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Covid is just like the flu

Two years into this global pandemic, many misguided people are still comparing Covid-19 to influenza.

1,600 death in a week in 2018 was tragic, but those influenza spikes are barely visible when compared to the tragic scale of Covid-19, and even more so given a simple cloth mask and vaccines that prevent most deaths.

The (coming) East Africa Federation

I’m publicly bullish on Africa (1, 2, and 3). I foresee the continent being the next big economic growth story after the Asian Tigers, China, and India. On the path are some major continental-scale efforts, including the potential creation of the East African Federation, a political union of the existing East Africa Community trading group: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and...

Startups have leaky pipes

I’ve been teaching first time entrepreneurs about the importance of accounting and financial management for the last decade, and frustrated that whole time that most don’t grok the importance until they hit a financial crisis in their own startup. So let’s try something new… and talk about leaky pipes. The model/analogy to think about is a building, with a water tank on...

Future Dollars (F$)

Last week I wrote about the ancient system of Bills of Exchange and how useful they were for sellers to get paid sooner than 30, 60, or 90 days after the sale. A 21st Century systemic solution to replicate these benefits would be a marketplace that sells and trades Future Dollars (denoted as F$). A future dollar is a promise to deliver a real dollar ($) in a specific number of days. With this...

Fast-growing Elephant (Startups)

Most startup investors chase mythical unicorns, ignoring the real, fast-growing elephants. What do I mean by fast-growing? 50%-100% year over year, with an occasional 3x or 5x or 9x growth spurt to kick that off: Above are four such companies, all fledglings, all now part of Africa Eats‘ portfolio. Four companies that earn over $1 million per year, which solve real problems, and with that...

Bills of Exchange, RIP

300 YEARS AGO, when the British Empire was still growing, the first wave of global trade was powered not only by the Pound Sterling, but by trades in Bills of Exchange. How did traders from London buy tea in India, porcelain in Hong Kong, or silks in Singapore? They didn’t haul cases of silver and gold in their outbound ships, trading coins for goods. They had to do that when global trade...

Unhappy Anniversary

Two years ago was the first known case of Covid-19 in a human being. That makes this week a very unhappy anniversary, one that we’re likely to “celebrate” for quite a few more years before this pandemic is finally history. Looking back at the 5+ million lives lost so far, despite those losses and despite the historically fast rollout of vaccines, the overall trend of cases is...

In-Person vs. Virtual (2021)

When the lockdowns began and all meetings, conferences, and training programs moved online, I knew what to expect, as I had purposefully experimented with virtual programs back in 2015. After nearly two years with everything virtual, this week was my first in-person gathering. One that gathered together the founders and managers of the 27+ companies of Africa Eats. One that was a gathering of...

Naming is hard… ask Alphabet and Meta

Naming is startup is hard. Harder than naming a baby you’ve yet to meet. Back in 2017 I posted a lesson in how to find a great name. Today (2021), Facebook shows us just how difficult it is to brand a company, especially an established company. Back in 2015, Google demonstrated the same mistakes. Mistake #1 – Naming by Committee No good name has ever been created by committee...

Salt water, lighting… bad journalism or fraud?

I keep seeing stories about a new lamp that is “powered” by salt water. The claim is that you’ll get 45 days of lighting using nothing more than half a liter of salt water… What I want to know is why none of these journalists ever check with an engineer or physicist or high school science teacher on whether such a claim is possible. If it’s not obvious to you, the...

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