"Never settle for less than your dreams.
Somewhere, sometime, someday, somehow, you'll find them."
- Danielle Steel, Bittersweet.
Get more Insight, Inspiration and Self Discovery at The Walkabout.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
He made the 'An Idea for which I am prepared to Die' speech from the dock at the opening of his trial on charges of sabotage, at the Supreme court of South Africa in Pretoria, April 20 1964.
Listen to the entire speech on Soundcloud below or download audio (mp3).
Here is the transcript of the speech above.
Upon his release from prison after 27 years, Nelson Mandela delivered the following speech:
This is the transcript of the above speech, delivered in Capetown, South Africa on February 11, 1990.
* * *
Speaking of freedom, think about what, in addition to lifting your hands and saying "Free at last free at last, thank God almighty I'm free at last", you can do once you're set free. Freedom totally rocks, right?
How about we sing a redemption song?
Read more about: freedom, Nelson Mandela, redemption, speeches, weekly video
Saturday, November 29, 2014
In our previous Midweek Digest post, we reiterated our commitment to our readers - whether employees or entrepreneurs - with quality content that addresses their unique needs in the workplace.
We shared an info-graphic with some interview tips touching on dressing, non-verbal communication, the top questions you may be asked and common mistakes made by interviewees.
Today's Weekend Connection post is a corollary that offers more interview tips on dressing, plus book recommendations on how to write effective and compeling cover lettersto help you land that interview in the first place.
In addition, what questions to ask once you face the interviewer. It is interesting to note that many candidates take for granted the very importance of asking questions during a job interview.
So, here are the dressing codes for a job interview. This is what to wear on not wear to a job interview:
Courtesy of Rasmussen College.
The next part of our tips is books.
The first is titled 201 Killer Cover Letters, written by Sandra Podesta and Andrea Paxton.
This book is introduced on Google Books as a guide that "provides job seekers with an unbeatable competitive edge by arming them with surefire sample letters for every job-hunting situation" and is available on Amazon.
The other book is 201 Best Questions to ask on Your Interview. It is written by John Kador, who also authored The Manager's Book of Questions.
This book is available on Amazon.
In fact, there is a second edition by the same author that lists 301 questions, also available on Amazon.
There you have it guys. Having read the aforementioned books, they do offer useful tips which will help avoid some of the mistakes many candidates make in interviews. They also offer insights that help keep you ahead of the competition.
* * *
Okay. 201 questions is a whole lot. Alanis Morissette once listed the 21 things she wants in a lover. So, how about asking some 21 questions?
Read more about: Careers, cover letters, dress codes, Employment, Formal employment, interview questions, Interviews, job interview, jobs, Weekend Connection
Friday, November 28, 2014
We started with the TED Radio Hour on NPR, The Forum on BBC World Service and thereafter, Big Ideas on ABC's Radio National.
For this week, we travel almost 15,000 km from Australia to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in Ottawa.
Our podcast of the week is the Ideas show on CBC Radio.
The program is aired on CBC Radio One at 9pm on weekdays, 1pm on Fridays and on Sirius XM satellite radio: weekdays at 9pm with repeats from Tuesday to Saturday at 3am.
The program host is Paul Kennedy, an award-winning and widely traveled journalist. He has been hosting Ideas since 1999.
Beyond Human Rights. download audio (mp3)
Hit Delete. download audio (mp3)
I'm Sorry: The Art and Artifice of the apology. download audio (mp3)
Genetic Genius. download audio (mp3)
Machiavelli: The Prince of Paradox. download audio (mp3)
Ideas on CBC Radio podcast feeds are available to both listen online and download in mp3 format.
You can subscribe in several ways, viz: iTunes, MyYahoo and good ol' RSS.
There is also an extensive archive dating back to the 1970s where you can listen/download to past Ideas episodes.
* * *
Ok. Here's an idea. What if men were meant to ride with clouds between their knees?
Apparently, even Superman has issues, and is quick to assert his right to dream and to bleed.
Ideas may be lofty, but they are worth pursuing and discussing. It's not easy, but we can all agree it is worth it.
Read more about: CBC, CBC Radio, Ideas, Podcast, podcasts, weekly podcast
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Formal Employment is indeed necessary
An avid Connect Magazine reader, who is particularly interested in our Cents and Sense posts, Emailed the other day and asked if we do have a bias towards self employment and running business. Don't we have some insights for the formally employed? This sentiment seems to have been cemented by our most recent Cents and Sense post.
The short answer is that we do recognize entrepreneurship as a tried and tested way to wealth - not just riches - and profound fulfillment in life.
Having watched The Men Who Build America however, we remain alive to the fact that entrepreneurs on their own cannot cut it. As we noted in the aforementioned post, running a business is always better than freelancing. Engaging other people's time and skills (labor) is invariably good for business. In essence, formal employment is a necessary and key ingredient for economic development.
To put it on a light note, the guys in t-shirts do need guys in suits to work for them. And yes, it is true that you can be serious without a suit.
So today, and later this week, we shall focus on the job interview. First off, some things you may not have known about interviews. The questions you may be asked, top common mistakes made in an interview, the impact of your dressing and some ways you can screw up before you utter a single word in an interview.
Here they are, courtesy of Classes and Careers:
|(Click on image to enlarge)|
Coming up next..
In the next installment, we shall dwell a bit more on the dressing code for job interviews for both men and women and finally, share some two books that are of great help to the consummate job seeker who wants to shine both at writing effective cover letters and asking the right and necessary questions during the job interview.
* * *
Elated. Excited. Ecstatic.
That may not even explain what you'll feel once you land your dream job. All we know is that it is such a good feeling, much better than Flo Rida's. At such a time, you are indeed allowed to scream and shout..
Read more about: Careers, Cents and Sense, Employment, Formal employment, job interview, jobs, tips
Monday, November 24, 2014
Hybrid (tablet+notebook) computers combine mobility and productivity in one device, and that is an intuitive innovation worth writing about.
