Do you know how to make money in the new economy?

__It’s kid stuff!

The other day a dear friend of ours dropped by our home in South Africa. Her 14-year old son was born about the same time as our youngest daughter, and they went to kindergarten together. I will call him “John” for the sake of this little story, which is otherwise all true.

“John is quite an entrepreneur,” his mother began proudly. Well, naturally all mothers are proud of their kids, so why should she be any different?

Anyway, she continued: “Sometimes he makes up to R5,000 building social media profiles, and selling them.”

“He does what?!” I exclaimed.

“Oh, that’s nothing, Strive. That’s just when he needs pocket money.”

“Okay… What else does he do?”

“He recently negotiated a deal for a certain type of toy from India, to supply customers in South Africa”

“He what?!”

“Well, he goes on the Internet and does research on products and prices, and finds the cheapest sources for things like cricket bats, and other things that kids like,” she said.

“Recently he found some very unusual sneakers that all the kids wanted, and he bought them, and resold them immediately for twice the price.”

“You are talking about John, and not his dad?” I asked quietly, just to be sure.

“John sometimes asks his dad to represent him, when he needs an adult.”

“Ehehe!… He hires his own father!”

“Look, John isn’t the only kid out there who knows how to make money from the Internet.”

And at that point, I burst out laughing: “On that point you’re right! Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk (Airbnb co-founders); Evan Spiegel, Reggie Brown and Bobby Murphy (Snapchat co-founders) and of course, Mark Zuckerberg!” I exclaimed.

“These guys are just kids when compared to people like me. And yet they have already built businesses that are bigger than the GDP of most African countries!”

But here’s the most exciting “take away”:

“John” is an African child. Just like Anesi, and his brother, Osine, from Nigeria who I wrote about in 2015. Remember them? The kids who built a browser before they were even teenagers?

This means that the next Zuckerberg is probably living in your house, toddling around already playing with Lego and maybe imagining robots or beyond!

In my own home, our youngest daughter does all the “tech stuff”! When our guys finished the website, I called her over and said, “Is this any good?”

She went into the corner and said, “Pretty cool, but I would change this and this.”

“Let me get my notebook, baby.”

“I will charge you!” she laughed.

“Name your price.”

I asked a simple question: “Do you really know how to make money in the new economy?”

In the new economy, it will be about our ability to let go of old mindsets about wealth, and wealth creation. We must not only equip our kids; we must trust them with our very future.

At the end of this week, do a little review and examine what you did with your smartphone:

Which websites did you visit, and why?

# Was it to find out something?
# Was it to sell or buy something?
# Was it to be entertained?
# Was it to keep in touch with friends, and family?

__If it was primarily social, then either change your habits, or you will work for “John” one day… (And that might not be so bad, because at least you will have a job.)

In all the things you do on the Internet, did any make you money, develop your career or kick start your business venture?

Think about little John. He’s 14 years old, and already he understands the new economy. Wow!

Let’s get to work! We have a continent to change… Fast!


by 25 Replies

About Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

25 thoughts on “Do you know how to make money in the new economy?

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.
    When I asked John’s mother which of my posts had the most impact, guess what she said? “When you talked about the importance of financial literacy. He taught himself accounting after that. He took to it like a duck to water.” This is when I said to her, “Now, I’m convinced. Your son is going to be a great entrepreneur, and will probably make his first billion before he’s 20 years old.”


        I am truly humbled. I work for a company that seemed to be doing very well, but I noticed one of the biggest weaknesses and this truly is explained in Mr Masiyiwa’s topics. Knowing your partners, the importance of financial literacy. This seems to be the biggest problem with most of entrepreneurs of today they get an opportunity to make money without any future plans to protect or grow the business like the Emerald story he told us sooner or later they find themselves back to square one. I have gone to Mr Masiyiwa ‘s site just to learn a few things about business ethics and they is a lot to learn. Keep it up my brother educate us from your experience so tomorrow we can be good respected and God fearing business people and turn the multitude of opportunities into reality.

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.
    When I say “the new economy,” what do you imagine that I mean? #The new economy in which Tencent is the most valuable company in Africa, and it’s from China; #The new economy in which Alibaba, a Chinese company made history on the New York Stock Exchange as the biggest-ever IPO; #The new economy of M-PESA and Ecocash from Africa; #The new economy of Uber, Baidu, Snapchat, and Twitter; # The new economy in which healthcare, education, and agriculture are all driven by cell phone technology and “Apps”! and… #The new economy in which the cell phone is a TV!

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.
    UN World Water Day is 22 March. The theme for this year is wastewater. Hundreds of millions of people in our world still don’t have access to safe water and sanitation. I don’t need to tell you that water is LIFE. We all have a responsibility not to waste this most precious resource. What are YOU doing? Are you a waterpreneur?

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    There are already over 200m Africans with handheld computers (we call them “smartphones”). There will be over 500m within 4 years. That means every adult African will soon have a computer in their hand.
    These devices allow us to research materials and read websites from every corner of the world in an instant. We can use them even to supplement the education of our children:
    Yes just imagine if every person with a smartphone in Africa, said to themselves, “I’m going to share my smartphone with my children. For 10 minutes every day, I will allow a child access to read something on my smartphone.”
    See the picture of the guy with the kids? Well you can do that with your smartphone! If you can read this FB, you are on the Internet already. Let’s be practical with what we have in our hands, right now!

