Category Archives: Technology, mobile, internet

OLX App Offers a Faster Way to Browse/Sell

Despite friends’ misgivings about olx (so many cons there, you have to be careful), I have actually used for some two great deals: a laptop and a baby car seat. The thing about olx that you have to realize is that it’s a platform to connect buyers and sellers, and cons have always been there even offline.

I recently downloaded the OLX app and was surprised at the ease of navigation and fast loading of the pages (yes I was on Safaricom internet!).

The user interface is really simple and neat.

OLX App loading screen
OLX App loading screen

It instantly picked the location nearest to me so that when I search for deals, I get the most relevant and most accessible deals.

Oh wait, this is yet another welcoming screen.

Oh wait, another welcoming screen on the OLX App.
Oh wait, another welcoming screen on the OLX App.

Ok here’s the screen that has already picked location. Loading was really quite fast. Maybe it was the timing, so the internet was a bit faster as more people were asleep!

OLX app showing Komarock as my nearest location!
OLX app showing Komarock as my nearest location!

From here, I randomly browsed by category (Cars) just to see what I would get and how the app works. I instantly got the cars being listed near/around Komarock.

olx app 4

I wondered if it’s possible to change location, I mean, if you are looking for something as big as a car, your location shouldn’t be limited to just your constituency or something!

Just tapping on the location, I was able to zoom out to the larger location of Nairobi. You can also choose to list all cars listed in Kenya;  and so on..

Cars listed in Nairobi using olx app
Cars listed in Nairobi using olx app

 

I tried to navigate to other categories as well, the transition was just as smooth and fast. I think if you have a reliable internet connection,, you’re likely to enjoy browsing for deals using the app. As you can see, my location chosen now is the larger geographical area “Kenya”, and you can narrow or widen your search area as much as you like.

Searching for a different category on olx app
Searching for a different category on olx app

Narrowing down location to Komarock, I get jobs and services in my area.

testing
Narrowing down location to Komarock on the olx app

You can also apply various filters to your search, such as prices, make of cars etc.

You can also save your search for future reference.

If you’re selling something, it’s easier to upload pics directly from the phone as opposed to first transferring them to the computer then uploading on the olx site, or relying on the stability of your browser to maintain the connection as you try to upload the pics.

The app is available on  iOS, Android, Nokia ad blackberry app stores. Here’s the link to the Android one 

Try it out and give me feedback on its usability!

 

OLX to Sponsor the 2014 Social Media Awards

Last year, I was part the panel of judges for the inaugural Olx social media awards in Kenya. Our work was to shortlisted five out of all the the  nominated persons/accounts in each of the categories, and then the public would do the final voting. This year, I am happy to announce that I will also be a judge :) The list has not changed from last year. The awards culminated in a gala dinner at the Laico Regency. OLX is also the sponsor for this year’s Social Media Awards.

OLX to sponsor social media awards
OLX to sponsor social media awards

 

Last year, the OLX Social Media Awards had 25 categories including Social Media News Channel of the Year, Social Media Personality of the Year, Social Media Corporate Award of the Year and Social Media Innovation of the Year.  New categories will be introduced this year to make the Awards more exciting and inclusive.

 

For the full list of nominees and winners of the 2013 Inaugural Social Media awards, click on the link!

I will keep you updated on when the nominations are open so you can nominate your favorite social media influencers, we judges will shortlist them based on criteria that we will share with the public, and finally you will get the chance to vote for the final winner.

The awards create a platform for individuals and organizations to celebrate the contribution of social media in the social, economic and political spheres by recognizing those who have used it positively to impact lives.

Yes, There are Things You Cannot Sell on OLX!

Jokes and taglines aside (Everything sells!), there are some things that you cannot sell on olx (or any other online platform for that matter), for various reasons. Mostly legal and/or cultural.

OLX has to validate ads to ensure no laws are being violated before allowing them to go live, that is why when you post an ad, you might be told to wait for sometime before the ad can appear on the website.

For legal reasons, below are some things you cannot sell online:

  • Babies or any human beings or body parts or bodily fluids!

    baby for sale
    baby for sale
  • Illegal/outlawed/banned drugs e.g. marijuana, cocaine, miraa (if in the UK!)
  • Any content that violates copyright or trademark, especially if you do not own that copyright
  • Any content that violates intellectual property (IP) of another, especially if you don’t own that IP e.g. pirated movies, music, patents
  • Porn – this is a no no
  • Information regarding other people without their consent
  • Stolen items – don’t post stolen cars, phones, computers..
  • Don’t advertise your pyramid schemes, chain marketing etc
  • Illegal services such as soliciting are not allowed!
  • No pictures of frontal nudity!
  • No weapons

    No guns allowed
    No guns allowed

For cultural and personal reasons, please don’t put up for sale the following items on the site (not exhaustive):

  • Used cosmetics and other used personal items such as combs, toothbrushes, underwear
  • Tobacco products
  • Alcoholic drinks etc

Check out olx for the full list of things not allowed for sale on the website.

