Some of Google’s top executives and brightest minds arrive in Cape Town this weekend for G-South Africa, a two day outreach program to reach local web and mobile developers and tech enterpreneurs. The event is fully sold out and promises to be an unforgettable experience for all those attending.
Bridgette Sexton is the Google executive directly responsible for organising the event, which will focus on building the developer and technology entrepreneur communities in Africa in order to improve the quality of local online content and applications.
Memeburn caught up with Bridgette a few days before the event.
Memeburn: Is this kind of event something that Google does all over the world?
Bridgette Sexton: Not exactly. We do have developer events and dev fests all over the world, but this is a specific, tailor-made platform for Africa. We don’t have a huge office in Africa, so we want to make sure we can customise everything for the tech community here.
MB: What’s in it for Google?
BS: The biggest thing we try to focus on is seeing the internet eco-system grow. While this may not be directly helpful to us, the view that we take is “What’s the best thing for the user?”. We have amazing applications, and its about teaching people how to use them. Creating web stuff used to be super expensive. Now you can do it for, essentially, free. We want to expose those kind of opportunities to the people here.
MB: Who can we expect to be at the G-South Africa sessions?
There are some great people coming: Nelson Mattos — Vice-President of Engineering for the Europe, the Middle Eeast and Africa (EMEA) is coming. Luke McKend, who is the new Country Manager for South Africa will be there, as well as Nick Heller, the Head of New Business Development for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Many heads of development will be here, as well as a lot of Google engineers, and search and product guys will be here. Representative from YouTube will also be involved.
MB: How much of G-South Africa will be focussed on mobile?
BS: There will definitely be a mobile focus, for sure. At the same time, we’ll be looking at all of our platforms and discussing what you can do in a mobile sense. Some of our guys who create mobile stuff will be there and talking about mistakes made, tips and tricks that ensure a seamless experience.
MB: What can entrepreneurs expect from the gathering?
BS: It’s going to be really practical, a chance to ask questions, and to take an inside look at Google. One of the big focuses of the event will be on the business side. There are so many great developers and product guys who cannot take what they have created from the product stage to market stage. We want to give people answers to questions like: Am I a Google company? How do I play in both markets? How do I target people? We have lots of great tools that can help with these kinds of questions, and many of them are being used incorrectly.
MB: How invested is Google in African tech development?
BS: There has been a huge buy-in for Africa at Google. We’re very invested. While you may not see thousands of Google logos, it doesn’t mean we’re not here. We’re dedicated to coming as Google, and partnering locally. It’s all about developing the eco-system of the web. Reduce barriers to access, costs, make it more affordable. It’s all about business and making the internet better.
Something always sticks out to me. A lot of people have TV. They pay enormous amounts of their income on TV and on mobile because there is something compelling about the content that makes them want to have a mobile phone or TV.
The internet has so much power. But right now, the content is not quite as compelling as it ought to be. That’s what we want to change.
Click here for the full program.