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  • 4 ways to still be effective during holiday leave

    Looking to log-off but stay connected this holiday season? Whether you’re going to be travelling locally or abroad, working from home, or having a "Staycation" we’ve got four ways for you to make your time out of the office seem as if you haven’t missed a beat. As much as we love to deny it, today’s generation of online professionals are workaholics. We wake up and check our emails over our morning coffee, we monitor our projects on our lunch break, we network after work, and we tweet our industry news while brushing our teeth. The concept of an eight-hour workday...

  • Company Office

    Callpay become first Level 1 Service Provider in Africa to achieve PCI DSS v3.2 compliance

    Callpay, a leading payment solutions provider, today announced that it has become the first Service Provider in Africa to achieve PCI DSS v3.2 compliance. The company recently underwent another rigorous audit by an independent Quality Security Assessor (QSA) to ensure that it meets the best practices and security controls needed to keep card data safe and secure from capture and transmit to processing. Callpay provides a unique range of innovative payment technologies, from its patent pending cloud call centre solutions, Bank Transfer Switch including its mPOS and mPAY Applications. Being a Level 1 PCI DSS compliant Service Provider ensure Callpay’s...

  • Scaling: Don’t become a victim of your own success

    A common issue with online startups is that they only start thinking about scalability once their site goes down. Many of the big startups also experience this phenomenon (e.g Twitter, Tumbler). They take note and spring into action only once the issue has occurred, which almost always has a detrimental effect on the user experience. Unexepected traffic spikes that could be generated by something as simple as a post on a reputable tech news site can bring your site to its knees almost instantaneously. In that brief moment of fame, your site crashes and all those potential new readers/customers/fans...

  • Five difficulties facing startups in China

    There’s a legend about a Chinese monk who, after years of meditating atop a high, isolated mountain, envisioned the world’s first circular disk. Careful to keep his ideas to himself, the monk swore on oath not to speak to anyone until he had completed his invention. One day, a traveller from the West, fair in skin but foul of heart, passed by a town the monk frequented. He had heard of the silent monk and decided to test him. He managed to get the monk intoxicated enough to reveal his secret of the circular disk. The traveller took the...

  • Kenyan startups jump on the ‘Groupon’ bandwagon

    Groupon has been a massive success in the United States. It’s a deal-of-the-day site, with projected revenue of US$500m in just it’s second year of operations. It uses the framework of "collective buying", which means that if enough people sign up for a particular deal, then it’s on. If not enough people sign up, then the deal is off and everyone walks away. Revenue is shared per deal, which means that Groupon only wins if the company doing the deal wins. Of course, this framework has caught the attention of savvy business people in Africa. Rupu Rupu is a similar site...

  • India’s mobile money revolution

    India's hunger for new technology is as sharp in its countless small villages as in its shiny office towers or shopping malls -- and businesses are waking up to an area of massive potential growth. Specific designs being aimed at Indian villagers include a mobile phone cash-transfer system, similar to that of the lauded M-Pesa mobile currency in Kenya. Other innovations targeted at India's rural communities include robust low-energy refrigerators and a clever twist on the humble kitchen stove. Household cook Shivnath Yadav, 35, says he regularly sends funds via his mobile phone to his mother in the tiny village of...

  • The future of eCommerce in emerging markets

    The market for digital content in emerging markets is in a curious place at the moment. In South Africa, there are just over 6-million internet users, and less than half of those are comfortable using "higher level" web services. Effectively, those who would buy digital content are barely numbered in the hundreds of thousands. At the same time, we watch in wonder as the development of digital content is exploding throughout the developed world. Twenty-seven percent of worldwide legitimate music sales are now online (according to the IFPI). That’s a US$4.2-billion industry that has emerged in less than a decade....

  • CrowdFlower: Providing a global 24-hour workforce

    Labour-on-demand startup CrowdFlower envisions future workplaces without stifling offices and unyielding daily schedules. The San Francisco firm has taken another step in that direction with the launch of a Business Listing Verification service that lets people, ranging from stay-at-home moms to refugee camp dwellers, cash in on idle moments. The service essentially parses and distributes to many hands the daunting task of checking to make sure each business contact in a colossal database is accurate. CrowdFlower does this by using online labour distribution tools such as Amazon's Mechanical Turk, and adding to the mix safeguards to ensure accurate results. "There has been...

  • Diaspora scores on privacy but will it ever go mainstream?

    Diaspora, the open source social network that puts user privacy above all else, is now rolling out in private alpha. The question is: can it hold its own against Facebook, or MySpace, or even Ning?  Early indications seem to indicate that the answer is no. Although Facebook has run into backlash several times over its approach to users’ information, it continues to grow like gangbusters, surpassing more than 550-million unique users in October, according to ComScore. Clearly, privacy concerns are something plenty of people pay lip service to, but rarely do anything about.  If Diaspora is to succeed, it will need...

  • Google’s Groupon deal makes no sense

    Faith Merino at VatorNews reported on Monday that Google had purchased Groupon for $2.5 billion: "... according to an unnamed insider who spoke with VatorNews. Neither Google nor Groupon could be reached for comment to confirm the report, but Vator's source is reliable and the report falls in line with the recent string of Groupon acquisition rumours." On Tuesday Kara Swisher at All Things D reported that her sources said that Google would pay $5.3 billion plus a $700 million earnout if Groupon meets sales targets. "... it is a killer move for Google-despite the high price-given it has long tried to...

  • What a startup can learn from a restaurant menu

    It's often said that one of the biggest challenges for an entrepreneur is focus. Naturally, this is coupled with multiple challenges like cash flow, growth management, and your general sanity. It's also said that the great thing about being an entrepreneur is the freedom that comes with it. However, that freedom is largely illusionary unless you are running a lifestyle company or you've hit the megabucks early. Most entrepreneurs find themselves shackled by other responsibilities: Responsibility for the talent in the organisation, strategic direction of the company, trying to build more with less, the demanding pace of the new startup...