africa's Digital Future is an inter-generational conversation about the digital economy and digital society in Africa. Season 3 will feature conversations led by Prof Barry Dwolatzky and his young co-host with people who have made a huge contribution to the digital world. This episode introduces Season 3.

24 episodes

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