Today, I would like to take a minute and pause. To celebrate the many steps that we have taken as an industry, slowly edging toward maturity and developing our own tech identity. It has been said that the Silicon Savannah is more hype and hope than hard fast action, but I disagree. We are in our teenage phase at the Silicon Savannah, noticing new and interesting things about ourselves and our capabilities; experimenting, challenging the status quo, pushing the limits. It is in this youthful fever that innovation thrives and while pundits will continue to push it in our faces that we should not ape Silicon Valley, my take is that they are drinking from a different cup and should watch us as we mature.
Our journey thus far has seen us achieve much and while from a measurement of hard dollar value we may not match up to the Silicon Valley , that does not diminish our efforts at growing sustainable technology based businesses. Technology and its rapidly changing nature never gives any promises, and any entrepreneur using technology either to provide services to others or to gain competitive advantage is perpetually on toes, no security of usage tenure is guaranteed.
This is why we should celebrate our milestones and mini successes even as the main aim remains that of attaining a dominant global position as a birth place of innovative ideas just as we are the cradle of mankind.
We must also in this respect understand the dynamics under which we operate in Kenya and in Africa as a whole. Without the luxury of capital to burn through at blazing fast rates and vanity metrics of numbers with no revenue. The access to capital is fast changing, but the expectation remains the same; make the numbers and return or the plug is pulled. It is what I call the dance of death.
Today I celebrate Ken Njoroge, who having entered an industry at its infancy faced a myriad of challenges to emerge a leader in mobile commerce, Mike Macharia of Seven Seas for daring to take on the enterprise market at a young age and building a solid brand, Kamal Budhabhatti of Craft Silicon for proving that creative and mental capital of which we have in plenty is sufficient to take you places. This list is not conclusive in any way; as there are many technology entrepreneurs not in the limelight , with big ambitions and slowly inching their way up while running solid businesses with two metrics that resonate with anyone in the business of value creation – revenue and profits, firmly within their sights.
Going forward we need to cement the ecosystem that will allow for more and more of these types to emerge, with a focus on process and output. Quality has no identity, it is free for all those who seek to apply it. And if we do it right, and consistently, then our place on the global map will be secured.
We are not Silicon Valley and we have no desire to be. We will however celebrate our own, scratch our own itch and where possible share the same with the rest of the world.