Monday, December 19, 2011


The article by Omar gives a grim picture of the Kenya citizenry, not the leadership only; it exemplifies the problem graphically but only leaves distaste in the minds / mouths of many.

Why do i say so?

One, we don’t like the bare truth and two we don’t offer solutions, we only blame the leadership

PS: The leadership is a reflection of the citizenry,

We must move away from entitlement mentality and ask ourselves what we can give, contribute and share.
The media (blogs TV, FM, fb tweeter etal) patronized by the Kenyan all seek to impress poignant
(not rational) side characterized by blame game but not proposing a trace to the answers.

As this articles whips up our emotions do we ask ourselves how we got there? What could we have we contributed? How did this Kenya train derail? How do I promote ‘’a tribe less Kenya’’ in my family, workplace, hood?

 The answers lies within the voter, we elebad tribal kingpins, we trade our constitutional for cheap liquor, lesos,

The solution in Kenya lies in creating one nation thro a change of values; we need a leader who can inspire (Obama like attitude); talk to the family unit

Corruption is an offshoot of wrong values/morals and that’s why is must be fought from the individuals level/ family unit; it’s not caused by unemployment;-let no one cheat you– why are the super-rich still corrupt?, why the maize and oil scandal? We all want to cut corners, get rich quickly ( why are the pyramids doing good)
Anyone born in 80s was born and bred in corruption, it’s a culture

Start a campaign in your neighborhood and talk about corruption and tribalism

 How can we alleviate the problem; by tribal bashing???

WE NEED A REVOLUTION ; not the Gaddafi or Mubarak way; but of the mind ,of the values of the culture; lets stop blame game;

Friday, December 16, 2011

Facebook Is Making Us Miserable

Facebook Is Making Us Miserable

When Facebook was founded in 2004, it began with a seemingly innocuous mission: to connect friends. Some seven years and 800 million users later, the social network has taken over most aspects of our personal and professional lives, and is fast becoming the dominant communication platform of the future.

But this new world of ubiquitous connections has a dark side. In my last post, I noted that Facebook and social media are major contributors to career anxiety. After seeing some of the comments and reactions to the post, it's clear that Facebook in particular takes it a step further: It's actually making us miserable.

Facebook's explosive rate of growth and recent product releases, such as the prominent Newsticker, Top Stories on the newsfeed, and larger photos have all been focused on one goal: encouraging more sharing. As it turns out, it's precisely this hyper-sharing that is threatening our sense of happiness.

In writing Passion & Purpose, I monitored and observed how Facebook was impacting the lives of hundreds of young businesspeople. As I went about my research, it became clear that behind all the liking, commenting, sharing, and posting, there were strong hints of jealousy, anxiety, and, in one case, depression. Said one interviewee about a Facebook friend, "Although he's my best friend, I kind-of despise his updates." Said another "Now, Facebook IS my work day." As I dug deeper, I discovered disturbing by-products of Facebook's rapid ascension — three new, distressing ways in which the social media giant is fundamentally altering our daily sense of well-being in both our personal and work lives.

First, it's creating a den of comparison. Since our Facebook profiles are self-curated, users have a strong bias toward sharing positive milestones and avoid mentioning the more humdrum, negative parts of their lives. Accomplishments like, "Hey, I just got promoted!" or "Take a look at my new sports car," trump sharing the intricacies of our daily commute or a life-shattering divorce. This creates an online culture of competition and comparison. One interviewee even remarked, "I'm pretty competitive by nature, so when my close friends post good news, I always try and one-up them."

Comparing ourselves to others is a key driver of unhappiness. Tom DeLong, author of Flying Without a Net, even describes a "Comparing Trap." He writes, "No matter how successful we are and how many goals we achieve, this trap causes us to recalibrate our accomplishments and reset the bar for how we define success."And as we judge the entirety of our own lives against the top 1% of our friends' lives, we're setting impossible standards for ourselves, making us more miserable than ever.

Second, it's fragmenting our time. Not surprisingly, Facebook's "horizontal" strategy encourages users to log in more frequently from different devices. My interviewees regularly accessed Facebook from the office, at home through their iPads, and while out shopping on their smartphones. This means that hundreds of millions of people are less "present" where they are. Sketching out a mind-numbing presentation for the board meeting? Perhaps it's time to reply to your messages. Stuck in traffic? It's time to browse your newsfeed. Recounted one interviewee, "I almost got hit by a car while using Facebook crossing the street."