Previously, we have looked at the Samsung ATIV Smart PC, ASUS Transformer Book T100 and most recently, Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
Our gadget this week is the Lenovo Thinkpad Helix, 2014 edition.
Where it stands out
The 2014 Thinkpad Helix comes with a new, faster processor - the Intel Core M processor.
It has a combined tablet and laptop mode.
The display is full HD (1920 by 1080). Front camera is 2MP and the dual cam is 5MP.
Another good feature is wireless broadband connectivity thanks to an embedded chip. The keyboard is full-size and spill resistant.
Last but not least, is the digitizer pen. See full specifications.
PC Pro UK reckons that this 2014 upgrade of the previous ThinkPad Helix makes this slim ultra-portable 2-in1 an impressive device.
The review ends with the following verdict:
The Levovo Helix has undergone what looks to be a thoroughly impressive update. It joins the Surface Pro 3 in the large-yet-impressively light category of tablets - you'll be shocked at how little effort it takes to hold the slate in your hand once it is removed from its keyboard dock - and features the very latest in Intel's mobile CPU technology. We can't wait to see if Intel's claims bear fruit.
Engadget compares this device with the previous Thinkpad Helix, and there is significant improvement:
Other than that slimmer profile, the other big improvement is in battery life. The tablet now promises up to 12 hours with the keyboard dock, versus 10 on the original. As it turns out, most of the enhancements come from the tablet, not the dock: Even on its own, the slate is now rated for eight hours of run-time, up from four.
Helix users on Reevoo give Thinkpad Helix a 8.9 out of 10 rating. Some of the reviews:
Jeffrey, a business user in London says:
PROS: Fast, light, functional. Build quality is superb.
CONS: The cost is high, and there are not enough USB ports on the keyboard dock
Tim shares the following experience:
PROS: The battery life is great for a non-Haswell product, and the ease of transforming from a great lap top to an equally great (if slightly heavy) tablet cannot be beaten
CONS: The tablet mechanism broke after 3 weeks of use. The machine is being replaced under warranty but it is a little too flimsy.
Pricing and Availability
On Amazon, Thinkpad Helix costs an average of $1,400.
On the Lenovo Kenya site, Thinkpad Helix is not yet listed among other convertibles, but digging a little deeper reveals the Thinkpad Helix here.
* * *
Here's some anthropomorphic shenanigans for a gadget that is so promising. Lenovo Thinkpad Helix, I simply need you now!
Read more about: Helix, hybrid computer, Lenovo, tablet, Thinkpad, weekly gadget, Windows
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Well, many of us know the lovely Nigerian writer from her books or the profound TED Talks she gave back in 2009 about stereotypes and in 2013 about feminism.
In 2009, Chimamanda was invited to speak to the graduating class of 2009 at Kalamazoo College, a private liberal arts college in Michigan, USA.
This is what she said:
And if you take only one thing from her entire speech, then this may as well be it:
Please make room for hope and for fear
You’ll trip many times. Don’t be surprised when you fall.
Maybe even lounge in the dirt a little. And then, get up!
Here is the transcript to the above address in PDF.
* * *
In the past week, Kenya has had its fair share of bad news. We started with men stripping women for skimpy dressing and much worse, the week ended with the killing of 28 non-muslim passengers in a Nairobi-bound bus in Mandera by Al Shabaab militants.
It is indeed sad that human dignity and life are no longer treasured both in Kenya and beyond.
What does John Mayer have to say about Fathers and Daughters?
Read more about: books, Chimamanda Adichie, fear, hope, human dignity, weekly video, Writing
Friday, November 21, 2014
November is Ideas week on Connect Magazine. In past weeks, we have featured the TED Radio Hour and The Forum on BBC podcasts.
This week, he head down south to the Australian Broadcasting Network.
Our weekly podcast this Friday is Big Ideas on Radio National.
Hosted by Paul Barclay, the Big Ideas program is broadcast Monday to Thursday evenings at 8pm.
According to the Big Ideas web page:
[Big Ideas] brings you the best of talks, forums, debates, and festivals held in Australia and around the world, casting light on the major social, cultural, scientific and political issues.
Obesity, Food and Family. podcast audio (mp3).
Enslaved by our technology? podcast audio (mp3).
Stigma of mental illness. podcast audio (mp3).
Space travel. podcast audio (mp3).
The culture of narcissism. podcast audio (mp3).
There are several Big Ideas feeds. Subscribe to the XML feed for the full program.
Also available is the separate stories feed and the RSS text feed.
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One of our favorite podcasts above featured Lionel Shriver talking about her new book. Another of her books inspired the movie 'We Need to Talk about Kevin' and the song In My Room by the Beach Boys is from the film's soundtrack. Enjoy!
Read more about: ABC, Big Ideas, Ideas, Radio National, weekly podcast
Monday, November 17, 2014
This is after Microsoft acquired the Nokia mobile division.
Nokia's story with phones is certainly a most interesting one. Back in the day, Nokia was the preferred brand with Motorola and Samsung a distant second and third respectively. The tables have since turned and Apple and Samsung are now at the top.
Don't we all remember Nokia's inspiring Fourth Screen commercial?
This week, our weekly gizmo is the Nokia Lumia 730 Dual SIM, a smartphone that according to Microsoft, is made for selfies.
Lumia 730 is among the very last devices that will bear the Nokia name. Others are the Nokia Lumia 635 and Nokia Lumia 735. After this, it'll just be Microsoft Lumia.
Where it stands out
Lumia 730 has an uncompromising 5MP front-facing camera with a wide-angle lens. It is designed specifically for Skype calls and selfies. Given the huge size of these photos, Microsoft offers 15GB of free storage on OneDrive.
In addition, is has a 4.7 inch Corning Gorilla glass 3 'ClarBlack' OLED display, a microSD card with 128GB capacity, 1080p video recording, a HTML 5 browser and FM radio. The battery is a removable 2200mAH Li-Ion battery.
Connectivity speed is 21.1Mbps DL and 5.76Mbps UL.
