Tech issues that need fixing in 2013

Sunday December 30 2012


On Monday night, the nation will count down towards 2013.

Many hopes and dreams are now pegged on the success of the upcoming general election in March 2013. It will in some big ways decide the future for a lot of people.

That future includes the world of technology.

Every start of the year marks the time for new resolutions for many people. Some go as far as replacing their mobile phones and laptops.

So, what resolutions should we consider fulfilling on matters concerning technology come 2013? Here are some suggestions:

More sustainable technology start-ups

We can talk a good game about how we can invent an application that is designed to ease the world from certain day-to-day problems. That plan is often good on paper and even in code, up to the point where the business model is discussed.

Many techpreneurs still struggle to find the answer to the most important business question: How to earn money. It sounds simple in theory, but when it comes to the real world, the matter becomes slippery.

It is also at this point that techpreneurs discover that Kenya has very little room for failure.

Unlike in the Western world where failure can be an option, for Kenya, it can sound the death of a career.

The best approach would be to have more start-ups attempting many things. However, the prevailing high failure rate is not boding well socially.

The confidence in technology is still largely artificial. It is time Kenya thought out its actual needs instead of trying to invent things nobody will use. The hype needs to die so that reality sets in.

Less griping on social media

Some people believe that social media is the best platform to go whine and complain. True, it brings out failings, but that merely represents a fraction of the population.

Worse is that corporate organisations have taken to believing that social media is some sort of miracle pill that fixes problems overnight.

It’s later in social media campaigns that many realise that if they aren’t sound internally, even the best social media manager and the best campaign wouldn’t save it.

Accountability by telcos

Is there a single telecommunication company (telco) that puts its money where its mouth is? I am yet to encounter one that is selling precisely what it promised. The institution that is supposed to be holding them accountable seems more interested in releasing statistics.

Service levels are still very poor. Product prices are still too high, and customer service management is a foreign term that is quickly being relegated to Twitter.

The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) needs to become more active in holding failing telcos accountable. This should not be negotiable. It is time that hard working Kenyans started getting what they actually paid for and stop being given the run-around. It’s high time we get the discipline to deliver world class services.

Alternative sources of energy

Kenya Power is struggling to light up Kenya and the government does not seem eager to let go of the monopoly. Somehow, we are building a Silicon Savannah way before the entire country is connected to a consistent power grid.

How about a more distributed power generation and supply network all across the country?

It would be good to see many more companies hop off the national power grid and start relying on their own alternative sources.

While this might sound more unrealistic and far-fetched, it should be one of the top priorities for all major corporate organisations as well as county projects. Easing the load from the national grid will make companies more effective in delivering their services.

Better quality of bloggers

Blogging has become mediocre. The general assumption is that anyone can own a blog, but the reality is that not everyone can captivate an audience.

Few people realise that there is a huge difference between knowing about a topic and being able to articulate it. In the end, blogs have become entirely the same – boring and mundane.

Many contributors sound like very angry people. A different opinion is relegated to a mortal sin if it falls outside the general consensus.

Creativity has died and it would be good to see a new crop of bloggers talking about more than technology and politics.

While other categories are covered, like humour, fashion, travel and agriculture, it would be good to see more bloggers from the different counties addressing their own local issues and getting strong readership within their counties.

There are many more things we need to focus on, but these, in my view, would make a good start. All the best in 2013, everyone.