Keep your eyes open for the by-product

__One new thing leads to another…

Before I get started on this post, let me remind you that the clock is ticking if you want to participate in our $200,000 competition (Go to You never know what’s possible unless you try! I remember in 1993 sitting down to develop my first business plan for mobile phones. I was trying to borrow money from a local bank…

All we knew at the time was that we were trying to replace the fixed line phone with a mobile phone, so the only change we could see was the “mobility,” which was itself revolutionary!

I know this sounds funny, but the common wisdom at the time was that most people would keep their phones switched off, and would only switch them on when they needed to make calls. There were newspaper articles in which people complained about how rude it was for people to answer their mobile phones in public!

As mobile operators we saw Voice Mail as being very important, but the challenge was: How would people know if they had a call when the phone was switched off?

So someone came up with the idea of a “short message” to inform people that they had a missed call… that’s all it was meant to be!

SMS began to evolve until people used it to send messages to each other, and it evolved further and further… until it gave birth to the email in the age of the Internet!

Today most mobile operators generate more revenue from what we call data or broadband than from voice calls!

__What’s the moral of the story today?

# In whatever business you are in, there is an “SMS type” by-product just waiting for you to discover it, and which could become the mainstay of your business in the future.

It almost always begins as something small and seemingly inconsequential. Your job is to spot it… and to do so before others do!

I haven’t asked you this lately, but you’ve heard me say it time and again: What do you SEE? You don’t have to tell us here, just keep those eyes open for by-products and more…

Now I hope you saw last Friday that we launched our long-awaited “Kwesé GoGettaz” competition where we’re looking to give two winners $100,000 investment each into their social or for-profit venture, as well as work with me and our team in our Kwesé offices in Johannesburg for two weeks in January 2018. Please note:

# We decided to give you a little more time. The deadline to complete Quiz #1 is now Friday 1 September. I want you all to have a very good shot at the Grand Prize… Keep trying!

# Start and complete the quiz. I know thousands of you are visiting our sites to do your homework. Remember: for you to actually win, you must complete the quiz.

# Only your overall score on ALL four contests score matters. To proceed past Stage 1, you must complete all four quizzes. However, if you didn’t get full scores so far, that’s just more reason for you to dive into the next three. Don’t be disappointed. Stay in the game!

# Women stand an equal chance. So far only 22% of those participating in the quiz are women… Remember, the two grand prizes will go to one man and one woman!

# Have an ongoing venture. As I’ve written before, we will not accept pitches for “ideas” for the Grand Prize. However, you don’t have to run an already-registered business or non-profit to qualify (although that’s fine). You need only have an ongoing venture, for which you have clear intentions to formally register should you win the grand prize.

Unlike in business, this contest is FREE and there’s nothing to lose by trying.

It’s your choice: stay on the shoreline or start swimming?


by 21 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.

21 thoughts on “Keep your eyes open for the by-product

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.
    In late July I held another FB competition where I invited people on my platform to showcase their profit and not-for-profit projects in 100 words or less. Wow, there were some wonderful entries that give me such hope for this continent. And gave other people from around the world hope, too! Please go to tomorrow to find out the winners and as usual, come back here to let me know you know you won. We’re also announcing the winner of the quick quiz asking who was the Zimbabwean sprinter in the 2008 Olympics photo with Usain Bolt.

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.
    “The first simple rule in life: If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.” (seen on Pinterest) You stand an equal chance to win, even if you’re only able to work part-time on your venture right now!

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.
    Last Saturday we spent the whole day in the AU Reform Advisory group assisting President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

    The meeting was attended also by former heads of state (most aren’t in the banner picture, as they had left) and also most of the former Chairpersons and Secretary Generals of the AU (previously OAU). This is part of a consultative process with all stakeholders including citizens, entrepreneurs, civil society etc.,

    One of the key things we’re trying to crack is funding of the AU, because most of its programs are currently funded by donors. This is something we need to change.

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Even if you do not yet run a business or a not for profit, I urge you to still try and do all the quizzes.
    This process is designed to teach some very important business principles which will make every one a winner.

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    If an opportunity like this had emerged when I was a young entrepreneur (or even a potential entrepreneur), I would have organized a small group, and we would have spent several hours a day working on it…it is this kind of person who will probably end up winning…just a tip!

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Vanessa writes,

    Sir speaking of going after what you want..what do you do in a case were people want your exclusive product but are not willing to pay for the asking money, I’m a fashion designer and my techniques are quite innovative if I may say so my self, people want my clothes but at market , grocery price, my business needs the money, but I cannot compromise on what I put out there, which makes me turn them away.. Is it wise or not.

    My reply,
    It is important to identify the right customers for your product. The right customer will understand the value of what you sell.
    Always ask yourself the question:
    “Who is my customer?”… once you understand that question, you must tailor your marketing and customer acquisition strategy toward that customer, and not deviate.
    There is a customer for the product you are selling, so go find them, and I can assure you they will not want it for free, or next to nothing!

