Attend Tech Week by Women In Tech Africa

What is Tech week by Women in Tech Africa? 

Women in Tech Week is the first and largest Women in Tech event on the African continent. Created as a 5-day event that brings together stakeholders supporting growth of women in technology and leadership. It includes curated user generated events with event partners across 40 countries with 400 events tracks bringing together 40,000 users onsite and virtually.

Why should you attend? 

The compelling, well thought out week’s agenda will be of interest to anyone intending to grow professionally and network with Industry leaders: from hard core IT topics to discussions about Work-life balance. You can have a look at the day to day topics breakdown below.

How can you participate? 

Attend the physical events
Onsite events in 10 countries: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia, Rwanda, UK (Maidenhead next to London), USA (NY), GER (HD) , China (Shanghai)

Participate in the virtual events: Virtual events in Africa: Angola, Congo, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Cameroon, Niger, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Zambia, Senegal. Follow @womenintechafrica and use #womenintechweek

 

Day 1: Technology Day

On: Monday 26th September 2016

9:00am-10:00am-Registration & Networking
10:00am-10.30am –Welcome Speech by Sylvia Mukasa WITA Kenya Chapter Lead
Official Launch Key Note Speech: TBC

Sub Theme 1: Digital Africa

10:30am-11.30am Topic 1: Mobile Payments
Speakers
• Samsung Representative
• Judyth Engels-Digital Financial Services Consultant
• Angelah Rebecca Madara- Digital Financial Capability Lab

11:30am-12:15pm Topic 2: Smart Infrastructure
Speaker: Dr Aisha Walcott, IBM

12:15pm-1:00pm Topic 3: Cloud
Speaker: Everline Kamau Migwi , Channel Account Manager-Kenya & Ethiopia, VMWare

Lunch Break/Networking 1:00pm-2:00pm

2:15 pm-3:45 pm Topic 4: Internet of Things (IOT)

Speakers
• Dr Esther Obonyo, Associate Professor of Engineering Design and Architectural Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University
• Josephine Miliza, MD Girls in Tech, Kenya
• Leonard Mabele/iLab Rep: Demo of how IoT works and the type of projects @iLab is working on plus Machine Learning

Sub Theme 2: Innovation & Technology for the Next Decade

3:50 pm-4:10pm-Digital Market Places
Speaker: Sam Wakoba, TechMoran

4:15pm -5:15pm Virtual Reality
Speakers
• Odipo Riaga,Technology Blogger,Kachwanya.com
• Samsung Representative

RSVP TO ATTEND DAY 1 HERE

Day 2: Leadership Day

9:00am-10:00am-Registration & Networking

Women & Leadership

Points of Discussion
• “Branding yourself in a male-dominated world”
• Strategies to survive in a male-driven culture (discussions, meetings, power play)
• Negotiating as a woman
• Leadership principle & executive presence
Speakers:
10:00am-11:00am Wambui Kinya, Chief Strategy Officer, Andela
11:00am-12:00pm Dr Esther Obonyo, Associate Professor of Engineering Design and Architectural Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University
12:00 pm-1:00pm Ife Osaga, Legal Counsel, Sub Saharan Africa, Google Kenya

Lunch Break/Networking 1:00pm-2:00pm

2:00pm-3pm Women & Cyber Crime
Personal security as a woman in Africa/How to combat cyber bullying
Speaker: Alice Munyua, ICT Policy, Regulation and Internet Governance Professional

RSVP TO ATTEND DAY 2 HERE

 

Day 3: Entrepreneur Day

Day 3: Entrepreneur Day, Wednesday, 28th September 2016

8:00 am 9:00am-Registration & Networking

9:00am-10:00 am Security & Enterprise
Security strategies for your enterprise; how to combat/fight cyber crime and what security threats exist in the digital economy and Mobile & Cloud Security

Speakers:
• Fredrick W. N., Team Leader / forensic Investigator, Computer Forensic Kenya
• Samsung Representative
• Serianu Representative

10:00 am – 12:00pm Discussing Successful Business Cases, Financing your start-up, Social Enterprise; Scale & Operation and Business Models

Speakers/Discussants
• Winnie Auma, Country Director, Village Enterprise Uganda
• Patricia Odero, East Africa Regional Director, SEAD | Innovations in Healthcare
• Karina Fassbender, Merck Accelerator
• Esther Ndeti, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE)

12pm-1pm Ongeza Fund Workshop: Pitching to investors through effective storytelling.

Lunch Break/Networking 1:00pm-2:00pm

2:00pm -6:00pm WECREATE Kenya Build-a-Business Workshop
Come and Learn business Model Design through Visual Thinking,how to create value and reach target customers,Go-To-Market Strategies and much more.

