The Entrepreneur’s Awareness

The Entrepreneur’s Awareness

Two cases:

  1. While speaking at the World Economic Forum …, Maersk’s chairman Jim Hagermann Snabe revealed the extent of a recent cyberattack’s damage to the shipping giant’s IT systems. The NotPetya ransomware worm forced the company’s tech team to reinstall “a complete infrastructure” over 10 days, he said. The crew set up “4,000 new servers, 45,000 new PCs, and 2,500 applications” to the tune of $250 to $300 million.
  2. Leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan convened in Addis Ababa to break a diplomatic deadlock over Ethiopia’s plans to build a hydroelectric dam on the river. Egypt fears the dam could lessen the amount of water it gets from the Ethiopian highlands. (Fortune newsletter)

In these unrelated cases, we can see one thing: connectivity. In the case of Maersk, the firm had networks of connected computing systems which were compromised by a ransomware. Typically, for most ransomware, the only solution is to rebuild a system infrastructure, from scratch, where you decide not to pay the hackers. Too bad for Maersk, it is possible a cloud-based infrastructure could have prevented the level of mayhem it experienced.

For Egypt and Ethiopia, this simply explains the interconnected nature of our world. Most times, we do not appreciate all these elements. Templeton Investments has this popular advertisement where it explains that markets are connected; that one event in one country could impact what happens in another. It used an example on how an agriculture policy in one nation could affect the seafood sector in another. Yes, a dam project in Ethiopia could cause severe dislocation in Egypt’s economy in years.

The Mind of an Entrepreneur

Winning markets comes through awareness. The brilliance of Aliko Dangote happens because of his high level of awareness to link market frictions and opportunities. The same goes for Jim Ovim, Tony Elumelu and others. For these men and others, they do not need to have (directly) experienced something to know the impact of that thing. Yes, Dangote might not have gone grocery shopping in years, but he has awareness of the range of food prices. He may not be directly connected to the operational elements within a sector, yet, he has awareness of what is happening there. Without awareness, any entrepreneur would struggle. Connecting the dots is what makes it possible to understand how markets are moving and what the emerging opportunities are. You must invest to have the capacity to connect pieces of (unrelated) events and things, in order to stay ahead of competitions as markets shift.


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