All Hail, The Disrupt Syndrome.

Everywhere around the world, Kenya included. A new religion is forming. The religion of technological disrupt seminars.

Disrupt all things possible.
Disrupt all things possible.

It’s getting out of control such that seminars are happening year round on startups and angel investors in the sense that these people end up living for the start up phases only to forget that they have a business to run. That they need to do some actual work the old fashioned way.

You hear seminars from time to time, claiming ‘Kenya will be disrupt!’ another ‘Rwanda will be disrupt!’ another ‘Asia will be disrupt!’ Just shut up already before you get yourself disrupt.

Don’t get me wrong people, the fundamentals of these seminars are very crucial and important as they provide new ideas with platforms to show to the world. But in the meantime, they do not realise that the seminar organisers are raking in big bucks for hosting these events.

I’m pretty sure they are always crossing their fingers, hoping and praying that these startups remain just startups forever.

Google did not need seminars. Facebook did not need seminars. Apple did not need seminars. It was through teamwork and hard work and dedication that these companies became billionaire behemoths.

So if you have an idea, don’t waste too much valuable time attending disrupt seminars. Stay in your office, work hard at it until it is ready for the market, show it to potential investors, receive funding, go back to a bigger office and start making money. Its fundamentally that simple.

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Welcome Home POTUS

Obeezy is coming home!! Yeap that didn’t sound right.. rephrase.. The President of The United States of America, Mr Barack Obama is coming home.
image

Its a milked topic i know. But the excitement of the fact that he is a sitting US president who is coming with the full force of his protocol and safety just makes it abundantly milkable.

From the marine 1 to the massive helicopter escorts of the marine 1 to the beast and the subsequent massive SUV escorts of the beast. It is indeed a spectacle to behold.

Now onto the grass, sorry, i meant the supposedly-nonexistent-butwillbeabletogrowintime-grass. The grass will probably not be able to handle the pressure being piled upon it and even after Obama is gone, it will be immediately forgotten and all the love it is getting at the moment, the constant watering, the constant addition of fertilizer will disappear.

We all know this. As soon the US president gets back in Airforce 1 and departs JKIA, all the street families will be spilled back onto the streets from where they being detained.
It is a sad statement, but it is the reality.

Now to those complaining about traffic jams in the CBD and Thika road on the three days of his excellency’s visit should grow some patriotic apples in their front lawn.

Calm your pumpkins down for just 3 days, it will not be the end of the world if you get late. And I am quite confident in daring to say that even if you are late the directors will most likely understand the situation. And if not, then your bosses are prinkles, and that you should quit.

Forgive me for the random food analogies, I’m just hungry and it’s approaching lunchtime over here.

Onto merrier matters. Kenyatta University will host POTUS and not UON. That must have been a bitter and large pill to swallow for mzee Babu. The better for us at KU though, bragging rights for decades.

Welcome home, POTUS. Usituletee ujaluo yako lakini šŸ˜€

The Monopoly Games.

The Kenyan economy is somehow cursed. This is in reference to the various monopolies we have in the country.

Examples include, Kenya Power, KenGen, Bata and though Safaricom may not be a monopoly, it does use its dominant position to force onto consumers charges that are absurd and excessive and of a greedy nature.

The real monopoly game.
The real monopoly game.

Although the real monopoly game is a very useful tool in instilling financial education especially in our children, the Kenyan monopoly game is an oppressive exercise that involvesĀ the hiking of prices so asĀ to gain abnormal profits just because you are the only one that has that the commodity in the region.

Granted, for example, if I was the only person in Kenya selling chicken, i’d probably sell them at 5,000 shillings each and still be able to sleep at night. But chicken is not an essential living need.

Electricity is an essential need in every household in Kenya, and yet Kenya Power are actually selling it more expensively to those who consume less of the power. Its a step further than oppression, the act of oppressing those already oppressed by their financial inabilities.

It is not a problem that a common mwananchi can resolve. Unless you have a couple of billions of dollars to start your own electricity distribution company, the only hope we have is in the ministries of energy and trade and regulation commissions to lobby for us as citizens and to act as a watchdog against these greedy monopolistic companies.

Then again, most of the times the watchdogs are just given a few bones and small pieces of meat to keep them distracted and alas they forget all about us. Leadership for the leaders and not for the people. Sad.

The Ineffectiveness of Formality.

A little wealth.
A little wealth.

The ineffectiveness I am referring to is in relation to wealth creation.

Many of our Kenyan graduates and youth at large regard employment as their objective in life. They believe that when they get that white collar or blue collar job, their struggles are over and they will live a fulfilling life.

To some degree, this is indeed a reality. Yes, you will live in that 3 bedroom house, but you will be renting it or paying mortgage for it for most of your employed life. Yes, you will get that car, but you will be, for a couple of years, financing it with almost half of your monthly paycheck.

What I am trying to explain here is that formal jobs are not adequate and are therefore not effective in creating real tangible wealth to the tunes of hundreds of millions to billions and beyond. This is where the informal sector comes in.

