#LeaderEx2016 – What I Picked Up

So on the 24th of August I took a day off and attended a business expo and I have to say it was Totally Worth It! Not only because I kinda enjoy the not working a full 5 day work week as much as the next man but because I got to witness and pick up a couple of interesting ideologies while I was there. I’ll do my best to make you see what I saw at that packed Sandton Convention Center.


Blurring the line between virtual and reality... one clunky wearable at a time
Blurring the line between virtual and reality… one clunky wearable at a time


First Point: Business People are not gonna pass up any chance to sell you a product. Some of the ways were typical, such as Samsung’s  VR booth pictured above and the Audi that one saw as soon  as they walked into the venue (sorry petrol heads, I didn’t take a picture). The most impressive method of selling I was subject to was probably done by the Ignite company. There I was tweeting away on the hashtag #LeaderEx2016 about things I saw during the event and next thing I know someone is in my mentions saying I should come check out their stand.


I know my mother told me not to talk to strangers but I just had to drop them a visit and see what they had to offer. They have quite an impressive offering of online service as you will see if you visit their website. I was more impressed by the pricing they had for SSL certificates. They might be the most affordable guys I’ve come across in these parts of under a rock. And also just for visiting their stand and conversating with their people I scored myself a refreshment. How refreshing.


Now that the freebies and free advertising are out of the way let me get to the real reason why the LeaderEx expo was put together. The talks. They had a whole lot of interesting talks lined up. I had originally planned to see:

  • Leadership in a Digital Age,
  • Creative Leadership: The new competitive advantage,
  • Starting up in Africa,
  • Hacking red tape,
  • The State of Innovation in South Africa,
  • From Facebook to the factory floor: How VR has a role to play in the business sector,
  • Can innovation save SA’s education system?
  • To MBA or not to MBA?

That was my original list in it’s original order. I was dissappointed when the planned speaker for the “Starting Up in Africa” talk couldn’t beat the traffic to deliver his talk but the expo had a lot more things to offer so I went on with my day. Funny enough my favourite talk of the day was the first item on my things to see list above. Leadership in a Digital Age. Which had some entertaining speakers in the form of Some guy who heads the client comms at Facebook South Africa, this other maginificant lady who leads Intel South Africa, and this honestly blunt dude who oversaw Project Isizwe. The reason I don’t remember their names is because I have a small attention span and the sugar rush from the Ignite smoothie had made my attention span a whole lot shorter. So I automatically forgot names. You can Google the names if you want.


They spoke one a range of points. But here are some quotables from each one of the speakers. First quotable:

“When you empower women. They will take that empowerment and empower the community.” – The Intel Lady

I found this quote quite powerful. She set it up by highlighting the fact that there is 45% more woman without digital access in Southern Africa then in the rest of the world. Quite alarm since the internet might be one of the few places in the world where woman can be seen as equals to man… when they are not being slut shamed… or haressed… or censored… or whatever else things woman will uniquely face when expressing themselves on the internet. With this said it was no surprise that she is actively involved in a number of women empowerment programmes. Sadly I couldn’t managed to Google them for you guys. I will definitely remember her name next time I see her! Now for the second quote:

“Code Wins Arguments” – Guy who works at Facebook South Africa

I had asked a question and he basically said that’s what he knows the tech guys do at his work place to settle tech arguments. If it works for them. I should definitely propose it at my work place. Now for the third and last quote from the Leadership in… talk.

“You can’t hide what type of person you are anymore.” – The Project Isizwe guy

This was basically what the guy was saying in all the questions he answered. A Penny for his thoughts I guess.

To conclude. The talk had a whole lot of other knowlegable points which fall in the non attentive period of my attention span. But I have a fuzzy feeling that I enjoyed what I heard through and through.

Rapelang giving her Youth Unleashed Talk
Rapelang giving her Youth Unleashed Talk


There were other talks I enjoyed as well. Like Rapelangs. But very few where too my tastes and attention span. Either I felt like they diluted the topic too much, like the Future of Work talk, or they were just trying to sell me something like the Samsung VR talks 🙁

For the future of work talk, I felt like the things I read on How We Get To Next kinda went light years ahead of what the speakers were willing to mention. But yeah, I was expecting too much. From an experience perspective though. #LeaderEx2016 was a proper experience. I would advice everyone to go check it out next year. I’m might go back too. Because this year I didn’t get a chance to have some JSE popcorn. That queue was just too long. Longest queue of the day. Will done JSE! You almost made as much impact as the people at ComenSA who did I great job with their coaching and mentoring sessions! I even learned a few things from them. But that’s a topic for another day.