Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Clone Wars Interlude: Impress Me.

103188707_ee881f23f1 I seriously need someone to impress me.I mean impress me like the iPhone impressed me. The original iPhone as well as its two successors, are half-baked pieces of plastic with horrible battery lives, no user replaceable parts, a dearth of standard cell phone features like SMS receipt notification, horrible cameras, inaccessible storage, meaningless bluetooth, and completely locked in software. And yet the first time I touched the interface, I was sold by its usability, the beauty and simplicity of its interface and the power of the app store. I was impressed.

Impress me like the netbook phenomenon. A fully functional laptop for less than fifty thousand naira that could do what 90% of the populace actually need computers for with up to 10.5 hours of battery life in some cases. This is the computer for the ordinary Nigerian with our power problems, constant mobility and simple computing needs.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Clone Wars Part 3: Platforms.

211239773_940d75fc4d Doing clones is usually an attempt to replicate a successful business model. The most common type of clone out there today is the social network and every second start-up in Nigeria seems to remarkably resemble Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn or Twitter. As I said earlier, there is nothing wrong with duplicating successful models in and of itself, but I am concerned that we are not doing it the way the Japanese, the Koreans and the Indians have done it. What these societies have done is take the technologies and products of the West and put their own peculiar spin on these technologies, made it their own and created products that the world beats a path to their door for. Names like Samsung, Toyota and the city of Mumbai stand testament to this.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Clone Wars Part 2: Pros and Pitfalls

100425518_97523445be My last post was the first in my Clone Wars series. Clone, in this context, is a web enterprise that is pretty much a copycat of another existing one. I suggested that that is not necessarily a bad thing and there is a history of highly successful enterprises that started as a clone of a predecessor. Creating an enterprise that is a copy of an existing one has its benefits, but I think the pitfalls exceed the benefits.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Clone Wars: Part One

star_wars__clone_wars_poster For some time I have been planning to do a series of articles called, euphemistically, “the Clone Wars” because the jump-off point was the large number of web enterprises that seem to be copies or clones of other better known web enterprises.  The idea for this series has percolated in my mind for some time, shifting and taking form being shaped by new information, events and perspectives.

Most recently, I was at BarCamp Nigeria 2010. The theme was “Creating Local Content for Nigerian Web Market”. I was meant to moderate a panel on the subject of “Business Models”. This meant that there would be a panel of experienced internet entrepreneurs to answer questions that I would put to them on behalf of the audience. Unfortunately due to time overruns, that panel couldn’t take place which was unfortunate because it would have been a valuable discussion. I bring that up because the whole issue of clones is an issue of business models. So the Clone Wars series will ultimately be an exploration of some of the possible business models available in the Nigerian business space, and the pros and cons of each of them.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Nigeria Needs A CIO

goodluck First it was word that the President was going to use Facebook to communicate with the people. Then it was the announcement about a plan to spend a significant amount of money making internet infrastructure available to schools across the country. Now I hear the government is also going to be using Youtube (unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the link to the news item).It seems someone in Abuja woke up and discovered all these tools of the 21st Century.

All this sudden interest in modern information technology is a good thing and should be applauded. As long as the government’s interest is awoken, let me use the opportunity to make a suggestion. The Federal Republic of Nigeria needs a Chief Information Officer, a Federal CIO.