So while everything sells on olx, remember, only within legal and cultural limits!

Pivot East 2014 Winners

I know I am late in publishing this list, since the competition and conference ended last week. Pivot East was held at Panari this year, and the winners in the five categories were picked from a pitching contest in which five start-ups were shortlisted for each category.

Pivot east 2014 winners
Pivot East 2014 winners

Here are the winners of PIVOT East 2014

Mobile Society Category

SokoText (Kenya): SokoText uses SMS based pre-ordering service to make it easier for small mama mbogas (fruit and vegetable sellers) in slums to get their daily stock. SokoText is based in Mathare slum in Nairobi.

1st Runners Up: TotoHealth (Kenya). TotoHealth enables hospitals and organizations to communicate and provide targeted information on antenatal & postnatal care using low-cost phones.

Mobile Entertainment category

UbongoKids (Tanzania): Ubongo Kids is a multiplatform, interactive edu-cartoon with SMS interaction broadcasting on TV to kids in Tanzania and online for kids around the world. They are looking to expand across Africa and already have a deal with Startimes to kick this off.

1st Runners up went to Safari Tales (Kenya): Safari Tales is an edutainment android mobile application for children to access Digital African Narratives & learn African Languages. They currently have four complete stories available on the app.
Mobile Enterprise Category

A SiM Mobile (Kenya): ASim Mobile is a supply chain mobile solution integrated seamlessly with most popular accounting, ERP apps in the world.

1st runners up: Online Hisab(Ethiopia) a cloud-based accounting package for Ethiopian SMEs, who are looking for an affordable and easy to use accounting solution.

Mobile Finance Category

ChamaSoft (Kenya): A group management platform which manages administration of chamas, allowing them to concentrate on investment rather than administration.

1st runners up was Beyonic (Uganda): Beyonic seeks to eliminate cash by creating the best solutions that enable business to make payments using mobile money.

Mobile Utilities Category

Sendy (Kenya): A platform for on-demand errands. With the tap of a button, they instantly connect senders and riders and enable payments via mobile phones

(Note, I have actually used the Sendy app before, read my review here)

1st runners up were MaraMoja (Kenya) -Maramoja is Kenyan social enterprise dedicated to providing easy access to safe, reliable transport services through your mobile device.

The founders award went to Online Hisab a cloud-based accounting package for Ethiopian SMEs, who are looking for an affordable and easy to use accounting solution.

The winners of the competition will get funding amounting to 10,000 dollars per startup from m:lab East Africa. The funding will be split into two halves, the first being a $5,000 grant. The other $5,000 will be an investment which may be topped up by other investors

Using Sendy

This post was first published on the Sendy Blog

It’s one thing to write about an app after learning about it, it’s another to actually use the app and experience it for yourself. After learning about Sendy, I downloaded it from Google Play,  but didn’t use it for a while.

Sendy app on my phone
Sendy app installed on my phone, right next to Calls Blacklist .. very useful apps.

 I had bought a book for a friend and was having a challenge delivering it to them, because of distance and hectic schedules. So this week, I have been working in Industrial Area in Nairobi, and my friend works on the other side of town in Kilimani. The obvious solution was to have a rider deliver it, so I opened the Sendy app. At first, it had my location at Bunyala road, so I tapped on the screen to update my location and it did so immediately, I didn’t even have to turn on GPS, I guess it uses your GSM network for location as well.

Sendy rider at Inda
Sendy rider nearest me in Industrial area

There was only one rider who was around me, so I pressed the button for call rider. He informed me his name is Oloo and he would be there in 20 minutes (much less than the app indicated). I told him I needed something delivered to Kilimani and he quoted his price, which was reasonable. So he agreed to come over, as he was in town.

I had cash, so when he arrived in the 20 minutes, I just paid him. But if you don’t have cash (or change) you can pay through M-Pesa or your VISA card.

Oloo called me about 30 minutes later and told me had delivered the book. Calling my friend confirmed receipt. So I texted Oloo to tell him thanks and saved his number for future use.

I remember asking him how he signed up for Sendy. He told me he had to go through a lengthy vetting process including getting a certificate of good conduct from the CID, but he has had good business so far. So you can trust Sendy riders.

But come to think of it, I don’t need to save all numbers of all riders I come across; because once they have the Sendy app on their phones, it tracks their location. If I ever need a package delivered, all I have to do is load the Sendy app on my phone and get the nearest riders available around me, and the estimated time until they arrive at my location. Usually, the time they take to arrive is much less than indicated in the app, because they’re on motorbike thus not hindered by traffic. You can always call them to confirm their ETA.