Leaving the risk of real physical harm aside, the issue with this constant "tabbing" between real-life tasks and Facebook is what economists and psychologists call "switching costs," the loss in productivity associated with changing from one task to another. Famed author Dr. Srikumar Rao attributes mindfulness over multitasking as one of his ten steps to happiness at work. He argues that constant distractions lead to late and poor-quality output, negatively impacting our sense of self-worth.

Last, there's a decline of close relationships. Gone are the days where Facebook merely complemented our real-life relationships. Now, Facebook is actually winning share of our core, off-line interactions. One participant summed it up simply: "We Facebook chat instead of meeting up. It's easier."

As Facebook adds new features such as video chat, it is fast becoming a viable substitute for meetings, relationship building, and even family get-togethers. But each time a Facebook interaction replaces a richer form of communication — such as an in-person meeting, a long phone call, or even a date at a restaurant — people miss opportunities to interact more deeply than Facebook could ever accommodate. As Facebook continues to add new features to help us connect more efficiently online, the battle to maintain off-line relationships will become even more difficult, which will impact their overall quality, especially in the long-run. Facebook is negatively affecting what psychology Professor Jeffrey Parker refers to as "the closeness properties of friendship."

So, what should we do to avoid these three traps? Recognizing that "quitting" Facebook altogether is unrealistic, we can still take measures to alter our usage patterns and strengthen our real-world relationships. Some useful tactics I've seen include blocking out designated time for Facebook, rather than visiting intermittently throughout the day; selectively trimming Facebook friends lists to avoid undesirable ex-partners and gossipy coworkers; and investing more time in building off-line relationships. The particularly courageous choose to delete Facebook from their smartphones and iPads, and log off the platform entirely for long stretches of time.

Is Facebook making you miserable? What other tips can you share?

First, Let's Fire All the Managers

First, Let's Fire All the Managers

Management is the least efficient activity in your organization.

Think of the countless hours that team leaders, department heads, and vice presidents devote to supervising the work of others. Most managers are hardworking; the problem doesn’t lie with them. The inefficiency stems from a top-heavy management model that is both cumbersome and costly.

A hierarchy of managers exacts a hefty tax on any organization. This levy comes in several forms. First, managers add overhead, and as an organization grows, the costs of management rise in both absolute and relative terms. A small organization may have one manager and 10 employees; one with 100,000 employees and the same 1:10 span of control will have 11,111 managers. That’s because an additional 1,111 managers will be needed to manage the managers. In addition, there will be hundreds of employees in management-related functions, such as finance, human resources, and planning. Their job is to keep the organization from collapsing under the weight of its own complexity. Assuming that each manager earns three times the average salary of a first-level employee, direct management costs would account for 33% of the payroll. Any way you cut it, management is expensive.

Second, the typical management hierarchy increases the risk of large, calamitous decisions. As decisions get bigger, the ranks of those able to challenge the decision maker get smaller. Hubris, myopia, and naïveté can lead to bad judgment at any level, but the danger is greatest when the decision maker’s power is, for all purposes, uncontestable. Give someone monarchlike authority, and sooner or later there will be a royal screwup. A related problem is that the most powerful managers are the ones furthest from frontline realities. All too often, decisions made on an Olympian peak prove to be unworkable on the ground.

Third, a multitiered management structure means more approval layers and slower responses. In their eagerness to exercise authority, managers often impede, rather than expedite, decision making. Bias is another sort of tax. In a hierarchy the power to kill or modify a new idea is often vested in a single person, whose parochial interests may skew decisions.

Finally, there’s the cost of tyranny. The problem isn’t the occasional control freak; it’s the hierarchical structure that systematically disempowers lower-level employees. For example, as a consumer you have the freedom to spend $20,000 or more on a new car, but as an employee you probably don’t have the authority to requisition a $500 office chair. Narrow an individual’s scope of authority, and you shrink the incentive to dream, imagine, and contribute.

