“TECH VULTURES” – yep that’s what we are!
Yes, that’s what we are as IT community in Kenya “Tech vultures!” and not any kind of vultures but special “Software Tech Vultures” where we heavily rely and hog over softwares’ from the western world. You will find IT companies all over the country re-selling a particular product to which if we were serious about IT, we can actually create similar product locally and sell as our own, you know “Buy kenya, Build Kenya”. Even our very own master “IT” company “safaricom” usually purchases softwares’ from outside the country.
But due to greed and quick money syndrome, IT companies would rather re-sell than build their own product and market it as their own. I have found out that the main reason they do this is because they do not want to take the blame when something breaks down or doesn’t work as it should and ideally do not want to spend more money looking for a solutions or rather creating a solution. In short they do not like providing support!.
But why are they like this? Are they to blame? As a consumer, would you buy a local product?
I particualry blame the end consumers because of two things:
- Consumers do not believe a good product can be created locally – just like we believe nothing good comes out of china is the same believe with local software.
- Popular myth that developed countries have better programmers – Most consumers believe that since technology came from the western world, that they are the best. Well that’s a myth!. Technology is everywhere and programmers have the same struggle’s world wide.
I also do blame the IT companies around, this is particularly because of a bunch of reasons:
- Cost – be default, Kenyans are known to exaggerate on the price by adding ridiculous markup to products and services. This makes end consumers to think twice on whether they are getting a good bargain.
- Poor support/after sale skills – Kenyan techies are known to be cheeky. They are constantly available during a sale but once a product is sold, they immediately became unavailable. I have seen this more than enough times and it doesn’t matter whether its a local software or an imported one, support is generally poor.
- Lack of focus and specialization – Local techies want to have it all and sell it all, thus cannot focus on one product and drive it fully.
- Lack of self-confidence – some lack the self-believe that they can produce a state of the art product and the same is accepted in the market.
If none of the reasons above do not change, then we shall continue to just be software hawkers.
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