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Optimizing is a podcast produced by Professor Barry Dwolatzky (also known as "The Grand Geek"). Season 2 features Prof Barry and Kerryn Gammie in conversation with thought leaders and role models in the South African and African digital community. Each conversation is based on the metaphor of a relay race in which the guest is asked to reflect on how they received the baton and what they will pass on to Kerryn and her generation [Evan Wigdorowitz (Edit and Logo Design); Callum Kuhl (Music )]
 
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show series
 
Optimizing - Leading Africa's Digital Future is an inter-generational conversation about the digital economy and digital society in Africa. Season 3 will feature conversations led by Prof Barry Dwolatzky and his young co-host with people who have made a huge contribution to the digital world. This episode introduces Season 3. TheGrandGeeks.Africa…
 
Season 2 of the Optimizing podcast has come to an end. Prof Barry Dwolatzky and his co-host Kerryn Gammie have presented 12 episodes in which they have conversations with leaders, role models and influencers in the Digital Economy in South Africa, Africa and the World. The metaphor in this season is "life as a relay race" and each guest was asked t…
 
Tiyani Nghonyama finished high school in 2010. Nine years later he was named by the IITPSA as its “South African IT Personality of the Year” for 2019. He is, so far, the youngest guest we’ve had in Season 2 of the Optimizing podcast and yet, in terms of his impact on future digital leaders, he is quite possibly one of the most influential.…
 
Sifiso Skenjana is one of South Africa’s top new economists. He is the Chief Economist and Thought Leadership Executive at IQ Business, the leading independent management consulting firm in South Africa.Prior to joining IQ Business, he founded and managed an economic research and strategy advisory company. He has previously held roles in asset mana…
 
Nomso Faith Kana is a nuclear scientist and founder of two startups. These are “Sun n Shield 84 Technologies” which manufactures fibre optic cable, and “Blaze Away SA”, a business strategy consulting firm. She was also invited to participate as a commissioner on President Ramaphas’s Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (or 4IR). She has w…
 
Clifford De Wit graduated from Wits University as an Electrical Engineer in 1996. He joined Microsoft in 2000 and from 2009 took on a senior executive role. In this role, amongst other things, he developed and launched the SA BizSpark start-up program, which mentored over 3000 tech start-up’s, managed the Microsoft relationship with South African u…
 
Xoliswa Mahlangu (“Xoli”) works as a Computing Curriculum Developer and Technology Integration Specialist at Future Nation Schools. Her personal mission is to demystify tech and make it more fun and accessible to kids of all ages. She is a Microsoft Certified Innovative Educator Expert and has represented South Africa in the international educator …
 
Monica Singer qualified as a Chartered Accountant. After working for the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants and the World Bank, she became CEO of STRATE, a company set up to digitise the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JCSE). She drove this challenging project with great success. In 2015 she left STRATE to become an evangelist for Blockchain, a tec…
 
Tim Jenkin is a South African political and social activist and a unique individual. He is the author of the book “Escape from Pretoria” which tells the amazing true story of his escape in the 1970’s from Pretoria's maximum security prison. It was recently released as a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe as Tim. He developed cutting-edge data communic…
 
Twenty years ago Pieter de Villiers and his co-founders came up with a tech innovation that was a world first. It literally went on to change the world of digital technology. They launched the company Clickatell which now has offices around the world, including Silicon Valley, although most of its developers still sit in Cape Town. Apart from being…
 
Mark Harris is one of the most respected leaders in the South African digital sector. He entered the sector in 1981 as an engineer at IBM. He remained with IBM for over 30 years rising through the ranks to become Head of IBM SA and then Vice President of business development for the Middle East and Africa region. In 2013 he left IBM to become CEO o…
 
Mteto Nyati, CEO of Altron, is in conversation with Prof Barry Dwolatzky and Kerryn Gammie. Mteto, who previously headed Microsoft SA and MTN SA, shares his thoughts on how to lead and how to inspire those who you lead, in the context of South Africa’s digital economy. He also talks about some of the important lessons he has learnt in his own life …
 
Kent Beck is an American software engineer, writer and thought leader. He has been, and remains, one of the most influential figures in the field of software development over the past 20 years. He is best known as the creator of the eXtreme Programming (XP) software development methodology and proponent of Test Driven Development (TDD). In 2001 he …
 
Professor Tshilidzi Marwala is a South African engineer, AI expert and academic leader. In this conversation with Prof Barry Dwolatzky and Kerryn Gammie he talks about his early days and who passed him the baton in life's metaphoric relay race. He discusses some of the very fascinating work he has done, and then talks about what he would pass on to…
 
Season 2 of the "Optimizing - Leading Africa's Digital Future" has the subtitle "Passing and Receiving the Baton". History is a relay race in which we receive a legacy of knowledge and experience from those who have come before. We then enrich and grow this legacy until we ultimately pass it on to the next generation. Our analogy is that this legac…
 
IT Skills are in short supply around the world. For decades the faster growing digital economies of the Northern Hemisphere have sucked IT skills out of the developing world. South Africa, with its very well established and sophisticated digital economy, has struggled to grow enough of its own skills to meet the every increasing demand for IT profe…
 
South Africa and Africa need to embrace innovation and entrepreneurship if they are to deal successfully with the Triple Challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Prof Barry speaks to Kerryn and Evan about how and why he set up Wits University's Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein Johannesburg, and how he aims to creat…
 
In the late 1990s a strategy for growing South Africa's IT Industry was developed. Although it offered a clear vision for the future of the Industry, very few of the recommendations were implemented. In this episode Prof Barry discusses South Africa's IT Industry with Kerryn Gammie. He explains why he set up the JCSE at Wits University in 2005 and …
 
Episode 4 of our podcast touches on some of the software concepts that gave rise to the “4th Industrial Revolution”. Prof Barry Dwolatzky and Kerryn Gammie discuss OOD, digital twins and robotics + AI. Prof Barry did pioneering work on all of these topics as he became the “Grand Geek” in the 1980’s and 90’s. He then discusses Werewolves – and how t…
 
In this 3rd and final episode of "Becoming the Grand Geek", Prof Barry talks about how in the 1990's he and Alan Meyer ran a large research and development effort at Wits that created innovative design software used to support Eskom's efforts to connect 100's of thousands of homes to the national grid. He launched a startup to commercialise the CAR…
 
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