Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'll be happy when...

We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we are frustrated that the kids aren't old enough and we'll be more content when they are. After that, we're frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with. We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, when we are able to go on a nice vacation or when we retire. The truth is there's no better time to be happy than right now. If not now, when? Your life will always be filled with challenges.

It's best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway. Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment that you have and treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time with ... and remember that time waits for no one.

So, stop waiting
Until your car or home is paid off.
Until you get a new car or home.
Until your kids leave the house.
Until you go back to school.
Until you finish school.
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married.
Until you get a divorce.
Until you have kids.
Until you retire.
Until summer..
Until spring.
Until winter.
Until fall.
Until you die.

There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. So work like you don't need money, love like you've never been hurt, and, dance like no one's watching.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Maduqa.com on Social Media, Like and Follow Maduqa

As a way to connect and enhance better interaction with clients and maduqa.com users, maduqa now has both fan page on Facebook and twitter account

You can now become  a fan of Maduqa on facebook...oooh it is Like these days here
Join Maduqa Facebook group here

Maduqa twitter account is @maduqa and i recommend you Follow as there great interesting tweets there

For  fans and followers be assured that you will get great and real-time updates

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The day you make your payslip redundant is the day you shall have achieved true wealth.

The almighty payslip is so powerful that loosing it gives many of us sleepless nights. It determines what we eat, when we eat, where we eat andi f we eat. It is so powerful that people have been known to suffer withdrawal syndromes worse than those of hard drugs like alcohol and cocaine.

I remember the situation of a family friend who lost the opportunity to receive a regular payslip. It took the wife three months to find out that he had lost his job; as he would wake up every morning, dress up and leave the house. He would then go to the club where he would spend the entire day reading newspapers and magazines.

Fortunately the family did not really need the payslip, and that is why it took his wife such a long time to find out that he had been retrenched from his place of work. He did not need the payslip financially. But he needed it psychologically. It had gotten to a point where the payslip defined who he was.

In this case the man had invested well enough so that his family’s standards of living were not dependent on his being employed. He had declared his payslip redundant long ago: all that remained was to do the same with his mind.

Employment is not a license to financial security
It is essential that you internalise the fact that a payslip is not an end in itself but a means to an end. Employment till death is no longer possible. And even then, will the pension, life policy, mortgage policy and education policy be able to support your family’s current standard of living?

You also need to recite the following mantra every morning when you awake. “ My contract with my employer is a monthly arrangement. They have no responsibility or intention of making me wealthy. This is my sole responsibility and obligation.”

There is a joke that has been doing the rounds since the Nairobi
city fathers begun onslaught on street vendors;

Journalist: Why are you being chased away from the streets?

Street vendor: To make way for the banks to vend money in the streets.

The payslip has become so powerful that you can actually use it to negotiate for a loan on the streets, at the same level that you negotiate with ‘mama mboga’ (vegetable vendor) for your daily supply of vegetables. With the banks lowering interest rates on unsecured loans to 2 points, for long term secured loans, we shall soon be applying for loans online (web and phone)..we already are!

Unfortunately many of us will take those unsecured loans and use the money to acquire liabilities and “doodads” (personal use assets). Many of you will use the money to upgrade your cars, seating rooms, wardrobes and mobile phones. Yet none of this works towards your creating wealth, it only deepens the hole that you need to fill before you can begin your journey to financial freedom.

The secret to financial security

As in alcoholics anonymous, the first step is to accept that you are an alcoholic; with the payslip it is to accept that you are a spend thrift. It is only after you have accepted this that you can begin the process of recovery and rejuvenation.

Many employers believe that the more dependent an employee is to their payslip, the more loyal, dedicated and hard working they will be. This is why your employer will never send you for training on personal financial planning or wealth creation. If they do it means you have been earmarked for redundancy, rightsizing or simply about to let go. Yet if these employers got out of their cocoons, they would realise that employees would work better if they ‘wanted’ to work, as opposed to ‘needed’ to work. When you are secure you become more confident and can therefore give your best to your work.

With the current downturn in the world economy, many companies have found it necessary to reduce their workforce, as the only means of cost cutting. Yet if they had helped their employees to have multiple income streams, the option of pay-cuts would have been feasible.

