Wilfred Mutua Mworia's (Old) Blog (Now at Afrinnovator.com)

Icon

Information for tech enthusiasts, hobbyists, devs, tech startup founders and tech entrepreneurs

The Making of A Revolution

Filed under: research, , , , , , ,

A step forward!

So finally I pulled myself together, formatted and upgraded a PC that was idle (and in such a pathetic state due to viruses) to Vista, installed Visual Studio 2008 code-named ‘Orcas’, Silverlight runtime, tools and SDK as well as ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX extensions and ASP.NET 2.0 Futures, and obtained all the associated documentation, and dubbed the machine ‘devpc’!!! So far I have done a few things with both Silverlight (1.1) and ASP.NET AJAX, but still at chilld’s-play level and learning!

I also installed VS 2005 parallel to my current installation of VS 2003 (I just have never got past that cos many projects were lying on it) on my production machine which is running XP and installed Silverlight (1.0) and ASP.NET AJAX extensions and I am also playing around with that.

The only snag is the monitor on devpc, apparently the drivers for Vista are not in existence for it (it’s a Dell monitor).

All in all… definitely a step in the right direction! I will be doing some LINQ later on today! I have a couple of screencasts and videos to follow as well.

Filed under: fun, laptop, microsoft, OS, research, software, technology

Local Innovation… Peupe!

Yes! Another installment in the ongoing ‘Local Innovation’ series. So far i did a post on the new application for analyzing the stock market, StocksPartner. This time around however the focus is on a Web 2.0 initiative!!!

A couple of years back blogging and the ‘social’ web amongst other technologies and frameworks of collaboration and communication on the WWW literally breathed new life into the WWW experience. Blogs sprung up everywhere fast! Tons of new, dynamic content found their way into the lime-light; evolving into what is now quite famously known as the Blogosphere. This was further compounded by the invention of Syndication; RSS 1.0/2.0, Atom… You can get bits and pieces of information from across the www-scape simply and easily without going to look for it. Fast forward…. zoom to the present and what do you find in the future that is today… a new ‘architecture’ of sorts in building web experiences… Mash-ups, RIA…!!! And the technology has definitely been keeping up, which both supports current innovation, creating a form of launch-pad to make use of what we have to make even newer innovations…. is your head spinning yet? And that is not even the half of it!!!

And corporates were not left behind, some daring and innovative companies saw the potential in the new wave and began exploring how make use of the new shape of the web. And today what do you find? ‘Hmmm, so you want to get a feel of what some big-shot executive is up to?’, simple, just check out his blog!

It is within this ‘ecosystem’ that a local company, Multiple Choices is building Peupe!

And what exactly is Peupe? Glad you asked! But first who is Multiple Choices. Well, Multiple Choices is a local company that is probably the first within Africa to come out and proclaim itself to be specifically targeted at Web 2.0!

Multiple Choices

For a description of what peupe is, I will borrow from the text on the peupe home page:

Peupe is a blog that is specially developed for business leaders and experts. Its features allow the blogger to share information,photos,
documents, and much more

Communities build brands. Build your community and let them build your brand as they talk,listen and share with you and each other.

Peupe Logo

This from alkags:

Finally, I am making the first post on our very own creation, Peupe. Peupe is Africa’s first corporate blog application that has been designed and built by Multiple Choices, specifically for business leaders and experts. Why?…

This is clearly exciting news! However apart from the hype of Web 2.0 and the hype of the ‘first Web 2.0 company in Africa’ or the ‘first blogging platform/social networking’ built in Africa… there is something that just speaks to me louder… and that’s the what do i call it… ‘the philosophy’ behind Multiple Choices and Peupe. Clearly this is something that I dare call extremely unique, a technology start-up, a dream, a vision of changing the mind-set of Africa/Kenya from what John, one of the personalities behind peupe refers to as a revolution in the way we think about technology.

