If you’ve spent any time at all reading anything I’ve published on this blog you’ll know SA conferences companies are my own personal bugbear. They suck. Typically they pick up on a popular trend, and with little to no knowledge of that space, whether it be opencast mining or social media, strive to make as much money by stringing together a bunch of speakers who all say the same thing (because they are ill-briefed) and hope like hell the stars align to make it work on the day.
Net Prophet 2009, an initiative by the RAMP Foundation, blew all of that out the water with a really world-class first attempt today at the Old Mutual Business School in Pinelands, Cape Town. Quite simply Net Prophet brought together some chaps (we lacked girls, must be said) who have at some point in time or another experienced a degree of success building online or mobile businesses, apps, platforms or publications to share insights with tech startups, geeks, entrepreneurs and whoever else wanted to hear.
The conference was free to attend, funded entirely by sponsors (another differentiator), and I have no doubt that based on the overwhelming success of today’s event (must have been nigh on 400 people in attendance) the brand will grow to new strengths and entice bigger and better sponsorship in years to come. As a speaker, I was highly impressed with the organisation leading up to the event, and I gather attendees had just as positive an experience. Talks kept to time, generally, and we finished on time. Unprecedented. Perhaps the only downside was one or two minor technical glitches (really minor) and a shortage in snacks, but that was a testimony to the brilliant turnout.
A brilliant, personal touch was ‘custom’ intro tunes that the organisers played for each speaker as they went up to talk. They actually researched my favourite music to play the right stuff – I was blown away. The presentations will be going up on the Net Prophet website (videos and slides), I will link to them once they’re up. Once again, a huge thank you and congratulations to all involved.