Posts Tagged ‘ICT’

How’s The Economy? Ask the Bank

// November 5th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Technology

I speak to my Grandfather who now lives in the US regularly and he always asks me how things are in Jamaica. Now I am no economist but I do like to analyse possible sources of data. While thinking about it the other day I realised that the banks more or less know the state of the economy before anyone else. Let’s look at the channels:

Debit and Credit Card Spending Data

Customer Address Data

Customer Cash Flow Data

Customer Salary Data and Company Payroll Uploads

Merchant Machines

Customer Loan Data

ATM Locations and transaction data

Most people bank with a single bank, so do most companies. Regardless of that fact, thanks to ATM’s, merchant machines and loans, banks have some access to other bank’s client info. I am not sure if banks already do this, but say you want a small business loan to open a business in an area. You provide a business plan to the bank outlining your target market and projections. The bank could run a report detailing similar businesses that their customers have bought from in the area, how many of their customers in the area match your target market and the spending power of people in the area based on ATM withdrawals.

Ever heard of Foursquare? It allows businesses to see who checked into their venue, great for customer service, but suppose the bank could provide you with a report on where your customers came from based on addresses linked to credit and debit cards? That info requires no user input besides their normal purchase. It could also show how often they come, how much they spend etc. This data is so valuable and can be shared without infringing on an individual’s privacy (as long as names and exact areas are not shared).

Currently some stores keep customer accounts which partially gives them this information, but what is the incentive for users to sign up? The more user input needed the lower the success rate of collecting the data. I also think individuals should be able to run reports on their spending habits. I try to carry cash as little as possible, so most transactions

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are done using plastic. Why can’t I run a report on where I spent the cash by category (food, auto, utilities) and where in the island or overseas (online vs. local). I should even see ads on my online banking showing me similar stores closer to my home (so I can save money and time travelling).

Overall Banks can provide reports based on industries and cash flow across the country based on their customer data. It’s what they use to decide where to install an ATM or new branches, it would just be nice to use it for other things as well.

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Free Idea: What is your HWT Street Hustle

// October 31st, 2011 // No Comments » // Technology

How many of you have heard the song Street Hustle by Specialist? If you haven’t I have embedded it below.

I like it because it captures the street hustle mentality in Jamaica. Which brings me to my idea. While waiting  by Pavilion Mall in Half Way Tree, Kingston, Jamaica yesterday I saw trends. I was intrigued at the diversity of people walking around and as usual thought to myself what would I sell to suit the different groups. So then came up with an idea for a website or fb app for people to input data (their personal preferences) and an algorithm would decide what they would sell based on what products they use and their personality.

Personality questions would decide how much risk a person is willing to take and if they are looking for a long term or short term hustle. The products they use determine what they would sell preferably, because why would you sell a product that you wouldn’t use or endorse?

So if you use a lot of phone cards and drink soda, the app should recommend you sell soda and phone cards in HWT. However if you believe in health foods and need a hustle you can sell callaloo, banana chips and bag juices. Alternatively if you want to get rich quick then it may suggest you run a “cash fi gold” scheme. I think it would be fun, hilarious and share friendly once the algorithm and interface is well designed. No two people should get the same result once you include a wide range of products. Don’t forget to include social media share buttons!

I get ideas all the time and most I don’t have time to develop. Ideally I would like to give away an idea once a week for others to develop. It should be a crime for a “good” idea to go to waste. Good idea of course is based on opinion. If you use it please let me know!

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Slash Roots 2012

// October 28th, 2011 // No Comments » // Technology

Hey everyone,

just want to update you on progress of the 2012 Slash Roots Developers Conference. The organising team is in full swing preparing for next year’s conference. The conference

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will be much larger and will have simultaneous events in other countries. Will release some more information as soon as I can.

Did you attend the last conference? We are interested in your feedback and suggestions for the next one. Just leave a comment on the post below.


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A sound pioneer’s resonating chords

// March 7th, 2011 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, Life, Technology

An article published in The Jamaica Observer on my Grandfather, Leslie Galbraith:

LIKE many others,

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I have been following with considerable interest the reminiscences of Leslie Galbraith in fellow columnist Mark Wignall’s Sunday space about the part he and others played in the development of electronic sound reproduction in Jamaica.

As we are aware, the sound system is an outgrowth of radio, which, in its early incarnation, used vacuum tubes to snatch modulated magnetic radiation from the ether and convert it into a form the human ear can detect.

Read more:

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The Slash Roots Developers Conference

// February 17th, 2011 // 2 Comments » // Technology

Slash Roots Logo
Creating a technology industry that drives innovation and a community responsive to global trends cannot occur in a vacuum. In today’s world, specific institutional support systems produce the technical resources that drive business and competitiveness. The ./roots Developer Conference is about creating and fostering those support systems within the Jamaican context.

The conference reflects the goal of its parent group, Slash Roots – to foster collaborative innovation within the Jamaican developer and technology communities that is relevant to, and informed by, the needs of the private and public sectors. Slash Roots is a newly formed group of young tech developers and enthusiasts who have dedicated themselves to ICT development, guided by the belief that increased technological innovation and connectivity is crucial to the Jamaica’s development. The brain child of tech developer Matthew McNaughton, Slash Roots came to life through the union of himself and two tech entrepreneurs, Roger Pixley and Dmitri Dawkins. The trio has since grown to a sextet of organizers for the ./roots Developer Conference.

Hosted by the Centre of Excellence at the Mona School of Business, this year’s conference will be held from February 24-25 at the new UWI Faculty of Law Building.

The conference has attracted both local and regional attention and participation. Sessions include presentations by leading open data and tech developers from Cuba, Uruguay, the U.S. and from our local technology community. Additionally, persons outside of the tech development community will be speaking about their experiences as players in the second and third parts of the Slash Roots aim – the sharing and application of developed technologies.

The conference will also highlight projects that are innovative in their approach and which increase access to technology for the local population. This year’s main feature is the release of a new open data resource which has been developed for the Ministry of Agriculture. This data will be the subject of the conference’s most exciting element- the staging of a Developer Competition in which teams of developers will have 24 hours to create an application that visualizes some aspect of the agriculture data. Other activities planned include a Linux installfest and demonstrations from the Jamaica One Laptop Per Child Project.

The Slash Roots team hopes that this inaugural ./roots Developer Conference will mark the first of many annual ./roots conferences to come. We urge the Jamaican tech and academic communities, and private and public sectors, to show their support for this development initiative by engaging themselves in the conference events.

This conference would not be possible without the help of our partners, the Mona School of Business and the IDRC, who have given significant financial support as well as organizational guidance. In addition, the conference organizers would like to thank our sponsors thus far – Spatial Innovation, MC Systems, Lime Jamaica, Digicel, Samuda & Johnson, Pings Manufacturing and Trafalgar Tours – for coming on board in support of this effort.

For more information, to register for the conference or to apply to enter the developer competition, please visit the conference website at We hope to see you there!

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