Bright Lights, No City: An African Adventure on Bad Roads with a Brother and a Very Weird Business Plan

By Max Alexander

The hilarious tale of 2 brothers, a truckload of batteries, and a super plan to convey light--and new enterprise opportunities--to Ghana

At age forty seven, Whit Alexander, the yankee co-founder of the skull board online game, determined to begin a brand new company promoting reasonable items and companies to low-income villagers in Ghana, West Africa. His brother Max, a journalist, got here alongside to inform the tale. Neither of them may have expected simply how a lot of an event they’d locate there.

In Ghana, Whit's preliminary objective is to marketplace a top quality rechargeable AA battery that off-grid villagers may well use to energy their flashlights and radios, in addition to to cost their mobile phones. If winning, he deliberate to develop a bigger for-profit company in response to these batteries--creating a relied on African model that may offer life-enhancing items, prone, and jobs, with out hoping on charity.

Ghana, even though, provides striking demanding situations, and the brothers salary day-by-day battles opposed to lethal bugs, insane using stipulations, unspeakable nutrients, voodoo clergymen, corrupt officers, counterfeiters, and ethnic rivalries on their technique to good fortune. From signing up shoppers who earn a number of money a month at so much to education staff without Western-style paintings event, the brothers fast examine that beginning a enterprise in Africa calls for single-minded concentration, a feeling of humor, and many patience.

Along the way in which, Whit and Max relive their very own youth, bickering around the African bush and studying greatly approximately Africans in addition to themselves. Irreverent, hilarious, and eventually inspiring, Bright lighting fixtures, No City demanding situations approved notions of charity, exhibits the facility of broadening your horizons, and means that there's wish and chance in Africa.

Praise for Bright lighting fixtures, No City:

"An affectionate, good-humored and at last inspiring account of 1 American's decision to make great things happen."
--Kate Braestrup, manhattan occasions bestselling writer of Here if you would like Me

"My boss, invoice Gates, coined the word 'creative capitalism' to motivate using marketplace forces to deal with the desires of the negative. yet my good friend, Whit Alexander, moved artistic capitalism from principles to daring perform. Bright lighting, No City will scratch your commute computer virus, tickle your small business mind, and contact your heart."
--Patty Stonesifer, former CEO of the invoice & Melinda Gates Foundation

"I completely loved this experience, which is helping to turn out that what a lot of the constructing global wishes is a hand up, now not a hand out."
--John wooden, founding father of Room to learn and writer of Leaving Microsoft to alter the World

"I enjoyed, enjoyed, enjoyed Bright lighting fixtures, No City. A journey de strength! Bravo. it truly is perceptive, informative, considerate, attractive, funny."
--Carey Winfrey, editor emeritus, Smithsonian journal and previous Africa correspondent, New York Times

"Max Alexander has woven a compassionate and oft-times hilarious story of the Brothers Alexander's try to retailer the area, one rechargeable battery at a time. when you've got any curiosity in a good tale or aiding the opposite four billion, learn this ebook, now."
--W. Hodding Carter, writer of Westward Whoa and A Viking Voyage

"A lyrically written common testimony to the humanity that binds each person jointly in this fragile planet, Bright lighting, No City is a deeply relocating and humorous, can't-put-it-down book."
--Frank Schaeffer, writer of Crazy for God

"This publication is full of the fervour and incessant pursuit that it takes to make desires come to existence, and reminds you that it takes compassion, success, and humor to make historical past. A needs to learn for each entrepreneur."
--Richard Tait, Co-Founder, skull; CEO, Galazo

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By Max Alexander

The hilarious tale of 2 brothers, a truckload of batteries, and a super plan to convey light--and new enterprise opportunities--to Ghana

At age forty seven, Whit Alexander, the yankee co-founder of the skull board online game, determined to begin a brand new company promoting reasonable items and companies to low-income villagers in Ghana, West Africa. His brother Max, a journalist, got here alongside to inform the tale. Neither of them may have expected simply how a lot of an event they’d locate there.

In Ghana, Whit's preliminary objective is to marketplace a top quality rechargeable AA battery that off-grid villagers may well use to energy their flashlights and radios, in addition to to cost their mobile phones. If winning, he deliberate to develop a bigger for-profit company in response to these batteries--creating a relied on African model that may offer life-enhancing items, prone, and jobs, with out hoping on charity.

Ghana, even though, provides striking demanding situations, and the brothers salary day-by-day battles opposed to lethal bugs, insane using stipulations, unspeakable nutrients, voodoo clergymen, corrupt officers, counterfeiters, and ethnic rivalries on their technique to good fortune. From signing up shoppers who earn a number of money a month at so much to education staff without Western-style paintings event, the brothers fast examine that beginning a enterprise in Africa calls for single-minded concentration, a feeling of humor, and many patience.

