eCommerce realities in Kenya.

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Perhaps you have heard of Kentex Cargo, Africa Salihiya Cargo, Aircom Cargo, perhaps you don’t, and don’t care……..but you should. Our new reality is that a while back connecting with somebody in a different continent was rocket science. You needed to access a phone or a fax machine, for instantaneous communication. Then the internet saved our struggles, we then realized that we didn’t have to wait 30 days for a mail delivery. Voice over internet was born and eventually, we lived web.

Today we have smartphones, with higher computing power that the apollo 11, that thing that went to the moon, that thing couldn’t event tweet. Technology has continued to help us positively in the way we live, work and connect, how we connect with different continents. We have played catch up in many areas. One thing that has really slowed the uptake has been infrastructure, it has taken a while to have it and even when it was in place, there was something else hindering progress, some of those were government bureaucracy.

The foundation for ecommerce was created in 1979 by Michael Aldrich. He connected his television to a computer using his telephone line. While it was unlike ecommerce as we know it today, his idea sparked the idea for shopping without having to go to a physical store. At the time, most people didn’t own computers. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs popularized computers for the average person. Bill Gates even said that his goal was to put “a computer on every desk and in every home.” Without computers, ecommerce would be remarkably different.

There are two ways to shop, you drive to your favorite store and pick up what you want paying at the counter or you login online to the likes of Amazon, eBay and the same thing will be shipped to your door steps. This has been possible in many countries except with suppliers who always say that they don’t ship to your address.

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  • Amazon: Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos. According to Alexa, Amazon is currently ranked the 9th most popular website worldwide, and 4th in the United States.
  • Taobao: Taobao was founded by Jack Ma. Globally, it’s ranked 11. In China, it’s ranked 5th.
  • Tmall: Tmall was also founded by Jack Ma. It has a global ranking of 15 and a rank of 4 in China.
  • AliExpress: AliExpress was founded by Jack Ma. It’s currently ranked 40th in the world and 9th in Russia according to Alexa.
  • eBay: eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar. On Alexa, the ecommerce site is ranked 33 globally, and 9th in the US.
  • Flipkart: Flipkart was founded by Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal. Alexa has it ranked 147 globally and 9th in India.

If you are in Kenya, and you intend to buy something online, then you will care to know about Kentex and the likes. You send your good to an address they provide, either in the US, UK, UAE etc and they will ship it to you at an extra cost and normally its usually still fair. Mall of Africa, an app that gives you access to over 200 stores in US and UK. What this companies have done is to build a bridge in between the continent where the goods are originating to the recipient continent, and it works perfectly.

The ecommerce industry is expected to continue growing. According to N Channel, in the US, brick and mortar retailers generate $3.9 trillion in sales while ecommerce generates $294 billion. Over time, ecommerce will continue to take away market share from brick and mortar retailers as it has been doing over the past few years. This is good news for those looking to start online stores as sales will only continue to go up, though competition will also increase in the space.

Ecommerce will also likely evolve over the years creating a more augmented or virtual reality experience for shoppers. Stores may eventually include features to help customers ‘virtually’ try on clothing to ensure it fits their shape while allowing them to see what it would look like on. Shoppers may be able to ‘try’ on makeup using their laptop or phone’s camera.

Are you interested in getting started with ecommerce? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

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Good Deed.

“We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all”.

Wangari Maathai

I am a lover of nature. When I started building my house, I planted some trees. Some are alive and some died, reasons I do not really know. Things have changed, my father gave me a different piece of land to start it all over again. I felt it was good to plant a tree.

I scouted the location, the stones represent the location where a tree once stood. This was my prefered location with the hope that things will be different this time round.

I visited a small tree nursery which is a few minutes from my fathers house. There were many trees there I was spoilt for choice. My wife looked at this pine, she fell in love with it. We made a decision, to carry it. It costed us Ksh.150 about $2.

 

With the position ready, it was time for me to sink the tree to the earth. With pride I did it, and nurtured its surrounding to make it comfortable in its new home. When you plant a tree, and care for it, it will one day provide a shade, firewood to keep you warm, welcome rain at your doors or even roof your grandson’s house. It’s good to plant trees.

Traveling to Kakamega.

Last weekend we were traveling to Kakamega, to see my parents and to be with one of my sisters who lost her father in law. As usual, I start my trips really early for two reasons. It is peaceful in the morning , the roads are deserted and the NTSA usually at this time, they are not awake……meaning No speed guns. Unfortunately for us, our trip started with a warning light on the dash, its called a limb light or limp light mode.

