Friday, September 07, 2007

Business to Business competitive intelligence

A recently released white paper by business.com reveals some interesting statistics on Business to business competitive intelligence.

It is a great article which can be downloaded in pdf format from the business.com website. You would have to register to download but the registration process was pretty much straightforward.


What is online competitive intellegence? In my view, online competitive intellegence involves gathering information about your competitors with the main aim of improving your search engine ranking. This involves checking up on your competitors through the majar search engines to identify strategies to improve your ranking. We all know that having the best ranking reaps in revenure. Search engine optimization(SEO) and Search engine marketing (SEM) have become buzzwords in today's marketing and sales departments.

The article lists some steps to help you get started with gathering and analyzing competitive intelligence.

1. Identify the competitors you want to track.
2. Search and determine which search/directory sites you want to use to monitor your competitors.
3. Establish your baseline.
4. Develop an expertise in keyword research
5. Know your competitor's site and broader online marketing practices


Let me repeat that this article is a great first step to understanding competitive intelligence.

About business.com

Business.com is a search engine which focusses on Business to Business search. It's sister website, work.com focusses on small business guides targeted towards small and medium scale businesses. The work.com site lists hundreds of guides tackling many topics, from how to build a pool hall, doing business in Ghana to how to fire a family member from your business.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Social Networking Craze in Ghana.

Myspace might not be popular in African Countries but other social networking sites are extremely popular. I decided to find out which one's were most popular amongst Ghanaians.

Hi5 Men 88000 + Women 33000 = 121000
Tagged.com 100,180

Wow. What a cash cow waiting to be milked. I don't think that social networking sites understand the huge potential here. To understand how significant this is, lets look at some figures about Ghana.

General Population = 22,931,299
Literacy rate = 13,000,000
GDP per capita = $2,700.00

It costs about $1.00 an hour to browse the Internet.

What are social networking sites doing to tap this huge potential? Advertising could be huge here. Don't you think?

Sources

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gh.html

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Work on an ICT post office at Sekondi begins

The management of Ghana Post has decided to include Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) facilities to post offices in the country.

Mr Kofi Dua-Adonteng, Managing Director of Ghana Post who announced this said a post office equipped with ICT facilities was ideal with the current development in information technology. He was speaking at a sod cutting ceremony for the construction of a GH=A2 140,000 (1.4 billion cedis) post office equipped with Internet facilities and a conference hall at Sekondi.
more

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Getting the pit ready for summer.

Have you read my blog entry Welcome to the pit ?. Well lets get an update. Connie and poonie still hang out. We still have fires but not on friday nites. I have to work on Friday's now. I was "promoted" to the Network Operations Dept at callwave . THe crew hang out here without me. Too bad. But, the backyard is getting there. Getting ready for the summer.

Summer in Santa Barbara is my favorite time of the year. It kicks off with the Summer Solstice parade . The whole city hangs out on State Street partying. The parade is one of the most anticipated days of the year. It kicks off the party. The party gets better. Then comes Fiesta , the week long party. People come for far to revel in the fun atmosphere. Let me see. Micheal Jordan serves drinks at O'malley's. Hey,I am not pulling your leg. I saw him with my own eyes.Well, not exactly true. With the aid of my eye glasses (I am half blind). But it was him.

So lets see, what is the agenda for the pit. We are trying to get it ready for the solstice party. The backyard will be cleared. Hammocks, barbeque pit and ... who knows, a hot tub. I will post some pictures soon but if you dare, make it to the pit on June 23rd. You wont regret you did.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Four things linux skeptics dont understand about Linux

Read this blog post on ZDnet. It talks about 5 things the Linux community does not understand about the average computer user.
Lets list them

1 - On the whole, users aren’t all that dissatisfied with Windows
2 - Too many distros
3 - People want certainty that hardware and software will work
4 - As far as most people are concerned, the command line has gone the way of the dinosaur
5 - Linux is still too geeky

I could not help but agree with some of the points that Adrian made in his post. Linux really has a ways to go if it wants to make a foray onto the average computer user's desktop. But and I repeat but it will. Maybe I will volunteer 5 things the Linux skeptics dont understand about the linux community.

