Pause: Curiosity is the key to successful entrepreneurship.

A young woman came up to me the other day and said, “Mr Masiyiwa, I follow you on Facebook and I’m still trying to decide whether or not I’m an entrepreneur?”

“Are you curious by nature?” I asked.

“How do you mean?” she asked, puzzled.

“An entrepreneur is someone who is hyper-curious, and manages to channel that curiosity towards a singular purpose. If you’re a person who likes things the way they are, and you don’t like change, you’re never likely to be a successful entrepreneur.”

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine told me about an incredible new technique for something (I won’t tell you what it was today).

“Can you send me a link to something that’s been written?”

Even before he had even sent me the link, I rushed to search on the Internet. Within a matter of days, I’d read dozens of articles, watched video clips, and was tracking the idea. Soon I was corresponding with some of the key players involved in this new idea. Not long after, I had a sample in my hands… Soon I would be looking for a business opportunity!

What are you tracking right now? “How do Apps work?” Things like ‘WhatsApp’? “Can I build my own App?”

We just launched “Kwese App” and it’s amazing. Every week we’re adding new channels to it. The other day, I watched an African football game using the App. I used the Wi-Fi in the hotel because mobile data is too expensive for watching a football game! You can download the Kwese App in a matter of minutes. Go to the Kwese.Com website, if you don’t know how.

# What are you tracking right now?

A few years ago, I went to a toy shop in the UK and bought one of the first “drones” and spent days flying it in my back yard. This was years before Amazon and Google announced their plans to use drones to deliver goods and medicines to remote areas.

“What are seeing?” My wife asked, as she watched a “middle age” man trying to fly a toy helicopter in the backyard.

“One day this will not just be used in warfare,” I told her. “These unmanned vehicles, will deliver everything, including medicines to remote villages. Robots are here, and it’s going to be absolutely massive!”

If you’re not reading about things like robots, and the technologies emerging around them, then you are probably not an entrepreneur. They will affect everything, and every industry.

# What are you tracking right now?

“Have you ever seen a Tesla?” my friend said to me. He was a tech entrepreneur, and investor in Silicon Valley.

“I have one of the first Teslas,” he smiled. “Next time you’re in Silicon Valley, let’s go for a drive.”

I was burning with curiosity!

“A Tesla! You have one of the first?!”

“I invested in it when it was still just an idea. We have made so much money, I’m embarrassed.”

“Stop. What other ideas like Tesla are you looking at right now?” I asked, “Do you think, I could take some of this into Africa, right now?”

“Things move so quickly now, any of these new ideas will hit the rest of the world and Africa too within months after launch.”

Yes, I went to Silicon Valley, just to get a chance to be driven in a Tesla.

Now, you might not yet afford to go all the way to Silicon Valley, but on your smartphone, you have all the access you need. Use it, before you are left behind by the ideas that are changing the world.

# Be curious!


Image credit: Ubuntu Hope

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 “Pause: Curiosity is the key to successful entrepreneurship.

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.

    Give way to the child in you, because that’s what drove the likes of Steve Jobs. Don’t be like a grumpy old man or woman who wants to keep things the same around them. Shake yourself up, go out there, and try something new! Go to a toy shop and buy a robot for you and your children. Play with them, this Christmas, and let your imagination take you to your next venture!

    • Peter Okhimamhe

      Dear Sir,
      I am very glad and greatful to God that a man with your wealth of knowledge and experience could care about young entrepreneurs and start ups like myself.
      I have been following your blog post and ever since I can’t wait to see the next and the next….. As a starter that I am, I consider you to be my MENTOR in business, a rear privilege I ask in favour of you. I was most captivated while going through your autobiography where I saw how you started a company with $75 and within 5 years, your company have become an emerging company in Zimbabwe and went ahead to become a tycoon in telecoms.
      Sir, I will like to know how you were able to get to such a milestone mark within 5 years because I am passionate to do same in achieving my business calling.
      Sincerely, I am still a novice in the business world and I will be blessed to be your student.
      Thank you

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.

    That smartphone in your hand that you use for Facebook and WhatsApp, can also help you build your OWN Facebook and WhatsApp! WHAT… are you waiting for?

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    African media network Econet Media and MTG (Modern Times Group), a leading international digital entertainment group, on Friday announced the conclusion of the sale of MTG’s Ghanaian free-to-air terrestrial channel Viasat 1 and Modern African Productions (MAP) to the Econet Media Group.

    Econet Media acquires all MTG assets in Ghana as well as MAP’s operations in Ghana (VIASAT channel), and Nigeria as part of this deal and will retain all staff.
    Kwese Free Sports Channel now available in 19 countries. Five countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, and Ghana) now have a full 24 hr channel. Nigeria, Botswana could be up in time for Christmas.

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Kagiso, writes:

    We appreciate and welcome it with warm hands in Botswana

    My reply,
    I have always enjoyed investing in Botswana, ever since I came there as a young man and set up Mascom.
    Whenever some African leaders ask me, which country is an example of “ease of doing business”, I give Botswana in my top 3x countries. Regulators in Botswana go out of their way to make it easier for investors to bring money and set up businesses, and provide jobs, and services.
    Kwese Tv is going to be very big in Botswana, and you will be amazed by what we are planning to do.

