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John Wesonga Articles
Preparing for 2008
I haven't coded or blogged as much as I'd like to over the past few weeks because I've been working on ou strategy for 2008. I never really new hwo difficult or demanding it would be until when I decided to sit down and really assess when,how,why, and what I'm going to do for the next 12 months. The key resounding themes in everything I'm doing are:
Enhanced Google Maps for East Africa
On tuesday I had the rare opportunity courtesy of Chris Kiagiri, Technical Lead at Google Kenya to have a sneak peek at the upcoming enhanced google mpas for east africa and let me say it was truly awesome. The amount of detail in this new version is quite amazing, a quick look at the nairobi map goes as far down as streets, buildings (building name and icon) and even adds information to indicate if the street is one way or two way. The enhanced maps currently cover major cities and towns in East Africa including Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, and Dar es Salaam.
Facing and addressing the challenges as an SME in Kenya
The recent political and social skirmishes in Kenya have added an extra layer of challenges to the Kenyan business community, the SME sector being one of the worst affected. The reason I say this is unlike big business that have cash reserves that help them weather the storm, the SME sector commonly operates on working capital and day-to-day cash, the reserve that is there is primarily used to pay bills and source for new business.
ICT Peace Initiative
On monday I had the opportunity to be part of a discussion that was convened by ICT leaders, in attendance were 4 key players in the ICT industry. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how the ICt community can use their infrastructure to push out a positive message about Kenya at a time when all the messages being broadcasted are negative.
Google cocktail- interesting and informative
On thursday evening I attended a small cocktail hosted by the head of google kenya, Joe Mucheru, and by extension the google head office. The cocktail proved to be quite interesting and informative, the attendance was diverse with people from different fields, google was represented by several key people including the Technical Lead in the kenyan office who is 100% kenyan although he did work at the googleplex in mountain view, california.
On friday I had an interesting meeting with Mr.James Kachangati of FSDKenya, James is the head of GrowthFin and had been informed about TIDE from one of our partners, which aroused some interest from him. The meeting was to start at noon but I arrived at about half past after getting lost on my way there, nevertheless James was welcomed me and proceeded to brief me on what FSDKenya does.
The importance of networking
This morning at 7.30am the Kenya ICT Board (www.ict.go.ke) held an open forum for the Kenya BPO & Contact Centre Society an umbrella organisation for all things outsourcing. I was to make a short presentation on some of the work we are doing on their portal, but I arrived a few minutes late so I wasn't slotted in, even though I was disappointed having worked on the powerpoint the previous night I opted to stay and hear what was to be said.
3rd TIDE Innovation Series
The 3rd TIDE Innovation Series is slated for the 22nd of November 2007 at the Grand Regency from 5pm-7pm.
Kenya, the land of the pyramids
Over the past few months, there has been an increasing number of pyramid schemes mushrooming all over the country. All promise amazing returns with zero risk, they lure hard working kenyans ( a large number of civil servants) into the setup and after some time they close shop.
Africa needs a technology bubble
According to the WSJ, silicon valley is on the brink of another technology bubble bust like what was witnessed in 1999. According to the article the emergence of "strange" website names such as Orgoo and businesses whose sole purpose is to sell t-shirts bearing the logos of internet companies(check out Startup Schwag) is evidence of a bubble and its eminent bust. I cannot even pretend to understand the dynamics of silicon valley, so I won't even argue with the writer of the article, but I'm left wondering when will Africa expereience it's own technology bubble?
Makings of a world leader
On sunday as I was cruising through the channels on my analogue TV set :) I came across an interview by Riz Khan on Al Jazeera, he was interviewing Klaus Schwab the founder and executive chairman of the world economic forum and a prolific social entrepreneur. The interview had progressed but I was able to catch some key points, when asked by Riz what makes a world leader, Mr.Schwab responded with the following answer:
TIDE Series-Taking Shape
This week we've spent time working ont he next TIDE Innovation Series event which is slated for October 11th and will feature with the Chief Operating Officer of Nakumatt Holdings. When I look back at how TIDE came about and what it's becoming I can't help but be amazed, like a small seed that grows into a giant tree this event is beginning to take shape.
