The eight edition of the platform has come and gone but has definitely left its mark in the sands of time. As with previous editions of the program the speakers were drawn from both the local and international scene. I really sometimes wonder how Pastor Poju Oyemade (initiator of the program) gets the international speakers; because, although they are relatively known people, they always bring to the table what really matters.

The speakers have all achieved in their different fields and had something relevant to offer the enthusiastic and large crowd.

Sam Graham-Felsen who was both the strategic advisor and a key member of President Barrack Obama’s online campaign team basically explained in details how the internet served as the most important tool in producing America’s first black president. Sam explained that YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Emailing were the major tools that help build the most successful campaign in history, generating 7.5million views for Obama’s YouTube videos. With an email list of 13million addresses they raised $500 million online, shattering previous records. He explained that this was achievable because they never directly solicited for funds and they connected with the ordinary man. He did state that people who donated less than $100 made up a larger percentage of the $500 million that was raised.

Anand Giridharadas, wow! That name is a mouth full; still trying to get the correct pronunciation. This seasoned Journalist who is from India but born in Cleveland, Ohio has worked with leading media giants including: The New York Times, and the International Herald Tribune. He did give valuable insight on how a disadvantaged background could be spur you into achieving what the world would marvel at. Using his home country as example, Anand explained that developing countries have to focus on needs rather than desires. He stated that 15 billion people now use mobile phones; this was achieved because of a term known as ‘creative cheapness’. The term simply explains that cheaper versions of expensive products should always be created for the average person. Developing countries have to engage in incremental development and should genuinely invent. Anand also spoke extensively on how a prominent Kenyan blogger Ory Okolloh used the web platform known as USHAHIDI to solve the age-long problem of violence. This site collected user-generated cell phone reports of riots, stranded refugees, rapes and deaths and plotted them on a map, using locations given by informants to track flash points.

Leke Alder came on with his unusual but catchy and intelligent presentation. His topic: Tabula Rasa: stories from an empty box aptly explained that the fear of the unknown can be our limiting factor. He achieved this with a short story illustration. Thank goodness, he did not use his Pastor Chris Okotie like words, he came across just fine. Even if we are limited in our physical environment, our mind can travel the universe. He stated that desire is the starting point to get out of the box. He rounded up by stating that the 3 laws that can hinder you from thinking out of the box are:

• Nothing is possible

• Something is impossible

• Nothing brings nothing.

I will leave you to muse on that. Pretty deep I would say.

Although Lanre Olusola is not known as a preacher, a first time hearer would readily call him a spirit filled preacher. He did try to marry spirituality and science. I think he achieved a little of that, but came through to me more as a preacher than a psychologist. He received by far the loudest ovation. I really did enjoy his session because he brought on the unexpected. He stated that the difference between what you see and what you do not see is the difference between the frequencies of its vibration; I hope I did not confuse you any further. Well to break it down, we as humans are filled energy and constantly vibrating. Therefore if you have high energy you would invariably produce greater vibrations.

Sarah Lacy, the only women in the ‘pack’ held her own. This experienced and award winning American technology journalist and author spoke extensively about how Silicon Valley became the world’s largest technology center. She spent more than a decade covering business in Silicon Valley therefore she knows the terrain real well. She has interviewed the world’s best in technology, Mark Zuberberg (founder of Facebook), Bill gates etc.

Other speakers were Pastor Tony Rapu who is a seasoned teacher of the gospel, a business visionary and philanthropist. Jared Cohen who spoke on Sunday, the 8th of May is the Director of Google ideas and an Adjunct fellow at the council of Foreign Relations. He basically gave in-depth knowledge of how the technological revolution is changing the face of the earth.

The platform 8.0 was really worth while. As we look forward to the next edition kudos should be given to the visionary for having the foresight and will to execute such enormous project at no cost to the populace. Lest I forget, a big happy birthday to you Sir; Pastor Poju celebrated his birthday on Sunday the 8th of May, 2011.

Daniel Iyam