8 October 2012A South African man from Kliptown in Soweto is one of 10 finalists for the 2012 CNN Hero of the Year award, an annual campaign which honours everyday people doing good deeds in their communities.Within hours of hearing about his nomination, Thulani Madondo has gone from being a relatively unknown Soweto resident with a heart to change the lives of children, to gaining international celebrity status.Madondo is one of 45 000 nominees from more than 100 countries.Winners are decided entirely by public vote, and you can vote for him on www.CNNheroes.com by clicking on his name. Voting closes on 28 November 2012 and the winners will be announced on 2 December.Helping children to dreamMadondo was nominated for his work with the Kliptown Youth Programme (KYP), which provides meals for children, support with school fees, after-school care as well as educational help and tutoring to about 400 disadvantaged children from the Kliptown area.The organisation has also made it possible for 18 youths to get tertiary education.Madondo is a founder of the organisation and its chairperson. He works with a team of permanent staff and volunteers to inspire children who are growing up in difficult circumstances to have dreams and hope for the future.The main focus of the initiative is its tutoring programme, which runs four days a week. It provides tutoring for grade two to seven pupils, and uses professional teachers to help grade eight to 12 children with subjects such as maths and science.“To achieve this means a lot. It is an honour and privilege and we feel we have already achieved a lot just by being in the top 10,’ Madondo says.“It gives us hope to receive this type of exposure and recognition for the work we do.’Each of the finalists will receive R412 000 (US$50 000) for their organisation and the winner gets about R2-million ($250 000).Changing a community, one child at a timeMadondo is Soweto’s ordinary hero who has made it his life mission to change his community.Growing up in Kliptown, in a one-room shack that he shared with seven other siblings, he knows the challenges of young people in this area.His family didn’t have enough money to keep him and all his siblings in school, but he was determined not to drop out.He washed cars to earn enough money to pay his school fees, and went on to become the first member of his family to graduate from high school.With his schooling behind him, he wanted to become an accountant, but his family didn’t have the means to send him to university.Looking back on his childhood, Madondo realised that education is the most powerful tool to empower people, and this led him to co-found the KYP.“We feel education is the only key out of these challenging conditions that people live in,’ he says.Kliptown is one of the oldest residential areas of Soweto and is home to about 45 000 people. Here people live in informal housing, some don’t have access to services such as electricity and there is a high rate of unemployment.Many children from this community drop out of school because they don’t have school uniforms and text books.Learning how communities workMadondo set out to educate himself on everything to do with community development. Soon after completing high school in 2001 he participated in the City Year Programme (an intensive year of leadership training and skills development) in Johannesburg’s Yeoville community.Through the programme he had an opportunity to travel to the US, where he met former US president Bill Clinton.Then he received his community development practitioner certificate from Wits University and his certificate in community development at the University of Johannesburg.Today he is in charge of national and international fundraising for the KYP and provides regular guided tours through Kliptown.“When we started the organisation I thought I would do it part time and then still look for a job, but this ended up being my fulltime job,’ he explains.A deserved nominationMadondo was nominated for the award by Prof Ilhan Akbil from Fortham University in New York, after the KYP hosted the professor and a group of student volunteers.“He was so impressed with the work we do that he asked me if he could nominate me,’ he says.“I never thought this would happen. I suppose good things come to those who wait.’Through his community work, Madondo wants to emulate the life of one of his biggest heroes, South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela.“This is someone who prioritised peace in the country and through his sense of humour made South Africa a very special country to live in,’ he says.And does Madondo plan to one day go back to university to get his degree in accounting?“Probably not,’ he says. “I have found my new passion.’First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.
Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… bernard lunn Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#enterprise#NYT#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts These are reflections from having spent a few days at the annual Salesforce.com event, Dreamforce. We hope they are valuable to people who need an executive summary-level understanding of the company and its position in the cloud and SaaS marketplace. Full disclosure, the company paid for my flight and hotel to attend Dreamforce.1. They Are AmbitiousSalesforce wants to be the dominant cloud platform for business. Their view is that computing has seen two waves: the first was the mainframe, and then the PC client server, and now the third is cloud computing. They have been consistent about this since their inception in March 1999, so this is no recent bandwagon hopping.2. They Have a Good Shot at Meeting This AmbitionThey have a powerful mix of capability and relentless focus. They have the resources — cash, cash flow, clients, track record, management team, and so on — needed to execute on this vision. Their competitors are bigger, but Salesforce has the advantage of focus. They are pure play, and they have no legacy to protect.3. They Are a Marketing Machine with FlairHaving attended a few big rah-rah events, such as Java One, I see that Dreamforce compares well on scale, details, and flair. Its messaging and visuals were consistent and powerful, and everything just worked well. This all costs a lot of money (which relates to the next point), but that money has to be well spent, and they seem to be doing that. The presentations had real flair and humor. Benioff knows how to be controversial to get press. They are a billion-dollar business that still acts like a start-up. Even the music was good.4. Their Biggest Issue Is Maybe PriceThere are many lower-cost competitors to their base CRM application. Now that SaaS is increasingly accepted, due in part to Salesforce’s evangelical marketing, smaller competitors spending a tiny fraction of what they spend on marketing can undercut them. Their most visible competitor is Zoho, and it does not look like Zoho is going to shy away from this battle, and they have staying power. So Salesforce is fighting on two fronts. On the one hand they are competing with Oracle and SAP for big enterprise accounts. On the other hand they are fighting low-cost competitors, such as Zoho. This will require all their marketing and management skills.5. They See Today’s Troubled Economy as Their Moment to Win BigThey got their early big traction in the last downturn around 2001 and 2002 and have never looked back. They are greedy while others are fearful. They spend more, grow, and hire, while other firms lay off people. The basic economic advantages of cloud computing, such as lower capital expenditures and a faster time to market, resonate in a downturn to the point that they overcome the resistance of conservative buyers to cloud computing.6. Their Vendor Eco-System Is Making Money and Acting BullishSalesforce knows that this matters. This is the lesson they learned from Microsoft. Will they move into the spaces currently occupied by vendors? Of course they will. Vendors will have to be agile; that is just how the game works. But today, in these tough markets, we see vendors that are profitable, growing, hiring, and raising money. The winners in many segments are being defined now. It is a great time to be an entrepreneur in this space. Salesforce knows how to leverage all its capability to make a few winners do very well and then promote that success big time, thus inspiring others to come on board.7. They Believe That Good Software Design Matters to the Core Economics of Cloud ComputingThey refer constantly to their “multi-tenant kernel,” which sounds very techie for a such a marketing-driven company. It does appear that they are not suffering from the scaling and reliability problems that we have seen affecting consumer Web 2.0 ventures such as Twitter and Facebook.8. They Also Know How to Partner with Big Companies to Make Themselves Look BiggerThey wheeled out large companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, as partners. The message was, “We are at the center of an eco-system with big partners.” This makes large conservative enterprise buyers feel comfortable.9. Focused Research and DevelopmentThey have a predictable and focused R&D plan, with a major theme each year. This again makes large conservative buyers feel comfortable: they know what to expect.10. They Will Need to be Careful About Usability IssuesThey are adding so much functionality and so many partners that they face the danger of users getting confused and going to simpler point solutions. That “hairball-of-complexity” problem bedeviled Microsoft as it grew fast, but Microsoft enjoyed a lock-in that Salesforce cannot count on. The SaaS world is naturally lock-in resistant, with low switching costs. There is no sign of this being an immediate problem for the company, but it is something they will have to look out for.See also our most recent story about Salesforce: Salesforce.com Says Hello World.
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