RSVP TO ATTEND DAY 3 HERE

 

Day 4: Work-Life Day,

On Thursday 29th September 2016

Day 4: Work-Life Day, Thursday 29th September 2016

9:00am-10:00am-Registration & Networking

10:00am- 10:30am From being at home to working ‘Home, Theresa Moraa , Cloud of Yum

10:30am -11:00am-Enterprise & Family: Speaker to be confirmed

11:00am-12:00pm Meditation/Martial Arts & Other Technologies by Martha D. Karimi,Co-Founder EdgePerformance

12:00am-1:00pm Purpose In Life
Speaker: Wangari Mwangi, Coach & Mentor, Life Coaching & Leadership Centre

Lunch Break/Networking 1:00pm-2:00pm

2:00pm-4:00pm Research in Africa

Discussions will cover: Suitability for impactful research; Africa as a hot spot for research; Status quo & direction; Lighthouse examples

Speakers:
Dr Evelyn Gitau,Cellular Immunologist/Program Manager, African Academy of Sciences
Dr Charity Wayua, IBM Research Africa

RSVP FOR DAY 4 HERE

 

Day 5: Talent Day

On Friday 30th September 2016

9:00am-10:00am-Registration & Networking

10:00am-12:15pm Talent Building
Discussing about:
-Developing grass-root talent / demographics / large amount of world workforce will be Africa
-Skills for Africa – making a challenge into an opportunity
-Skill building as a business
-Supporting young and ambitious girls in Africa through tech skills

Speakers/Discussants
• Audrey Cheng, Founder ,Moringa School & Savannah Kunovsky, Leadership Team, Moringa School
• Janet Njoroge,Andela Representative
• Microsoft4Afrika Representative
• Eric Mutuku, Director, Zalego Institute
• Martha D. Karimi ,Co-Founder, Edge Performance
• Makeda Tsegaye, CEO & Founder, NetBizImpact

12:15pm -1:00pm Mobile Education
Speaker: Anne Salim, COO Eneza Education

Lunch Break/Networking 1:00pm-2:00pm

2:00pm-4:00pm Design Thinking Workshop: by Josephine Miliza, MD Girls in Tech, Kenya

4:00pm-5:00 pm Live Tweet Chat with the Next Einstein Forum Ambassadors.

Topic: Talent Building to encourage participation in Science, Technology, Research & Innovation in Africa

5:30-7:00pm Closing Ceremony

RSVP FOR DAY 5 HERE

 

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Re-thinking your Facebook advertising

Facebook took the mighty leap from just connecting people with others to connecting them with businesses – a leap that completely revolutionized what disruptive thinking is all about and gave power to marketing content creators.

Its inspiring to know that you and me can start a business without necessarily thinking of setting-up shop costs. All we have to do is open an online Facebook page at no cost and engage with our potential buyers. If you want to increase traffic to your website and increase conversions while still maintaining a favorable cost per conversion and return on investment, Facebook is your best bet. A no-charge platform that comes along with ready market, is manna from heaven if you ask me.

Using the colloquial scenario of man not really appreciating the garden of Eden until he was thrown out, I feel that we are not tapping into this strong marketing tool well enough. So before its too late, lets re-think things over with this list of 7 deadly sins of Facebook advertising we should avoid.

Sin 1: No purpose or Strategy:

You will be surprised how many times big money is put into Facebook advertising without a solid advertising strategy, which mostly results into what I would like to term as “misplaced” results. For every campaign, objectives must be outlined. Otherwise you will end up getting more page likes with no business at all.

What are your objectives:

  • Do you want new registrations and more conversions?
  • Do you want to drive your online unique sales?
  • Do you wish to have increased site traffic?,
  • Is it to grow your brand presence and awareness?

Objectives should help you curve your campaigns-what date you will launch it, what time, to which target audience, with what message and call to action.

Work with that to objectively create a memorable, unique and realistic marketing campaign to fulfill your objective. Strategy will have you capitalizing on critical holiday seasons and tapping into the power of emotional advertising.
Sin 2: No details: Add life

It can be challenging to managing a large number of campaigns and re-market thousands of products. Ensuring consistency and depth in detail in what you are selling, be it a product or a service is the core of face-book or online marketing.

Examples:

  • You are selling a pair of shoes. Would it hurt to add the sizes you have the shoes in?
  • You are selling an art piece. Canvas size and whether it is framed or not and whether the price is inclusive of this is important information for any buyer
  • You provide a service but do not specify the hours you are open, your delivery process and how people can contact you
  • Still on all the above, no contact information!?
  • No price details
At the end of the day, your post to your audience should show them what you see,

Sin 3: No photographs: Good looking content sells

Did you know that articles/posts with photos get 95% more total views than posts with no pictures at all? We are at an age of visual culture where photo sharing apps such as Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest have made buzz-worthy hype and an ad without an image just wont cut it. .

