googlesa1.gifThe new Google country head Stafford Masie held an informal get together and networking session for about 60 or so local internet players on Monday afternoon. He said the briefing was off the record, but later made exceptions for bloggers. It was a good session — the first ever held by the new Google South Africa.

It was a marathon of presentations from Googlers Frederick Leuschner, Carmel Doherty, and Ryan Kitching (a South African living in Eire) — and then presentations by internet stats guru Arthur Goldstuck, Quirk boss Rob Stokes, entrepreneur & VC-man Vinny Lingham, Acceleration director Richard Mullins, Richard Simpson from BulkSMS… and then at the end I also gave a presentation.

Like many in this industry, Stafford said he believed that this country is poised for a big, belated online boom. We are about to see the “dam walls crack… I honestly believe that…” And it’s plausible for a country that has been held back structurally as a result of expensive internet and a virtual telecoms monopoly. Of course in recent times this has been changing for the better.

Globally, Stafford believes that the internet was coming of age and that local marketers should see the global audience as their market and not just be restricted locally: “Your audience is everyone around the globe that is connected, South Africa is a market segment of a broader world market segment.”

Maisie said that Google would be making a “big mobile play” in the country — not surprising on a continent that has more mobile users than fixed-line telephone users. Referring to the recent release of Android, Stafford said that mobile will be big news for South Africa, and that he would be selling South Africa to the rest of Google from a mobile perspective.

Google is expected to officially launch in South Africa early next year.

8 Responses to “First Google South Africa networking session kicks off”
  1. Seroquel xr….

    Seroquel xr….

  2. […] First Google South Africa networking session kicks off Posted in South Africa, Stafford Masie, expansion, mobile, tactics by aheavens on October 19th, 2007 Matthew Buckland […]

  3. […] It’s not the first Google event we have had here. There was one last year, at the same venue which was a networking session aimed perhaps at more of a tech crowd. This one appeared to be aimed mainly at the media, and a few bloggers. It also seemed to be a bit more subdued than the previous one, which attracted more people and more buzz. […]

  4. […] Google is here, local startups make waves Perhaps the biggest news of all was that Google finally opened a local office in South Africa, under former Novell-head Stafford Masie. The first ever local event by Google, a networking session, was held at the Johannesburg Didata campus, at which I had the privilege of speaking at. We knew it was coming as Google had advertised the jobs for almost two years prior to the appointment. Vinny Lingham secured 5-million US dollars for Synthasite. Video sharing sites such as Zoopy and myvideo arrived on the scene. Other startups such as did Mark Garbers iblog came to the fore, showing growth and promise. […]

  5. Very interesting that Google are concentrating on Africa, thanks for the post. Along with the satellite conference being held in West Africa currently, and Nigeria’s launching their first satellite, it seems like some positive steps are being taken, especially if Google think it is worth their while investing time and money into the area.
    I have written some posts about the satellite conference, and google’s interest in the area, along with other thoughts on appropriate development for Africa on my new blog http://www.designedforafrica.org, if you are interested.

  6. […] The big news is that they will be launching a contextual search product much like Adsense in the beginning of next year. Muir did a good job of presenting the 24.com search story. He also confirmed that “anecdotally” Google was doing more than the local online publishers combined in South Africa (which is now only R250-million and just passed the 1% adshare mark). And dare I say it that Google has done it without a single staffer in the country, although that has all changed now. […]

  7. thanks, fixed

  8. Maisie? Or Masie? Looks like your spellcheck got the better of you, Matt!

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