Efficiency Is Free by Seth Godin

As you know, I love Seth Godin’s blog – short, sweet and to the point. Here’s the piece on efficiency:

“Philip Crosby wrote a seminal book (Quality is Free) in which he argued that it’s cheaper to build things right the first time than it is to fix them later. Obvious now, but heresy in Detroit 1980. Quality quickly became not just a better way to manufacture, it became a marketing benefit as well. Not only was quality cheaper to make, it was cheaper to sell.

I’m struck that we need a new book, call it Efficiency is Free.

It’s cheaper to build carpets that don’t create poison gas than it is to do the easy thing and let people suffer later. It’s cheaper to build an 8 passenger car that gets 30 miles per gallon than it is to suffer the consequences of the 12 mile per gallon Suburban. It’s cheaper to design smaller, lighter and recyclable shipping containers once than it is to buy and hassle with billions of foam peanuts in the long run.

So why doesn’t everyone do this? For the same reason the quality revolution took a full generation to take hold – it costs more right now. It takes planning right now. It requires change right now.

Right now will always be difficult. But efficiency is still free.


Ian Lurie – Conversation Marketing

I found this article through @RasMbisi on Twitter – Michelle Vickers from Ras Mbisi Lodge on Mafia Island off the coast of Tanzania. The piece comes from Ian Lurie @portentint on Twitter (that’s him above) from his blog conversation marketing. There are certain things I hate about websites and it was nice to read that others do too. The original piece was Ian’s “Here’s my 13-step process for making sure your customers hate you. Just build these features into your web site.” I’ve picked the 9 that really annoy me (and that I understood!!)

1: The Flash Intro
Somehow people still argue with me, saying that 120 seconds of totally pointless dancing raisins, spinning squares and cheesy, porn-inspired music loops is a good marketing tactic. It’s not. How do you feel when they show commercials at the movie theater? They get in the way, right? So does that nasty, pointless flash intro. It’s like a sleezy sales guy standing outside The Ritz. Even worse, it drives away the search engines, too. If you want your customers to hate you, put a nice, long Flash intro on your home page. Even better, make sure there’s no way to skip it.

2: The Every Page Link
You don’t really have to link back to your webmaster/designer from every single page of your site.

3: Animated Buttons
Use any of these on your site and I will find your server, pour a milkshake into the power supply and then run down the street shrieking with laughter. If you want your customers to despise you, use lots and lots of animated buttons.

4: Take Over My Browser, Why Dontcha?
Gotta love this one. You go to a web site. Then your browser blinks, goes into a kind of fit, and suddenly fills your whole screen. What the hell?! Someone suddenly decided you needed a ‘cinematic’ experience, so they used a javascript to maximize your browser window. That’s actually OK, unless you’re like me and have a 24″ monitor. Then your browser suddenly explodes in your face like you’ve entered hyperspace. The web site you visited appears as a tiny little rectangle in the middle of the screen or your computer crashes because it can’t handle drawing an animation at 5x normal size. If you want your customers to find sticks with rusty nails in them and then find you, take over their browser and make it really big.

5: Have a Soundtrack
Some sites might deserve a soundtrack. But if you’re an estate agent, I don’t want to hear the first ten bars of the Star Spangled Banner, converted to tinny MIDI format, played over and over. Want everyone to wish a pox on both your houses? Have an annoying, repetitious soundtrack.

6: Write Really Long Sentences With No Punctuation and Then Use Bad Grammar Too So That I can’t Tell What the Hell You’re Saying
Please, just hire a copywriter, OK? Or, just keep writing crappy copy. So that your customers can hate you.

7: Have An Incomprehensible Tag Cloud
I don’t hate all tag clouds. But every now and then I see one with 250+ terms in 4 colors and almost infinite different sizes. It’s like the blogger wants me to run away. Obstacle-oriented design. I love it. Trust me, folks won’t like you if you use a horrifically large, impossible to read tag cloud.

8: Make Me Register
Oh, no you didn’t! You did not just sell me on your product, get me all happy to buy it, and then ask me to fill out an entire registration form for the honor of giving you my money! Actually, at least half the e-commerce sites I see still do exactly that. “We want to make sure we can contact them,” is what I hear a lot. I also get “We want them to be able to order more quickly next time.” Then give them the option of saving their information, at the end of the checkout process. Gasp.

