Cloudline leverages lighter-than-air technology and the latest developments in unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver essential goods and services to the 1 billion people without direct access to roads and runways
The “Africa Power Access Accelerator” program by the African Power Platform (APP) bridges the existing gap between project developers and consultants / technology providers / financiers.
The APP brings in to this program the efforts of different stakeholders to partner for the successful implementation of power projects in Africa.
Bringing together the expertise of a range of partners, the "Africa Power Access Accelerator" program creates a platform where developers can access everything required to get their project to implementation. From development expertise and funding, equity and debt providers, consultants, technology and equipment providers to full EPC and O&M services, we put viable projects on a success track...[more]
Food company Farafena (founded by Oumar Barou Togola) works with about 1,000 women from nine different villages in Mali, paying them directly for the crops they grow.
As a result, the African women have been able to start micro-businesses, build homes for their families and educate their children...[more]
LUTCHA is a digital podcasting company that aims to change the African Millennial narrative through digital content. LUTCHA was founded in 2017 and is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Our commitment is to create empowering, engaging & valuable digital content, to build immersive audio experiences for African millennial audiences.
The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) has announced the names of nine SA and Zimbabwean biotech entrepreneurs that have been selected to take part in BioCiti, a six-month training programme in Cape Town.
The programme, which will run at the Bandwidth Barn, is being run in partnership with SA’s OneBio and The TechVillage from Zimbabwe...[more]
“You do it like that?”
Every day, we’re at our machines, clicking and swiping and typing.
And it’s entirely possible that the methods you’ve developed are costing you at least an hour a day in wasted time.
That your desktop isn’t supposed to have 2,000 files on it.
That you don’t need to click the same sequence over and over to get through your inbox.
It’s possible that the ‘I’ll learn it later’ shortcut you took a few years ago is now a significant time tax on your day, every day.
The solution is fun and simple: find a smart person and have them watch you use the computer for an hour.
She’ll share ten shortcuts and principles that will amaze you.
And then you can return the favor.
It’s much more difficult to use a computer than it should be. But that’s mostly because they’re powerful, and power brings choices, and you may need some help with your choices.
Machiko Kyo and Toshiro Mifune in Rashomon
Machiko Kyo, a Japanese actor best known for her role in Roshomon, has died.
We have so many forms of “this will only take a minute” inputs.
We have Slack, which is optimized for, “yep, I saw that.”
We have email, which is optimized for, “I cleared my inbox” or possibly, “I’ll do this later.”
We have Twitter, which is optimized for wasting time.
And we have Facebook, which in only a few minutes, can make you feel left out.
But we don’t have a convention for important inputs that might take hours of work to respond to.
We don’t have a pre-sorted inbox for, “I’m ready to think deeply and work hard and change my posture and truly engage with this idea now.”
This is one of the best things about a good non-fiction book. It’s not for wasting time, it’s for depth when you’re ready to go deep.
If you spend your whole day browsing, then what happens?
[Typo update: There are typos on this blog now and then, and I apologize for all of them, the past ones and the ones yet to come. I usually fix them within an hour of publication, so if you’re ever wondering–yes, Bo Diddley was 1955, not 1995–just click on the title of the post and you’ll see the latest version, here, on the blog itself, almost certainly corrected. Thanks for your forbearance and patience.]
Endtroducing….. by DJ Shadow (Mo’ Wax 1996/Toy’s Factory 1997)
insight foresight the clock on the wall reads a quarter past midnight
Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga.
In 1995, Bo Diddley released his first record. It became a #1 bestseller.
The name of the track? “Bo Diddley.”
It was a song about a singer and his work.
That’s what it sounds like when you own it.
When you sign your work.
If you’re going to step up and create, it helps to own what you just did. You’re not simply another in a long line.
REALDRIP, a non-invasive device that prevents thrombosis during drip treatment by continuously monitoring flow rate, volume administered and automating the drip treatment process. REALDRIP eliminates the guesswork in setting IV flow rate and tells the user precisely how fast the fluid is flowing, which allows the healthcare worker to know how much medication the patient is receiving.
This is a lower-cost, simpler solution that maintains the ability to safely administer precision infusion.
