A French startup offers to retrofit some of the most popular car models to make them electric for less than half the price of the cheapest brand-new electric car—and the whole process can be completed in less than a day
Better, I think, to spec for the best instead.
It’s comforting to hire a contractor, give them a rough spec and hope for the best. Wish to be positively surprised. Leave room for lots of unexpected magic.
But if it matters, write a really good spec instead.
This year, people around the world are celebrating World Food Day on the theme “Healthy diets for a zero-hunger world”. The key message is to make healthy and sustainable diets affordable and accessible to everyone. World Food Day is a day of action dedicated to tackling global hunger. Held annually on October 16, the celebration brings people together to declare their commitment to eradicate hunger worldwide.
The theme for this year’s World Food Day resonates well with some of the work we do at BioInnovate Africa. We are happy to share one example: some of our partners in Kenya and Uganda are promoting a refractance window drying technology for fruits and vegetables. They use boiling water, which radiates heat through a thin plastic film to dry fruits and vegetables in a manner that retains their nutritive quality.
Professor John Muyonga, a Food Scientist at Makerere University’s School of Food Technology, Nutrition, and Bioengineering, who is leading this effort, believes that tackling global hunger begins with ensuring the availability of healthy food all the time...[more]
A mask to block AI based Facial Recognition from all angles by Jip van Leeuwenstein
When I quit my job in 1986 and went out on my own, it was shortly after my picture had appeared in a small feature in a national magazine. My grandmother proudly kept a copy of the magazine (not the article, the entire magazine) on her coffee table, proudly telling anyone who stopped by that her grandson was now a “FREE lancer.” Not sure what that meant, she had a hunch that it wasn’t nearly as stable, easy or prestigious as having an actual job.
Freelancers show up in the world without a safety net, offering to do their best. Freelancers rarely get the credit they deserve for the work they do.
Freelancers aren’t always sure of what’s next, and freelancers often get the wrong end of the stick.
But it’s about a pure a craft as most of us can find. You’re your own boss, most of the time, and figuring out a way to become better at being the boss of you is a worthwhile investment of effort.
I’m so pleased with the results we’ve achieved with The Freelancer’s Workshop. It’s a straightforward approach to the biggest problem most freelancers have: Finding better clients.
Our new session begins signups today, and I hope you’ll check it out (click to find the disappearing purple circle discount). It’s the last session of 2019.
Better clients demand more, pay more and talk about your work. Better clients make it easier for you to level up, and better clients challenge you to dig deeper and do what you’re capable of.
You don’t do better by working more hours. You can’t work more hours. You do better by finding better clients.
I’m delighted that so many freelancers read this blog, and proud to be, on my best days, a freelancer.
Now might be the time to be seen as the professional you’re capable of becoming.
Population density map of the world, 1994.
...Even if you’re not a person of color, you know what the dermatological adjective “ashy” is: Tiny flecks of dried skin that show up on people with more melanin. But you might not know how difficult it is to find products that don’t leave white residue, like when you apply sunscreen.
The duo behind the beauty line Bolden, Nigerian sisters Chinelo Chidozie and Ndidi Obidoa, know this struggle all too well. Growing up in West Africa, they often used shea butter at home. Bolden was created to help expand the beauty options available to women of color, and support communities that produce shea nuts in Burkina Faso. In their quest to develop their line of shea products, the number one beauty complaint from their customers was hyperpigmentation—or, the discoloration of darker skin due to sun exposure...[more]
What exactly do you do at Sweet Cake TV School, and how did you come up with the name?
Sweet Cake TV School is a baking and business school. It is an online learning platform where students, also referred to as “sweet cakers”, log in to access video courses on professional baking and cake decorating, and also cake business management-focused courses that are delivered via video, podcasts, e-books and worksheets.
In the school, we also have a chat community and a Facebook group where members interact with and help each other with their baking or cake decorating problems on a daily basis...[more]
Large organizations seek to decrease variability.
Starbucks wants the very best latte you buy from them to be exactly the same as the worst one.
If you define a spec and work hard to meet it, you can make it so that most things are within a reasonable distance of that spec. Which means that most of what you make is average.
If an entire industry is busy seeking to meet that average, we can define that work as mediocre. Not horrible, but certainly not exceptional (because ‘exception’ -al is self-explanatory).
When you go out to buy aluminum siding, copywriting or consulting services, you have a choice: You can demand that the work meets the industry spec, a fair product at a fair price. Or, you can seek something better than average, something worth paying extra for.
Most TV ads, most car services, most airplane flights–they’re mediocre. That’s a choice.
If you want to buy creative work that’s exceptional, you’ll need to pay for it (and accept the risk that it might not work out as planned).
‘Trannsparent City’ by Michael Wolf (2009)
Marilyn Monroe photographed by Nick de Morgoli, 1953.