Its in our nature to seek for information with the least of effort, and also to get attracted to dreamy visualized content. With the rise of mobile popularity, people are more inclined to choose content that is easy on the eye. Whatever industry you represent, pictures will always help in sparking conversations and increasing your posts shareability and engagement.

Some things to note when it comes to choosing photos:

  • Context is crucial-the simple aim of the photos should be to visually relay information that may not possibly put to words.
  • Quality-put some effort in posting high definition photos, that speak your story well. Make it a rule to put pictures that you could share, if you happened to view them on your timeline
  • Variety-never stick to having the same photo or sharing the same style of photography
  • Consumer insight- tap into it to know what your audience likes and what will move them, then take them on that visual journey.
Sin 4: No targeting:

Precision targeting and segmentation of your advertising to demographics you think will be in need of your product or service not only helps your business clock in higher conversion rates , but also increases the number of unique purchases. Targeting helps you draw out the noise, so that you communicate with a selected few, people who can buy into your product.

Many marketers, with an attempt to increase brand awareness will fail to segment, rank in numbers of likes and fans, who care less about the product and rarely convert to clients. Its a matter of quality Vs. quantity, your pick.

Sin 5: No testing or analysis:

It is trivial that you constantly monitor your campaign performance so that your future campaigns are fully optimized. Measuring engagement will allow you to see if you are reaching the objectives you set. If the performance is not impressive, get back to the drawing board, dig deeper into your consumer’s preferences, create a campaign and test it with a segment of your demographic. Note how they respond to it and polish your campaigns constantly to make them unique, frequent and above all DIFFERENT.

The testing process doesn’t have to be so theoretic:

  • Test what day of the week and times your users will most likely be on Facebook and capitalize on this. Is it through the lunch break hour? Just after work on their commute home or early in the morning. Figuring this out will help you know the best time to launch your post
  • Test your headline and see which has the greatest CTR.
  • Test your content length. The shorter and more precise a post is, the better
  • Test your cover photo and profile picture
When you want to take a more serious approach:
  • Determine the metrics you want to analyze, are you measuring engagement, awareness, traffic driven, number of fans, or your brand’s share of voice
  • Determining the metrics helps you to choose the best tools for analyzing your campaigns
  • Do the analysis in real-time so that you can update and make changes on the go
There are many tools to help your testing like Hootsuite, Kissmetrics, Simply measured, Sprout social
Sin 6: No engagement:

Social Media is a tool for educating, engaging and helping influence an organization’s population. Engagement is creating content that sparks conversation between you and your audience, it is dialogue. And for Facebook, it is shown through comments, re-shares, likes, clicks per post and impressions that your post generates.Engagement helps you increase your reach, and allows you to showcase your brand’s voice.

How do you react to negative feedback for instance. Are you quick to find an excuse or you blatantly show no disregard? Do you answer to queries made by your audience immediately or do not answer at all? Creating an engagement strategy revolved around fun, immediacy and memorable customer experience will go a long way in creating a strong and trust worthy brand presence.

But in all these, remember that engagement is important, as a means to an end, a precursor to action and that it is not the final goal.
Sin 7: No manners:

How do you engage with your audience? How is their experience with you? Would they be a repeat customer? Would they recommend you to a friend? Your tone on Social media matters a lot when talking to your clients especially since you are not speaking to them face to face, Being kind, offering solutions and always keeping your cool even when a client is breathing fire under your neck will help.

You will spot a big difference when you talk to an employer vs when you talk to an employee, it is said. How true is that? Business owners know the value of clients and are always quick to create solutions around their needs. This is what the overall tone of your business should be built on: It will help salvage a bad client experience and will score you a great opportunity.Be a honey and don’t be that boyfriend who does not buy his girlfriend flowers, okay?

Chronicles of an Aspiring Digital Marketing Strategist: Part 2

“To app or not to app- that is the question”
 
