My 10 Pictures: Gone With the Wind

Perhaps, you also heard this.

You received a lot of SMSs from Ethio Telecom that it is easier to obtain a SIM card now. There are many tele centers which provide this service too. All you need is two photos and a copy of your ID.

Well, here is the entire problem

Like many other organizations, the Ethio telecom doesn’t have a central database to manage your data. Data collection is expensive. Even though, it isn’t the result by itself. After collecting the data, you should know what to do with it. So far, I obtained 5 SIM cards for different projects, and the telecom has my ten pictures – imagine ten! I feel like I am taking pictures to give to them. What do they do with my pictures? God knows. If you buy 10 SIM cards, you need to give 20 pictures of you. You are the same person; probably, with the same hair style.

Similar stories

Have you ever registered on the workshop? They asked you to write your full name (even in capitals), your email, you phone and such. People love to collect data. Folks, have you ever received any phone call from the event organizers? Have you ever taken seriously and get follow up and outcome reports?

Recently, we are preparing the BarCamp Event. Like the tradition goes, we collected participants’ data (with very shiny table at the gate of the university compound). This morning, we talked about it and we asked ourselves. What happened to the collected data? It isn’t only because we can’t follow up on the participants but also loosing personal data is dangerous. Thankfully, we managed to record the contact information on Google Docs. So we can easily manage the data now.

Here are some tips which might help you to handle such data collection problems.

  1. Why and what: The first and the most important question is why do we need to collect the data in the first place? If we don’t follow up on participants, and the community establishment is less important, it is better not to collect the data at all. If we have to collect the data (for participation statistics, catering etc…), we should know what to collect. Perhaps, name can be sufficient.
  2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM): In most cases, this is a perfect solution regarding collecting personal data. CRM solutions usually involve using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes. On this centrally manageable environment, I only need to give one picture and save my other 9 pictures from the Ethio telecom’s trash bins. There are so many free and open source software solutions. It is a matter of picking one and work on it.
  3. Google docs: For small event organization, such as workshops, training, retreats, Google docs is a better solution. Google has everything you need – even a little more than you need. On Google docs, you don’t even have to insert the data. The participants will fill up their own data. And it is also easier to create mailing list afterwards.
  4. Data privacy: It might seem a neglected topic, but every bit of information you have from participants came with responsibility. I personally don’t want to receive any phone calls or emails for product advertisement nor treats because of the type of events I participated. It is very critical how to handle personal data. I don’t want the copy of my passport scattered all over the shabby tele centers in the city.


  1. Elyas Mulu Kiros · July 6, 2011

    I think you should work for Ethio-telecom as a consultant because I think they can benefit a great deal from your expertise … or maybe you r already doin it … guen based on the things you write, I feel like you should perhaps reach out to them … i wonder what their talent-search method looks like… or if they hire private consultants for that matter.

  2. sukersays · July 7, 2011

    I agree with Elyas from the previous comment. Why don’t you really try to help them out, consulting them about common sense (like, why the hell they need 2 pictures from us everytime?! (That’s why I never bought a second sim card, cuz I already gave them 2 pictures for my CDMA. The lady asked me for 2 pictures and I said, “But you took 2 from me last time when I bought my CDMA… where did you put that one?” And she just laughed and ignored me… an Ethiopian-dumb-habit. )) Anyway, Keep up the good work.

    p.s. I did tell you that I loveddd the top of your page. I wish I could do that with my profile. 😦 so I can put some of your designs there. 😉

  3. eweket · July 7, 2011

    Hi Elyas, Hi Saricho! thanks for you kind words. But the things i discuss in my blog is VERY SIMPLE. If you see it from technical point of view… i am telling you it is “ABCD-easy”. I was talking about simple designs, simple customer care, simple server configuration ….. I really doubt to work with ethio telecom while they can’t see this simple changes. We want more competition. We need more ISPs. We need a better management. We need a better telecom policy. we need a better service. I don’t even mind the government owns the telecom sector (if not even better) but look the Ethiopian Airlines. it is state owned. But great service.

    As I always say, For the current Ethiopian poverty, the past Ethiopian history of closing herself is main problem. It can be many factors with that like many enemies and tired of war and stuff….. BUT THE SAME thing is happening now. The world is going so fast with IT and it is still a luxury here. Ethiopia is closing its own door from the world… the result is the same… poverty”

  4. Elyas Mulu Kiros · July 7, 2011

    Hmm … I agree and disagree with you @Ewket.

    When you look at things from inside vs from inside, your judgement is completely different. You see because, they are inside, they cant even see these simple, yet very frustrating problems, that make their customer service very backward, unprofessional, and that are determents to mental as well as capital growth.

    I agree with you that they need to revamp their system.

    I disagree with you that you dont wanna work with them coz they dont even see the simplest problems and make improvements accordingly … guess what it is individuals like you who can transform companies like that one! Ethiopian airlines would not have reached where it is today without people like Ato Girma Waqe and all the talents from present and past, that moved in with their expertise to give it that status it now enjoys. You dont necessarily have to work inside, in fact, it is much better if u work as a consultant because you can see it from two angles: outside, inside. … I was just reading this article this morning on the NYC transportation system: … as you can see the system is pretty messed up, it does not meet 100% customer satisfaction, but the kids with the talent are not waiting until the MTA solves every problem, they are working around the system to make life easier for the commuters … they also make money at the same time, by marketing their apps, in other words, they are making a huge difference without directly working for MTA, but from outside. … so my point is that, sure Ethiotelecom is f-ed up, but i think if the right people get together and propose something to government, something positive can come out of that … look at ECX, for example, it was just one person’s idea to begin with … 🙂 just an opinion.

    • eweket · July 7, 2011

      Let’s see! actually, i am not sit and look what they are doing. blogging is one aspect of it. I also create a facebook group which is one of the most active facebook group from ethiopia that people share ideas what should be improved and what should be changed…etc…

      i also have a plan to write different recommendations, even better experts from the group and hand out to the telecom. I will definitely update you on the progress. Thanks!

  5. Elyas Mulu Kiros · July 7, 2011

    * oops … first line, I meant inside vs outside … sorry la 🙂

    • eweket · July 7, 2011

      i forgot ‘ing’s too 😉

  6. Elyas Mulu Kiros · July 9, 2011

    It is wonderful that you have already taken certain steps; it is always better to do something than to do nothing at all; constructive criticism is what I believe the country desperately needs whoever leads it. I also think that those Ethiopians in the IT and Telecom related fields, both in and outside, can do a lot more to transform this stagnant medium that keeps crippling itself because of bureaucracy. The best way to challenge or get the interest of, for example the govt, will be to create an ad-hoc group that can do serious research and can come up with policy alternatives that can be forwarded to the responsible parties, including the PM office … If the proposal is convincing or realistic, I doubt they would reject it, especially if it saves them foreign currency, and transforms the telecom industry… if am not mistaken the reason they hired the french company is to make the ETtelecom more efficient, and modernized, etc, … but if a local talent can take care of it, why waste money? in addition giving an opportunity to Ethiopian talents will boost their PR campaign … it will be a win-win for everyone involved. … and lets say privatization happens, i think such an ad-hoc group will be the first to benefit from it…since they accumulate extensive experience in the field.

  7. Adugna · October 3, 2011

    Did you also know that

    you can terminate and gain other’s person pre-paid mobile telephone service subscription…

    Here is the hack

    Take 2 picture of you, go to nearest ETC branch, claim some one’s number as if it belongs to you and you lost it, fill a form and you will be granted other guy’s SIM. May be do the dirty thing you planned with that line. Don’t worry the form you filled will end up in a dust bin that night.

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