I was sitting with some acquaintances over drinks just last weekend and as you can imagine we were laughing and having a very swell time. We talked about our love lives, Lagos life, the state of the naira and of course in between we cracked jokes and made jest of one another. In the midst of all that banter we drifted off to talk about tech startups and the ones that have made the most money.
The Grandiose Ambition of Nigerian Techpreneurs [Writer's contest]
This is an entry for the Pulse writer's contest by Abdus-salam Olatunde Muyibi. "... He was looking to partner with someone to create an app so that he could monetise his photographs and prints..."
We went on to talk about the obvious Silicon Valley ones like Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb and the likes. Eventually we talked about the ones in Nigeria gaining a lot of traction like Jovago, Konga, Wakanow among others. We are Nigerians, so as expected we were loud and very passionate with our chatter. Then, it got to a point where we simmered down and there was some quiet. At that moment a very good friend of mine Obi walked into the restaurant frowning. We all turned to him and asked what was wrong. He calmly shook his head and said "bros I tire".
That "bros I tire" is a phrase I think most of us have heard all too often. Obi went on to explain how he had just left a meeting with some tech guys that were asking him to pay three hundred thousand naira for them to develop an app for him. He explained that he had a really nice idea for an app and all he was looking for was someone to partner with. He said, "all of them seem to be living in clouds and forgetting that apps are supposed to solve everyday problems".
I could see the frustration on his face but I understood what he meant. He went on to explain how all the people in the meeting were working on building the next Facebook, or the next Jumia and ignoring the simplest solutions that could go a very long way. One of the guys at the table chipped in "like Jekalo right". Obi yelled, "yes, stuff like that". Jekalo is a carpooling app for Lagos residents that pairs ride owners and riders seamlessly.
My very good friend Obi is an image wiz and by the way he is always very candid with his opinion. He was looking to partner with someone to create an app so that he could monetise his photographs and prints. He really believed in his idea, as it was a way for artists and photographers to make money and for Lagos residents to find very artistic frames for their homes and offices. Unfortunately, all the people Obi was speaking with were adamantly interested in making a quick buck with their developer skills or creating complex apps that will make them millions.
The issue here is simple; Nigeria is a country with a lot of talent and potential. There is also a lot of unventured territory for us as entrepreneurs to explore. We really have a lot of potentially great startups in this country. We just need to think more creatively and come up with the most efficient ventures that will solve the issues in our community. Too many of us are chasing the next big thing when really the next big thing is likely a very small thing.
The Nigerian population that has access to mobile Internet is continuously growing and it is high time we tapped into it with refreshed gusto. Our taxi drivers, mechanics, electricians and everyday artisans now have access to Whatsapp and other lovely apps. In order for this nation to really grow and produce it's own Evan Spiegel or Jan Koum we really need to pay close attention to opportunities in our community.
NAME: ABDUS-SALAM OLATUNDE MUYIBI
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