M-Pesa

  • When Your Carrier Becomes Your Bank

    When Your Carrier Becomes Your Bank

    I write to you from my vacation, meaning, this time, the dusty port town of Kaolack in sunny Senegal. (What, your vacations don’t involve long hours spent riding in–or, sometimes, on–overcrowded West African inter-city public transit? Weirdo.) On arrival I picked up an Orange SIM card, which cost 1000 francs (US $2) and came with 1000 francs of credit. And then my cab driver… Read More

  • Let’s Kill The Aid Industry

    Let’s Kill The Aid Industry

    Long have I nursed a healthy contempt for the aid industry. As I spent much of a decade wandering around the planet, taking local public transit through poor and/or unstable nations, I kept encountering aid workers in their flashy white branded 4x4s, and was almost invariably resoundingly unimpressed. As I’ve written elsewhere: Most development aid is actively harmful. Read More

  • TxtEagle Raises $8.5 Million To Give 2.1 Billion A Voice

    TxtEagle Raises $8.5 Million To Give 2.1 Billion A Voice

    Never mind tablets, smartphones, and mobile-social-location-photo-sharing apps. Heck, never mind computers. The single most important technology of the last half-century, the one that has drastically changed the day-to-day existence of very nearly everyone on Earth, remains the plain old GSM phone; unloved and half-forgotten in NYC and Silicon Valley, but still used by the billion in the rest… Read More

  • The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

    The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

    My advice for the new year: go East and South, young man and woman … and investor. America, Europe, and Japan are stagnant and ponderous. More and more, in the coming years, the real moving and shaking will happen elsewhere. “2011 will be the year Android explodes!” cried a recent headline, citing a new Broadcom chipset that will reportedly make sub-$100 unsubsidized… Read More