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Showing posts from September, 2008

Stepping out of the closet... for Barack Obama

My first title was just "Stepping out of the closet" which I thought would be catchy and provocative. On further thought however, I decided to add the latter part, as there was also a danger that some might not read further than the title and proverbially judge a book by its cover. No offence intended to those who are in/out of the closet in the narrower sense of the word. I'm quite open-minded and I don't judge any one by how they like their eggs. So back to the topic, yes, Barack Obama.  Finally writing that makes me question whether I shouldn't just retreat back into the closet. You see Obama is undeniably the biggest news story of 2008, a historic candidate for POTUS, an inspirational story of achievement, and a potential 'leader of the free world'. Let's not forget that as a Kenyan I share some heritage with him ( sarcastically: heck I could be his cousin!). These circumstances should require... no ... demand that I spend a respectable amount of

...I can't complain

Back in 2001 when I was still in college, had one pair of overworn jeans and was hustling this Nairobi for web design jobs I had the good fortune to be introduced to a senior executive of a leading Kenyan company who is now its very powerful CEO.  Needless to say, I was intimidated, and not just because of 'Bob' my erstwhile pair of trousers (which with its worn denim looked more of an attempt at covering my nudity rather than a rebelious 'geek culture' fashion statement); but because I didn't have a clue what I'd say and this executive was widely travelled and widely knowledgeable.  Fortunately I realised that I really had nothing to lose and with that confidence I pitched my services as I walked with him (and his entourage of assistants) from his office to the basement car park. It wasn't easy; we met three different people (colleagues and building-mates) along the way each of whom wanted to 'seek his counsel' or just make pleasantaries. This mean

You read it here first

Well well well... once again here I am, the self-appointed critic and fan of the m-commerce industry in our beautiful Kenya. My fly on the wall has been working very hard and I have gotten further confirmation about the burial of Sokotole, but wait there's a surprise.... Yes, sokotele is as dead as a dodo but it is to be resurrected with a new name, new features who aims to become a formidable competitor to M-pesa. Very keen to see what those Zain Kuwaiti oil dollars are going to crank out.  Watch this space for details.

Sokotele is DEAD!

A reliable fly on the wall says that this venture from Kencell/Celtel/Whatever is drawing its last breath. I guess they had it coming considering the business model they took.  One of my favourite business books "An Innovator's Solution" says that the key to successful products is to find out what job consumers are trying to get done, and develop a product that gets that job done. Hate them or love them, thats what M-PESA did, and what Sokotele failed to do, and now they will be punished for it. I believe Sokoteles biggest mistake was tying-in the service to K-Rep (although I hear that this was because the service was actually a K-Rep idea!), and making the service simply about money transfer instead of the more job-I'm-trying-to-get-done 'liquid money storage' service that M-PESA is. Oh well, lets see if a rejuvenated Telkom can create some waves with their own moribund money-transfer service (any body know what its called) under an Orange brand.