Along the way in which, Whit and Max relive their very own youth, bickering around the African bush and studying greatly approximately Africans in addition to themselves. Irreverent, hilarious, and eventually inspiring, Bright lighting fixtures, No City demanding situations approved notions of charity, exhibits the facility of broadening your horizons, and means that there's wish and chance in Africa.

Praise for Bright lighting fixtures, No City:

"An affectionate, good-humored and at last inspiring account of 1 American's decision to make great things happen."
--Kate Braestrup, manhattan occasions bestselling writer of Here if you would like Me

"My boss, invoice Gates, coined the word 'creative capitalism' to motivate using marketplace forces to deal with the desires of the negative. yet my good friend, Whit Alexander, moved artistic capitalism from principles to daring perform. Bright lighting, No City will scratch your commute computer virus, tickle your small business mind, and contact your heart."
--Patty Stonesifer, former CEO of the invoice & Melinda Gates Foundation

"I completely loved this experience, which is helping to turn out that what a lot of the constructing global wishes is a hand up, now not a hand out."
--John wooden, founding father of Room to learn and writer of Leaving Microsoft to alter the World

"I enjoyed, enjoyed, enjoyed Bright lighting fixtures, No City. A journey de strength! Bravo. it truly is perceptive, informative, considerate, attractive, funny."
--Carey Winfrey, editor emeritus, Smithsonian journal and previous Africa correspondent, New York Times

"Max Alexander has woven a compassionate and oft-times hilarious story of the Brothers Alexander's try to retailer the area, one rechargeable battery at a time. when you've got any curiosity in a good tale or aiding the opposite four billion, learn this ebook, now."
--W. Hodding Carter, writer of Westward Whoa and A Viking Voyage

"A lyrically written common testimony to the humanity that binds each person jointly in this fragile planet, Bright lighting, No City is a deeply relocating and humorous, can't-put-it-down book."
--Frank Schaeffer, writer of Crazy for God

"This publication is full of the fervour and incessant pursuit that it takes to make desires come to existence, and reminds you that it takes compassion, success, and humor to make historical past. A needs to learn for each entrepreneur."
--Richard Tait, Co-Founder, skull; CEO, Galazo

Show description

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He used to be additionally the village gong-gong guy, a role he had redefined with smooth know-how. rather than the common cowbell, Joshua’s “gong-gong” used to be a battery-powered megaphone—the type that may be utilized by the fireplace marshal in a small-town Fourth of July parade. whereas Jonas sharpened my machete on a flat rock subsequent to his store, Joshua became on his megaphone and marched up and down the dust tune, saying tomorrow’s assembly during the tinny, crackling loudspeaker. Moments later Jonas’s young children, who had obviously bathed after getting ready our breakfast, emerged from their huts in crisply pressed tuition uniforms.

There’s a superb candidate I met at a role reasonable in Accra, a tender lady who simply graduated from Ashesi college university, a personal collage run via this Ghanaian former Microsoft supervisor named Patrick Awuah. She absolutely will get it and turns out to need to paintings on a start-up, yet it’s challenging to grasp. perhaps she’s simply trying to find an air-conditioned place of work task in Accra like every person else and we’re like her 3rd or fourth selection. We’ll see. “I’m additionally attempting to layout a automated box administration method that we will be able to use with reasonable netbooks.

They pass round with us overnight to each considered one of their significant off-grid villages and introduce us to the main reliable, hardworking agent applicants, with advantages and endorsements from elders, opinion leaders, and chiefs. We determine the kinks in our ‘group chief’ version in order that we will combination all of those parents into one or ‘super brokers’ to lessen our reconciliation burden. this permits us so as to add the previous identical of 4 to 6 brokers per week to the version, with a administration burden little a couple of of our former brokers.

He says certain, so I hand him the meter and a radio and that i say, ‘How might you degree the ability this radio consumes? ’ he's taking the machine, and Max, it used to be like voodoo. He’s simply passing his palms over it, and twiddling with the knobs and crossing the wires; he evidently doesn’t recognize the very first thing approximately it and doesn’t appear to discover that I do. He thinks he’s fooling me with magic or whatever. It used to be fucking laughable. I suggest, why didn’t he simply say, ‘I don’t understand how to take advantage of one yet I’m a quick learner and I’m certain you could educate me quick.

We sat within the lounge, the place a small television with grainy reception was once taking part in an American cleaning soap opera. Celestine instructed me she used to be fifty-four years previous and have been a nurse for thirty years. She used to be Ewe, from a village in Volta zone. She ended up in Koforidua simply because that’s the place the task was once. Her mom and dad had some time past made the city migration to Accra. even though by no means married, Celestine had boys—a seventeen-year-old who attended boarding institution in Begoro, approximately an hour north, and a thirty-five-year-old who was once getting his master’s in finance at Towson collage in Maryland.

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