Later, when I was having coffee at Savannah Lounge at Sameer Business Park, I tried out the app and it had updated my location and the nearest rider information had also changed.

A Sendy rider nearest Sameer Business Park
A Sendy rider nearest Sameer Business Park

I’d suggest everyone download this app and keep it in their phone, because you never know when you will need it.

It’s simplicity is astounding, the first page you load is the one showing you riders around you. You just have to sign up first after downloading it. Let me know your experience with it once you have used it.

Everything Sells? Why Not Find Out

There are many odd things on sale on olx Kenya. Not in the least, rabbit urine. As more and more people get online looking for deals, the market expands for the seller. There should be no limit to what anyone can buy/sell online (within legal limits!)

airport for sale
Haha, someone was once trying to sell an aiport. Image from http://www.trending.co.ke/vip_lounge_burnt_down_and_othe-219513221.html

So do you have something you never thought could sell online, that probably couldn’t find a ‘category’? – although I think there is a “Miscellaneous” category.

Anyway, random stuff that you can sell include:

  • Kids’ uniforms that your kids only wore for a few days/months
  • Unused gifts from Christmas/Valentines/other gift-giving seasons
  • I typed “sisters” and got 3 results.. no one trying to sell their sisters, the results were a cleaning crew and a “Sister’s Estate”
  • Another random word “little” and got 137 or so results. Basically anything you type you will get a result.
  • Books that you’ve outgrown
  • Quails and all sorts of animals

What miscellaneous stuff would you like to sell? Put it up and it will probably sell. And if you’re thinking of buying anything, check the deals/prices on olx first.

Safari Tales, The Kids App We’ve Been Waiting For

If you’ve been looking for a kids app that tells traditional folk stories in English, Kiswahili and other African languages, then Safari Tales is what you need. The application is free to download from Google Play.

Safari Tales application
Safari Tales application

The application has:

  • Folk Tales
  • Poems & Tongue twisters
  • Songs- Nursery Rhymes & Lullabies
  • Learn Kiswahili
  • Have fun offline – upcoming Kiddie events

The features of the application include:

  • All African Folklore in one application
  •  “Read to Me” — hear the narration as you read the story
  •  “Read it Myself” — read the book in its traditional form
  •  “Auto Play” — plays like a movie, automatically reading and turning pages.
  •  Tap on a word to read its meaning from an in-built dictionary
  •  A full library of traditional African Folklore: ¸ Free first Bundle of books!

If you have young kids and they’re tired of playing fruit ninja, angry birds, temple run and whatever other games kids play on your android devices, download this app today and let me know your feedback. I will probably do another post when I have interacted with this app fully.

Here’s the link in case you missed it.

 

Guys, It is Time to Let Go

What makes a classifieds website work, such as olx, is the depth of content and information available. It is the number of items and listing that they have on their website. And they depend on the public to put up those listings, for free. A free marketplace with lots of potential buyers, a chance to make money on oddities and items that are no longer useful in your life.

Keep calm and let go, or whatever
Keep calm and let go, or whatever

Wardrobe

Your wardrobe should look like this. Image from linkedin
Your wardrobe should look like this. Image from linkedin

Take a look at your wardrobe. How many handbags/shoes/clothes and other items do you have that you have not worn in years? Personally I know I need to do some spring cleaning. Some stuff is good enough to earn some extra cash on olx. So take a look at your wardrobe and let go of anything you haven’t won in the last 1 year, including jewellery and watches. That dress you bought years ago when you thought you’d lose weight or for the perfect occasion that has never arrived.

Furniture and Accessories

Your living room should NOT look like this. Image from clutterbgone.ca
Your living room should NOT look like this. Image from clutterbgone.ca

You might have lots of furniture lying around, such as computer desks for when you had a desktop. Some decoration accessories stored boxes. Maybe you need a new set of furniture so in this case, sell the old one, and top up for a new one. So, tidy up your life and let go of furniture and decorating accessories that are crowding your space. Anything and everything can be listed on olx.

Phones, Tablets and Electronics

These must be the most selling items on the site, so if you have extra phones/tablets/electronics lying around, let these go too..

In fact, a classifieds site is the perfect de-cluttering tool, and there is the extra motivation of making some extra cash. So stop hoarding stuff, it’s unhealthy :)

Image from forbes.com

Bitcoin, the Virtual Currency, Explained

First, what is bitcoin? spending-bitcoins Bitcoin is a crypto-currency that exists only in the digital sense – in your mobile phone, or computer (digital wallet). There is no bitcoin hard currency like notes or coins. It is secured using cryptography (public-key encryption) to make it hard for hackers to spend bitcoins from other people’s wallets. To understand bitcoin, I suggest you read this comprehensive article from Forbes. It’s not hard to understand digital currency if you can understand M-Pesa.

