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Our problem is we don’t stand together. We don’t speak together

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A sad thing that keeps happening around us is that when a few people stand on their feet to speak up about bad things that we need to face and solve in the country, they stand and speak alone. We experience it frequently here when we write about bad stuff some players do in the tech ecosystem.

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Those affected by the problem somehow choose to be silent about it, apparently fearing victimisation by whoever is doing the bad stuff. In the worst of cases, they actually gleefully laugh about the bad things happening to others and laugh about us speaking about it. Sure enough, as predictable as it always is, down that path eventually, the bad stuff they wouldn’t speak against publicly, the stuff they laughed about, starts eating them too.

We get private emails sent to us nicodemously by startup entrepreneurs, employees and company executives with messages like “Thanks for saying that about net neutrality!”. While it’s good to know that what we think is a problem is felt by more people and that they want it solved too, its frustrating that they won’t put their weight to speaking and acting openly. Without open engagement, it takes so much longer to solve problems.

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We need to stop this small mindedness. We need to stand together and speak when we there’s something that hurts one of us unjustly.

Take the assault on Econet for example on infrastructure sharing, for example. We shouldn’t be happy that Econet is being assaulted. We shouldn’t let them speak alone. We should stand with them.

Take the assault by Strive’s startup & Econet on net neutrality for example. We should stand together and speak up about how Econet is hurting the tech ecosystem and even take steps to make them back off.

Take the anti-neutrality assault on the banks by Econet by these past 3 years. It’s silly to smile and say the banks are getting what’s been coming to them for a while. yes, the banks acted too slowly in innovating and are rigid towards customers, but the same flawed principle by a monopoly that they are victim of, will affect a lot others too whether they “deserve” it or not.

Or the shortsighted glee and immediate aggression by some employers to “fix bad employees”, now that the government says they can. Employers embracing this extreme (just like employees who embraced the extreme power they had to screw companies before now) are shortsighted to not realise this will hurt them too. They should also stop and see the abuse opportunity it opens up.

We could go on and on because the examples are many in business and even politics. As a people we don’t seem to see far enough to realise what is hurting the competition now (or just someone we don’t care about) will surely hurt us too eventually. We smile that classifieds.co.zw is getting assaulted unfairly by tengai.co.zw and forget that Econet will any day use the same unfairness on us when they smell the blood.

There’s a time for competition, and a time for growing and protecting the market as a whole. It’s just common sense.  “Every man for himself is not going to work”


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21 thoughts on “Our problem is we don’t stand together. We don’t speak together

  1. Why should we be unhappy about infrastructure sharing again? Doesn’t that sort of thing benefit the consumer?

    1. Nice suit you’ve got there in your avatar. Unrelated: I propose you and I make a ‘clothing sharing arrangement”, it will save us the amount of clothing we spend on clothes, and will reduce overall demand on cotton-fibre. Win-win, right?

  2. Are we not crossing the river before get there, kufanovaka danga mombe usati wave nadzo.

    Internet neutrality only make sense when you have proper internet to talk about. There is no fast internet to slow down, everything its a hit and miss.

    What looks to fast to be fast is very expensive, beyond general public pockets.

    Econet is there for profit as a business, they want to grow, they saw an opportunity, they took.
    They are also taking a risk, what if people do not like!
    If it all goes up in smoke, are we still gona talk about net-neutrality.

    Whilst Econet is taking the risk, most ISPs are sitting on the fence, not because they are support public, but want to see if econet is gona make money out of it and also calm the storms for them.

    We cannot expect private businesses to do the work our gvt is suppose to do.

    1. To separate issues. This is not about net-neutrality in the sense of fast lanes and slow ones, but in terms of billing bits of data differently – zero rating or bundling.

      In fact it is because the internet is expensive that this is an issue. Zero rating should be fair in opening up access to everyone that has a service, or where that is not practical, to avoid it completely, otherwise it encourages app owners to pay upfront to be zero-rated which doesn’t help anyone except Econet.
      it’s also an issue of market share. if Econet had 5% share of market, this wouldn’t be an issue. They have ~60%

      1. But did Econet got this 60% share through gvt donations or through public money?

        They are where they are today because they run business as proper business not personal fiefdoms.

        Every business is hungry(read greedy) for profit and they do anything to gain more profit.

        Paying premium to get a service is every business dream.

        Our e-commerce is not big enough to start to complain about unfair practises. The gvt which is suppose to pioneer laws which stimulates growth in the sector is doing the opposite, competing with its own citizens in the small spaces available.

        Let econet grow this area, once it gets more takers and shows the benefits, then we can start to complain and other SPs can come in and force reviews.