Today, nearly every system in your vehicle is operated by the computer – including the transmission’s line pressure, shift timing, sequence and feel. The vehicle speed sensor provides input to help control ABS, fuel mixture, fuel injection and transmission operation. The manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor and throttle position sensor (TPS) provide the engine’s load information which is used to manage the shift and downshifting in the transmission when you’re driving up an incline or you’ve put the pedal to the metal.

“Fail Code” conditions or “Limp Mode” occurs when there is a problem with the logic of a vehicle’s computer. When the signal value sent by a sensor to the computer is not within a pre-programmed range specified by the manufacturer, it will switch to “secondary” programming. These procedures are designed to protect the transmission from further damage that could be caused by the signal error.

As long as the computer is receiving signals from the MAP, TPS, vehicle speed and other sensors that fall within their “normal” ranges based on the current conditions, the transmission will operate normally. However, as mentioned above, if it receives a signal that is outside of the expected range, it will switch to secondary/emergency operation.

The exact measures taken in secondary operation is determined by the computer’s logic as programmed by the manufacturer and depends on how far outside the acceptable range the signal is (if there is any signal at all). It might react differently when the value is higher than the highest parameter than it does when the value is lower than the lowest allowable value.

We arrived home to a well welcome of pumpkin leaves for dinner. It has been long since I had this kind of a meal. I took my time to enjoy with my family. This grows in my mothers garden, normally….just on their own. We have been having vegetables growing here since I was a child, sometimes neighbours would just walk in and help themselves with it…something like community sharing.

This is how I remember my childhood. Many nights I walked through this door and walk down to the pit latrine, for many years the rear door connected me to everything, school, playground, garden and to the second kitchen that was usually outside. When my uncle was around, he used the room next to the door. Every Night he played music from his philips stereo.

The smell of cows overwhelms me everytime. My life has always been surrounded by cows, I mean, if I could not afford one…….maybe I would not be married. The traces that cows exists are everywhere you look. They will be grazing somewhere, you will encounter manure proudly made by them helping the garden thrive. Dogs, they provide security. They are not seen during the day…..sleep all day and work all night.

Everyone has made the garden their haven. We feed from it, the cows feed from it, the birds feed from it and the dogs secures it. Life is made and destroyed from it. Water drips from the tap that connects to a black water tank acting as a reservoir. Water is everything….water is important and life surrounds it.

There is a representation of the new and the old, what has died and what is still alive. The bird create their new home, step by step. Its a well worked out system you can watch all day.

If you have no idea what is happening here rest assured, someone is looking for food. This is how termites are collected. The blacket acts as a disguise, creating an illusion of darkness but once they are out and see the light, they run towards it. Their journey is always short lived as they slide on the banana leaves ending up in a small hole. The chickens love to eat them and so do the human beings.

Before I left home, I sat here captured by my different view. One of the lawn that leads to the perimeter fence, I could still see the garden. The other one not so exiting, the car in front of me and the third one the bird, still on its mission…..on building a nest. And my time to depart had come, and it was sad to leave. As they always say……Home is always home. And the roads will always lead me there.

It’s a reality Check!

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I woke up today feeling good, it was 630am and my wife was doing her usual, commanding me to take up my duties of making sure she is at the bus stop just in time for her bus to work. I have been doing this for many months now though sometimes I wonder why, not in a bad way. Ideally, it’s a moment that is meant to enhance our marriage.

So, wife on her way to work, I embarked on preparing for my visa appointment. Everything was going great, until I was unable to locate the bank statements. So I did what most married men do, I called my wife, who took me through a painful lesson of how she never knew whatever it is I was doing. But promised to find it in the evening.

I had to plan things with my current situation right? I mean, one way or the other……is the bank statement going to show-up in the middle of nowhere? And since I had lost it in the house, I felt like……back then, I used to live in a house, but now I live in a jungle. Later on my wife has reminded me of how much I have cultured myself to forget.

It’s not even funny, most of the time when I say I forgot, its because I forgot. When I say I don’t want to forget, its because I am worried that I might. When I say I might forget, its mean I am so afraid that shit might happen. Then I will have to apologize to someone.

My reality check is that I am “getting old”, and this things are not going to go away, as a matter of fact, they are going to increase. You know those small stuff you forget doing and everything is okey! When it comes to forgetting, try forgetting your kids in the bus, I mean, just one time………then you will know how messed-up life can look, and if you have to explain it to your wife you might be doing it halfway your grave.

Scientific American writing on “Why do we forget” says that the brain can store a vast number of memories, so why can’t we find these memories when we need to? Our brains are crammed with a massive amount of memories that we have formed over a lifetime of experiences.

