iHub By Rachel Gichinga / October 15, 2012
Silicon Savannah: Reality Check | Thursday 18th October 2012 | 6-8 pm | iHub
“There’s hype and then there’s business. Nairobi’s ‘Silicon Savannah’ is in desperate need of a large dose not of money, but of modesty.”
This quote from a recent column by Andrea Bohnstedt was passed around the Twittersphere at a rate that suggested that someone had finally articulated what many had been thinking.
Even harder to hear, from Bankole Oluwafemi:
“It’s time we got out this self-congratulatory phase that we’ve been participating in all this while and start asking ourselves some hard questions. Like are we trying to build stuff that kicks butt and gets the attention of the investors in Park Lane and Boardwalk? Or are we building stuff that is good for no more than being a fancy mock-up that lives in a local sandbox, and then hoping investors will line up to ogle it? Are we aiming the dice for the community chest and hoping to pick off quick but ultimately irrelevant short term wins in overrated hackathons and innovation competitions? Are we just content to exist in perpetual mediocrity — to gingerly pick our way across the board, pass GO, collect 200 and repeat? Because at the current skill levels within the ecosystem, we aren’t really playing to win.
Enough with the digital high fives already. If we acknowledge that the code sucks, that technical skills are fundamentally lacking, and that we need to collectively up our game, then and only then can we begin to explore the means by which we can collaboratively engineer talent into the DNA of the African technology ecosystem.”
It’s about time we had a brutally honest discussion around what’s really going on in Silicon Savannah. On Thursday 18th October 2012, from 6-8 pm, we’re excited to be hosting this conversation with the following:
- Njeri Rionge - one of Kenya’s most successful serial entrepreneurs and, according to Forbes, one of Africa’s most successful women
- Andrea Bohnstedt - an independent country risk analyst and columnist for Kenyan newspaper The Star.
- Conrad Akunga – tech entrepreneur, iHub advisor, and irreverent blogger @roomthinker.
- Mbwana Alliy – managing partner at Savannah Fund
Photo credit: Mutua Matheka
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Mr. Majani at 18:53:57PM Monday, October 15, 2012
Many feelings will be caught on this day.
I will be there to witness it.Reply
East African ICT Envisioning | Creative Kaisa at 23:32:54PM Tuesday, October 16, 2012
[...] will be interesting to see, if this reality check spreads to the other East African hotspots. I stay tuned for more visions, reports and leadership! [...]Reply
Collaborative Introspection - A Lesson From The Kenyan Tech Intelligentsia | otekbits.com at 11:27:51AM Wednesday, October 17, 2012
[...] a meeting for the 18th of this month to take a critical look at the current hype phenomenon – a reality check for the Silicon Savannah. While Kenya’s iHub might not be totally representative of the opinions of East African tech, [...]Reply
Silicon Savannah: Hype or Reality? A recap of last week’s event | *iHub_ at 10:24:25AM Tuesday, October 23, 2012
[...] week’s “Silicon Savannah: Reality Check” discussion generated a substantive amount of debate. A recap of the major talking points, by Andrea [...]Reply
Lessons from the South | DEMO Africa 2012 | *iHub_ at 19:39:28PM Wednesday, October 31, 2012
[...] There is nothing wrong with developing products for either side. Unless of course, we’re talking scalability and $$ returns. This is a battle that the tech pundits have been having with mobile app developers in East Africa, and with the tech bubble which they feel has stemmed from a perhaps too early baptized ‘Silicon Savannah’. [...]Reply
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