I tell you, leverage your payslip to create additional income streams with the sole intent of reducing your dependency on it. This will make you a better parent, friend, neighbour and employee.

This journey begins with you. Become financially literate and plan your finances. Do not depend on your employer or a wealthy spouse. The buck stops with you.

"Will i make it, ...... i can make it!"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Facebook clicks a threat to Kenyan TV stations and Radio, Really?

So the new research by Synovate indicates that Kenya has more than 3.5 million monthly internet users with over two million using Facebook.  Facebook, according to Business Daily story by Kui Kinyanjui, could spell trouble for the local TV stations and Radio in terms of ad revenues. Over two millions  on Facebook is a big number by Kenyan standards and counting.  Soon all the adverts probably will be heading towards Facebook direction and the end product is, we are building America. Talk of the National economic interest if there is anything like that. But there is something very strange about all this, take a look at the following facts about the local TV Stations, radios and Newspapers

1 . Radios advertising Facebook
Most radio stations urge their users to join them in Facebook for the discussions going on at that point, in particular the morning shows and evening drives as they call them. So if you are  on your computer or you have your phone the first place to catch up with catchy issues  of relationships which are commonly discussed on such shows is Facebook.  For the sake of vision 2030, i wish they would be promoting the local websites or blogs which are very capable of providing discussion platform.. mmm how about kachwanya.com. On a serious note, there are many local social  networking sites which provide discussion forum and promoting them i believe could be good for Kenyan economy and everyone around. But unfortunately  media houses don't like talking about them  because they consider them not mainstream enough. If internet was like selling clothes, there would be a big outcry that American products are being dumped in the local market thus killing the local industry as we have seen before with Chinese Textile. But the internet and the technology has blinded many and effectively hiding  that fact.  Therefore, we don't see the fact that promoting local websites could turn them to big businesses as it is the case in the other parts of the world.

The following are a few examples of local social network sites as good as any other in the world

2.  Newspapers advocating for Facebook
It is great for the Businesses to use Social media and in particular i like the way Kenya Airways, NSEKEnya, are doing it on Twitter. They constantly interact with Twitter users who have questions and even complains. Now let come back to Daily Nation, they too have a twitter account @dailynation which is fantastic.  But most of their links or all that i have tried before take you straight to Facebook and not their website.

Daily Nation Twitter Page
Daily Nation Twitter Page
The above shown tweets are linked to Facebook. One advantage Facebook status update has over twitter is the fact that its characters limitation is long enough to allow proper communication on one go. With Facebook fan page status update, the Nation Daily post their breaking news on their Facebook fan page.

Facebook Daly Nation Fan Page
Facebook Daily Nation Fan Page
As you can see from the diagram above all the discussions take place on Facebook. Now the bigger question is if you want to advertise, will you do it on Facebook or Daily Nation Website?
The truth is the reason why most people are not advertising on Facebook and Google, is because of the trouble with online payment. If that is sorted out then most Media houses and companies which rely on the ad revenues in Kenya might find themselves in the wilderness.
I know people will start arguing that some local websites are not upto standards but really is that true. Do you remember some of these famous websites how they looked like when they were starting? You expect a Kenyan doing local search engine to do a better search engine than Google at the present time while Google took years to reach where they are now. You expect a Kenyan trying to do a local social networking site to come up with a site better than Facebook at the present while you know very well that Facebook as it  is at the present is not how it was two years ago, even one month ago.

Recently @Kellie on her Rookie Manager blog argued that E Business ideas can't be replicated like let say a shop in Meru, because we are living in a global village and we already have Google and Facebook. My answer to that instantly  was we can do it, just like Chinese have done it with Search Engines and even Social Networks. Let take the success of Baidu search Engine, according Robert McGarvey of internetevoluation.com
The numbers rock: Chinese Internet search biggie Baidu Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU) (trading as BIDU on Nasdaq) yesterday announced a 48 percent profit surge for the fourth quarter of 2009 and predicted a strong first quarter with revenues hitting $176 to $181 million, above analyst predictions of $170 million.
You might be ready to say many things about Chinese and their stuffs but one thing will remain for a long long time, their  ecomic growth is phenomenon and  i am sure there is no country in the world that does not envy that. Actually they have just overtaken Germany as the World biggest exporter.
The question one would be asking is how can i compare China, a country with billion people with Kenya. The truth is business concept is the same, most businesses target locals or Kenyans,ranging from mobile phone network operators, ISPs, Food Joints, Banks. If you were to advertise online in most cases you will be targeting 3.5 million Kenyans and not over 2 billion online users. I agree it is now very easy to sell to anybody anything from anywhere in the world, but if you talk to the Marketing executives in Kenya, they ask for the stats, profiles and mostly how many Kenyans you are  reaching. True story from experience with Maduqa.com.  Having that in mind it goes without saying that the target of the the Kenyans trying to do e Business are  those Kenyans online. My point is give them time and chance.

