Sitting at the Ads24 Food for Thought gathering in the oh-so-classy Hyde Park shopping centre with sweeping views of Sandton, being entertained and informed by three wise and opinionated men on stage, was a rare treat. Here are a few of my take outs from the high level event.
Dawie Roodt, chief economist, Efficiency Group
His review of the world’s financial highs and lows was followed by an impassioned plea for early adoption of blockchain technology
- The nature of business is to win and not allow competition to succeed.
- Liquidating a business is not a bad thing. Destruction of companies is necessary to release capital to be used by someone else who can do more with it.
- Don’t think out of the box, destroy the box. Blockchain can remove restrictions and enable people to take control of their own future
- Blockchain excludes intermediaries like banks which may disappear completely
- “I live by two things. I will not steal and always honour my contracts.”
Clem Sunter, scenario planner
Countries, political parties and companies have benefitted from his analyses of the past, present and future influencers of world trends. He concluded by simplifying complex information for us and suggested three scenarios facing South Africans.
- Global trends
Religions at war, think turmoil in the Middle East. China rising to become the most powerful nation on earth. Ageing populations (US with its younger population will grow faster than Europe and Japan where there is zero population growth). Anti establishment movement against bureaucracies and the super-rich, unsettling voting patterns in US and UK. Climate change leading to extreme weather patterns.
- Trends in South Africa
Corruption (look at Venezuela). Quality of infrastructure (SOEs must be turned around. Style of leadership (Cyril Ramaphosa). Pockets of excellence (world class companies). Changing nature of work (young people have to make a job not get a job). Land reform (occupations are around urban areas)
- Three scenarios for our country
Premier League. Ramaphosa’s new dawn leads to a turnaround and GDP growth of 3%
Second Division. Forces beyond Ramaphosa’s control take precedence leading to uncertainty
Failed State. Public violence rises and investment in South Africa dries up.
- “I have presented to many media companies. The big red flag is the internet and free information and what is the best model?”
- South Africa is at an economic crossroad
Professor Nick Binedell, founder and ex dean of the Gordon Institute of Business Science
Binedell hosted the panel and shared many of his insightful and uplifting views.
- South Africans need a room with a view, enabling them to see behind them and into the future
- It’s not enough to just learn things, experiences change emotions
- Gauteng represents 10% of Africa’s GDP
- The middle class is not just about income, it’s about safety, schooling, property…
- After driving an awed Harvard professor through Sandton and across into the muddle and mess that is Alex, Binedell was struck by this thoughtful reaction, “Which idiot built a highway between Sandton and Alex?”
- South Africa has an 18-month window to get things right (politically and economically)
Footnote. Activations and events are flavour of the year in media circles. At a MOST Awards focus group earlier this year, a number of media owners mentioned that up to 30% of those media agency staff respond positively to invitations, then fail to pitch up or offer an apology. In response, an outraged media agency leader suggested owners should provide a list of names to him. Nice idea but it won’t happen, as owners are wary of being boycotted by individuals who manage big media portfolios.
I have attended a number of really good media owner events this year. The thought, effort, time and money in putting on inspiring and memorable events together begs better manners and leadership that promotes respect.
Sandra Gordon is publisher of The Media Online and The Media, publications of Wag the Dog. She is deeply schooled in marketing, with experience in media, advertising, branding, communication, public relations and publishing (print and online). Currently CEO of the Iconic Group a savvy collection of entrepreneurial companies offering services across the marketing and communication spectrum.