How Are You Managing Your Screen Time?

Because I love technology and social media, I feel like I have been quite conscious of my screen time. Since more than a year, all notifications are off my phone. I use the app “Focus” to turn off the internet on my phone (it also helps with working with the pomodoro technique). After reading Adriana Huffington’s book on sleep, I also parked my phone – turned off! –  in a different room during the night and am awoken by an old-fashioned alarm clock. All in the name of limiting my screen time and not being dragged down the rabbit-hole of smartphones.

Sadly, I also agree with Jim Kwik who suggest that smartphones make us less smart!

However, all of this seems to not be enough to manage my time in front of a screen. Indeed, Catherine Price who wrote a book about breaking up with your phone, and a New York Times article that sums it up, suggests it took her two years!  When I heard on the news Apple is including such a control mechanism for parents and individuals in their next OS, I thought to myself I NEED THIS NOW and started researching programs for both me and my 7-year-old. This is what I found.

 

FOR ME: Space. Free app, upgrade available USD 1.99 (but actually I am not sure what the upgrade does).

I liked the design and step-by-step idea that “diagnoses” your particular problem (I am a “boredom battler”) as well as the pop-ups and idea of dimming of the screen. It is also free! That is a pretty great feature when comparable apps charge a monthly cost.

 

FOR THE KID: Habyts. Free for 14 days and after that USD 3.29 or 7.99/month depending on services needed. The more expensive upgrade include chores that your kid can do for extra points or minutes.

Further, Habyts was the only app I could find that both allowed me to set daily time allowances, remote turn off her device, as well as included the option of adding tasks or chores for her to earn more time.

 

5 days in

We have tried a for a few days and I appreciate the professional help! In addition, what has helped is the idea to limit and track not just duration of each session, but also the number of times one reaches for one’s phone and unlocks it. However, despite warnings, limits and general awareness-raising, it has not been very impactful so far for me. I have not yet met my goals of 1,5 hours max on the smartphone/day (my average is more like the double!) or less than 30 unlocks during a day. Two nights since I started this phone detox, I have also unfortunately late-night-binged on my iPad (where I did not install the program).

My child shows withdrawal symptoms as well and has been angry and demanding. I had to change the lock codes on all my devices as she “jumped” to mine when her time was up! However, the remote shut-down function makes the process of limiting the time (right now the same 90 minutes a day) easier than earlier and I recognize that it helps for thinking of other things to do that I am also off my phone!

I will follow up again when some more time has passed to tell you how we are doing.

How do you limit screen time in your family?

Green Ghanaian Akua Akyaa Nkrumah is Gone

Environmental Technologist Akua Akyaa Nkrumah passed away on Thursday. She was, write her colleagues in the death announcement, a “mighty tree”. I think it is not often such words are used about a thirty-something, but those were the same words that came to mind as I heard of her passing on Friday morning. I am devastated. 

In lieu of the one-week meeting for family and friends that is customary in Ghana, I want to sit an imaginary living room and share here on my blog some of my thoughts. I imagine an overcrowded room, some of us are standing. I see Akyaa’s family and colleagues in the room, friends from BloggingGhana, Chale Wote, Ahaspora, Golda, Maame Aba, Jemila, Edward, Ato, Naa Oyoo, Efo. Now that we are all here, let’s remember.

Akyaa was a blogger and member of the organization I co-founded in 2008, BloggingGhana. Do read her last blog post on the 15 things NPP can do for the environment. She was a very present member, featured in our “By the Fireside”-events last year, and a feisty and fun discussant on issues we would deliberate on when the official meeting was over. She was a passionate professional working with Jekora Ventures, doing the hard work that is cleaning up Accra, one of the places in the world most in need of sanitation. She was proud of her work and often talked about her projects. Additionally, she was an inspiration and a fellow creative in a space where creativity is rare. She was also an ray of light in the field of environmentalism, desperately needed for a Ghana that is quickly becoming a dump site. Last year, she was featured on Jill of All Trades with this beautiful interview.