What’s more exciting, and I think it could possibly come at a better time, is that they are planning an event dubbed TIDE (Technology, Innovation, Design and Everything). If the first thing that pops into your mind is MIX 07… then we are on the same wavelength. Of course MIX 07 is probably being a bit ambitious! But the general idea is to get the designer/developer community in Kenya to congregate and mentor them. This is potentially a big (And I cannot over-emphasize the Big!) event. With all the research and general curiosity that has led me to learn about things such as Silverlight, Surface, LINQ, devs in Orcas, WPF/E, Entity Framework, Volta (I just downloaded the interviews with Meijer C9!!! Good viewing for tonight!)… it is usually a bit discouraging to pop up one of the topics in a conversation and I see people’s expressions changing to unknowingess. I mean there is so much innovation out there and sorry to say, so much apathy within the local tech community. And so typically my blood starts rising and I end up giving a passionate account of what’s happening and begging with the other party to try and become a little curious about what’s going on!

So, back to TIDE. What I am trying to say , and hopefully the organizers will take this to mind, is that a serious wake-up call to innovate and invent is seriously needed in the community, in fact, the community needs to come together and take things up (cos I am not sure the community knows it exists as such). And this would be a great event to sow the seed and watch ‘the revolution’ come to life!

Read more about Peupe here!

Here are some of the first blogs built on peupe:

Blog.oriakdigital.com

Sitati.peupe.net

Wesonga.peupe.net

Alkags.peupe.net

Apologies if my passion just came off too strong! ;)

Watch out for another installment soon to come int ‘Local Innovation’, this time we will be talking Google Earth! ;)

Filed under: interview, kenya, research, technology

Web 2.0

So what is this thing called ‘Web 2.0′? Well, glad you asked that question; it is an evolution in the way we experience the web, it is a tidal wave that’s taking the web by storm, it’s been around, being discussed in industry circles for a few years but I believe it’s fullness is only beginning to show. Web 2.0 is a concept that came to being from a brainstorming session between O’Reilly and MediaLive International; it goes back to about 2004 when the first Web 2.0 conference was held.

So what does it mean? Well, according to a paper by Tim O’Reilly (read it here or stream the audio here), Web 2.0 is characterized by a number of principles, that we will get into shortly. One way to learn something is by making clear what something IS NOT and then clarifying what it IS. In this case, what is Web 2.0 NOT and what IS Web 2.0, a simple way of knowing what Web 2.0 is NOT is by looking at it’s ‘predecessor’, ‘Web 1.0′; and this is what is proposed by O’Reilly:
Web 1.0 –>Web 2.0
DoubleClick –> Google AdSense
Ofoto –> Flickr
Akamai –> BitTorrent
mp3.com –> Napster
Britannica Online –> Wikipedia
personal websites –> blogging
evite –> upcoming.org and EVDB
domain name speculation –> search engine optimization
page views –> cost per click
screen scraping –> web services
publishing –> participation
content management systems –> wikis
directories (taxonomy) –> tagging (“folksonomy”)
stickiness –> syndication

Though the list is not exhaustive, it does show a significant difference in a sense of what is predominant on the Web as it is in comparison with what was (mostly) familiar, or what predominantly characterized the web in different ways in various areas from before!

According to Tim O’Reilly’s paper, the following are key distinguishing ‘principles’ that are emergent in Web 2.0:

1. The Web As Platform:

‘A Platform Beats an Application Every Time’

Here Tim makes use of 3 examples and some ‘Web 2.0 lessons’ that are evident in them:

Netscape vs. Google: The value of the software is proportional to the scale and dynamis of the data it helps to manage.
DoubleClick vs. Overture and AdSense: Leverage customer-self service and algorithmic data management to reach out to the entire web, to the edges and not just the center, to the long tail and not just the head.

Akamai vs. BitTorrent: The service automatically gets better the more people use it

2. Harnessing Collective Intelligence:

Web 2.0 shows an incredible enhancement in the leveraging of collective intelligence; collection, distribution and sharing as well as finding information and making sense of it. Here, Tim mentions the roles played by Wikipedia ad collective content creation and editing, del.icio.us and Flickr and the concept of folksonomy (a style of collaborative categorization of sites using freely chosen keywords, often referred to as tags.) and others, especially blogging, RSS and sites such as bloglines that aggregate RSS content and Permalink.

