The reason communism became popular

It must have been a cellphone network. Or in those days whatever was as integral to every day life. Lets call it the post office. The post office was operated by the private sector. It all started so well and then one day mail started going missing, was delivered late, or was simply not available…

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Small companies will win

Without fail, big companies become bureaucratic and cumbersome beasts. There are no exceptions. Even Google has gone down this path. My knee-jerk was to blame the leadership. The company is a reflection of its leader; therefore a bureaucratic company means the CEO is a bureaucrat. And then I read Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields. Turns out…

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Why is anonymity important in Africa?

10 April 2012 I used to be against anonymity. When I read the forums and comments sections on sites like Moneyweb and MyAdsl my knee-jerk reaction was: “Online anonymity should be banned. It provides a cover for racists, misfits and angry people.” What’s wrong with using your real identity? What are you afraid of? If…

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The tyranny of passwords

17 February 2012 How many passwords do you have? No, wait. Let me guess. TOO MANY. Why? Because every company in the world has their own password rules. At least 11 characters. At least one special character. At least one capital letter. At least one numeric. Faaaaaaaaark! Take online banking for example. I experience deep…

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The importance of form over substance

8 February 2012I did Company Law 101 at varsity, and I recall the over-arching principle being, “Substance over form.” In essence, this means the law is based upon actions not words.“I did not kill him,” is not a defence in itself. Especially if there is physical evidence that you did kill him.On the other hand,…

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The secret to harnessing your magic

6 February 2012Do yourself a favour and read the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. It’s a story about a woods-guide who is tasked with a quest to save the world. He accepts out of a sense of responsibility, but feels wholly inadequate and is convinced he’s the wrong man for the job. Throughout…

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Prepaid airtime is like sugar

31 January 2012 Africa has been freed from its shackles by the advent of prepaid airtime. Prepaid triggered the mass adoption of mobile phones on the continent, which in turn filled the communications vacuum that has existed since the beginning of time. Africa missed the printing press, the wireless telegraph, the fixed line phone, and…

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Mobile phones & food in Africa

30 January 2012I’ve recently read Poor Economics, a great study of the poor in developing countries. One of the interesting observations was that if you give the poorest of the poor an extra $1 per day, they only spend 40c on additional food. The remaining 60c goes towards entertainment.Turns out being poor is boring.And the…

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The interesting life of telcos

30 January 2012So lets think of the evolution of the mobile operators.When they started, the fixed line operator tried to smash them through predatory pricing, dirty tricks with transmission and games with the regulator. Eventually the fixed line guys realized the world had changed. Mobile operators are here to stay and they’ll make more money….

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Thank God for affirmative action

26 January 2012 I was at Exclusive Books the other day, killing an hour whilst looking after my kids. During the random wandering amongst the shelves something caught my eye. It was a book, surprise surprise. It was not a book about business, tech, history or psychology, my usual favourites. It was a book about…

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If I’m Knott-Craig, who am I?

22 January 2012 My name is Alan Knott-Craig. So is my dad’s. This has been a source of confusion for many people… we both work in the telecoms sector, he’s famous, and, of course, a surname like Knott-Craig has enormous potential for amusement. “If you’re not Craig, who are you?” is a joke that seemingly…

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Lessons from the Olympic Games for your business

7 December 2011 On Monday I had the privilege of listening to (Lord) Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympics. He used a great analogy for how to view the Olympics which I think is perfect for how you view your business. If you think about it, the Olympics is…

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