The Peculiar Kenyan

Three words that may ruin you one day

by Sunny Bindra on October 11, 2015 · 2 comments

in Sunday Nation

Lawyer Mugambi Nandi recounted an interesting episode on Twitter recently. He was sitting in the back of a taxi when an ambulance appeared, siren blaring. Mr Nandi’s driver, like many others on that road, refused to give way. The lawyer took umbrage and ordered the taxi driver to give way, to little avail. He even [...]


CEO: how many “small” people does your company bully?

4 October 2015

Kenyan CEOs are always busy giving away cheques to worthy causes, speaking noble words at gatherings of luminaries, and championing the agenda of good corporate citizenship. Here’s a question for them, though: why is your company so virtuous for the cameras, and often an outright bully when it comes to the “small” people it deals [...]

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Keep Left Unless Overtaking

27 September 2015

Many years ago I was a university student in the United Kingdom. I would, of course, take public transport everywhere: trains, buses, coaches. But I missed the feeling of getting behind the steering wheel of a car. Once, when I had to make an inter-city trip to meet some relatives, I decided to splash out [...]

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A tale of two businesses

20 September 2015

Someone I’m close to recounted two very different customer experiences to me recently. The first concerns a well-known shop in a well-known mall in Nairobi. This shop is operated by its owners, and customer care does not appear to run in the bloodline. I myself have only been there once, and once was enough. Sub-standard, [...]

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How to tell if a company is heading for trouble

13 September 2015

Last week on this page we discussed the “dead-horse strategy.” There is only one sensible strategy to follow if your horse is dead: dismount. Many of us, nonetheless, don’t do sensible strategies: we try to fund, motivate, whip or imagine the dead horse back to life. The column raised many a laugh, but also a [...]

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What’s your “dead-horse” strategy?

6 September 2015

A friend who knows me well sent me a link that he was sure would regale me. His confidence was well-founded. The link took me to, where I was introduced to the “dead-horse” strategy. To wit: “The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that when you discover [...]

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Leadership lessons from what the waitress told me

30 August 2015

I was sitting in a restaurant looking at a sushi menu recently. There were many delectable-sounding options on offer, and I wondered what to choose. I decided to ask a waitress for advice. Here’s what she said. “Please try the chef’s signature sushi roll. He thought long and hard about it and experimented with various [...]

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Watch out for the stories your brain spins

23 August 2015

You’re deep in sleep, immersed in a dream. A whole story is playing out in your mind. Suddenly, the phone rings. In your dream, it is someone who’s part of the story calling you. You reach out to answer the call. You now realize you were asleep and dreaming, and are awake now. The phone [...]

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There may be much more corporate distress to come

16 August 2015

For years now, I have been warning of many a corporate collapse to come, on this page and elsewhere. We have been seeing unprecedented speed of change in technology; the far-reaching impact of demographics; and gradual handover of power from producers to consumers. Globally, many a dominant company has been laid low. Japan’s giant Sony [...]

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So Obama came to Kenya. So what?

9 August 2015

The visit was epic. As I wrote here last week, US president’s long-awaited visit to Kenya had it all: spectacle, glamour, drama, sensation. New words entered our vocabulary, and even our child-naming lexicon: POTUS, Air Force One, Marine One, The Beast. And then he was gone. And a thoughtful Kenyan must ask: so what? After [...]

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Three observations from #ObamaInKenya

2 August 2015

The visit to Kenya last weekend by US president Barack Obama brought us to a standstill, watching every bit of the ride: planes, helicopters, automobiles, protocols, speeches and all. Allow me to make three simple observations. First, Kenya received publicity that we simply could not have bought. This was pure gold. We were in the [...]

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Life’s too short to waste time on…

26 July 2015

Something I saw online made me laugh out loud the other day: “Life is too short to remove USB safely.” Computers ask us to ensure we don’t just pull the USB cord out; we must follow the proper procedure. Most people don’t do this, of course – they just yank. That’s because the consequences are [...]

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More on leadership, according to Pope Francis

19 July 2015

Last week I introduced Pope Francis’s refreshing take on leadership. We focused on the “diseases” that afflict the egos of leaders around the world. This week I want to dwell on the maladies of leadership that manifest themselves in the work of leaders, and those that are particularly prevalent in this part of the world. [...]

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The Pope’s message on the diseases of leadership

12 July 2015

Pope Francis is proving to be refreshingly different. He is giving his own office a good shakeout, shedding it of static doctrine. He also has wise things to say on a wide range of issues. Recently, he gave an address to the Roman Curia, and focused on the challenge of leadership. That caught my eye. [...]

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Where do you find good people?

5 July 2015

I am often asked: “Where do I find good people for my organization?” Good employees are scarce, and employers seem to struggle to find them. They imagine there is a secret to this process, and they want to uncover it. You can’t blame them, for an organization is a collective endeavour: without excellent team members, [...]

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You want to charge a high price? Justify it

28 June 2015

Walmart, with a strategy predicated on low prices, is the company with the highest revenue in the world. But Apple, with a strategy predicated on high prices, is the world’s most valuable company. Volkswagen fights for volume leadership in vehicles with Toyota globally. But recently, an interesting thing happened: Porsche, a part of the VW [...]

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“Where are you calling from?”

21 June 2015

I called a hotel to book a table for lunch last week. The conversation went something like this: Me: “I’d like to book a table for lunch, please.” Hotel: “Where are you calling from?” Me: “My house.” Now then. Why should “where I’m calling from” be a matter of concern to the hotel? I think [...]

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