Back to The Business daily article by Kui Kinyanjui and there is part which did not completely make sense to me and many others.  Read carefully   "As a result, a quarter of Kenyans who are online do not even have an e-mail address, a significant change from five years ago, when 89 per cent of all Internet users in the country had e-mail address" A quarter of online Kenyans do not have email addresses, how can that be true? What are they doing online? All the social network sites I know require people to signup using their email addresses. It can be easily be  assumed that the so called  25% are not on Facebook, other social network sites and any other website which requires people to sign up.   On twitter, @Mwirigi tweeting today Morning had this to say " You can't say that 79% of Kenyans online are on FB, then go on and say 25% of them have no e-mail addresses, how do they log in? P.O. Box?"


The announcement yesterday of google buzz has come at a time not surprising at all. For it is the same day, when we got the statistics on the most visited sites in the world, where for the first time, Facebook beat google at online page views by 16million people.

Some pundits therefore suggest that Google is threatened by Twitter and Facebook. And to survive, they have decided to "kill them". Actually it is the battle for attention, what one google executive aptly put as "“finding the signal in the social networking noise".

But is it really going to work? Think of it this way, google wave, which was to tap into this "niche market" in the social networking arena, has never really picked up. Instead, it fizzled out unceremoniosly and has since releagted to the backseat.

The challenge here is to intergrate e-mail services to social networking, of which Facebook fore-saw and provided for. The Value proposition here was one-stop shop to get in touch with friends. But Twitter took it a notch higher by providing a platform for shaving among other things videos. And of course, many journalists and publishers warmed to it.

And lest I forget, yahoo is also not left behind. Though they have not expressely coined a name for it, they want to lure users to be able to share, prioritize e-mails and to remember birthdays. Will this pick up? My hunch is it wont! Why? Because of the same reason of coming late with an idea that Facebook had already taken and ran away with.

Finally, the T.Vs and other media forms are challenged to up their game. Statistics show that an average Kenyan spends 70 minutes on Facebook, equal number of minutes he/she takes watching T.V. What does this mean for an advertiser? Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Love is in the air!
But take heed, Love will drive you mad some day, especially this week. If you doubt this, ask a man known as Mejnun in the ancient Persian true story. We are told that upon seeing Layla he fell passionately in love with her. It was the season of love. And it was not long before He willed in his heart to settle with her within the bonds of matrimony!

So much in love was he that he said,
"I pass by these walls, the walls of Layla

And I kiss this wall and that wall
It’s not Love of the houses that has taken my heart
But of the One who dwells in those houses"

But the story does not end there. For we are told that Mejnun was denied to marry Layla, by her father. He could not believe this! In fact, the rejection was so strong that he lost his mind and became mad! The pain can loosely be compared to how Romeo felt when he was told that Juliet has died and was long buried.

This week, I reckon a few of us are destined to "madness" shortly before or after 14th Feb. This is inevitable because love is a mixture of triumph and tragedy! But again, it can have a happy ending depending on what we will determine to do.

A simple gift can warm the hearts and minds of a lover. For instance, at maduqa.com , there is a shop called Premium Precious Stones Ltd for precious stones, like Rubi, which of course would be a special gift for a lady. At the same time, there are gadgets for the "boys" like the blackberries which are also sold at maduqa.com. And for those with ample time, there is a getaway at Sarova Shaba, currently on offer at the same shop.

And coming back to Layla and Mejnun, In India it is believed that they found refuge in a village in Rajasthan before breathing their last. The 'graves' of Layla and Majnu are believed to be located in the Bijnore village near Anupgarh in the Sriganganagar district. According to rural legend there, Layla and Majnu escaped to these parts and died there.