Lumia 730 Dual SIM has a quad core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 CPU processor. Internal memory is 8GB with 1GB RAM. This phone runs Windows Phone 8.1 with the Lumia Denim update.
See all specifications.
The Digit review highlights the phone's bright display and impressive battery life. It then concludes with the following verdict:
The Microsoft Lumia 730 does the job that it was built for very well and then some. The phone is not the best that you can expect, but it is still one of the better Lumia devices that you can buy right now. It has good cameras on the front and back and will fit users who use their phones for basic mails, social networking and of course, selfies.
The Indian Express calls Lumia 730 Dual SIM a treat for the selfie addict.
This phone is a good buy for its price and if you’re okay with the Windows OS and not having all the apps an Android device would give. The camera simply blows you away and will be a favorite with selfie addicts. The Moto G only outscores the Lumia on built-in memory, marginally bigger screen and the perceived higher resolution camera. On the whole, this device is a good mid-range phone
Arkajyoti Misra shares this on NDTV Gadgets.
Microsoft finally seem to have got it right. This seems to be a very good phone if the price is kept around 16-17K INR. It has the usual "Nokia Reliability", coupled with the new Windows 8.1 (which is far better than the previous version). It ships with Lumia Denim out of the box, which includes Live Folders(which looks brilliant, constantly showing you all the information you need through the live tiles). It also features a 720P OLED 4.7 inch display which is an upgrade over the previous Lumia 720. The only downside I can see is its inability to capture 4K videos (Snapdragon 400 can't do that), and the absence of wireless charging (which was present in the Lumia 720).
Aravind Ekanath on Amazon India is impressed!
Having powered with quad core snapdragon 400 along with 1GB of RAM,this phone makes the perfect mid range smartphone...In terms of camera,it's packed with 6.7 MP carl Zeiss optics which has a great clarity than that of 8MP exmor lens..It's worth the every penny of your buy..
Gautam says this on GSMArena.
Excellent phone! I got mine yesterday....and have been utilizing the same to its full capacity i.e. dual sims, whatsapp, fb, twitter, instagram, instasize, 2 emails accounts, mix radio...lumia selfie, main camera....and the device is just too good. No lags, no crashes....smooth functioning totally recommended.
Pricing and Availability
Being a very recently announced device, there is no listed price on Amazon or the Microsoft web site.
There is still no update on when the Nokia Lumia 730 Dual SIM will be available in Kenya.
* * *
Now that we have said 'Seven' so many times in this post, how about you walk with me?
Read more about: dual SIM, gizmos, Lumia, Microsoft, Nokia, Tech review, weekly gadget, Windows
Sunday, November 16, 2014
One happened at the Coast and the other in Nairobi.
I must say the two videos are quite distressing, and one can only wonder what would justify this kind of savagely.
We recently examined crowd behavior thanks to another incident where Gor Mahia fans allegedly looted and damaged property in Machakos town. At some point on Nation FM's morning discussion the day before last, Lorna Irungu-Macharia suggested that human beings are now more violent but thankfully, Chris Hart quickly busted that myth, as Steven Pinker also did at TED. You may be surprised to realized that we are now more peaceful than ever before.
Back in April 12, 1999 in Washington DC, Eliezer 'Elie' Wiesel gave a moving speech on the perils of indifference. President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, among other guests were in attendance. Mr Wiesel survived the Holocaust and is the author of Night.
Whereas I do not condone what happened to the two ladies and other victims of such violence, I'd thought of staying away from the discourse emanating from the two cases, but on second thought, I realize that it amounts to indifference. Here's what Elie Wiesel says about indifference:
Indifference, after all, is more dangerous than anger and hatred. Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment. - See more at: http://blog.peternjenga.com/2010/01/perils-of-indifference.html#sthash.dnMgmGTe.dpuf
Indifference, after all, is more dangerous than anger and hatred. Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment. - See more at: http://blog.peternjenga.com/2010/01/perils-of-indifference.html#sthash.dnMgmGTe.dpuf
Of course, indifference can be tempting -- more than that, seductive... for the person who is indifferent, his or her neighbor are of no consequence. And, therefore, their lives are meaningless. Their hidden or even visible anguish is of no interest. Indifference reduces the Other to an abstraction.Connect Magazine has a significant readership and I can humbly submit that this post may just change the attitudes of one person - which will be in line with our stated objective to write what has meaning, makes a difference and adds value.
Indifference, after all, is more dangerous than anger and hatred. Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment.
Watch Elie and the Clintons below:
An extract of the above speech with some excerpts is available on The Walkabout.Be sure to check it out.
* * *
I personally maintain the firm belief that society can indeed change, and for better.
This may as well have been Amy Grant's Grown Up Christmas List, but it remains my everyday wish as far as human interaction is concerned.
Read more about: crowds, Holocaust, Indifference, violence, violence against women, weekly video
Saturday, November 15, 2014
The song Believe, from the February 2000 album Times & Seasons by Commissioned starts with sweet voices of kids saying what it is they'd like to be when they grow up.
Years later, some deviate from these lofty dreams and aspirations, upon realizing that even the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry. In other words, plan and reality are usually very different entities.
Despite the challenges, however, a good number do stay true to their stated objectives and with time, determination, self discipline and great effort, realize their goals.
To do all this, every person needs to do gainful work and earn. Formal employment for many, presents the best option to achieve one's goals. To others, business offers one a chance to be their own boss and personally be in charge of life.
To better understand employment, freelancing, running business and investing, we spoke to two seasonal professionals whose insights are worth considering both in areas of personal finance, progress and business development.
The Benefits: Formal vs Self Employment
First off, what clear advantage does formal employment present that is largely lacking in self employment?
Stephen Nzioka is the lead web developer and co-founder of Websoft Development Ltd, a company that offers turnkey web design and online marketing business solutions. He reckons that formal employment guarantees a regular and consistent source of income."In addition, there are fewer risks are associated with formal employment especially so for employees." Steve adds.
"In formal employment, you are assured of a salary every month and your Job description is well defined, The employer cushions you from the real erratic nature of the business," says Sakong Kirui. Sakong is an upcoming business man with interests in Petroleum, Clothing and e-commerce.