  • You want to buy goods/services, you can send someone money via M-Pesa (or via bitcoin exchange), you just get their number(identifier) and send it using your M-Pesa SIM Toolkit (bitcoin app) on your phone;
  • You can also receive money from someone through M-Pesa (bitcoins).
  • You can pay for stuff online as well, just like you do using VISA cards or M-Pesa or Paypal. The charges of using bitcoin for transactions are less than the traditional means.
  • At the end of the day, if you want cold, hard cash (some places don’t accept M-Pesa (bitcoins)), you can go to an M-Pesa agent (bitcoin exchange) and withdraw the cash in Kshs(dollar/euro/pound). There are a number of people making money from buying bitcoins at a lower rate and selling when the rates are higher (speculation).

What’s So Fascinating About Bitcoin?

1. Process of mining it

What I find interesting about bitcoin is the process of creating bitcoins. For traditional currencies such as the Kenyan Shilling, the Central Bank of Kenya is responsible for printing the cash (although De La Rue is the contracted printer) and regulating supply. For bitcoin, the digital sequences that determine the bitcoins are generated by an algorithm designed by Satoshi Nakamoto. The maximum number of bitcoins that can be generated is 21 million. The process of generating these coins is called mining. Currently, about 12.3 million bitcoins have been mined, or brought into circulation. You too, can mine you own bitcoins, with special hardware that you buy. (You need money to make money!). Here’s a techcrunch review of a bitcoin miner. However, for small scale miners coming in late in the game, it is going to take you ages to make any decent return on your investment. The reviewer ran a collection of three 1 GH/s ASICs (each costs about $12) and got about $1 a month. In this case, it will take you 3 years to break even. Who said mining was easy?

2. Mysterious founder of Bitcoin

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto, the original designer of the bitcoin algorithm? Is he one person, is it a group of people? Is he/they really Japanese?

Satoshi Nakamoto?
Image from jimharold.com

We will never know. Nakamoto is believed to be in possession of roughly one million bitcoins. At one point in December 2013, this was the equivalent of US$1.1 billion. Have a look at the original paper by Satoshi Nakamoto and if you’re a profiler, please leave a comment on who you think he is. The fact that he doesn’t want to be found seems to make bitcoin even more popular.

3. Control is Peer to Peer

While traditional currencies are controlled by the equivalent Central Banks, bitcoin is unregulated. The bitcoin system has no central repository and no single administrator, rather transactions are recorded in a public ledger which every user in the network has access to. It is not recognized legally as a currency but it is gaining acceptance and popularity steadily.

4. Its popularity and volatility

A number of travel agents, and online service providers are accepting payments in form of bitcoins. Although it was launched in 2009, it didn’t gain popularity as much as it did last year. In the beginning of 2013, the exchange rate to the dollar was $13. It heat a peak of $1,200 in November 2013 and right now as I blog it is at $644.65. If you’re into gambling, purchase some coins from bitcoin wallet providers. There is actually a Kenyan wallet provider called bitX Kenya!

5. Coin Exchanges

To exchange bitcoins for traditional currencies, a number of coin exchanges (forex bureaus?) are available. Here is a complete list. Note: there are several other crypto-currencies following in bitcoin’s path.

How to Get Your Ad Noticed on OLX

I know a number of people who are trying to sell their stuff online, but they wait by their phone all day and it doesn’t ring, and they wonder what they are doing wrong.

Here are tips to get noticed:

Have a Clear, Detailed Title

Your title should be descriptive, if it is an electronics gadget, make sure it has the manufacturer name, type and model.

Examples of good titles
Examples of good titles

 

Pictures, pictures, pictures

Take good, clear pictures. Don’t use generic images from the web because you won’t look genuine. Anyone can get images from the web… so take your own pictures, and not just one.. but many. You can upload up to 17 pictures!

You can upload up to 17 pictures
You can upload up to 17 pictures

 

Description

Be precise, but provide enough detail. You can ramble and praise your item as much as possible, but honesty is key to winning a buyer’s trust.

Pricing

Pricing is of course, key. Look around to see how much others are selling similar items, and set the right price. And because you have the title, the pictures and the description well done, then you’re likely to sell your item faster.

Provide a reliable contact

When you give out a number, be available for contact, or state the hours you will be available. If someone calls your number several times and you don’t pick, they will move on to the next person.

Every few seconds, people’s ads are popping up online of similar items. So after 3 days if you ad hasn’t sold, you might consider editing the above details.

What other tips do you guys use to sell your stuff on classified sites?

If you have any unanswered questions, check out the FAQs.