Is Nigeria’s Tech industry really growing?

I recently read on Nairaland, the story of a young man who had a brilliant idea. In an attempt to bring the idea to life, he met with a “reputable” IT firm in Lagos and pitched his idea to them. He said the CEO was very impressed and commended his innovative thinking. Sometime after this meeting, it appeared as if the company could not go with the idea as the price was not suitable for them and so business with that company did not take off. Shortly after this, he was shocked to hear (from a reliable source) that the company had built a system similar to his idea and had started marketing them to the target clients he had suggested. Bummer!

Now this is not new in any industry nor in any part of the world and it will continue to happen especially as human beings will continue to be innovative and at certain times it may be hard to call an idea “totally yours”. What really got my attention was the fact that although many of the thread participants were enraged on the poster’s behalf, no one really seemed to know what exactly to do. Some people gave some very impressive suggestions but that didn’t change the fact that there was not really a system to refer to, or even particular examples in this part of the world where one can take inspiration from.

Silicon Valley has become a successful model and probably the industry standard for how the tech industry should run and this is not just because world-changing ideas start there. It is really because ideas are turned into life-changing businesses, lifestyles, products and services. It is also because a world exists there, which creates a very strong and well-functioning support system for the main juice-technology. And so, Silicon Valley provides jobs, not just for developers or engineers, but for patent lawyers, tech financial analysts, real estate salesmen, doctors, writers, artists and so much more. For every ground-breaking mobile device produced, there needs to be a researcher who understands the needs of the market, a designer who can bring in that cutting edge look, a lawyer who will ensure that every creative/innovative element is covered by one form of the law or another, an analyst who will advise on the best time to launch, a doctor who will examine any likely health risks etc.

Simply put, a growing tech industry is not just about the number of products and services that have been conceived recently but it also involves, for example, the number lawyers have made strides in intellectual property law based on our creations, the designers that have been able to stretch their abilities to increase user experience, accountants that have perfected the science of valuing startups and so much more. Until this industry runs in sync with, and engages every other profession, we have just scratched the surface. And if our industry grows isolated from every other profession, then we have no industry at all.

Meanwhile, what do you guys think this young developer should do? Please share!

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Facebook/Instagram deal; signs of a dotcom bubble?

The tech and business world went crazy at the news of Facebook buying photo sharing app Instagram for 1billion dollars. One of the questions on most minds (expressed or otherwise) was; “is Instagram really worth that much?”  For some, it was “why Facebook?”

As I watched a TV programme discussing the deal this morning, some were of the opinion that we are about to experience a bubble like that of the millennium 2000.

Silicon Valley has had a history of finding money where most people can’t see it and if there’s any one person who will understand the “disruption” model of building a business, it has to be Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg himself.

So the questions we keep hearing are:

  • Was the app overpriced?
  • Is there a dotcom bubble?
  • Was it a wise move for Facebook?

Reports show that many Instagram fans are not exactly thrilled at the news of the deal as some have privacy concerns. Others believe it may become to “Facebook-ey” and eventually ruined.

I can’t say I’m particularly miffed as I don’t use Instagram and this kind of deal had to come at one point or the other.

So… was $1billion dollars too much?

I don’t think so; Instagram has a large number of very loyal fans who use it very much. There really is no telling how big it may grow. With that database of users and information, improvement comes easier (like a barrier to entry). 

Was it a wise move for Facebook?

With a platform like Facebook, I think Instagram is likely to be complimentary. Of course like everyone else, I am hoping it won’t lose its addictiveness after this deal.

Is there a dotcom bubble? Again?   

It’s very likely although the lines are blurry right now. Some products seem to have incredible value and some just appear like products of over-active imaginations which will not go far.  More than ever, investors need to keep an eye out for what would be a wise move looking back. But that has always been the riddle, hasn’t it?