He goes on: "There are also quite a number of benefits that come with formal employment, such as medical insurance, business travel, group personal cover among other things."
In view of the aforementioned, one would then be surprised that some guys leave formal employment and either start freelancing or running a business. What makes self employment attractive?
Steve gets straight to the point. "It presents an opportunity to pursue one's dreams to the fullest, enjoy life & make money while at it."
Sakong offers an impressively elaborate answer:
"Being the boss: I think apart from basic needs, a human being draws a lot of satisfaction from making decision that concerns his or her work life. You'll decide your business plan, your procedures, your pricing and marketing strategies—everything. In self employment you make all the decisions and reap the full benefits of such decisions.
Flexible working hours: I greatly value spending quality time with my kids, and self employment allows me to wake up early to work, drop them to school at about 8 am and continue working after that, which is not possible in formal employment. This does not mean you will work less hours....most business people end up working longer hours than people in formal employment
Profits are better than wages: I also believe that you are paid a small percentage of the work you do for the company to make a profit, in self employment you make take 100 percent of the profits, which is compounded when you factor in profits you make from those who work for you.
Leaving a legacy/inheritance: When you build a business that improves the lives of people, this will not only line your pocket, but people will also remember you for some time. It is also possible to hand over a business as inheritance which is not the case with formal employment."
Look before you Leap!
Apparently, self employment is the way to go for those willing to take full charge of their personal and professional lives. The question that begs asking is: Is there ever a right time to leave full employment?
"Any time an opportunity presents itself and you are passionate about it, I guess, is the best time to quit formal employment." says Steve. He then proceeds on a cautionary note. "Of course this should be after doing extensive research & accessing the viability of the venture."
Sakong recommends that one only leap after looking. And the preparation involved takes years.
"You need formal employment for about 5 years, which is important for you to learn how to build structures and systems that will ensure the business will run without your day to day involvement."
Striking the balance, it seems, is the hard part. "If you get into self employment too soon you will find it hard to grow a business beyond yourself, if you stay too long you become too comfortable to take risks."
Speaking of risks, what are the pitfalls that many encounter upon leaving full employment and how does one avoid these?
"The biggest challenge is the uncertainty of the new environment, with no assured salary at the end of the month, no medical covers and other benefits that come from formal employment. Many businesses are not profitable in the first few months, even years and hence the need to be super motivated and determined since only these can keep you going during this dry period." Sakong says.
"Not assessing & mitigating the risks involved in starting a business & working without a clear strategy or plan are some of the common pitfalls. Lack of self discipline also plagues most beginners. Steve reckons. His advice? "Do extensive research, plan and work hard. There are no two ways about it."
To this, Sakong adds: "I am driven by the dreams of a prosperous business empire in my head. I also know that many a multinational brand started off from a dream."
What then, does Sakong recommend to someone who has a dream and is motivated, but still has to put dinner on the table?
"Having sizable savings will keep you going over this period. If your idea is very brilliant you can pitch for a venture capitalist, who will provide a cushion in exchange for a share holding. I will strongly recommend you keep a network of people who are in business for support and mentorship during the transition period."
To Freelance or Run a business?
Anyone familiar with Robert Kiyosaki's cashflow quadrant (above) will realize that freelancing in itself is limited by the fact that you only get an income if you actually work, and as Sakong points out above, freelancing can also mean that you never rise beyond yourself. Is it advisable to freelance or run business?
"To run a business." is Steve's curt reply. Thankfully, he explains: "As early as possible as a business owner, strive to focus on the important things (growing the business) rather than the urgent things (making money). As a rule of thumb, get yourself off the grinding mill (production) & focus on building a team to do the same which gives you more time to strategize on how to scale up the business and/or pursue other things.
Mistaking the urgent for the important is something we should all avoid.
Sakong has similar sentiments, underscoring the value of creating systems bigger than the individual.
"This depends on the business you want to engage in and your passion, I believe in creating systems that can exist without you, freelancing is heavily dependent on you whereas using other people skills is a little complicated but will reap more benefits in form of profits and stable business."
Challenges of Self Employment
Self employment, it must be said, is not for the faint-hearted. It takes courage and an iron will to do some of the things that an entire department in an organization would normally be tasked with. It takes courage to not be held back by rejection and deals falling through. What are some of the challenges both Steve and Sakong have faced?
"The risks involved are too many." says Steve. "Lots of sacrifice and hard work are inevitable for one to make it. It eventually pays off with time if you navigate your course well."
Sakong outlines several challenges:
"Raising working capital: Many businesses start as ideas. Now, the current financial institutions depend on the track record of the business or the asset base to finance any venture. New business lack both, hence a challenge in accessing finances. Many small businesses depends on personal savings or family and friends to raise capital.
Attracting and retaining human resource: Start-up businesses are not able to attract and retain qualified and experience human resource, because most employees look for stability and job security which can only be offered by big, stable businesses. The business will therefore depend on the skills of the owner and employees without experience which has its own disadvantages.
Uncertainty of the business environment: In any business environment there are good season and not so good seasons. Start-ups do not have the financial muscle or experience to handle the not-so-good seasons. A significant number of start-ups do not make it to the 5th birthday.
Building business models: They say there are a number of people out there who can make a better burger than McDonalds, but McDonalds have a business model that the rest have not managed to beat. Small businesses struggle to create business models that will survive beyond the owner."
For those in school. Employment or Business?
We all wish entrepreneurship is taught as a core unit in Kenyan Universities and Colleges. This would dispense with the shenanigans of educated, unemployed youths who incessantly blame society for their sad but avoidable plight.
"Well, there are so many opportunities out there to be explored in whichever discipline. If you are not sure about your area of placement or specialization seek formal employment, learn the ropes and quit when you are ready to pursue your dream. If you are certain about what you want to pursue then delve into it instead of wasting precious time in formal employment." Steve advises.
