I grew up as a missionary kid bouncing back and forth between Sudan and Kenya. My youth consisted of two sisters, great parents and a Yorkshire Terrier trekking from Juba to Nairobi to Khartoum. I was able to attend, and am a proud alumni, of one of East Africa's premier schools, Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya.
The constant bridging of worlds (African and American) started at such a young age that it has become embedded in my character. I find it easy to switch between cultures and enjoy friends and associates on either side of the ocean.
Constant moving, meeting new people and the resulting life-long friendships have helped craft my character and personality. I thrive on change, risk and new ventures. Few areas, or ideas, are too far out there for me to think and act on.
I am happily married to my wonderful and ever-supporting wife Rinnie, along with 3 beautiful daughters ages 3, 5 and 7.
Here's a more official bio:
Erik Hersman is the founder of AfriGadget, a multi-author website that showcases stories of Africans solving everyday problems with little more than their creativity and ingenuity. Fascinated by micro-entrepreneurs, gadgets and improvisation, he is proving that technology is changing Africa - daily.
Erik is also the co-founder of Ushahidi (which means "testimony" in Swahili), a website created to map the reported incidents of violence happening during the post-election crisis in Kenya. Currently, he is working with a team of mostly-African programmers to use what they have learned from building Ushahidi to create a free and open source engine that makes it easier to crowdsource crisis information and visualize data.
Raised in Sudan and Kenya, Erik brings unique energy and insight to the world of technology and innovation – bridging the gap between Africa and Silicon Valley. An avid blogger Erik writes two different technology blogs including: AfriGadget and WhiteAfrican. One dedicated to low-tech African ingenuity, and the other to high-tech mobile and web changes happening throughout Africa.
Good ideas. Using technology to change Africa. Mobile and internet platforms that dynamically change society. Questioning the status quo.
Let's talk about connecting Africans. A social network that's actually useful, free to the end user and manages to cause greater social interaction. The only platform worth talking about in Africa is the mobile phone (Africa's PC).
Let's talk about:
- Creating a mobile marketplace where buyers and sellers can connect.
- Providing a repository for news and information that users can upload their own local news to.
- Connecting employers with future employees.
- The future of African connectivity.
It's regional, and it's completely customized by the people wh use it at the local level. It's news, information and community by Africans for Africans.
African ingenuity and technology.
Creating a mobile phone payment platform for Africa.
Rugby and soccer. Most board games.
TED Global 2007 in Arusha was where we first came together. "We" being the young entrepreneurs, bloggers, thinkers and movers in Africa. It was out of this group that 3 of the 4 co-founders of Ushahidi would arise, just 7 months later in Kenya. One year after this, we've added yet another TED Fellow to the mix, so our team is made of 4 previous TED Fellows. If nothing else, TED brought together people with amazing ideas and catalyzed changes that will be felt for years to come.
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