In the beginning of the year, Akyaa and I had quite a lot of interactions. We met up and talked about life, she helped my student with information, I got to learn about her initiative to take Eco thinking and social media to university students in the Green Ghanaian Eco Tour. The program was masterfully crafted, intended to reach all regions of Ghana, prefunded by an international donor who Akua had approached and written a proposal to. I took notes and confided in her that under so many years of discussing such an outreach for causes I feel strongly about, I never managed to. She generously shared the details that made her project a success.

In February, Akyaa brought her initiative to Ashesi University. I played only a small role and finally could not attend the program on the Saturday she came up with her team, but was following the tweets online from engaged students.


 

In her last year of living, Akyaa spread her worldview to hundreds (thousands?) of young people, opened a waste management plant, and taught me personally about activism and outreach. Now that she is no more with us, my only consolation is in these endeavors Akua Akyaa Nkrumah will live on. Green Ghanaian…dubbed Great Ghanaian by a mutual friend. Green Great Ghanaian. Our mighty tree. Thank you. Da yiy3.

BloggingGhana will remember her in an event soon. 

Ahaspora will be dedicating their June Happy Hour to celebrate her life.

Family GoFundMe collection for her burial.

Introducing The Flint and its Initiator: Emmanuel Quartey

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email with a very long text about WhatsApp marketing in Accra. Sure, I am a social media fan, but marketing and WhatsApp are not exactly my areas of interest. Still, I read the entire article and said to myself, something like: “I need to know more about this high quality initiative taking social media so seriously in our local context”. So, I contacted the initiator and asked him a few questions. Here is my interview with Emmanuel.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Emmanuel Quartey, and up until very recently, I was the General Manager of the MEST Incubator (which funds and supports early stage tech startups) in Accra. I consider myself primarily a product designer, but to be honest, I find the “what do you do” question increasingly difficult to answer these days. For money, I’m currently doing product design and digital marketing consulting. Otherwise, I’m working on The Flint, and saying “Yes” to all sorts of inbound requests from founders and VCs to chat about some a broad range of topics. So in summary: I write, I design, I figure out how to get people excited about things on the internet, and I have conversations with interesting people who’re working on interesting things.

2. Why do you do what you do?

I do what I do:

  • Because I want to know how and why things are. I get a special bone-deep thrill from understanding how things work, especially human systems. When this happens, I want to tell everyone about what I learned.
  • Because I’m fascinated by the relationship between the words of ideas, and the world of made things. I’m driven by the desire to understand how it is that some ideas make the leap from a mind to “reality,” while others get smothered immediately.
  • Because I feel I’ve been incredibly lucky and privileged, and I feel an obligation to make the opportunities I’ve had available for as many people as possible.
  • Much of this is motivated by my mother, whose life has been defined by service to others.
  • I’ve been very motivated throughout my life by school – I’ve had incredible teachers and the attended institutions with very strong missions. Primary school was St. Paul Methodist in Tema, whose motto was “Knowledge is Power”, High school was SOS-Hermann Gmeiner International College, whose motto is “Knowledge in the Service of Africa”, College was Yale, whose motto, “Lux et Veritas” means “Light and Truth”…It sounds corny but that underlying message of learning and sharing knowledge means A LOT to me and drives a surprising amount of my thinking and actions.
  • Even more, I am motivated by fear and anger. Fear because there are these horrible forces out in the world and I worry that we’re not equipped to withstand them. Anger because we could be so much more. We could be SO much more.

3. What is The Flint?

On a very practical level, The Flint is an online publication about technology in Africa, aimed primarily at non-technical African entrepreneurs who’re eager to leverage technology to achieve more. I meet so many people pursuing fascinating ideas, but they lack the exposure to simple tools and processes that’ll help with user acquisition, recruitment, etc etc. Technology can be a productivity-enhancing multiplier for literally everyone, but too much of the knowledge is trapped in highly technical writing aimed at tech startups.

More conceptually, The Flint is also a vehicle for me to explore ideas around digital media. I believe that in the future, literally, every company will be a digital media company. By which I mean that every company will be in the business of acquiring, translating, storing, and distributing information. Manufacturing? Files (information) of objects will be transmitted (distributed) to be printed (translated) on site. Housing? Airbnb owns no property and yet manages the flow of information to put millions of people into millions of homes. Sports? Sports teams are already experimenting with placing fitness trackers on athletes and repackaging those statistics into content that is consumed by sports fans.

