Monthly Archives: April 2011

SA Entrepreneurship MBA Scholarship

The Gordon Institude of Business Science (GIBS) in South Africa is offering an Entreprenurship MBA scholarship for emerging leaders in Kenya and other sub-Saharan African Countries. Closing Date 30th April!

Eligibility and selection criteria: The ELSP is open to emerging young business leaders from the following countries currently supported by Danida:  Benin, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Women from sub-Saharan African countries are particularly encouraged to apply.

ELSP scholarships cover 90% of the total cost of completing the GIBS full-time Entrepreneurship MBA programme. This normally includes tuition, travel, residence, living expenses and insurance for the duration of the programme. It is the full responsibility of the ELSP applicant to finance the remaining 10% cost share.

More Information here: http://www.gibs.co.za/default.aspx?pid=1073&stepid=1&oid=388496

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Worse Than Failure.

Some developers have a habit of bragging about how many languages they know, or what latest technology they are using. But its all in vain if there’s a lack of fundamental understanding and logic. If you can’t express it clearly and succintly in *English* (or your own language), then your attemps to code it will be a WTF a la the following:

One of the great things about Boolean logic is its simplicity. At the most basic level, there’s simply TRUE and FALSE with AND, OR, and NOT. It takes a lot of work to overcomplicate such a simple system, yet “certain” developers seem to find such over-complication second nature. Take E.H.’s colleague, for example.

His impressive use of interesting semantic choices, redundant equality checks, and integer mixing make every line of code seem like a puzzle to solve. Take this line, for example.

if (statusIsNotValid.compareTo( Boolean.FALSE ) != 0) skipValidation = false;

Quick! Does validation occur when the status is valid? Now just imagine the fun E.H. has with such quandaries line-after-line and day-after-day.

 

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A Day without TOMS

TOMS shoes is at it again* with a campaign that is at best useless, at worst, detrimental to real aid efforts by perpetuating the myth that “it’s so easy” to do aid work.

A Day Without Shoes encourages consumers to go without shoes on April 8th for as little as “20 minutes”. TOMS shoes founder Blake Mycoskie writes in HuffPo “We even have people participating virtually by blogging barefoot, using a One Day avatar for Twitter, or switching out their Facebook profile pic to help spread awareness”. (Oh, Awareness, that vague state of being that *must* be spread at all costs, with the low entry price of a single “Like” on a Facebook fan page. There, I’ve achieved awareness!)

Good intentions launches a counter campaign, A Day without Diginity , and Tales from the Hood writes a scathing, educational post on the subject, A Day without Dumbassery.

In case you don’t know why giving gifts in kind (GIK) or this kind of campaign is a bad idea, here is some reading for ya.

*TOMS shoes is a for-profit shoe company founded on the premise that for every shoe bought, they donate a new pair to a vague “child-in-need”. Great marketing gimmick, otherwise it would be pretty hard to compete in the ugly-but-earth-aware shoe market. Their shoes go for $50-$80 by the way.

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Group buying

Group buying is big.

Groupon.com has $800 million in revenue, and recently rejected a $5.3billion dollar offer from Google.  In Kenya we have rupu.co.ke and zuku.co.ke which seem to be fairly successful by the number of sold out deals they have. Rupu has about 5800 facebook likes, while Zetu has 6800, if that’s any indication of the number of people who actively follow daily deals.

Group buying seems to be one of those models wherein one player will emerge as the dominant – people go where people are. So it will probably shake down to one group buying website per country/region.

This type of monopoly is unnerving, especially because the website shares the revenue with the business putting up the offer, rather than take a small cut as traditional advertiser would do – which you could argue is what a group buying website really is.  For example, if a supermarket had product x that it usually offers for sh 500, a marketing idea would be to advertise coupons in the local newspaper for sh 100 off. The money it would take to publish the coupon is probably only a very small expense compared to the discount price, say sh 10 per product sold.  However, group buying sites like Groupon have a 50/50 share with the business. So instead of a business taking in sh(400-10) = sh 390 per product, it would be taking in 50% of sh 400 = sh 200.

This seems like a raw deal because usually the intended effect of traditional advertising is that the attention leads to new customers who spend on other products and increase overall revenue to the business. So even if you offer a product for FREE! the subsequent new/repeat business will cover the costs. But for group buying, the coupon is not a hook to create sales, but seems to be the point of sale. The people on the group buying websites are chasing the deals. The deal is the rule not the exception. So a business is popular for a day but doesn’t retain the new customers. Slate has a good article on this very effect. http://www.slate.com/id/2289087/

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