to app
With the growing number of mobile phone users, digital marketing is taking a massive turnaround from web applications and sites to mobile phones. Anyone seeking to make significant impact on their consumers should not only target the individual surfing on their laptop, or desktop but to the more mobile, not so patient consumer who has a smart or feature mobile phone. A mobile strategy is inevitable.
A company’s site should work across different platforms with the same clarity, information density and offer the same level of user satisfaction across all platforms. If you are a business owner with a website, you should make it your duty to know how your site looks like on all kinds of devices and operating systems. Am sure am speaking for many when I say some mobile sites are way too crappy and less impressive than their desktop versions. They are either too big, not scalable, have a lot of unnecessary content or the usual nightmare of unnecessary ads.
It should be common sense for an organisation to design their sites with the progressive enhancement approach of ‘Mobile-first development’; meaning development starts with mobile functionalities as it gradually builds up additional functionalities to the desktop versions. There are several reasons to back this up: for instance, the number of emerging opportunities courtesy of mobile devices are immense. Mobile allows for explosive growth- in areas such as location based services through inbuilt location detector technologies like Wifi, GPS and cell hour triangulation, that help a user get relevant information about what is close to their current location. Other emerging opportunities that can be supported by smart phones include inbuilt device orientation and acceloremeters that detect change in movement.
The Mobile first approach will force the designer to embrace constraints inherent in mobile design. Some of the major constraints include having to design for small screens and having to deal with below average performance. Unlike desktops, a small screen on either a feature or smart mobile phone will not give the designer an option to beat around the bush with ad banners or irrelevant information but will literally force them to go straight to the point and include only the core functionalities necessary. By knowing your customer needs and requirements, why exactly they would be in need of your mobile app and what they mostly use it for will allow you to make the design and content as simple and straightforward as possible.
Performance is another constraint that will force a mobile app developer to pay key interest to key performance aspects such as limiting the use of CSS grids, minifying JavaScript and CSS files, using lightweight technology as well as ensuring appropriately cached HTTP headers are used in the  browser’s memory. Ignoring the little hogwash I just did there, I simply mean that you ensure the designed site will deal with the slower connections and longer waits that are associated with mobile phones. Designing for mobile first will therefore ensure that web applications have an even higher performance.
Is there much need to have an application? This debate has been there for the longest time. Some people may not find it an argument anymore because having responsive websites should be s design default in this day and age. Plus with the new HTML5 capabilities, users can easily incorporate and get access to features of a device such as the camera and GPS, no need to develop a whole native app for that. Responsive websites also allow you to develop in short periods and work with a lower, more manageable budget. They also do well when it comes to SEO optimization which will work well for a company seeking to develop a web ‘fan base’.
Developing an application is much more expensive than building a responsive or mobile site, and it often will take more time. It is also important that you develop for all the Operating Systems so as to make sure that none of the users are alienated. Applications are however known to provide the best user experience by providing a mobile centric experience that users grow to appreciate. They have a unique functionality and speed but unfortunately cannot be indexed on Search engines.
Companies may choose to go with applications because they allow for personalization through data by supporting push notifications sent by the app. Native applications will work well with providing product recommendations and suggesting content to the users. They also provide a better platform to gather user information and patterns when users are prompted to sign up and make profiles of themselves.
On whether to app or not, I think it all boils down to the business objectives of the organisation. In summary, I think that some of the major things that should be considered include:
1. Your Budget
If money is not an issue, then a native application doesn’t sound like a bad idea. It is important to ensure that it can be downloaded on all the different online stores though. However, if you are cutting down on costs, it would be best to invest in a responsive website which will be the cheapest design option. Second on the list is choosing to develop a mobile site that is different from its website version.
2. Business Goals.
Who are you targeting? Would you want to have a stronger fan base on the net? Is the site content centric? Do you want to incorporate SEO and marketing tools? In this case, a responsive website will suit you best. It can easily be indexed in Search engines and will provide you with one URL that users can easily access and memorize. The issue with mobile sites is that they will have different URLs from the desktop version and this may not run well with the fast paced, rather impatient user.
3. Industry features. 
What exactly will the app be used for? If all it will have is static information that will rarely be updated, it would beat the sense to develop a whole application for that. A standard mobile site would do, or rather a responsive site. However, in cases where you will need to have unique users sign in and take part in transactions, an application would be the best option. It would allow you to take advantage of native features of the device for functionality and performance improvement. They provide excellent performance therefore fusing these features with a cross platform operation that has a flawless UX will be the best option for your esteemed user.
For a successful app, it is important to capitalize on value engagement, ensure that the app is thoroughly tested on the different platforms, that the interface is self explanatory with the call to action buttons loud and clear in a “on-your-face-kind-of-manner”, minimalist with a logical user flow and has an easy navigation.
If all this is not achievable, you can stick to Responsive designs, there is no pressure really. Remember, a negative app experience will equate to a negative shadow on the brand.
 
I am still on the run to be a kick ass Digital Marketing Strategist. How am I doing so far?

