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Showing posts from October, 2008

An entrepreneur's adventure: Part I

I frantically clawed at the dirt with my free arm, hoping for a jagged rock I could hold, a branch, a tuft of grass ... anything. My left arm hanging from a protruding tree root was weakening and hot from lactic acid. The warm blood sliding down the inside of my elbow felt almost cool to the strained muscles. I could still feel the frames of my glasses on my face, "at least I haven't lost those" I thought. But the glasses were of no use now, it was dusk, for me the hardest time to see. "Shika hio mti, Harry", a voice fell from above. I strained and turned my head up. Although I couldn't see him, I knew Collin was there. He must have been petrified, already feeling the unbearable guilt he would have to bear for putting his nephew in a life and death situation. "Heh heh", I managed a chuckle, imagining the comic expression on his face right now, his face wasn't suited to tragedy. "What" I scolded myself back to reality. I was making f

Thinking in Black and White

I recently joined a group called toastmasters, whose objective is to help its members improve their speech-making abilities. Here is my first speech called the icebreaker, that is supposed to introduce me to the other members. Thinking in Black and White Madame toast master, fellow toastmasters and guests. My form two English teacher was Ms. Koch, an American with a Belgian ancestry. She asked us to call her Ms. K as her name did not lend itself easily to pronunciation by an African tongue. During one group session where we could move around the class interacting with other students and the teacher she asked me what kind of writing I liked most. Wanting to give an impressive answer I furrowed my brow a while and replied “creative writing”. Ms. K reflected on my response, and I smugly awaited praise for my clever answer. “But Harry” she replied “all writing is creative.” I stood there feeling dumb, my smugness worn down by her simple logic. I half-grunted, half-mumbled to acknowledg

Literary Hacks at Business Daily

First of all, I would like to thank all those who I meet on the street, in the office, on the road, who are readers and followers of my blog. You give me the motivation to keep at this. Now, some of you have mentioned that I seem to have deviated from writing "startup" posts, like the rural cyber chronicles in my recent postings. Heck, I guess that's true somewhat, but the mind of an entrepreneur is fickle and unrestrained. Whatever catches my fancy at that time is what I would blog about, so today I am putting on a critique's hat and aim my sights at what I feel is woefully bad journalism. My target of vitriol is the headline story on the Business Daily of October 7, 2008, titled "Internet theft hits a new high" Naturally I was attracted to this story because I am an avid Internet user and a promoter of its potential as a business tool. Considering the very serious nature of the paper's allegation, I expected a fact-laden article with detailed testim

Closet Zain Users and the Vuka Phenomenon

What are the three most common things you expect to find in a Kenyan's wallet? National ID ATM Card Cash (if it's between 28th of previous month and 5th of new month). I think that we can now add a fourth... a Zain sim card. The pink card from the Mombasa road fellows is now a must-have for any sophisticated mobile phone user (who probably are in the millions), even if it spendgs most time in the wallet. For too long we have watched the rapid release of products from Celtel/Zain with the frustration of a teacher having to severally repeat a point to a dunderhead student. Uhuru tariff, Pamoja tariff, 6pm-6am 3 bob tariff, Unlimited talk time tariff, have all been excellent products in their own right, but not good enough to get a mass exodus from green to pink. However things may now be changing with the new Vuka tariff . Vuka represents a brutal price war tactic on the part of Zain, intended to convert greens to pinks by making Zain the cheapest network to use, regardless o

Products I want to see from Safaricom, Zain, Orange

Ah, the uninhibited joy of wishful thinking. After Safaricom introduced Voice SMS - a product that I had dreamed of since I first used a mobile phone - I started thinking "hey, perhaps I can voice some of my other fanciful mobile phone product ideas, and someone may just take notice"? Well, here goes ... the following list are some of the next products I'd like to see from the trio of Safaricom, Zain and Orange. An SMS autoresponder. Everytime you get an SMS you can optionally send back a response like "Thanks for your SMS I'll get back to you", or "Sorry I'm not able to respond to your SMS right now but I'll do so as soon as I'm able" It would be quite useful, especially when your phone is off/out of reach/on divert. The ability to convert unused airtime back to cash (although I know this makes absolutely no financial sense to these companies, it would be really cool!) Free voicemail depositing. Mobile Number Porting, just let me use