The Mark Namakando Experience!

We were happy to introduce a young Zambian musician to our audience when Mark Namakando (above) was our Guest on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Jay-Hillz. Our show airs every Sunday evening at 20.30 hrs for an hour on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. The show is a lively mixture of music and chat, hosted by one of Livingstone’s best loved DJ’s – Milli Jam, ably assisted by up and coming Jay Hillz, co-host of 107.7 fm’s popular Breakfast Show.

Mark told listeners that he is a rap artist and that he mostly performs with another young artist known as PMT – they perform under the name of ‘3 Lettered Kings’. The boys have so far recorded about seven tracks. Mark explained that he raps mostly in English but sometimes in his native Lozi language ‘about how I look at life and society, as well as how I feel’. “Do you rap about relationships?” Milli Jam wondered. “Not yet” came the reply. “Are you in a relationship?” MJ persevered with this line of questions and shyly Mark admitted that yes he was. He revealed his age as 20 and told us that he had completed Grade 12 at Hillcrest Technical Secondary School in Livingstone. (One of Livingstone’s best secondary schools). After Grade 12 Mark had studied for a certificate in marketing from a Livingstone college.

As Mark had revealed to listeners that one of his Zambian musical influences was CRISIS, the guys dropped his latest ‘That’s The Way It Is’ on the show. We also played tracks from Davido, Chris Brown ft Aliyah, General Ozzy, Sam Smith, Martin Garrix, 5 Seconds of Summer and Faul ft Wa Dad vs Pneu.

Mark revealed that he, like Jay Hillz, is a big fan of Liverpool FC in UK and both were delighted that their team had that evening risen to the top of the EPL. They were totally convinced that the team could stay there until the end of the season and become champions. Mark and Jay Hillz revealed they had met as co-members of Zambezi 107.7 fm’s ‘Fan Club’, when they had auditioned for the station on the same day. They had remained firm friends ever since. Mark told us that after his marketing course he had spent some time on attachment with Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation in sales, but had found it tough selling advertising on the national broadcaster to small Livingstone companies. Although they had wanted him to continue after his attachment he had decided to stop and help run the family business.

Still single and the youngest of nine siblings, Mark said that in ten years’ time he hoped to be his own boss, to have started his own business and to have finished his marketing studies, as well as being a big success in music. We wished this personable, likeable, hard working young man all the best in the future and thanked him for appearing on our show.


Hotels Are Booming Again In USA!

This piece from Glenn Haussman on HotelInteractive is about America – it’s not about Livingstone, Zambia – I only wish it was! The picture? MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, the USA’s biggest hotel! Hope the good results over there spread worldwide! Soon!

“All hail the upswing! The lodging industry is in record breaking mode. After the depth of the Great Recession it’s great to see the amazing heights the industry is achieving. And the best news is there is still so much upside profit potential to be mined during the next few years. People just have to be savvy enough to take their share.

As we have discussed here in the pages of Hotel Interactive before the hotel business is perfectly positioned in an amazing sweet spot as a confluence of factors play into the industry’s favor. More people are traveling than ever before and those same travelers feel wealthier as 401k values and home values soar, which makes them willing to pay more for a hotel room. Plus, supply in most markets is below demand levels. That’s keeping hotels filled while investors are just getting started on projects that won’t really impact raw supply numbers until 2015 and beyond.

When you look at industry fundamentals, records are being broken everywhere, including most industry revenue ever at $122 billion. Other records broken in 2013 were ADR, RevPAR, and most room night sold at 1.1 billion.

According to numbers supplied, final 2013 occupancy was 62.3 percent and is expected to rise to 63.2 percent and 64.4 percent for 2014 and 2015 respectively. It’s also expected that ADR will increase 4.8 percent to $115.60 this year and rise another 5.6 percent to $122.12 in 2015. ADR and occupancy increases together will help propel RevPAR from $68.69 (5.4 percent increase from 2012) up another 6.6 percent to $73.10 in 2014 while rising an additional 7.5 percent to $78.62 in 2015.

