Saturday, December 27, 2008

What's wrong with (most) Kenyan men?

We all know that (most) Kenyan men have never been experts at treating their ladies in the right ways. And after Obama's win, it appears that the situation has only gotten worse, since most Kenyan men are mistakingly assuming their genes are so popular that there is no need for any additional efforts from their sides. Today's article in the Saturday Nation entitled "What your spouse wants" and this post from Vint Falken encouraged me to develop the following draft curriculum for a training which I would like to offer in 2009:

Two-day practical training seminar for Kenyan men - proposed programme
Note: Due to the complexity of the content, each seminar will accept a maximum of eight participants. The seminar will last for two days, and topics covered include:

Day one:
  • Toilet rolls - do they grow on the holders? Round table discussion.
  • Differences between a laundry basket and the floor. Practicing with different types of laundry baskets.
  • Dishes and cutlery - do they levitate/fly to the kitchen sink by themselves? Debate among a panel of experts.
  • Losing the remote control. Help line and support groups.
  • Learning how to find things. Starting with looking in the right place instead of turning the house upside down while screaming - open forum.
  • Beauty does not equal booty. An introduction to common English spelling mistakes.
  • Sex: we can't all be perfect, but we can at least avoid the worst moves of all times. An update from the Kenyan blogosphere.
  • How to do away with unrealistic expectations? Case study: coming home stinking of Tusker and expecting your partner to cuddle and act all-loving.
Day two:
  • Empty milk cartons: do they belong in the fridge or in the bin? Group discussion and role play.
  • Are Kenyan women too choosy or are their standards realistic? Group reflection exercise.
  • HealthWatch: Bringing her flowers is not harmful to your health. PowerPoint presentation.
  • Real men ask for directions when lost. Real life testimonial from a man who did.
  • Is it genetically impossible to stay quiet as she tries to find parking in Nairobi's CBD? Driving simulation.
  • Living with adults: Differences between your mother, your partner and your "she's just a friend". Online class and role play.
  • How to be the ideal shopping companion? Relaxation exercises, meditation and breathing techniques and info-session on the latest credit cards.
  • It is not uncool to show that you care: remembering important dates and calling when you're going to be late. Bring your calendar, Blackberry or iPhone to class.
  • Taking control in a relationship. She may be a control freak, but really, she wants you to be THE MAN, so step up already.
  • Getting over it. Learning how to live with being wrong all the time.
  • How to put the toilet seat down. Practical demonstration.
I am looking forward to your esteemed opinions in order to improve on this draft curriculum. I am also still looking for several resource persons to facilitate some of the sessions, so let me know if you are an expert in any of the above or other topics I may have missed. Dates and venues will be confirmed later. Group bookings and special deals will be made available.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Palin beats Obama...

... in Google's 2008 Year-End Google Zeitgeist. Having collected billions of search queries from across the world, Google's 'zeitgeist' year-end report gives insight into the minds of Internet users. Globally, Obama was beaten by Palin, who topped the worldwide list of fastest rising queries. Obama ended sixth in the list of top climbers.

Fastest Rising (Global):
  1. sarah palin
  2. beijing 2008
  3. facebook login
  4. tuenti
  5. heath ledger
  6. obama
  7. nasza klasa
  8. wer kennt wen
  9. euro 2008
  10. jonas brothers

See what Kenya is searching for

With Google Insights for Search, you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, and time frames. It is a very cool tool, and below is what I got as top 10 rising searches in Kenya for the period October 2008 - December 2008:

1. dv lottery +700%
2. cnn.com +200%
3. barack obama +190%
4. obama +180%
5. cnn +100%
6. prison break +80%
7. www.facebook.com +70%
8. public service commission +60%
9. premier league +50%
10. orange +50%

It seems like you all wanted to get a Diversity Visa (top rising search)? I also found "prison break" on number 6, and "public service commission" on number 8 quite interesting...
Note that Google Insights for Search aims to provide insights into broad search patterns. Several approximations are used to compute these results. Try it out and let me know what you can get out of it!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Safaricom and Western Union: From hate to love relationship?

Vodafone announced a partnership today with Western Union to allow international money transfers via mobile phones, as the wireless carrier seeks to tap into the increasing flow of cross-border remittances, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The pilot programme allows residents of Reading in the UK to send money to family members and friends in Kenya, where Vodafone is the 40% owner of Safaricom. If that programme is successful, the companies will expand it to other countries.

The service enables customers to send cross-border remittances from select locations directly to Safaricom mobile subscribers in Kenya generally in minutes. The initiative uses Western Union´s trusted global "hub" for processing cross-border remittances. It builds on the success of M-PESA, a mobile money transfer service in Kenya offered by Vodafone and Safaricom, which has attracted over 4 million customers since its launch in March 2007.

The pilot will take place through a select number of Western Union agents based in Reading. Consumers can send funds to any Safaricom mobile subscriber in Kenya in a matter of minutes. Receivers can use their funds in a variety of ways, including visiting one of 4,000 M-PESA agents in Kenya to withdraw their cash, or forwarding it on to another mobile phone in Kenya.

"The successful take-up of M-PESA in Kenya has clearly demonstrated the demand for easily accessible, secure cash payment services in emerging markets," said Nick Hughes, Vodafone’s Head of International Mobile Payments. "Our partnership with Western Union allows M-PESA subscribers to receive international remittances and builds on the demand we have already seen domestically in Kenya."

"This program aligns a global leader in money-transfer services, the world´s largest mobile operator group, and arguably one of the most impressive success stories in mobile money," said Matt Dill, Senior Vice President, Western Union Digital Ventures. "In offering M-PESA users the opportunity to receive funds from abroad for the first time, these three companies are changing the way money moves around the globe."

Michael Joseph, CEO of Safaricom, said, "This is another great step for M-PESA and will benefit many Kenyans all over the world. International remittances form a significant part of the total income for some Kenyans and the partnership with Western Union will provide Kenyans with an opportunity to receive small values of cash from abroad in a fast, safe and affordable way."

There are many benefits of using mobile phones for micro-transactions in a country like Kenya, where few people have bank accounts and over 10 million people have mobile phones. Furthermore, increased global migration has led to a significant increase in the flow of funds from expatriate migrant workers who send money home. Last year, for example, Kenya received approximately US$ 1.3 billion in international remittances.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

BubbleWrap Kenya

It looks like every day a new e-commerce site is born in Kenya. In some of my earlier posts, I already looked at Books First, Quick Flicks Store, and Crystallwear
And now I just discovered a fourth one: BubbleWrap Kenya. They focus mainly on gifts. The site is easily searchable or alternatively you can browse the categories, which go from books to wedding and couple gifts. 

Busy girls may like the thought of a 1 hour of spa re-balancing massage. But they may find a sensitive friend who could offer them much more for less than the KSh 5,000 advertised for this massage. Handy men may like the 4 Drawer Topchest with 142pc Tool Kit. But their wifes may not like the KSh 64,995/- price tag. Cooking queens may love the Stylish italian stainless steel cutlery. But their husbands may frown upon the KSh 61,800/- cost.

BubbleWrap guarantees that you will receive your gift within 2 weeks unless it is a customized gift then it is 2 months... They accept payment by Mpesa, cheque, Visa and Mastercard. Bubble Wrap aims to deliver within 14 days using Fargo Courier. The cost of delivery will be added to your bill.

In conclusion: Interesting website, but I really hope they can come up with some more attractive prices (most items appear more expensive than in the conventional shops), or otherwise they should just wrap up this bubble.