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Why Society should not ignore the shifting Middle Class Dynamics?

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The year is 1810, Kenya is nothing more than a cluttered kingdoms in a vast unchartered virgin geo/socio/political terrain. Run by nothing more but Chiefs and Council of elders, the rest were nothing more but equals. Land was owned by all and no one could claim any section as theirs. all activities were undertaken to the benefit of the clan/tribe. No one was the sole beneficiary of the communal investment placed in a project. All in all the village was as strong as its weakest link. Sadly around this time a Ghost that walks travels from territory to territory claiming to be the first person to discover the hill, the mountains and other wonders of Africa and naming them with foreign names based on some royalty back home who didn’t have the courage to leave their own comfortable surroundings. These guests came with a religion in the minds i.e.PROGRESS. Much was ignored about the sophisticated stature of the African chiefdoms and cultures and ignoring the fact that the native already had their way of life which had taken many many years to perfect with the basic target of eradicating all this cultivated “localised” progress with a Ready-to-Eat Progress-in-a-Can remedy. were the natives mesmerised by the “magic” and “wonders” blissfully presented before them. And that was the first success of marketing in Africa… Marketing as we know it in Africa began when the explorer brought gifts and trinkets from home to the chiefs of the natives who once mesmerised could do nothing more but ask for more and it didn’t care to them as to what they were losing in the end but they just had to get more of whatever it is from wherever it came from.
The year is 2011. Kenya is a “modern” progressed, governed sovereign territory with 46 Counties. Economic outlooks encouraging, Companies in all sectors are reporting record profits (with one companies profits are enough fund half a neighbouring countries budget), economic opportunities have increased by x times, citizens are vibrant,engaged, adding value in all sectors of the economic pyramid, expendable incomes among citizens increase incredibly. Spending power is now the driving factor in Kenya. Marketing strategists & Advertising firms ought to ensure they monitor the changing economic trends which are changing ever so often

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in Interesting, Opinion

 

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How to Perfect Your Fall…(shit happens…Be prepared!)

Lets just admit it NOW…You will fall, either while walking, riding a horse, riding a bicycle, climbing a ladder or while oogling at a pretty girl….who know when.

Once in a while adrenaline takes over or by some misfortune one crosses the path of a drunk idiot of a driver or happen to be in a freak accident or many other scenarios whether in Motorcycle riding or in sports such as Rugby, the art of falling comes by default. The act of the human body meeting the ground is mandatory and will not occur just once. I felt compelled to write this so as to give pointers to my fellow riders and rugby players based on my experiences

Rugby

Rule 1: in anticipation of a fall always take a quick glance at your sides (side mirrors) and instinctively plan your fall. This may help avoid ‘after fall’ incidents e.g. Motorcyclist may avoid incoming cars from running over them
Rule 2: When falling cross your arms and spread the impact zone. This helps to distribute the pressure points and eventually reduce injuries common with falling e.g. Broken bones. We have seen many dislocate shoulders or break arms for when they were falling they landed arm first which cushioned much of the impact
Rule 3: if well and alive jump up and get back on the horse.. The earlier the better.. With the fall & injuries incurred it is assumed experience has nurtured your instincts..

So smile & wave & show the scars as trophies.. :)

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in Sports

 

Unexpected Success of Startups & the Curse of Comfort Zones

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Two years ago my cousin & I decided 2 open a Poultry meat shop. The logic behind it was with us being entrepreneurial in nature we formulated a plan to start a small business and understand the cogs that turn the wheel of retailing before we venture out to a larger & more risky dealings. After setting up shop on the outskirts of Nairobi (cutting down on operational costs) the business was to cater for the local market. Later on during my visits I picked orders from workmates, friends and family and business picked up from there. Ajust to toy around we decide to market ourselves via Social Media. In less than 6 months we found ourselves make large deliveries and recieving orders from whom had heard of us from the grapevine. Business had picked up way much faster than our wildest predictions. At times I had to play hookey from work to make deliveries. All this was done in the spirit of not to disappoint any client and any potential future business that come with it.
Many businesses usually start out with the mentality that there is a huge probability that the business wil fail. Hence most businesses always prepare for the worst, with many already perfecting their exit plans. Many schools of thought, from learning institutions to successful entreprenuers most of the time talk about proper planning so as to avoid running under, but rarely do we hear of adaptive planning in the event of unprecedented Major Success.
Due to our gameplan,our goal was to move volumes & invest on the quality of products & customer service. This alongside with the huge unprecedented spike in transactions brought about many challenges which came up way before as planned.
1. Manpower
This was our major headache. It even forced to even review whether to quit our day jobs immediately to address the pace of growth of business. Due to our business plan and profit margins we could not afford to hire more staff hence adding on to us an additional challenge
2. Operating Capital
The increase in orders found us being put in a tight spot. Increased orders means increase in storage, increase in liquid funds to finance supply, additional manpower,widen distribution chain, speeding up expansion plans etc etc. All this requires capital.
3. Quality Control
As indicated earlier the business, wanted to pride itself on it’s ability to cater to both low end & high end customers with undiscriminating high quality of service. Many at times we found ourselves choosing between clients e.g. A client from an upper middle class suburbs calls & orders large quantities of turkey, at the same moment a regular customer from the nearby village wants just a paltry size quantity of the same bird. Due to nature of the supply chain available stocks cannot cater to the orders. Who do you satisfy & whom do you dissapoint?
Also how do maintain standards of service with Increase & change in staff? This forced us to develop a standard training package for the employees. This became successful & hv even recieved requests to train other businesses staff.
4. Review of business plan
All the above challenges forced the editing and total review of the business plan. Business Plans are not static, and constant review may be necessary but be careful not to mutilate the main goals and objectives behind the business. Review may be necessitated by change in Market dynamics, income flow or new opportunities and challenges amongst other elements. Small or big, any variations directly affecting the business plan should not be ignored and the earlier they are embraced the earlier the business adapts to the altered playing field in time to soak in any blows or take advantage of opportunities

