BOOK REVIEW: Digital Human by Chris Skinner

The fourth revolution of humanity includes everyone and this book explains how we’re all likely to be involved.

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There is only one thing wrong with this truly awesome book by Chris Skinner about technology and that is the title – Digital Human. This book covers so much more than what sounds like just-another-book-about-the-so-called-future.

The author knows his stuff, but his stuff is not only general, it focuses on the future of money, the fall of banks and the revolution that he knows is going to happen.

I’ve met the author and he is a modest, humble and deep guy who clearly cares about the future and the best way to deal with it. In print (which is the best way to read this book) he writes clearly and smartly; I read Digital Human in three sittings.

As somebody who has shared podcasting with Skinner a couple of times, I’ve always been impressed by his knowledge of FinTech and here it shines through, not least his understanding (and respect) of what is happening in Chinese FinTech, an area that deserves much more exposure.

He acknowledges a debt and respect to Yuval Noah Hariri and his best-selling books Sapiens and Homo Deus, but this is a different book, albeit worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as Hariri’s works of brilliance.

There are a couple of interesting stories here about early money, prostitution and the etymology of the word ‘whore’ and ‘harlot during the Sumerian Empire, but that’s just for the populists.

Skinner is about to embark on some serious travelling around Africa to find more stories about life and banking for what will presumably be his next book, I can only envy him both projects.

Sometimes it’s difficult to praise fellow-writers, especially when they are known to each other, but in this case it’s easy. Digital Human may well be a terrible title, but this is a terrific book; for those in the the know and those who aren’t.

Let’s hope they change the title when the paperback comes out.

You can read the first chapter here for free.

If that whets your whistle and wets your appetite and you’ve had enough of my misguided and false Spoonerisms, you can buy the book here.

PRODUCT REVIEW: Roadie 2 – Automatic guitar tuner

The Roadie 2 is a beautiful product for musicians of all abilities and worth the investment.


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I am a terrible musician and guitarist, but I love playing music. It’s one of the only times, like post-coital sex, when time stays still and the brain is alive with pure happiness.

However, as an unnatural musician who is diametrically opposed to pitch perfect, I am tone deaf and while I know when a guitar is untuned, I have always found tuning a guitar a huge problem.

I have previously bought tuning devices, but have found them to be cumbersome and unreliable.

So step forward, the Roadie 2, an automatic guitar tuner that is as beautiful as it is functional. Moreover, as can be gleaned from the product name, this is an update on the initial Roadie device.

It is devilishly simple. The device comes without batteries (hurrah!) and is charged using the omniscient USB charger. Once fired up, the Roadie 2 turns on with a blue light, then the user adds ‘new instrument’ to the easy-to-read menu and is then connected to the pegs of the guitar.

Then the magic begins. When the relevant string is plucked, the Roadie 2 automatically tightens and untightens the strings until the blue light turns green, indicating that string is perfectly attuned.

The musician (or in my case, guitar-owner) can then automatically tune the remaining five pegs in turn. The best way is to do it like this, not as I initially did by holding it at the side and nearly breaking my wrist.

Moreover, the Roadie 2 works by vibration, so tuning can be done in a noisy environment, not necessarily a quiet room and it is awesome for somebody like me. Instead of wasting time trying to tune my instrument with a cocked ear, it means I can play almost instantly.

While that is good for me, my family don’t agree and I am inured to them closing the door of any room I’m in when I’m playing and walking away, but I don’t care.

The Roadie 2 isn’t particularly cheap at around just over £100, but it is extraordinary value for constant use. It works for guitars, electric guitars, ukuleles, banjos and is for life.

Recommended for the amateur as well as the professional.

50% of UK companies don’t care about digital disruption

Not only do half of companies not care about disruption, 10% of them don’t think digital affects them at all.

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Disruption in technology from innovators is rife, so traditional companies should be wetting themselves, right?

Not according to the Digital Disruptors’ report released from from Dell EMC, which describes whether UK businesses are aligning to the threat of digital disruptors in their market.

Astonishingly, more than half of UK organisations don’t view digital disruptors as a threat and 10% believe they don’t have any challengers at all.

Such data is insane, because at the same time 71% of business leaders are aware their organisation is under threat from digital transformation and more than 50% of business leaders feel their IT team has too much control and is a ‘barrier to innovation’.

Nothing like putting your head in the sand while looking the other way while turning a blind eye while turning a deaf ear.

The report focuses on which areas are going to be differentiators for businesses in the future. Which are on path to be disrupted and who will remain stagnant and face being overtaken by competition?

If this data is to be believed, at least 50% of them.

“Disruption isn’t new. Organisations of all sizes face new competition and changing market forces all the time. Digital disruptors have already shown their impact with everything from genome mapping to holiday rentals.

