As a Zimbabwean, I am elated that Strive Masiyiwa has joined the board of directors at Netflix. The billionaire’s position in Netflix’s board will be a plus for the streaming services’ exploration of the African market and I know I am not the only one who has thought of a possible Econet Netflix bundle.
The new position in Netflix opens Masiyiwa up to another avenue of business where he himself stands to not only learn but boost his influence as a businessman mogul. Masiyiwa’s experience in telecommunications puts him in a position to guide Netflix on how to approach the African audience.
Coming from a western perspective, companies like Netflix often make the mistake of overestimating our Wi-Fi capacity and accessibility. While to some the streaming service is a source of entertainment to many Africans it’s an expensive abstract service only for the rich. Masiyiwa can assist in coming up with a feasible and appealing way to engage more African customers.
Africa can be a trying place to build a business and expand it but in Econet, the billionaire defied the environment’s limitations, he will have much insight into the dos and don’ts of the African continent’s business circles. For one thing, Masiyiwa could give Netflix different ways of packaging the mobile-only packages the company has launched in Nigeria and Egypt.
Even Masiyiwa’s failures in Kwese could add value to his new position, his short-lived pay-TV venture must have come with its lessons.
And the bad
But as we all know no situation is perfect while we are cheering on Masiyiwa we have to consider other factors too. For one the billionaire’s pay-TV attempt showed some assuming on his part. Kwese’s content and pricing left so many unimpressed and wondering if homework had been done on the venture.
At this point, we can speculate and come up with reasons why Kwese failed but we are still to hear the entrepreneur speak on the matter. This makes me worry as when one doesn’t acknowledge his failures or mistakes you are more likely to repeat them.
Or maybe Masiyiwa is still reeling from the Kwese experience. Earlier this year Bloomberg reported that the businessman was struggling to sell as much as 34% of Liquid Telecommunications Holding Ltd to pay off the massive debt the Kwese venture created.
Also one has to hope that the western mindset found in organisations like Netflix won’t move him away from the African context that makes him unique and an asset to being with for the streaming service.
Netflix is at the forefront of bringing great entertainment from anywhere in the world to everyone in the world, and I look forward to working with the board and all stakeholders to continue its traditions of innovation and growthMasiyiwa stated
For now, all we can do is wait and see how this move plays out for the Zimbabwean businessman and hope he can work out that Netflix bundle and mobile-only packages. His appointment admittedly puts Zimbabwe on the map and shifts us from the troubled nation image we hold. It would be rude to not say congratulations Strive Masiyiwa.