        Which ISP right is ready to take the risks and can actually absorb the shocks when things go wrong?

          1. I see your point Kabweza, and its not bad. But how is Econet being successful in a economy where almost everyone is failing which you would argue is leading to monopoly?

            I like the idea of gvt monitoring and correcting the monopolies, but do you think our gvt have the right attitude,

            Here is what Mandiwanzira said:

            “…If anyone thinks that we want to grab investments, you are wrong. We can go it alone and this will have a huge impact on the industry…”

            So why would Econet try to please anyone when they have a whole government to compete with??

  3. Capitalism!!! You are supposed to do what benefits you in business. Nothing for mahala. Even “corporate responsibility” has major benefits to those partaking in it. Were it not the case there would not be PR stunts around CSR. Econet is in business for profit and to outdo competition as much as possible. To do that it must create barriers to entry where it can. Emotions must and do not play a role in business.

    1. Totally agree with you. It’s business. and it’s actually in the interest of the business for there to be a healthy ecosystem that enables a business to thrive. An ecosystem of suppliers, specialist partners, competition (whose work in the market also benefits you – awareness, lobbying government, educating customers…) and consumers that have enough money to buy.
      Just milking mindlessly it because “capitalism” is a sign of shortsightedness that will kill the business

    2. Capitalism!!! You are supposed to do what benefits you in business… Econet is in business for profit and to outdo competition as much as possible
      You can’t have lawless, unbridled capitalism (unless you are Objectivist, which is entirely different from capitalism). There are laws that govern corporate behaviour for the greater public’s benefit. All labour, health and financial regulations decrease profitability of corporates but are there to protect the public from corporates.

      You might not need emotions in business, but you do need good regulations.

  4. its a 50 – 50 match bt unfortunately some econet related service are anti start-up, I feel sorry for classified.co.zw. econet saw an opportunity to tackle some small start ups its like goliath vs david, so classifieds.co.zw must calm down and pray for victory, there is still hope. With netone expecting to roll out lte later this year , y not sign a deal to zero rate their website in exchange with 50+% of ad space on their site? Honestly their webpage (classifieds) is ugly they need to improve it. they should copy best buy ideas and offer some bonus credits to buyers. I dnt see the end of their start up, thy just need to introduce some new flavours eg some ecommerce site in south africa and america handles payments buy offering seller and buyer protection with commission on top. the problem with start ups now days is they fear to take risks by investing in new strategies classifieds.co.zw slept on duty .as a ecommerce site their page ddnt even reach its final stage. they chose to earn through ads , thts insane its suppose to earn a big pc of cake through handling transactions of products bieng sold on their site ( by offering buyer and seller protection) . Without co-operation its almost imposible to evolve as a start up, sometimes we need to cooperate with others in order to awake our true potential. thanks for noting our brothers pride

  5. can someone draft a petition that will be addressed to econet on the unfair advantage they are giving tengai. i will definitely sign it

    on another note lets not also be blinded to the great product that tengai is in terms of design, mobility & usability in comparison to the other Zimbabwe startups in the same field particularly classifieds.co.zw (by virtue of it being the biggest player currently).

    classifieds.co.zw had by virture of their market domination ceased to innovate.

    can the experts also explain clearly net neutrality in the context of the tengai debacle.

    1. Net nuetrality is nt the issue here, if unwanna talk about net nuetrality then peek on social media bundles especially in opera mini bundles where u cant access facebook because fb bundles exists, thts the real net nutrality breach there not zim classifieds issue. I believe we hv to leave this topic to marketing expects , inother words classifieds.co.zw must evolve as soon as possible. and its like u r crying fool when zimbabwe is in same world cup group with brazil, sometimes things are straight , what will u do when you face a tougher opponent? I guesse u will call for backup aka cooperation

  6. Thats a very solid argument you have put up there Soul. I would encourage your team to emulate your depth when you put up an article. Its very informative. As source of news, it is very important that you maintain an open mind and an open eye so that you remain as independent as possible. That is were you long term value is.

  7. I like your thinking mate, but the problem is: it pulls everyone down. No strong economy was ever build with socialistic ideologies, look at Russia, China etc. I am not saying lets not solve evryone’s problem but we solve them in a way that is fair that is reward the innovative and shrewd rather than enriching lazy domant thinkers. if econet has a solid strategy to win everything then let them win, is that not how Microsoft is, look at Google. No hard feelings, but i believe the best way to build a solid economy is capitalism(i.e. enrich the real thinkers and problem solvers) and let every one else work and support them, thats the story of the rise of Japan in the 1970s

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