The next game changing technologies

In the next 10 years, 20, 50 years. It’s predicted these technologies will have a profound impact on how you live just like the arrival of computers, internet, mobile phones and others.

The heart and soul of our daily life may most likely be rotating around these technologies.

1. Artificial intelligence (AI)
2. Virtual reality (VR)
3. Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin)

In technology, almost every decade or century comes with a new game-changing platform that leads the daily life of human beings, platforms that enable human beings to do more and finally conquer human challenges.

Just imagine life before the jet engine, vehicles, telephones, computers, internet and other breakthrough technologies? miserable right?

Do you believe we have reached the end to innovate new game changers? no of course, so whats the next breakthrough technology? you may ask.

Well, Techies believe Artificial intelligence, Virtual reality, cryptocurrency and will probably add Biotech to be at the center stage of our daily lives in the next 10 years or so. There are maturing every day what we believe wasn’t possible in each of them is becoming a reality and growing very fast.

If your the kind of person who wants to be ahead of the rest and gain competitive advantage (remember early adopters take the lion share). Keep your eyes on those platforms start reading, strolling and gathering any information you can about the above platforms. Learn as much as you can.

This week, I will write three posts introducing you to the three platforms I have mentioned. Don’t worry the posts won’t be technical. Just basic information you need to know.

Rony Mestel

Co-founder at GULAPP

 

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Tech, can take-away a chunk of African problems.

I was privileged to give an ignite talk in Reno-spark Nevada.

Here is the script of that talk.

My mum is a cattle keeper who lives 450 Kms away from me. Early this year I got a call from her.. And she was like “ Ronald my phone fell down I can’t see anything on the screen. You have to wait to send me money”. I said mum you don’t need to have a phone for me to send you money…

Just go to the usual mobile money agent, tell him you want to withdraw money and give him my number. I will authorize the withdraw from here.” And her reply was “how is that even possible”. I said. just do it, mum.

a few minutes later I see mobile money authorization alert pop-up on my phone. I typed in my PIN code. She got money. Later,  she calls and said, “ You are very lucky to be born in this era, do you remember how I suffered to send you money at school..”. I said Yes mum, I remember gone are the days.It’s amazing. How the long painful process of sending money is now reduced to just showing up and pick money. The experience is better than collecting groceries.

This brings me to a  strong belief that, 80% of African problems can best be solved right now by developing innovative solutions around digital technology.

Specifically, around this little device, I am holding right here. The mobile phone.

Let’s look at this.

700 Million People in Africa are holding this device (a mobile phone) and it is projected 800 Million people will be holding it by 2020. 500 Million People can access the internet in Africa right now. It projected to be 650 Million by 2020.

We have one of the youngest population in the world with the average age of 19.5 years. The young generation is currently using digital solutions to solve their problems. They are playing around with social media daily and other solutions.

What does this really mean?

It means if you develop a digital solution it can potentially be used by 800 Million people in Africa by 2020. Like Mobile money started by a team of very people in Kenya and now used by 300 Million people in Sub-Saharan African alone.

It means, Africans are ready to use your solution in-fact there are doing it right now. Like mum who is not well educated and has no idea how the computer work but she can comfortably transact money on phone very well using mobile money.

It means the cost of starting and scaling your solution is very low. It takes one person or two with very little resources to start solving a problem in the country and be used by all African countries. Build once and deploy everywhere. Africa almost has the same problems and the approach to a solution is almost the same.

It means the eco-system is now complete.

so, What is needed right now?

start asking hard questions.

Why is the ratio of a doctor to patient high?Can’t reduce it with technology?

Why can’t we find an innovative solution to remove tools that bad leaders use to go in power and stay in power such as tribal, religion, poverty, and ignorance?

Why is the ratio of teacher to student high?

Why can’t we become smart farmers?

Why can’t we find a better way to do tourism?

all that we need is a successful digital solution like Mobile money in other sectors now

in fact on tourism. I have teamed up with another young entrepreneur to remove inefficiencies that hinder her growth. we are reducing the many basic requirements need for one to start tourism business and acquire customers and equally making it super easy for a tourist to arrange and book a safe tour.

Africa.

Now is the time to solve our problems with technology. I strongly believe you can do it. You don’t need a technology degree. You don’t need millions of cash, you don’t need many people to start. All that is needed, is you? Look around you? very many painful problems, make digital solutions around this device I am holding now. The mobile.

Just like Mobile money has done it for my mother to comfortably receive banking service on her phone better and faster than receiving clean water.

Thank you for listening.

University libraries must pivot to remain relevant

It’s 12 days since I arrived for my Business and Entrepreneurship followership at University of Nevada, (Thank you Mandela Washington Fellowship, Dr Dave and Megan).

I am amazed by how Americans love Big things… Big cars, Big houses, Big Food, Big people (actually giant people is the right description), Big corporations and others
Equally, they love BIG IDEAS.

In the coming days, I will be talking about big ideas that I have noticed and can be applied in my country.
Let’s look at this.

In this era of the internet which is almost making university education irrelevant ( you don’t believe me? I would like to tell you excellent software engineers right now on the market have never stepped in a computer class at the University).

The number one goal of the internet is to provide relevant up-to-date information to the user faster and better. this means the internet has always been competing with libraries and I am afraid the internet is winning.

one sentence with a single click on Google gives me hundreds of unlimited books, articles, videos, audios and anything on any topic of my choice. why would the current computer savvy 20+years-old student? close himself or herself in a boring dead quiet building stocked with hundreds of books to looking for knowledge? yet he has a computer and a phone that can do the job better and faster?

In fact, in my entire stay at the university, I have never stepped in the library seeking knowledge. Does it make sense to spend a huge amount of money on university libraries anymore? Yet it doesn’t add significant value to students? Well, it does makes sense to me. you can comfortably pass your university education very well without ever seeking knowledge in most current libraries…well, at least I did.

