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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Mxit: The social broadcast network

29 November 2011 At its most basic level, a social network is a “bush telegraph” system.[1] This seems particularly apt for a network such as Mxit when one considers that most of Africa is bush and Mxit is the biggest social network in Africa! And since man originated in Africa, that would make Mxit the…

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The decision that made dodos famous

28 November 2011 Decision-making is like evolution. The wrong decision and you’re dead. No decision and you’re dead. Right decision and you’re alive. The dodo is a great example. At some point in history, a dodo was born that could not fly. The (temporary) lack of predators on Mauritius meant the non-flying dodo could survive…

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My kids and social networks

I have two young daughters. The most beautiful little girls in the world, and I can see the not-too-distant future where I am struck with fear that they might walk into real life and get into trouble…What happens when they start going to parties, talking to boys, and using social networks like Facebook and Mxit!Now…

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The importance of having children – Part II

Yesterday I awoke with a giant pimple on my forehead. I read the paper to discover that Bafana Bafana had in actual fact not qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations. And then, just in case things couldn’t get worse, the Boks lost to Australia in the quarterfinal of the Rugby World Cup.Life is grand.When…

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The truth about data networks

Have you ever considered how hard it is to actually do things? Build a bridge? How hard can that be? Write the Google algorithm? It’s just a string of words, piece of cake! Connect to the Internet? What could be easier! As an accountant, I tend to oversimplify and underestimate the magic of much of…

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Secrecy vs Privacy

There is a difference between secrecy and privacy. Secrecy is the hiding of facts from the light of day. Privacy is the ability to be by oneself. Alone. Undisturbed. With the arrival of the Internet, mobile phones and social media, secrecy is dead. There are no more secrets. This makes the world a better place….

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