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.

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.

 

November Summit invites AI startup trailblazers

Best startups in AI sector to battle it out at summit for business rewards

summit

Leading startups from the artificial intelligence industry will compete for a business boost at the winter edition of Malta AI & Blockchain Summit this November.

The Summit will take place from 7th to 8th November 2019, marking the second event this year for the successful expo. Tickets can be booked here and are expected to sell out.

With strong support from the Maltese government, the event has established itself as one of the world’s leading destinations for the growing sectors of AI, Blockchain and DLT, IoT, and other vertical industries.

AI start-ups will be vying for a place amongst the top ten successful start-ups to be selected to participate in the AI Start-up Pitch, where they’ll take part in a live showdown in front of a panel of the most prominent experts from the AI industry and investors. Taking place on the main stage at peak time during day one of the event, the AI Pitch is always a favourite with the AIBC audience.

With a prize package including a year’s office space, media relations support, digital marketing, and more, one lucky start-up will get a massive head start with their business plans – the stakes could not be higher as the Malta AIBC Summit continues to inspire and nurture the incredible talent appearing on this emerging tech scene.

Of course, all participants are set to be winners, as with such luminary figures from the sector judging the contest, taking part all but guarantees invaluable insights from critical feedback and praise of unique applications for artificial intelligence. And with investors aplenty in attendance, it should be no surprise that many start-ups will come away from the summit with a bright future looming!

100 deep tech start-ups from the sectors of AI, Blockchain, IoT, and Big Data will also showcase their projects and services with a 1×1 stand in the start-up village, benefiting both from 1000s of attendees at the show, as well as online visibility at AIBCsummit.com.

Eman Pulis, founder and CEO of the Malta AI & Blockchain Summit, said.

In this, our third and biggest show yet, we can’t wait to see the range and quality of entrants for the AI Start-Up Pitch. If our previous battles are anything to go by, we will be sowing the seeds of growth for some of the future global brands in the AI space.

 

I couldn’t be prouder that our show is instrumental in bringing together such amazing talent in one venue and I look forward to meeting all those taking part.”

The bi-annual 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.

The first Malta Blockchain Summit in November 2018 attracted 8,500 attendees from more than 80 countries, with 300 sponsors and exhibitors, 200 speakers, and 1 AI VIP (Sophia the world’s first robot citizen).

BOOK REVIEW – Civilized To Death – Christopher Ryan

Civilized (To Death) may be spelt with a ‘z’ and not the correct ‘s’, but this intriguing book makes up for it.

civilized

Civilized To Death will not be published until October 1st, but the wait will be worth it. This book is smart, timely and well-written.

Christopher Ryan is a psychologist and author who was previously the co-author of the New York Times best-selling book Sex At Dawn.

I read the book in three sessions and while it did preach to the converted and I naturally had writer-envy while digesting it, there is a lot here.

Not only to ‘enjoy’, but also to remember, not least Ryan’s obvious love for when foraging was the world we were… and seemingly all the better for it.

Unfortunately, my relationship with UK foragers is difficult after overhearing a conversation last year at the very entitled Port Eliot festival and a very entitled (and clearly) wealthy woman talking about her upcoming foraging weekend, but even so I learnt a lot of things about this type of civiliSation.

Civilized To Death is scrupulous and researched in a way that only journalists know how to and repeats what most of the good ones know… we are going to hell in a fucking handcart unless we change all of our habits. Ryan seems to think we can only do this by dissolving civiliSation.

Good luck with that one, mate, but he may have a point. It was Albert Einstein who said he did not know how World War III would be won, but he knew how World War IV would be won… and that would be with sticks and stones.

That world will probably come with foraging, and as long as there’s not too much radiation hanging around and I can still find a decent Porn Star Martini, then I’m there with Ryan. I liked Civilisation To Death, but please, next time, spell it with an ‘s’.

Akon brings his Afro-futuristic city to Malta

Grammy-winning artist is bringing his Akoin vision for Africa to November summit

Akon

Akon, hip-hop superstar and one of  Africa’s most renowned philanthropists, has accepted a speaker slot at the crypto and blockchain focussed show in November.

He will be speaking about his Akoin token and how he hopes the blockchain-based cryptocurrency can empower young entrepreneurs in Africa to strengthen the continent’s rising economies and support the development of sustainable communities.

Akon’s vision for Africa is already in position, with first steps taken in Senegal’s capital city Dakar, where Senegalese President Macky Sall has gifted him 2,000 acres to establish an Afro-futuristic city.

The whole idea with the city is to create a renewable city. Crypto is the money spent in the city; all digital. All renewable energy; no gas, no nothing. We’ll create platforms of all of today’s newest technologies embedded within the city itself.”

Through the artist’s Akoin Foundation, inspired entrepreneurs will develop future-forward businesses and promote innovation, economic stability, and growth across Africa, as well as in the wider world.

Through the Akoin ecosystem of crypto-based DApps and Apps, rising entrepreneurs can learn, earn, spend and save, as well as have more transparency and security within these daily economic building activities, including civil engagement.

“I think banking systems can definitely benefit from blockchain, but the voting system will probably be the number one system for the technology,” he says. “The good thing about blockchain is it leaves a footprint,” explains Akon. “You can’t do anything without it being open for everyone to see it – it opens the road to transparency.”

Eman Pulis, founder and CEO of Malta A.I. & Blockchain Summit, commented.

With a vision so clearly in line with the best hopes for the blockchain world, Akon is sure to be a huge draw for the conference audience at November’s Malta AIBC.  We’re excited to work with him in using blockchain to make the world a better place for everyone.”

The Malta A.I. & Blockchain Summit takes place November 4-8th, 2019.

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