Named as one of “SA’s top 100 most influential media and advertising people” (The Annual), Matthew has worked on the web literally from its inception.
He developed a passion for all things digital at an early age when, as a seven-year-old, he began programming on his first computer (a ZX Spectrum 48k). He has spoken and guest-lectured on online media issues around the world, including New York, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Ireland and Kenya.
He is the MD of Cape Town-based start-up Creative Spark, a web agency and digital consultancy with a specialisation in online publishing and social media. In April 2010 he started Memeburn.com (pronounced “Meem”), a site and resource tracking emerging web technologies and start-ups on the continent.
The Mail & Guardian also named him one of “300 Young South Africans you should take out to lunch”, (although this has yet to result in any free lunches). He was also named an upcoming New Media “Mogul” by FHM magazine and in 2009 nominated for the Men’s Health “Best Man” awards.
Matthew previously worked for the country’s largest online operation 24.com, first as the GM of Publishing, and then going on to found and head up the award-winning 20FourLabs (www.20fourlabs.com), a R20-million incubation and innovation division. The division won a continent-wide Nokia innovation competition for a health-based mobile application in 2010.
Prior to this he headed up South African online news publisher Mail & Guardian Online for seven years (www.mg.co.za) where he was responsible for turning the business around on both a readership and online sales level, turning the online division into a profitable entity for the first time in its history.
Matthew also worked for the BBC’s commercial website division in London (beeb.com) just before “the crash”, South African portal iafrica.com, M-Net’s Carte Blanche and Avusa (formerly Johncom) Publishing. He is a former chair and founder-member of the local Online Publishers Association (www.opa.org.za) and director of Creative Commons, South Africa. He co-founded award-winning editorial blog Thought Leader (a 2008 Webby Honoree) and blog aggregator amatomu.com.
Matthew is a blogger at www.matthewbuckland.com. One of his proudest moments was when some of the world’s biggest blogs — including Techcrunch, Mashable, his favourite site, Wired.com, and technology site Techmeme — tried to break his servers by linking to his blog. His next proudest moment was when his blog scooped “best business blog” at the 2008 SA blog awards. He was also proud to share the stage with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales in a talk on “Future Web Trends” in 2007, and Craigslist creator Craig Newmark at a talk in NYC.
Matthew has been a tech commentator on Cape Talk 567 and Radio 2000, and contributed to US journalism site Poynter Online (www.poynter.org). He’s a former columnist for The Media magazine (www.mg.co.za/netsavvy). He was a judge at the HighWay Africa new media awards and e.tv show the Amstel Salute to Success where entrepreneurs were awarded for pitching winning business models.
While GM at Mail & Guardian Online, the online business underwent a turnaround, achieving historically high revenue and readership numbers, regularly featuring as one of the country’s top ten websites and the third biggest news site (Nielsen//Netratings). Under his watch the site went through a complete overhaul, redesign and redevelopment, which included building a new CMS, inhouse from the ground up. In recent times the site launched 11 new online brands and 7 new mobile sites, including the flagship m.mg.co.za. The site’s Thought Leader “editorial blog” and newsinphotos.co.za were recognised by the 2008 Webby’s alongside big international brands like the New York Times, CNN, CNBC, CBS, New York Observer and Washingtonpost.com. It also won “SA Blog of Year 2008”.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rhodes University, with three majors in journalism, philosophy and history. Matthew is a new media graduate and knows no other medium!
His favourite colour is still red.