“In the age of disruptors, the corporate culture needs to shift to make the digital innovation agenda a focus for the whole board, not just the IT team,” said said Claire Vyvyan, Senior VP UK&I Commercial, Dell EMC.

* Independent research company Vanson Bourne conducted 500 interviews across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Respondents came from large companies and had to have 1000 or more employees (250+ in Republic of Ireland). Based on the size of the universe in the UK and Ireland, the margin of error for this research is 4.38%.

Save The Children and Amido sign IT partnership

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Save The Children International has appointed cloud-first technical consultancy Amido to undertake a strategically important IT project to streamline and consolidate the charity’s IT systems.

Charities are not the most original when it comes to technology, digital or IT, so it’s interesting to note they’re using one of London’s most up-and-coming cloud consultancies to do so.

The charity is a leading international children’s relief organisation operating in 120 countries. They do whatever it takes to ensure all children get access to what they deserve – a healthy start, the opportunity to learn, and protection from harm.

By partnering with Amido, Save the Children International hopes to improve its IT efficiency whilst retaining its global brand presence worldwide and national localism in the international marketplace.

“This project will open a lot of doors for us. It’s been a project high up on our strategic technology roadmap for some time. Amido’s efforts will be critically strategic to our IT efficiency so that the charity’s money is spent on helping children – which has always been, and will remain, our only focus,” said Graham Kent, Director of IT Shared Services, Save the Children International.

Amido works with brands such as ASOS, CBRE, Global Radio, London City Airport and Coats to remove friction from their customers’ online and mobile experiences to drive revenue and engagement.

From social sign-in to smart content delivery and smooth transactions, it helps brands build loyalty through customer recognition by bridging systems in a powerful way, yielding real-time results for brands and their customers.

“Amido are proud to be in a position where we can give back. By hosting the solution on Azure, Microsoft’s Cloud Platform – who donate the consumption of their platform their philanthropic arm – we have designed a solution that is scalable, faster and more flexible than what is currently in place,” said Alan Walsh, CEO, Amido.

Welcome to the finalists for AppsAfrica.com Awards 2017

The best of African startups are shortlisted for the prestigious AppsAfrica.com 2017 Awards.

AppsAfrica.comThe shortlisted finalists for the annual AppsAfrica.com Innovation Awards 2017 celebrating the best in mobile and tech from across Africa have been announced.

The annual Awards now in their third year attracted more than 300 submissions from across 31 countries judged by an independent panel of leading industry experts from across the ecosystem.

“The AppsAfrica Awards were originally set up three years ago to celebrate the best in mobile and tech across the continent as many ventures do not get the visibility or recognition they deserve.

This year produced a vast array of great entries from exciting new technologies utilising AI, bots and drones to mobile, health and education initiatives scaling across Africa”, said Andrew Fassnidge, Founder, AppsAfrica.com.

The awards supported by Boomplay Music, Basebone, BBM, Content Connect Africa, Mobile Monday South Africa (MOMO) the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) celebrate the best in mobile and tech from across Africa, providing winners with global publicity, recognition and networking with 300+ industry peers at the Awards party in Cape Town on November 6th.

AppsAfrica Awards 2017 finalists

Best Social and Messaging Award
Flare – Kenya, Juntos – Africa, 1Fetch – SA, Kudi – Nigeria and Wetin Dey – Nigeria

Disruptive Innovation Award
Mastercard 2Kuze – Kenya, Medsaf – Nigeria, What3Words – SA, Trend Solar – Tanzania and Girl Effect – Tega – Nigeria

Best African App
Carter – SA, Asorbia – Ghana, TrueCaller Africa, Boomplay Music – Africa and FeastFox – SA

Enterprise Solution Award
What3Words – SA, Flutterwave – Nigeria, Asoko Insight – Africa, Morpheus Commerce – SA and Snode Technologies – SA

News and Entertainment Award
Bounce News – Nigeria, Jokko Text – Senegal, Vodacom Music! – SA, Vodacom Games! – SA and Sportsie – Nigeria

Educational Award

Mwabu – Zambia, Kukua – Sema Land – Kenya, Snapplify – SA, Xander Education – SA and Praekelt dig-it – SA

FinTech Award
NetPlus / Mastercard – SA, PesaChoice – Rwanda, WeCashUp – Africa, PiggyBank NG – Nigeria and Flutterwave – Nigeria

Social Impact Award
What3Words – SA, Flare – Kenya, Vodacom e-School – SA, WeFarm – Kenya and Medsaf Nigeria

mCommerce
Farmart – Ghana, VConnect – Nigeria, Jumia – Nigeria, Mazady – Egypt and DressMeOutlet – Nigeria

Changing Africa
Jumo – Africa, Mwabu – Zambia, RippleNami – Kenya, Vodacom Mum & Baby – SA and Vodacom e-school – SA