I genuinely believe this is the direction we’re heading in, and I very much want to understand as much as possible about how digital media entities work. What better way to run one myself? It’s very much an exercise in working and learning in public – in addition to the interviews, I’ll be sharing updates on what I’m learning while building The Flint. I’ll learn a ton and hope people will be interested in learning along with me.

4. The name clearly is about sparks, what fire to do want to light?

Racial justice means a lot to me. I want us to wake up to the fact that we have the tools to become masters of our own destiny. It begins by changing our relationship to our work – whatever “work” means to you from a chore, to craft. We need to 1) become craftspeople and domain experts in everything we do, and 2) we need to TEACH EACH OTHER how to level up.

We need to learn how to do hard things.

5. How do you see Ghana today and where do you see Ghana in 5 years?

Oh, goodness! Ghana leaves me both incredibly excited and intensely frustrated. I think Ghana is genuinely something special on the continent. I think our tiny nation has often proven that we have a remarkable ability to lead the way for the entire continent, and I think we’re dimly aware of that fact.

I don’t know where we’ll be in 5 years.

I hope we’re at a place where we realize we, collectively, need to be so much more serious about so many more things.

6. What is your best advise to someone who wants to create change?

I’m hesitant about answering this question but:
Courage is contagious. If you see something that isn’t right, say something, or do something about it to the extent of your ability. Someone once said that courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. When you step up, you give other people permission to do same. They agree with you, but they were waiting for someone to say it first. “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” – Hillel the Elder

Find your tribe. Chosen families are powerful. Find your people who resonate on the same frequency as you and let them nourish you. It’s important to note that your tribe might not be your biological family or members of your school or religion. You might have to go far afield, but find them.

There will never be a perfect time. Planning can quickly become procrastination. Do it, even a small version of it. Do it now. Throw the bottle into the sea. Your people will find you, no matter how faint your signal.

Do cool things. Tell people about it. Repeat. People will mimic you. That’s how change happens, I think.

7. What do you want to promote? (a book that changed your life, what someone who wants to write for The Flint needs to do, go to grad school, don’t go to grad school etc.)

I’m very eager for people to contribute their knowledge to The Flint! The Flint wants to become a community of makers and craftspeople creating and sharing knowledge with each other.

If you don’t have the time to write, don’t worry – reach out to me and if I think your story will be instructive for others, I’ll write it for you. The things that make a good story for The Flint:

  • It reveals new facts or data that people would be surprised to know
  • It teaches a process/framework that can help a group of Africans do more
  • It involves technology in some way (note: “tech” can be as simple as a telephone)
    People can pitch ideas at emmanuel@theflint.io

Thank you for sharing, Emmanuel! I especially liked how you linked change not just to start-ups and entrepreneurship, but to civic courage and speaking up.  I wish Emmanuel all the best with his fiery, new project and hope you also like The Flint!

Enter the Media Kit for Bloggers

So I have quietly been working on some interesting blog related projects, I will tell you more soon. I’ll start by outdooring my media kit.

I got the idea from Swedish blogs which often have them and when the Influencers of Sweden wrote about how to make your own, see for instance this post with three examples of media kits in English,  I came up with this doc that you can download from my Contact-page. See a first version below:

The idea is that potential collaborators and media people will be able to get a summary of what the blog is about and how influential it is (measured in followers, visits, etc).

Does my media kit summarise my blog? If you are a blogger, will you make one?

 

My #2016bestnine on Instagram

Last year I increased my presence on Instagram and ended up with 244 posts which were liked a whopping 6971 times! Thank you!

(and if you are not part of the 800+ people who follow me yet, I am @KajsaHA there too!)