9: Make a Popup Appear When I (try to) Leave
I visit your site. I don’t like you, or I’m not ready to buy right now. Do you really think that popping up a window when I try to leave is going to make me change my mind? Let’s see: “Hmmm. I didn’t really need what you have to sell me. But since you’re being unbelievably annoying, I’ll think I’ll buy something.” Nope. If you want your customers outside your house with pitchforks, have a popup window that appears when they try to leave your site.

Has a way with words our Ian doesn’t he? But spot on he is!


Avoiding Momentum

As usual Seth Godin’s blog gives great food for thought. When you read the piece below it amounts to self-confidence doesn’t it? That’s not always common in this part of the world. Seth writes:

“Some days, even the best dentist doesn’t feel like being a dentist. And a lifeguard might not feel like being a lifeguard. Fortunately, they have appointments, commitments and jobs. They have to show up. They have to start doing the work. And most of the time, this jump start is sufficient to get them over the hump, and then they go back to being in the zone and doing their best work.

Momentum is incredibly useful to someone who has to overcome fear, dig in deep and ship. Momentum gives you a reason to overcome your fear and do your art, because there are outside forces and obligations that keep you moving. Without them, you’d probably stumble and fall.

And yet…

And yet many of us fear too much momentum. We look at a project launch or a job or another new commitment as something that might get out of control. It’s one thing to be a folk singer playing to a hundred people a night in a coffeehouse, but what if the momentum builds and you become a star? A rock star? With an entourage and appearances and higher than high expectations for your next work. That’s a lot of momentum, no?

Deep down, this potential for an overwhelming response alerts the lizard brain and we hold back. We’re afraid of being part of something that feels like it might be too big for us.

Hint: it probably isn’t.”


George Soulchild – Guest Blog

George Soulchild, co-presenter of our weekly radio show The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient ft George Soulchild, gives us his regular look at the Zambian musical scene:

Zambian Hip Hop artist, CRISIS (aka Mr Swagger) is heading to Zimbabwe to perform alongside Akon and Sean Paul at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, along with other African artists who have been invited by Zimswag Entertainment, the organisers. The show will take place on September 4th and starts at 12:00 noon. The concert is all about uniting African artists in the region by encouraging them to work together as one, as the late Bob Marley and Tracy Chapman did back in the day.

CRISIS said he’ll go with JK (pictured above), another Zambian artist, with whom he’ll perform the song ‘One Day’ from his first album. He said that other songs he’ll perform are ‘Make The Crowd Go’ from his new album and ‘The Fire Inside’. CRISIS said that he’s excited to have the opportunity to perform alongside Akon and Sean Paul and hopes that they can do a collaboration in future. He said about 50,000 fans are expected to attend the show which is not only for Zimbabweans, but also people from other African countries.

He also said there’ll be an after party for all artists at Rainbow Towers in Harare. To ensure that many Akon fans travel to Zimbabwe for the live concert, the Zambian airline, Zambezi Airways will reduce the fare for those going to attend the concert, as they are one of the companies sponsoring the show. Tickets are going at $10 for kids, $15 for stadium ground, $25 for sitting, $50 VIP and Golden Circle $100.

Sensational singer Jordan Katembula popularly knows as JK launched his ‘Akapilipili’ Album in South Africa. The album as become a hit on the Zambian music scene. The launch was on Saturday August 28, at Monte Casino in Johannesburg where JK was accompanied by two artistes, Indie K who recently released her ‘Chipuba Chandi’ album, and Afunika. JK’s South African fans were ready for the Zambian star and showed up in numbers to see him.

JK was also accompanied Bizzy Wizzy of Klub Vegas, one of the hottest clubs in Zambia, who displayed his skills during the show. JK is expected to tour Zambia to promote his album which has captured many of his local music lovers. Some of the songs that JK performed were ‘Ka Pillow’, ‘Concrete Mixer’, ‘Kanyimbo’, ‘Poison’ and many more. Other Zambian artistes that have recently been to South Africa for performances include Mampi, Dalisoul, K’Millian, Petersen and Ozzy who is currently promoting his ‘Kobili’ album,

JK recently released his single ‘Akapilipili’ song which features Salma Dodia another upcoming Zambian artist. The video for the ‘Akapilipili’ song is already being played on MTVBase and Channel O. This is JK’s fifth Album.

