Sunday, November 25, 2012

Converting between Alexa rank and number of site visitors


I think there is a weirdly linear (in a log-log sense) relationship between the visitor count (number of monthly visitors) and the global Alexa rank of a website.
This is called a power law.
It is easy enough to remember - a little like Moore's law, or Ohm's law :)
Relationship between Alexa rank and monthly visitors
It implies that to improve your ranking by a factor of 10, you need 10 times the visitors.
To halve your ranking, double the visitor count.  
If you dropped to 1/3 of your usual site visitors, your new ranking will be old ranking x three.
And so on.

Here's the data I used:

Site %Traffic Reach Est. Monthly Visitors* Alexa rank
yahoo  20 1000000000 4
craigslist  1.5 75000000 42
meetup 0.2 10000000 465
nairaland 0.08 4000000 1385
jobberman 0.02 1000000 4653
cp-africa 0.004 200000 44206
wemabank  0.00028 14000 557445

*The monthly visitors numbers are estimated by assuming jobberman has 1million visitors per month (I think that corresponds to a ranking around 5k) and that the traffic reach percentage (data given by alexa for each site) is simply number of visitors for this site / a fixed number corresponding to all traffic.  That is, take the traffic to be proportional to the traffic reach percentage.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Henry Ford, the great industrialist

In 1891, Ford (born 1863) became an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company. After his promotion to Chief Engineer in 1893, he had enough time and money to devote attention to his personal experiments on gasoline engines. These experiments culminated in 1896 with the completion of a self-propelled vehicle which he named the Ford Quadricycle. He test-drove it on June 4. After various test-drives, Ford brainstormed ways to improve the Quadricycle.

Also in 1896, Ford attended a meeting of Edison executives, where he was introduced to Thomas Edison. Edison approved of Ford's automobile experimentation. Encouraged by Edison, Ford designed and built a second vehicle, completing it in 1898.

Backed by the capital of Detroit lumber baron William H. Murphy, Ford resigned from the Edison Company and founded the Detroit Automobile Company on August 5, 1899.  However, the automobiles produced were of a lower quality and higher price than Ford wanted. Ultimately, the company was not successful and was dissolved in January 1901.

 With the help of C. Harold Wills, Ford designed, built, and successfully raced a 26-horsepower automobile in October 1901. With this success, Murphy and other stockholders in the Detroit Automobile Company formed the Henry Ford Company on November 30, 1901, with Ford as chief engineer.

In 1902, Murphy brought in Henry M. Leland as a consultant; Ford, in response, left the company bearing his name. With Ford gone, Murphy renamed the company the Cadillac Automobile Company.

Teaming up with former racing cyclist Tom Cooper, Ford also produced the 80+ horsepower racer "999" which Barney Oldfield was to drive to victory in a race in October 1902. Ford received the backing of an old acquaintance, Alexander Y. Malcomson, a Detroit-area coal dealer. They formed a partnership, "Ford & Malcomson, Ltd." to manufacture automobiles.
Image: Ford Assembly Line

Ford went to work designing an inexpensive automobile, and the duo leased a factory and contracted with a machine shop owned by John and Horace E. Dodge to supply over $160,000 in parts.  Sales were slow, and a crisis arose when the Dodge brothers demanded payment for their first shipment.

Source: Wikipedia (Henry Ford)

In response, Malcomson brought in another group of investors and convinced the Dodge Brothers to accept a portion of the new company.  Ford & Malcomson was reincorporated as the Ford Motor Company on June 16, 1903, with $28,000 capital. The original investors included Ford and Malcomson, the Dodge brothers, Malcomson's uncle John S. Gray, Malcolmson's secretary James Couzens, and two of Malcomson's lawyers, John W. Anderson and Horace Rackham.

