7 responses

  1. njoshsn
    April 8, 2012


  2. Smart
    February 23, 2012

    I love that interview.
    The flow of questions is very good!

  3. P
    August 14, 2010

    On the question of replicating software already created. It does happen here as well. In my industry we have had to work with 3rd party companies who can personalize software according to your needs. We just re-brand it but its not something we created. So if folks are doing it back in Kenya then its the norm.

  4. Lost
    August 14, 2010

    The SMS based value added business is in its decline because the operators control everything. And really a developer is limited by what they can do with an SMS platform.

    The Mobile internet is what to watch. Most of the phones available in Kenya today are running a symbian operating system, which even after Nokia’s heavy promotion of it’s app store ovia, there’s no real good apps available.

    Hopefully with the entrance of the android powered phone we can start making useful apps for the local and larger African markets.

  5. John Karanja
    August 9, 2010

    Very enjoyable read. Great work from KE and Mbugua and the commentors.

  6. gmeltdown
    August 7, 2010

    An enjoyable read with a number of insights! thanks

    I agree to a large extent with Mbugua on the issue of origianal / innovative software by local software houses. A lot of premium is placed on the software – the technology itself as opposed to the overall value adding offering. It should be innovative enough to customise some OpenSource software to meet a unique business need that the universal/standard distribution cannot meet. The customization and the packaging into a relevant business model is what is really the innovation in that instant.

    Furthermore in this age of APIs, Mashups, code reuse and FOSS licencing models, it is very difficult to find the kind of ‘original software’ you are looking for – not even at Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, Google and wherever else

    • kenyanentrepreneur
      August 8, 2010


      I think you and Mbugua have made some very good points in answering my question on innovation (or the lack thereof) — I now get where you guys are coming from. i.e. You don’t have to start from scratch and local knowledge of what people need is sometimes more important. So, while you may get the initial software ideas from the west, the people in the west do not have the local knowledge and thus, may not be able to ‘tweak’ or redesign software that addresses local needs. Very good points.

      Another point I recall reading about some time ago was that because African software designers are targeting mobile phone users, they’re going to become very good at developing and writing lean codes, i.e. lean applications that have to be ‘small’ because they have to fit into and be usable on smaller devices like mobile phones.

      So, if there’s one area we’ll see innovation from Africa, it may be with mobile phone applications, especially in the coming years.

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