3. Data is the Next Intel Inside:

The race is on to own certain classes of core data: location, identity, calendaring of public events, product identifiers and namespaces. In many cases, where there is significant cost to create the data, there may be an opportunity for an Intel Inside style play, with a single source for the data. In others, the winner will be the company that first reaches critical mass via user aggregation, and turns that aggregated data into a system service.

4. End of the Software Release Cycle:

Here, Tim O’Reilly takes notice of some key aspects that Web 2.0 companies have to embrace in their business/software development models. He claims:

Operations must become a core competency. Google‘s or Yahoo!’s expertise in product development must be matched by an expertise in daily operations. So fundamental is the shift from software as artifact to software as service that the software will cease to perform unless it is maintained on a daily basis.

And

Users must be treated as co-developers, in a reflection of open source development practices (even if the software in question is unlikely to be released under an open source license.) The open source dictum, “release early and release often” in fact has morphed into an even more radical position, “the perpetual beta,” in which the product is developed in the open, with new features slipstreamed in on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis. It’s no accident that services such as Gmail, Google Maps, Flickr, del.icio.us, and the like may be expected to bear a “Beta” logo for years at a time… Real time monitoring of user behavior to see just which new features are used, and how they are used, thus becomes another required core competency.

5. Lightweight Programming Models:

Simplicity is the name of the new game!

A case in point being RSS and REST (Representational State Transfer)! Tim O’Reilly clearly notes the following key aspects of the Web 2.0 era in this regard:

Support lightweight programming models that allow for loosely coupled systems… The Web 2.0 mindset is very different from the traditional IT mindset!

Think syndication, not coordination. Simple web services, like RSS and REST-based web services, are about syndicating data outwards, not controlling what happens when it gets to the other end of the connection… the end-to-end principle

Design for “hackability” and remixability.

6. Software Above the Level of a Single Device:

According to Dave Stutz, “Useful software written above the level of the single device will command high margins for a long time to come.”

7. Rich User Experiences:

One word: Silverlight! and another word, Popfly

So, really, Web 2.0 is a paradigm shift in the way we look at the web, the way we get information from the web, the way we find information on the web, the way we develop the web, the way we build business models around the web!

Filed under: blog, content, cool, feed, google, information retrieval, microsoft, research, search, SOA, software, yahoo

What Everyone is Excited About – LINQ

LINQ or Language Integrated Query is probably the most exciting feature of what I will call the future of the .NET languages. It facilitates native, SQL-like querying of data sources within code (C#/VB.NET), and you can query in-memory collections, relational databases and XML data.

For example you can have query a string array or any queryable ‘object’ and do some interesting things with that. Here is a simple example using a string array

using System;
using System.Query;{	public static class simpleLinq    {

	public static void Main()

{

var names = new string[] {"Wilfred","Mwenda" "Mutua",."Mworia"}

		var namesWithM = from n names
                       where n.StartsWith("M")
		       select n;		foreach(var individual in namesWithD) 	{

Console.WriteLine(individual);

}

}
}
}

That simpler piece of code as you would expect return all the names beginning with ‘M’. Of course this is a pretty trivial example. Linq promises to open a door to enable devs to do data manipulation quite flexibly.

You will notice a few things:

The System.Query namespace enables you to use LINQ

var names : the type is inferred

The query structure is SQL-Like but not exactly SQL. The reason given by Anders in a video on channel 9 is that the syntax is actually represents the natural flow of thought. You want to go somewher where you know some interesting things are stored and probablt you want only a subset of these things so you go there and get them, (I hope I have not twisted my logic there).

Anders Hejlsberg is the point-man in Linq, this is a nice video giving a good overview of what LINQ is and where the C# team is headed with it.
Here’s a link to the official project site.
The Linq Project Overview
For tonnes of examples click here.
Scott Guthrie has some tutorials on his blog. This and This.
A look at Linq on codepreject.com

Here are two very interesting articles:

Article 1 & 2

Linq is only one of the really interesting things happening at MS that I am following, the Entity Framework and ADO.NET, Silverlight , DLR amongst others are just a few more examples of some of the good work going on there. I will get to post something on these over time.