Therefore, as you swim in this ocean of love, take care not to become mad!

Happy Valentine

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ten Conclusions from Mobile Web East Africa

1. The importance and the unique needs for the local content was analyzed, discussed, dissected and the consensus is , people are willing to pay for the relevant local web content and the idea that people don’t want to pay for local web content is nonsense. Before you get excited remember people pay for good value adding content. Brett StClair put it bluntly “There are good publishers and bad publishers..nobody is ready to pay for National Broadcaster’s content (sorry KBC) while all are willing to pay for DSTV..it is all about excellent content”

2. The cost of smart phones is out of reach for many people in the region but surprisingly quite a number still use smart phones in Africa, making at least 18% of the mobile web traffic. Probably South Africa plays a major role in pushing up that number. And still on that Safaricom completely changed the definition of smart phones; to them anything that can access the internet is a Smartphone. Really? Was that lack of understanding or just yeah? Out of this world!

3. The representatives of the Government were in the Conference to showcase its sometime not very clear achievements . P. S Ndemo and Mr. Paul Kukubo of ICT Board listed them all, I know you can guess the first one right, yeah fiber optic cables lead the way. On the same breath they mentioned that many grants from the donors which they have been accumulating for years could at long last be available at the middle of the year. I had a small chat with Mr.Kukubo and he talked of August in particular although the call for applications will be done earlier. Well, as always when come to Government it is all about wait and see.

Mr. Paul Kukubo also promised that the Board will convene a meeting for developers and operators on Value Added Services.

4. “Have it all or it has to be me only getting rich attitude” prevails everywhere in Kenya and in particular with the big businesses. People don‘t mind when competing businesses try to outdo each other because in most cases they end up benefitting from that. But when small businesses and entrepreneurs start complaining of the big boys stealing their ideas, not ready to share the revenues in an equitable manner, not listening to anything they have to say then there is a big big problem. The case study for Conference was Safaricom, many developers have uncountable number of issues with Safaricom. To begin with, MPESA payment system is an excellent idea praised worldwide by all and sundry. But why Safaricom has never realized that opening their platform up for the developers to come up with other applications like online payment system will be to their advantage is beyond basic understanding. Actually AdMob described opening up the Mpesa SDK as “a gold mine” but was anybody from Safaricom listening ..mmmh there was a representative on the panel at the time. Surprisingly she mentioned that with Easy travel, you can pay for the tickets on their portal through MPESA. Great, so why don’t they allow the same kind transactions on the other web portals? It is now a common knowledge that MPESA project is not owned by Safaricom and they have to get authorization from UK. Even if that is the case, UK being more advanced market than Kenya someone from there should have understood this more than anybody else and pushed for implementation long time ago. Do they actually monitor what people are saying about their project in Kenya?

5. Almost 33% of the population of Africa have access to a mobile phone. This is up from 2% at the beginning of the year 2000. Now that growth is something worth talking about and it is a clear indication that mobile internet is the next big driver for internet access and data consumption in Africa and other emerging markets. Are people of East Africa prepared for this? Probably not as well as the South Africans. To start with some of the guys from South Africa did not understand why we are all complaining about Safaricom, you know Safaricom is expensive , you know Safaricom is not opening up their API, you Safaricom is Safaricon.

During one of the lunch breaks, a lady, I guess from South Africa commented on the issue and asked if Safaricom is all that why is there no mass migration from the network? Even Peter Arina from Safariom eluded to that fact, somehow indicating that they are the biggest mobile phones network operator in Kenya because they give the best services and cost. And at one point Brett StClair… told developers to take Safaricom head on…”You can be bigger than them”. I guess it is high time we stop whining, and do something.

6. At the end is texting bad for the language and specifically for the young people who use SMS language. How about unstructured language like sheng (mashup language of English & Swahili), can there be standards for communicating using sheng? Considering character limitations on the mobile phones combined with the cost of sending SMS, teens tend to come up with a creative ways to write SMSes. Shorten the words to the extent that if you are not from their league you might take the whole day trying to understand what they are talking about. Unfortunately characters limitations has been extended to the web, tweeting or updating your status in Iborian or Facebook is limited to a certain number of characters, 140 in twitter. What can you tell the world in 140 characters? According to @stevevosloo “Teens don’t read enough, Teens don’t write enough and they love their phones” Back to the cost of sending SMS, it the most expensive thing I have ever seen coming from mobile phones network operators. Imagine at the moment Safaricom charge me Ksh.1000 for internet data access for a whole week/7 days. During that time I am not limited to the amount of data I can access, while to send 1 SMS which is less than 1kb I am charged Ksh.3.50 and even more if I do to it to another network.