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    In the last week we have announced acquisitions and expansions in the following African countries:
    South Africa ($500m), Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, and Nigeria.
    This will result in hundreds of millions of investment, as well as thousands of new jobs.
    I’m putting into practice many of the things I teach on this platform.
    We believe in Africa.

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    iPad competition:
    I’m still waiting to get the right answer for my iPad gift competition. For those of you who want win an iPad, go to the question I posed on one of my afterthoughts of the previous post. Perhaps you missed it. Look at the question carefully, then go back to the Kwese App, and download it for free. I will give the iPad to the first person who gives me the correct answer.

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Adeleke, asks:

    In what area is the acquisition in Nigeria, so we can position?
    Yours is Faith in action! You are keeping realisable hope alive everyday

    My reply,
    We are currently testing the broadcasting equipment in Nigeria. I understand we are days away from going live in Abuja, and Lagos, initially. We are starting with our premium sports channel called Kwese Free Sports. It is completely free like the NTA, and Channels Tv. It focuses only on live sports events from across Africa, and the world. You can watch English Premier League, NBA, Cricket, boxing etc.

  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Allen, writes,


    My name is Allen and we met at the first NBA all star game in SA. I was wondering if Kwese will be able to screen live my basketball camp I’m hosting in Zimbabwe next year in June.

    Luc Mbah A Moute who plays for LA Clippers will be the guest at this camp and we named it The Luc Mbah A Moute Top 50 U17s Basketball Camp.

    (Long text)

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    My reply,
    We have not yet been granted regulatory approvals to operate in Zimbabwe. We will not be able to broadcast any sports from Zimbabwe until that happens. Zimbabwe is not amongst the 19 countries currently receiving our programming.
    As soon as a country gives us regulatory approvals, we not only start broadcasting our sports channels, but we also begin to sponsor local content from the country. This is the business case.
    I wish you well in your efforts, and I hope one day soon we can add Zimbabwe, and if that happens, you can be assured we will immediately start a program there to support initiatives similar to yours..
    The good news is that we are planning to bring two full NBA teams to South Africa in August.

  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Mutale writes:

    are you developing a ‘lite’ version of your app that is not as data heavy? wifi is not always available for most who rely primarily on mobile data which, as you said, is quite expensive

    My reply,
    Speaking to you as an entrepreneur, I say “what an opportunity for you!”
    Entrepreneurs see a problem, and say to themselves, “if I can solve this challenge, then I might make a good business for myself”. In that problem you see is an opportunity for you–“seize it before another!”


    Disrupting the Short term Insurance Industry in record time

    Good day Chief Entrepreneur,

    I am excited to contact you about how you can build a short term insurance company (fintech) that will be in the top 3 within the next three to five years. This will be made possible by the robust ideas and strategies that I wish to share with you.

    The internet poses acute threats to rigid traditional old companies whilst presenting mind blowing opportunities to those with an entrepreneurial DNA and agility. With the advent of Icecash (an online motor insurance issuance platform for all short term insurers), the industry has never been so susceptible and prone to an overhaul disruption. Accoording to the 2015 annual IPEC report, Motor insurance accounts for 39.93% of the $214 706 164 gross premium collected. Interestingly, as Econet you are strategically positioned to be at the pinnacle of this lucrative industry in record time.

    I appreciate the challenge of execution as the biggest obstacle to success but the more brutal reality is that every strategy or idea has a shelf life. On that basis, I beseech you to set up a meeting for me to meet your prolific team and present on how we can disrupt the industry. This presentation will be recorded on video and sent to you for evaluation, alternatively we could do it as a webinar.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    The incumbent is a 25 year old entrepreneurial Insurance professional who holds an honours degree in Risk Management and Insurance from the Midlands State University and is currently studying for an MBA online with the University of South Wales. He .His career started as an intern with NicozDiamond Insurance where he acquired a wealth of experience. In 2015 after graduating he then joined Zimnat Life Assurance in 2015 as a Branch Administrator. Currently he is a Consultant for a leading Insurance company.

    Email: Cell: +263775949728

  11. Elton

    Great deeds , great works , greatness , only that that breaks a record, barrier or new discovery holds the title great , but who actually makes them great?

    I have never known a dreamer that isnt great , you’re all great , dream up and work it up..

    Then probably you might become one of them, Da vinci , Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther.

    I won’t write it as it should be by the status quo, but I choose to make it great.

    Great ideas come from dreamers.

    See you tomorrow


      Thank you Elton,

      I am convinced beyond any shadow of doubt that we are all designed for accomplishment, endowed with the seeds of greatness and neatly wired for success. It would be an unjustifiable loss if we don’t maximise on that potential.

      “When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world.

      Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.

      That’s a very limited life.

      Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

      Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” Steve Jobs

  12. Oluwaseyi

    I’ve been following your blog and Facebook write ups for a while now and I must confess, sir, you inspire me to be more than I am right now.
    You are my mentor.

  13. Oluwaseyi

    I’ve been following your blog and Facebook write ups for a while now and I must confess, sir, you inspire me to be more than I am right now.
    You are my mentor.


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