These memories range from the profound (who am I and how did I get here?) to the most trivial (the license plate of the car at a stoplight). Furthermore, our memories also vary considerably in their precision. Parents, for instance, often know the perils of a fuzzy memory when shopping for a birthday gift for their child: remembering that their son wanted the Nintendo rather than the playstation portable could make an enormous difference in how well the gift is received.

Thus, the “fuzziness” of our memory can often be just as important in our daily lives as being able to remember lots and lots of information in the first place. So this is me now, still never managed to find my bank statements and still forgetting other stuff……some of them as important as forgetting my kids at the bus, though we jokingly refer to these as ‘senior moments,’ they happen to everyone — from the very young to the very old.

So if you go into the kitchen to write something down on your grocery list, don’t answer your cellphone or let your mind wander to a meeting that morning. Mentally rehearse what you’re doing, and hold it in mind, until you’re finished with the task. You might feel like me, old, or whatever. The truth is that the there is something that needs your attention, before its too late.

The story ends when my wife gets home and she will kick every corner of the house trying to find it, whatever it is. Then she becomes the hero, one who know where everything rests. Unfortunately for her today, there was nothing. Just like they say, “what’s dead is dead” and that includes my bank statements.

 

 

Miles and Hope 2017 is here.

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The 2017 Miles and Hope tour dubbed “The Great Lakes Tour 2017” will start on 23rd-26th November 2017. The cyclist will be covering a total of 270 Miles / 435 KM to raise Ksh.5 million. There is a total of 40 cyclist participating on this tour and calculating the total miles covered by each cyclist, the total miles to be travelled is 10,000. For those who wish to buy a mile to support a cyclist, Ksh 500 will buy one mile.

The tour takes the cyclist to Lake Elementaita, Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru. The itinerary is out for this tour.

  • Day 1 (23rd Nov) : Nairobi » Elementaita
    83.8 Miles / 135 Kms 7 hrs
  • Day 2 (24th Nov) : Elementaita » Nakuru Town » Elementaita
    84.5 Miles / 136 Kms • 9 hrs
  • Day 3 (25th Nov) : Elementaita » Limuru
    60.3 Miles / 97 Kms • 7 hrs
  • Day 4 (26th Nov) : Limuru » Nairobi
    37.3 Miles / 60 Kms • 3 hrs

Miles and hope, a sports initiative of International Christian Center is on its 5th year with proceeds from this tour going towards educating poor and vulnerable children at Jabali schools. When Miles and Hope started, it was just a dream to cycle 10 KM, 30KM and finally 100KM. Times have changed, we are now doing over 100KM in our training sessions. The group has increased in membership. Miles and Hope team also boosts a strong team of ladies who cycle alongside men.

Through this initiative, we have become a family, a family that keep their blood circulation through cycling. We cycle everywhere, to the office and back home, its has become part of what we do on a daily basis. Cycling has been proven to be a very active and healthy sport, and its promotes the reduction of carbon emission.

There are various ways to be part of this great initiative. You can participate as a cyclist, all cyclist pay a participation fee of Ksh 25,000 which covers the tour cost and what remains goes to support the course. You can also buy a virtual mile, if you are not cycling. One mile is Ksh 500. You can still decide to support a cyclist, if you are a group or a corporate, you can put your support on one or even more cyclist.

There are different ways to send your money;

    • Go to you MPESA menu and select Paybill
    • Enter Paybill Number: 904800
    • Enter Account Number: MILESANDHOPE

Cheques to: International Christian Center

If you have any questions or comments please reach us through info@milesandhope.org

 

Things you should know before buying the BMW3 E90.

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BMW’s 3 Series range has long been one of the most popular model lines for the German car maker and has, through the years, been offered in a variety of body styles from coupe to estate……the reason why I wanted to experience one.

E90 arrived from Japan mid November 2016 but it wasn’t until January 2017 that it was in my driveway. When I took possession, it was sitting at 95,000 kilometers. My first encounter with E90 goes a little back……The year is 2011 on South Africa’s most dangerous road…the N2. The drive took us from eastern cape’s capital of East London to the city of Durban before we ended up below the Drakensberg mountains. The car was just two years old, performing at its best and still on a motor plan.

This car, has since come to Kenya and since it belongs to my friend, it has given me an great opportunity to compare two cars and learn some of their common problems. Starting with Japan, a common market for many of African countries for used cars……if you are importing a European car, I would advise you to stay away from Japan. Most of european cars running in Japan are not well maintained after the motor plan expires. Things as simple as engine service are not done and by the time you get the car, there are a thousand and one things for you to take care of.