PS: If you want the best scoop on all this… bookmark channel 9 and keep an ear on the ground.

———–
var toPost =
from p in wilfredsThoughts
where p.isPostable()
select p;

Filed under: cool, microsoft, research, technology

Yukon to Katmai

The Windows Observer -Volume 4, Number 19 — May 16, 2007

Microsoft Talks Up SQL Server ‘Katmai’

Published: May 17, 2007

by Alex Woodie

Microsoft started beating the drum for the version of SQL Server, codenamed “Katmai,” last week at its business intelligence conference. In addition to new business intelligence capabilities, Katmai, which is scheduled to ship in 2008, will feature better security, more extensibility, new high availability features, a rule-based management framework, and an array of new tricks for .NET developers.

The new rule-based management framework Microsoft is developing for Katmai is expected to reduce the dependency on scripts for daily maintenance activities, such as query optimizations, naming conventions, backup and restore operations, and index management. By automatically monitoring and enforcing policies in Katmai, Microsoft says users will be able to push policies out to thousands of servers, providing a more heterogeneous SQL Server environment.

Better security will be a focal point for Katmai. With this release, Microsoft intends to make it easier for users to encrypt entire databases, or just specific data or log files, without making changes to the underlying applications. Better auditing will also allow administrators to more easily enforce compliance.

Microsoft is also talking about a feature called “database mirroring” in Katmai. With database mirroring, users will be given another option, on top of application server clustering, for boosting the availability of their critical business applications. Microsoft says it is also improving the recoverability of applications from storage failures by making it easy to move processor and memory resources without affecting applications.

It will also be easier to tune SQL Server for the best performance as a result of new performance data collection features in Katmai, Microsoft says. This will be made possible through a new centralized repository for performance data where administrators can view performance figures and compare them to past reports.

Similarly, Katmai will also sport a “resource governor” that, according to Microsoft, will help administrators provide a “consistent and predictable response” to users. The resource governor will achieve this by defining resource limits and priorities for different workloads.

Katmai will also feature new tricks for developers, including the new Entity Data Model, which is part of the ADO.NET framework, and support for the previously announced Language Integrated Query (LINQ) technology.

With the new Entity Data Model, developers will be able to access data by defining business entities like customers, orders, and products, as opposed to using the table and column format that is standard with relational databases. Developers can then query and retrieve these entities natively within any .NET language using LINQ, which is a set of language extensions that Microsoft announced in September 2005 as a way to simplify the development process and prevent programmers from having to know and use SQL and XQuery by allowing them to query data in C# and Visual Basic. Meanwhile, as developers work with a logical view of objects in the database, administrators will still be able to manage the database using the physical table and column view.

Microsoft also plans to improve support for non relational data–such as XML, a hierarchical format that Microsoft first supported in its database with SQL Server 2005. With Katmai, Microsoft intends to enable SQL Server to store and consume any type of unstructured content, which would suggest support for XML documents, PDF files, or JPG images, as well as new “spatial” data-types for building geographic and “location aware” systems.

This widening of file-type support sounds a lot like the type of capability that Microsoft was touting with Windows File System (WinFS), the revolutionary file system that was to debut with Windows “Longhorn.” WinFS, of course, was removed from Longhorn after running into development problems. After surviving for a time as a separate development effort, it has entirely disappeared from view.

Katmai will also bring new features designed to help users build new business intelligence applications. On the plumbing side, Microsoft says it is boosting SQL Server’s capacity to manage large numbers of users and large amounts of data, and will improve the database’s query performance on large tables, optimize queries for data warehousing scenarios, and increase I/O performance. New changed data capture (CDC) functionality will assist businesses with the real-time loading of data warehouses, while more scalable volume management and integration services will help administrators keep it all properly sorted.

