BOOK REVIEW – Chasing Black Unicorns by Marek Zmysłowski

Marek Zmysłowski is an amazing entrepreneur who has written a real-life thriller based on his career in Poland and, most intriguingly, Africa.

Zmysłowski

I have met Marek Zmysłowski twice in Africa and, more recently, in London. The nights we had in Johannesburg and Lagos were legendary, but a gentleman never tells.

He is a Polish firebrand and whirlwind, driven by entrepreneurial zeal and loves life almost as much as I loved his book, Chasing Black Unicorns.

They say that there is a book inside every journalist… and that’s where it should stay. I would also say that there’s a book inside every entrepreneur and that’s where it should be buried, but not in this case.

This story is more like a Robert Ludlum African-based thriller and it rolls and rolls like an exciting rollercoaster.

It begins slowly with a young Zmysłowsk dreaming of big things in a small Polish town. His ambition knows no bounds as he chases the zloty and dollar by working in finance and, memorably, in the funeral business. He spends what he earns and he loves spending as his internet pioneering makes him a Polish player.

Then an opportunity arises with Rocket Internet to set up the ‘African equivalent of Expedia’ in Nigeria. Zmysłowsk takes up the challenge and heads to Lagos and in the next couple of years does the almost-impossible in doing exactly that.

Then the problems begin. Agent provocateurs, dissembling investors, strategies-from-above and all of the above magnified by the chaos of Nigeria mean trouble for Zmysłowsk. Not only is he ousted from the business he built up, but his new venture is seen as a threat.

Before he knows it, he is on Interpol’s most wanted list and endures prison after being arrested at Warsaw airport expecting to be extradited to Nigeria.

I won’t spoil the ending because there is much to read and admire here. His writing is crisp and he never loses faith even when the Gods seem out to screw him over. His book is a hell of a ride, I recommend you join him. A really excellent story.

Finalists announced for the AIBC Awards on blockchain island

Grammy-winning artist Akon and AKOIN co-founders Lynn Liss and Jon Karas will present the Social Impact Award at AIBC next month

AIBC

AIBC Summit has announced the finalists for the Malta AIBC Awards taking place 7th November 2019, at the InterContinental Hotel, St Julian’s Malta.

On the first day of the summit, the AIBC Awards ceremony will honour the best of the best in the worlds of AI, blockchain, tokenisation, robotics, IoT, and more. The awards evening includes a gala charity dinner at the InterContinental ballroom. This fund-raiser is organised by SiGMA Group and all proceeds will go towards The SiGMA Foundation.

Thousands of nominations were received for consideration and 30 experts from the blockchain, AI and deep tech space have chosen three finalists in each category. The winners of each award will be decided by a panel of 7 judges of influence within the industry.

Finally, it has now been confirmed that Grammy-winning artist Akon will also be judging the Social Impact Award along with AKOIN co-founders Lynn Liss and Jon Karas.

The finalists are as follows:

PAYMENT SERVICE PROVIDER OF THE YEAR 2019
Finalists: Wirex/Salamantex/Trustly

DAO BUILDING OF THE YEAR 2019 (sponsored by AmaZix)
Finalists: Dash/MakerDAO/DAOcasino

IOT IMPLEMENTATION OF THE YEAR 2019 (sponsored by Momentum Protocol)
Finalists: The Things Network/Deloitte/Yptokey

SOCIAL IMPACT AWARD 2019 (sponsored by Lucky.io)
Finalists: Fintech4Good/Ethichub /Give Foundation

BEST AI APPLICATION OF THE YEAR 2019 (sponsored by TakaMaka)
Finalists: SingularityNET/Spacept/Unbiased

MASS ADOPTION PROJECT OF THE YEAR 2019 (sponsored by AmonTech)
Finalists: Salamantex /Future1Exchange/HUPAYX

FINTECH STARTUP OF THE YEAR 2019 (sponsored by OVR)
Finalists: AeroBand/Cashaa/Pynk

ASSET TOKENIZATION OF THE YEAR 2019 (sponsored by AeroBand)
Finalists: TaoDust/BlackMantaCapital/STOBOX