Even better news is the economy is soaring, both in and out of the hotel industry. The general economy is seeing record high stock market valuations while large type sale items such as homes and cars are doing very well. Plus, more things are being made in America than in a generation.


Zambia’s Digital Village

(If Mr Boulanger reads this, the above phone delivered to me would be excellent thanks!)

Samsung Africa Director, IT & B2B Solutions, Thierry Boulanger, said recently during a CNBA Africa televised show that Samsung is currently developing a “Digital Village” on the outskirts of Zambia’s capital, Lusaka. The company’s Digital Village concept is a digital divide bridging solution providing connectivity and technology products to populations that would otherwise not be able to access these due to infrastructure problems.

Boulanger said they are currently targeting non-urban areas with solutions in the two areas of education and health. He said that populations in the cities, such as Lusaka’s 1.461M population, are now increasingly buying smarter devices from the company a sign of a growing middle income group. Outside the cities however, Boulanger said, the lack of infrastructure means solutions like the Digital Village are more appropriate.

Here’s part of what he said during the show:

“There are two aspects that we focus on and its health and education. How can we ensure that we have the same level of education in the rural area, and taking into consideration all the challenges that a rural area does pose, for example infrastructure, electricity availability, the security of the IT equipment, making sure that the teachers are trained… those are the solutions that we are putting in place for the rural environments. In fact we are busy developing what we call a digital village In Zambia on the outskirts of Lusaka.

We are also looking at health. Our challenge is to ensure that we make use of the doctors in the most efficient manner and these are solutions we are putting in rural areas, one of them being Zambia.

Recently, Samsung introduced its digital village products at an event in South Africa. The digital village includes solar powered Internet schools (like the one introduced in Zimbabwe recently), solar power generators, Solar power health care, a telemedical centre, and solar power lanterns.

In July this year, Boulanger announced that it was partnering the Zambian government to help develop sectors that include construction, energy, health and education. In particular then, Boulanger said the Zambian government had embraced a strategy for implementing e-government solutions by the company.


Akafekwa Mututwa

Akafekwa (above) stepped in as our Guest on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George Soulchild – that’s our weekly Sunday night radio show airing at 20.30 hrs every Sunday night on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. The Guest whom we had booked was a ‘no show’ and we were very grateful to Akafekwa for filling the gap. He was a great Guest too!

Akafekwa told listeners that he is the sales manager of a newly established company selling porcelain tiles in Livingstone – ‘Tile Giant’ and that he enjoys the job. An accountant by profession he holds both a certificate in accounting as well as an accounts technicians diploma from NIPA in Lusaka. Before joining Tile Giant he had worked for Chrismar Hotels in Lusaka and here in Livingstone. Tile Giant is located in the same premises as The Hard Rock Cafe in Livingstone which provoked a few questions!

How come Akafekwa was on hand to Guest on our show? Well, he had come to the studio with George following a show that George – a rap musician – had been playing at Taonga Safaris who have a great location on the banks of the Zambezi. The place rocks on Sunday afternoons, just ask the elephants! “How long have you known George?” Milli Jam wanted to know and Mr Mututwa explained that they had been school mates together in Mongu, Western Province and had met up again when he, Akafekwa, arrived in Livingstone some 2 years ago. Akafekwa claimed to be George’s manager and Milli Jam immediately wanted to know ‘where’s the album?’ an FAQ in recent months. “It’s coming, it’s coming” we were told angrily!

The music on the show was good, we opened with our theme ‘Feel The Love’ by Rudimental featuring John Newman. The theme will change in the new year and we already have a few ideas for a new theme for next year. We dropped tracks from One Direction and Calvin Harris. George played Zonefam’s ‘Lobola’ noting that this fab Zambian band had picked up a Channel O Africa award just the previous night! He also played his own track featuring Maji – ‘Enter Enter’. Milli Jam gave us tracks from Alicia Keys and Avicii and our oldie of the week from Justin Bieber. The prize we give to the first person to text us telling us the name of the artist on our oldie of the week was quickly snapped up.