Katmai will also shine when it comes to building and running today’s cutting-edge business applications, according to Microsoft. Better hooks into Microsoft Office will continue to push Microsoft’s desktop suite as a key way to consume business intelligence, while an array of more advanced capabilities, such as SQL Server Reporting Services for building reports, and SQL Server Analysis Services for building dashboard applications with key performance indicators (KPIs) and the like.

Microsoft has historically trailed the business intelligence technology leaders, including Business Objects, Cognos, Oracle (which recently bought Hyperion), MicroStrategy, and others. But SQL Server Katmai may have the potential to turn Microsoft’s business intelligence fortunes around.

“Microsoft is charting a course to transform the BI marketplace as we know it,” said Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft’s Business Division, said during the Microsoft BI Conference held in Redmond, Washington, last week. “By fundamentally changing the economic model for BI and delivering unprecedented ease of use, we’re enabling the broadest deployment of BI possible so employees can better contribute to a company’s overall business performance.”

Microsoft further boosted its business intelligence strategy last week with the acquisition of OfficeWriter, an application that enables users to access Excel spreadsheets and Word documents through a Web browser. OfficeWriter was developed by a company called SoftArtisans, out of Watertown, Massachusetts, but Microsoft only obtained the product, not the company. Microsoft plans to offer OfficeWriter alongside SQL Server Reporting Services.

The first community technology preview (CTP) for Katmai is reportedly due out in the next month or so. For more information, see www.microsoft.com/sql/prodinfo/futureversion/default.mspx.

Filed under: information retrieval, microsoft, research, technology, tool

Beowulfing Locality

Its been a crazy weekend! I fell really ill from Friday night! i didnt even go to work yesterday, I had to stay in bed fighting off a terrible cold, but i am much better now! Anyway, on to more interesting stuff (anything could possibly be more interesting than a story about my struggle against the common cold!)

Locality of reference (and i am thinking aimlessly on this); for some reason I have been mulling around this subject, though not strictly in the proper CS manner. It’s interesting how it seems that almost all that we discover and implement in science and tech is an already existent reality in nature. You know how they say that lightning does not strike in one place twice? I bet someone could come up with a proof of that based on locality of reference. I watched this video from microsoft research recently about some research they are doing into new ways of implementing concurrency in OSs. One of the guys gave a very interesting illustration; he said that what’s been happening with current implementations of concurrency is synonimous to building a structure with banana peels, you can get really good engineers to do it; and they could probably do it very well but principally building a structure with banana peels is not an ideal situation! There is also an interesting paper by Rob Pike I read about how systems software research can possibly be considered irrelevant today!!! Check it out, it’s a really good read!

There is something i came across recently while researching on the use of commodity PCs to build powerful clusters with immense computing power. You know, the same thing they do over at google with racks of commodity PCs strung together and kept humming by custom software! They call it a Beowulf cluster. The name apparently comes from some old epic. The aim is to get more computing power per unit at less cost, leveraging commodity PCs by clustering them and spending less, instead of buying a huge server that will give you less comparative computing power at a more expensive price… The major issues are of course cooling (I have always wondered how much Google spends per year on just cooling expenses) and fail-over, from what I have read, since PCs are constantly failing within the Google clusters, the architecture makes it such that when one PC crushes another automatically takes over.

Filed under: google, research, software, technology

A Special Night

The last couple of dys have been a bit busy. Following up on my previous post, i did some more reporting with SSRS(That tutorial is still in the pipeline) and I also got a taste of some new things here and there as well as experiencially learning the DOs and DONTs of SSRS. SSRS is a great tool, the only thing i do not quite fancy is the way you have to tweek the report a lot just to get the right print out (and big-up to all those nice folks at MS who worked on it!). For example, there is this interesting thing that started happening with the report i built; on the client machine they would navigate to a page say 221 but oddly when they preview the print-out it would show a page or two ahead (like 222). I have not managed to track whats up with that but i gave the users a simple work-around that suffices.

Other than that I have as usual been doing a lot of work on data and some interesting reports, i did one this afternoon that almost had me jumping up and down in blissful glee.

