"There’s hype and then there’s business. Nairobi’s 'Silicon Savannah’ is in desperate need of a large dose not of money, but of modesty."
This quote from a recent column by Andrea Bohnstedt was passed around the Twittersphere at a rate that suggested that someone had finally articulated what many had been thinking.
Even harder to hear, from Bankole Oluwafemi:
"It’s time we got out this self-congratulatory phase that we’ve been participating in all this while and start asking ourselves some hard questions. Like are we trying to build stuff that kicks butt and gets the attention of the investors in Park Lane and Boardwalk? Or are we building stuff that is good for no more than being a fancy mock-up that lives in a local sandbox, and then hoping investors will line up to ogle it? Are we aiming the dice for the community chest and hoping to pick off quick but ultimately irrelevant short term wins in overrated hackathons and innovation competitions? Are we just content to exist in perpetual mediocrity — to gingerly pick our way across the board, pass GO, collect 200 and repeat? Because at the current skill levels within the ecosystem, we aren’t really playing to win.It's about time we had a brutally honest discussion around what's really going on in Silicon Savannah. On Thursday 18th October 2012, from 6-8 pm, we're excited to be hosting this conversation with the following:
Enough with the digital high fives already. If we acknowledge that the code sucks, that technical skills are fundamentally lacking, and that we need to collectively up our game, then and only then can we begin to explore the means by which we can collaboratively engineer talent into the DNA of the African technology ecosystem."
- Njeri Rionge-one of Kenya's most successful serial entrepreneurs and, according to Forbes, one of Africa's most successful women
- Andrea Bohnstedt-anindependent country risk analyst and columnist for Kenyan newspaper The Star.
- Conrad Akunga - tech entrepreneur, iHub advisor, and irreverent blogger @roomthinker.
- Mbwana Alliy - managing partner at Savannah Fund