Friday 15 September 2006

Something new!

Business is not actually about stability, it’s much more about change. It’s about adapting to new circumstances, taking every opportunity to consider what you are doing and asking yourself all the time whether you are achieving the best you can.

The thing nobody prepares you for is that almost every time it happens, change is unexpected. Just when you think things are nice and stable something happens that completely throws you.

However troubling this might be, and no matter how much I hate sounding like some management, or worse still, spiritual guru, these unexpected changes can a huge opportunity for development and growth. Whether this growth is financial or purely mental is irrelevant. Personally and in business these opportunities are too valuable to be ignored or rejected. As they say in Latin (well, they would if anyone had actually spoken that ridiculous language in the last 500 years) “Carpe Diem!” Seize the Day!

Consumer Watchdog is no exception to this. As you may have seen in the press over the last few months we ourselves have undergone some changes. At the time the need for these changes seemed challenging but we decided to make the most of the situation and do you know what happened? We now have a much more dynamic and exciting radio show, a new sense of energy and things are genuinely better as a result.

However, much more importantly our imaginations are running at top speed. Hardly a week goes by without one of the team coming up with a fantastic new idea, some new mission or some new target for our attentions. Whether they want it or not!

One of our latest ideas is a first for Botswana. Something new, a little experimental perhaps but we think it has great potential.


The trouble with radio shows is that you need a radio to listen to them. You also have to be near that radio at the right time. Also if you hear a radio program that you really enjoy it is virtually impossible to allow a friend to hear it as well. Yes, some radio stations will send you a transcript or maybe even a recording if you pay them but the whole process is really inconvenient. Hence the podcast. A podcast is a recorded radio program that the producers make available on the Internet. Anyone with access to the internet can then download the program and play it on their PC. Every PC these days, regardless of manufacturer, whether it uses Windows or is a Mac, they all contain the software needed to play a podcast. If you have one you can also copy the material to your portable music player such as an Apple iPod (hence the name “podcast”).

Broadcasters such as the BBC, CNN, radio stations all over the world now make some of their programmes available as podcasts, but it’s not just huge organisations that podcast. Anyone with some fairly basic equipment can record a program and post it to the web.

A podcast is totally portable for each individual listener but in the same way an organisation can download it and distribute it within the company. Most companies these days have top-of-the-range communications networks that would allow them to download a program once and circulate it internally. They can then use our material in staff meetings, training sessions or just as interesting material for their managers, their staff and even their customers.

Podcasting also fits into the original philosophy behind the internet. It allows information to be freely and easily accessible to the world. Yes, I DID say free. Podcasts are almost always free and ours certainly will be. You will be able to download anything we produce entirely for free so long as you respect the simple licence we give you.

So what are these podcasts going to contain? Well, to begin with all the things that we don’t have time to broadcast on our sparkling radio show on YaronaFM every Tuesday at 7:15am.

There will be detailed follow-up on cases reported to us, all those cases that don’t make it on air or in this column. However we’re going to take it further. We’ve already lined up some of the most important business leaders in the country to come along and record interviews, conversations and arguments about the important issues of the day. Competitiveness, national branding, privatisation and liberalisation, the role of government, the education of consumers, localising our economy and developing our home-grown talent, we’ll cover all of these things. Also, as it’s recorded we can edit out the boring bits and keep the material simple, fresh and interesting.

So what do YOU think we should cover in our podcasts? Let us know what you want to hear about, who you think might be an interesting person to interview or profile. Maybe it was someone who gave you great service, maybe it was someone who gave you dreadful service but recovered well and learnt a lesson from it. Maybe it’s you! Are you interesting, do you have something to say that you think our readers and listeners should hear? Just let us know. You could end up a famous internet personality!

Just keep reading this column, checking our website and listening to YaronaFM for updates. We’ll keep you informed!

This week’s stars!

  • Wonder at the new Village Super Spar for being cheerful, incredibly friendly and attentive.
  • Joel Konopo from Mmegi for winning the MISA award for Business Reporter of the Year.
  • BTC for saying that they are going to almost double the price of local calls and line rentals and to drop the price of international calls at the same time that they announced an 18% increase in profits to P139,000,000. How does this help the poorest in our developing nation? Is this perhaps a sweetener for any potential investment partner so that when they finally get involved it’s not THEM that has to increase prices to make a profit? Perhaps they shouldn’t be in this section after all?

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