Other than that, I have been watching all these videos about interesting stuff at microsoft research, stuff to fo with CLR research, an interesting item called DLR (Dynamic Language Runtime) that they are doing with Ruby (I really ought to learn Ruby!), F# and Functional Programming, LINQ (very interesting, Anders is pretty good), Silverlight, Programming Language development  and some more stuff, but mostly CLR.

Frankly, a lot has been said about Microsoft, but I think they have some great work going on there and they work on pretty interesting stuff (but i still think Google totally rocks).

I am sure the title of this post has some eye-lids up in curiosity… so I will just leave it like that… for now!!!

Filed under: cool, fun, google, googler, interview, microsoft, research, software, technology, work

Learnability, Stickability, Valour

Work has been pretty interesting for the past two days. Primarily cos I had a chance to some things which were pretty new to me! The biggest perhaps being, learning to use SQL Server Reporting Services for SQL Server 2005. I learnt it within two days and deployed some pretty complex reports. In fact, there is one report which I had done in Crystal Reports that had TERRIBLE performance (its a heck of a complex report!!!), I mean searching through it and printing it were just extremely time consuming and just utterly frustrating to the users. In fact, it was this very problem that drove me to SSRS in a bid to handle the situation. The long and the short of it is that the report that was so complex and that had initially taken me more than 3 days to do on a familiar reporting engine took only a few hours to do and deploy which. And not only is it rapid-fast in comparison but also the users really loved the new interface and it’s ease of accessibility via a simple browser. I did notice however that the report does not render properly on firefox, but comes out well on IE, there is some ActiveX component that was needed on the browser to enable printing, and there is something about date formatting (i needed to have filtering on the report by dates), the issue is that the date format in the BI Development Studio is natively American (m/d/y), this gave me a bit of trouble cos i did not realize it, but apparently once you deploy it IE takes the set date formatting on the PC’s regional settings…. I think I should do a tutorial on the Tech section. Now, that I have leveraged SRSS in reporting I am going to try it out to do some other interesting reports I have to do. I love challenge so this is not just about work any more, its about leveraging the power of a new technology learnt to the solution of some interesting and challenging information manipulation problems (Mmmmuhahahahaha)!!!

I am also currently learning some other stuff on my own and I have a promising opportunity to make some cash, in fact, two different opportunities… and I really need the money for my school fees and to pay off some land I bought recently, yes land! In African culture and especially where I come from land is pretty important! And I am thankful to be able to obtain a parcel. (Damn, at this rate,… !)

I just finished watching the Lord of the Ring trilogy, yet again. What can I say, it’s an awesome story, an epic of courage, determination… And last night I watched ‘300’ about the Spartans, I love epics, I think I will re-watch it. It was really awesome, except for the fact that some scenes did not sit well with me, especially at the beginning. There is something about me, when I watch movies, I don’t just get entertained, I sort of put myself in it and somehow experience it, that’s one reason why I am so picky about the movies I watch. 300 was cool not just cos of the awesome war scenes but because of some values I saw in it, courage, determination, teamwork, solidarity, loyalty, freedom, valor… love, the total belief in something much bigger than the self, something you would give your life for and that you live for, the loss of which is a more painful thought than death!  (maybe I just read too much into things), and I asked myself, how much more having faith in what is real, true and not only lasts this lifetime but beyond! Sparta, in all it’s glory fell, eventually, but there is a principle that will never fall, how much more that which will never fall!!! (OK, sorry if I sounded speechy, just consider it my two cents!!!)

There’s a time a good mentor of mine (an more of a father-figure to me) asked me what my life metaphor is… the answer I gave was this, ‘it’s a war’. Some see it as a race, others as an adventure, others as maybe just fun and passing by!

Filed under: adventure, research, technology, tool, work

Research

Today I am in the office researching some tech options for a potentially major project. This is my first time to interact with Futures Trading and it’s so far been exciting, longs, shorts, hegding… quite interesting. As I write this it’s almost lunch time so I will probably leave in a few minutes to fuel up! This is like the first time in a while I have been able to just do some intense googling on a specific topic in a while and on something totally new, it’s awesome. And I like to think that I am probably the most learnable person you will come across.

