Why free Wi-Fi is more important than cheap Wi-Fi

When I ran Mxit I saw how it changed peoples lives. The brainchild of some Stellenbosch techies allowed youngsters in the Cape Flats to connect with a world of which they could only dream before. Jobs, education and mostly importantly, social networks were created overnight thanks to cheap messaging that worked on all phones, regardless…

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4 tips before starting a business

1. If you don’t know how you’re going to make money from day one, you will fail 2. If you don’t have enough savings to last six months without a salary, you will fail 3. If you are not willing to risk asking family and friends for money to start your venture, you will failOf course, this is…

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How to make money using premium-rated SMS

Many people ask me how to make money via premium rated SMS. To save further repetitions, here is a summary…Since 2002, in South Africa (and most African countries), the mobile operators developed the WASP model (Wireless Application Service Provider) whereby a company can register as a WASP and apply for premium rated codes for SMS,…

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7 lessons for CEOs from @bhorowitz book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

When raising money, look for a market of one. You only need one investor to say yes, so it’s best to ignore the other thirty that say no. If you’re going to eat shit don’t nibble. Give bad news or take pain all in one go rather than drag out over months. Figuring out the…

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Accelerating Internet access in Africa…

If bandwidth is like water, then Africa is a desert with Perrier vending machines everywhere. If you have money, you’re fine. If you don’t have money, you’re dying of thirst.Although over 70% of Africans have a mobile phone, and over 90% are covered by mobile networks, less than 10% use the Internet.Which means most Africans…

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2014: The year of going sideways (again)

They say when you are happy you can hear the music. When you’re sad you hear the lyrics.It feels like I’ve been hearing the music and the lyrics in the past few weeks.I could especially hear the words to every song on the day Madiba died.2013 was a confusing year for many people, including me….

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Why Wi-Fi is ideal for low income communities

Some people are asking is Wi-Fi the best technology for the masses in Africa to access the Internet. Here are 3 reasons:1.             Network equipmentThe disintegration of Motorola resulted in the world’s best radio engineers breaking off and starting their own companies, Ubiquiti being chief amongst these. The result, 5 years later, is a paradigm shift in…

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The secret to taking risk

Taking risk is partly a matter of mind-over-matter, but mostly about environment. It’s more about being in a position to take risk than having the willpower to do so.The following factors create the environment for risk-taking:Financial risk Marry rich Professional qualification to fall back on Savings Wealthy parents (that love you) Low personal overheads (the…

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3 kinds of social networks

This is obvious to some people, but it bears summing up for us laymen… There are three kinds of social networks:1.    Broadcast – Twitter This is about telling the world what you think, and finding out what other people think. It’s more like watching TV than having a conversation in that you don’t have to…

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The difference between excellent and mediocre

The difference between excellent and mediocre is price. And the difference between the haves and have-nots is affordability.To make something available to everyone means to compromise. Its only through compromise that you can the economics work (ie: cheap enough for everyone to afford).To make something excellent is to inevitably raise the price such that only…

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The major flaw of Wi-Fi over TV white space

There seems to be a fair bit of excitement of the potential for using the soon-to-be-freed TV white space spectrum for providing Wi-Fi in Africa.Whilst there is no arguing with the awesomeness of this spectrum, we should all be aware a major flaw:There are no devices in the world, outside of prototypes, that can operate…

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The 3 unloved ingredients of start-up success

We all hear of the big factors for business success, ie: IQ, hard work, perseverance, luck, etc.But there are a couple traits that are as important but get less of the limelight:1.             Tolerance for uncertaintyStart-up life is all about not knowing what the future holds, being ready for curveballs, and being cool with that uncertainty….

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