You apparently like:

  1. Me graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in African Studies from University of Ghana
  2. Me taking a selfie with an umbrella and a yellow Ginko Biloba tree at the Mall in Washington DC (steps away from where people did NOT assemble for someone’s inauguration last week)
  3. My daughter Ellen zipping up my dress.
  4. Smiley husband and I on a night out at the National Theatre.
  5. An intimate sibling embrace.
  6. Girls being silly in new swim caps.
  7. Garden marvels (it is palm nut kernels!).
  8. Long shadows on one of the shortest days of the year.
  9. Live broadcast technology that allows my mother in Sweden to follow my graduation in Ghana (see #1)

Comment on what you want to see in 2017!

 

Why I Attend Chale Wote Street Art Festival!

Spirit robot partIn August CHALE WOTE is coming! The street festival enters its fifth year with the awesomest theme ever: SPIRIT ROBOT! It just does something to my imagination: spirit! robot! 

The festival has been announced to run from Aug 18-21 with LABS @ CHALE WOTE on Aug 18-19. I understand that as the main, public part of the festival is the weekend 20-21 August, 2016. Location: Jamestown, Accra.

I will be going to the festival with my entire family. I am especially looking forward seeing the festival through my now five year old child’s eyes and seeing my teen relatives’ reactions. Personally, I am attending for the people, the art-meets-community, the fabulous fashion, the street food, and the general feeling of marvel.

Do you not also want to be part of the Chale Wote Spirit Robot?

Spirit Robot is described like this on the organiser Accra Dot Alt website:

 In 2016, we ramp up the energy of CHALE WOTE by building a universal TRANSmitter  – a singular architecture – that we call SPIRIT ROBOT. This immersive memory-tech presents a world within a world where life can be structured on different terms.

CHALE WOTE 2016 exists as an interconnected system of pan-African geometry shifting. SPIRIT ROBOT  is a sacred current that decodes worldly systems of racist capitalism, alienation and subjection. SPIRIT ROBOT mutates these frequencies as a way of creating new histories, art and knowledge.

Robot points to mechanical forces that restrict our right to be human – to feel and to express – and to be free. Robot signifies the machine – the myriad constraints that people of African descent on the continent and around the world confront on a daily basis with our very lives. SPIRIT ROBOT reprograms history by melding West African mythology, cosmogramming, and artistic practice in a radical unveiling of alternative African realities. Together we animate stolen dreams, deferred inventions, and lost science through an intercultural kinship. We reclaim memory maps about who we are and where we are going.

What we are speaking of is Spirit – a collective creative process that is human and metaphysical, potent, available and abundant. Spirit is on the move through a series of portals – doors of persistent return – that open up a blueprint for radical reconstruction of our realities and pan-African building.  It refers to the energetic abilities we employ to create a new encounter with reality that is entirely of our choosing and construction. Here we access liberating spaces of art and possibility, embedding our codes of connection in a live archive that we continue to build upon.

How do we create intentionally coded spaces – an algebra of minds – that can be grasped and shared? In 2016, we build bridges of possibilities between us, connecting our visions of reality with one another and the challenge to dig deeper. Stretching these projects together into a meta-network is an act of deep engagement with community, and an exercise in countering historical forms of hierarchyexclusionfracture and disharmony.

With SPIRIT ROBOT, we construct and amplify our own technologies to create a spectacular present where are we free .

See my earlier posts on Chale Wote Festival 2011, 2012, 2013 (no photos), 2014.

 

Mobex16 and some thoughts on how event organisers in Ghana can better engage with social media influencers

On Tuesday, I went to the tech fair Mobex16 in the Accra International Conference Center. I had only planned to swiftly stop by, but ended up staying all morning. Networking was great!

However, this blogpost is on some other observations I made in relation to Mobex16. I came with my phone, ready to tweet, and laughingly told a friend that I have been here for 8 min and already posted 3 tweets. I was on fire!

I tweeted about the registration and started taking photos for Instagram. I am a promoter of all things Ghana, especially tech stuff, and I was happy to share the experience with my now 9000+ followers on Twitter and 600+ followers on Instagram.

At this stage, I needed to charge my computer (as I really had plans of working out of an office) and with heavy tweeting during the opening and the president’s speech, my phone as well. Now there were no electrical sockets in the seminar room. I looked around and asked an usher. I tweeted about that.