Servicing the car should be the first thing you do especially if you are importing the car from Japan, as I said, they just have a problem of doing it after the motorplan expires and while they are thinking of selling the car, they are still driving it. Then you will have to check the leaks in the engine. I wasn’t lucky with this because by the time I was ready to do it, I had to replace the top cover gasket, Solenoid seals, Vacuum Seal Kit, Sump Gasket and the Oil Filter Housing seals.

Then I started loosing my coolant, when I arrived home one afternoon I wondered why there was smoke arising from the hood. I couldn’t figure it out until I drove to the dealer and I was told I needed to replace my connector. Comparing two of the same cars I have found of the common problems on E90. On some cars, it will be the airbag signal. The car is designed not to activate the carbag at the passenger side during an accident IF there is no passenger occupying the seat. Something happens under the seat or on the switch and you are stuck with the warning light.

Despite impressive build quality, glitches do crop up including the tyre pressure monitoring packing in and the run-flat tyres wearing unevenly. On that note, all these cars have run-flat tyres as standard, which means a firm ride (and no spare wheel). But if you are used to carrying a spare tyre and wheel spanner with you, am sorry to break your heart.

Other problems to look for include a leaky power steering system, flat spots on Efficient Dynamics models and the possible failure of the 320d’s turbocharger, evident by a smoky exhaust under acceleration.  Finally, if a towbar is fitted, check that the electricals all work properly; the BMW’s multiplex wiring is easily upset by bodged auto electricians.

Five recalls isn’t a disaster. Issued between 2006 and 2012, they covered potential problems ranging from failure of the power steering and airbag glitches to the brake servo failing and the rear or side windows falling out and thanks to BMW’s talented men in white coats, even the smaller units are smooth, punchy and economical.

Speaking at Joomla World Conference in Rome, Italy.

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I always thought there is a procedure to speak in a world event. I always thought that to position to speak was very reserved, to the big people. ana for many years I felt like I should learn from them, those who knew sometimes what I knew and sometimes what I didnt know. This has led me to study something about Public speaking, with the desire to discover if my knowledge can impact society.

Public speaking involves talking in front of a group of people, usually with some preparation. It can be in front of people that you know (e.g. at a family celebration) or a crowd of strangers. Unlike a presentation there normally isn’t a lot of opportunity for interaction between the audience and the speaker – the speaker speaks, and the audience (hopefully) listens.

Speeches have different functions. These include being persuasive (e.g. trying to convince the audience to vote for you), informative (e.g. speaking about the dangers of climate change), entertaining (e.g. a best man’s speech at a wedding) or celebratory (e.g. to introduce the winner of an award). Some speeches may have more than one of these aims.

Joomla has promoted public speaking though Joomla Day events and two of their Joomla world Events. Most people, at some point in their life, will need to stand up and speak in front of a group of people. Teaching students the necessary skills for doing this will therefore help them to do this more successfully.

As a result of the practice, students often report an increase in general confidence as well as a marked sense of achievement. Many students get incredibly nervous the first time they have to do a speech in front of their classmates but with practice the nerves subside and they usually begin to enjoy the whole process.

Working on public speaking also helps to develop students’ overall fluency and requires them to consider how they speak as well as what they say. This is useful for speaking in any situation, public or otherwise. Learning about public speaking takes you through many topics; the presentation or subject you want to speak about. How to introduce yourself, body language, your standing posture, gestures and eye contact.

You want your speech to flow like a river, and that won’t happen if you don’t take time to prepare for it. That’s not an easy goal but it can be done. Begin by setting aside time to assemble your piece. Move on by jotting down points you want to get across to your audience. Then arrange them logically, so they flow naturally from one to the next.

After this you can mix in something more to hold your audience’s attention: stories, illustrations, and props, like images, and videos in your slideshow. You likely dread public speaking because you’re not sure what to tackle in your speech, and how to deliver it. By taking notes you make way for your talk to crystallize in your head. Strengthen your speech by doing your due diligence and researching your topic. Being an expert in your topic will help you to flow with it, doing research.

What kind of a speaker are you? To be more effective, you have to identify your style. Get in touch with your strengths and weaknesses as a speaker and zero in on what you do best. Do you have a great sense of humor? Or are you a good storyteller? Perhaps you’re someone who teaches well; someone who can break down concepts and explain complex ideas into simple facts.

After a thorough analysis, pick your kind and focus on delivering your talk with your own style and in this way, you can shine like a star. Don’t alter yourself because you think one style is better than another, or try to be somebody you’re not. For me, maybe I am there, maybe am headed there. I am working on my presentation and I hope when its done, it will be perfect for the people I will be delivering it to.

See you at the Joomla World Conference in Rome Italy.