Ecuador and Tech

From the NYTimes:

In 2000, fewer than 1 percent of Ecuadoreans had sent e-mail or surfed the Web at home, school or work or in cybercafes. In August 2001, in an effort to expand access, the government created the National Connectivity Commission. Public “telecentros” have sprung up to provide free Internet access – under the auspices of nonprofit groups for which the commission helps find donors – and home connections, previously timed by the minute, are now available for a flat rate of about $25 a month.

“I know that in five years, most people in Ecuador still won’t be able to buy a computer,” said Jos Pileggi, president of Conatel, which oversees the connectivity project. “But my hope is that they will at least know that they have access to computers.”

Nice to read – this is at the heart of the revolution we want Emergic to enable in emerging markets.

Design Decisions

What Mitch Kapor writes in the context of Chandler is relevant for us also:

Implementation must be sequenced: It’s not a real project until commitments are made to defer some capabilities. Doing everything at once is not an option.

First, provide core functionality users expect. In order for the product to be adopted, it must have the critical mass of features people expect.

A few killer features are needed from the outset to make adoption worthwhile. Killer feature ideas must be sufficiently well-developed as ideas to be willing to place bets on them.

Professors and WiFi in Classrooms

Writes the NYTimes on an interesting side-effect of the WiFi revolution:

In a classroom at American University in Washington on a recent afternoon, the benefits and drawbacks of the new wireless world were on display. From the back row of an amphitheater classroom, more than a dozen laptop screens were visible. As Prof. Jay Mallek lectured graduate students on the finer points of creating and reading an office budget, many students went online to Blackboard.com, a Web site that stores course materials, and grabbed the day’s handouts from the ether.

But just as many students were off surfing. A young man looked at sports photos while a woman checked out baby photos that just arrived in her e-mailbox.

Distraction is nothing new. As long as there have been schools, students have whispered, passed notes and even gazed out the window and daydreamed. The arrival of laptop computers, however, introduced new opportunities for diversion, and wireless introduces an even broader range of distraction, said Dylan Brooks, a senior broadband and wireless analyst at Jupiter Communications.