Learn about The Nairobi Start Up Garage !!

nsgHey there!
Between learning how to paint, reading through Warsan Shire’s poetry and spending quality time with family and friends, I have been interning at the Nairobi Start up Garage. Heard of it? Cool name right? It is located at the Brew Bistro building, 4th floor.
Nairobi Start up Garage is the home of 88mph and several other start ups that are making quite the waves in Kenya and Africa as a whole. It’s a co-working tech space that rents out working space to companies, start ups and holds the coolest events ever! It’s a beautiful space with an interesting interior concept, in some instances putting the reuse concept (which am a big fan of ). The open space environment, bean bags, telephone booth, th
e office bar, the couches are just some of the few things that make this one of the coolest working places. 
Nairobi Start up garage being the home of 88mph has lots of perks for those who are looking for seed fund for their start ups. If you haven’t heard of 88mph, it’s a seed fund and accelerator. They invest in early stage web/mobile companies with the ability to scale across Sub-Saharan Africa. Their main focus is attracting the best entrepreneurs, investing seed cash, and bringing them to a point where their businesses can grow independently, or be adequately evaluated by angels and VCs. They have been active in Africa since 2011 and are currently operating out of hubs in Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria. Their accelerators are supported by Google, Samsung, and Microsoft, get help. During the three-month program, the start ups receive mentoring, access to networks, technical infrastructure and work space, in exchange for an equity stake.
It’s actually a proven fact that for anyone wishing to dive into entrepreneurship or actively run a Start up, co-working spaces are more likely to be the best environment for budding and bringing your idea into something solid. Some of the advantages include having a chance to create a large network with the people you work with, the great ideas that you can exchange informally during simple conversation and a nice environment to meet your clients.
Some other advantages of renting out office space include the flexibility that comes along with it. For people who are always on the move, renting a space would prove beneficial since you do not have to get into legal contracts, all you have to do is pay for the months you will be in town and get your space reserved for you. Also, you can be able to easily expand your team or shrink it out without much of a hustle.
And this is why the Nairobi Start up Garage is perfect for any Start Up. Tones of networking opportunities and valuable resources are easily available . As the space offers several events in line with tech and other entrepreneurial related forums, it would be a wise idea to follow them on Facebook and twitter for any relevant information in regards to this. For instance, this Thursday we are hosting Start Up Grind Nairobi. Get the tickets here. Trust me, we would love to have you around. For inquiries about checking the place out or renting it out for an event or office space, feel free to email info@nairobistartupgarage.com
So, when in Nairobi and you are thinking of office space, think Nairobi Start Up garage. Karibu!

 

Chronicles of an aspiring Digital Marketing Strategist: Part 1

In a year or so I believe that I will be your Digital Marketing Strategist, if you are planning to have a company or if you have one already. So get acquainted with me already.
Digital marketing involves employing use of electronic devices such as PCs, Tablets, mobile phones and game consoles for marketing while applying technologies such as websites, apps, social networks, text messages and e-mail.I will help you to come up with online marketing campaigns and strategies that will blow you away, get more market share than what you may have settled for, ensure that your company is catching up with the latest web analytic trends and optimizing the powerful web to your business advantage.

That is why I have started a series of posts talking about my ideas in regards to how digital marketing should be strategized and implemented. I welcome any form of constructive critique.

 

MOBILE MARKETING

Companies are able to fully maximize mobile in the exact way they optimized the web to radically improve their businesses, know their customers more and make more lasting relationships with them in the process of earning more revenue. Companies like Coca Cola have incorporated mobile marketing strategies to their overall advertisement strategies and it is working miracles for them. It’s all about doing it right, as always.

For any company, I think it shouldn’t be a matter of investing in mobile advertisement, rather how much and how to go about it. Incorporating mobile does not only include awareness, brand promise and engaging customer loyalty, but also having two way communication with your consumers. Unlike bill boards and advertisements running on the radio and on T.V, mobile advertising allows you to have conversation and feedback with your customers. This is extremely important since it forms the major building blocks for longer lasting relationships with consumers. The two way communication allows you to hush, and listen to them talk too.

With any kind of advertising, company executives will not buy into using mobile to get more fans and capturing as many phone numbers as possible, they want something more solid, for instance, what is their Return on Investment from this kind of market investment, is it measurable and is it of high value?
So why invest in Mobile Advertising? Mobile growth has been tremendous in the past 5 years.  Everyone I know has a mobile phone, it may not be a smart phone but it’s mobile all the same. Consumers are busier than ever, but despite all this, they get time to always engage with their phones or gadgets. The manner in which they always search for goods and services shows the urgency of their need to make purchases or at least get content on various subjects. Through the devices, consumers easily access information that allows them to make decisions on whether to make purchases or not.

For a company, providing the right mobile experience at the right time, all in the context of a broadly well thought out and integrated mobile campaign equals a win. Being consumer focused for any company, their goal should involve crafting a seamless start to finish experience. With the finish being making sales, of course.

Basic Principles of Mobile Marketing

1. Identify the main objective of the business and try to realize how mobile marketing can come in to help with that. Is it to create more sales, create a huger fan base, attract new customers, and strengthen the company brand..?

2. Curve out the niche you specifically want to target. How do they interact with their devices? What kind of phones and gadgets are they most likely to have? In essence, understanding the customer is the most important aspect that will determine whether you make a financial breakthrough with them in the end or not.