Jamaican born, Canadian based RnB dancehall female duet Brick n Lace performed two Saturdays ago at Barclays Bank Sports Complex in Lusaka, Zambia for its local fans. Brick n Lace popularly known for ‘Love Is Wicked’ and ‘Never Never’ performed most of their new songs on stage and managed to entertain some of their Zambian fans. Most of the Zambian artistes who were invited to perform at the show were not allowed to mingle with their counterparts even though they performed on the same stage.

Mahogany Entertainments arranged two VIP lounges one for Brick n Lace with other foreign artistes while the Zambian artistes were made to occupy the other. The Zambian artistes were not in the slightest bit amused about this segregation! The security for the duo was very tight and the fans only managed to mingle with artistes on stage during their performance. The media personnel were also not given the privilege of interviewing the foreign artistes as they were not allowed access to the VIP lounge either, and although the show started late, the foreign artistes tried their best to entertain the fans.

The artistes that performed at the show were Jozi from South Africa and TR and TEF (a combination of a Zambian and Canadian duo). The local artistes were B Flow, P-Jay, Indie K, JK, Judy, Slap Dee, J-Bus, Cactus Agony, and CQ among others. It is the first time the duo Brick n Lace (Nyanda and Nailah Thoubourne) have visited and performed in Zambia to market their music. They came into the country under Mahogany Entertainments.”

Thanks George, great piece!


George Soulchild – Guest Blog

Here’s George Soulchild’s guest blog for the week. The photo is of an Ngoma Award statuette. I was lucky enough to win one in 2008 for my contribution towards the development of Zambian musicians!

“The National Arts Council of Zambia (NAC) and other stakeholders have started organizing the 14th Ngoma Awards show to take place on December 3 in Lusaka. This year’s theme is ‘Growing the Creative Industry’. The event has more than seven categories – visual arts, creative writing, media arts, music, drama, children’s theatre, traditional dance and theatre comedy – just to mention a few. The creative industry is growing tremendously and this year there will be about 24 awards given to the most deserving artists in the country.

The Ngoma Awards shows started in 1997 and were first held in Lusaka, Zambia. Then they were known as National Honours Awards but in 1998 the name was changed to Ngoma Awards. The first awards show was held at Lusaka Intercontinental Hotel. In the past two years the awards shows were held in Livingstone and Kitwe respectively, in the Southern and Copperbelt provinces of Zambia. The show is held every year to honour Zambian artists who have done exceptional work deserving to be recognised and appreciated.

Alpha Romeo – A new kid on the block
Alpha Romeo is the new kid on the block, his music style is mainly hip-hop sung in Nyanja and he is quite popular with young people. His first single ‘Will’ was released some time late last year. His lyrics are full of social commentary and his most popular song at the moment is ‘’Rumour’’ produced by KB for K-Amy Entertainment. We played this track on the Chanters show as our second local number. Alpha’s14 track album ‘President’ drops next week and is something all hip-hop fans should look out for.
Crystal Shaun – The most underrated artist
Crystal Shaun aka Webster Chilufya has been in the local music industry since the late 90’s when he was still doing his secondary education at Mpika Boys School along with fellow local artistes Runnel and Danny. He dropped his first album in 2004 – it carried the smash hit song “Elina” featuring Runnel produced by TK of Romaside Studio in Lusaka. His follow up album was released under David Sling Studio also based in Lusaka. Crystal Shaun is one of the most underrated artists on the local scene as he’s got so much more to offer. If you take some time to listen to any of his work you’ll agree with me. His style of music is soft raga sung in Bemba and Nyanja. He is currently in the studio cooking up his new sound. On the Chanters’ show we played a song titled ‘’Chimami’’ from his forthcoming album which still untitled.”

Thanks George for your usual entertaining and interesting insight!


George Mukwita – Guest Blog

Here’s George Mukwita’s Guest blog for the week. George, who works under the name of ‘George Soulchild’ co-hosts our weekly radio show which goes out live every Sunday at 20.30 hrs on Zambezi Radio 107.7 fm – ‘imitated but never duplicated’.

Local artist Robert Banda AKA Roberto has been nominated for this year’s African music awards in the following categories: best artist Southern Africa, best African new comer, best collaboration with Toniks of Uganda. The Awards are set for the 15th of October 2010. His new song ‘Your Love’ sung in English and Nyanja from his forthcoming album played for the first time on 107.7 Zambezi FM on my breakfast show and we also featured it on the Chanters show just days after its release, its red hot! Something for this coming summer I must add.