After realising that no woman was to appear on the stage for the first two programs on the agenda or the entirety of my morning visit – the info I took from a information that was passed out to visitors, I tweeted about that.

Revisiting my Twitter timeline, I was likely inspired by Omojuwa (recently named Africa’s best Twitter profile) and his tweet on female leadership:

After I had left the seminar hall in search for power, I browsed the exhibit. Noticing that many Mobex16 stands did not really have a plan to engage with social media influencers, I talked to some exhibitors and tweeted about that.

You get my drift, I was engaging with the program, capturing both highlights and lowlights.  Tweeting and Instagramming. Now some did not like that:

…and my personal favorite:

I get it, I have been an event organiser and its not necessarily fun to hear about someone’s negative experience when you have been working 24/7 to even make the thing happen, but I do listen and think to myself “how can I improve?” I also try to be mindful of that whoever takes the time to write to complain, cares a whole lot more than the people that just “come to eat”. (Caveat: I am not sure what the relationship between the people behind the sour tweets above is to the event discussed).

A few months back, Poetra Asantewa  in an AccraWeDey-podcast said some very useful things about critique and how there is little room for it in the Ghanaian creative space. We just need to change that, so in the name of constructive critique, I’ll list some ideas for even better social media engagement for Ghanaian events below.

Tips for event organisers how to better engage with social media influencers:

  • Communicate a (usable, not too long, not too generic) hashtag and remind people in every room, space and on everything printed.
  • Create a physical space for social media influencers with sockets (most importantly, but perhaps also), coffee, desks with chairs and additional info on your program.
  • Think through what is in it for the (professional) social media influencer, can you pay for live-tweeting & blogging, or provide lunch, pay T&T, organise gifts from sponsors? Every post about your event is potentially valuable to you, how can you make the relationship with influencers sustainable?
  • Retweet/ share their praise. People on their way to the venue will want to see photos and reviews from the venue.
  • Corteusly respond to any critique as fast as possible. (Yes, that includes saying thank you to someone who is finding fault with your event!)

Something like this:

What would you add to the list?

#SundayReads 24 Jan, 2016

sundayreads

Here are my first Sunday Reads for the year:

  1. Africa’s Boom IS NOT over. Mr Internet in Ghana (and now globally the African angel investor) Eric Osiakwan takes a stand and suggests the future jobs in Africa’s KINGS countries (alliteration for Kenya, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa) will be created in tech. (It was BTW published on Medium, a new form of blogging, I’d like to call it that makes excellent use of social media).

    “Africa’s millennials and digital natives, instead of looking for job or a way to vacate the continent, have caught on to the development of mobile web applications and are unleashing their creative juices and entrepreneurial prowess to disrupt traditional markets and address key pain-points for both rich and poor customers.”

    The Doctor Who Kills Doctors by Marc Parenteau. Terrible information presented with beautiful illustrations about what is happening in Syria.

  2. Screenshot 2016-01-24 22.25.28
  3. A Masters in Four years; My Ordeal at University of Ghana Graduate School. A very important text on what is slowing Ghana and higher education output down, sadly written only after graduation by one of Ghana’s top journalists, Manasse Azure Awuni.“The week after the graduation, I returned my academic gown and asked for my certificate. I was told it wasn’t ready. At the Graduate School I was given a chit after I submitted the gown and signed to that effect. I was supposed to present the chit later that week for my certificate. When I returned on Friday, I was told that the certificates were not ready.“Please, when will it be ready?” I asked.”
  4. Revolution 2.0, a 2013 text by Mohamed A. El-Erian on a book with the same name (by Wael Ghonim) which describes the Egyptian revolution in 2011.“The movement captured the interest of the disgruntled young and activists, and it secured their loyalty by engaging them in surveys, encouraging a high level of interactions on the [Facebook] page, and essentially reinventing crowd sourcing and decision-making…As important, if not more, the page administered by Ghonim and Abdelrahman Mansour (who joined the page on its third day as the second admin) achieved something that many thought improbable if not impossible: Encouraging an increasing number of young Egyptian to believe that they stood a chance at regaining a claim on their country and its destiny. In the process, they started gradually overcoming multiple barriers of fear that, both explicitly and implicitly, had relegated them to just impotent and frustrated observers.”
  5. Try Safe Mode. Apple’s support pages have been frequently visited these first weeks and days of the new year as my MacBook Pro 2011 has slowed down almost to a halt. After trying safemode (Embarrassingly, I did not even know there was such a thing!) and adding some RAM memory, I am now hoping for the best.