3. How do you plan to reach your targeted audience? What will be their first point of interaction? The thought of first impressions can only be made once are entirely true. Do you plan to do so using a QR Code on a billboard, through banners, mobile websites or through SMS?

4. After they have heeded to your call and are willing to know more about you, the best thing is to engage them. Through engagement, you can be able to create a relationship with your consumer. There are various ways to engage. Examples include

• posting relevant content on the sight that is useful to the user e.g regular health tips, fashion tips… anything related to what you offer
• Shop alerts for instance, messages, offers, rewards and coupons will always go well with the smart shopper
• Asking for opinions regarding your service once in a while will help you to better your services as well as cater to the ever growing needs of the consumer.
• Asking people to share their experience with your Company’s goods or services with you or on other social media sites would help boost the image of the brand.

5. At the end of it all you have to analyze what you are doing and if it’s effective or not. The advantage of working with mobile is that it makes it easy to analyze and measure all your efforts. For instance, it is very easy to know the number of consumers you attract and what percentage of those are actually realized to actual sales. Analyzing helps in making decisions later on in regards to future marketing strategies and will help you know what you should work on to realize more profits.

Love: How some know it

There must be something really embarrassing about admitting that you are on a dating site? Explains why my friend rolled her eyes, made a weird face and vehemently denied my asking if she was on any dating sites. My guess is that people do not want to give off vibes of being ‘desperate daters’.
Despite all the chit chat about not putting a price tag on love, online dating is rapidly growing into a $3 Billion international Industry for software engineers, psychologists and tech venture capitalists who are reaping its rewards. With certain sites charging members up to $4500 a year, one would wonder just how high the perfect matching probability is. But for the time-poor, cash-rich professional, finding love in the old fashioned way (through friends, family, or at the bar) is almost impossible. That is why the internet sounds like a perfect resort where they have access to a large pool of eligible partners and where there is little of game playing involved-everyone is specific about what they want. Not everyone will meet their prince charming by accident, when the wind is blowing through their hair with a perfect sunset, you know? For some, it is an intentional and calculated affair.
How the love algorithm works? During sign up, a ‘love seeker’ will be prompted to fill in questionnaires about themselves, their interests, opinion on certain issues, hobbies, physical attributes and the aspects they would find most appealing for their ideal partner. So, based on the demographic data, traits, personality and interests, the compatibility algorithm will match you with persons whose attributes are most ideal for you as a partner. How true it is that a mathematical algorithm will create the perfect match for you is up for debate.
Certain sites curve a niche for their online crowd, for instance, you can choose to join dedicated websites for religion, green living, country lovers, people into fetishes, vampires, interracial daters or over weights. Hey! Whatever tickles your fancy! Some of them are borderline crazy though. Am reminded of the cheaters website that gives ‘A chance to those who have been cheated on to meet other faithful singles in their area’ in the famous words of John Greco. However, a niche that I frown upon is that which targets the unhappily married. Really now? LetsCheat.com maybe?
For someone with the same routine, running in the same circles, hanging out in the same places and is about to blow 39 candles on her next birthday, meeting new singles online doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, does it? A couple of nasty disadvantages come along with that too, meeting creepy people first on the list. You will meet people who lie about everything and present themselves richer, better looking or younger. You will meet those who make assumptions that they are in a serious relationship with you after 3 emails of communication, or those who post pictures of their children all the time, those who think compensation in monetary forms is extremely important and those who are downright disrespectful and perverted. However, the most comical are those with unexplained wtf profile pictures. (If you love to have a good laugh like me, I would suggest you click on this link)
Once in a while however, cupid smiles on you and you get a charmer. Many singles will often be energized when starting out on these sites but with time, they realize that competition is stiff and that there are many singles out there with captivating pictures and impressive profiles. So what happens normally, the energy fizzles out.
If you decide to give it a try, be true to yourself and try as much as possible to portray your sincerity and how you are genuine in pursuit of love (LOL), make yourself stand out by being unique and distinctive in your headlines, don’t show too much skin otherwise you will attract the wrong crowd, always have a profile picture of yourself, save us some typos and don’t be too quick to trust people on these online streets. For a first date, arm yourself with a whistle, pepper spray too. Practice how to use the whistle diligently before putting it in an easily reachable compartment in your bag – Coco’s online dating tip for today.
Whichever means you use to get the love of your life don’t be ashamed to admit it. Whether you are speed dating, being hooked up by all your family and friends, or trying this online thing…only haters mind the aggression. So relax, it’s never that serious J

 