Hierarchies versus Markets

No wonder economists have long celebrated the ability of markets to coordinate human activity with little or no top-down control. Markets have limits, though. As economists like Ronald Coase and Oliver Williamson have noted, markets work well when the needs of each party are simple, stable, and easy to specify, but they’re less effective when interactions are complex. It’s hard to imagine, for instance, how a market could precisely coordinate the kaleidoscopic array of activities at the heart of a large, process-intensive manufacturing operation.

That’s why we need corporations and managers. Managers do what markets cannot; they amalgamate thousands of disparate contributions into a single product or service. They constitute what business historian Alfred D. Chandler Jr. called the visible hand. The downside, though, is that the visible hand is inefficient and often ham-fisted.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could achieve high levels of coordination without a supervisory superstructure? Wouldn’t it be terrific if we could get the freedom and flexibility of an open market with the control and coordination of a tightly knit hierarchy? If only we could manage without managers.

Adam Smith Was Not Schizophrenic

There has been a great divide between pro capitalist and anti-capitalist.

 Both sides share a general dissatisfaction with our current capitalist system. The left wants to end capitalism. The right says if we could just get the government out of the way, then the capitalist system would work.

I think both groups' conception of capitalism is off the mark. To gain some clarity, we need to consult Adam Smith.

Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, was the first to assert the concept of free market capitalism. In his most popular work The Wealth of Nations he wrote about the oft-quoted "invisible hand." But in his first work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments — which he considered his most meaningful contribution — he writes about our duty to fellow members of society. Pundits on either end of the political spectrum quote whichever work suits their argument. Predictably, the right quotes Wealth of Nations and the left quotes The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Given the gap between modern capitalism and the morals-based approach from his first book, one can't help but wonder if Smith was an intellectual schizophrenic, essentially promoting two competing theories.

I don't think he was. In fact, I see his two preeminent works amounting to a unified theory, a blueprint for a more stable and sustainable version of capitalism; a conscious capitalism. The Wealth of Nations presupposed actors in the capitalist system operating on the moral framework he laid out in the Theory of Moral Sentiments. The free market has no conscience of its own: it is made up of billions of people transacting. Though Smith asserts that each of these people are guided by their self interest, he presupposes that each of the actors in the marketplace are guided by some internal morality and an awareness of one's place within the broader context of his community — locally and globally.

The current version of capitalism is not the one envisioned by Smith at all.

He was seeking to create a system defined by efficient allocation of resources driven by self-interest, but guided by self-restraint. This is conscious capitalism.

The current version of capitalism's guidance from self-interest in the corporate world is evidenced in the legal duty to maximize shareholder value, which opens directors up to a lawsuit from their shareholders if they make a decision that fails to make the highest possible profit for their shareholders. Thus, the duty to maximize shareholder value handcuffs directors that want to make decisions that seek to create benefit for people and planet as well as financial returns.

There is debate whether this duty exists, but it is such a dominant perception among directors that it is the practical reality. In order for corporations to be free from the shackles of maximizing shareholder value, the fiduciary duties must be broadened.

Fortunately, we need  a new legal structure that embraces conscious capitalism by broadening the fiduciary duty from maximizing shareholder value to maximizing stakeholder value — the legal mandate to take make decisions that pursue not only a positive benefit on the bottom line of the shareholders, but also the community, environment, employees and suppliers. This broadening of fiduciary duty will be fundamental shift at the very core of the corporation. This new type of corporation that embraces conscious capitalism by broadening fiduciary duty is known as a Benefit Corporation.

The Benefit Corporation embodies the theories of both The Wealth Nations and the Theory of Moral Sentiments, and ushers in a version of conscious capitalism that promotes both self-interest and the benefit of society. Adam Smith would be proud.

This can go along way in saving Kenyan consumer…

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Agro-based industries and growth: prospects for Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa’s share in world agricultural trade remains low. Exports of high-value added agricultural or agro-based goods are still modest, but global demand for these products is highly dynamic and will continue to increase. Growth based on the development of agro-based industries in Kenya, SSA, is possible.While creating competitive advantages in the agricultural sector presents special challenges for the continent, policy lessons from successful experiences in Asia and Latin America could be utilized to promote sustainable development and resource-based growth.

A large number of African countries are highly dependent on agriculture. While on average the agricultural sector accounts for one-fourth of GDP, in some Least Developed Countries (LDCs) this share reaches or surpasses 50 per cent. Over 30 per cent of the African population depends on agriculture for their livelihood, but in some of the poorest countries this share reaches 90 per cent. Overall, agricultural exports from African countries (including raw materials and proc­essed foods) represent half of total merchandise exports, and exceed 80 per cent in some cases.