We all know the above is much easier said than done. Aware of this, Steve adds: "But in either case, be conscious of the current, emerging and future trends in your area of interest so that you remain relevant and ahead in your field at all times."
What does Sakong have to say to this, having spent almost a decade employed in the oil industry?
"Getting a job in the current market might be a little harder but there is always work to be done. My advice will be to work hard in school and then apply the knowledge they gain to create jobs for themselves and the population looking for jobs. They should think of themselves as a solution to the problems and not victims of the economy and government policies."
This echoes something I first heard in Culture Talk back in the late 90s on KBC English service, where Prof Egara Kabaji emphasized that even if there are no (white collar) jobs, there is always work to be done. And for those who can recognize opportunity even when it comes dressed in overalls, such work is gainful, rewarding and profoundly fulfilling.
It should be understood that this article in no way bedevils formal employment. That said, however, we all know that enterprise is what results in economic development. If you watch The Men Who Built America, it becomes evident that both employers and employees are important in any economy.
And the more people there are willing to start business and employ others, the more a society progresses.
What then can say to anyone thinking of saying something only Eric Cartman would say, and flying solo in the challenging world of business?
"If you do not take risks, you'll always work for the person who does. They just need to be prepared physiologically and jump." says Sakong.
"If you've done your Math right and weighed the options correctly, then resign and pursue your dream. I also strongly advise seeking guidance from others who've gone before you and are successful so that you learn from their mistakes, so that you can get your big break sooner with fewer challenges." Steve concludes.
* * *
It seems deciding whether to be formally employed or flying solo in business is like walking a tightrope.
So is the game of love, says Kylie Minogue.
Read more about: business, Cents and Sense, entrepreneurship, Formal employment, freelancing, investing, Personal Finance, self employment
Friday, November 14, 2014
This week, we head over to another public broadcaster - the BBC World Service.
Our podcast of the week is The Forum on BBC World Service.
Hosted weekly by Bridget Kendall, The Forum prides itself as a radio show whose very premise is a world of ideas.
These so far have been our favorite episodes. Please note they may be unavailable to listen or download since the BBC only avails The Forum podcasts for only 30 days after broadcast.
What is 'normal'?
Subscribe to feed
The podcast download page features some of the recent episodes. You can listen to about four of the most recent episodes directly on this page.
You can also download these four recent episodes in .mp3 format. Episodes are available for download for 30 days after they are broadcast on the BBC.
The best way to get these episodes should you miss the program on BBC World Service is subscribing to the podcast feed.
iTunes, RSS and other feed formats are available on this page.
* * *
Now here's an awesome idea.. How about we set fire to the rain?
Read more about: BBC World Service, Ideas, Podcast, The Forum, weekly podcast
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Sadly, none of them was correct and we have no winners.
The next edition of Mind Games on Connect Magazine will be in early December, so stand by for that.
Here are the solutions:
All in the family
The family consisted of two little girls and a boy, their father and mother, and their father's father and mother.
Father and Sons
Charlie's share falls in through his death, so we have merely to divide the whole 100 acres between Alfie and Ben in the proportion of one-third to one-fourth - that is in the proportion of 4/12 to 3/12, which is the same as four to three (4:3).
Therefore Alfie takes 4/7 of the 100 acres and Ben 3/7.
Bundles of Joy?
It was clearly the intention of the deceased to give the son twice as much as the mother, or the daughter half as much as the mother. Therefore the most equitable division would be that the mother should take 2/7, the son 4/7, and the daughter 1/7.
Here is the solution:
Four letter words
This is how to rearrange:
* * *
Now that we have been sub-dividing 100 acres above, how about what to do in 100 years?
Read more about: Exercises, Midweek Digest, Mind Games, Puzzles
Monday, November 10, 2014
Our focus area has been and remains phones and computing devices.
This week, our gizmo is the Google Android One smartphone.
Essentially, Android One is not a particular phone but rather, it is a standard. It was created by Google for Android devices, specifically smartphones in developing markets. It is targeted at those buying their first device.
So far, three Android One phones have been launched in India. These are Karbon Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1, and Spice Dream UNO.
This is how Android One has been introduced:
Where it stands out
As mentioned above, Android One represents a standard that Google has already set, whose objective is to maintain a rich smartphone experience at an affordable price.
For starters, the phones will all run close-to-stock Android without heavy manufacturer customizations. In addition, Google will be able to push software updates itself. This solves the prevalent situation where older, low-end Android phones are stuck with old versions of Android, which cannot run modern apps.
Android One smartphones are designed with a battery that lasts all day, a front and rear camera, dual SIM, a quad core processor and expandable storage through micro SD.
The three devices already on sale in India all have 4.5-inch screens, 1GB of RAM, 5-megapixel main and 2-megapixel front cameras, 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek processors, dual-SIM slots, microSD expandable storage, and FM radios.
CNET dubs the Android One initiative Google's push to rule the smartphone world. Thanks to an an unmodified version of the Android software, without the technical and user interface flourishes that manufacturers add, users stand to benefit in several ways:
- reduced price of Android smartphones.
- no more problem of running out-of-date Android software
- access to Google Services.
To encourage this, Google has partnered with carriers to address the data cost barrier that keep budget device owners from applying updates.
In India for example, Airtel India subscribers will be able to download software updates free for the first six months of ownership.
Still in India, BGR considers Android One impressive, but not ground-breaking.
If Google could spearhead a coalition of manufacturers, device vendors and carriers, it could provide a pure Android experience at a great price achieved by economies of scale.
the beauty of Android One is not in how the device looks or its specifications. Instead it is about how it works. The magic is in getting the pure Android experience and the promise of timely Android updates as soon as they come.
The Calm Critic says:
A hundred dollar Android phone that's guaranteed Google sanctioned updates for up to 2 years, which is better than a Nexus is ground breaking enough if anyone ask me.
Amit Kumar, has some praise for the Micromax A1:
Best phone. loving every function of this phone. Perfect A1
Pricing and Availability
The Android One price ranges just about $100.
