Of the oppressors, the oppressed and the free

Feb 09, 2011 10 Comments by

Mentally FREE, at last...

Well, it is a sunny day! So I think I am going to blog about something cool.

Yesterday, I met some guys who know someone who knows someone who was not impressed about what I had blogged about Safaricom in this blog. These guys were old boys from Stach. They shared some stuff with me. Some facts of life. Some things that I need to look at as a BUSINESSMAN… Not a coder.

One asked: “Name me one SERIOUS and HARD coder in Kenya, Salim.”, I named 6. Real hard-code jamaas who can develop ANY system, with or without coffee. “Good. Name me one rich Coder in Kenya, Salim”, Another one asked. I named a total of ZERO. And then I was enlightened. I was not annoyed. My balls are too round and full for that. I got humbled. And I listened. And I will share.

I am not going to follow my instincts and get balls-deep into blogging about the most insecure financial and stock websites in Kenya as at today morning. The fact that I can just walk into their networks (thanks to fibre), make coffee and walk out without being noticed is sickening enough. I don’t want to break some fragile IT ego/heart that I might need next week to approve my job deal. #HuyuNiYuleAlituHackLastMonth. I will just let one advertise on TV and radio thinking that a mere SSL certificate is enough to protect a website from a skilled hacker.

Sadly, the other thinks just having a logo saying they have SSL is enough. Hata billa an actual SSL. #MbwaKaliSignWhileAllWeHaveIsAPussyModel. (And the problems are deeper than this). All this, is in hoping Yuri, Miguel or Hyutaro don’t catch up with them, and show them what the fury of a real black-hat hacker is. Tick-tock, biatch. Tick-tock.

So, back to my story. Once upon a time, Safaricom was seen as the enemy of the local developers. None of our solutions were allowed to see the light of day, whereas they ran all the way to the South and pitifully tried to shove foreign products down our throats. Needless to say, they FAILED. Then came in a second era where only some companies got USSD access and the like.

For the record, I feel like a bitch when I use words like ‘some company’ etc, instead of hitting the nail on the head. But it seems, in this country, at least until ProjectX4 is done (delayed kiasi) it is only by being a bitch that one can get some jobs. So, there.

CCK and the rest were seen as setup to enable ONLY the rich become richer, due to expensive license fees and stringent measures in acquiring the license.

Then it slowly started to become clear. Safaricom was not the enemy. Nor the friend. MJ said it clearly : “Safaricom is not here to help ANYONE. We have no mandate to make your local software solutions big and profitable. We are here to make money. Simple As.”. Safaricom will not (and understandably so) get out of its way to make your solution the next Mxit/Facebook. The best model to use is the slut-mode model, where you partner with anyone from anywhere who has the BIG stuff, to MAKE MONEY. Fuck the rest. Fuck how you feel. Go home and cry to your mamma.

The reason Safaricom will put a full-page ad tomorrow in the Daily Nation telling people to watch Youtube videos and win a phone NOT because they don’t like Kenyan solutions. No because they are anti-sisi. It is because Youtube has the biggest. In the telco industry, SIZE matters.

The day Kenyans will stop uploading content on YouTube and develop a local one, the Safaricom, in slut-mode, will open her legs for that proposal. Understandable.

Alot of Kenyan products promise Safcom a laughable ARPU, that would come to maybe KSHS 10M per month revenue. Good stuff from the developer. I mean, even on 20% revenue share, you get a cool KSHS 2M per month. But Saf does NOT roll like that. Hawa-ravigi Twangas. They do uptown. That is not enough revenue to even pay for their 40-man innovative department. (heheheh.. Hawa siwaachi. Sijui what they do).

Hence, the oppressor tag labelled on Safaricom. Unjustly.

Hence the self-inflicted ‘oppressed’ tag by local developers. Stupidly. This is the Coder’s equivalent of ‘Tunaomba serikali itusaidie’.

Then comes the FREE

So, you read this and ask, “Salim, are we fucked?”. Well, yes. And No. Unless you style up, you are. If you do, you aren’t. Think. Generate 1MB per user per month. And Safaricom will fall over herself to talk to you. Without that, ni noma. Safaricom si mama yako.

What? You expect me to share more? The models? Here? On a public blog? Email me..

Kazi kwako.

Back to code…


Coding, Personal

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Coder, hacker, inventor, pool guru.

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