BLOCKCHAIN & AI FOR ARTS AWARD 2019 (sponsored by Black Manta Capital)
Finalists: Solarex/Umnai/Domineum BlockChain Solution

DEFI AWARD 2019 (sponsored by 8 PAY)
Finalists: MakerDAO/Sologenic/Simply VC

Malta AI & Blockchain Summit is a bi-annual expo covering topics relating to the global sectors for blockchain, AI, Big Data, IoT, and Quantum technologies. The event includes conferences hosted by globally renowned speakers, workshops for industry learning and discussion, an exhibit space accommodating more than 400 brands and much more.

BOOK REVIEW: The Emoji Revolution by Philip Sergeant

Emoji are part of today’s language and this book explains them wonderfully.

emoji

I promise I will not use emoji to illustrate this article. I promise I will not use emoji to illustrate this article…

… but it’s not going to be easy.

This really is a wonderful book, a fantastic guide and a fascinating exploration of language, gesture and how we call communicate.

There are those who think emoji are symbols that children use, but their importance stretches out in the world and probably as far back as cavedwellers who used to like writing on walls.

Like many, I use these strange symbols and I find myself doing that more often as social networks begin to proliferate, but I usually use the same ones without any real idea what I’m trying to say. After reading this book, I now know how much detail and subtlety is needed when using them.

On first look, I didn’t think I’d feel this way. The cover was underwhelming, the pages were as shiny as the heaviest of academic books and the text was, bizarrely, unillustrated apart from black-and-white emoji. I expected a stodgy read.

My experience was the polar opposite. Coming in at just under 200 pages, the book is not a quick read, but the information therein is delivered with aplomb, beautifully written and full of old and future knowledge.

From the weird control of the 12 Western people who sit on the board of the Unicode Foundation to Marcel Duchamp to Moore’s Law to the etymology of obscure words such as ‘snollygoster’, this is a work that loves words as well as symbols.

As a person who loves books and words, I learnt more here than I ever would in three Malcolm Gladwell novellas and with enough emoji knowledge to hold my own at a dinner party… or children’s tea party.

After years of reviewing books, this was the greatest surprise of them all and if you were wondering what snollygoster meant, it was an early 20th Century word, favoured by Harry Truman, describing a shrewd, but dishonest person, especially one involved in politics.

Sound familiar? Perhaps we could bring it back… and without an emoji in sight.

Mobsta Appoints Its First Chief Revenue Officer

London-based geolocation company Mobsta continues its expansion with Maxwell Brown appointment.

Maxwell

Mobsta UK Commercial Director Maxwell Brown has been promoted to become the company’s first Chief Revenue Officer.

Brown joined Mobsta three years ago from London-based advertiser Collective (Now TI Media) and will be directly responsible for all of Mobsta’s existing sales- and revenue-driving departments. 

While he will continue to work closely with Mobsta’s product and strategy divisions and its client, media-owner partnership and operational teams, he will have an increased focus on P&L and day-to-day management. 

Over the past nine years, Mobsta has matured and evolved into one of the leading plays in the geo and location data space in the UK and was recently recognised by Forbes as one of the leading companies in the space due to its pioneering work with 5G. 

The company was also first to rise to the implementation of GDPR and is expected to make a raft of positive announcements over the rest of 2019.

Talking about Brown’s promotion, Mobsta Co-Founder Darren Kietz said that Brown had proved himself to be a talented leader and an unrivalled contacts book in the industry.

He has been instrumental in ensuring the sales team has become recognised as a thoroughly professional and first rate outfit. More importantly, the number of formal trading partnerships has increased 500% under his lead which is testament to his ability and commitment

Brown is looking forward to bring more value to the company after growing the London office and opening new offices in Manchester.

Thanks to the support of our agencies and clients, I’m looking forward to taking Mobsta into the next phase of growth as we start to harness the effectiveness of operator intelligence with brands.

The news follows a year of growth for Mobsta, which was recently certified by ABC for successfully completing audits and being certified for Good Practice and Standards for digital ad trading.