Akafekwa told listeners that his favourite type of music is R&B and that his favourite artist is R Kelly. He is, he explained, a big fan of Manchester United and was quite sanguine about the fact that they had only been able to draw with Spurs that afternoon. Milli Jam and I spent a few moments discussing Arsenal’s position at the top of the EPL while others listened! Akafekwa said he had done quite a lot of the tourist activities available in Livingstone but had never done the bungee jump nor swum in Devil’s Pool. He told listeners that he was married with two sons, the youngest of which was just over one month old. “Awwww” we said! His wife is a teacher at Faith Academy Trust School in Livingstone.

Asked where he would like to be and what he would like to be doing in ten years’ time, our lively laughing Guest told us that he wanted to be a happily married family man with a very successful country wide tile company to his name – a real tile giant in fact! We wished him the best of luck.


Good Leaders

 Another gem from Inc Magazine.
This is what this super magazine has to say about good leaders!

1. They Observe
Thoughtful leaders crave stimulus to get their mind working. That’s why their powers of observation are always hard at work. They are masters of watching and listening to everything happening. They observe the world moving around them and notice behavior, culture and patterns with great interest. When engaging with people they have heightened awareness of their tone, mood and feelings. You can see they are actively engaged. Try spending an hour in a busy environment just looking and listening. Take notes on what you see and hear, or better yet shut off your inner voice and just take it all in.

2.  They Explore
Thoughtful leaders are naturally curious. Their insatiable need for knowledge drives them to open closed doors, dissect the mundane and analyze alternative concepts. They can spend hours surfing the web or weeks traveling abroad.  Questions starting with who, what, where, why and how are second nature to them. In conversation they will probe and prod, looking for deeper answers and hoping to get to the core truth. No idea or suggestion is poor at the outset; rather all possibilities are worthy of open consideration. Expand your perspective beyond your normal sphere. Make an attempt to engage people and ponder ideas that are outside your usual, comfortable approach.

3. They Reflect
Thoughtful leaders understand the value of deep thinking. Although perfectly capable of making reflexive decisions when required, they prefer to ponder and live with big dilemmas and decisions. They think about the potential implications for themselves and the other people around them. They consider carefully the people they impact and use skilled communication to instill comfort and confidence in their teams. They know that a slow “yes” is better than a fast “no” and will apportion appropriate time and energy to each opportunity. Begin adding time to your decision process. Using a journal, create a 1–5 rating for the seriousness of your decisions and determine a set time to decide that allows you to consider all angles.  Try this for a week and you’ll learn how to manage your thinking for both depth and efficiency.

4. They Learn
Thoughtful leaders love to get smart. Their insatiable need for knowledge drives them to read, discuss and absorb complex concepts and broad perspectives. No amount of information is enough for them to feel complete and accomplished. The joy of the learning journey thrills them more than any degree or accolade. Their deep interest in other people is genuinely derived from their desire to understand. Set out three new challenging skills to learn over the next year.  You’ll not only gain the subject knowledge required, but you’ll stimulate your desire and aptitude to learn more.

5. They Consider Others

Thoughtful leaders are naturally empathetic.  They have a love of humankind and are fascinated by offensive or bizarre behavior rather than affronted by it. At their core they understand the concept of cause and effect, thinking about how to get the most desired reaction for the effort extended. They make people around them feel important and worthy of time and energy. Examine your actions from the perspective of others. Think through your decisions from the perspective of your adversaries. You may find more win-win scenarios than you previously thought possible.

6. They Take Action
Thoughtful leaders are rarely stuck in analysis paralysis. They know how to turn careful thought into meaningful action. They understand that thought and exploration without physical implementation and impact is selfish and wasteful. They won’t make people wonder if any good comes of all this thinking. They know when to finish the thinking and make great things happen. Whatever great things you have been pondering, it’s time to put those thoughts into motion and achieve your preferred destiny.


