critic, hacking, programming, Technology & Startups

Dear Nigerian wannabe startup founder….

Please for the love of god, drop that idea of creating another social network, throw that idea of another “SIMPLEMACHINES” forum out of the window of the nearest high rise and watch it fall to its death 30 stories below without regret. There are some areas in Nigeria and Lagos in particular that require a much needed shot of some “source code” into its veins. These include:

1. Property leasing/letting/rental: In a city of more than 9 million people, getting a property for lease or rent in Lagos is like going through the proverbial eye of the needle. It doesn’t just make sense that in the 21st century I still have to go through some semi illiterate middle men called “Estate Agents” with their exploitative charges and fees, before I can get a property to lease or rent. I don’t see the reason why I cant do the whole process of searching, viewing and paying for a property via the web. This sector is hot and needs a startup with excellent implementation to just “nail” it.

2. News and information services: Why I cant get real time, localized news and information via the web or by sms kind of beats me. For example, why do I have to get stuck in traffic on Ikorodu road when FRSC or LASTMA can just send me alerts and advice me on alternative routes to take? Why do I also have to get stuck in between the cross fire of rampaging thugs in Fadeyi area on my way back from work, when security forces like the police can alert me and advice me to steer clear of the area? I surely would not mind paying for a service like this. [1]

3. Web payment gateways: This sector is a no brainer but the players in this sector are either bereft of ideas or have some sort of hidden agenda. There cant be innovation in the sector if developers are not making money from what they are doing. I do not see the reason why we can’t have our own “Nigerian Paypal” since Paypal has refused to come to Nigeria. The only very high barrier to entry of anyone interested in going into this sector is CBN’s bureaucratic bottlenecks and red tape bullshit before you can get licensed. But its hot and ripe for innovation.

Notes

[1]. Disclosure: I am working on something in this space.

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hacking, programming, Technology & Startups

Hey you! don’t you dare call me a Hacker!!!

CHANGE OF NAME

To whom it may concern. I, Aito Ehigie Pascal (Pystar) who used to go with the moniker “Computer Hacker”, now wishes to be addressed as a “Code Writer”. This action was necessitated by the improper user and bastardization of the word “computer hacker” especially by main stream media and the attendant negative impression it makes on the minds of those who don’t really know the true meaning of the word.

All documentation, opensource projects, blog posts, forum comments and code repositories remain valid. Github, web2py and web2py groups, python.org,  stackoverflow.com et.al please take note.

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critic, funding, Technology & Startups

Number One Reason Why The Nigerian Tech Scene won’t “BLOW”!!!

I sometimes complain about lack of innovation and the endless clones of popular western world type websites, but on second thoughts web developers in Nigeria shouldn’t be blamed, it makes sense travelling on the “safe road” especially when you have a major reason to do so as:

1. Payment gateways: Its so difficult and expensive integrating payment gateways from companies like “Interswitch” into a website[1] and with the16 just licensed mobile money operators, who don’t seem to care about the web but are more concerned about mobile to mobile and mobile to offline, cash transfers. I dont see the industry “blowing up” anytime soon. If its so hard to get your money from customers as a website owner via the web, why would anyone want to develop one? Whenever I go to any of the so called Nigerian “e-commerce” websites, I select stuff I am interested in, click on “checkout” and I am presented with a bank account number where I am to deposit money before I can get my stuff, I am like, jeez!!! whats “e-commerce” about this? How do you expect me to pay in money into the account of an untested company when I could just go to a supermarket or store, select what I want, pay for it and get my goods instantly without any stories? As an analogy, Nigeria’s music scene is so huge today because most people who go into music have this hope that they might just “blow” and make it “big”, because they can see others making big money in the industry. So in the mean time, we better be prepared to seeing little or no innovation and lots of clones of Facebook and a myriad of “SIMPLEMACHINE” forums in Nigeria’s Tech space, just as we have lots of people in the music industry who have no business being there [2].

Notes
[1] In 2004, I did some research and found out that it would cost upwards of #150k to integrate Interswitch web payment gateway into a site. #150K in 2004!!! How many web devs could afford splashing such an amount on just a gateway, minus other day to day running costs? I dont know how much it would cost now, anyway. Dear Interswitch et al, there is more to epayment channels than just ATM’s and POS machines and with the new CBN’s cash withdrawal policy, people, like it or not would be forced to use epayment channels, please “don’t drop the ball”. But if you guys do, which I strongly suspect you will, any of the new mobile money operators should please do to you what Google did to Microsoft in the Web Search Industry.
[2.] Although we have some gems in the Nigerian music scene, like 70% of them there now have no business being near a microphone. Terry G, I am looking at you!

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