App Review: A must-have app for ladies

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The gods of the Blogosphere should have already struck me dead by now. I haven’t blogged in such a long time. While I would love to outline the various reasons for my absence, I find them a bit too personal to share because they are well… non-existent!! But I have been busy, am not sure with what exactly. Am in my final undergraduate year working on my project and that has shifted my focus a little bit.
Onto some more pressing issues, we know how the Google Play Store has revolutionized and made our lives easier. The applications make life so much easier. Am sure each of us has that one app that they cannot live without. Feel free to share with me which ones they are! My personal must have, well apart from WhatsApp and Instagram, is My Days.
My Days is an App that helps me to predict and track my periods and gives summarized information on fertility and ovulation. I was so happy when a friend of mine recommended it. Some of the cool features it has include an almost perfect precision of your next period, the list of your fertile days and a customizable interface. The app’s format is of a calendar that also allows you to make important notes and update any changes you undergo with relation to your female reproductive system.
Just last year, surveys showed that almost 400,000 abortions took place in Kenya. Such a shocking number right? Huge too. This goes to show just how many unintended pregnancies happen each and every day. The society we live in has girls fearing pregnancies than contacting HIV/AIDS. It’s something we rarely talk about despite it being so real to us and something that has to be dealt with. Even with several affordable contraception options, many women do not take precautions of any kind fully aware of the danger they are putting themselves into and the consequences of their actions.
I am not implying that this App will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, am implying that it is important for every woman to be in tune with her body. She should know it better than anyone else, and should particularly be keen to any changes that affect her. This application will help in making you reach there. The user of this app will be able to know about their safe days and peak of fertility. You can indicate when you have sex or save some important notes about the kind of contraception your taking. As precaution ladies, if you are old enough to be sexually active, you should be old enough to learn about the various contraception options out there and pick one that suits you best with lots of information on the side effects of each.
In case you want to keep your menstrual cycle business private, you can protect this application with a password. If you read this please ensure you share it with ladies you know, because awareness is key. This is a must have application for ladies. And while at it, wrap it up will you?

Thank you for stopping by!

 

Mystery of QR Codes unveiled.

2593c-second_execution_3-3_800-previewQR codes are indeed one of the most innovative tools in the technology world. Despite the fact that they have been around for quite some time, they recently gained popularity and are being leveraged for marketing and creating brand awareness in several companies all over the world.
The secret behind having a successful QR code is making it in such a way that it will not only look enticing and capture one’s attention, but will also make them willing to take their time and follow the link to what you want them to see. Boy did Victoria Secret go all out on this!! They managed to come up with one of the best QR campaign strategy that I have come across. Oookay, Tesco’s idea was good too. (to watch more on Tesco’s idea click here) but this one deserves a stand innovation.
There also seems to be a hint of mystery with Calvin Klein’s campaigns that replaced the usually racy Calvin Klein billboards we are used to.
So who should use QR Codes?
  1. Food and beverage Industry like Starbucks are using QR codes to help their customers buy food easily. Same case applies to large malls such as Wall mart and Tesco. Tesco managed to triple its sells by placing their merchandise on paper on the subways in the exact manner they would look like in an actual supermarket. Shoppers can actually shop at these places without having to visit stores and have their goods delivered safely to them; talk of literal window shopping.
  2.   Real estate agencies have started to place the codes on some of the property bill boards and signs that they put up.
  3.   Personal codes can be used to show your Curriculum Vitae or Portfolio in case you have to show one to potential clients or prospective business associates. Placing the codes on your business card is a good way of avoiding clutter and ensuring that your business profile summary on social networks can be accessed.
  4.  Restaurants can include QR codes to show their official website, historical information about themselves, more information about the kind of meals they serve as well as bookings and reservations(Contact Information). Discounts, promotions and recipes can be included as well from time to time.
Lessons learned
  1.   Ensure that you include your brand into the QR code or if not, ensure that it is well represented in the background.
  2.  Make sure to incorporate the company logo and colors so as to make it appealing and create some kind of familiarity with your brand.  
  3.  Customizing the QR code goes a long way in making your brand consistent and reliable (With consistency comes trust.) At times, consumers have gotten links that directed them to harmful sites and viruses so a little assurance would go a long way. 
  4. Make sure to keep the design as simple as possible because it may be difficult for code readers to interpret complex code.
  5. Ensure that the codes are thoroughly tested and are functional. Almost all QR codes are scanned by mobile devices, it would be senseless to link the codes to a desktop website version that is standard as mobile is what will be used to access the link. 
  6. In most cases, QR codes, for a user , are set to be as a form of reward for the person who unveils it. Its like being on a treasure hunt and discovering gold. In the same light, it is highly important to ensure that there is a form of reward waiting for the user on the other side, for instance, free downloads, exclusive media, coupons, gifts, special offers and exclusive information.

How to make a QR code.

This can be made using different kinds of QR code generators such as TapReader, QR Pro and SmallQR. They are all free of charge and will help you get a code in a number of minutes. So you do not have an excuse. Get one for your business now!! Ensure to place all the necessary details needed such as URLs and above all, ensure that the QR Code is thoroughly tested before putting it out for the public.

