arei host industry for business breakfast
Attendees of a business breakfast hosted by arei (Association of Representatives for the Electronics Industry) on 24 July were treated to an inspirational talk by computer scientist and entrepreneur Stafford Masie, and an overview of the DTI’s (Department of Trade and Industry) incentives offering given by Ntokozo Mthabela, director for BPS and electrotechnical industries within the industrial development division.
Masie worked for Telkom in the 1990s as a technology analyst, instructor and software developer, followed by a move to Dimension Data. He then launched his first tech startup and shortly afterwards moved to the USA, where he went on to play a significant role in the global open source software arena. After returning to South Africa, he launched Google’s South African presence in 2007 and became the company’s regional Africa director.
Masie shared his experiences, thoughts and vision for the technology sector with the audience, as well as some of the projects he’s currently involved with. These include the founding of Thumbzup, the company that invented the Payment Pebble and Payment Blade which were launched in South Africa as the Absa Payment Pebble and the Absa Payment Handset, and have also been successfully exported and launched in Australia and New Zealand.
Masie also shared his insights into disruptive technologies such as Bitcoin, the effects they have on society at large, and the importance of people working in the technology sector to come to grips with their implications.