I am a very compassionate person. And a reasoning one. As it happened, during my studies as an undergraduate I discovered the intellectual discipline of Economics. During my year abroad at the University of Oxford I became much more aware of the deprivation present in many parts of the world, and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Subsequently, in 2001 I proposed three topics for my final year dissertation. One was about estimating the economic costs of compliance to the Kyoto agreement (yes, there used to be an agreement). The second one was about the economic impacts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. And the third one proposed modeling the processes occurring at Internet auctions.
For my senior thesis the Economics department at Reed College approved the topic concerning the HIV/AIDS epidemic. But they took an interest in my proposal on Internet auctions and helped me to continue my studies as a PhD candidate at the Judge Business School in the University of Cambridge. Consequently, I spent the next three and a half years thinking about, modeling and researching Internet auctions. I became fascinated by the role of technology in electronic markets, and the discrepancies between in-person bidding behaviour and online bidding behaviour. Also I grew interested in the theoretical fields concerning auction and market design, and the extension of those fields towards technology-based marketplaces.
While at Cambridge, I also became more aware of and involved in efforts aimed at the use of information and communication technologies to the benefit of people in developing countries. These ideas combined with observations collected while traveling, have inspired my vision of a “mobile market”. It has an optimal mechanism. It is allocatively efficient. It secures maximum revenues. The information transmitted via mobile phones is complete and perfect. It provides the right incentives for everyone. It promotes trade and increases the volume of transactions. It increases social welfare. It is fair.
After having the opportunity to engage with the reality of agribusiness value chains in Liberia and in Ghana, my focus has shifted slightly. Currently, I am interested in understanding and empathizing with user experiences in Africa from the delivery of various public (e.g. agricultural extension, basic education) and private (e.g. security) services. I am focused on the opportunities mobile technologies offer for improving user experiences in a sustainable manner.