Danny is labelled as one of the BIG 5 local artists, his new song ”Live” has like all of his songs in the past received criticism in one way or the other. In his new song Danny educates on the importance of consistent and correct use of condoms every time one has sex…In a twisted clever way bringing out the artistic self that he is known for, in the local music industry there are few who can deliver like Danny does. The song is a big hit in the clubs taverns and shabeens it’s also the title track to his new album. We featured it on the Chanters show. Danny has been in the Zambian music industry since 99/2000. His last album didn’t fare so well, now all eyes are on his new project as it promises to do better – guess we just have to wait and see.

Local artist Merriam Mukabe aka Mampi last Friday attracted a very large crowd of Sesheke fans at Goma night club in Katima Mulilo Sesheke, Western Province where she appeared for the first time and delivered a spirited performance that was also meant to introduce some of her new songs from her forthcoming album.

Rumour has it that the Diva has some roots in Sesheke. Therefore it was not surprising that a number of people turned up to witness a daughter coming home. The performance started at 10:30 pm, her stage act was great and it kept the fans screaming for more. After the show she talked about her performance .

“My performance here is one of those usual shows to just help me keep in touch with my fans and let them know what I am working on and that I’m the best when it comes to this because I always aim to give my best. I’m glad I came here – I had no idea how much they love me here. As you may be aware, I am currently working on my new album which hopefully will be released by end of the year. I will be back”

Mampi, whose second and probably most successful album, Chimo ni Chimo was released two years ago says her new project is specifically targeted at introducing her to the international market.

Thanks George!



Livingstone is highly competitive these days in the ‘guest house’ field. When we opened Chanters Lodge in 1998 (as Chanters Guest Lodge) there were perhaps 4 other guest houses in the whole town along with two or three hotels and virtually no restaurants. How different is it today!? On Obote Avenue where we are sited, there are at least three guest houses before you reach us, and signs for another half a dozen! Hotels and restaurants are everywhere.

Seth Godin on a recent blog says this about competition:

“1. Competition validates you. It creates a category. It permits the sale to be this or that, not yes or no. And this or that is a much easier sale to make. It also makes decisions about pricing easier, because you have someone to compare against and lean on.

2. There are six billion people in the world. Even if your market is hand-made spoke shaves for left-handed woodworkers, there are more people in your market than you can ever hope to track down.”

The picture? Our new suite as we try to keep up!


Zambian Music On The Chanters Lodge Experience

On yesterday’s blog about our weekly Sunday night radio show – The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Soulchild – I mentioned that my knowledge of Zambian music is so poor, and lack of venacular language capability so total, that it would be nice if Soulchild (George Mukwita above), could give us the weekly lowdown on the Zambian music we play on the show. I have a Zambian award for the promotion of local musicians and I really feel I should go on with the work! In future we’ll also picture some of the artists and whenever we can, feature them as Guests on the show, as we have sometimes in the past. Anyway here’s George’s first post, and of course we’ll welcome your comments: Thanks Soulchild!

“Firstly, all local producers deserve to be given a merit for their work. Production of Zambian music is no longer the same as it was seven or ten years ago, a clear sign of development in the industry and in the mind set of the producers and creativity of the artists. Local radio stations are now filled with Zambian music from different Artists, out showing their skills and talents in their productions. At least we are all proud that some local productions even have the capability to be aired on Radio Stations outside Zambia. Zambian music has a rich heritage which falls roughly into three categories: Traditional, Popular and Christian.

The first Zambian track we played on Sunday was by Ston featuring Judy titled Fire! It’s a great track, sung in english and produced at K-amy studio in Lusaka, both artists are under that recording studio. Judy dropped her first album some time last year and is currently working on her second. Ston is yet to drop his first project…it could be before the end of the year we just have to wait and see..

Second track we played was by the very well known K’millian titled Mailo meaning “Tomorrow” – the track is in Bemba.The song is talking about helping out someone, a friend in need. It’s lifted off his 4th album. K’millian is currently in the studio cooking up a new album which should be out some time in October this year.

P-jay’s track titled ‘Contolo’ slang for “Control” was our third and final Zambian track on the show. The track talks about a guy losing his control every time he is in the presence of his women! Don’t get it twisted its an all round love song that will keep you dancing!

