Sam Floy

Interesting posts about start ups, East Africa and fried chicken

Category: Other Writing (page 1 of 3)

Relying on people vs “the system”

I’ve hosted a few visitors from Europe here in Kenya recently which has exposed a bit of a cultural difference: how people make bookings.

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“Can you drop your pin?”

Last weekend there was in interesting discussion about phrases which now have a completely new meaning.

In 2019, asking someone to drop their pin is (I think) widely understood to mean sending someone your current location.

Even 5 years ago it could’ve been construed as an instruction to fumble your sewing box.

This naturally got us on to other examples of common parlance which would seem nonsensical in previous times.

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Vitamins

This week I had vitamins on my mind. 

From Tuesday-Wednesday I had a borderline flu-cold* and so to remedy had several weeks’ worth of lemon consumption in a 48 hour period.

With all this Vitamin C doing its business, it got me realising that I didn’t actually know if there was any logic behind the letter naming convention.

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How to find (and keep) a Significant Other

I’ve had a few conversations with people recently about how it’d be nice to have a boyfriend/girlfriend.

There were lots of similarities in the conversations. We brainstormed some ideas, and so I thought I’d share the essence in the text below. For those in long-standing relationships, there’s a link for you at the bottom.

Anyway, off we go…

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Conversation starters

There are a few lists out there of expansive questions you can ask people beyond “What do you do?”. E.g. here.

One I always like is “Are you more like your Mum or your Dad? Is it 50:50, 70:30..? Why?”

Recently I’ve enjoyed asking the question “What’s the story behind your [Whatsapp/ Facebook] profile picture?”

It’s almost always a fairly interesting anecdote which people get happy talking about, and can be a springboard into lots of other interesting topics about a person (travels, hobbies etc.).

Do you have any questions you like to ask?

Note this initially featured on the weekly newsletter, to see more and sign up, see here

2018 in review

As this is the last newsletter of the year it feels like I should at least make some attempt to write something thoughtful.

Rather than a chronological run through of what’s been happening, I’ll instead share some things I’ve been thinking about, which you might find interesting to read.

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Hypothesis on sugary tobacco vs sports betting in Kenya

There’s a concept in economics of substitute goods. Basically if the demand one for one product goes, demand for another goes down.

If pasta becomes super popular then you might see sales in couscous go down (substitute good). Other products though, such as tomato sauce, may instead go up in demand (complementary goods).

Anyway, two conversations last week made me think there might be such a relationship going on between two slightly contentious products in East Africa, which could have some interesting implications…

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What is your normal?

A friend has just quit his job and started travelling. This week he told me a story of an Italian guy he met living on the Kenyan coast who is currently building a boat.

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Shoes

For the most part, I dress incredibly boring.

I’d say 280/365 days a year I wear the same (type of) blue chino trousers, and will rotate a few basic T-shirts/ jumpers depending on the season. Which in Kenya, ranges from bit chilly – quite hot – pretty hot.

When it comes to shoes, I was very much the same, basically something comfortable (yet undistinctive).

This changed when I met Julius.

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Disaster Planning: what to do before you get robbed

Last weekend my wallet was stolen.

Nothing violent, my girlfriend had her bag taken from the back of her bike whilst we were cycling in Copenhagen and in it was her phone, wallet and my wallet etc.

Anyway, this isn’t a sympathy cause, but instead an opportunity to reflect on what measures one can take to prevent such a situation turning into a logistical nightmare.

Below are some thoughts. The idea is ever we never think about this sort of stuff until it’s too late, and so by taking 30-60 minutes this weekend, you can ensure you at least have some things covered.

I should note that the great irony here is that literally that morning I’d been in conversation with a good friend who had some things stolen and was saying how, now that he mentioned it, I was not that well prepared. Oh karma.

Include numbers to call on your lock screen
If an honest person finds your phone they can easily see who to dial in case of emergency. Also consider including email address/ Facebook name

Turn on “find my phone” feature
Google has Find My Device app. Apple has it in-built, I believe

Have back up cards at home
To avoid not being able to withdraw money whilst your bank cards are being replaced. Consider even opening a separate bank account (obv with no fees) for such a purpose.

Hide cash money in your bag
If only your purse is pinched, then at least you have some back up there to get home

Save copies of your important docs “in the cloud”
Handy if you need to know your bank account number or ID information. The key is for it not just be saved locally on your phone, but somewhere where you can access it wherever there’s an internet connection.

I have a devoted folder in Evernote, though Google Drive/ Dropbox works too

Examples of “important docs”
– Bank account numbers
– Passport/ driving licence copies
– Record of vaccinations
– National ID number
– Screenshot of the About section of your phone (for if you need to disable it)

Have Whatsapp chat automatically back up
It’s in the Settings. It’ll auto-sync to Google Drive. Means you don’t lose all of your chats when switching phone.

Keep your phone number when replacing your SIM card
When you get a new one you can switch the default number to your old one. Easier to slip back into things.

Use Google Drive/ Dropbox as your default place to store files
More of a laptop thing. Rather than saving in My Documents, be in the habit of computer stuff being in the cloud. Means it won’t be lost forever.

Get insurance!
Sounds simple, but can be overlooked.

At the more extreme end of the spectrum (mainly if you’re travelling in areas with a high chance of getting mugged) you could also consider:
– Having a “throwaway wallet” to give said muggers. Include a bit of cash and a few credit-card-looking store cards so it looks legit
– Have a “safety phrase” to say to someone to communicate you’re in danger/ under duress
– Hiding cash in your shoes/ bra (if you’re inclined to wearing on)

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