Author: Toby Shapshak

Toby Shapshak is editor-in-chief and publisher of Stuff, a Forbes contributor and a Financial Mail columnist. He has been writing about technology and the internet for 20 years and his TED Global talk on innovation in Africa has over 1,5-million views.He has written about Africa's tech and start-up ecosystem for Forbes, CNN and The Guardian in London. He was named in GQ's top 30 men in media and the Mail & Guardian newspaper's influential young South Africans. He has been featured in the New York Times. GQ said he "has become the most high-profile technology journalist in the country" while the M&G wrote: "Toby Shapshak is all things tech... he reigns supreme as the major talking head for everything and anything tech."

Co-founder and CEO Katlego Maphai launched Yoco with three friends in October 2015. From a year-long beta with 500 merchants, they are now adding 10,000 new merchants a month. He tells Stuff Studio’s editor-in-chief Toby Shapshak about the phenomenal rise of this remarkable mobile payments business, that has now evolved into a payments platform. Read more on Stuff Studios. Also available on Apple podcasts | Spotify | Google podcasts

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And then Elon Musk wasn’t buying Twitter. As tech stocks had a torrid week and their share prices slid, Musk tweeted last Friday that the deal was “temporarily on hold”. His reason was “pending details supporting calculation that spam/accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” and tweeted a Reuters article. About two hours later, he tweeted: “Still committed to acquisition.” Clear as mud? Yes. Normal Musk contradictory behaviour? Yes. Likelihood of many turns and/or about-turns? Definitely. Will I still be writing columns about whether Pretoria’s most famous former resident in several months’ time? So what is the reasoning or…

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Good cybersecurity is one of the things that everybody should know about and practise. These are the techniques you should adopt immediately, please. Stay safe, over Install security software on your computer and Android smartphone. Right now. I use Kaspersky, which offers a single or multiple-device licence. Make sure you run daily scans and always keep it updated. Update Windows, Android, iOS, or any apps as soon as software updates (often called patches) are available. Hackers use known exploits to crack people’s security, often with ransomware, which would not be possible if the patches were installed to close the vulnerability.…

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Perhaps the biggest talking point at the Oscars — apart from that slap — was the triumph of the streaming platforms. The biggest award of the night, best picture, went to Apple’s Coda, reportedly narrowly beating Netflix’s The Power of the Dog, directed by Jane Campion (who nevertheless won the best-director Oscar). What is noteworthy is how the centre of power has shifted in the movie business, from the traditional studio powerhouses and the cinema complexes that screened them to an alliance between those studios and the streaming platforms that now distribute them. In the TV space, it is as noteworthy a…

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Max Cuvellier’s not-insubstantial day job is head of mobile for development of the GSMA. But that’s not what he’s talking to Stuff Studio’s editor-in-chief Toby Shapshak about. His also not-insubstantial side-jig is a data newsletter called Africa: The Big Deal, which he runs with his good friend Maxime Bayen. This “one graph, one paragraph” weekly newsletter has tracked how fintech has exploded on the continent; while start-ups in Africa have raised $1.8 billion in Q1 of 2022 or 2.5 times the amount raised the year before. Also listen on Google Podcast, Apple Podcast, and Spotify.

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One of Twitter’s biggest critics, and most controversial tweeters, is now its largest shareholder. Elon Musk’s 9.2% stake is worth $2.9 billion today, pushing the social platform’s shares to rise by 30%. After rumours — based on his tweets — that Musk was perhaps going to start his own social media platform, he opted instead to buy into Twitter. Last month he tweeted: “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy.” He asked his 80-million Twitter followers: “Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?” About 70% of the two-million people who answered voted “no”. The next day, he…

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There is a prima facie case of “abuse of dominance” against WhatsApp and its parent, Meta Platforms, the Competition Commission has found. It has referred them to the Competition Tribunal “for prosecution” and has proposed a hefty fine of “10% of [the] collective turnover” of Meta (and its Facebook and WhatsApp subsidiaries) in SA. Since Facebook (as it was then known) was referred to the competition watchdog in November 2020, the tribunal has twice interdicted it from “offboarding” an SA messaging service run by startup GovChat, called #LetsTalk. The commission found that the terms and conditions governing access to the…

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How often do you just click “Accept all cookies” when visiting a website? It always seems easier to click that one, prominent button than fight your way through several screens and clicks to reject cookies or to only accept the bare minimum. This difficulty is a coordinated attempt by websites to make it harder to stop them from tracking you digitally. Who are the worst offenders? Would you believe it’s Google and Facebook – which the French privacy watchdog last year fined €150 million and €60 million, respectively. They have three months, from January this year, to rectify the settings.…

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If Google is selling my personal preferences based on my search history to would-be advertisers, they are getting it completely wrong. Here’s why. Google thinks I want to buy a new iPhone (which I already own), a new MacBook Pro (check), needs insurance (which I already have), and am constantly buying consumer electronics (I’m not, I am just searching for prices when reviewing products for Stuff). Occasionally, it also seems, I really want to buy ugly shoes. Or the makers of this particular brand of shoes – which are so ugly not even Tito Mboweni would be seen in public…

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