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Timothy Moyo writes,

    I was proud to here my grade 3 child talking about Ruzivo unfortunately I had no Ruzivo app in my phone. Hands up to Dimbamiwa Primary School for teaching our children abt Ruzivo

    My reply,
    I hope you will do everything in your power to support your child. This is the future right there!
    I want to hear more such stories.

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Kwanele writes,

    Thank you Dr STRIVE MUSIYIWA there is this myopic mind of bad things in internet. How can we get ready off since we are afraid of corrupting our child. I know that this world is not going back.

    My reply,
    The Internet is like money, it is ‘amoral’, which means you can use it for good or bad.
    The Apostle Paul told Timothy, “the love” of money is the root of all evil. He did not say money is the root of evil, because money is amoral; you can use it to bless and you can use it to harm.
    Same with the Internet; you can use it to bless, educate, empower, or you can spend all day watching pornography, and following extremist intolerant views:
    It is the moral condition of the person who has it which decides.

    We all have a responsibility to ensure that children are taught to use the Internet properly and for the right purposes, but most importantly we must FIRST instill the right moral upbringing in our children.

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    At Econet Zimbabwe, they have an educational platform called Ruzivo, which helps parents supplement the education of their children using their smartphones. The platform has nearly 300,000 users. They used to charge for it, and I asked them to stop, and even make the data cost totally free for the platform.

  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    One more thing:
    There is one more thing that John from South Africa, and Anesi and his brother Osine from Nigeria, have in common. Do you know what it is?
    Their mothers:
    Both mothers are African school teachers. These women are passionately committed to equipping their children for the new economy.
    Let the wise hear!

  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    News alert!
    This week we will be making one of the biggest announcements on Kwese Sport. Keep an eye out for it__”game changer”!
    It’s the first in a very impressive list of powerful developments on Kwese TV, so download the App or get a decoder.

  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Walter writes,

    Hope you have secured rights for the Epl

    My reply,
    We already have EPL and it is available for free on Kwese Free Sport.
    This is bigger than EPL!

  11. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Kwese Weekly Quiz Continued:
    I just downloaded my new Version 2.0 Kwese App on my iPhone (until now it was only available on Android). This is really cool.
    So here goes for my quiz of the week:
    Name one of the ESPN presenters on “ESPN on Kwese” promotional advert on the Kwese App.
    This time I will give a Kwese decoder to the first person from any African country (plus 6 months free service). If we have no service planned for your country you get a smartphone.
    Competition closes in a week.
    [Only people who download the App can win.]

    [Tip! Look for a presenter whose name has not yet been mentioned by someone else. A little research will help you get a prize. There is only one winner per country.]

  12. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Zipaly writes:

    Where do we get decoders in Malawi?

    My reply,
    Very soon you can buy a decoder in Malawi. We already have one Tv channel Kwese Free Sport, which you can watch without a decoder, as it broadcasts in Malawi for free.
    You can also download the Kwese App, and watch many of our channels.

  13. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Stephen writes,

    is good when talents are being recognise. I have a project that I took to the company that needs it,which will he run on any smart phone and it will surely bring more customers to them. this company rejected it promising they will call me,more than a year now no response. ..they dont know what they have lost

    My reply,
    “They don’t know what they lost”.
    That should always be your attitude when you are turned down by big myopic companies. Don’t get discouraged, find a way to do it without them.
    Some of my greatest successes came from being turned down or even chased away by people.

  14. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Kwese Quiz 2 Continued:
    This time I will give a Kwese decoder for the first LADY from any African country (plus 6 months free service). If we have no service planned for your country you get a smartphone.
    Here is your question:
    Name any show on Kwese Stories, giving the time it appears. You can only get this information from the Kwese App.

    [Tip! Look for shows others have not mentioned. I want a winner from every African country.]

  15. Maurice

    I thank econet for giving people an opportunity to choose whether to progress or remain stagnant. I still have question though how to I access kwese tv from my desktop

  16. Jean-Philippe Aithnard

    Hello Mr Strive Masiyiwa

    I’m inspired by your posts and would like to contribute to their spreading in the french-speaking world.
    For this purpose, Mrs Morenike Aithnard, a professional translator, agreed to translate them on an ongoing basis. We will be able to provide each post in French 48h after receiving it. We are ready to start with the next post.
    Please feel free to contact me with the email connected to my account if you have any question.

    As an example, a translation of the current post is provided below:

    Savez-vous comment se faire de l’argent dans la nouvelle économie?

    _ C’est un jeu d’enfant!

    L’autre jour, une très bonne amie de la famille nous a rendu visite à notre domicile en Afrique du Sud. Son fils de 14 ans et notre plus jeune fille sont nés à la même période et sont allés à la maternelle ensemble. Ce garçon, je l’appellerai John, dans l’intérêt de ma petite histoire, qui, par ailleurs, est totalement vraie.