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Android One presents an opportunity for customers in emerging markets to break free from buggy manufacturer customizations of the Android OS in their phones. Also, the worry that their phones will be stuck with old`er versions of Android as manufacturers opt to only push updates for their top of the range smartphones.
Read more about: Android, Android One, Google, smartphone, weekly gadget
Sunday, November 9, 2014
The weekly video is one place to share such stuff.
So today, our video of the week is all about inspiring ads. The commercials in the video below have well-thought out copy and are ideologically refreshing. Thankfully, one is local. Check them out:
The Source of Talent Commercial
Nokia Fourth Screen TV ad
The Niko na Safaricom ad
Read more about: Advertising, commercials, Ideas, inspiration, Nokia, weekly video, Wesbank
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Late last month, we published this post to commemorate the blogs we once read and loved, and still miss.
Some of the bloggers highlighted were very active over a decade ago, but no longer post. Others have stayed consistent or moved on to other things.
In this post, we shall look at blogging in today's highly connected world. Why do guys blog and what keeps them going? Is blogging financially rewarding or it remains a labor of love as it was a decade ago? Also, how do corporates and mainstream media relate with bloggers?
And as we get along, we shall introduce you to enthusiastic newbie bloggers whose writing is steadily gaining a following.
First though, when and where did this blogging thing really start?
Back in the day
Well, the history of blogging is certainly interesting.
ShikoMsa started blogging back in 2007. So did Savvy, who was fresh from High School. Shiko's reason to blog was that she had a lot to say and a blog presented both an avenue and an audience. For Savvy, it was to simply post interesting anecdotes about her life.
What blogging platforms did they adopt - Blogger, WordPress, Typepad or Tumblr?
"I started my blogging journey on blogger because that was what was more common then. My current blogs are all on wordpress." says Shiko. Savvy, too, has used both platforms. "I signed up on Blogger, before later migrating to wordpress.com. Wordpress had more features and was easier to customize, and allowed lots of third party plugins and themes. Blogger later caught up but by then I was hooked to Wordpress. Currently, I use Wordpress.org because I wanted my own domain name."
Savvy initially blogged at jkuattalkshop.wordpress.com.
Kennedy Kachwanya, who heads Bloggers Media Limited, started blogging in 2008. "When I left campus in 2007, we had a Google Group comprising my former classmates where we shared our experiences and would update one other on possible job openings."
Ken carries on. "With time, many of them got jobs and the number of updates on the group decreased. I took it upon myself to write about current issues and send this to this Google Group. The guys liked this and with time, I thought I can do it online, where I can reach more people. That is how I started blogging."
What blogging platform has Ken been using? "From the beginning I registered Kachwanya.com and then installed WordPress. It is the same one I am still using up to date." He replies.
The bubbly Kawiria, fresh from campus in 2009, had a lot of opinions on things cutting across life. "My friends prompted me to start a blog," she says. "With bursts of energy for my new found passion and on my first job – I was still trying to find myself and what I want to venture into career wise - it felt great publishing my first blog post considering I didn’t think I could write things for people to read."
Kawiria started her Stupendous Tidbits blog on WordPress.com and has stayed on the platform ever since.
To blog, or not to blog?
All writers have had to deal with writer's block every now and then. In a bid to consolidate the writing output at Complit Communciations, I've had to retire blogging at both Greening Kenya and Complit Design.
"Consistency is key," says Kawiria. "I try to blog regularly, despite the hustles and bustles of life."
Savvy, also a passionate blogger, has a similar sentiment. "I have regularly blogged, and I think the longest I have ever stayed without blogging is a month."
For Kachwanya, writing simply has to go on. "Yes, I still blog regularly, although the frequency has decreased with time as I have to handle other issues." What then do you do if you have no time to write? "I have brought in a number of writers to cover for that." Ken replies.
What if one inevitably has to go on a hiatus? Do you notify your readers that you'll be M.I.A. for a while?
"I prefer not to inform my readers, I just go with the flow, unless it’s going to be a really long time. The thing about blogging is that it’s personal, so sometimes you want to write, but you question your content and you leave it in the drafts and pick it up another day."
Savvy, who also maintains a personal touch on her blog, has a different approach. "I do inform my readers the reasons for my absence the next time I post. My blog has retained a personal touch throughout and I have a few readers whom I feel I need to let them know I have not given up on this blogging thing!"
Shiko, too, agrees that it's prudent to inform readers. "I’ve had quite a number of hiatuses on my old blog and yes, I did make a point of informing my community of an impending hiatus as well as when I came back."
Why again, do we blog?
Beth Njeri wrote her first post on October 01, 2014 on Blogger. She was encouraged by her peers and with a lot to write, she hopes to eventually be a prolific writer. Like James Michener, perhaps? Well, time will tell.
Jackie Njeru is another newbie blogger who first posted a little over a month ago.Why does she blog at Trendy Tragedienne?
"I have always been passionate about style, fashion, outfit trends, beauty, make up, etc. I also find personal style to be a unique means of expression without having to use words which could be a source of inspiration to many." Jackie, who blogs on WordPress, tells us more: "All these informed the need to create a public platform where I could share and communicate more with as many people as possible."
Is blogging financially rewarding?
"Yes I have made some cash. I have through adsense, normal ads from corporates, selling stuff online and blogging for the other platforms." Ken says. So has Shiko. "Yes I have, especially on my new blog. The money comes from sponsored content for brands though I’ve done a few reviews here and there."
Is this money enough to make a living?
"What I've made is not enough to live on so I've had to have a day job. I mostly blog during my free time. I blog mainly for personal reasons and if I make some money from it, then it is the icing on the cake." Savvy goes on.. "Most of the money I have made is from product or service reviews such as phone reviews or website reviews. Sometimes the returns from such reviews is not actual cash but the product or service itself."
Kawiria, has been thrice lucky thanks to her blog. And we're not talking ads here.
"The last three jobs I got, were fueled by my blog, it helped a lot in my pitching on what I can do. I use it to showcase my passion besides academic qualifications."
Have social networks killed blogs?
