my first blog

September 30, 2008

This is an interesting time. having made many presentations to many forums in many places, it would seem appropriate that I try my hand at writing. I enjoy communicating. I believe in what technology can do to transform Kenya and Africa in general. As i write this, I am a little overwhelmed by many things. The US election and the way the financial crisis is playing out. The challenges and rewards of running the Kenya ICT Board and placing Kenya on the global ICT map. My wife and kids and the need to balance pressures of work and family. The need to rethink my role in 3mice, a company I founded and that I have not got much time for any more. My current priority is to get the ICT Board to contribute meaningfully in transforming the country. Its a huge privilege that has its challenges. One of the greatest strategic debates I have in my own mind is whether the big ICT firms can be the catalysts for the change we need by technology transfer, or whether it will be the smaller firms innovating or a mix of both. I see many bright young graduates every day trying to tinker with entrepreneurship. I also see others crave the comfort of a job with a blue chip firm. I see clever established ICT business owners trying to make the next step change, I see ICT investors trying to make sense of their investment in a company where the employee turnover is very high and in the process I see them getting discouraged from making further investments in people. I see some entrepreneurs with so much self discipline it amazes me. how they make money providing a very predictable, simple but essential service. I have concluded that what will make many of our businesses successful will not necessarily be undue attention to innovative ideas, novelty or creativity, or the pursuit of the ‘deal’.. What will transform many of the ICT players most is the injection of discipline. Business and personal discipline. Very unfashionable, but very important. The ability to prepare a quotation with brutal honesty, the ability to be honest about ability, to deliver what was promised, to get back to the client on time, to truly listen to the client, to treat employees with respect, to prepare budgets without getting mesmerized by the Power -point or excel graphics. Just thinking through the numbers, understanding the market and the client, understanding client and market pain points. Not spending time seeking the newest or latest technology fad and investing around it… more on my blog later…

Paul

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