Without a doubt, Silicon Valley is the greatest tech eco-system in the world. It’s not just in name — the concrete results it shows are extremely impressive.
Such eco-systems can be recreated in other places, e.g in Lagos. However, for that to happen, things have to change.
I recently read a blog post about Poker, and there was a very insightful concept in there — people are playing poker in far more technical and advanced ways. The reasons are because:
1. Far more people are playing
2. The new people are bringing new ideas
3. People are building on top of ideas to create even newer ideas — and those ideas are learnt by everyone in the ecosystem
As a result, the knowledge available in the ecosystem keeps moving forward, allowing the solving of previously unsolvable problems.
There is a flaw in the Nigerian, Lagos tech scene. People are not sharing ideas and lessons learnt. Nobody is providing concrete information on how they are solving their payment issues, how they are solving logistics, etc.
The successful founders retreat behind fences and work there in silence, hoping nobody hears about their success, so there won’t be too much competition. The successful ones do preach, but never about the concrete details and the dos and don’ts.
Also, geographically, tech is spread out over an impractically large area. Lagos is big because of traffic problems. Getting from one tiny cluster to another is not as easy as taking a walk. There is great value in a community meeting and sharing ideas, and I don’t really see that happen, in part I believe because of how inconvenient it is to move from place to place, and because casual bump-into-the-other rarely happens.
Another negative trend I notice happening is this x vs y stories being written. It’s nobody against anybody else. It’s tech vs the market. The market is the real enemy. Tech should not be in-fighting, they should be strategizing on how to conquer the market from the offline folk. If e-commerce moves online, it does not mean either Jumia or Konga would die, it means they would both be making a whole lot more money. The battle is in moving shoppers online, not in who wins the tiny percentage of people already online.
What technology needs is collaboration and openness on methods. Tech needs to be about sharing ideas.
This post first appeared on Mark’s Medium.
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