When TechCrunch Sarah Lacy Goes ‘Blind’ in Lagos – She Gets The Myopic Syndrome Bug (Part 2)

continued from here.


So it is the pattern, they come and go home with usually the bad perspective.  She has become an expert by telling TechCrunch world that Computer Village “is Nigerian answer to Shenzhen’s SEG Electronics Market”. Her good post will not mention what Pagatech, Precurio, Jobberman, Microscale Embedded, Fasmicro and the hosts of other Nigerian startups are doing. These were supposed to be the focus of her coming – to access these firms and possibly promote them in TechCrunch or her circle and then help move them to the global scale. She left her call and chose the usual way – finding guys with machetes.


In Lagos, we could tell we were getting close to Computer Village because of the rows of parked trucks of busted out boom-boxes, televisions and other has-been electronics being fixed and rehabed for parts. Hawkers try to get your attention with a sound that’s a combination of a kissing-noise and a hissing noise. It surrounds you as you walk through Computer Village, making you feel like you’re either walking past a rowdy construction site or a den of snake charmers. That’s a good way to describe the sales tactics too.


Of course if this post is good, one does not need a soothsayer to know the bad one will be really bad. Sarah did not visit Victoria Island. She failed to spend time in Ikoyi. She might have, but those areas are not too bad for the usual story people should read about Africa.


Victoria Island is as good as any decent city in America. Victoria Garden City   can compete with any nice spot in America. All those ExxomMobil, Shell, Agip, ChevronTexaco and more executives live in Lagos – and they never like to go. If she had wanted to know Lagos – the good and bad – someone should have taken her to our Island. She might have asked the usual question: “is this part of Nigeria?”


Our governments are working hard to project a positive image about our nation and we cannot just have an honest discussion of Nigeria. Someone sends $200 on a promise of $20m and the person will say Nigerians are fraudulent. Pure Chemistry – you too is also fraudulent. Evidence – action and reaction are equal and opposite!  The man that thinks he can make $20m with investment of $200 is Fraud, personified.


People visit Nigeria and they spend time in the worst area without mentioning the good ones.  That distorts the world’s view about Nigeria and deprives us of opportunities.


How can someone support a tech company if what Sarah has written about computer village is the engine of innovation for Nigeria?  The world thinks of clusters and fertilization of ideas and ecosystems of innovation. If all the investors imagine is computer village, they will be discouraged to invest as that environment cannot sustain any great innovation.


Many refuse to understand that Computer Village is largely a market for sale and distribution of computers and parts. No innovation or creativity takes place there. There is no value added there. No differentiation. More than 50% of the players there are not even high school educated. Many never even graduated from primary school. Less than 5% graduates work there. That is not what Nigeria has in mind to launch itself to the world of technology. Computer Village is a market in Lagos and not a tech cluster.


We have Obasanjo Space Center and that is our plan to challenge the world. She met talented young graduates and they must have told her about that. Technology is alive and in places like NigComSat R&D, NASENI, etc. Computer Village is the place where people come and buy things.


Of course, that those boys in Computer Village can function must be commended – some have never entered school a single day. Yet, they can figure out most things to survive. Again, they are not innovating and we do not really expect them to.


We hope next time she visits Africa, Sarah will not be blindfolded to reality and suffer what we have termed myopic syndrome bug. They never see any progress in Africa. Otherwise, she would have asked why SystemSpecs is selling software in U.S and not be obsessed with artisans that never finished primary school even as prepares to write about guys with machetes.


Now, let the bad posts come!



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