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in Business

 

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GSM SMS Service as a Supplementary Emergency Warning System (SEWS)

This is a concept note of a theoretical Short Messaging Service (SMS) based system that can emulate the Public Emergency Broadcast commonly used in broadcast media.

Introduction

Public Emergency Broadcasts are used to reach out to the public to inform them of a certain vital emergent issue e.g. Hurricanes, Typhoons, flooding and epidemics.

SMS RecievedSEWS design is to supplement the current systems in place e.g. Emergency Radio & TV broadcasts, leaflets, town hall meetings etc. It can be used as a reactionary measure after observations made through an Early Warning System require the need to inform the public of a potential and current serious health situation in an affected region. Once a serious health situation calls for the need to reach out to the public, SEWS could be used to pass on the necessary message with great ease and automation.

The SEWS project is proposed to target migratory persons and the local people. This is with the notion that it is more likely for an individual to access their mobile phones than their radio or TV.

People on the move may not be aware of the imminent situation in an area hence SEWS may adequately inform them hence may eventually reduce the spread of the epidemic to other regions.

A good case in point is the current Swine Flu situation. If every mobile phone user during the dawn of the epidemic received information through the proposed SEWS, the spreading rate of the pandemic may have reduced probably significantly since information is sent and received immediately rather than it being received through the usual media i.e. TV, Radio and Newspapers which could be time costly.

With the advent of mobile telephony and the market penetration having deeply entrenched across the world, the mobile phone handset together with the complementary services provided have seen it become more than a social asset but more of a necessity. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2010 in Tech

 

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New Media for the Kenyan Journalist

Networking

New Media's Ubiquity

Imagine this, the year is 1912 and you are a Newspaper Journalist, and you hear of an invention called the RADIO & its great potential in journalism, wouldn’t you be worried? Now imagine, the year is 1950 and you are a radio journalist and there is a huge buzz about the latest invention called TELEVISION, would you have panicked? Journalism is a profession that has undergone a Darwinian process of evolution, from the talking drums and smoke signals to town criers and information posters to telegrams and newspapers to radio and television and now the internet and mobile telephony.

New or advanced technologies are often seen as a hindrance or a threat by what may be perceived as already “established” professions  e.g. Computers to the “then” Secretary with her loyal typewriter, the  digital watch to the “then” watch maker, the tractor to the “then”  farmer with his hoe  etc. This article is in relation to the current to be “then” journalist to his/her pen. Gone are the days of writing stories in shorthand and typing them later in the newsroom. Technology has been creeping into all professions and hasn’t spared the fourth estate and this is witnessed in all levels and departments i.e. from editorial to printing, from news gathering to news dissemination etc . It’s purpose has become synonymous with the everyday operations of a media house. This has presented an opportunity to Media Houses to use it as an excuse to layoff “unskilled” staff and streamline their operations. In addition new technologies have presented a ubiquitous approach to access news i.e. through mobile phones either by SMS, News Apps or mobile Internet, Computers i.e. through websites, blogs, email newsletters etc. But to be fair to Media Houses, Samantha Spooner, a New Media practising journalist from a prominent Kenyan media house, states that some media houses are forced to invest in their staff to bring them up to speed but the reality of the situation is that following strict editorial policy for so long has made them resistant to this evolution. She continues further to indicate that

it has been a long time since such an evolution revolution occurred and they aren’t as dynamic as before!

