As a subscriber to Swift’s unlimited data plan which offers free unlimited Internet access from 12am to 6am and also having a full time day job, I kind of noticed that I wasn’t “milking” the free segment as much as I could because most times I would be asleep during that period.
So I decided to write a simple cronjob (the cronjob calls up my download manager already preloaded with my download list at 12am, downloads all the items on the list and shuts down at 6am).
Voila!!! I have my money’s worth.
Could a man enjoy being awakened at 5am by an alarm, leap out of bed, say a “let my enemies die” prayer if so religiously inclined, shit, piss, brush teeth, bath, comb hair, dress, fight traffic with insane, high on drugs danfo drivers, police men, LASTMA officials with their spiked iron rods hiding in odd bends and corners ready to jump into his car, to get to a place where essentially he makes lots of money for someone else and be asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
-An adaptation of Charles Bukowski, Factotum, 1975.
The average hacker here in Nigeria has almost zero access to funding for his startup, from either angels, venture capital firms, banks or even the government. At best if his idea looks promising, he might be able to convince friends and family to invest in his startup i.e. if they have the means to do so. But to face the facts, most hackers might not be able to go this route so I have listed some ways to circumvent this barrier.
Alternatives to Traditional Funding
1. Grow Organically: This mostly depends on the idea behind the startup. This is one reason why I am against hackers creating clones of popular websites here in the Nigerian web space. The idea behind any would be Nigerian startup should have the innate ability to grow organically, i.e. it should be a viable idea and should be able to generate revenue immediately from the time of launch. This would allow the startup to stay “lean”, prioritize on features and stay focused on what is absolutely necessary to the growth of the startup.
2. Freelance: Another word I could have used is to “consult or offer consulting services” i.e. provide services to individuals or corporate bodies based on your skills set. e.g. web design/development, database administration etc. This will allow you to plough back money generated from this activities into the startup, allowing it to stay afloat until it starts to generate income of its own.
3. Day Job: I am absolutely sure this is the path most hackers here in Nigeria are on. Having a day job means the hacker has access to steady income out of which he can dedicate a certain percentage to the daily running of the startup until it starts to generate enough income for him to take the full time plunge into it. One advantage of this path is that you as a startup founder gets to keep your 100% equity stake in the startup.
Since angels, VC firms, banks and the government are still blind to the gold mine they have left fallow in the form of web startups in Nigeria, I just have this to say: “Let’s become so good, that they can no longer ignore us!”.
How I wish there is a place in Lagos, Nigeria where:
1. I can code without bothering about power cuts from the power company, my inverter running down, my generator running out of fuel or my laptop dying and also have REAL BROADBAND ACCESS.
2. I can harness the collective intelligence of fellow hackers, brainstorm on issues relating to coding/startups/funding/business models etc, get validation on ideas for web projects etc (Twitter/Facebook doesn’t just cut it).
3. I can get to meet VC’s and angels who might become interested in my work, put in funding and get it off the ground.
4. I can have unlimited access to food and energy drinks to fuel my coding sessions i.e. I wont mind paying a daily/weekly/monthly fee to get something like this.
5. I can concentrate on coding which I do well and leave stuff like UI/UX design, database design and administration, system administration to the guys who do it better.
6. I can attend hackerton’s, *camps, workshops and trainings related to IT facilitated by veterans in the industry, both local and foreign.
I think I should stop wishing and start acting, anyone else interested in making this happen?