Archive for the ‘Biz’ Category

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In Developing Countries, Web Grows Without Profit

May 12, 2009

By New York Times

An article from the NYT about the non-profit from web company in developing countries

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How To Save Money as an African Startup

May 7, 2009

I found a African version of the previous post…by http://appfrica.net

I\’m waiting for your comments and experiences about this \”African\” version

Jason Calacanis recently wrote a blog post entitled “How to save money running a startup (17 really good tips)” that got me thinking. Does any of this apply to my business here in Uganda? If so what and why? It turned out a lot applied. I’ve bootstrapped this company from nothing, and now I’m still bootstrapping for the sake of my investors at Kuv Capital so I do have some insight into cutting costs. So I decided to do a redux of the Calacanis article for Africa, specifically Uganda, to let you know my tips for keeping costs down as a startup here…

  • 1. Buy second-hand laptops, spend a lot on ram and run Ubuntu on them. In most parts of Africa the power grid isn’t stable resulting in frequent outages or ‘hiccups’. Laptops will be immune to these drops in powers as the battery is always ready to kick in when it needs to. Also, if the Internet drops, you can send your employees to a cyber cafe to work so they don’t lose any days. For most office tasks the processing power of a computer is irrelevant, all you need is a lot of storage space and ram. Even in a software company like mine, all my guys are running nothing faster than 2.0ghz processors. You can always buy one powerhouse machine for compiling but in most cases this isn’t necessary. Another point is that laptops can be used from anywhere. I have a few guys who work as hard at home as they do at work. This not only saves time, but helps projects get completed faster, thus saving money.
  • 2. Buy an inverter. Here in Kampala, we lose on average about 5 hours a week to power outages. That’s twenty hours per month, nearly a whole day! Across a year, that’s nearly an half a month you’re paying your staff to sit around and do nothing. Do the math on that. Actually, the more you spend on your inverter and batteries, the longer it will last. I have friend who spent about 5 grand on a power solution that can last him up to three days if necessary. Very rarely is there a lost workday due to power for him.
  • 3. Hire a cook. Most African cities have massive traffic problems. Even if you designate a ‘lunch hour’ most people will be late or they’ll spend a lot of time waiting around to reheat their lunches. Instead I’ve hired a cook at about 100 dollars a month. I spend about 300 a month on food but I’ve also factored that into everyone’s salaries so it’s not an unaccounted for cost. From an accounting perspective, the staff has already paid for their lunch, I’m just providing it for them.

more tips here

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How to save money running a startup (17 really good tips)

May 7, 2009

by http://calacanis.com

Hey guy here an interesting HOWTO for start-up entrepreneur. I guess it’s written for western counties but you can pick up some ideas and customize them for your own purposes.

  1. Buy Macintosh computers, save money on an IT department
  2. Buy second monitors for everyone, they will save at least 30 minutes a day, which is 100 hours a year… which is at least $2,000 a year…. which is $6,000 over three years. A second monitor cost $300-500 depending on which one you get. That means you’re getting 10-20x return on your investment… and you’ve got a happy team member.
  3. Buy everyone lunch four days a week and establish a no-meetings policy. Going out for food or ording in takes at least 20-60 minutes more than walking up to the buffet and eating. If you do meetings over lunch you also save that time. So, 30 minutes a day across say four days a week is two hours a week… which is 100 hours a year. You get the idea.
  4. Buy cheap tables and expensive chairs. Tables are a complete rip off. We buy stainless steel restaurant tables that are $100 and $600 Areon chairs. Total cost per workstation? $700. Compare that to buying a $500-$1,500 cube/designer workstation. The chair is the only thing that matters… invest in it…More good tips here