Content for Africa by Africans
About 3 months ago I attended the ICTExpo organized by ICTVillage, the event was quite interesting with a wide range of presentations including one from Google. It was during that event that the permanent secretary in the ministry of information and communication, Dr.Bitange Ndemo made a very important point concerning content, he said “the biggest challenge we have right now is the issue of locally produced content..we need content providers..”, once he finished a lady from South Africa informed him that they had a large amount of content from the space observatory which they were willing to offer for free, her offer was eagerly accepted. I left the event racking my brain over the need for quality local content and how I could play a major part of that process.
A few words of advice before and after you decide to quit your day job and become a freelance techie or an entrepreneur whatever comes first.
TIDE Innovation Series-Self Innovation
TIDE-Innovation Series was officially launched last Saturday 8th September after a few hiccups and our inagural speaker was Dr.Manu Chandaria, Chairman of the Comcraft group which is valued at over 2$billion dollars, voted 3 times as the most respected CEO in East Africa, I don't think we could have asked for a better speaker.
Are African Governments Really Ready to Embrace “E-“?
On tuesday 28th August,I had the pleasure of attending another skunkworks meeting, I was actually very excited about it since there was going to be a presentation by one of the team members behind PloneGOV an open source e-government suite of applications that has gained a lot of traction Europe and is slowly gaining acceptance in Africa and South America.
Training the next generation of innovative web developers
Two weeks ago I sent an email to the skunkworks mailing list advertising a web developer trainee position, the response was very positive.
Race towards connecting Africa to the internet
This week there was an interesting article here about one of the companies undertaking the construction of the underwater fibre optic cable and their search for a strategic investor, I can't help but feel excited when I hear about such news for the very reason that its now common knowledge that in the next 2 years Africa will be interconnected to the rest of the internet.
Changing the mindset
As technology director at our company one of my key responsibilities is to identify talented and eager web enthusiasts the objective of which is to train and mentor them in two key areas Technology and Business. As a company we are aiming to set a standard not only in the technologies that are used but also in developing applications that make business sense within this part of the world, what this means is that the people we identify need to be innovative not necessarily entrepreneurs but they must possess a degree of creativity and I'm sure you'll agree with me that in order for you set a standard innovation is key. I once told a techie that we don't want to reinvent the wheel all we need to do is find one aspect of the wheel that we can improve and make it work for this part of the world.
StartupWeekend: We need this event in Kenya
Yesterday as I prepared to go to sleep I decided to head to my favorite technology and web 2.0 blog Techcrunch just to see if I'd missed something of interest (this happens a lot bearing in mind that I'm running around like a nutcase over the weekend) and one thing caught my eye that got my juices pumping StartupWeekend which apparently is/was a hookup of 70 founders who came together to build a startup in one weekend woh!!
Corporate Blogging: Peupe ushers in a new era for Africa
Corporate Blogging, that was the title of a recent article published in the July issue of Business in Africa. Here are few excerpts:
Maybe we need Incompetent web developers
For the past couple of days I haven't blogged very much, mainly because I've been very busy with Peupe from a development point of view as well as from a business angle. So today on my way to our company executive meeting I decided to carry a book to read - if you've experienced public road transport in Kenya then I'm sure you'll understand why I carried a book to read but that is another story for another day.
Selling what's never been sold before
How do you sell what’s never been sold before? That’s the question that was in my mind when I went to see my first potential peupe client today, never mind that I’m the techie in the company so sales isn’t my strong point.
About the Author: John Wesonga
RSS for John's articles - Visit John's website
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, John Wesonga is a partner and the Technology Director of Multiple Choices, a communications company that builds web 2.0 applications for the Internet and provides strategic advice on Online Brands. His interests include: web development, blogging, mobile technology, Africa, and Kenya. His blog, Afropreneur, is one of the most popular online resources for news regarding business and technology in Africa. He is also currently a student at Strathmore University, where he is pursuing a degree in Business Information Technology.
Click here to visit John's website.
More from John Wesonga
StartupWeekend We need this event in Kenya
TIDE Innovation SeriesSelf Innovation
Corporate Blogging Peupe ushers in a new era for Africa
TIDE SeriesTaking Shape
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