Ford then demonstrated a newly-designed car on the ice of Lake St. Clair, driving 1 mile (1.6 km) in 39.4 seconds and setting a new land speed record at 91.3 miles per hour (147.0 km/h). Convinced by this success, the race driver Barney Oldfield, who named this new Ford model "999" in honor of the fastest locomotive of the day, took the car around the country, making the Ford brand known throughout the United States. Ford also was one of the early backers of the Indianapolis 500.

Read More: Wikipedia (Henry Ford)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Poverty and women

Women earn less.  Women do a lot of unpaid labour.  Men enjoy a lot of unpaid labour.  There are few women at the highest-earning levels.   Many boards should have more women.  Many marriages do not help women as much as they help men.  For instance, most homes in Nigeria are owned by the men, and not co-owned by the women. 

Here is the US data on women's earnings:
The poverty class is 60% female.  The wealthy end is about 30% female.  OK. 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Battle time in transformation land

Nigeria has come a long way from April when I was frustrated about Delays in Power, the Petroleum industry bill, even the systems of business grants and buses that were promised as a palliative measure after the partial roll-back of subsidies on fuel importation.  We've seen the buses, we're glad about YouWIN, but there are still some problem spots:

Power - As at September, and even until now, the use of available power infrastructure was improved such that many homes + businesses started getting the highest level of "nepa-on" that they've seen in years.  This is a  fantastic development that gives us hope that we can complete the journey in electric power provision.  Note that the improvement so far - from over 2,000 to around 4,000 MW on a max capacity of 5 or 6 thousand - is little compared to what we are really hunting for (in the tens of thousands).
Power Privatization progress is that
1. the generation companies finally got new owners / operators (except for Afam, connected to the resignation of the former Minister of Power, Barth Nnaji)
2. The preferred bidders for the distribution companies have been announced (some bidders complained about the process, but it seems they don't really have a case)
3. the transmission company got new management three months ago, but on paper only.  Business Day reports reveal vested anti-privatization interests in the upper ranks of the privatization process, if that makes any sense.
This is probably why the Minister of State for Power (not to be confused with Minister of Power, still a vacant seat) was moved to the Niger Delta portfolio, and a woman, Zainab Kuchi, erstwhile Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, brought to replace him.
Current Battlepoint: Install Manitoba as an independent manager of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, that is free to apply its considerable technical base in the growth and management of Nigeria's electric power industry.
If this fails, it may be "cheaper" for the country to allow/license private concerns to develop new transmission infrastructure (natural monopoly or not; there are situations in which such redundancy is normal) and perhaps to weaken the need for the transmission company by allowing local/regional power projects. 

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Security - Our people are still being killed in the name of Boko Haram.  A recent study highlighted that the strong-arm response of the military is making the problem worse.  Well, we learn everyday.  I know that Nigeria will use this feedback to work on ensuring our security. 
Current Battlepoints: Ok this one is not a battle, it may need a long-term strategy.

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Petroleum - After the subsidy protests, there were four panels set up, including one charged with speeding up the passage of the PIB.  Poor bill, it is being debated still.
Now it turns out that the other three panels had their reports hidden/junked for months, then one was leaked, and now finally the reports will be seen by the President.  It will be fantastic if the reforms they suggest can be taken seriously.
I know that there are political reasons why some may not want these common-sense reforms. For example, in the absence of an alternative system for funding political parties and campaigns, a transparent petroleum revenues account means you're killing the funding for one party.  Many are focused on the idea that the reforms would dilute the power of the individual who holds the Minister of Power portfolio.  But clearly you can't be Minister of Power forever, so there must be a higher reason, right?    
At any rate, I would advocate that we favour light over darkness.  Let's not cover up the cover-ups.  Let us instead work through the issues and find ways to truly make Nigeria progress and prosper.
Current Battlepoints: Finalize the petroleum industry laws so that the players know what's up. 


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Power, again: What the hell is happening in Lekki?  On the one hand, they probably demand a lot of power per person.  On the other hand, why are they not getting improved power supply in Lekki of all places?  My guess is that high corruption is taking place to ensure that Lekki residents continue to spend on generators and fuel.  Somebody needs to be fired, but who?
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