During the internet boom and up till now, one thing is clear, the value of business skyrockets, when a digital technology component is added to it. Unlike traditional valuation, discounted cashflow valuation, though it sounds really old school, works where other methods fail. Rather than starting with an analysis of the company’s past performance, valuation begins by examining the expected long-term development of the company’s markets—and then works backward.
We have always had traditional taxis, but Uber came with a value proposition, aided by technology redesign, to equilibrate the forces of demand and supply of mobility services. And it’s of no surprise that when Uber did its IPO in 2019, it was valued at about $82.4 billion. This same logic goes for other tech companies; Kobo360, Zenvus, Airbnb, Upwork, etc.
Now, let’s bring this down to career. Based on the current realities in our country, some courses in our universities are considered to be irrelevant. While that’s quite true, I however posit that when you add digital skills such as machine learning, cloud computing, software development, data analytics, your value before any recruiter, especially with tech-driven companies, can skyrocket. It’s a popular fact today that many of the individuals playing in the tech space in Nigeria are from non-tech backgrounds. So why not you? The Founder of ThriveAgric has backgrounds in IT and biochemistry. The two founders of 54 Gene, have IT and health backgrounds. The founders of MDaaS Global have health, IT and supply management backgrounds.
Take for instance, you studied Yoruba language in school. This course is popularly classified as unfashionable. Now let’s see how technology can increase its value. Imagine you are an English-speaking native, and you visit a Yoruba community for field work. You definitely need an interpreter. Rather than always employing an interpreter, what if there’s an IoT device that you can plug to the speaker’s mouth and your ear such that the speaker speaks Yoruba, but you hear English? Yeah, that’s very possible, but with a whole lot of algorithms. And such devices will be difficult to build without someone who has a good knowledge of both Yoruba and Artificial intelligence. Google Translate, is already a step in that direction. Now can you think of how technology can reshape your career and education background? You will see that the opportunities are unbounded.
Zenvus, as mentioned earlier, is an Agtech company that uses “proprietary electronics sensors to collect soil data like moisture, nutrients, pH… and send them to a cloud server via GSM, satellite or Wifi. Algorithms in the server analyze the data and advise farmers on what to do in their farms to maximize yield”. This device eliminates guess farming, by enabling a data-driven farming approach. You will agree with me, that this isn’t possible without an expert knowledge of soil science. So why throw away that B.Sc. in soil science, just because it’s not marketable?
As you have seen, technology is redefining how businesses are transacted today. It is reducing frictions, eliminating human interference and reconstructing all manners of barriers. Just like it increases the valuation of companies before investors, it can also increase your valuation before any recruiter. This isn’t to say technology is all sufficient. Many more skills are necessary. However, you might want to take a look at this. Everyone has a space to play.