I am attending an agile training. I like this picture which summarizes the whole scrum flow. I took the picture myself but the drawing is by our trainer, Anton.
Take a moment to figure them yourself. The answers are below.
Yesterday I saw a Vezeeta ad on Instagram asking me to download the app. I read the news few weeks ago that they raised a new 5 million dollars round. I read in the fundraising release they have 2500 doctors, and their CEO announced on a TV show that they get 24000 reservations per month.
You can do a wild search on Vezeeta by not entering anything in the search form and get a list of all the doctors they have. They rank doctors that are bookable on the website first. Doing some binary search, the last bookable doctor they have on the website is on page 182. They display 10 results per page meaning the number of bookable doctors on the platform is 182 * 10 = 1820 (1819 to be exact). This is off by 27% of what they claim to have or the press published.
Vezeeta charges doctors 100 EGP per month + 30% of every reservation they bring to the doctor. Or 35% with no monthly charges.
To get 24000 reservations per month at a relatively high conversion rate at 2%. Vezeeta should get at least 1.2 million visits/visitors per month. I don’t know how much they spend to acquire each customer but from my previous experience, bedding on doctor keywords doesn’t cont much meaning they could do it on positive unit economics assuming a visit on average costs 100 EGP and they get 30 EGP of it.
In any marketplace, there is the risk of users bypassing the marketplace to do the transaction offline. In doctors this risk is higher, since the transaction happens offline.
Taking a cut from the doctor creates the incentive to either make the price on Vezeeta higher, ask users to never book from the website again, or even give them a small 10% discount for not booking from the website. All of this assuming the users will not do this without any incentive because it is easier to befriend the doctor’s assistant and call her directly.
This is the most mysterious part for me. 5 million dollars is 75 million EGP. Using the existing numbers I can say they make
((1820 Doctor * 100 EGP) + (24000 Reservations * 30 EGP)) * 12 month ~= 9 Million EGP per year
I am curious to see what they are going to do with this money and whether the product will become mainstream and replace the phone. It is tough in the Egyptian market with no interest from doctors to fix their schedules and no respect from patients to appointments.
In fact from our experience building Ekshef we realized appointments are not the problem. Reputation is. Doctor search, discovery, and info is the toughest part in the patient’s journey. With no accountability on doctors, the patients are left to chance on whether this doctor is good or not. I myself suffered from during my long journey with doctors and I still have medical problems because of doctors mistakes that went unaccountable.
 Some companies calculate conversion by sessions/visits, others by users.
 In fact, some other industries like travel, the transaction happens offline. However, part of the reason people still book hotels online is the guarantee they get by using a reputable OTA. If something goes wrong, the OTA will help the customer. Plus travel is an expensive purchase and involves a lot of uncertainty. So it is better to go with a big name as the mediator than to risk going directly to the hotel. Plus most OTAs force hotels to list the same prices as on their website (Price Parity). So the motivation for booking directly almost doesn’t exist on the customer side.
I was in the supermarket today with a developer friend of mine. I wanted to buy coffee capsules for the coffee machine I currently have at home.
Usually, I go with the standard brand capsules. However, this time I noticed there are other brands of coffee, some of them have their own machines, others are only coffee brands.
I told my friend how angry I am at Nestle, because they built a closed coffee platform, you have to buy their coffee to be compatible with their machines. He told me I am wrong and showed me some coffee brands that are compatible with Nespresso or the machine I have at home. I was a bit surprised.
It is funny we techies always compare platforms from their openness/closeness. From the Windows vs Linux days, to nowadays which VR platform will be more open, which will be more closed and the benefits of each.
I now imagine someone in the coffee world is comparing different coffee ecosystems, which machines are compatible with each type of capsules, which company is more open, and when coffee makers have to adapt their product to fit the new versions of the the platforms, or in that case new models of coffee machines.
How do you like your coffee? Open? Closed?
I noticed yesterday multiple journalists I am following asking every other journalist to enable two factor authentication on their accounts in fear of a government hack.
I think it is less secure to have two factor authentication on your account than not having it. Let me tell you why.
When you have a strong password, for the government to hack you they have to have a malware installed on your computer/mobile, while you can’t avoid that unless you are too careful, they can’t try every combination of passwords on Gmail or any other service until they know your password.
When you enable two factor auth, your mobile number also acts as a recovery mechanism to change your password. The problem with this is that the government can write your email, say they forgot the password so you get an SMS, they intercept the non-encrypted/plain text SMS from the mobile operator network, and Bingo! They got access to your account.
There have been reports that the Egyptian government is doing this. I also have a personal friend of mine who got an email from Facebook that someone tried to reset his password, upon tracing the IP Facebook sent him, it turned to be the Egyptian national security HQ in Alexandria.
Yesterday I listened to the latest episode of the Bloomberg ‘Decrypted’ podcast. The episode discussed the wakening on fake news and echo chambers on social media, Facebook specifically, and the role it played in the US elections.
Sarah Frier, the host of the show tweeted earlier asking for thoughts from followers. I thought as an Egyptian this is not new to us. We suffered from fake news and echo chambers for the past five years and almost every time we were surprised by people’s reaction and the influence on them from mainstream media.
I send her my thoughts, she asked me to send them as a voice memo, and they played it on the episode. The episode also had thoughts from Justin Kan, Dave McClure, and other guests.
You can listen to it here, my part starts at 15:30.
If you read predictably irrational or the righteous mind, you will find many experiments that show how contradictory we are in defining what’s ethical and what’s not. Some of these contradictions are small, hard to detect, and most of us live with it. Other contradictions are what make people being seen as hypocrites.
