Dummies Guide to Getting an Online Job – Free Content

Earlier this week, we launched our new eBook:

Have you ever thought about getting an online job? Imagine a job which you can do from your own bedroom, in your pyjamas. Imagine a job which you can do at your own time (you can wake up late everyday and spend the afternoons on Thursday playing tennis). Could this lifestyle be for you?
Scenario 2: Have you looked long and hard and struggled to find legitimate online jobs? We wrote this book for you. Many people go out looking for online jobs without doing the basic preparations. They end up as an online scam statistic. Do not let this be your story. Our book guides you through the things that a beginners should know and we suggest several places where you can find well paying legitimate online jobs. We even go as far as guiding you through the use of one very popular online jobs website/service.

Buy this. Now.

This e-book is meant ONLY for beginners and it teaches you how to start the process of getting your first on-line job. If you get JUST ONE ONLINE JOB, this course will have paid for itself!!

More information on the ebook is available here: Dummies Guide to Getting an Online Job

Some good news

  1. We now have some free excerpts from the ebook that you can read before you buy. This lets you asses the book for yourself.
  2. We’ve running a special offer where you can get the book for Kshs 500 instead of Kshs 750 because we think you’re awesome.


“How much can I get away with?”

There are two ways to look at that question.

Seth Godin writes:

The usual way is, “How little can I do and not get caught?” Variations include, “Can we do less service? Cut our costs? Put less cereal in the box? Charge more?” In short: “How little can I get away with?”

The other way, the more effective way: “How much can we afford to give away? How much service can we pile on top of what we’re selling without seeming like we’re out of our minds? How big a portion can we give and still stay in business? How fast can we get this order filled?”

In an era in which the middle is rapidly emptying out, both edges are competitive. Hint: The overdelivery edge is an easier place to make a name for yourself.

Are you looking at how much you can give your customer and still be in business, or how little you can give them without them noticing? Which side of the divide do you fall on?

Kenya’s Tertiary Education is Broken

I just read a very disturbing article on The Standard titled: Board rejects 47 degree courses.

A few years back, I was a student at JKUAT. My room-mate was doing a course named “Bachelor of Science in Mining and Mineral Engineering”. This course, like any other engineering course at JKUAT, takes five gruelling years to complete and is in now way ‘easy’. My friend struggled through five years of his life and should be completing his course around June of this year. Nice, eh?

As it turns out, his course is one of the 47 engineering courses that the Engineering Registration Board (ERB) has rejected and will not be recognised.

To put it simply, my room-mate and countless others have wasted five years of their life. They will have nothing to show for it. Can you imagine that? How much money wasted? How much time gone forever? How do you even start to recover from this?

The ERB took this drastic action because the universities were offering very low quality engineering courses. For experience, I can say that this is true. Many of the engineering courses in our country are shamefully sub-par. Our universities and colleges focus too much on making money than on providing quality education.

Of course the ERB’s action is loathsome and painful to many but the real blame lies at the feet of our “institutions of education”. Ours is a broken system.

How can we fix it?

A parting shot:

From “The Loss of the University,” in Home Economics: “The thing being made in a university is humanity. given the current influence of universities, this is merely inevitable. But what universities, at least the public-supported ones, are mandated to make or to help to make is human beings in the fullest sense of those words — not just trained workers or knowledgeable citizens but responsible heirs and members of human culture. If the proper work of the university is only to equip people to fulfill private ambitions, then how do we justify public support? If it is only to prepare citizens to fulfill public responsibilities, then how do we justify the teaching of arts and sciences? The common denominator has to be larger than either career preparation or preparation for citizenship. Underlying the idea of a university — the bringing together, the combining into one, of all the disciplines — is the idea that good work and good citizenship are the inevitable by-products of the making of a good — that is, a fully developed — human being. This, as I understand it, is the definition of the name university.”

The Housing Bubble in Kenya

It is often said that housing/land prices in Kenya always go up and can never go down. You just cannot fail if you invest in real estate in Kenya. But is this really so?

According to The Standard, a report by the Central Bank of Kenya and the World Bank indicates that only 1 in 10 Kenyans can afford to buy the home they live in, even if they get a mortgage (assuming they even qualify to get it).

I think the question must be posed: What is a bubble? According to Wikipedia, An economic bubble (sometimes referred to as a speculative bubble, a market bubble, a price bubble, a financial bubble, a speculative mania or a balloon) is “trade in high volumes at prices that are considerably at variance with intrinsic values”. It could also be described as a trade in products or assets with inflated values.

Specifically regarding housing/real estate bubbles, Wikipedia further says: A real estate bubble or property bubble (or housing bubble for residential markets) is a type of economic bubble that occurs periodically in local or global real estate markets. It is characterized by rapid increases in valuations of real property such as housing until they reach unsustainable levels relative to incomes and other economic elements, followed by a reduction in price levels.

Now, back to the Central Bank report. Here are a few selected excerpts from the report:

  • only eight per cent of Kenyans — 320, 000 households — can afford a mortgage was shocking
  • for one to buy a house worth Sh2 million, for example, one must have a net salary of Sh100,000, and service the loan at Sh42,000 a month for a period of 15 years at an interest rate of 14.5 per cent. Those earning less have no place in the mortgage industry and must find another way of owning their dream house
  • The shocking revelations also indicate that the total mortgage loan book in the country is only 16,000 accounts, while the total value of mortgage loans, as at the end of December last year was Sh133.6 billion. This means that, technically, only 16,000 people/organisations in the whole of Kenya have taken up mortgages
  • It is also an indication that buying property in Kenya is predominantly for the rich, who opt for cash sales as opposed to mortgages.
  • Professionals in the housing sector say the findings reflect the high level of speculation on land that has pushed property prices through the roof

Only 1 in 10 Kenyans can afford to buy the home that they live in, and even fewer Kenyan can afford to take up mortgages. In my mind, this report clearly indicates that the Kenyan real estate market is in the middle of a bubble. Real estate prices have gotten to be so high that the great majority of Kenyans just cannot afford real estate.