The informal sector in Kenya is the ultimate and most awesome place for a common mwananchi to start building his or her empire. From the matatu business, to furniture making, to hardware stores, to jua cali metal creations, the list in endless.

The informal sector is where you can start a hardware store and in a year or two, you will be able to open up two to three more hardware stores. It is a beautiful place that has often been overlooked by people.

We have to be able to embrace this sector instead of sitting in a desk for a whole 30 days and taking home 50,000 shillings and yet many individuals in the informal sector are making that same amount in a day, in net profits.

If you want to create an empire, more specifically in a developing country like ours, start in the informal sector.

It is the cradle of super wealth and exponential financial growth.

The Offerings Paradox.

Definition: a paradox is a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.

'Where's the money woman?'
‘Where’s the money woman?’

I can’t blog about money in Kenya without writing about our churches and their incessant insistence on offering to ‘God’. That would be a blatant injustice of mine to my fellow country dwellers.

First of all, God doesn’t need our money. Let’s just get that out of the way. If this supreme being was able to create the world, the moon, the stars and even us as it is depicted in the bible, then what use does he have with our money?

You know who needs money? Man needs money.

So why then do we Kenyans crowd our churches every other Sunday with our wallets and pouches full of our life savings and the only nickels and dimes that we worked so hard for only to lay it down in a basket as an offering to God that will obviously be used by these ‘men of God’.

Or do we think that the pastors will put the money in a rocket ship of some kind and send the money to heaven?

This naivety that we have as a people is beyond me. It sickens me. If you want to go church, thats fine, go. But leave your money at home. God has no use for it. You need that money for food, for clothes, for school fees, for bus fare and many other essential and logical things that money is for.

This financial illiteracy is just too sad. You walk to church every Sunday, while your pastor drives in with a motorcade of prados and rangerovers that he or she bought with YOUR money that you so loyally and humbly give as the good christian you are.

Let me ask you something. Do you think your pastor gives money to anyone? Do you think your pastor gives out an offering?Granted he or she might put some money in the basket at the church service, but that’s HIS basket. It’s like he took the money from his right pocket and put it in his left pocket. It’s still HIS money!

It is a problem. It is a financial disease that we have and one which we choose to ignore. This is a financial blog about money in Kenya, I have no problem with religion. So if you want to go to church, just go, it’s ok, you have freedom of worship in Kenya.

Just please leave your hard-earned money at home.

The ‘Serikali Saidia’ Menace.

HELP YOURSELVES! And yes, the Capital letters mean I am angrily shouting at you right now.

Focus on You.
Focus on You.

We as a nation have been, for years, taken for a ride by politicians as they, since independence, have been strategically blinding us with political storms and propaganda to capture our attention and only focus on them and not our own individual growth.

And the media has been very effective in propagating this menace.

Why have we been duped so easily? That every time something goes wrong we have to ask the government to do this, oh government do that. We have to wake up! In the fundamental philosophy of a democracy, we as the citizens of this country are the government. What are we doing then asking the government for this and for that and for every other resource that we as a people have mandate upon?

I want to pose a test for us. This is a test that i want every Kenyan to take on. This is not an election year, there are no significant elections to be held. So do this.

At the very mention of politics, i just want you to block it out or change the subject. Block all political news, propaganda, or talks and focus entirely on family and finance. Specifically your family and your finance.

Accept this test and do it and I assure you 110% that your life and that of your family will have experienced significant change in the way you live and the position of financial stability in your home will definitely improve.

Just block the politics out. Its not that hard now is it? We have to realise that we do not have time for petty political talks that end up culminating into nothingness! It is a waste of precious time for us as a nation. Time that could have been used to develop businesses, to develop trade relations, to develop family finance values.

Let them talk to themselves. We pay them millions of shillings to talk politics. That is their job. Let them not drag us into it. We have no time or patience for political rallies and their campaigning all the time. Let them wait for the election period. Let them leave us in peace so that we can work and be able to fend for ourselves and improve our livelihoods too.

Time is money my fellow Kenyans. Please use it wisely.

The Kenyan Import Complex.

We seriously have a very deep rooted import problem in our country. And if you don’t agree just sit back and let me explain it to you. Get ready for some harsh truth right about now.

Trash Imports
Trash Imports

Why are we, as the proud country that we are, still accepting to be used as a dumpsite for cheap, old and fake products?

Don’t we have any sense of worth as a nation.

From fake watches to seven year old cars to second hand underwear. SECOND HAND UNDERWEAR!

Its even nasty just typing those three words. And yet mostly our women crowd the mitumba kibandas searching for that once worn bra or underpant with no shame.

I know you’ll probably blame the importers or import authority on how they’ll allow cheap imports into the country. But in essence, it’sĀ not their fault, they have no moral compass. They are just filling a demand that we supply as a nation.

If you want them to stop importing trash, then stop buying trash! No demand equals no supply. Its simple economics my fellow citizens.

I especially detest the 7 year old cars they choke down our throats. I’m actually glad the Treasury is trying to make importing of old cars as expensive as possible. We don’t want their reject cars that they have used up and have gotten bored of and are trying to push them off to ‘those Africans over there.’

