Arthur Goldstuck – Influence 2010
Mandy de Waal believes influence to be one of the most valuable commodities in Social Media, communities and business today. To find out who has influence, what influence is and how it will affect our lives and work, she speaks to some of the most influential people in media, marketing, branding and technology in a series of interviews that seek to reveal who the big guns are, and who’ll be grabbing attention this year. You can follow the series on MandyLives.com.
Arthur Goldstuck is South Africa’s foremost authority on the Internet. He was one of the first journalists to cover online in this country, one of the first to go online with his content, and one of the first to research and predict its influence on society and business. Something he still does it masterfully to this day.
Mandy de Waal: Who are you and what influence do you have?
Arthur Goldstuck: I’m head of World Wide Worx, a market research company that focuses on technology trends in business and society at large, with a strong focus on the Internet and mobile technologies. We’ve built up credibility over the past decade for the objectivity of the research on the one hand and on the other hand for our willingness to stick our necks out on the implications of the research.
Mandy: Who are the most influential people in technology, telecommunications and the digital sectors in South Africa today, and why have you chosen these people?
Arthur: No specific individuals, but four categories: The journalists covering the sectors on a regular basis; the founders and CEOs of companies that have a strong media presence; individuals within organisations who have championed the cause of areas like broadband, affordable telecommunications and the like; and politicians both in Government and outside who campaign for or set the agenda for technology access.
Mandy: How will technology influence local marketing in the next year and beyond?
Arthur: There are several areas of technological revolution that must change the way marketing happens. One is the bandwidth explosion that will arrive with the range of new undersea cables, combined with new fibre-optic networks criss-crossing our cities. A second is the move from “traditional”
cellphones to smartphones – a development that will eventually give half the population access to computing power and Internet applications.
Mandy: Which thought leaders have influenced your thinking in the past year and how?
Arthur: People who are active on the ground, working at understanding and enhancing technology access in disadvantaged communities or sectors, have been the ones who get my ear most easily. Examples are Steve Song at the Shuttleworth Foundation, Andrew October working in the townships of Cape Town and David Barnard, head of SANGONet, which is working at improving technology use among non-governmental organisations.
Mandy: What technologies will most influence the world in the coming year, and how will this play out?
Arthur: The battle for the smartphone market between Apple’s iPhone, Research in Motion’s Blackberry and Google’s Android phones will have a defining influence on the world of communications. The evolution of sustainable energy, mainly in the form of wind and solar power, will come into focus more strongly than ever before, and influence policy to an extent we have not seen before.
Mandy: Which local brands wield the most influence online, and why?
Arthur: Global brands like Google, Apple and Blackberry have a greater online influence in South Africa than most local brands. However, media brands like Mail & Guardian, Times Live and News24 are growing in their online influence as thought leadership platforms as well as information media.
Mandy: What do brands and marketers need to know about the influence of mobile?
Arthur: They need to know that it is not as big as they think in terms of an addressable market. It is not possible to reach the mass of cellphone users via the mobile Internet, as it is too diverse and dispersed. At the same time, it is much bigger than they think in terms of its influence on people’s lifestyles and information lives. The youth market, in particular, is embracing the mobile Internet across the board, in all socio-economic groups, and are way ahead of the marketers in the way they access and share information.