Sean Park Portrait
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I say profound things

Much more interesting than Canary Wharf.

Satellite Photo of Africa
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I suspect that there may be more than a few talented (financial markets) developers who have now found themselves with more free time on their hands than they would like.  Some of that time might even be spent reading this blog, and so with that in mind, I thought it was worthwhile to pass on this exciting opportunity at Mark Davies’ BusyLab in Ghana (who are behind the fantastic Esoko/TradeNet initiative, on which I have commented several times in the past:)

BusyLab is a software company engaged in building innovative mobile web solutions for the African market and beyond. Our main project, Esoko , is a web and mobile based market information system that includes an SMS gateway component, a J2ME mobile application, and an ajax-driven, open API web application. We were recently featured on CNN and in the Economist, and are currently in 12 countries throughout Africa and Asia. Our mission is to improve livelihoods by building healthier and more efficient markets. We believe agriculture in developing countries is one of the final frontiers to benefit from the technology revolution of the last two decades.

We’re looking for an experienced software developer interested in trying something different and sharing knowledge in Africa.

You should be able to teach the processes and best practices of software development with our bright young team, and contribute to a world-class innovative web and mobile application product.

You should know:

– html, javascript, ajax
– php or java (J2SE/J2ME)
– sql databases (postgres or other)
– software development process
– software testing and quality assurance practices
The position would be for a minimum of six months.

I’m sure for whoever takes up this challenge it will be rewarding in many ways. Good luck!

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  1. At 9:38 am on 19 Jan 09 Beau Gest said:

    > We believe agriculture in developing countries is one of the final frontiers
    > to benefit from the technology revolution of the last two decades.

    That sounds quite romantic but really, one of the “final frontiers”? Meaning, there is nothing left to do in technology in the U.K. or U.S.? So if there's no more frontiers what are we going to do? Hang our heads low and wallow in a depression?

  2. At 11:32 am on 19 Jan 09 parkparadigm said:

    Well of course the answers to your questions are 'no' and 'no'. In fact I can't imagine there ever not being more 'left to do' in technology in the West or anywhere for that matter; I think it is how we as organisms and a society are programmed by nature. So yes, if you want to be cynical about it, taken literally, I suppose you are right.

    And yes, it does sound somewhat romantic…after all it's a job posting and so the context is very clearly one of 'selling' the opportunity to a prospective candidate. Now this job – for many reasons, not the least its being based in Ghana – will not appeal and/or be practical for everyone, in fact I would imagine relatively few people (say in the UK or US) would be in a position to seriously consider this. But those that can, and are so inclined will I believe see the opportunity to 'make a difference' – however cliche'ed it may be – to be a strong selling point.

    Many (not all) people seek a sense of purpose in what they do, and I think the point BusyLab is trying to make is that for someone with these skills, the incremental impact they can have there (as opposed to working in a Fortune 1000 Company or even most start-ups in the West) is disproportionately higher. They don't have to be the next Gates or Brin/Page – to make a huge difference. But just by applying what already exists/has been invented, they can contribute to exponential improvements in the workings of business and the economy in these regions. ie To work productively at the frontier of technology in the UK and US you need to be very clever. For those that are, their best choice is almost certainly to stay doing that. Most developers however (by definition) aren't at that level (except of course in Lake Wobegon.)

    My purpose in posting this was recognizing that there are literally thousands of developers in the financial services industry, many of whom are unsatisfied with their work environment and/or have been laid off, and that amongst this group I would be surprised if there weren't at least a dozen or so who thought this just might be an interesting opportunity.

    In any event, if I'm interpreting your comment correctly, I can only agree that the last thing we need to do in the West is hang our heads and wallow in self-pity, but rather as you suggest we need to pick our selves up and redouble our resolve to continue to push the frontiers of the possible, learn from our mistakes and generally get on with it.

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