Recently I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, I’m evaluating the past, present, and thinking of the future. Trying to create a sequence of convergent series of events that have occurred over the years, my views on issues, various businesses, and opportunities that have evolved right before our eyes without us taking note till they became mainstream, and life as a whole with deep introspection and reflections.
Growing up I’ve never really vibe with Nigerian music, I felt the west was producing more quality music than us at the time, and despite the amazing artists we had at the time, I just felt I wasn’t going to enjoy the Nigerian music, no matter how people danced to the beats.
But as time went on, and with improvements in the entertainment sector and the new artists’ drive for excellence while delivering quality afrobeat with rhythm and top-notch music production I’ve found myself naturally enjoying listening to the various artists in the country, it might not be regularly but I’ve allowed time take the wheel.
Afrobeats has greatly improved and has also gotten mainstream, over time improvements had been made, contributions to its success and recognition, and wide-scale acceptance, this is a case study for those enthusiasts in the music space.
If we go down memory lane we will recall how the telecommunications industry created and scaled call centers, this was widely accepted and it became a source of revenue for agents under various network providers.
The mobile penetration at the time too was not as high as it is now, which gave room for such opportunities and the ripple effect it had at the time, also with the introduction of the Recharge cards was a great addition to the various product offerings of the telecommunications industry, people became agents, resellers, and marketers of these cards. I remember before I gained admission into higher education, I sold airtimes of various networks, at my mother’s supermarket at the time. So I had a downstream understanding of the distribution process, these were fun days and learning curves for me as a very young kid supporting my family.
But as time went on, new innovations came up in form of digital banking, gradually call centers no longer found their use cases, and mobile phones penetration became high thanks to the major people who had the foresight to bring in cheap affordable android devices which helped to boost the smartphone penetration in Nigeria, slot founder Nnamdi Ezeigbo, and others were forward and long term thinkers.
Nigerians could now own smartphones and this also brought about mobile banking, banks invested heavily in mobile applications with add-on services like airtime and data purchases, and gradually recharge card sellers were out of business as people found comfort in purchasing these add-on services from the comfort of their homes.
We can argue that recharge cards are still in the market due to the informal sector and its conformity with the slow adoption of digital banking experience in fact we can argue it’s also based on the slow adoption of digital technology as a whole. In summary the unbanked and not tech-savvy people.
But over time, some things have been changing right before our very eyes, some people noticed on time, some predicted these changes, and some adopted the changes more quickly than others, I personally stopped buying recharge cards a month after the banks deployed the add-on service on their product offerings which could be bought using a USSD code or from their mobile applications.
With the introduction of digital banking, then came an opportunity to build and scale agency banking, 15 years ago call center operators won’t have imagined that POS operators will replace them on the streets, reaching the customers close to their house of residence. I for one never imagined how things will change, but deep down I knew technology will improve especially as the west was pioneering some of these technological advancements we enjoy today in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Using my already detailed analysis of the past and the present, can we predict the future, or do we allow time to take the wheel?
We must be open to observing the present, studying the past, and also predicting the future of technology in Nigeria. We have so much hope for the future and we must be focused and also don’t leave out first principal thinking as it’s the backbone to building the future we desire.
First principles thinking as defined by Wikipedia, consists of deriving things to their fundamental proven axioms in the given arena, before reasoning up by asking which ones are relevant to the question at hand, then cross-referencing conclusions based on chosen axioms and making sure conclusions don’t violate any fundamental laws.
This has been key to all advancements in all fields of life and great inventors, scientists and a host of others have built on top of this principle. And much more will, especially as the future is dependent on the inventors of today.
Despite all the technological advancements and business opportunities that have been created in the past and the ones we currently enjoying in Nigeria, we should also note that timing was key, some inventions came at the right time, and some came at the wrong time and phased out.
Also, there was a time frame which I will call, Null Time during this time, there was no innovation, people and businesses were learning, experimenting, and testing the waters on a minimal scale, and some had no innovative ideas, while others allowed the west to think for them and give them ideas, we can spend the whole time creating various categories of groups of people that may fit into this time frame, but if we look at the time it took for call centers to go mainstream and be adopted if we look at the time mobile phones at subsidized affordable prices came into the market, if we examine the time, banks built core mobile applications and embedded add-on services if we also examine the time it took for agency banking to become mainstream, we will notice that was a null time.
Venture Capital and startups are other topics for discussion, we can factor into these insights and how before our very eyes, our fellow Nigerian companies have gained and built trust with the west, which has enabled a huge amount of investments into the tech ecosystem, changing the narrative and building scalable startups.
It’s beautiful when we examine these things with deep introspection and reflections on our past, examine our present, and predict the future. It will give you the belief that hope is real, that growth is possible.
As a startup founder, helping various companies in various sectors grow, scale, and provide value, I must say it’s a humbling experience and a huge opportunity for me to learn deep knowledge across various sectors and build products that keep growing in users base, simplifying the process of various companies, creating and transferring value.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I have concluded that the builders of tomorrow are those who will make good use of time, think broadly and outside the box, most especially thinking around first principles, be open to changing their views and opinions as things change, and finally build products that will advance the use of technology thereby creating value and changing the lives of people down to the last mile.
Keep building, the future is bright.