They are utterly shameless.

Of course they are cheaper. But what do you expect of a 7 year old car or even undergarment? Cheap is not worth it people. And as long as we don’t get that concept we will continually be used as dumping sites for thrown out bras and second hand underwear. Nasty, its just too nasty to even imagine.

Lets develop a sense of pride and worthiness for ourselves. I am begging you, please.

Family money.

Family money is who’s money? The father, the mother, the children? Who controls the assets? image

In Kenya, it’s common that the one who brings in the bread is the head. Be it the man,woman or child. But then there is a problem. When the one who brings in the money suddenly becomes unavailable, everything turns to a stand still.

And therein lies the problem. There is no empowerment of family members to bring in their own money. The best community in Kenya that has developed firm empowerment of mainly the children is the Hindu community.

A good example is Chandaria Industries whereby the father made his son the Director of Chandaria who is only in his early 30’s. Granted it was to give way for his father’s work in charity but it is still empowerment that ensures prosperity of the family and the empire that was primarily built by the parents.

This type of family empowerment is fairly absent in the African community. We always hear cases of a prominent businessman who has passed on and suddenly people show up from every nook and cranny claiming relationship with the deceased mogul and wanting a piece of his or her empire.

This causes lack of continuity. The empire withers and dies due to lack of empowerment. This state is mainly propagated by the empire creator who always sees himself or herself as one of kind and no one can fill his shoes.

So he or she makes no effort to create a clear lineage for which to follow once he’s gone. Its like they think they are immortal and will forever live to control their estates. But father time always catches up with them. And when they are no more, their legacy goes with them.

We need to ensure empowerment in our families and create proper lineage. Otherwise all that we create will only live as we live. Only last our age of death. And go to the dirt as we go to the dirt.

Its a sad state of our current Kenyan economy, one that we need to change, for the good of tomorrow and hundreds of years from now.

Cowardly Business.

Innovation.
Innovation.

New day, new articles. I’ll do my very best to write two articles daily for the blog. They are more like personal rumblings than they are articles, but you get the point.

Potential investors in Kenya always ask, ‘do you have a reference?’ has your product or service produced any revenue?’ and so on and so on.

Almost none of them have the guts to look beyond the numbers and focus on the vision that brought the new product to life. Was there need for the product in the market? Or will there be need in the future for the product or the service? These are the questions they should focus on.

To be fair though, Return On Investment (ROI) is regarded highly as a motivator to invest in a start up.

But it is not the only factor that matters. In Kenya though, they focus almost entirely on the ROI.

Our investors need to be revolutionary. Think outside the box. New products or services barely have any revenue. But are they viable in the current or near future market?

A good example of revolutionary investment was the creation of mobile money transfer by Safaricom. Mpesa was a first of its kind in the world. The Safaricom board took on the risk and look at their revenues now. Granted they have over the past year or 2 made their charges quite expensive, but it all started with an investor who looked beyond the current status of the idea (it had no revenue, no reference, no example of it in the market), and saw the vision and potential of it and decided to invest.

So these cowardly investors need to step up and look beyond the current status of an idea or a product. They should begin to accept more revolutionary and new and bold ideas that have abundant potential. They should not just accept real estate or car dealers or supermarket chains just because they have been proved to be worthwhile.

They should be brave and bold and be ready to invest in new ideas, new products, new services and thus create revolutionary businesses that will broaden our economy and increase our revenue streams as a country.

Let us not be afraid of the unknown, for it may be a beautiful thing.

The ‘Kikuyu’ Mindset

Kikuyu Mindset
Kikuyu Mindset

The ‘Kikuyu’ mindset is not essentially a trait that the Kikuyu have. It is more of a stereotype that has over the years even been embedded in the Kikuyu people themselves. People in Kenya constantly lament that the Kikuyu love money. Everyone loves money. The difference here is that the Kikuyu people have embraced this stereotype and are even using it to their advantage.

The stereotype is actually doing them good. It makes them seem more business savvy which creates faster and more expensive business deals. Even if the one involved doesn’t know anything to do with business, at the mention of his or her name that is used to identify the tribe, the investors, or business associates bow in the glory of the stereotype and give what is required of them.

It is for this reason that rather than us shunning this stereotype, we should probably embrace their mindset, and use it to our advantage. Instead of complaining all the time that they have all the land, all the jobs, all the businesses. We should embrace their way of thinking in relation to money.

Think of it this way, if a certain ethnic group has a stereotype of being known to eat a lot and then you invite them over for lunch or supper, you will most likely serve a lot of food in response to that stereotype.

Its like the law of attraction. Whatever is attracted either by a stereotype or an affirmation of your own choosing, will by tooth and nail be available to you.

So love money, get money. Love food, get food. Love women, get women and the law goes on and on and on..

*Disclaimer: This is not an ethnic stereotype or shunning of the Kikuyu people. This is an observation regarding money and culture and one that can be used by all ethnic groups for financial gain.