Introducing (Really this time)

It’s been an interesting couple of months. I started memeburn in December last year. Funnily enough I did the first install and the first lines of custom code while I was in the inspirational setting of Paris, at Le Web. In fact quite a bit of the critical work was also done at Charles De Gaulle airport (of all places).

I found the domain name around about January, I had spent three months looking at options and using various domain tools to come up with creative solutions. I eventually found “memeburn” lying inconspicuously in the text of a small New York-based marketing blog — the owner of which was moaning about the increasing “memeburn” he’s being seeing on Twitter. The other name I had ready was, as well as five others that never made the grade.

It’s been a long time since I’ve put on my propeller cap to code, but I started hacking the PHP, HTML and CSS myself. This last month it’s been late night after late night trying to pull everything together. Tim Gane and Daniel Bailey of Creative Spark have been key guys on this project. Dan has been our PHP guru, diving in to do the complex stuff and doing amazing work with our adserver. Tim has held it together from a project and content point of view. My old friend Vincent Maher also helped me with the early design work, font choices and been a good counter-foil to bounce the odd idea around.

We haven’t had so much fun and stress in a long time. I didn’t care that we were working until 4am in the morning for many nights. We’re doing what we enjoy.

We’ve been blown away at the enthusiastic reception the site has received from the tech community. A good reception also translates into a good deal of pressure too. We love pressure. Bring it on.

We now have around 60 top quality analysis and insight articles on tech, social media and online media trends. We collected these over a two-month period from some very busy, and some very influential people in the technology and media industry and related fields. There are key people that we still need to talk to, and some that are in the process of coming onboard. It’s kudos to them and testament to their desires to grow the industry — people put their money where their mouths are. Call me naive, but I don’t see competitors — I see an ecosystem.

Some facts about memeburn:

  • We have more than 60 opinion pieces from emerging leaders, influencers and leaders in the tech and online sector;
  • Some names who have contributed include: Steve Newton (Head of Google SA); US ambassador to SA (Donald Gips); Basheera Khan (Techcrunch); Brendan Jack of Crazy Monkey; Rob Stokes of Quirk; Rob Van Vuuren aka Twakkie; More here
  • It will cater for the broader emerging market, but will have the obvious local bias to start off with;
  • It is not “another Thought Leader” but something entirely different: we’ll be carrying news too plus gadget reviews;
  • Memejobs: is a job resource for a particular kind of person and a particular kind of company — The kind of person who likes working in a startup, where work in this industry is passion and 9-5s have no meaning;
  • Initially we started serving the ads on OpenX, but at the last moment switched to Google ad manager, thanks to a conversation I had with Charl Norman;
  • We completed changed the header template just two days before the launch because we felt the site was too “bloggy”, whereas we want a hybrid blog-traditional publisher feel.
  • It’s on wordpress. I have a love affair with wordpress. We started off with a simple base template, which has now been hacked beyond recognition.
  • The site has a forum section. For me this is back to the future, but forums have incredible community value. I’m going to be interested to see how it works out…
  • We are not happy with our serving situation — and are watching keenly for performance and speed issues. Hope the site holds (watch this space);
  • It’s launching with advertising, Mweb (who have been fairly savvy in targeting bloggers with their latest Uncapped ADSL announcement), Thusa (Durban based startup), Cobii Interactive, Yola and iBurst
  • In between the hecticness of Memeburn, Shaun De Waal of the Mail & Guardian asked me to write a 1,000 word piece on my time running the Mail & Guardian Online for a book that is to be published. I ended up writing 4500 words. Then add to that setting up Creative Spark with Tim and Dan and finishing off at;
  • I’ve been speaking to Dan Gillmor and Dave Sifry — who have indicated they are keen — but I still need to receive their pieces (nudge, nudge) 🙂
  • I tried to get unusal writers in different fields, ie anthropologists writing about social networks. I tried to bring on emerging writers and I tried to ensure a diversity of backgrounds on the site — not just the usual faces;
  • My less personal blog posts have been moved from this blog to memeburn as an archive;
  • I released the beta url by mistake three weeks ago on a closed list of some of the top tech journalists in the country. Not everyone noticed, because it was hidden away — but we saw a rapid spike of 90 uninvited visitors the following day. No one has said anything. Very polite.
  • I’m not sure if I’ve got one child or two: I think their names are Isabel and Stella. I owe them big. I owe my wife Bridget big too;
  • This here blog will redirect to memeburn for a while at a later stage. My own name will carry more personal blogs in the future. Industry stuff will be written on Memeburn.
  • It launched lastnight.

Comments (7)

  1. Chris M wrote::

    Looking forward to the launch!

    Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 12:49 am #
  2. Looking forward to it!

    Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 12:50 am #
  3. joe wrote::

    Looking good.

    Hope you’ve solved your WordPress security not-so-love-affair troubles (-;

    Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 12:59 am #
  4. Lianne Byrne-Hammacott wrote::

    Hi Matthew, great meeting you last night and congrats on the launch. It’s a great site and much needed I think as a credible resource for SA digitals… so much talent and good thinking in this country!

    I might even write for you, who knows 🙂

    Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 3:20 am #
  5. Chris M wrote::

    Congrats on the launch, looking really good!

    Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 6:06 am #
  6. Wogan wrote::

    I saw it and my first thought was “bugger, a major tech blog I’ve been missing out on for the last few months”. Lol.

    Good going – now just start putting that @memeburn account to use 😉

    Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 6:10 am #
  7. Marc Ashton wrote::

    Howzit Matthew

    Congrats on the launch. I assume you survived day 1 of being an entrepreneur?

    I’m a scum of the earth journalist so i tend to ask dumb blunt questions but what differentiates this from something like techcentral?

    Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 1:11 pm #