Agricultural growth can play a central role in the process of overall economic growth and in pov­erty reduction. For some developing countries, the rise in imports of agricultural products by developed countries has constituted an oppor­tunity to upgrade and diversify their agriculture and agro-industry, which in turn has stimulated growth. For the most part, however, Africa has not been able to benefit from these trends. Part of the reason lies in the positioning of Africa in world agricultural markets. In a nutshell, Africa has mostly specialized in commodities where it faced stiff competition from other developing countries and low world prices rather than in high value-added agricultural products.

Africa’s agricultural exports are concentrated in a few commodities (coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, cotton, bananas). The largest importer of such products from Africa is by far the EU, now followed by China and the US. For almost half of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, agricultural commodities are the main exports. For many of them, reliance on one sin­gle agricultural commodity export reaches between 50 and 75 per cent of total commodity exports.

With the exception of cotton, over the last two decades African producers have steadily been losing market share to Asian and Latin American competitors. This holds even for cocoa, although Africa remains the dominant supplier. Stagnant yields and inability to improve significantly quality and price through greater value-addition and differentiation stand in stark contrast with trends in competing countries.
Fresh agricultural produce are typically equated with low tech, low R&D because of the limited amount of processing in their production. How­ever, many of them are now intensive in knowledge and services and can have more value-added than some processed industrial goods. Significant trade in fresh fruits and vegetables, for instance, is a relatively new phenomenon, linked to innova­tions in post-harvest systems and animal trace­ability, in logistics and in marketing.

FOOD; What Kenya needs;

We are a hungry nation, quite literally; our souls our minds, our wallets, & our stomachs need nourishment

That why we need a leader who can deliver

How can we achieve this?

It will take a three pronged approach

1. Economic growth and development

It will take a Kenyan agrarian revolution through investing in agriculture, supporting /subsidizing inputs and establishment of Agro based industries. These will create a multiplier effect; ultimately industrialization.

2. Social Development

The basic social unit (the individual and the family) needs to be relooked into and supported.

Strong values have to be passed to our children thro a revision school programmes, family outreaches programmes and media outreach.

The present NCIC can do a lot; KACC should engage in nationwide campaigns against corruption.( Pls note – the corruption at the top is supported by the grass roots/small fish corruption)

3. Democratic and Political Development

A culture of accountability and responsibility must be cultivated

Scratch underneath the surface

On a man made lake there’s a sheet of the ice

Unskilled skaters can’t figure it twice…..

And that’s Kenya;

We are all skating on a risky ground; bound to collapse and we all get sucked in!!!

Why don’t get to the basic; Values and the cradle of industrialization (agriculture)

The talk about youth, children, & gender equality seems to be the new buzzwords in the build up to 2012; that means anyone above 35 yrs and is a male will be up for grabs after 2012.

A leader should appeal to the whole citizenry and not ‘’tribes’’

-is this a divide and rule (those not with the def of the youth are assumed to be the old order??) where will my papa go?

None of these ‘wanna be presidents’ appreciates the fact that we need not to create another tribe called ‘’youth, children& women’’

The solution in Kenya lies in creating one nation thro a change of values; we need a leader who can inspire (Obama like attitude); talk to the family unit

Corruption is an offshoot of wrong values/morals and that’s why is must be fought from the individuals level/ family unit; it’s not caused by unemployment;-let no one cheat you– why are the super rich still corrupt?, why the maize and oil scandal? We all want to cut corners, get rich quickly( why are the pyramids doing good)

Anyone born in 80s was born and bred in corruption, it’s a culture

What of economy??

Whoever keeps on cheating us Kenya next frontier is ICT (see Malili ICT hub) missed a step.

For economies (which don’t have mineral deposits/oil) to take off we need to invest in Agriculture (thus reduce urban influx-no more slums and petty crimes and yokozuna), then move to agro based industries (that’s why milk/cows farmers are still in it) and then support industries / institution to support these industries. Eventually we will industrialize; but we must invest in educations and R&D

Let’s be self critical; do some self evaluation and take your share of the blame or otherwise

Look yourself at the mirror