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FrontlineSMS, Clay Shirky and Project Masiluleke

Ken Banks at PopTech 2008

Ken Banks, who I’ve become even better friends with since we roomed together for the PopTech Fellows program, spoke today about FrontlineSMS. With his British accent, talk of Daleks from Dr. Who, and witty comments he won over the room.

Matt, Clay and Chris at PopTech 2008

Two of my favorite speakers were in the first session of the day, Clay Shirky (Here Comes Everybody) and Chris Anderson (The Long Tail). Just read their books, it’s probably the best advice I can give you.

PopTech 2008

Project Masiluleke

From the PopTech Blog:

“In Zulu, the word masiluleke means “lend a helping hand” and “give wise counsel” – a concept at the heart of a new project announced this morning at Pop!Tech. Project Masiluleke, which spun out of a talk by HIV campaigner Zinny Thabethe at Pop!Tech 2006, is attempting to wrestle back some initiative in the HIV-Aids crisis in Africa.”

PopTech 2008

When the team who worked on this went through the numbers, the impact and the process created to attack the issue of HIV in South Africa, it was incredibly emotional. Robert Fabricant of Frog Design worked on this, and I’ve learned first-hand how this man can laser in on strategic design challenges – and they did the same for this project.

Robert of Frog Design at PopTech 2008

Really, this was an all-star team, Gustav Praekelt – one of the most knowledgeable mobile phone specialists in Africa – is helping to run the program. It’s done using the 120 character free space in “Please Call Me” SMS system that’s used in South Africa. They tack on messages to get people to come to get HIV treatment in private, so that they don’t have to worry about what stigma attached to that treatment.

Clay Shirky at Web 2.0: Gin and Cognitive Surplus

This was my favorite talk at the Web 2.0 Expo – probably one of my favorite talks period. I promptly went out and bought Clay’s new book, Here Comes Everybody, and am working through that right now. It’s good.

The big question he answers is, “Where do people find the time?”

Enjoy the 15 minute video:

Read the transcript here.

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