In the aforementioned post on blogging, we mentioned how some very active tweeps no longer post on their blogs. Milonare, Nzembi, Magaribina and Roomthinker are just a few. Others, like SupremeGREAM and Bomseh only make technical appearances with random posts years apart.
Other guys such as Kahenya and Intelligensia, have gone ahead to delete their blogs, and now only maintain a Facebook or Twitter account.
How much have social networks affected blogging and is it an adverse or complementary effect?
"When I first joined twitter, I blogged less. However, with time, I realized that it was a powerful tool for getting new blog readers. I post a teaser to a blog post, then send a link for people to read the full post. Sometimes I write for myself, so I realized I could not abandon my blog!" Savvy tells us.
"Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have all worked towards raising the readership of my blog. However, comments are fewer on the blog as people will either tweet a reply or comment on Facebook Still, my blog would be harder to discover if I just relied on Google searches and not the network of my friends's friends on social media."
Kawiria joined social networks just about the same time she started blogging. She finds them supplemental. "They don’t influence my blogging behavior. They help me find other bloggers who have great content to share and give me exposure on what’s hot or not, plus ideas of what to write about."
"Social media is priceless when it comes to sharing blog content." says Shiko. "Twitter did slow me down on blogging alright. But I don’t mind because the basic idea is to speak my mind and social media gives me a platform to do the same and connect with a whole new and different community."
Kachwanya agrees that social media slowed him down too, since Twitter provides a faster way to share one's thoughts. He however is thankful for social networks, saying, "they have made sharing easy, and at the same time helped to market the blogs better."
Beth's allegiance is to another social network. "Facebook has been my solid platform in regard to publicizing my blog as well as gaining a significant audience."
Despite being new, Jackie has had varying impact from each social network. "Social media has really boosted and simplified the reach of my blog to my current audience, especially Facebook and Instagram. I am also gradually coming up on Twitter and Google+. The future seems bright in terms of audience reach."
Blogs in the eyes of corporate organizations
The little money Kawiria has made through her blog has been from linked ads. Jackie and Beth are yet to make money. I have personally collected some Google Adsense cheques, but sponsored content, product reviews and native advertising present a more viable income stream on Connect Magazine.
Are companies now advertising in blogs and online magazines and what does it take?
"The attitudes and perceptions of corporate Kenya has changed with time. These days, most of them take blogging seriously and a number of them now go out of their way to ensure that bloggers get some of their news first, ahead of the mainstream media." Ken explains further, "A number of them do advertise." It should however be noted that it is about numbers and partly reputation for them. "If you have good traffic, then they will call on your door."
"Corporates now realize blogs do make a better medium for their ads," says Savvy. "If they haven't realized that yet, it is their loss." All is not bliss though, even for the consummate blogger. "Most corporations however, consider mainstream media primary and blogs secondary."
Shiko agrees on this, and offers some suggestions. "Corporate Kenya is coming round and working with bloggers much more than was the case a few years back. Bloggers with great content, high engagement and traffic certainly do stand to make a living from blogging. They can either market their blogs independently or by joining blogging communities and working with other bloggers."
Speaking of blogging communities, B.A.K.E. offers trainings and connect bloggers with some amazing opportunities. At the same time, through its subsidiary Bloggers Media Limited (BML), it connects the bloggers with the corporates who are looking to advertise or to reach people through blogs.
What then, is the responsibility of the blogger who seeks to attract advertising on his or her blog? Kawiria advises:
"I think corporates in Kenya respect the role of bloggers in the digital space. Yes, they do advertise in these blogs especially if they appeal to their target market. It’s just about being more aggressive, consistent and creative as a blogger. The aggressive ones identify organizations they’d like to work with, approach their marketing or digital media managers and kick it off. I have worked with a few and I think it’s a lesson to pick for myself as well."
"I think the best way to get ads from corporate clients is by in depth and informative product reviews of their products, which should mostly be relevant to your blog. You can still approach a particular corporate client, give them your strategy and ideas and let them know how well you will help advertise their product, then work your way to a deal." Jackie adds.
There however is the inherent risk of naive creatives getting exploited by corporates, which Jackie addresses. "There are some (corporate clients) who want to ‘use’ bloggers by requesting to advertise their products on the blogs for free and claim it will be great for their exposure which is really upsetting."
How does mainstream media treat blogs and bloggers?
In a highly connected world, news now breaks on the Internet and bloggers will even put it in context way before the top of the hour radio news bulletins or evening prime time news can deliver it to the masses. By the time the newspaper prints it next day, there is the risk that it may just be stale news. Savvy points out why this is so. "Mainstream media in Kenya did not at first regard bloggers highly. However, with the increase in social media use, and crowd-sourcing, bloggers can get news faster than mainstream can publish it, because it has to go through editing and verification of facts and so on before it can be published on mainstream."
Mainstream media outlets now have to contend with embracing citizen journalism and recognizing bloggers as credible news sources.
"I think they do they do promote bloggers, maybe not their blogs. They definitely recognize bloggers as news sources – because sometimes they “borrow” information without due attribution." says Kawiria.
Jackie has witnessed the growth of some blogs thanks to mainstream media involvement. "There are both online and conventional magazines that have featured bloggers on their opinion pages which is certainly great."
That said, do their opinion pages have dedicated external content as the case is with CNN iReport or The Guardian's Commentisfree?
"We’re not yet at the level of CNN’s iReport and the like but blogs cannot all together be ignored even by mainstream media. Currently, a blogger is more likely to be recognized as a news source by his or her audience than by mainstream media."
Hmmm.. when you consider who a blogger's audience is, this then, is not a problem. Shiko goes on. "This is never a problem though because bloggers write for their own audience, not for the media. All in all we’re getting there albeit slowly and sometimes amid a bit of bad blood"
Beth doesn't think enough is being done. "Promotion of blogs on Kenya's mainstream media is quite minimal. Aside from the Bloggers Association Kenya (BAKE), the impact is still very low key."