To repeat Erik Hersmans’ (WhiteAfrican.com)words

Those who create, develop and invest in new technologies are the ones who write the rules of tomorrow.

As much as we acknowledge the presence and purpose of such technology whether software or hardware, journalists are yet to fully or partially explore its potential. In recent training workshops on Development Journalism sponsored by UNDP, the session on New Media seemed to be an eye opener and a beginners class on New Media rather  than a deliberation of  how New Media can be used in sparring  Development Journalism. This is where it came to my realisation that as much as we know of somethings availability do we really know what it really is and how it can be used to one’s advantage? During the training sessions, we came to see how elaborating to the journalist  with the basic knowledge of New Media empowers them to improve their methodology in reporting in terms of increased news collection,  faster dissemination and improve creativity. Kenyan reporters are dynamic, versatile and resilient and I witnessed this in Mombasa earlier in the year where in the middle of a workshop journalists armed with a mobile phone, camera and a laptop were able to stay attentive in the training sessions while gather and send stories back to their respective news rooms. As I witnessed this impressive sight I could not help but wonder whether a huge majority Kenyan Journalists operate similarly to caged fleas that are not aware of how far they can jump.

Sadly for the profession as Aly Khan Satchu (Rich.co.ke) states,

journalists and the media in general urgently need to comprehend the New World.

He was in particular referring to New Media facilitating for Citizen Journalism to flourish for it is more grassroots’ and does not require much skill to execute.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2010 in New Media, Social Media, Tech

 

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Condemnation of Israeli Aggression on Flotilla…

Israel attack Humanitarian Flottila (guardian.co.uk)With at least nine pro-Palestinian activists killed and many more were wounded in the raid on May 31 as Israeli naval commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara (the lead ship in a flotilla of six vessels which are carrying humanitarian aid for the Palestinian territory) on international waters show how far Israel is willing to go in ensuring the Gaza blockage stands. Despite sparking a wave of global condemnation and protests Israel defends its actions wholly with no regret. This is great shame to a sovereign state using paranoia as a guide rather than common sense and humanitarian logic as a voice of reason.

Quoting Ahdaf Soueif excerpt from her article “Israel reveals its true face

Each and every one of them ultimately believed that they were safe; that there was a boundary – call it a boundary of legality, a boundary of civilisation – that Israel would not cross. They were wrong. And in proving them wrong, Israel has revealed, once again, its true face to the world.

To quote Ahdaf further.. Israel is on a path of Self Destruction… and many agree with this point of view. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2010 in International News

 

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Great Week Biking with Chui…even after crashing..

Dirty Happy BikeSo I felt need for a break and took a 1 wk break from office work to do other things and enjoy some leisure time… Thankfully my version of leisure involves ADRENALINE!! Chui & I spent some great quality time bonding and I learned alot about riding an off-roader like the XT250T which was a great experience.

Mike on Chui....he climbed on his own

Mike on Chui....he climbed on his own in Syokimau

On the itinerary was the deep interior Syokimau to visit a close friend. The route has a varied terrain from very rugged and rocky sections with sharp-edged embedded rocks to slippery and loose rocks on the path which forced me to stand while riding throughout and which forced exercising great control from balancing to thrust control to clutch control…energy draining due to the distance… then to loamy sections which got slippery when it drizzled for only 10mins, how I nearly cursed but found myself smiling…. then some smooth flattened sections which were great for cruising but not as exciting… but whose complaining about variety…variety eradicates monotony…which is equal to lots of fun!

Keg Fest in the WildNext on agenda was to attend an overnight barbecue by the Nairobi National Park @ an event called “KegFest in the Wild” which was organised by my close friend Eddie who runs an outfit called Shanghai Teleport. Due to delays I was forced do ride in the night but didn’t see the reason to budge about it…riding in a full moon by the National Park in a rough road with a spectacular view and animals running around…that is tear jerking! I began journey @ 8.30pm and cruised around an amazingly jam packed Mbagathi Road on a Saturday Night!!! Due to my excitement to reach the rough roads I got impatient and rode on the side path which was obviously not tarmacked but at least it was way much faster than following a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam. When I finally reached the T junction @ Africa Nazarene University you could even hear Chui’s anticipation… The journey from here forward was spectacular! The view of the distant hills on all sides…Ngong’ Hills, Kilimambogo, Lukenya..and the plains of National Park with the full moon lit sky as a backdrop… the sight of beautiful Nairobi from a far…Dik Diks, wild hares running around after being startled by the grant of a 4-valve engine, what more could u ask for…and Chui met Twiga!! Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2010 in Motorcycle, Travel

 

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