Hopefully I’ll last until next week when Sunday Reads will be back!

Inspired by personal role models, Ory Okolloh Mwangi and Chris Blattman, I want to share articles I read with my followers on a somehow regular basis. I hope to make Sunday Reads a weekly feature to be shared here and on Twitter!

 

BLOG ACTION DAY #BAD15: #RaiseYourVoice Against Online Injustices

Late last year, I went to Ethiopia. I had a wonderful stay and learned about the Ethiopian food and coffee culture and made lovely friends. Ethiopia left me with memories for life. But I also knew, going there, that bloggers who had criticised the government had been thrown in jail.badblueonwhite-participant

The nine bloggers and journalists were members of Zone9, an organization that I imagine have similarities to the organization I started in Ghana with a friend, BloggingGhana. Read more about their case on the Advox site Global Voices set up for the campaign to #FreeZone9Bloggers. Despite only being in the country for a few days, the knowledge of that I was in a country where they jailed bloggers for criticising the government had an eerie and immediate impact on me.

FEAR
The damage of jailing bloggers is twofold, the personal damage to those individuals and the much larger example it sets. On my first day in Ethiopia, my hotel told me they had Internet issues, and I did not push for a resolution. When Internet arrived on day 2, I thought hard about what I tweeted and instagrammed from Ethiopia. I posted only photos and no words about my stay there. I made sure to not mention to anyone I was a blogger as I did not know how much of bad connotations that might have. I felt fear in my gut. It is a sad thing, to limit your thoughts, your creativity, and your imagination. I was just a visitor for a few days. I can’t help but think what that fear would do to a country over time. Would people discuss political developments? Criticise people in power when service delivery is poor? Would people think creatively or would they, just like I did, censor themselves?
ACCESS TO INTERNET
A different aspect of #RaiseYourVoice is access to Internet that is limited in many places all over the world, both for political reasons,  lack of (electricity and data) infrastructure, and/or simply the cost. According to the UN broadband commission more than half of the world’s population is offline. Ethiopia a case in point with only 1,9% Internet penetration, compared to Ghana’s 20,1% and Africa average of 26,5%. For the world its over 40% (numbers from InternetWorldStats.com). As a blogger in Africa, I am constantly reminded, that having access to the same tools as I have (broadband and laptop) is for the lucky few. Then last week, Google announced plans of laying fibre in Ghana and Uganda in Project Link and Facebook launched a project beaming Internet to Africa by satellite. Is that not great news? Rather,  in my view it is quite worrying. In an era go knowledge, the important issue of access to Internet in Africa is taken over by multinationals with their own agenda and already strong grips on the Internet globally.
SHARING OF INFORMATION
Internet is a game changer as it has the ability to bring the people of the world closer. Sharing information, once created, is next to free. When I finish writing this blogpost, how many will read it? Maybe one person (Hi Dad!), but it might also be 100 or 1000 or even 10 000. The cost is the same to me to spread my views. On the other end of the sharing, this means a university student in Ghana potentially can have the same access to written knowledge as a student anywhere else! We can all be up to date with latest scientific findings. 10 years ago, this was science fiction!
WHAT WE CAN DO
There are no easy solutions, but governments all over the world should be persuaded (by us!) to step away from fear and have faith in the power of freedom, on and offline. Individually, we have to take inspiration from the Zone9-bloggers and speak up. However, we also need better access to the Internet for the masses. I think we should think about who owns this infrastructure. It will cost, but yield returns, because when we can think freely, communicate freely, share information freely, we can also create better solutions to our problems. 
At BloggingGhana I often repeat: Every time you go online, don’t just consume. Produce too. Share your life and views with the world. Create more stories!
SOME TIPS FOR #RAISINGYOURVOICE:
  • Post a photo on a social network showing something that maybe has no representation online, it could be a street, a practise, or a portrait and a brief interview with someone.
  • Show someone who do not have access to Internet what it is all about. Use your or their phone, or go into an Internet cafe.
  • Craft a Facebook-update to challenge oppressive views.
  • Spread the word on Alliance for Affordable Internet and their data.
  • Join Global Voices as a Volunteer Writer, Translator, or Partner.
  • Write a blog post where you #RaiseYourVoice to fill the void when another blogger has been silenced by fear or lack of access.