This article reports on an educational design research study exploring the potential of combining entrepreneurship and mathematics – two of the key competencies stressed as important in a society of lifelong learning. The aim of the study was to explore what happens when entrepreneurship is integrated into mathematics lessons. Eight Swedish primary schools were involved in the iterative design wherein researchers and teachers together planned, implemented, and evaluated lessons. The results indicate that combining entrepreneurial and mathematical competencies may produce a win-win situation. Entrepreneurial competencies can be of value when students are learning mathematics, and at the same time mathematics teaching can be organised so that students develop both mathematical and entrepreneurial competencies.
BreastIT (Kampala, Uganda) is a portable, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered diagnostic tool for breast anomalies such as cancer. The handheld, pocket-sized ultrasound imaging system helps radiologists to make focused assessments and accelerate treatment decisions at the point of care.
There’s the forever of discomfort. Sasha Dichter taught us about this. The feeling we get during a temporary situation that feels like it’s going to last forever.
It’s one thing to tolerate a bumpy landing on an airplane, because you know it’ll be over in ten seconds.
But, a car-sick toddler doesn’t have that perspective. He’s wailing and sad because he thinks that this is the new normal, a permanent situation.
Too often, we quit in the dip. Not because we can’t tolerate discomfort for an hour, a week or a month, but because we mistakenly believe that it might last forever.
There’s the forever of plenty. This is when we erroneously assume that the stuff that’s good is going to stay good. That this moment, this leverage, these resources–we can squander them because they’ll be here tomorrow.
This sort of forever leads to heartbreak, because, inevitably, it doesn’t last. It can’t.
And there’s the forever of never. The dominant narrative of society is that you’re stuck with what you’ve got. Stuck in your status role, stuck in your skill set, stuck in your situation.
If you believe it, it’s probably true.
If you believe it, you just let yourself off the hook, which is comforting indeed.
And if you believe it, you’ve made life easier for the systems that would like to pigeonhole you.
But, even though it’s certainly harder than it ought to be, it doesn’t have to be forever.
[PS today’s the Early Decision deadline for the altMBA. The word continues to spread, person to person, with more than 3,300 alumni in 74 countries.]
A collection of technical, management and other thoughts from this week.
Life happened and I’ve missed a couple weeks but I’m back at writing these.
I changed roles in January, moving from a management role to a developer role. I choose an engineering role partly because I wanted to learn and grow my technical skills again, but partly I just wanted to feel like I’d done something at the end of each day.
As a manager, I often finished the day wondering what I’d done or feeling like maybe I didn’t actually do anything useful at all today. I only recently realised thats a common experience for many new managers. It’s harder to see your impacts as a manager, and part of becoming a good manager is figuring out how to judge your impact.
I’ve recently found myself in a similar place again. I’m not managing a team, but we’re in a phase of open-ended exploratory work. Once again, it’s hard to tell if what I did today was useful. Did I read anything that gave me insight into the product, or customers needs? Even if I did, was that enough? Is it actually moving us closer to a profitable business? I’m just … not sure. In abscence of a concrete deliverable ie. a working bit of code, it’s hard to see my impact.
I’ve read a couple of good pieces talking about this, and I’ve started trying out some personal processes. I’ve set high level goals: pick an idea in 2 weeks, build and test a prototype in a month. My daily tasks are partly reactive: follow up X, and partly driven by those goals: sketch a lean canvas for Y idea or answer a question about idea Z. It’s early days but it’s helped a little. I have some idea if I’m seeing progress now.
Hiring and the market for lemons. An interesting analysis of broken hiring practices. I’m not sure I agree with all of it but it’s worth a read.
How not to disagree. A good piece about how to handle managing a team through changes you don’t agree with.
Fire fixation. I’ve definitely had teams stuck in a place of fighting so many fires we couldn’t get any new work done. It’s a hard place to get out of.
Remote mob programming. A good guide, not something I can use right now but saving it for future reference.
“Gravity’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.”
A truth is a useful, reliable statement of how the world is. You can ignore it, but it will cost you, because the world won’t work the way you hope it will. You can dislike the truth, but pretending it isn’t true isn’t an effective way to accomplish your goals or to further our culture.
Most of the kinds of truth we experience are about the past and the present, and these are the easiest to see and confirm, but there are also truths about cause and effect.
Identity is the truth of description. A circle is round because we define a circle as round. You can say, “a circle is rectangular in shape,” and all you’ve done is confused us. Words only work because we agree on what they mean.
Demagogues often play with the identity of words, as it distracts us.
Axiomatic truth is truth about the system. The Peano axioms, for example, define the rules of arithmetic. They are demonstrably true and the system is based on these truths. Einstein derived his theories of special and general relativity with a pad of paper, not with an experiment (though the experiments that followed have demonstrated that his assertions were in fact true.)
