How to become an effective “fast follower” (Part 2).

How to become an effective “fast follower” (Part 2).

The key to being a “fast follower”, is being able to see what we call “substance over form”:

Most people find it very difficult, to see “substance”, over “form”:

You cannot afford to have a superficial understanding of how something really works:

You have to be very methodical in breaking down, the reason why something is successful. Most often it is not as simple as it looks.

You have to keep asking yourself:

“How does this really work?”;

“What is the business model?”;

“How do they  really make money?”

Ninety-nine percent of the users of What’s App, or Twitter, for instance have no idea, how it makes money. It is superficial, to say, “advertising”; not enough: how exactly, do they do it?!

Sometimes, when you dig deep, you find the “secret source”, is not even technological.

The Fast Follower, is methodical and dogged, in their analysis. They act quickly, but not rashly.

The Fast Follower knows that there is a huge difference between, “knowing” how something works, as a user (consumer), and what you need to know, as an entrepreneur, who is looking for a serious opportunity.

The Fast Follower, does not copy, they look at something very carefully, and then try to re-imagine it:

-“How can we make this better?”;

– “how do we use this, in our own context?”

Steve Jobs, did not invent the cell phone, in coming up with the iPhone. He took something that had been there, for nearly 20 years, and completely re-imagined it, to come up with the iPhone.

In Fact, Steve Jobs was the “master” Fast Follower:

He did not invent anything new. He innovated around ideas that had been there all along. The same could be said, about much of what Bill Gates did.

A Fast Follower knows that if you simply copy something, you have not understood it.

When a Fast Follower gets hold of something, they “re-imagine” it into something new.

Understanding the concept of being a Fast Follower”, opens up an incredible world for you and your business.

To be continued…

Author:Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.

13 Replies to “How to become an effective “fast follower” (Part 2).”

  1. Afterthought 1.
    There is a story told about a young man who wanted to buy a sports car, called a Ferrari. Not satisfied about the time it would take to get his car. He decided to put a group together, and soon he had built the greatest competitor to Ferrari; the Lamborghini.
    There are people who when they are not satisfied with service, rail in anger, but the “fast follower”, sees it as an opportunity to come up with something better, and end up as a billionaire themselves.
    Whatever it is that made you frustrated or unhappy today, is actually an opportunity for you to become a billionaire…. Seize it before another…

  2. Afterthought 2.
    There is a guy who was trying to get a taxi. After waiting for hours in the rain, he decided there had to be a better way to get a taxi. He developed a Mobile Phone App for finding a taxi. The business he created, called Uber, is now worth more than any business in Africa.
    This is “fast follower”!
    When a “fast follower” sees a problem, he or she does not think, who else can give me better service, they think in terms of how can I turn this into an opportunity to come up with a new way of doing this, and make money for myself.
    Whatever it is that made you frustrated or unhappy today, is actually an opportunity for you to become a billionaire….Seize it before another….

  3. Dr Takudzwa Mutsvanga,

    Yesterday i gave a Pastor a lift from Zimplats Mine ,he was on his way back from his weekly service. We had a chat about the gospel ,business and his personal life.
    He explained how he was a headmaster before his calling and how his finances never took a dive.
    He told me about how a man of God called Strive Masiyiwa through his Carpenhum trust sends his two daughters to a boarding school called Moleli high school.
    This old man had a bright smile as he narrated his story…….little did he know that the doctor who gave him the lift is also a Joshualite from the same organisation.

    My reply:
    I thank God who put it on my heart, and empowered me, so that I could help you both.
    It is my hope that you will also help others, particularly those who you will only get to know for the first time even on FaceBook.

  4. Gerard,

    And what do you do if you got there first but are limited by resources and yet you have fast followers hot on your heels?

    My reply:
    If you really believe that you have invented something that no one else in the world, has done before. The first thing you must do is to secure a Patent for that invention. This you must do before you approach anyone, including companies and banks.
    Having no money to actually develop the idea, does not mean you cannot enjoy the benefits of your invention. You will be entitled to claim a share of the profits from anyone who executes on your invention, as long as it is patented properly.
    You would do well to spend time doing real study on the processes involved in protecting Intellectual Property, before you rush off to talk to people.

  5. George Ogar,

    Dear Strive Masiyiwa,

    The lord jesus bless you and increase you.

    God has made all grace, favour and earthly blessing come to you in abundance so that you may always and under all circumstance and whatever the need, be self sufficient, possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work.

    When I was meditating this morning after reading your post again, I realized that africa’s liberation will not come from foreign aids or support but from illustrious men who invest their intellectual substance to their fellow country men. This is what you have been doing so far. Very strategic for our generation.

    Thank you sir. You are a burning and shining light!

    My reply:
    Thank you George. You have quoted one of my favourite scriptures:
    2Corinthians 9:8( Amplified Translation).
    -you are a blessing to me, and all that follow this platform.
    God bless you.

  6. Shingi Jena,

    Came across this story of the two young brothers from Nigeria, both 13 and 15 yrs old respectively who taught themselves how to code. The young problem solvers got tired of waiting for Google Chrome to load on their mobile phones, so decided to do something about it instead of complain, by building a better mobile browser last year and called Crocodile Browser Lite. It is currently live and ready for your download in the Google Play store right now.

    My reply:

    YES WE CAN!!!
    … This is a beautiful story.
    Watch these guys…

    1. Some short comings do not call for reinvention, you can not just start building a new browser based on a simple functionality as fast page loading. Browsers nowadays are more sometimes becoming slow because of the multimedia content on the Internet that is why social network companies are separating there messaging apps. Any ways my reply to the story of the two Nigerian boys is that…let then just develop an extension or plugin for Chrome.

  7. Well thank you Dr Strive for your passion and love towards your fellow humans irregardless of any notable differences, one thing I may say that I also have come to uderstand is the fact that a fast follower is also a person that is quick to act and slow to complain, rather than blaming others they take it upon themselves to change the situation.They dont blame the government, the council or anyone even though the accused maybe worthy of the blame they would rather blame themselves than rather blame others for we all have a part to play in changing the world

  8. Hello Mr. Strive. It’s with great pleasure that I write to you. I have been following your teachings and they have made me to view thing from a different perspective and me see opportunities in Africa that are untapped. Your teachings have been a blessing to me. I am a youth of 22 years old of Cameroonian origin, studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the University of Buea, Cameroon. A friend and I have come up with a project on how to mobilize my fellow youths to be creative and to tap into their potential. I know it is a big ask but you thought me how to take risks. I would love it if you could mentor and guide us on what to do about it because I believe in this project. Thanks for you time.You can reach me at I am looking forward to hearing from you sir.

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