This post is part of the Blog Action Day 2015, with the theme #RaiseYourVoice. 

My earlier Blog Action Posts can be found here: 2008 on Poverty2009 on Climate Change, 2010 on Water, and 2012 on the Power of We

What’s Wrong with the Tech Community in Ghana?

Non tech-managers, poor salaries and high demands – everyday life for computer engineers, coders and techies in Ghana. 

  1. This morning, I ran into a Twitter convo that started with a bloated job ad, obviously written by someone who didn’t even know what skill they were looking for! Some annoyed techies were venting. I jumped in, added a few people to the debate and suggested:
  2. Maybe this convo–> one of Gh’s tech spaces. How do we grow the industry& respect skill? @nukturnal @edemkumodzi @ivanTD@enyok @EmekaOkoye
  3. Don’t despair, organize is my humble suggestion. Bloggers in Ghana need to do the same. @edemkumodzi @nukturnal @ivanTD @enyok@EmekaOkoye
  4. But the problem is hydra headed! Lets see what different elements there are:
  5. 1. Non-tech managers of computer engineers
  6. @kajsaha @nukturnal @ivanTD @enyok @EmekaOkoye companies shld start by respecting themselves. Some job adverts we’ve seen is an insult.
  7. @kajsaha @nukturnal @ivanTD @enyok @EmekaOkoye understand what you are really hiring for and find the best you can for that specific thing.
  8. @kajsaha @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @enyok @EmekaOkoyeCompanies should understand a team sometimes have “Ronaldos” & “Messis”. U av to manage it.
  9. @kajsaha @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @enyok @EmekaOkoye Many local tech companies fail to realise a skilled engineer brings more than just “Code”
  10. @kajsaha @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @enyok @EmekaOkoye Football is not about just kicking the ball, Messi & Ronaldo both amplify this…
  11. @kajsaha @nukturnal @ivanTD @enyok @EmekaOkoye they are being managed by non post-technical managers. They end up feeling undervalued.
  12. @kajsaha @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @enyok @EmekaOkoye The biggest treat to our local tech industry is non tech CEOs or Managers.
  13. @kajsaha @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @enyok @EmekaOkoye I have 12+ prof yrs of exp in our local tech scene. Non Technical managers are killing it.
  14. Techies will continue to earn less in africa bcos patronage of local tech is poor. @enyok @nukturnal @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @kajsaha
  15. …better than non-technical or technical is apparently post-technical!
  16. @ivanTD @EmekaOkoye @nukturnal @kajsaha @enyok Enyo is brillant!! She’s post-technical, she understands what needs to be done.
  17. @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @EmekaOkoye @nukturnal @kajsaha lol. post-technical never sounded like such a compliment! lol. hey, COBOL still exists!
  18. 2. Poor salaries and incentives
  19. @nukturnal@edemkumodzi @ivanTD @enyok @EmekaOkoyeMany top engineers end up leaving to the non tech sector…”<<Reasons in your view?
  20. @kajsaha @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @enyok @EmekaOkoye They pay chicken feed and expect Kilimanjaro returns. It does not work like that.
  21. @kajsaha @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @enyok @EmekaOkoye When I hear tech companies complaining that banks are taking all the top engineers, I smile
  22. @kajsaha @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @enyok @EmekaOkoye They leave to the Banks, where they are paid more and do less work and they value goes up.
  23. @kajsaha @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @enyok @EmekaOkoye Top engineers work 24/7 even if they don’t want to, you cannot eecape it.
  24. @nukturnal @kajsaha @edemkumodzi @enyok @EmekaOkoyesometimes there’s no point in all the hardwork when you don’t get a good pay. Big factor
