“I think this guy is just plain wrong” , that was the first comment I got on my guest post @ Techloy.com. For the records, I never claimed to be right or a know all. I only articulated a few thoughts of mine, which have been rattling around in my head for weeks now. So I wonder why the post elicited a lot of negative backlash from some highly “respected” Nigerian tech entrepreneurs. This response is to put some facts straight but trust me, this is no retraction. Ok, let’s get down to business.
1. Starting a startup is HARD, very HARD: Not everyone has the opportunity to have a friend who has $160k to invest in his untested idea. A startup started in more advanced climes is most likely to fail, talk less of a place like Nigeria where nothing works. There is no place in my post where I claimed that “starting a music startup is a stupid idea” or “that you should not start a startup in Nigeria”, you only inferred it. This brings me to what is known as the “Law of Effection” which states that “the more lives you affect in an entity you control, in scale and/or magnitude, the richer you would become”. In tech speak, the more people your startup provides a service to, the more likely you are to succeed. This is not the time to develop “me-too” or “I too can do it” website or application unless you have some safety net somewhere. Whenever you have a startup idea, which you feel has the likely hood of succeeding, ask yourself, “would the average person use my application?”. When I say average, I am talking about the market woman, the jobless youth, the stay at home mum, the middle class white-collar banker etc. If the answer to that question is yes, then take the plunge and run like hell with that idea.
2. Clone Wars: I still stand with my dislike for clones, you know why? There are a million problems here in Nigeria that require bankable, innovative and profitable tech solutions. So why in the name of anything you call holy should you clone? unless its a remix of something with a unique twist, see this . Mention was made of Dealdey and how profitable is it, I might not be privy to their financial statements but I would really doubt that assertion (I stand to be corrected), you know why? I am yet to meet anyone who has consummated a transaction on Dealdey, that’s to tell you that it is not yet something the average person uses. See my first point.
3. VC’s in Nigeria? as in really? Venture capital firms in Nigeria? If that is true, then that is awesome news. I just hope Angels are not now being mistaken for VC firms.
1. I wonder why some people would allow their emotions to becloud their sense of reasoning. My “random thoughts” are now being misconstrued as personal attacks at some imaginary startup founders? #AWESOME. Telling startup founders to ignore me actually sounds like a very personal attack to me, these are my opinions not the 10 commandments cast in stone from Mount Sinai. As you said, it is very easy to identify problems and since talk is cheap, lets see what “solution” I come out with.
2. Dangote group has a market capitalization of #2.28trillion as against the whole banking industry that has a capitalization of #1.8trillion. why? The group produces what the average Nigerian buys and finds useful. salt, sugar, cement, juice, etc. But not everyone has a bank account or would have the use for it.
3. I definitely won’t advice any would be startup founder to develop a 1-for-1 clone of Facebook, Twitter or even Nairaland for that matter. Anyone who does that just raised the odds of him failing to sky high levels.
Postscript: The original title to my blog post was “Live in Nigeria? (***Insert your 3rd world country here***). This is why your startup will fail”. If you marry the title to the body of my post, you would see that the attacks were unwarranted. The editors felt their title was better than mine I guess. Enough said.