Archive | February, 2012


25 Feb

Yeah, I said it. Be focused! Okay, I typed it… But I typed it in CAPS, embellished with exclamation marks and did all this while perched on my chair at an angle exuding a distinct air of authority. And as an ADHD’er, for me to claim any authority on matters of focus, y’all be sure I this is grave business.

Let me explain myself…. *Stand back people, Loco has an opinion and she’s not afraid to use it*

Earlier today I had an unsavory Barclays Bank experience. The long and short of  it: As it turns out, an account holder with Barclays Bank of Kenya cannot transact in Tanzania without an ATM card. I wont get into that discussion here, catch the highlights on my twitterfeed if you must.

The discussion on the Barclays issue eventually ended up in an offline conversation with one right honorable Mr. Bankelele (Esq, Infamous) of  the top rated corporate blog In retrospect, I cringe in embarrassment just thinking of the fervor with which I engaged Banks on the topic of delivery of service by institutions. I’m so unschooled in the intracacies of business I can only how much of a twat I must have come off as. But Banks in his infinite patience was very gentle with me. He heard me out, nodded where appropriate and volleyed all my crazed ranting in the most calm fashion. Yeah, he’s a superstar like that.

Anyway, after our chat, I got to thinking about industry in Africa. For the purposes of this post, I’ll narrow down to the the service industry in East Africa, specifically retail. I’ll get right into it with a short illustration. Assume  you’re in Dar es salaam, staying at the New Africa Hotel. In this assumption, you run out of shower gel on Saturday at about 4pm and you dash out to get some. Within a radius of about 2km, there’s a very high probability that you’d find only 2 stores open to get this. Now, this is smack dab in the middle of Dar, within that same radius, there’s about 10 – 15 stores. If in the assumption you needed something pharmaceutical, my friend, you’d be screwed. None of the 5 or 6 pharmacies in the area are open on Saturday at that hour!

Now, if these stores were open, one thing is for sure, they wouldn’t lack traffic. Woolworths across the street for instance: Say they were open for business on a Saturday afternoon, the costs theyd incur on Staff, utilities and whatever else wouldn’t total to anything above 200,000Tsh. Last time I was at woolies I spent almost double that in one fell swoop all by my lonesome. Cost recovered. If their clientele profile comprises of higher LSM individuals, a lot of them working in fast paced corporates, it stands to reason that their store traffic would actually be notable at this time. But they’re not open for business.

What am I getting at? The illustration I’ve given can be scaled, reworked, skewed and replicated in many ways against the broader cross section of the service industry in East Africa. Efficiency in delivery, customer relationship management even basic consideration of consumer needs, is largely wanting and that’s a fact. My intention is not to undermine in any way where we are coming from and where we’re headed. But that notwithstanding, if most service providers put in just a little effort, there would be notable improvements in basic efficiencies and subsequent increments in (I think) in industry revenues. I’m no economist, but take the woolies example, however marginal, and multiply by the number of retail outlets out there, throw in the telcos, perhaps a couple of banks here and there, then ruminate on the effect that would have on the economy from that level.

So yeah, I’ll say it again, perhaps what we need is to #BEFOCUSED just a little more.

Disclaimer: I’ve made a helluva lot of assumptions in this post. As I said, my conversance in business affairs is peasant at best. I may be way off base on the whole economic theorization, but what I know for damn sure is that a whole lot of people like me would be a lot less frustrated if the service industry just delivered better.


Unsolicited Pseudo-Intellectual Rambling

25 Feb

I am in possession of a train of thought that is decidedly a runaway train.

Take for instance, my current preoccupation: I am seated in a hotel room, semi-delirious as a result of a sleep deprived stupor catalyzed by insomnia. Despite this, and for reasons beyond my comprehension, I’ve been engaged, for the past half hour, in an attempt to steer my thought train on a track of deliberation on strategic process in advertising. True to its errant nature however, my train of thought has veered itself merrily off course.

My ruminations have digressed into a contemplation of application of strategy in anthropocentrism. Following that train of thought, I find myself toying with an extrapolation of behavioral predispositions based on the assumption of human homogeneity.

If I were to link my conjecture (perhaps misguidedly) to a variation of the agenda setting theory, devolved to apply to basic human interactions as opposed to media and the masses, here is what I come up with:

Motivation breeds purpose. Purpose nurtures intent. Intent defines thought. Ergo, if you understand a persons motivators you should be able to decipher their thoughts and consequently, predict their next move.

However, it’s no good just knowing a person’s next move. In similar fashion to owning a car but lacking the ability to drive it,  it is only when you can manipulate the person’s next move  that can you control the individual in their entirety.

I am no authority on chess, but if I’m not mistaken, this is one of the basic stratagems of the game, isn’t it?

Consider this: The best lie told is that which the pawn discovers for themselves as a truth…

I can’t even claim that there is a point to my drivel. In my defense, I pointed out earlier on in this post that it is quite possible that I may be in a state of delirium right now.

But just so you don’t feel cheated of your buck worth of time for slogging through this balderdash, here’s a moral for the books…

Err… Don’t drink and drive.

Oh, and urm… Stay away from drugs and stuff.

Fables, Truth And The Absence Of Absolutes

16 Feb

A story has been told, of a girl. A girl, unique as every other, average as every other. We shall call her Loco.

The story tells us how this girl, when she was younger, sometimes used to find herself awake in the middle of the night. She’d scoot over to her window, draw the curtains back just a tiny bit, and peek outside into the night. She’d look up at the stars and marvel at their beauty. Or stare into the inky darkness, when it was starless, and be drawn into the black fluidity, painting into it wondrous dreams.

The story further unfolds to tell how young Loco, at the first indication of illness; a fleeting headache, a sting, a queasy stomach… would be cast into glee, imagining the opportunity illness presented, for her to get out of the dull routine of childlife, and spend a day at home with all sorts of freedom to abuse.

The girl in our story, as with all young girls, grew older, because life, even in all its complexity, gives no choice in matters of growing old.

And in the story, Loco, still a girl, but with more years to show on her resume of life, still found herself awake in the middle of the night sometimes. And she’d still scoot over to her window, draw the curtains back a bit and peek outside in the night. And she’d sit there, not marvelling, but frozen in terror. The light of the stars now cast shadows in the dark, each an intruder. The inky black of the night was now alive, not with  wondrous dreams, but with ghouls breaking down the door to get her.

And this girl in the story, just an older young Loco, would, as most humans do, sometimes, feel ill; the occasional cough, the blush of a fever, a whirl in her tummy… But this no longer brought with it glee, or the hope for freedom. There was only the chill of fear, the premonition of doom at the thought of what illness might bring.

It’s a funny kind of sad, this story, because, the fear that grips our girl, reminds her, that life is too short, too fleeting not to be savored. And it’s a sad kind of funny, that this same fear, holds our girl back from relishing each moment in the story of her life.

If only she remembered not to forget that she doesn’t need to be reminded, just like the young girl in our story.

As far as stories go, this is not a fairytale, so the author cannot guarantee that our Loco lived happily ever after. The end.