Faking It

Faking It

Kachwanya.com has an article that throws a huge spotlight on the habit of startups in Kenya putting out misleading figures all in a bid to look solid. One could take his article, replace all references to Kenya with Nigeria or Ghana, and the article would remain valid. An excerpt from said article:

For Start-ups in their quest to show the world that they are doing well, the norm is to exaggerate the numbers, be it the money thing, the website traffics, the number of app downloads, and even the number of employees.

Here is a tweet by Ghanaian, Edward Tagoe, in response to Kachwanya’s article:


So, Ghana is caught in this too. And it doesn’t start and stop with pitches. Here in Nigeria, people go out of their way to buy SUVs from funds they borrow and scrounge for – just to look the part. Lies are fabricated around a lot of things. I don’t get it. I wasn’t raised that way, so it is hard for me to do or even understand.

Some months ago, I began to write on the struggles of entrepreneurship in Nigeria. I decided to start putting out stories of my own struggles, so people stepping into the field know what to expect upfront. Sometimes those stories contain no solutions, but the information is useful. Usually, people wait till they have struck it big before telling their stories. In my opinion, that needs to change.

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Funny though, when I write about my struggles in business, many people assume that I am kidding around. I had a chat with World Famous Lammy a few weeks ago, and she mentioned to me how someone said to her that Mister Mobility is rich, yet he pretends not to be. Thankfully, she corrected that impression. Yes; I have made money over the ten years I have been in business. But I have also lost money.

The present car that I drive was purchased brand new in 2008 at the cost of N1.4 million. It was paid for in full upfront. My plan was to change it when it clocked 4 years. Unfortunately, I have been unable to. Things have been far from rosy. That is my story. I will not fake it. It is too much stress to try to put up appearances. There are times I have had hundreds of thousands in my account, and there are times I have been unable to put N10,000 together. No biggie.

Sometimes the cash comes in by the truckload. At other times, the dry season persists and things almost fall apart. There are days that I keep going on only by sheer force of habit, and not because everything is fine. Perhaps it is different for others, but that is my story and reality.

This attempt to keep spray-painting the façade in order to always look shiny will keep messing with us. We are better off admitting the problems that we face and sitting down to address them than to keep putting up appearances. We can do better. As said earlier, I made a decision to start talking about those struggles as an example, and as a way of stimulating discussions that hopefully throw up some answers. I hope that at least a few others will stand up with me.

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Read the article, The Misleading Figures By Start-ups – Why Tech Writers Need To Do More.

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

0 thoughts on “Faking It

  • Feb 16, 2014 at 1:01 pm
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    This article is spot on and coming at the right time too, this habit of putting up a facade has eaten deep into our society and it’s affecting all spheres of life, business or otherwise, this has even led to people creating more problems for themselves while trying to disguise the current one and yet it doesn’t seem as if anybody is learning anything. People doing anything to remain relevant in the business or social scene, projecting to the public what they are not and yet still failing in the end. They end up using all the resources they are supposed to use restructuring and reorganising in order to get back up or grow to promote facades and in the end have nothing to fall back on. When will people learn really. ….?

  • Feb 16, 2014 at 5:17 pm
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    I agree with you totally. We should learn to be ourselves in everything we do.

  • Feb 16, 2014 at 7:09 pm
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    I think it’s the way humans are built. We make subliminal judgements about people and organizations …. mostly via what we see. (the external things ). The car, the abode, apparels, etc.

    At least initially.

    In the Era of banks collapsing like dominoes, that was when they were buying cars like Akara balls to give the illusion that all is well. then, some months later, they close shop!

    Human will be humans. Window Dressing is often necessary. You shall be addressed the way you are dressed is not just taking about adornments.

    The more important and enduring qualities are, unfortunately, not what most humans are looking out for. Both in individuals and organizations.

    At least, not initially.

    People would judge a business neck deep in debt, as being successful, if they litter their parking lot with exotic cars and the office ambience is like Paradise.

    Sad!

    Thank you for saying it s it is, Mr Mo.

  • Feb 17, 2014 at 11:42 am
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    Not that I’m all for being dishonest and what not but, some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs faked it till they made it.
    Correct me if I’m wrong but, when Bill Gates and Paul Allen were pitching MS-DOS to IBM executives as the best thing that ever happened to IBM computers, they had not written a single line of code of it! Only after they sealed the deal did they throw an all-nighter to develop MS-DOS. That happened to be their major breakhrough

  • Feb 19, 2014 at 9:37 am
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    Muyiwa,

    Here is what I believe to be the difference: Gates and Allen made a pitch based on their abilities, though the product hadn’t been created yet.

    People lying about results seems to be a different matter. If Gates and Allen had said then that their OS was already powering 1,000 PCs around the world, they would have been faking it the wrong way. That would have been outright lying.

  • Feb 19, 2014 at 4:01 pm
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    Very cogent article Mr. Mo.

    And Mobility Blog is wearing a nice new look. I like it.

    • Feb 19, 2014 at 5:08 pm
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      Harry,

      Gracias. Thanks for coming back again and again. Cheers.

  • Pingback:Yomi Adegboye: Why are so many tech startups faking it? | Tech Africa

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