1. If you build it, they will come

Lets face it. Advertising brings in sales. You can not buy what is not there. The average household buys a preinstalled computer. If the computer has Windows loaded on it, well then you got it. Preinstalled linux computers are going to place the linux distribution where it matters most, right at the doorstep of the consumer. If the computer does what it expected to do, how could you be dissatisfied? The more vendors whom support Linux, the higher the adoption rate.

2. United we stand. The linux community is determined.

Capitalism made the world individualistic and focused on the corporation. To make a lot of money, you start design a product, patent or copyright it, start a company, market it, take the company public and then retire. Products are closed source. You bought it the way it was and depended on the company selling the product for support. In most cases, it is not allowed to modify the product in any way even if it worked better. Linux changed the way we thought about products. In a way, Linux employs (might I dare to say) "communismistic" ideology. It belongs to all of us. Lets help each other and make it work.

3. Variety is the spice of life.

Since when did we get too tired of things to choose from? Is that not what appeals to everyone? Wont we be bored otherwise? Well lets see, Vista was released to almost no fanfare. Its the same thing over and over again. At least with Linux, there will be choices and it will appeal to the average consumer.

4. Linux works.

Once it is installed, it works. Plain and simple. It does not crash often, it is simple and does the simple tasks well. What does the average user want to do? Surf the net with Mozilla, write documents with open office, play music, watch dvds. Linux does it all.

Dell and Ubuntu. Welcome to the desktop

If you did not know that I am open-source evangelist, you might not have read my posts. I finally got myself rid of Microsoft XP on my 3 year old laptop. Yep, I did it. Afterall, it was pretty hypocritical for me to write a Guide to Using Linux for your Desktop and not be using Linux on a regular basis. My distribution of choice? Ubuntu Linux. I guess I was feeling "continentalistic" (Ubuntu means humanity to others in an African language). Ok seriously, I chose Ubuntu because Dell chose it. Yep Dell is going to start shipping linux boxes preloaded with Ubuntu. Ubuntu is based on Debian. I have
always used Fedora so I had a brief learning curve with Ubuntu but all is well. I am loving it.

The install process was smooth. Since I always install via ftp, I was not impressed with the number of ftp mirrors available to me. Installing my wireless card took a while and I am yet to get Apache working well with php. That is my next project. I will keep you posted.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

VOIP and the promise for Africa

Africa has been considered traditionally "behind", so they say. I have been working and following digital divide issues in Africa, particularly Ghana for the past 7 years. I heard about VOIP quite dramatically when some Internet Service Providers were arrested and detained by the Government of Ghana for operating International telephone gateway facilities without license from the National Communiations Authority.

I remember that it took the IT community in Ghana by suprise and effectively killed an otherwise booming VOIP business. Consider the fact that international calls through the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) from Ghana to the Western countries is expensive ( a call to the US costs about $0.75 a min, minimum wage $2.00 per DAY), VOIP is the way to go. Afican's have many relatives in the western world they keep in contact with on a regular basis.

Question is, "Why hasn't VOIP taken off in Africa". Well the government's collect a lot of revenue from the monopolistic PSTN. Deregulation is largely non-existent. Governments are worried about killing the goose that lays the golden egg. However, we need to learn from the experience of the infamous breakdown of AT&T.History has shown us that Governments have no business in business (no pun intended). Take a look at the booming cellular business in Afica. Competition in the celluar business (without Government intervention) has driven prices so low that my brother in college can afford one (I couldn't when I was in college in the late 90's).

Let's go Africa. VOIP is important and lets embrace it.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Welcome to the pit.

The pit is the place to talk, air out your feelings, listen to everyone's day. A nice, sometimes flaming fire, a bottle of tequila, a few good friends makes a happy fire. The pit has heard a lot. Well, if it has ears. Only if it recorded the conversations. It is a place to come back after the clubs for an after party, singing and dancing to some Fela music.

Friday nites are the best. Many have come and gone. The pit still stays. If you ever come by, bring a bottle and dont be afraid to hang out with Connie and Ponnie, my racoons. Yes .... racoons. The pit is built in a garden .... ok. I am exagerating .... a bush.... well a half-kept bush.