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Ngwoke writes,

    Dr Strive Masiyiwa

    You are now becoming my idol in the business world.
    I have read books & articles from you online & am blessed.

    And I have checked for books written by you in bookshops around I can’t get any.

    Please how can I get some?

    My reply,
    I have not written any books. Whatever you have read was written by other people without my knowledge.
    Moses wrote his “books” on tablets of stone. I write my “books” here on Facebook. If you compile my posts and comments, you have as many books as you want.
    This is not to say I don’t believe in written books that are put on shelves for people to buy. This is important, and I promise to one day do it.
    For now read this “book” because it reaches more people than print editions can ever do.

  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Isiaq writes,

    The reason why I keep loving you is that you always give us hope. You are giving us what would cost us millions of dollars to acquire for free. Thanks so much. I want to ask a question on business plan. “Apart from the business plan you wrote for your telecommunication business (Econet precisely), do you also write another for KWESE TV too or you tweak the first one by including KWESE on it? ”

    My reply,
    Every new business must have its own business plan. And every business plan must be constantly reviewed as new information and new ideas come in. Also no business plan ever survives initial contact with an actual customer. So once you start selling to customers you must listen to what they are saying and watch what they are doing; then you revisit and tweak your business plans.

  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Misheck writes,

    Kwese Is the REAL GAME CHANGER for real,here in Zambia other pay tv services have reduced prices for their decoders as low as $12 all because of Kwese.Thank you so much sir for this great work well done Dr Strive Masiyiwa you’re truly making others panic for quality entertainment for all on Kwese,#KweseBeyondTV!

    My reply,
    You are welcome.
    This is just the beginning. We must all fight to ensure that there is healthy competition in this sector.

  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Babajide writes,

    Thanks Dr for this opportunity though on a sick bed now. I will still try to participate.

    My reply,
    I saw your message, and was compelled to pray for you, and I did.
    And even from this platform a wall of prayers has gone to Heaven on your behalf.
    You are blessed!

  11. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    During one of my trips to the US, I had a chat with a certain African leader (on the sidelines of a conference) about how they could attract investment into their country in the Health Care industry. The next day I had a call from his Minister of Health, it was a Sunday:
    “What time is it over there?” I asked surprised.
    “2 am. The President just called me.”

    #No one owes you a living: seize the opportunity when you get it!

    It does not matter whether you are an entrepreneur, an employee or civil servant, if we are going to make a change in this world, we must seize every opportunity with a sense of urgency, and passion.

  12. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Oladayo writes,

    Thank you for the opportunities sir. Our group the Nigeria Youthprenuer is doing a lot as a team both in preparation for the future and also your Visit. For anyone who is interested. The link can be provided. Thanks.

    My reply,
    This is amazing!
    Nigeria is the awaking giant of the world.
    By the turn of this century they will dominate the world in so many fields.

  13. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Charles writes,

    Sir Masiyiwa l am 21 and doing business science at university of Cape Town doing second year and l have my business plan but the problem is that the banks require collateral security which l don’t have..sadly l come from a poor background for them to support my dream financially..l don’t know if you know any funding agencies that may be interested to assist me..And my business idea is to open a world class affordable food court. Thats my dream sir.l am from South Africa

    My reply,
    To the extent possible Charles, park your business plan and complete your degree.

    Now allow me to comment on your business idea:
    If you came to my bank with this idea, I would not give you a loan, even if you had collateral.
    Certainly no rational investor would invest in you at this stage, and also for good reason.

    UCT is one of the best universities on the African continent, and I know for sure that at the end of your degree you will understand why I have said what I just said. And most importantly they will equip you to raise money properly.

  14. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #African Agricultural Forum (AGRF):

    As some of you know I took over the chairmanship of this annual event from Mr Kofi Annan (former SG-UN) a few years ago. This is easily one of the most important annual gathering of the agricultural sector in Africa.
    Our meeting in Kenya last year was just spectacular! We used it as an opportunity to get African governments, investors, and donors to make financial pledges for African agriculture. Pledges exceeded all expectations at over $30bn!

    This year’s conference will be held in Abidjan Ivory Coast beginning 4-8th September. I recently visited the country to check on preparations, and met both the President and Prime Minister. It really promises to be a blockbuster and we are expecting a huge turnout of agric industry players, as well as Heads of State, global donors, and investors.
    #Im excited, and I hope to see some of you there!

  15. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #AGRF visit to Côte d’Ivoire:
    Whilst I’m in the West African region for this important meeting I have also set aside time for visits to other countries:
    I also plan to visit Togo, Ghana, and Nigeria. I particularly want to see some of our members on this platform.

  16. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    # Town Hall meetings:
    Yesterday I did a great meeting with graduate students at New York University’s Stern Business School. It was amazing, and I really want extend my appreciation to all the participants, as well as faculty and staff.
    I will continue to fit in such events whenever I can including many African universities that have also invited me.


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