As a key person at BAKE, Kachwanya knows this only too well, and admits: "The mainstream media had a bit of an issue with bloggers but they have come to the realization that blogging and citizen journalism are here to stay. They have had to embrace it, and most of the journalists have become serious bloggers now. Some of them were even founding members of BAKE." It is worth noting at this point that the Nation Media Group CEO and Capital Group CEO are active bloggers.
"We have heard Capital FM and Nation Media Group sponsoring BAKE events, especially Kenya Blog Awards in the last few years.. So yes they do."
Connecting with audiences, check. Connecting with people?
Bloggers often connect with readers through the comment threads or their blog contact pages whenever a fan leaves a message. Do they get to meet these people offline? What avenues are there to do this and what kinds of interaction do such encounters herald?
"I have not met in person with any of my readers yet, but I hope to some day. I would love to get a one on one insight from them because I believe they do have a lot to offer." Beth says. And we agree, she's fairly new on the blogosphere.
What about Jackie? "I still have not had the pleasure of meeting with any of my blog acquaintances (both the audience and fellow bloggers) apart from the ones I previously knew but I hope to meet them soon, and that it'll be a memorable moment."
Shiko has met a whole lot, and she finds them most welcoming. "I recently moved to Nairobi from the Coast and the old school blogging community has ganged up to offer a very soft landing for me in the big bad city. I've met Wamathai, Kachwanya and SupremeGREAM to mention a few."
Kachwanya continues to meet guys, largely thanks to his involvement at BAKE. "Back in 2011 when the idea of BAKE came to mind, I had met very few bloggers. I had to get a way to meet them in person and talk to them about the idea of BAKE. Moving forward I have continuously met many many bloggers whom I had known online for sometime."
Savvy has met a good number of her readers (including yours truly) and many fellow bloggers. BAKE has so far enhanced this interaction. "When BAKE started having monthly meetups of bloggers, we would meet and connect offline."
Kawiria sums it up with the kind of dialogue that ensues whenever she meets her reader in person:
Reader: So you’re Kawi?
Me: Yes, I am.
Reader: I read your blog and (insert gratifying feedback)…
Me: Thank you. (acting calm, but inside I’m doing cartwheels and somersaults).
"It’s an inspiring feeling to meet someone who’s been an avid reader, not because they’re a friend or family, but because they genuinely enjoy reading your stuff." concludes Kawi.
* * *
Are you wondering if your blogging effort makes any sense? Are you hesitant to revive your long abandoned blog? Do you intend to make money from your blog someday, even grow it into a large media organization?
Dionne Farris has some words for you:
With many thanks:
B.A.K.E.: @Bake_ke, Bake.co.ke
ShikoMsa: @Shiko_Msa, FemmeHub
Savvy: @SavvyKenya, SavvyKenya.com
Kachwanya: @Kachwanya, Kachwanya.com
Kawiria: @Kawiria, Stupendous Tidbits
Jackie: @TrendyTragedienne, Trendy Tragedienne
Beth: Beth Njeri, A link to my World
Read more about: Advertising, Bloggers, Blogging, citizen journalism, Internet, local content, mainstream media, news reporting, Online brands, online marketing
Friday, November 7, 2014
When we showcased some great acts by Pilobolus the week before last, our favorite ad was the Bidvest Ideas ad both for its choreography and its copy. This month, our podcast theme will be ideas.
We start with the one place inundated with ideas. Not just ideas, but ideas worth sharing - TED.
Now every week, TED in partnership with NPR presents the TED Radio Hour. Every episode is centered on a common theme, and the program is hosted by Guy Raz.
The TED Radio Hour is described as:
A Journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, and new ways to think and create. Based on riveting TED Talks from the world's most remarkable minds.
Besides NPR, the TED Radio Hour is broadcast by other networks such as ABC Radio National, Podbay FM and others. You can stream it online via Tunein.
How it all began.
The source of creativity.
The violence within us.
Why we tell lies.
Predicting the future.
Here is the TED Radio Hour podcast directory.
You can subscribe via iTunes or other RSS podcasting tools.
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And should you think the ideas at TED are utopian or lofty...
Read more about: Ideas, NPR, Podcast, TED, weekly podcast
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
The monthly Mind Games helps you put your thinking cap on with a chance to WIN BIG if you're the first to answer the puzzles correctly.
For the November edition of Mind Games, we're giving away 100 bob worth of airtime for each correct answer, not all answers as has been the case. So, just be the first to Email, Inbox or DM the correct answer to any of this week's 5 questions and you win 100 bob airtime. We shall publish the solutions in next week's Midweek Digest.
Today's puzzles are about family and rearranging things.. Here are the questions:
All in the Family
A family party comprised the following: 1 grandfather, 1 grandmother, 2 fathers, 2 mothers, 4 children, 3 grandchildren, 1 brother, 2 sisters, 2 sons, 2 daughters, 1 father-in-law, 1 mother-in law, and 1 daughter-in-law.
How can it be that this entire gathering was made up of only 7 persons?
Father and Sons
A man left a hundred acres of land to be divided among his three sons - Alfie, Ben, and
Charlie - in the proportion of one-third, one-fourth, and one-fifth respectively. But Charlie died.
How was the land to be divided fairly between Alfie and Ben?
Bundles of Joy?
A man was terminally ill when his wife was heavy with child. In his will, he gave two-thirds of his estate upon his son and one-third on the mother. But if the child should be a girl, then two-thirds of the estate should go to the mother and one-third to the daughter.
Upon delivery, the wife delivered twins - a boy and a girl.
How was the man's property to be equitably divided among the three in the closest possible accordance with his wishes?
Can you fit these pieces together to form a perfect chessboard?
Find an arrangement that produces the greatest possible number of four-letter words, reading upwards and downwards, backwards and forwards, or diagonally. All repetitions count as different words, and the five variations that may be used are: VEIL, VILE, LEVI, LIVE, and EVIL.
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Send in your answers between now and Wednesday, November 12, 2014.
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And finally... music to your ears!
Read more about: Family, Mathematics, Midweek Digest, Mind Games, Puzzles, Thinking, WIN, Words