Well, summer is almost here so bring your applications. Minimum requirements ---- a good attitude, appreciation for African music and some good stories. Welcome to the pit.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Shara from work.com on small business radio

Listen to Shara Karasic explain how small businesses can benefit from work.com. She talks about the exposure that writers get by contributing to work.com.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Addai, Colts win the super bowl.

Not many people know it, but for those who care, a man of Ghanaian descent was in the lineup of the Indianapolis Colts. His name, Joseph Addai. Addai is from the Ga tribe or maybe Ada. Well, I dont know ..... All I know is that my Ghana compatriot, an NFL rookie helped the Colts win the SUPER BOWL. His dazzling run and superb catches were amazing. Oh what a joy. I hope that more Ghanaians will give soccer a little break and take up Football. Ok. I mean American Football. And just in case you were wondering, it could be confusing. Football is not always football. Apart from North America, it is soccer.

Well we are not going to argue. Otherwise, we will be arguing over the spelling of labor (labour). Anyways, congrats, my fellow Ghanaian.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Vista - is it a discontinous innovation?

Vista is coming... whether you like it or not. It's that simple. This techrepublic
article chronicles 10 reasons why you should or maybe should not upgrade to Vista. Granted that Vista will require a significant boost in your hardware and processor speed, it will still present an opportunity for all of us to evaluate how far Microsoft is catching up with the ever growing needs of the average computer user. The technology adoption lifecycle describes how communities respond to discontinuous innovations. A discontinuous innovation is a new product that requires the end user to dramatically change their past behavior to gain new benefits. Ultimately, is Vista innovative in any way? Any comments?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wireless connectivity in India - SCO style

The Linux litigators, The SCO group have decided to stake their bets on wireless technnology for the Indian province of Gujarat. See the story . Details of SCO and their litigation history.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

ATM security in Ghana

I am always on the lookout for security issues in developing countries. The unique nature of payment systems in sub saharan countries create a new problem set of security issues. See this post article about how some university students were able to purchase mobile phone cards.

The payment model used by the bank is very simple.

1. Clients purchase rechargeable units.
2. The clients account is debited
3. The service providers account is then credited.

There is absolutely porous security in this model. These scammers just took advantage of the time period between the credit and the debit to dupe the banks. There are no futher details about the exact attack but is it not scary that this fraud was not discovered earlier.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mr Bourg- The good sherperd

Welcome, Mr Bourg. My good friend. How are you doing? My good friend Carville is back in town from the holidays. Carville is one on the friends in my clique, the CIA.

C - Carville
I - Ivan
A - Akwasi

The CIA have been hanging out for a long time. The unfortunate thing is that we have not hanged out for a while. The great thing is that we all support different football teams in California.

Akwasi - Oakland Raiders
Carville - San Diego Chargers
Ivan - San Francisco 49ers

Of course, it is playoff time and well.... the chargers are the only ones in playoff contention. Ok Ok. we all have to support our friend. We hate it but love it at the same time. Well I can not speak about Ivan. He won some money from Carville . wooo yeah.
Well I am glad the CIA is back. Welcome the Good Sherperd. ....

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ghana on Travel channel

My friend Levi tipped me to a documentary on the travel channel on Ghana. I wrote a work.com guide for doing business in Ghana . Details on the travel channel documentary can be found here.

It was fun to see the old neighbourhood of Osu where I grew up playing soccer on the streets and chasing small fish through drains. Osu was a small town back in the early eighties. It is most famous for its night market where you can come back to some kenkey and fish after a drunken nite at the nite clubs. The food vendors start preparing smoked fish at 9pm in the evening. The smell of banku, fried fish, smoked salmon emanate from the tents. Ahh, those days. After a coke bottle of apio, a hot plate of domedo and apkle is in order. And for Christ sake, you could buy food on credit and pay Auntie Akwele after you collected your weekly paycheck. All you had to do was to keep the tally on Auntie Akwele's board in charcoal. Dont even dare to cheat her. She has a photographic memory and can remember what your tally was from the year before. I tell you. I am not joking.


It was also good to see Koo Nimo on the documentary. Koo Nimo is a lecturer at the University of Science and Technology, my alma-mater. A very humble man, Koo Nimo is one of the few who are trying to preserve the rich culture of the Ashanti's. Here is some info about Koo Nimo.