I am back in class. Yep, after a one and a half week ‘holiday’.  This semester I am taking Business Law, Introduction to Macroeconomics, Information Resource Planning (I think), Cost Accounting and Computer Graphics (OpenGL here I come!). It promises to be an exciting semester. Yesterday we had Business Law, quite interesting, and the discussion was quite interesting as well.  In case the mix of subjects seems a bit wierd, BBIT is what I like to think of as the outcome of a bond between Comp Sci and BA. This semester has more of the BA than the Comp Sci. What I love about it is that at the end of the day not only do I get to learn all the cool and (mostly) geeky tech stuff but also see how it fits within the business world, plus I have a keen liking for business.

Some pals are asking me to host a 2-day party at my place, yep, 2 days, and there is another group of pals from church who want an overnight party, movies, fun n food! The same thing we did over new-year’s eve. It was awesome, we called it ‘The Wolf Plot’ so they are labelling this one ‘The Wolf Plot II’… cool, eh!

One warrior!

Filed under: cool, friends, fun, research, search, work, working

RSS Afrinnovator.com

  • The Wantrapreneur Chronicles #3: Angels
    Land, labor, capital. The 3 classical factors of production that an entrepreneur has to bring together to carry out some venture. When it comes to financing the dream, the options at the initial stages of a venture are limited. Furthermore seed/startup stage ventures carry a larger burden of risk. Sometimes the entrepreneur (or Wantrapreneur) has some saving […]
  • Why innovation in payment systems is important for entrepreneurship
    Look around you. Chances are that at least 90% of everything around you is there because of entrepreneurship.There's a Swahili saying that says, 'ukiona vya elea, jua vimeundwa', translated literally as 'if things exist, it is because they have been made'. The meaning is very simple: things don't just happen by themselves.In the […]
  • The best sales & marketing strategy is...
    Value creation.In a nutshell: Create value for your customers to the point that they want (and are even eager) to pay you. Create value for your customers to the point that they are willing to talk to other people about you and your product or service and recommend you.Why?The reason is simple: first of all people generally tend to do business with people th […]
  • The Wantrapreneur Chronicles #2: The Wantrapreneur
    This segment is dubbed the 'Wantrapreneur Chronicles' because I think that's how I got started. Who or what is a 'Wantrapreneur'? Sometimes the word is used in a derogatory manner to mean someone who is not a real entrepreneur but is more like a pretender - they love the idea of entrepreneurship but don't want actually do the […]
  • Using innovation and creativity to get out of a crisis
    Entrepreneurship, as with life in general, is a risky business. One of the hallmark characteristics of the quintessential entrepreneur is the boldness to take risks. However, with risk comes the potential for failure and the wrong decision can wind you up in a crisis situation. Entrepreneurs therefore have to develop the capacity to handle crisis with poise. […]
  • The Wantrapreneur Chronicles #1: Circumstance
    "Are entrepreneurs born or made?"Of course they're all born! One person remarked (get the joke?). Seriously though, this is one of those questions that you find being asked at entrepreneurship forums and the like. The real question is: is there something special about entrepreneurs, that sets them apart from the rest of us? Something that is n […]
  • To change the world start with your next customer
    The desire to 'change the world' has been attributed especially to the so-called 'millenial' generation as a form of 'entrepreneurial idealism'. However, millenials aside, entrepreneurs really do change the world!The name Percival Elliott Fansler might not ring a bell but you should remember it the next time you are taking a fli […]
  • Is innovation what you do when your back is against the wall?
    I remember watching the movie, 127 Hours. In a dire situation, facing almost certain death, his hand lodged by a rock against a crevice, the main character in the movie does the unthinkable to save himself – he chops off his own arm! Usually people will behave in the same manner when pushed against a wall, they will find some 'creative', if painful […]
  • Creating Sustainable SMEs
    An except from an article I recently wrote for The Broker.SMEs are the lifeblood of most economies. Thankfully, there is no limit to human capacity for innovation – the bedrock upon which entrepreneurship is built. Enabling entrepreneurship should be of foremost importance to governments and can be promoted by establishing three main pillars, which will lay […]