7. Mobile web apps are in high demand and could be the hottest stuff for the developers right now. Nokia promised to support local apps that add value in the Ovi store. Develop the application and you have a chance to sell it through Ovi store. At the same time AMREF is looking for someone to develop for them m-learning application which can be deployed almost worldwide. Great opportunities here

8. In Kenya 1 doctor serves 7000 patients. How can mobiles close that gap? Well, there is www.mydokta.com, where you can get your health issues addressed through mobile phone and on the web. It make it easy for the doctors to schedule the appointment and serve still as many number as the statistics suggests but do it efficiently and adequately.

9. Still don’t have an office, busting with ideas but nowhere to put your plans or thoughts to action, meet Nairobi iHub . With iHub the time for brief case companies which are associated with startup entrepreneurs is coming to an end. This a complete innovative center with high speed internet and other facilities like servers where local developers can test their applications. Check it out here ihub.co.ke/

10. Kenyan answer to paypal is..pasapal, I wish they should have named it something else. The answer should never resemble the question in literal sense. But all in all a great idea and I people dealing with e commerce systems like maduqa would be the first ones to look for Agosta Liko. For news, projects and research about mobile learning in Africa go to mlearningafrica.net

Finally, that was a wonderful conference with wonderful people and great speakers. Thanks to Mathew Dawes for making it all possible. At long last for the first time I met @wanjiku, @Moseskemibaro, @jwesonga, @larrymadowo, @paulkukubo, @whiteafrican, @tmsruge @kahenya

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The "Jobs" Era

A colleague and I were recently discussing why Apple is so successful, no matter how outrageous their products may seem. In fact, a blogger commented that if he had not betted against Steve Jobs ten years ago, he'd be a rich man. I agree. Everyone thinks the Amazon Kindle is fantastic, but you will not find as much pomp or hear as much chatter about it as you will about the iPad.

No matter what is said though, two facts remain true. First, bad publicity is better than no publicity. Whether the review is good or bad, most readers eventually end up on the Apple website, hoping to experience the iPad and make up their own mind or form their own unbiased opinion. The point is, they end up on the Apple website...the Apple shop!! Brilliant, isnt it? The second fact is this, Steve Jobs has discovered the secret to the future. Information at the fingertips. This very thing might be where the entire success of www.maduqa.com lies.

Being able to trade, to send and receive information relevant and to do so conveniently almost anywhere in the world is priceless. It eliminates the need for a physical premises (will legislation accept this in the laws governing registration of businesses? It will be interesting to see how this develops), gives both buyers and sellers access to each other almost instantly and reduces the opportunity cost (try to search for a 1993 royal blue toyota celica with 17" wheels and a twin cam V6 without a search engine, in Nairobi's car bazaars!) and hence increases convenience exponentially. Who would not want to be a part of this? Online trading has the potential, when combined with instant cash transfer (MPESA), to become the future of buying and selling. The secret? Information at the fingertips.

To be fair though, this is not a new idea, and www.maduqa.com is not the only website doing this kind of thing. Amazon has been doing it for years, so has ebay and others. Many Kenyan companies have also emerged and joined the playing field. So why would Maduqa succeed when everyone knows the potential of this industry and is therefore joining it? What makes it different? What does Maduqa do better than anyone else? Why would I shop or own a shop at Maduqa? I would love to hear what you think.

Back to Steve Jobs - being the ambitious and successful man that he is, he recently decided to tackle the sports wear market with a series of innovative and futuristic products. His first challenge? Performance running shoes. This move however caused ripples amongst the U.S. public and eventually was debated in Congress. After passing its ruling, Congress released a statement. It had instructed Jobs and the company through the Security Council to abandon the project. The reason? "possible promotion of anti-american / anti-nationalist values..." After further investigation, the real problem was discovered. It lay in the name that had been proposed for the new running shoe...iRan!

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