There were loud voices in mid-century Germany who said that Einstein’s work couldn’t be true because of his heritage, and many others who mis-described his work and then decried that version of it, but neither approach changed the ultimate truth of his argument.
Axiomatic truth, like most other truths, doesn’t care whether you understand it or believe it or not. It’s still true.
Historic truth is an event that actually happened. We know it happened because it left behind evidence, witnesses and other proof.
Experimental truth may not have the clear conceptual underpinnings of axiomatic truth, but it holds up to scrutiny. The world is millions of years old. Every experiment consistently demonstrates this. Experimental truth can also give us a road map to the future. Vaccines do not cause autism. The world is not flat. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising.
If you want to challenge an experimental truth, the only response is to do a better experiment, make it replicable and show your work.
Personal experience truth is the truth that’s up to you. How you reacted to what happened can only be seen and reported by you.
And finally, consider cultural truth, and this is the truth that can change. This is the truth of, “people like us do things like this.” Which is true, until it’s not. And then people like us do something else.
In Loumbila, located some 20 km from Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso, Euloge Tapsoba is processing corn into different products.
Euloge founded his company, ALEPA, in 2007 when he was still a student. At the beginning he was just buying and selling the corn. But later, he realised that he was losing an opportunity by not processing the corn. Processing would add value to the product, and also create more jobs, which is his objective. He then ventured into corn processing and it worked well. However, he was not able to meet the demand of the market. Through the support from the Danish project PCESA, he was able to scale up his business and increase his production capacity...[more]
In Kpomassè, 60 km from Cotonou, Euphrasia DASSOUNDO has set up a processing unit for vegetables. She wants to reduce post-harvest losses. Euphrasia started her company with 30,000 FCFA in 2013, and her main activity was to process tomato into paste. Her first challenge was to get people to accept the product which was quite new, and it took a lot of patience and perseverance to keep going. Slowly, the product has been approved and ginger and onion into paste. "Our main goal is to help reduce post-harvest losses," said Euphrasia.
Sesi Technologies’ GrainMate Grain Moisture Meter (Kumasi, Ghana) is a low-cost grain moisture tester that helps grain farmers reduce post-harvest losses by making it easier to accurately measure grain moisture content before storage. At $100, the GrainMate is more than four times cheaper than conventional grain moisture meters and Sesi Technologies claims it offers superior accuracy.
Janine Benyus: 9 Basic Principles of Biomimicry
- Nature runs on sunlight.
- Nature uses only the energy it needs.
- Nature fits form to function.
- Nature recycles everything.
- Nature rewards cooperation.
- Nature banks on diversity.
- Nature demands local expertise.
- Nature curbs excesses from within.
- Nature taps the power of limits.
It might be the biggest misconception in all of advertising.
The Super Bowl has reach.
Google has reach.
Radio has reach.
Why do you care if you can, for more money, reach more people?
Why wouldn’t it make more sense to reach the right people instead?
To pick an absurd example, you can use a giant radio telescope to beam messages to the billions or trillions of aliens that live in other solar systems. Worth it?
I read an overview that pointed out that one of the cons of Amazon advertising was that they didn’t have the reach of Google.
This is wrong in so many ways.
Reach doesn’t matter, because your job isn’t to interrupt people on other planets, with other interests. Your job is to interact with people who care.
Running an ad on the most popular podcast isn’t smart if the most popular podcast reaches people who don’t care about you.
Perhaps it makes sense to pay extra to reach precisely the right people. It never makes sense to pay extra to reach more people.
Impact investment funds are fast becoming the vehicle of choice for governments and donors looking to invest in African agriculture and encourage private sector investors to do the same.
Investments in African agriculture are rising faster than ever before, with a new wave of blended finance impact investment funds leading the way. But, while these are helping to harness private sector capital – including from African commercial banks and corporates – the bulk of initial donor and government money comes from overseas. Still, the impact of such funds on the lives of smallholder farmers is increasingly well documented and demonstrates that investing in African agriculture can be profitable for private sector players, as long as the right projects are financed and risk is well managed...[more]
SayeTech Multi-crop Thresher (Kumasi, Ghana) produces multi-crop threshers that help reduce grain waste. The company claims its multi-crop thresher can reduce post-harvest losses by up to 30%, while also increasing income of smallholder farmers by up to 50% every year.