What is the problem with Kenyan techprenuers?

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A few weeks ago, I was speaking to my friend and the topic of iHub came up and she made it clear that she can no longer hire or engage someone whose main achievement is working from the iHub.

My friend is one of those well adjusted and grounded people and she would never say this just for the sake. There are others who just say it because they heard it or because of someone else’s experiences.

My friend’s problem was that in her technology firm she had engaged various people and in most cases she needed someone to develop a product or a component of a product. The experience was that after you pay the deposit, the guys never finish the work and when you question, the person says they have since moved to a more cool idea and that the project from which they received the money, was small and was not worth their talent.

Her problem was, the techprenuers seemed to lack discipline, when you take the deposit, finish the work, because you have already committed yourself. The feeling was that these guys move on to someone else, get the deposit, leave the work half way and the cycle continues. To some extent I agreed with my friend and shared my experiences running a business.

But do techprenuers lack discipline?

In the last three years, I have had a chance to interact with various techies and the experiences have been both positive and negative. I will dwell more on the negative, you know the guys who have failed to capitalise on opportunities?

I am just wondering whether to mention names, but for the sake of the gullible public, who pay based on names and not actual quality, let me just mention it. These are actual experiences.

1. Conmen

 

I am not even sure what to say about the guy, he took my deposit, didn’t deliver, and when I wrote an email demanding my deposit back, he just ignored it, as if the more you ignore me, I will go away. Let us just say, I understood why people send a gang of thugs as debt collectors. The guy was supposed to deliver an application and he kept on giving excuses that could fit the whole rosary.

I still intend to claim my deposit.

 

2. Doofus Conmen and women limited

What do you say to a group that mess up a good lucrative client? These guys got a contract to do a website, they were paid and two years later, they have not delivered a working site. I think the rosary should be extended to fit these guys. Excuses after excuses. Never mind that when they started the process in 2011, I sat with one of the project managers to explain that if they handled the project well, these guys will give them more work and were not shy to spend, you know multi national corporations……

After the experience with Doofus guys, I understand why technology, dev work is outsourced to India. The level of ineptitude is just something else, and yet people dare complain about civil service. I am told the guys started pulling business more than a million per month and thats why they feel nothing about “small” projects that are less than a million.

If Doofus guys think I am unfair, let them deliver a working website!

 

3. International consultant wannabe

This is well demonstrated by some guy I met at the iHub once, he must have been a student or just graduated. I remember him and his spiky scattered hair, you know the one that makes you think someone has kwashiorkor? We were at the coffee place and we got talking, he gave me some stories of how he is an awesome web designer and developer etc. To gauge, I asked what his cost range was and he told me that for basic design work, he would charge me $3000 and then dev work would attract other costs.

First question was why he was giving me the figures in dollars, kwani I was in the US or at the US embassy in Nairobi? Give me the numbers with the local currency. Those are the types that go to ask the mats whether they take dollars or credit cards.

This guy put me off in a big way but to be courteous, I asked for other sites he had done and he showed some half baked stuff that I would not pay 50k for the whole site, I have seen entry level guys with better quality.

Yes, you can spend varied figures for a website depending on complexity, but this guy had a huge ego and he must have been told that he is the best the world has seen. Maybe I am sensitive but this guy put me off.

He is a representative of so many others that I can not even start to mention. 

 

Business culture/trust

The three experiences have made me to conclude that it is a bigger problem, people do not value trust. No one wants to take time cultivating trust. You see, if you deliver on an application I am paying 20k, then it is possible that you will deliver if paid a million. That is a matter of trust.

In my side hassles, I have learnt that people do business with those they know. That is why, same projects are handled by similar people and it is hard to penetrate. This is because people want someone who they do not have to follow and who will deliver at the cost which they originally set and if there are variations, they it is justifiable.

The era of instant gratification means that people want to be paid more, even if they have not demonstrated their value, they want bigger deposits even if they have not demonstrated capability to complete projects.

So, as a young techprenuer, you want your business to grow overnight, get huge contracts but you don’t want to invest in trust and the normal process of growing businesses?

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Not everyone can run a business

When you talk to techies, everyone has a start up and feel that they should be their own bosses. But some people are better as part of a team. Some people can not implement and run projects on their own, others can’t price properly while others are better as team leaders. I think it is important to learn where you are.

In some cases, working two years after school gives you the required experience and ability to learn how to run an enterprise.

 

People want to earn big money

Have you ever interviewed a fresh graduate, with no experience and their starting salary is 200k? When you ask what they bring on the table, they point to the degree. In some cases its a campus where they are taught that “Google is your friend” in terms of copy paste.

I do not have answers but I think there is a problem somewhere that needs to be addressed somehow.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. True, I have paid for 3 tech products (maybe i like the torture) 3yrs later.. i just call that a bad debt.
    On the other hand.. also did work contracts, etc product is in use by a bigger client…. I just called that a bad debt…until i took them to court, baillifs kila kitu. Its not just techpreneurs. I think this is a Kenyan culture thing.

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