Why the “noise makers” among us can’t code.

Let me tell you a true  story: I would rather spend time coding than going to a tech meetup https://twitter.com/pystar/status/227405814921568256, [1] I hate the very thought of marketing (I probably just  hate the fact that my sales pitch might get turned down). I guess that’s why my start-up hasn’t  “blown” and that of “noise makers” [2] among us, is a tale in the opposite.  But the thing is this, I could probably code rings around these “noise makers”, who probably cant write a line of code at gunpoint, but their start ups actually make me feel inadequate in a perverse way.

Unless you are building a deep Comp.Sci based start up like Google, you probably don’t need to focus so much on your code but invest heavily on marketing. Most problems here in a 3rd world country like Nigeria that can become viable start ups actually don’t require deep science but heavy marketing and legwork to enlighten people and also give them a reason to actually use your product. [3]

Most good programmers I happen to know are introverted to a certain degree and prefer coding than actually going out and meeting people, so how do you then market your product if you don’t go out? Social media doesn’t count.

Doing a quick and dirty survey of the most “up in your face” start ups here in Nigeria will actually tell you that they are started by non coding techies (if I can safely call them that)[4]. These guys are “noise makers” and thats why their start ups do well. These guys can’t code and probably are not interested in learning how to code because coding is a long tedious and lonely task (unless you are pair programming) and the emotional make up of these “noise makers” wont just allow them to do this successfully.

I have discovered that even if you write the best code with the most bleeding edge frameworks and languages and do absolutely no marketing or “noise making”, no one will beat a path to your doorstop begging for the rare privilege to use your app.

After thinking alot about this “phenomenon”, I can actually say that I agree absolutely with MrBankole when he penned http://techloy.com/2012/07/10/im-ceo-bitch/ . How does some techie who probably has a name for his laptop [5] succeed in marketing his start up? The most successful route I can figure out is getting a “noise maker” as a co founder. That way you get the best of  both worlds.[6]


[1] Probably the reason why I have never been to any tech meetup (apart the 1st ever barcamp held in lagos “09”) and most probably wont in the nearest future is because of my hectic factory day job schedule and organizers of such meetups refusing to fix events on weekends.

[2] The phrase “Noise maker” as is used in this blog post is actually used in a positive context. A noise maker is someone who is a natural extrovert, a born marketer, with little or no technical chops, i.e. someone in the mould of Steve Jobs.

[3] Imagine a start up with a Seun Osewa and Jason Njoku combo? yeah I can, in my dreams.

[4] Bloovue, dealdey, IrokoTv, Jobberman, wakanow all have non coding founders. (Correct me if I am wrong)

[5] I am guilty as charged.

[6] Don’t do this alone, collaborate, collaborate. Get someone who can pick your slack and is strong where you are weak.

Steve Wozniak (awesome technical chops) + Steve Jobs (most prolific tech marketer ever) == Apple(World domination)


How @Gidi_Traffic can become the Siri of Nigeria

@Gidi_Traffic pls where is Debonairs pizza located?

These are the kind of messages that @Gidi_Traffic gets these days. And why do people actually tweet this kind of stuff to @Gidi_traffic ? at my last count, @Gidi_Traffic has 26,558 followers on Twitter. And most people who tweet this stuff actually are trying to leverage on the network effects and influence that @Gidi_traffic wields, i.e. even if @Gidi_Traffic doesnt know the answer to the questions asked, once its retweeted by @Gidi_Traffic, one of his followers would actually know the answer.

@Gidi_Traffic can become the Siri of Nigeria by doing the following:

1. Retweeting “so-called” unrelated traffic tweets, which would be seen by all his followers and most likely get a correct response.

2. Tweeting those questions asked to people most likely to answer them correctly e.g. crime related tweets to the twitter handle of the Nigerian police, i.e. if they really use Twitter.

3. Biz model: going off Twitter and building a standalone site with Twitter API and allowing people tweet at it and have businesses pay  to have access to those tweets and provide answers/solutions to those tweets. For example, I am hungry and feel like eating pizza, I tweet at @Gidi_Traffic “I feel like having a pizza”, someone who is in charge of the social media handle of Debonairs see’s that tweet, responds to me and I order the pizza from Debonairs. @Gidi_Traffic gets his commission, Debonairs gets a sale and I am no longer hungry and everyone lives happily ever after.

P.S: Anyone can actually become a human-powered Nigerian Siri, not just @Gidi_traffic, the only snag is that you must have loads and loads of followers, i.e. you should be an influencer on Twitter.