  • Go big or go home. Really?
    When I started out I had this idea that I had to be big, well, not me (literally) but my startup. 'Go big or go home' as they say. Especially by virtue of being in tech, there's a tendency to think this way, that you have to scale to massive proportions, you have to be a 'growth startup'. Be the next Facebook or the next Google! You […]
  • Fallacies of entrepreneurship
    I've been involved in the so-called 'Silicon Savannah' to varying degrees since almost the beginning of this incarnation of the tech/software industry in Kenya.Recently, I had a conversation with someone who runs an entrepreneurship consultancy & capacity building firm. They've worked with entrepreneurs in several sectors including th […]
  • Venture Capital Lessons from the Shark Tank
    I was watching the Shark Tank episode where James Martin, founder of Copa di Vino turned down an offer from the sharks for a second time. The first time he came on the show he had an 'unproven' business model with a modest $500,000 in revenue seeking an investment of $600,000 in exchange for 30% of his business. Kevin O'Leary made him an offer […]
  • Why is it so hard to implement innovation?
    One word: 'Culture'.Culture is the single biggest hurdle any established organization has to go over to become truly innovative. Why? It's simple: innovation is not just about stuff you do, it's about who you are as a company; it is a culture.It is not just about thinking up new ideas, nor even about implementing those ideas. You can do t […]
  • Productivity Hacking: Enter the 'Productivity Hacker'
    Most, if not everyone, reading this article will be familiar with the term "Growth Hacker" and "Growth Hacking", a form of data-driven, aggressively growth-focused marketing. Originally coined by one Sean Ellis (according to Wikipedia), who defined the term 'Growth Hacker' as:A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growt […]
  • Productivity: What do you have and what are you getting out of it?
    My last entry continued the thought pattern regarding what I have concluded, from my own experience and from observation, are the two greatest challenges faced by startups and entrepreneurs: capacity and consistency. In the last post, I did some rough math to show the critical importance of building capacity, especially, human resource capacity (skills, know […]
  • Show me the money: of cash and capital in startup enterprises
    In the last article, I discussed what I think are the two greatest challenges that I have faced in the past, which I also think many entrepreneurs, particularly in the African (or developing world) setting, face: Capacity: Which I would simply summarize as: the ability to execute (effectively and efficiently) - specifically with regards to financial  and […]
  • The two great challenges that every startup faces
    This is my first article in more than 6 months, it also happens to be a unique one for two other reasons: firstly, I am writing from a personal perspective, unlike the ordinary subject-matter content I write, and  secondly,  the issues I raise here are the two key challenges I have identified in my experience of building up the vision that I have for Afrinno […]
  • Kenya: The Internet & Freedom of Information
    The name ‘Edward Snowden’ has become familiar with many people. His revelations about the lengths to which government intelligence agencies in the US and UK have gone to in order to gather information about people’s actions online came as a shock to many. Some have since come to regard him as a hero, whereas others consider him a traitor to his nation. Which […]
  • On Startups: What exactly is a startup? (or the Startup Duck Test)
    A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of co-moderating two panels at the iHub during the monthly Nairobi Research Buzz event hosted by iHub Research and Microsoft. The theme was 'Entrepreneurship 101' based on research the iHub Research team is conducting on tech entrepreneurship in Kenya. There were two separate panels, the first consisting of young […]
  • Exploring the idea of the Creative Class in an African city: A case study of ICT professionals in Nairobi
    Written by Lauren Rosenberg (see below for her bio)Securing urban economic growth in new economy is less dependent on access to physical resources and increasingly dependent on attracting talent who can create economically useful new ideas. Urban theorist Richard Florida calls this type of talent the ‘Creative Class’ - knowledge workers who derive a living f […]
Afrinnovator.com
Mobile Web East Africa
TEDxYouthInspire 2010

My Flickr Photostream

IMG_0789

IMG_0786

IMG_0784

IMG_0781

IMG_0795

More Photos
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.