About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.

150-WORD PHONE REVIEW – CAT B15Q

CAT_B15QI recently had the highly depressing and long-winded experience of breaking the screen on my Nexus 4. If there was ever a cottage industry that needs modernising, it’s that one.

It took two suppliers, three attempts, four weeks and £135 to fix the screen and made me think differently about the so-called ‘strongphones’ that are becoming increasingly popular.

These are rugged products that companies such as CAT market as unbreakable, waterproof and which can be dropped from almost two metres. Round the world yachtsmen use them as much as plumbers do, so I splashed out £230 without a contract for the CAT B15Q.

A month later, I’m sold. It feels like a proper phone, thick and textural and all-weather. I know it’s in my pocket; its bulk reminds me and if I was a working man (rather than a glorified typist) I’d throw it in my tool-box like a tape measure.

It’s brilliant. Goodbye fragile-screen, I don’t need you any longer… although I miss your snazzy camera sometimes.

REVIEW: 8.5/10

We went to Soweto and made a little video

Last weekend, three mates and I had an amazing weekend in Soweto. We went with the great Ilan Ossendryver, an experienced photojournalist who took us around some garden/football projects he was involved in.

We drank with the locals, ate meat with the locals, took pictures of the locals (with respect and their permission), watched the night Orlando Pirates football live at the stadium with the locals and even jumped 70 metres inside an abandoned cooling tower into a net (NEVER AGAIN) with the locals.

This is a one-minute video that ends abruptly, but is still a little bit of fun about a magical day.

The Rwandan Tech Incubator’s Top 10 startups

rwandaRwandan tech incubator think has announced their top 10 finalists for the initial intake of the newest incubator in Africa. The top 10 companies were selected from more than 150 applications from across 20 countries, of which 14 were from Africa.

These companies are some of the best new innovators providing digital and technology solutions that have the potential to scale across Africa.

These companies were chosen after submitting an application to think, and those applications were reviewed by the four-member Selection Committee, representing Tigo Rwanda, African Entrepreneur Collective, Millicom Digital Ventures, and leading Rwandan technology experts and entrepreneurs. Continue reading

Great Fridays shores up board with ex-Pearson hire

elephant indoorInnovative product and service design company Great Fridays has appointed Genevieve Shore to its influential advisory board with immediate effect.

Great Fridays advisory board is made up of an illustrious and eclectic mix of experienced Design and Business Leaders including Peter Gabriel (musician, technologist, inventor), Nancy Dickenson (independent design strategy consultant and ex-VP Design at eBay, PayPal, Apple), Peter Skillman from HERE and Josh Ulm (VP of Design at Adobe). Continue reading

The end of maps as Sat Nav users lose brains

sat_navThe scourge of Sat Nav appears to have rendered drivers clueless and dependent on the technology to arrive at their destination.

According to research by GPS technology specialists Garmin, almost 40% of drivers don’t know how to navigate using a traditional map and a further 16% admit that they are so reliant on a Sat Nav that they use it for regular journeys.

As a driver who loves getting lost and likes to ask for directions because it means I meet PEOPLE in unusual situations and do not reply on a mobile ivory tower to insulate myself from real life, this comes as no surprise.

One thing that remains the same, however. Be it digital or analogue, the report says that arguing over directions remains one of driving’s biggest hazards, with a third of respondents saying that it creates arguments with their partners.

The press release tries to put a spin on this depressing result… ‘Rather than seeing technology as consuming traditional skills like map reading, it should be celebrated for delivering speed, accuracy and safety’.

This is not something I’ve ever seen when Sat Nav drivers pull away, then stop instantly while they fiddle with its controls. It is the devil’s work and is sucking away our brains. Maps are like books, they keep us intelligent, not driverless Google car guinea pigs.

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