One the first week at the University of Nevada the awesome Dr Dave gave us a tour of the university and he took us to a magical place called “the Knowledge centre” while there we met Mr Tod Colegrove.

Tod and his team have completely re-invented the university library to something different. They have pivoted from some boring building with hundreds of books to something called the knowledge centre. He moved all books to one storage facility to be accessed by the students only when required and turned the entire Library to a place where students meet and play around with ideas. Walls turned into white boards. A place where students from different disciplines meet to do research and invent new things. Instead of books filling up the building he has replaced them with tools that facilitate ideation and collaboration. Tools that can be shared across the entire university, for example, a 3D printer is used by every student from different colleges hence buying only one.
What they have invented can’t be replaced by the internet. Something that is adding huge value to students. Instead of students meeting to read class notes in quietness they meet to do research and invent things.The library is the only place that is the meeting point of students from all disciplines at the same venue almost daily. But guess what? these students don’t talk. discuss neither collaborate. This is not right.

The library is the only place that is the meeting point students of all disciplines at the same venue almost daily. But guess what these people don’t talk. discuss neither collaborate. This is not right.
Example: if a software engineer student is building a mobile app to diagnose malaria. That student will collaborate with students from medicine, business and other art students to make his or her venture successful and what a better place to find them than the library.
The University of Nevada Knowledge Centre is a BIG IDEA and totally makes sense to me.
My next stop will be at Makerere University library explaining why they need to reinvent the library.

Well… I need lots of luck hahaha. But I will try.

Numbers don’t lie in startups

They say numbers don’t lie. Well, that could be somehow true at least in startups.

Before you embark on your world-changing brand new business venture.

Of course, you have to first prove that, indeed customers exist that desperately need a new solution. By doing market validation.

After that, one more thing you should never ignore is checking numbers.

which numbers?

number of Sales, price, customer acquisition cost, Lifetime value, customer retention rate and others.

if you project those numbers well, they can tell you whether your business model makes sens or not? numbers will tell you if you’re going to succeed or fail.

if you don’t? your new business will run out of fuel midway before reaching your destination.

Today I will talk about number one. will add more tomorrow.

#1. You MUST know. How many sales do you need to make in order to meet your operational cost and How long will it take you to reach that milestone. you must know this right at the beginning.

Knowing that number will help you determine a lot of things, including price, revenue model, what to do and not to, which survival tactics should you deploy, How much seed money is realistically required, what to spend on and not, the list is long.

The most important milestone that matter most is to survive until you reach that magic moment of self-sustaining. Being able to meet your monthly operational cost.

most startups fail because they cant reach that moment.

You deserve that leader

A society gets the exact leader it deserves at the right time in the right doze.

That statement holds heavenly truth.

Societies evolve from one stage to another and each stage comes with the leader it deserves.

Then it makes sense if we focus more on fundamental things that can cause social change rather than leaders.

It’s like trying to find angel Gabriel in Hell.

This is the part where I love entrepreneurs. These people change societies. Entrepreneurs solve problems faced by societies. They make the world a better place. They invent things that fundamentally turn around societies

Imagine the word without internet, mobile phones, computers, etc.. I can also add change caused by social media, mobile money, etc

That’s why I choose to be an Entrepreneur.

You actually need money to start a startup

Let me remind you this… You actually need money to build a startup.

It’s not a secret anymore. For you to build a startup that turns out to be a company that can attract investment, solve a major problem and serves very many people. You need money. In fact, the number one rule is to NEVER run out of money before reaching a stage where your business can meet the operational cost.

Right at the beginning, you must have a clear plan and strategy on how to get money.

What does it mean?

You need to convince someone to give you money. Someone to invest in your dreams with no business on the ground to point a finger at.

To easily pull this off. You need to dream BIG. Have this gigantic idea that is going after a huge market. Even if you acquire only 0.1% of that market, the owner of the money has 100X returns on investment. Example if he risks his 10,000. He should be able to get 1,000,000 if you pull it off. Paint clear picture of what he or she will miss if he doesn’t be part of it. Literally, scare the heck out of him or her.

Don’t forget to be armed with some form of market validation proof and lastly present yourself as the best person or team in the world to make the idea happen. Showcase knowledge, passion, trust and technical abilities to execute the idea. Remember that person is investing in you. Well, there is no business.

Trust me you will have that check signed. It has worked for me and others too.

Burn bridges that can get you from the “front-line”

I have come to realize that putting yourself in a situation that requires you to not let people down can inspire you to keep going. Forget what people tell you, trust me as an entrepreneur each day you’re faced with strong reasons why you should give up. Your own personal satisfaction isn’t enough fuel to keep you moving.

For example.

Knowing that there are people out there waiting to read what I write gets me typing to publish an article. The feedback I get push me to keep going and going. I don’t even feel shy about my wrong grammar and typos.

Countless times I get tempted to apply for a job to be in a comfortable zone of the monthly paycheck. But, I go. What a heck the whole world know I am an entrepreneur running businesses. Solutions to change the world and create jobs how will I do that when I am employed by someone else? That keeps me focused.

Knowing that I have people on my team who believe in my mission and willing to bet their career on me and work on my business idea keeps me awake.

The fact that, someone (investor) has put money in my business idea trusting in the mission I am on. Gets me working like crazy.

Knowing that people look up to me. They believe in me, they know I can do it. Gives me the energy to work like a horse fearing to let them down.

When I see my family say “Ronald you’re going to be successful”. Is enough fuel to get me going.

Put yourself out there burn all bridges that can get you out of the front-line.

I am the co-founder and CEO of visipo