Posts Tagged ‘mobile’

Ingenuity Born of Necessity in Kenya

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Nairobi Skyline

“This is the future of African technology, and if you blink, you’ll miss it.”  ~Erik Hersman

On the ‘Silicon Savanna’

Last month in Nairobi, Kenya, a conference called Pivot25 connected 25 promising mobile app developers from East Africa with investors and venture capitalists. Events like this one, based on the Y Combinator model, give aspiring developers a rare chance to pitch their ideas for possible seed capital.

What’s intriguing about Pivot25 is the attention that it drew from outside the region. TIME Magazine ran a piece about the conference from the standpoint of Nairobi’s contribution to global technology. CNN’s Global Public Square covered the event, too. Why so much attention?

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“Get a Load of Our Stuff!”

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

The Wall Street Journal/MIT Sloan Management Review published a disturbing paper on why Western companies are failing to transform the Bottom of the Pyramid into a booming consumer market.  The author argues that the base of the world’s economic pyramid – where people live on $2 a day or less – isn’t panning out as a market because potential consumers “haven’t been conditioned to think that the products being offered are something one would even buy.”

To support his argument, he cites the case of PUR, a low-cost water purification system developed by Procter & Gamble. The product provides the obvious benefit of affordable clean water where the risks of drinking contaminated water are high. But curiously, PUR* achieved low market penetration rates in test markets.

Why would consumers reject a product as salient as PUR? The author contends that Western companies simply haven’t created demand among low income consumers. “Companies must create markets—new lifestyles—among poor consumers,” he insists. His prescription is that Western businesses need to do a better job “conditioning” low-income  people to be better consumers.  Really?

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