Warning: This post, as usual, contains unexpurgated use of words starting with B, P, D and F. So if you are the sensitive type, DONT READ. If you read, DONT EMAIL ME complaining ati I am so incorrigible, If you email me DONT EXPECT a response. If you expect a response, don’t send another email CALLING ME A SNOB for not responding to your previous 8 emails. Ahem! #celebPolepole.
Of late, everyone on my twitter feed (@iddsalim) who is related to technology has been touching themselves to a moaning frenzy at the possibilities offered by the year 2011. The techies are coming of age and after downloading a PDF or 2, most tweeps now see themselves are techprenuers. 2011. Yes. No, not simply because of the year, hata 2007 had 365 days and we coders still had unkempt pubic hair back then, but the sheer position we find ourselves in @2011, thanks to the Fibre, Safaricom/Bharti and Code.
Fibre, yes. Code, yes… But did Salim just mention Safaricom in a positive context? Yep! Right before your very eyes, biatch!! You couldn’t even visualize, could you? Contrary to popular belief, I have NO BEEF with Safaricom. Fuck me, I am on 0711! Then again, New year, new outlooks, new bedfellows. I might not be a part of a certain ’40-man team hired to innovate and lookout for new markets and opportunities’ in a certain telco (I wonder what these jamaaz really do since I see nothing being ‘innovated’, but, eeeeh!! Chunga nisiambiwe nimetukanana. Kenyans have such fragile egos.), but I sure know a thing or 2 about opportunities.
So, without beating around anyones bushes, I will skip the foreplay and get straight to malumbano.
The Telco State
Saf is getting LTE soon (4G for the dumbwits normal people). Way more than we need since we don’t even use 30% of the current 3G capacity, but HEY, bigger is better, right? Bharti is also launching 3G soon. Kenya has 6.5 M Internet users. 4M are on Mobile. This means that your app/social engagement just needs to target 2.5% of this to reach Erik Hersman‘s magic number for a successful African Social Engagement (100k unique users).
“We know all that already, Salim”, you quip. “Get to the point, I wanna go back to Facebook!!”. Ok, Pole. I no longer wear tight-around-the-crouch jeans because the possibilities of these always rising numbers just make me hard and always rising. As in Coder M-hard. And here is why. These are some of the unexplored virgin opportunities for Q1, 2011. Just Q1.
- ProjectX4 – The details of this project I have already been commissioned to create will be availed soon. This will change enhance the way breaking news, the stock market data, Banking and Market prices data is presented and accessed. Adding value to investors, pregnant women, cooks and campusers. #EnoughSaidForNow. Wezi wengi. Primary Market is Kenya, ofcourse.
- Fantasy Football League – Why Saf/Bharti? Why? Why don’t we have a Java or MobileWeb based FFL service yet? This area is green and unexplored. The closest to a real mass-market service we have is the Nation’s FFL. Imagine a USSD/Web based FFL system with realtime stats and redundancy. Fiscal/Airtime prizes for weekly winners. A Tip: Make it even more interesting. Screw the EPL and La Liga. Make a FFL only (or primarily) for the KPL. Become patriotic. Milk the ‘Kenya Yameta’ hype. ARPU – KSHS 5.0 per user per week. System Delivery time – 2 weeks. GoldMine.
- MPGs – Yep. It can be done on Africa. In Kenya. In Nairobi. By Kenyan Coders. Multi-Player Games of all sorts. BoardGames, Strategy Games, Social Games. Etc. Make the Matatu ride in the traffic jam more interesting. Choose your own Ocampo 6. Influence where people will go clubbing this Friday. Become an mCeleb. Facebooking bores after 10 mins. We have smartphones. 9 out of every 10 internet-enabled phones in Kenya is a GPRS+ Nokia Phone. Challenge us coders. Give us a chance to fail. We will surprise you.
- Specialists Social Networks – Yep. It is a song now. Only 18% of Kenyans over 18 who CAN BE on Facebook ACTUALLY ARE. It is socially proven that, unless you are looking to get laid or boost your ego, or share your personal problems with people who REALLY DONT CARE, then Facebook is not that appealing. Yes, It helps you meet former schoolmates. But in this business age, someone you have not met for 4 years really CAN’T HELP you. Unless ni mtoto wa sonko. You make new friends; yes 1283 new friends who you will never meet. Ego. Therefore, YES people are hungry for social networks. But NO, Facebook is not the de facto. Think Social networks for Pregnant women (nikonaball.com), for lawyers, for policemen, for weed-smokers or eaters, for wasee wa zimmer (44damu.com). Be unique. Make it niche. Yes, I know there are Facebook groups. But, human groups need a UNIQUE identity. Their own space. Not just another group among millions of groups. Everyone, just like everyone else is unique and special.
The Coders’ State
I was impressed before xMas time when I was called by @lkamau of iHub to come and ‘mentor’ Strathmore students who come to iHub on Satos. There, I met some kids there who were bubbling with enthusiasm. We discussed concepts and some basic code and data logics and from their input, I was impressed. I am confident the next 2 years will bring out very good INDEPENDENT coders from Campuses if the right mentorship strategies are put in place.
Students should learn from REAL-LIFE coders and problems. Not googling for code and changing the ‘title’ and ‘about pages’. The need to understand HOW operating systems and programming languages work. Not learning to solve just a code problem or to finish a project. When I become president, all coders WILL be forced to code offline.
On the other hand, the real coders (and even some programmers) are coming of Age. Java, Python and C++ are the key. Focus there. Achana na VB.
The Fibre State
Need I say more? Cant wait for KSHS 1, 000 per month FAST Internet. But till then, we wait. Ohhh, by the way, Byebye UUNET and AK. Unless Colo fees in Kenya can come down to KSHS 10k per month for 128 Kbps. We will use RackSpace Cloud. KSHS 7, 000 per self-expanding-and-limitlessly-burstable space per month? What a deal! What a package! What power! You can’t just make these thing up! You have heard it here first! All Rackspace, all the time!
Back to code.