Earlier today, we had one of the first AfricaDotNet user group meetings of the year. AfricaDotNet is an initiative to bring together developers and other players in the IT space together to discuss and share knowledge.
Among the speakers were
- Stephen Ebichondo from CraftSilicon, speaking on optimizing database query performance on SQL Server
- Erik Hersman from Ushahidi on the Ushahidi platform and how it was helping with the Haiti crisis
- Billy from Nokia research on some initiatives for voice based social networking and challenges for localizing speech to text
- Wilfred Mworia of AfricanPixel on iPhone application development
I started off by asking the assembled techies to express what they felt where challenges they faced in the industry. The responses were eye opening, and reinforced even further the need for an initiative like iHub. It spun off into a lengthy and enthusiastic discussion indeed, as issues such as access to equipment, connectivity, mentorship and innovation came up.
Needless to say there was enthusiasm as I outlined how iHub was going to work and how it would be of benefit to them.
The overwhelming feeling I got at the end of it -- this is SO going to work!
I'm very excited about the prospect of participating in the discovery of talent and innovators.