The story of success. The story of a man with unrelenting zest. The story of rising above the odds.
My opinion of Safaricom had been tarnished because of the 3 or 4 marketing department bourgeoisies that I met when I had gone to sell Sembuse to Safaricom.
But with 1000+ staff, you are bound to have 8 rotten tomatoes. Positions notwithstanding.
I am glad I came to iHub today. I am now SafariDam!
MYTH 1: Safaricom was helped by the government and given millions to start up. They have big names who push for their services and needs and products.
BUSTER: (This could now be further from the truth. The media, regulators and alot of stakeholders, ALL have records of anti-safaricom tactics, rules, sanctions and regulations. Safaricom has grown from INNOVATION and RISK-TAKING.) MJ took us through all the hurdles they had to face to be where they were and when you listen to the man himself, you can’t help but admire and applaud.
MYTH 2: Safaricom is going down soon. They are too big for their own good.
BUSTER: It hasn’t even began. MJ gave us facts as to why the competitors won’t hack the Mobile Payment Systems, the primary SIM card war of the data wars. Relax. Safcom is here to stay.
Then came my Question to MJ
MJ, as you have stated, Safaricom’s primary business focus is on revenue. Safaricom is shooting herself on the foot by blocking out the Kenyan developers. e.g. Why has Safaricom opened its USSD gateways to only 2 or 3 companies that do NO INNOVATIONS at all, anyway. There are a lot of Java and Data developers who can code applications to harness Safaricom’s 3G and do services like LBA. Can Safaricom consider data revenue share to such developers? Lastly, Why does Safaricom’s terms and conditions for developer state ‘All ideas submitted AUTOMATICALLY belong to Safaricom’? This is very prohibitive to the real inventors and thinkers.
I will look into the USSD issue as it is meant to be open as long as a developer has a compelling mass-adoption product. The data revenues are not fixed in stone. They can be negotiated if the developer has a unique and compelling solution. The Safaricom terms are being revised for the better as a lot of bloggers are complaining. Not verbatim.
So after the formal meeting, in the networking session, he confirmed that I had a Safaricom line and we exchanged cards. He instructed me to email him so that he can send me authoritatively to the VAS guys so as to see how developers can get better value-for-code. The VAS department is treating coders like beggars. I hope some SafVAS heads will roll.
Lesson 1: Erection Model
Start small. Grow big. Never relent. Never let obstacles discourage you.
Lesson 2: You don’t need sugardaddies
This echoed the sentiments of my Guru. And Sharma. As long as you are focused and determined, you will NEVER fail. Your success could be delayed, but never killed.
Lesson 3: Take risks
Safaricom paid $25M for the 3G license while the other operators said, ‘We will not pay. It will NEVER work in Kenya’. They took the risk. It paid 10754973945 fold. While the rest are still strategising, Safaricom is Nkwanjalizing.
Lesson 4: Never lose focus
No matter how bad things are or how negative flak you get, always be true to your beliefs and focus on what you want to achieve.
Lesson 5: Act like what you are
If you are a CEO, act like one. Never let down your standards or compromise on your beliefs and stand. people will always receive you the way you present yourself. Represent and defend your company without fear or hesitation.
It was a very fruitful day and my talk and brief meet with Kamal of Squad also enlightened me on other aspects of reasoning, PR and life.
Back to real code.