A great deal has happened in 2016 and as a founder, I’ve naturally consumed a lot of Nigerian tech stories.
Yes, loads of articles penned; some were outstanding, some not so good, and some, frankly, should not have been written! But just for you — I made a recap of all the stories that I read this year which had a sizeable impact in the tech space.
Note: I consider myself immune to PR posts (and you should as well to maintain your sanity), and I’m not a shabby writer myself (or so I’ve been told), therefore trust me — this is the best of 2016 (in no particular order). Enjoy.
1. Why do people want to be their own boss
By Sola Akindolu of Revova. A Radar ‘‘post’’ — air quotes intentional — as this wasn’t a post in the real sense of it; but part sermon/rant/true confessions/manifesto all rolled into one giant beautiful mess. It was brilliant!
Why should you read this? Because this was the spark that made us ask some fundamental questions on how our startups operate. Link
2. How Andela was founded
By Iyin Aboyeji, now of Flutterwave. Remember the whole kerfuffle of how Andela was started shortly after their $25m Series B round? Well, Iyin decided he had a story to tell, and he did so masterfully well. Personally, I felt this was all shades of brilliance from E. As he was able to wrestle the narrative at a vital point where he seemed almost relegated to a bit player, in a company he helped found.
Why should you read this? To realise you don’t leave your tale to tech journalists, industry analysts, well wishers, etc. Sometimes the horse’s mouth tells it best. Link
3. The boy who cried VR
By Osarumen of TechCabal. VR is not big in Africa — or anywhere else yet. But I’m a connoisseur of good writing and a big fan (more to be revealed), of Osarumen’s writing in particular. This piece shows why he’s one of the best at what he does. To take a reader on a journey with you — this is the goal of every author. And he delivered like a master.
Why you should read it? To have a writing style to aspire to in 2017. Link
4. IrokoTV at 5
By Jason Njoku of IrokoTV. If you’re remotely interested in Nigerian tech, you probably read everything Jason writes. I’m no exception. However, this recent piece by Jason shines as here; he does what he does best — telling his story — with conviction and numbers.
Why you should read it? To give the man the respect he deserves, and understand that we can build without hiding our numbers. Link
5. The State Of Ridesharing In Africa
By Oreva of TechCabal. I detest lazy journalism (yeah I know you’ve got deadlines!). And Oreva is a workaholic writer, and her excellent article peeled the layers off the ridesharing craze.
Why should you read this? Because we need this sort of deep dive to understand what’s happening. Link
6. PayStack launched at YC
From Radar: If 2016 was the year of payments — then PayStack is arguably the breakout firm — that redefined what payments could be. They also became the first Nigerian firm to be accepted into YC. Fast-forward a couple of months later; we have newer Fintech startups equally doing awesome stuff. And more Nigerian startups getting into YC. That’s some ripple effect!
Why should you read this? If there was tech startup Olympics in 2016, this was the point PayStack won gold. Link
7. Zuckerberg in Africa
By Steve Levy in Backchannel. Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to Africa, was a big deal in 2016 (this is not a fake news!). Expectedly it spawned a lot of articles (which were all mainly good), but this stood out for me because it did justice to it. It felt deliberate and deliciously long with 18mins reading time.
Why you should read it? To realise that you don’t stop cooking a pot of beans halfway just because it’s taking too long. A good story needs to be told irrespective of length. Link
8. This is Nana Twum-Danso, the ‘Angel’ of pregnant women in Rural Ghana
By Oyinkansola Sadiq-Mabeko of Techpoint.ng. No doubt, Techpoint have had a sterling year in 2016. One highlight is their series of interviewing founders who you ordinarily wouldn’t hear about. Oyinkansola’s interview with Nana stood out for me (she did quite a few that were exceptional), as Nana is doing ‘God’s work’ in Ghana. A story that had to be told — thanks for writing.
Why you should read it? To remind us that tech can indeed be a force for good. Link
9. 12 Years a Hustler, It’s time to go home
By Sheriff Shittu formerly of showroom.ng. Nigeria’s economy took all sorts of knocks in 2016 and tech startups (like other sectors), suffered. Not surprisingly, we all read/heard stories of founders packing it up for one reason or the other.
But Sherriff’s post was different — like written with candlelight in the middle of the night — kind of different. It’s rawness touched us, not just because he’s one of us, but because it brought home the challenges founders in Nigeria have to face, and the sacrifices they also have to make.
Why you should read it? To witness a ‘comments’ section with so much wisdom. We’re all going to be alright. Link
10. TechCabal daily: Perfect Pirouettes
By Tola Agunbiade of TechCabal. This year, TechCabal’s daily digest, swiftly established itself as an excellent way to know what’s going on in Nigeria/Africa’s tech space.
They’ve written over 200 digests curating posts and events, laced with witty commentary. The ‘Perfect Pirouettes’ was my best; as it had a mesmerizing gif, a perfect subject, and excellent opening sentence, for the short introductory monologue. The monologue itself was clever — you need to read it yourself.
Why should you read it? Because you wouldn’t see it again. Not the TC daily, that’s still on (best to register for it). But the monologues are now phased out. Link
Editor’s note: This post first appeared on Papa Olabode’s blog.