Lagos joined other cities of the world including New York, Barcelona, Milan, and Tokyo in hosting more than 100 events with one common theme – Social Media. We caught up with Obi Asika for his thoughts just after the event which saw the attendance of thousands of people from different walks of life – fashion, music, advocacy, technology, governance, culture, art, food, business, travel and tourism, and more.
1. Here’s a frequently asked question. What is SMWLagos and what’s the point?
SMWLagos, which stands for Social Media Week Lagos, is an incredible conference focused on how social media affects the world, it runs in 23 cities globally and it runs concurrently with 9 cities in February and the rest in September. With social media becoming an integral part of our lives, we see the need to better understand how to use this tool in connecting and engaging. That is why this conference brings welcomes people from different walks of life to better understand and harness the power of social media.
2. SMWLagos 2014 is done and dusted, were your expectations met?
All my expectations have been overcome, Lagos never fails to amaze me, the energy, the enthusiasm and the talent on display are a marvel, I definitely know 2014 was bigger, better, and SMWLagos is here to stay. Already looking forward to the 2015 edition.
3. In retrospect what was SMWLagos 2013 and 2014 like?
I think I can say 2013 was incredible and 2014 was unforgettable, from the challenges, the naysayers, those who do not believe and to all our event partners, media and channel partners as well as sponsors. I believe this is a mini national conference that shows how engaged Nigerians are. It can only get better with time.
4. How different was 2014 from SMWLagos 2013?
I should ask you, you attended both (laughs). For me I think we had less anxiety but we were very keen to connect to Africa, hence our 55forward platform. We are constantly looking for ways to improve the experience for attendees and the take home for sponsors. Although it is not easy but I think we pulled it off again.
5. Can you tell us about the team behind SMWLagos?
I have an incredible team and that cannot be overstated. I partnered with Ngozi Odita and Ndada Vaz of Society Hae, my team at Dragon is supported by Nkiru Asika of Enterprise Creative and Tola Odunsi who drives our entertainment programming. All busy people, all talented, all focused on delivering top level productions to the attendees. Wouldn’t you say we did a good job?
6. How do you go about putting things together for a week long conference?
I think Ngozi is a better fit to speak to this but to the best of my knowledge it’s a 5 month process where we focus on securing venues, developing content, designing themes, contacting speakers, negotiating with sponsors, hammering down logistics, etc., but with a good organizing team and not forgetting our volunteers, we work to make it work.
7. What was the rationale behind the theme – A connected Africa – for SMWLagos 2014?
After the first edition of Social Media Week Lagos, we saw the need to expand our horizons and have more inclusion in terms of geography and sectors. We believe social media truly connects Africa and Africans, whether its in business, government, education, or faith. That is why we decided to go with the theme for 2014 and we are glad we did because it was no longer a conference for Lagos for anyone who was interested in learning more or connecting with Africa.