Percentage of Mordvins in the Russian Volga-Urals region.
First I ever heard of Mordvins.
Awash Wine S.C., an Ethiopian winery and pioneer in the industry, has launched a new wine cocktail in the market, Dankira, after investing US$2 million in expanding its production capacity.
The company’s investment in the expansion project entailed a new state of the art production facility located in Addis Ababa...[more]
Put a bag of cookies in the break room and it might sit for days.
Open the bag and leave it out, and within an hour, all the cookies will be gone.
We are happy to take a tiny slice off the thing that’s being shared, but we hesitate to open the bag.
The same is true with all of the initiatives in our culture. Design, movements and ideas are all trapped, waiting to be opened, and then the rest of us will happily pile on.
Open the bag.
Red Cup Village is the only producer of biodegradable cups in SA, I am the one who the world looks at in regard to biodegradable manufacturing in Mzansi,” he says.
The corn starch and sugar cane are sourced from local farms which is then made into bioplastic. From there, it is made into biodegradable cups and other biodegradable products...[more]
The government’s proposal to reduce consumption tax on alcohol beverages brewed using locally sourced raw materials has received approval from the Members of the Chamber of Deputies.
The MPs passed the draft law, which reduces the consumption tax rate on beers and wines made using locally produced raw materials...[more]
I recently saw two men arguing about who got to use the urinal next.
As a result, neither got what he wanted, and neither could honestly say that his day got better.
The need to win every interaction, the inability to apologize, the short-term over the long-term–this isn’t a sign of strength, it’s a symptom of immaturity and weakness that almost always leads to suboptimal results.
If apologizing engages the network and makes it more likely that we can stay in sync, it pays for itself many times over.
Clay Food and Drinks Limited, was founded by Mrs. Hadiza Nyako to promote and create demand for local African superfoods, drinks, and snacks, especially from northern Nigeria and they really live by their objective. You can get anything from freshly made traditional African juices such as Zobbo, Baobab, Fura, Tamarind, Tigernut. I love their drinks because they are home-made and have little to no sugar. My favorite drinks to get are the Zobbo which in Senegal is known as Bissap. Did you know that Zobo is a drink enjoyed through-out West Africa? It’s actually very easy to make at home too. Fura is also a very traditional drink which I love. Fura balls are made from millet flour which has been spiced with ginger, cloves and sometimes, pepper and is complemented by either yogurt or milk. Interestingly enough in Senegal Fura is called Thiakry and is thoroughly enjoyed by many people in Senegal and Gambia.
...Trained as a veterinarian, Naluyima has a one-acre farm that uses a “closed-loop” approach to agriculture. The farm is divided into quarters, between pig, cattle, fish, and vegetable farming. Naluyima uses their waste products for feed, fertilizer, and pesticide. For example, pig waste is used to fertilize the vegetables, and the maggots from the waste are used to feed the fish and chicken. The cattle waste is used to create biogas to provide energy for her farm. She claims to generate about $100,000 per year from the products and livestock she sells from her farm.
You know even with the Clinton tax cuts we were on our way to fixing a lot of our shit, but then the 2000 election let dum-dum GWB fuck it all up and start two wars and cut more taxes so the deficit sky rocketed again and so on and so on and so on…fuck.
Every element of the organization has a spec, a minimum required performance. Accounting has standards, so does the department that measures the air quality.
Everything beyond spec is marketing.
That’s an interesting definition, but I think it’s true: All the money, effort and time that an organization puts into making anything better than it has to be is a marketing expense.
Because the extra is there to help change minds, to spread the word, to earn trust and loyalty.
The head of marketing is the person in charge of what’s extra. Because if you want to grow, nothing is actually extra. It’s simply an investment.
Over 2,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya have received training and technical support on how to produce high-value crops, form cooperatives and develop price negotiation skills – all free of charge. The trainings are provided at the iAgribiz Africa Model Farm in Nandi county, which was set up in 2018 by 27-year-old Rodgers Kirwa, who uses the profits from his harvests to sustain the farm and provide training courses. For local farmers, the training has resulted in yield increases of up to 100%...[more]
Ashish Heda, a TechnoServe Fellow, discusses his experience working with food processors through the MSIKA program, a collaboration between TechnoServe and Land O' Lakes International Development...[more]
A small-scale chili sauce manufacturing facility in Malawi.
The only way to get initiative is to take it. It’s never given.
And some people hesitate to take it, perhaps because they’re worried that we’ll somehow run out.
We’re not going to run out. It’s a self-renewing resource.
From an early age, most of us were taught to avoid it. Do your homework. Take out the trash. Wait to get picked. Wait to get called on. Become popular. Fit in. Maybe stand out, but just a little bit. Failure is far worse than not trying.
The alternative is to take some initiative. On behalf of those you seek to serve.
Go ahead, there’s plenty to go around.