Tuesday, August 31, 2010


This is my 100th blog post on Digital Crossings.

I started this blog in order to start writing again. As a university student, I had fully planned writing to be a key part of what I do for the rest of my life. Of course, like many can imagine, things didn’t work out that way. After putting writing on my New Year’s resolutions lists for several years, in 2009 I actually started writing again. I didn’t care what I wrote as long as I could write (call it my Startup story if you like @Possicon). I wanted to write regularly, so I committed to writing at least once a week. As an IT guy, I chose to write, what I imagined would be easy, non-controversial and would not require a lot of regular effort. 128349059_9d72641d5b

From that perspective, this exercise has been an unqualified success. Since February of 2009, I have written a blog post every Tuesday and a few more besides. It hasn’t always been effortless or non-controversial, but it has been a lot of fun. Right now, I can’t imagine not writing weekly.

And yet there won’t be a Digital Crossings post next week Tuesday or for many Tuesdays to come. This is the blog post in which I press the “Pause” button on Digital Crossings.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

If We Have To Register Our SIMs, Then Let’s Benefit From The Effort.

img_1853_sim-card_450x360 I have written criticizing the rationale behind the new SIM registration requirement. However, there isn’t really any groundswell of opposition to it (no #NoSIMRegNigeria hash-tag on Twitter). Unless our history of not doing such things well comes into play, soon enough there are going to be several huge databases lying around the place that would have the names, addresses and biometric information of at least a quarter of our populace. Indeed if the NCC is to be believed, we have already passed the 50% mark in tele-density. My reasoning is if that data has been gathered, and it is our data, then we should derive some positive benefit from it, not just the government.

While I still stand by my recommendations around have the data should be stored and accessed, I believe there are opportunities for the citizenry to be served by that data. This will have to be built upon secure APIs providing controlled access to that data. This also assumes data quality without which no benefits can be achieved whether in security or commerce. Be that as it may, I believe the following benefits can be achieved.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Making the Nigerian Internet A Level Playing Ground

328454_f520 Last week two significant things caught my attention. First Google and Verizon seemed to trying to preempt the US Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to reach consensus with the major stakeholders in the US internet infrastructure space. The two giants appeared to be proposing rules that would keep the internet a level playing ground, so called “Net Neutrality” rules. However several analysts expressed concerns over clauses that appeared to give them loopholes to make the wireless infrastructure of the internet less than open. Today, the wired internet (based on fibre optic and other physically wired connections to people’s homes) is the largest part of the means of internet access in the US. However, it is clear on several fronts that the mobile and thus wireless internet is the future and these two titans appear to be trying to position themselves to have clear advantages, arguably at the expense of customers and competitors alike.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How to Lose A Customer

0_apr_credit_card My bank, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) recently started migrating customers away from the InterSwitch CashPlus ATM/Debit Card to the more secure “Chip and PIN” (EMV) technology. Their chosen solution is the Naira MasterCard product in still in partnership with InterSwitch. The process has been painful for me because I use my card to pay my bills online. The problem is that the Naira MasterCard doesn’t work on the old or new bills site that InterSwitch has set up (www.quickteller.com) and there is no prognosis for when it would be turned on for bills payment on their site. My problem actually started before the new card was issued. First GTBank reduced the ATM limits on the old card without informing users or at least not doing it in a way that caught my attention until I ran into problems when I needed cash for a transaction. Then they disabled the ability to use the card on most websites with equally little customer engagement. This significantly handicapped my ability to run things the way I used to.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Few Ideas Part 3: Solving the Trust Issues

3411654812_2046f3beb2 This is the third of the three ideas I had committed to share in response to Gbenga Sesan’s challenge. The whole ideas thing came out of my Clone Wars series where I had claimed that there are enough local problems to use technology to solve rather than creating copies of technologies that don’t necessarily solve anything. I seriously love Twitter, but it doesn’t in and of itself solve any problem. However, a whole slew of things have been built on top of it that solve a variety of problems.

On to today’s idea. EBay is one of those unique web-based businesses that was profitable from day one. EBay’s original business required very little infrastructure because what it did was connect buyers with sellers and take a cut of the transaction for providing this connection. This brokerage model is an excellent one that many have tried to replicate the world over.