My Gift to Kenya

Besides the hours and hours of work I put in I decided today to go a step further.  The introduction of beer pong.  We all had a blast and I showed them why I’m feared at many tables around the world (not really).  I think this will soon be a weekly thing.

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Manyatta Rent Website Launched

I finally finished Manyatta Rent’s website today.  Check it out: http://www.manyattarent.com.  It’s nothing amazing, but should do for Demo Day.

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Great Quote that Shannon Sent Me

“If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder. Our eyes don’t lift to the horizon; our ears don’t hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience, and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting. We wake up one day and find that we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days. This is why we travel.”

-S. Ward Harrison

Notice Anything Funny?

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An exciting day out the windows of 88mph.  First a small protest and now camels.

Matatu Drivers Hate These Leafy Sticks

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This was the sight out in front of our office for an exciting one whole minute today. Apparently the Kenyan government has passed a law that matatu drivers hate. As such, the natural reaction is to protest and walk down Ngong road with leafy sticks. After doing some research it enacts the following:

  • Life imprisonment for reckless driving (I believe matatu actually translates into reckless)
  • Physical and mental examination for matatu drivers every 3 years
  • Criminalizes drunk driving
  • UPDATE: No more overtaking (this is like asking a person to stop breathing)
  • UPDATE: No more cutting through gas stations to jump traffic

Now I get it.

Looking to Diversify Your Investment Portfolio

Thought i’d throw it out there that all 88mph startups are currently looking for interested investors. The company list is as follows:

– Mpepea: emergency micro-loans. Make money by charging interest.
– Manyatta Rent: Estate Management software and payment using mobile money systems. Make money by charging fee to reconcile the payment information.
– Mdundo: African music distribution using scratch cards and mobile phones. Make money by charging for the cards.
– Gamsole: Mobile games featuring African content and themes. Make money by offering freemium games.
– Drugs.co.ke: Purchase drugs and other items online and delivered to a distribution point near you. Make money by selling goods.
– Movas: airtime loans for your mobile phone. Make money by charging interest on the airtime loan.
– Closet49: online shopping marketplace for clothing and accessories. Make money by charging a fee for the sales made.

Let me know if you’re interested. Investments are in the $100K range.

88mph Startup Gallery

I threw these posters together a month ago that provide an outline for each of the startups for the 88mph 2012 fall group. Thought I’d share and see if you can learn a bit about what each is trying to achieve.

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We’ve come a long way since then and I look forward to sharing the final product from Demo Day on December 13th.

More Folks from Denmark

For such a small country it sure seems that an awful lot of them are coming to Kenya to do business.

Last week a group of 17 Danish consultants came down to do an intense 4 day workshop with our 88mph startups. The goals of the workshop were to provide background info, focus on 3 key areas that could quickly be improved and then focus on the company pitch. I’d say it was a fairly good success.

It was a welcome addition to the team to have so many people with a professional background like mine. Very structured in the approach and clearly defining the expectations. But I then began to see a side that I had never seen before. Consultants coming in and quickly taking over the daily routines. Now I know how people must feel when I have come in in the past.

As with any consulting gig, the most important thing is proving your worth and establishing a trust that you can and will help with the clients best interest in mind. I think the team that was chosen did a great job at this and the startups were very excited to get involved and listen.

One aspect I saw was that this group was reiterating all of the things we have been telling our startups in the past two months. It was as if the cool uncle came in and validate all of the things that evil parents had been saying all along.

I made a lot of friends last week and I hope I get the chance to work with them again.

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Yes You Can Drink & Drive

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Dumbfounded? I was.

On our way to Hell’s Gate in Naivasha, we passed this sign on the highway. Turns out it’s for a non-alcoholic beer.

View of My Nairobi Home from Work

Yep, I live this close to work. Part awesome, part sad.

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My roommate/colleague’s NGO GMin

My roommate Jacob started a NGO a few years ago called GMin. Their mission: “empower locals who wish to create and implement their own solutions to the issues that they truly understand.” They are now up to 2 million views on a youtube video and receiving over 30 emails a day regarding donations and sponsorships.  Check it out and share with anyone you know who might be interested. Sponsorships welcome.

Kenya’s First Highway

The Chinese have been building Kenya a nice new highway.  I’ve been told that people are having to relearn how to drive in a place where such high speeds are possible.  Given the current driving habits of most Kenyans I fear that highways are more of a curse than a blessing.

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Kenyan Road Safety

Japanese in Kenya

Good old Japanese Teppanyaki.  By far the most expensive food I’ve had since arriving, but also the tastiest.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Hope you all are getting rested and prepared for a wonderful meal. I had almost forgotten that today was a holiday. I wish I could join in. Please save some pumpkin pie for me.

Thankful for:

  • My loving wife
  • My supportive family and friends
  • Trying something new with my career

Not thankful for:

  • Mosquitoes that wake me up all night long

Happy Turkey Day!!!

Bombing in Nairobi

Just to clarify, I’m ok, safe and the bombing was on the other side of town.

On Sunday a bomb was placed on a public bus and as such killed 7 and wounded 30 or more. These attacks are taking place due to Kenya’s hand in fighting the Al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia.

This has since enflamed some local issues in the Eastleigh neighborhood which is home to many Somali families. There has been some rioting and conflict between Kenyan Christians and Somali Muslims. This was the second day of such riots. The issue has been primarily the Kenyans fighting against the Somalis because they really have no one else to attack for the bombing.

Here is a story from the local paper: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Riots-rock-Eastleigh-for-the-second-day/-/1056/1624512/-/14918h2z/-/index.html

I know the magnitude is nothing like that of 9/11 in the U.S.; however, the targeting of innocent Muslims, neighbors is very similar. How do you fight a faceless group?

Tragedy Strikes…My Hair

So I shaved my head yesterday as I normally do and all went well. Putting on a #4/#3 level was about right and things looked pretty good.

Today, I was looking to do a little touch up work and the following resulted.

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As such, I had to result to the unthinkable.
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This sucks.

Saturday at the Office

Explaining Tower Defense Games

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Working with Abiola (Gamsole) to explain the concept behind tower defense games. We’re hoping he will begin to makes games with mosquitoes as the main character.

Lakota West

I was walking around the mall during lunch today and came across a guy wearing a Lakota West Soccer 2006 t-shirt. Appears that Goodwill goods find their way all over the place.