Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Combatting Bribery

One of the ways I decide something is worth blogging is when I repeat it enough to people to fully realize how interesting it is. There are some ideas like that from the New Yorker profile on Mo Ibrahim who started Africa’s largest mobile carrier (only abstract available to non-subscribers) and has taken his riches to start a foundation that each year gives one African politician who steps down quietly $5 million dollars.

Specifically I loved Ibrahim’s approach to combatting bribery at Celtel, his mobile company:

When confronted for requests for bribes, Ibrahim instructed employees to say, “How much do you want? Two million? Three million?” Employees were told to ask people to submit the request for a payoff in writing, which of course no one would do. To further insure that no one in the company would pay a large bribe, he stipulated that no Celtel employee could spend more than thirty thousand dollars without the approval of the entire board. Celtel was never accused of corruption.

April 5, 2011