Pareto Efficient

In search of pareto improvements

Posts Tagged ‘cell phone

Day #2: Setup Infrastructure

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I awoke early this morning (5:30 am) thanks to the dueling symphony of rooster(s), birds, dogs, goats and monkeys.

Pretty cool

Pretty cool





Despite the 10 hour time change I feel fine.  Perhaps my several month stint with polyphaic sleep has conditioned me to recover quickly with short naps.

Today, I need to get my infrastructure setup:

  • Exchange money
  • Buy a cellphone
  • Locate reliable internet

You can read my recommendations on infrastructure at the bottom of the post.


As I headed into town, it was clear that the labor force of Kampala was over-invested in transportation – especially the motorcycles (boda bodas).

You see, bodas are notorious for dangerous driving habits.  They are usually unskilled, untrained, young men who split lanes, drive into oncoming traffic, hold little regard for human life.  In fact, several months ago, the gov’t passed a law that required bodas to wear helmets and provide helmets for passengers too.  The law was completely ignored.

After talking with some locals, I thought of a way to promote safer boda driving and enhance the earnings of bodas.  You can read about it here if you’re interested.

How to…

Recommendations for currency in Uganda.  Don’t bring very much USD.  Just use your Visa ATM Debit card at the Barclays downtown Kampala.  Its fast, the exchange rate is fair and it reduces the likelihood of serious theft in transit.  Note: Stanbic Bank ATMs didn’t work with my Wells Fargo ATM card.

I was shocked at the ease of setup for mobile phones in Uganda.  I bought a low-end Nokia for $30.  Then, I bought an MTN sim card (the card that actually carries your phone number) for $2.  Then, I bought $10 of airtime and loaded it onto my phone by dialing *155# + the access code.  The entire process took less than 10 minutes.  Amazing.

Follow me! Follow me to freedom!

Security guards in the US carry flashlights.  In Uganda, they carry an AK-47s.  This guy was pretty cool.

I was trying to convince him to get his security guards together and carry out a coup against this store’s competitors.  That’s what I’d do if I had a store front in Kampala — just amass an army of security guards and mount offensives against my competitors.  When you security guard has an AK, who needs an army?

Though Red Chili has internet, it is slow.  So slow, in fact, that I could not even log into Godaddy to setup this blog.  I need fast internet, and, despite searching all day, I was unable to find it.


Written by thetyson

October 9, 2008 at 1:47 pm