    “John est un sacré entrepreneur », dit fièrement sa mère. Toutes les mamans sont, sans doute, naturellement fières de leurs progénitures, alors pourquoi échapperait -elle à la règle?

    Alors elle ajouta: “Il gagne parfois jusqu’à R5000 en créant et en revendant des profils de médias sociaux.”

    “Il fait quoi?” m’exclamai-je.

    Oh, ça ce n’est rien Strive. C ‘est juste quand il a besoin d’argent de poche.”

    “Okay… Que fait-il d’autre?”

    “Il a récemment négocié un accord pour un certain type de jouet venant de l’Inde en vue de le fournir à des acheteurs en Afrique du Sud ».

    “Il a quoi?”

    “En fait, il va sur Internet et fait des recherches sur des produits et leurs prix, ensuite il trouve des sources moins chères pour des articles tels que des bâtons de cricket et les autres choses que les jeunes aiment. ”
    “Il a récemment trouvé des baskets très particulières que tous les jeunes voulaient. Il les a achetées et immédiatement revendues deux fois plus chères. »

    “Tu parles de John, et pas son père?” demandai-je calmement, juste pour m’en assurer.

    “Des fois, John demande à son père de le représenter, quand il a besoin d’un adulte.”

    “Ehehe!… Il recrute son propre père!”

    “Écoute, John n’est pas le seul adolescent qui sait comment se faire de l’argent grâce à l’Internet.”

    A ce moment-là, j’ai éclaté de rires: “Tu as raison sur ce point! Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk (cofondateurs de Airbnb); Evan Spiegel, Reggie Brown et Bobby Murphy (cofondateurs de Snapchat), et bien sûr Mark Zuckerberg!”, me suis-je exclamé

    Ce ne sont que des enfants comparés à des gens comme moi. Mais ils ont déjà établi des business dont le chiffre d’affaires est nettement plus élevé que le PIB de la plupart des pays africains.

    Mais le plus intéressant reste à venir.

    « John » est un jeune africain. Tout comme Anesi, et son frère, Osine du Nigéria dont j’ai parlé en 2015. Vous vous en souvenez? Les jeunes qui ont créé un navigateur avant même leur adolescence?

    Cela veut dire que le prochain Zuckerberg habite sans doute chez vous, faisant ses premiers pas, jouant au Lego et imaginant peut être des robots et bien plus!

    Chez moi, notre plus jeune fille est “à fond” dans la technologie! Quand nos informaticiens ont terminé le site, je l’ai invitée dans nos locaux et je lui ai demandé: “C’est bien?”

    Elle alla dans un coin et dit: «Plutôt cool, mais je changerais ça et ça. ”

    “Laisse-moi prendre de quoi noter, ma chérie.”

    “Tu vas payer” dit-elle en riant.

    “Dis ton prix.”

    Je lui ai posé une simple question: “Tu sais vraiment comment se faire de l’argent dans la nouvelle économie?”

    Dans la nouvelle économie, il s’agira de notre habilité à dépasser les vieilles mentalités en ce qui concerne la richesse et sa création. Il ne s’agit pas seulement d’équiper nos enfants, mais aussi de leur faire confiance quant à notre propre avenir.

    A la fin de cette semaine, Faites une petite revue et réexaminez ce que avez fait avec votre smartphone.

    Sur quels sites web êtes-vous allés et pourquoi?

    # Etait-ce pour trouver quelque chose?

    # Etait-ce pour vendre ou acheter quelque chose?

    # Etait-ce pour vous divertir?

    # Etait-ce pour rester en contact avec vos amis et votre famille?

    _ Si c’était purement à des fins sociales, alors, soit vous changez vos habitudes, ou vous finirez par travailler pour “John” un beau jour … (ce ne serait pas si mal, parce qu’au moins vous aurez un boulot)

    De tout ce que vous faites sur Internet, y en a-t-il qui vous font gagner de l’argent, à développer votre carrière ou à relancer votre entreprise?

    Pensez au petit John. Il a 14 ans et comprend déjà la nouvelle économie.

    Mettons-nous au travail! Nous avons un continent à transformer… Vite!


  17. Jean-Philippe Aithnard

    Mr Strive Masiyiwa,

    I forgot to mention in my previous comment that the translation will be free of charge.


    May God bless you

  18. Tunde Ayeni

    That’s a lovely post, quite inspiring. It does remind me to stay on my toes, lest i find myself working for a John one day. God knows, I probably already do work for a John in one way or the other.

    Forgive my intrusion, but i have been trying to reach you on several platforms.
    I have been working on a project: (Ofe is the yoruba word for free). We want to give out free wifi in busy urban areas in Lagos, Nigeria.. hopefully someday, the whole of Africa.
    And i wondered if you would be interested in our idea. We just had a pilot this weekend, in a mall in Lagos, on the 8th of April to be exact, and the results are quite good.
    Our business model is to display ads as unobtrusively as possible to the user and eventually to make use of the data collected over time for further research and improvements to the model. We already have a few ideas on this.
    I would love to hear your thoughts and also possibly your support with this.

    Thank you, again please forgive my intrusion.

    Tunde Ayeni


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