Technology for better Customer relations

Not enough emphasis can be put on the importance of having open, fast and reliable customer communication channels with each and every individual who purchases your products or services.
Any company that makes their customers feel special will always reap impressive returns. It all lies in going above and beyond for the consumers and implementing less complex channels of communication and interaction. Consumers are like ladies, it’s the little things that count; for instance, being able to thank them for their longevity, personalizing interactions and using innovative and fast customer service surveys so as to better their experience. Some companies I know have taken time to send their esteemed customers hand written letters, not really caring that we are in a digital era where growth of online presence and integrating social media as a communication tool is highly stressed on.
Before implementing technology in improvement process of customer care services, a corporation should have a visionary and inspiring leader who is a change enthusiast open to new and radical ideas. Having missions and visions that border on values such as integrity will ensure customer satisfaction levels are optimized. They should also have target scores and have the urgency to reach and exceed customer relations. All this should be done with an empowered synergy of employees who are well aware of the power in good customer relations and the trickling effect that it provides through compensation.
A crucial area that may be overlooked by many companies is the process of recruiting and training customer service staff. Not only should they be trained in responding to different consumer queries, they should also have a very rich background knowledge about the products and services so as to provide sufficient guidance to inquirers. Apart from being able to have the right kind of attitude and patience to deal with different kinds of customers, mechanisms should be put in place in regards to delegation of responsibilities so that it will be their duty to follow up and look into customer relations.
The main reason for the emphasis on human relations and participation in consumer relations is because consumers are not just simple statistics and figures a company aims to make work in line with targeted profit margins but rather major boosters of the business. Even though at times numbers may add up, it is crucial to have a competitive advantage against the rest by winning consumers loyalty.
In the same spirit of technology having solutions for practically every situation, the power of technology can be harnessed to ensure that the customers’ needs are met urgently and with the gravity they deserve.  The edge that technology offers compared to human personnel revolves around data management and statistical analysis in cost effective methods especially in decision making and market automation.
Some of the ways a company can boost interaction include:
  •         Being present in all major social network sites so that consumers can easily contact them when need be. They should have personnel that are responsive in a fast and assuring manner.
  •     Offering a valid email address whereby consumers can be able to contact them in case of any inquiries  Many companies offer email addresses but when contacted barely respond back. It is important to change this. 
  •     On the company website, it is important to ensure that there is a forum for all customers to actively interact and post questions about the products and services they are using when they have a problem. Other consumers who can help out should be able to contribute to such discussions and so should the administrator of the company’s website.
  •     Using up to date and sophisticated gathering software for carrying short and fast surveys from customers on the website and through other channels such as email and phone calls.
  •     It is necessary to ensure all communication avenues are connected so as to keep track of all complaints from consistent consumers who may use different methods of communication. This kind of unification is crucial in deciphering client needs.
·        Ensure that the client can access help at any time they need it by having self-service optimized and ensuring that each of the processes related to the business is automated as a means of cutting down on costs and improving efficiency.
P.S: I was particularly inspired to write this because of the really bad customer care services that Safaricom have. Apart from twitter, it’s so hard to get any kind of direct contact with any of the agents. I did not want to rant so hopefully this put the message in a calm and professional tone. If the problem is persistent, I will have to rant.

Open Data Systems: Had a look at your country’s yet?

Many countries have adopted the transparency and accountability policies that come with Open data systems. The open data policies ensure that data and information is efficiently managed and shared to the public for easier access, better disaster management and decision sharing, better project development and use of effective financing mechanisms. The whole idea behind it is to ensure that data is available to the public in machine readable formats and can easily be cross combined and re-used by academia, researchers, media and other major sectors in every institution; the major premise being opening up publicly owned data from institutions and ensuring its accessibility.

Ensuring the open data is linked is essential since it fuels greater transparency and accountability which additionally spurs greater economic activities. With the immense information out there, users are able to fully manipulate the information by creating and combining different kinds of data sets which they can make their own interpretations in digestible and much friendlier applications and formats.
Am proud of Kenya! We are the first African country to have our own Open data portal which has published a lot of government data and has invited everybody to come, look, take and play! If you haven’t had a look at it, I would advise you to because it gives so much insight and new knowledge about our country with well leveled up and deeply researched and analyzed statistics. Other major organizations that have adopted this kind of paradigm include World Bank, New York Times, The Guardian, United Nations and several other governments throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
All the data from Open Data systems is license free and is not subject to patents, copyrights, trade secret regulations or trademarks. Through interlinked data, the open system facilitates knowledge creation and new knowledge essential in making assessments and research. Any researcher should definitely bookmark open data sites.