One of the experiments that was conducted on a university campus put some coke cans in the common fridge, these cans shouldn’t be taken as this is not a free beverages fridge, they disappeared in no time. When the researchers exchanged the cans with their monetary value and put money instead, it took longer for the money to disappear. Why people are ok with stealing coke but not the money representing it?
Another thought experiment comes like this: If your daughter asked you to get her a pen on your way home, is it ok to bring her one from the office? If yes, if instead of pens there was a pile of cash, would you take from it to buy her the pen?
I remembered this as on the weekend I went to print some documents for personal use, my friend told me why don’t you just bring it in office? I said well, I think it is wrong to do so since these are for work purpose.
Then we went into a deeper discussion into what’s ethical and what’s not.
Is taking a coke from the free drinks fridge in the office to home ethical?
What if you took it home for a friend?
What if a friend came to pick you up, you let them in and brought them a coke? Should you go to the supermarket and buy one?
I am not saying that people who print personal docs in the office are wrong, maybe their companies are ok with that. I am also not saying I follow the rules all the time, neither that I consider those taking pens home unethical since this could be something the society is ok with.
It is just something to think of.
This week I attended an information session by the founder institute. They have an accelerator program in Berlin for people in idea stage where they fund the company with 15000 Euros and get 3.5% in warrants.
The whole event the speakers were talking about the amounts of funds raised post graduation from the program, and the mentorship you get during the program.
The questions part was all about post program fudning. There were two graduates from the program and the audience questions were mostly on how much they raised and how long it took them to do so.
I don’t think accelerators key value proposition should be the amounts of funds raised post program, while this is the most post important, fastest to measure metric for the accelerator’s health given other metrics such as exits need a long time to measure, it shouldn’t be the key selling point to entrepreneurs.
I would trust an accelerator if they help founders focus to reach product market fit. Money is important for the company to live but building something people want that’s growing at a high rate is the most important thing for a startup to survive.
I think this is the best thing about YC. They talk about the financial value of their companies but they talk more about how they help entrepreneurs build something people want, and push them to go talk to users, iterate, and grow.
When I got my new wheelchair one of the problems I wanted to solve is not having to get the phone in and out of my pocket. It is not easy when you have to do it while sitting, also it makes it harder to navigate while rolling on the street.
I didn’t find any off the shelf good wheelchair mounts, so I built mine. I got inspired while searching for GoPro accessories. So here is how you build your own.
Tie everything together in the same order of the first picture from right to left. The final product will be like this.
Egypt has been losing its Arab leadership politically, and I can say it is also coming to tech.
Gulf led by Saudi Arabia and UAE understands that oil is running out, and the world won’t be as dependent on it as before. So they started finding new ways to secure their future.
Luckily, we are witnessing the second industrial revolution, this time it is happening in tech. So Saudi and UAE decided to double down on tech investments, and the first macro and micro trends started to show up.
Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) the country’s main sovereign wealth fund invested $3.5 billion in Uber earlier this year.
It also announced a new 100 billion – with a b – dollars fund with Japan’s softbank to invest in tech startups.
Then UAE announced it will be the first place in the world to build Hyperloop to connect Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Hyperloop is a new technology that enables the transportation of humans and goods at 1200km/h without flying. The original paper of the technology was published by Elon Musk. The company that will build the Hyperloop in UAE is Hyperloop One, a company founded by ex-SpaceX employees and one of silicon valley’s top investors.
Earlier this week, Emaar’s Chariman (The company behind Burj Khalifa) announced that he is building a new ecommerce startup with $1 billion investment, half of it coming from Saudi’s PIF, the other half comes from him and other Emarati investors. The new venture will be headquartered in Riyadh.
Yesterday, Saudi announced another 200 million Saudi Riyal VC fund to support local tech startups. It is still unclear how the fund will be deployed and managed.
I think you only need two kinds of people to create a technology hub: rich people and nerds – Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator
Gulf has rich people, it lacks nerds. Egypt has higher ratio and number of nerds than Gulf.
To attract these nerds, most of whom already left Egypt to chase better opportunities in Europe and US, these gulf companies are paying hefty sums to attract them to go and work there.
Careem, Uber’s middle east competitor is paying unmatchable salaries for engineers to join its Dubai office, they are even opening an office in Berlin to attract Arab engineers who don’t want to leave Germany. They are paying higher than most of Germany based companies.
These new ventures need engineers, and with such levels of funding they will do whatever to get them on board.
I do believe this snowball will keep getting bigger, funding will increase in the Arab world, with competition between different Gulf states to attract tech talent.
There could be a bubble, mostly because these companies are not started by nerds but rather by rich people who think if they put enough money into it, it should work. Which is also another reason why we will see most of these companies as localized copycats to successful global ones, mostly in ecommerce, logistics, and payments since these have the easiest to understand business models.
Overall I think this is mostly good, because if things are changing it means there is a chance for someone to create something really innovative on a global scale. Even if most of the current experiments fail the knowledge will be passed to other people and everyone will learn from their mistakes.
I lost hope in Egypt becoming a good tech hub during my lifetime long ago, but these are other signs to confirm that.
I hope I am wrong.
The Berlin transportation system is based on trust. Unlike the Dutch one which requires you to check in and out every time you use public transit.
To enter the bus or the tram in Holland, you have to go through either the driver or the conductor, random checks mostly happen on trains because they’re more expensive.
In Berlin this is not the case. There is no checking in and out. Random checks are rare.
I have been here for five weeks, I met the transportation police only once.
The monthly ticket for most of Berlin costs 80EUR per month. The fine for not having a ticket is 60EUR. Given these two numbers and the probability of meeting the transportation police, what is the expected probability of buying vs not buying a ticket. Which has a higher probability of paying more?
I am not saying that you shouldn’t buy a ticket. I buy my tickets all the time. I am just questioning the reliability of the system, and curious to know the answer.