Sooner or later, this bubble will burst and prices will come crashing down. Many of the “me too” real estate developers and investors will lose vast sums of money. It is just a matter of time…

Safaricom FUD Strategy

FUD means Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

Safaricom’s new CEO, Bob Collymore was on the news the other day furious at Airtel for their new price cuts. His main point was that these prices were not sustainable and may lead to the collapse of the mobile phone industry in Kenya. Mr. Collymore went as far as saying that the government would lose revenue because Safaricom would not make as much of a profit as in recent years.

A day later, Dr. Ndemo (the permanent secretary) was reported by the Daily Nation saying that the mobile phone price wars may even lead to the failure of the implementation of the new constitution in Kenya. The talk in town now is that the government may place a lower limit on mobile call rates i.e. akina Airtel will not be able to offer cheaper rates to us any more.

Okay….what the hell is going on here? Kenyans have been looking forward to cheaper call rates for years yet when they finally come the government wants to stop them?

It is true that the government will lose huge amounts of revenue from Safaricom’s reduced profits but is it really right or fair to change the rules so that Safaricom’s high profits are maintained at the expense of its competitors?

Such a move by the government would be VERY wrong and would set a very bad precedent in Kenya. This is why:

  1. Airtel is a business that has chosen a certain strategy to tackle the Kenyan market. They have chosen to incur losses now so that they can profit later. This is also called “making an investment”. It is not proper for the government to stop them from doing so.
  2. Any change of rules would serve to protect Safaricom from the competition. This is unfair at the very least. Every business should be responsible for its own survival.
  3. The money that we the consumers save by paying less on calls does not suddenly disappear into thin air – we will still use it within Kenyan borders and the government WILL earn tax revenues on almost everything else that we spend that money on.
  4. Cheaper communication costs very often (in other countries) lead to a more robust economy.

Let’s hope that the government does the right thing.

254 – A DukaPress Theme

254 DukaPress Theme

254 DukaPress Theme

We’re pleased to announce the release of our third DukaPress theme, the 254 DukaPress theme. This is a WordPress theme for use in your DukaPress powered shop.

Theme Features

  • Clean and minimal layout
  • Drop-down menu support
  • 2-column layout and widget-ready sidebar
  • Support for WordPress 3.0 custom menus
  • Styled to work elegantly with DukaPress

View the live Demo
Download For Free

Basically, this is a free shop ‘design’ (for those who have no idea what a theme is) that you can use to make your DukaPress online shop look good. Enjoy.

Does University Matter?

I read a very interesting discussion on Quora on whether or not getting a university education really matters. Here’s what was said (edited):

Does a university education matter?
Darien said, “The short answer is that not having a degree is going to close certain doors, but you’re going to be the one who has to decide whether those doors matter to you. The answer may very well be ‘no’.

The debt you incur in college, taken in tandem with the opportunity cost of lost productivity, is likely never to pay off financially. This of course depends on your institution and field of study. Engineering, for example, or business from a top-tier business school probably will. A BA in an arts or humanities related subject will almost certainly not.

The importance of a college degree is pretty much directly proportional to the level of bureaucracy in a hiring organization. If you ever desire to work in government or academia, you won’t be able to do it without a degree. This is also true of many non-profits and large companies.

In my (admittedly limited) experience, not having a completed college degree has not kept any important doors closed. I landed the sales/biz dev position I wanted at the last company I worked for and my current startup is funded. (Ironically, it’s an education company.)”

Afterwards, John gives a little personal story:

I used to go to the University of Maryland, College Park in the mid-90’s, studying Mathematics and Physics. I started getting heavily involved in chess, and specifically a online chess playing site which was one of the first companies to have an online business model. Next thing I knew I got a job offer, and decided to do that instead of school. Ten years later, after a few different positions, my career had progressed, and I was making six figures for a startup, holding positions which often required an MBA, despite me not having the Bachelor’s. Then, the startup, like a lot of companies in late 2008, went away.

What happened then? Simple. In a competitive job market, employers want to hire not only the best prospects, but the “safe” hire. I kept getting interviews, second interviews, and even in two cases, third interviews. Nothing happened. Why? In short, I didn’t have the degree. I was appreciative of those who openly told me that the person I lost out to got the job because of the degree they had. In the cover-your-ass world of corporate politics, if the hire who didn’t have the degree doesn’t pan out, then there’s a red flag for you to go after the hiring manager. Additionally, most companies put “BS required” or the like, and I have heard claims that companies can be sued by other prospective job-seekers if they hire someone who doesn’t have a Bachelor’s degree.

So, what did I do? Started applying to schools, figuring that if I was not going to work, I might as well proceed in schooling. I was forutnate enough to get into NYU’s Management and Leadership Program at McGhee, and also fortunate enough to get another great job (within the same week!), and have done both for the past 1 1/2 years. While it may not matter for most, the college degree is a checkbox that is very often required in corporate America. Note, I am going to continue in my education get my Master’s afterwards, and possibly Doctorate, but haven’t fully decided yet.

So does university matter? I personally believe university is less important than what we think, especially in this country where the quality (versus the cost) is something debatable. You can get a good life without going to university. Sadly, it is nearly impossible to get a good job if you have not been to university.

It seems to me, therefore, that if you can get a good education elsewhere (books!) then university does not really matter unless you want to work for some big company.

What do you think?