Facebook For Business

Facebook has become an indispensable tool for business. Why? Because there are a billion people interacting there. Also because your friends, relatives, and most importantly, your competition, are interacting, creating great relationships and building trust, in this global community. Did you know that Facebook is primarily a consumer-driven community? And most of them are savvy enough to smell (and block) a disingenuous marketer a mile away. We asked author and speaker Brian Basilico for his top five Facebook “dont’s” for your business. What are your pet peeves? Go ahead, add to our list!

1. Don’t Post and Run

People talk. A lot. Either you are part of the conversation, or you’re going to be the topic of conversation (that’s not always a good thing!). You can’t get away with simply posting information that is only about you. Be part of the conversation by liking and commenting on everyone’s responses to your posts, and to other relevant posts. If others’ comments are negative, try having a direct-message chat to smooth out any questions or problems that people may have with you and your business.

2. Don’t Only Be a Business

If you own a small business, people expect you to communicate in person. They want to know that you are real and have a life, with passions and struggles, just like they do. Having a personal profile is key to being successful on Facebook. If you have only a business page, people will feel like you are just there to make noise. Worse yet, treating a personal profile as a business profile is not only against Facebook user agreements, but also the fastest way to get hidden or un-friended!  Be real on your page and personal profile. Make occasional mention of your pets, hobbies, and other things that create human connections. When it’s all about business, it just gets boring!

3. Don’t Post About Politics or Religion

If you want to alienate about 50 percent of your audience, then creating posts about your political and religious views is the fastest way to do it. In business, you need to stay neutral – at least fairly neutral. Nobody is telling you not to have beliefs, values, or opinions, but you run a risk when sharing them openly on social media. Whether you are conservative or liberal, pro- or anti-anything, keep that limited to personal and off-line conversations.

4. Don’t Expect Anything in Return

If you want to have an impact in social media you’ll want to find or create content that creates responses, likes, shares, and comments. You need to work hard at it and monitor your content well. Don’t be offended if your posts get little to no response, just learn from that what didn’t work for your audience. You may post a lot of duds before gaining meaningful traction.

5. Don’t Anticipate Immediate Success

Most people don’t ask their first date to marry them, but that’s how some people treat social media.  They don’t take time to focus on the relationship and think that simply posting messages should yield results.  Most relationships take time to nurture.  It’s taken years for some to see predictable and measurable results.  Be patient and continue to learn what enhances your relationship with your fans and followers. Do more of what works, less of what does not, and learn to know the difference. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and colleagues what they like and what they don’t; and don’t take their responses personally!


The Auditor

Thanks to a Facebook friend for this classic – apologies to all of this profession who might read and fail to be amused (they often are not amused)!

Once upon a time there was a shepherd looking after his sheep on the side of a deserted road. Suddenly a brand new Porsche screeches to a halt. The driver, a man dressed in an Armani suit, Cerutti shoes, Ray-Ban sunglasses, TAG-Heuer wrist-watch, and a Pierre Cardin tie gets out and asks the shepherd, ‘If I can tell you how many sheep you have, will you give me one of them?’

The shepherd looks at the young man, then looks at the large flock of grazing sheep and replies, ‘Okay.’ The young man parks the car, connects his laptop to the mobile-fax, enters a NASA Website, scans the ground using his GPS, opens a database and 60 Excel tables filled with algorithms and pivot tables. He then prints out a 150-page report on his high-tech mini-printer, turns to the shepherd and says, ‘You have exactly 1,586 sheep.’

The shepherd cheers, ‘That’s correct, you can have your sheep.’The young man takes one of the animals from the flock and puts it in the back of his Porsche. The shepherd looks at him and asks, ‘If I guess your profession, will you return my animal to me?’ The young man answers, ‘Yes, why not?’

The shepherd says, ‘You are an auditor.’ ‘How did you know?’ asks the young man. ‘Very simple,’ answers the shepherd.’Firstly, you came here without being wanted. Secondly, you charged me a fee to tell me something I already knew. Thirdly, you don’t understand anything about my business…..

Now can I have my dog back?
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