  25. I hear you. And maybe share profits with workers as bonuses? #TechinAfrica @nukturnal @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @enyok@EmekaOkoye
  26. @nukturnal@sboots2 @enyok @EmekaOkoye @edemkumodzi@ivanTD ..post on why top engineers eventually leave the industry.” <<do share link!
  27. Techies that chase money will always jump ship to other sectors while the passionate remains @enyok @nukturnal @edemkumodzi@ivanTD @kajsaha
  28. 3. The tech scene is not sufficiently organized
  29. @kajsaha @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @enyok @EmekaOkoye As an industry we don’t have any representation. All policies are passed by non tech head.
  30. @enyok @kajsaha @Storify @sboots2 @EmekaOkoye@edemkumodzi @ivanTD One problem too, many techies just think about code code code code
  31. @enyok @kajsaha @Storify @sboots2 @EmekaOkoye@edemkumodzi @ivanTD They don’t care about policies and other things around them
  32. Techies need to collaborate. Presently their attitude sucks. Collabo helps bootstrap biz. @enyok @nukturnal @edemkumodzi @ivanTD@kajsaha
  33. 4. Instead of collaborating, we have mostly start-ups/small businesses
  34. Ind basis=sad,industry basis =disaster.Gh will never’ve a big tech company if no change! @nukturnal @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @enyok@EmekaOkoye
  35. @EmekaOkoye @nukturnal @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @kajsaha we have to create the market. this is no different than any other PS field that grew up
  36. @kajsaha @nukturnal @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @EmekaOkoye It really only takes 1 company to do it differently and start making the change.
  37. @enyok @nukturnal @ivanTD @EmekaOkoye @kajsaha All this is going to change soon. As Enyo said, all it takes is one company! Just one …
  38. @enyok @EmekaOkoye @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @kajsaha this is why 90% of the people here want to start their own companies.
  39. +10 @nukturnal! not every1 builds companies. we shld each know & do what we do best. @EmekaOkoye @edemkumodzi @ivanTD@kajsaha #TechinAfrica
  40. 5. Tech scene not united with government
  41. Techies will continue to earn less in africa bcos patronage of local tech is poor. @enyok @nukturnal @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @kajsaha
  42. @nukturnal @EmekaOkoye @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @kajsaha we need techies also in civil service to beef up gov tech strategy. #TechinAfrica
  43. @enyok @kajsaha @Storify @sboots2 @EmekaOkoye@edemkumodzi @ivanTD We cannot bait gov with a mindset like that. Our positioning is weak.
  44. @nukturnal @kajsaha @Storify @sboots2 @EmekaOkoye@edemkumodzi @ivanTD Our positioning is INDEED far too weak. Let’s change the narrative.
  45. @nukturnal @EmekaOkoye @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @kajsaha#TechinAfrica must change it’s horizon to effectively collaborate with govt.
  46. @EmekaOkoye @enyok @edemkumodzi @ivanTD @kajsaha adhoc prevents premeditated taught which prevents us from setting goals for the future.
  47. @enyok @nukturnal @EmekaOkoye @edemkumodzi @kajsaha Govt’s and #TechinAfrica are like wild beasts. Once they get along, it’ll be amazing….
  48. Govt must improve human capacity development in tech. This is fundamental. @enyok @nukturnal @edemkumodzi @ivanTD@kajsaha
  49. Next steps…
  50. So my initial suggestion was let’s bring the convo to one of the… @enyok @Storify @nukturnal @sboots2 @EmekaOkoye@edemkumodzi @ivanTD
  51. …first debrief- collect the problems THEN organize. Solutionize. @enyok @Storify @nukturnal @sboots2 @EmekaOkoye@edemkumodzi @ivanTD
  52. @nukturnal @kajsaha @Storify @sboots2 @EmekaOkoye@edemkumodzi @ivanTD Same here. Will come back with IRL + TweetChat host date & time.