Anyway, i will not burden you with the details. If you are interested in Ghana and dont know how find more information, then let me introduce you to a powerful tool .

Some definitions for you.

kenkey - A thick round dough made from maize. The main staple food of the Ga's
Ashanti - not the singer. One of the most powerful tribes in Africa
apio - dont ask me - powerful liqor. Tequila can not even come close
domedo - fried pork feet

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

thou shall see the light and abandon Microsoft

Yet another government agency is making a major switch from Microsoft to Linux. This slasdot article announces that the government of Tamil Nadu in India is making a switch to Suse Linux. Hmmmn. Any comments?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

419 419 new tactics. Is the blogosphere at risk?

Most people have recieved the 419 emails from scammers using phishing techniques (pretending to be someone else) to extort money. I have collecting the emails for a while but a recent one surely deserved mention. The 419 scheme is named after the Nigerian criminal code used to prosecute suspects. See this FAQ on the 419 scheme.

For once, the email contained a picture of the fella purpouting to be Kelly Hung. For copyright reasons, I will not post the image. Needless to say, Kelly's did not look like chinese and it took me here
.
The scammers have taken it to a different level. They are trying to legitimise their scams using pics. This particular Kelly Hung is a fool. He/she hoped I will not click on the image.

However, we could see these phishing attacks get better. The blogsphere could be a breeding ground for scammers to attain some legitmitly. Blog is an shortened from of
personal blog. We all read blogs in a context of trust. We believe that bloggers
are actually reporting on their experiences and lives. A 419 scammer can release a blog over a period of time chronicling some activities and then try to dupe someone of money. I am yet to hear of anything yet but of course it is imminent.

Watch out blogosphere. The scammers are coming.

Below was the corresponding email.

"From Mrs. Kelly Hung,

I am the above named person from China. But now undergoing medical treatment in London City. I am married to Dr. Davis Hung who worked With China Embassy in South Africa for Nine years before he died in the year 2002.

We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four Days. Before his death we were both happily together. Since his death I decided not to re-marry or get a Child outside my matrimonial home.

When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of $1.5Million (One Million Five hundred thousand U.S.Dollars) with a Security Company . Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next three months due to cancer problem.

Having known my condition I decided to donate this Fund to you as a Good individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to Instruct here in. I want a church,mosque or individual that will use this fund for a Non-Governmental Foundation, orphanages Old people homes and Propagating the word of God and to ensure that the house of God is maintained. We are made to understand that blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision because I don't have any child That will inherit this money and my husband relatives Are not taking care of me and I don't want my husbands hard Earned money to be misused by wicked people, Hence the reason for taking this bold Decision.

I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. I don't need any telephone Communication in this regard because of my health, and Because of the presence of my husband's relatives around me always to know my decision.

I do not want them to know about this Development. As soon As I receive your reply I shall give you the contact Of the security Company and our lawyer who will help you effect the changes to your name as the original-beneficiary of
this fund.

I want you to always pray for me because the lord is my shepherd my happiness is that I lived a life of a worthyness. Whoever that wants to serve the Lord Must serve him in spirit and truth. Please always be Prayerful all through your life. Any delay in your reply will give me room in Source for any organization for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. Hoping to hear from you.
Please send your reply only through this my private email box or the alternative:
kellyyhung@myway.com


Thanks
Kelly Hung

Monday, January 01, 2007

2007 here we come

Once again, another year is leaving us. Time waits for no man and many of us are wondering " Wow. This year has come quick". Well ya, whiles we were engrossed with our lives, a lot has happened this year.

Steve Irwin, James Brown died. God bless their soul. And ...... just recently Saddam was excuted... Oh well... Blogging has taken off. Myspace is still a major player in the social networking scene. At last Vista aka Longhorn was finally released to almost no fanfare. Microsoft does not make great news anymore. The buzzword is opensource. This blog lists all the 2006 Web technology trends.

For me, I found and lost a job, lost a girlfriend and almost completed school. Looking back at the year, I would rate it B. The great thing is that I get to try next year. Welcome 2007.