(‘Contolo’ – now there’s a nice new word for me! And no, don’t get it twisted! Ed)


Nicholas S Muscara

It was kind of Nicholas, pictured above in the Chanters Lodge restaurant with Chanters Girls Monica and Susan, to appear this week on our radio show – The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George Soulchild. Why? Because the show goes out on Livingstone’s Zambezi Radio 107.7 fm at 20.30 hrs every Sunday night, and that just happened to be the time the World Cup Final was on TV! We offered a prize for anyone to tell us by text if there was a score before we went off air and by whom. Half time it was 0-0. Lol, as they say!

“Why?” Milli Jam asked me, a bit mournfully, as the show started, didn’t you cancel the programme because of the football?” I told him our reasons – we believed quite a few people watch football on TV and listen to our show on their phones at the same time. There are plenty of people, especially ladies, who don’t like football and prefer our show. Then, what about people without access to a TV? And, Oh! I added, “we’re under contract!” Enough said.

Nicholas Muscara our Guest for the show is an interesting young man, studying for a BA at the University of Rice in Texas, he’s currently on a short assignment in Zambia researching the history of restaurants in Livingstone. I came across him, his professor and a couple of other students having lunch at Chanters. Nicholas asked me if he could interview me on his subject some time. I agreed on the understanding that he’d appear as our Guest on this week’s show. And so the deal was done.

I gave Nicholas an extended interview off air, and answered a few questions on the show about where I thought tourism was heading in Livingstone in general. “Why?” George Soulchild “have you invited someone as a Guest on the show who’s not staying at the Lodge?” We laughed. Jolly Boys, where Nicholas is staying, the famous backpackers in Livingstone, have always been good supporters of Chanters Lodge so that’s not an issue.

Music wise it was a mixed bag. There were three Zambian tracks and this week I’m hoping George’s supplementary blog will tell us what was played, who played the tracks and in what language they were recorded etc. He’s promised ‘tomorrow’. Milli Jam chose ‘Lost’ recorded by BoB ft IT – a favourite track of Milimo’s at the moment, Fire by Stone ft Judy – didn’t do much for me. We closed with Usher’s – Daddy’s Home. I chose some mundane stuff – Snow Patrol – ‘Chasing Cars’ and ‘Human’ by The Killers. Brandy’s ‘Right Here Departed’ for the England team.

Nicholas told us he has a girlfriend Molly in High School in North Carolina. Serious? It seems so. Nicholas seemed a rather serious young man anyway. As part of his research he’d been down to the main local market to cook nsima with the market ladies. Now that I’d like to have seen! Had he enjoyed the experience? Yes! And I hope the help we gave him with some of our knowledge of Livingstone Restaurants over the years has helped his research, and that he enjoyed coming on the show too!

Next week’s programme will feature the winners of our World Cup Competition for the Chanters Girls! We will guest Man On Sport – Patrick Kasoka, finding out more about him and having him present the girls their winnings!


Chanters Lodge

This was lovely from the Gregersenblog the other day. Thanks guys!

Chanter’s Lodge
Chanter’s Lodge in Livingstone was our favorite place to relax and get refreshed. The food is fantastic and the rooms are great, but the best feature of Chanter’s Lodge is the owner Richard Chanter. He became a dear friend and helped us many times with trips to the airport, parking for our vehicle when we were out of the country, and assisting countless Namwianga guests during their sightseeing stays in Livingstone. We spent our last night in Zambia at Chanter’s Lodge.

Richard was recently interviewed and featured on Ben Reed’s travel blog. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know him through this article.

Richard is on Twitter and finds great information and quotes about Africa that we appreciate. Today’s gem is a quote: “If you only visit two continents in your lifetime – visit Africa – twice” (R. Elliot)

Chanter’s Lodge in Livingstone was our favorite place to relax and get refreshed. The food is fantastic and the rooms are great, but the best feature of Chanter’s Lodge is the owner Richard Chanter. He became a dear friend and helped us many times with trips to the airport, parking for our vehicle when we were out of the country, and assisting countless Namwianga guests during their sightseeing stays in Livingstone. We spent our last night in Zambia at Chanter’s Lodge.

Richard was recently interviewed and featured on Ben Reed‘s travel blog. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know him through this article.

Richard is on Twitter and finds great information and quotes about Africa that we appreciate. Today’s gem is a quote: “If you only visit two continents in your lifetime – visit Africa – twice” (R. Elliot)

Page 2 of 5 12345