I promised to update you regularly on our progress towards the launch of KweséTV. I do this to share some ideas with those of you planning to set up new businesses. It’s not about making you a customer, so make your comments based on being an entrepreneur, rather than a customer. There will be lots of time for customer type discussions. Right now I want to get the entrepreneur in you moving:
Remember my mantra from Joshua: “Pay close attention because we have not been this way before!”
This is a new business for me, but I’ve been working on it for more than three years. When you plan to enter any new business, it’s extremely important to try and understand what drives that industry:
# What am I selling to people? In the business of television, our product is CONTENT. We need to acquire programming for each of our channels (I cannot say at the moment how many we will have) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
# The content must be “compelling”… that is, worth paying for!
# Since our platform will be broadcast across 44 African countries, our content must accommodate the rich and diverse interests of this huge African continent.
So, content is our product. Sport is a universal product, but it will not be enough. Sport is also very expensive, because it’s finite. By this I mean, for example, there’s only one NBA, and the rights can only be held by one player for five years at a time.
We’re now holding a lot of very exciting sport content. The deals we have announced so far are a tiny fraction of what we now hold. I’ll talk later about some of the mind-blowing deals we’ve done on entertainment and educational content.
I will not launch a business, where there are existing competitors, unless I can identify at least five “insights”; you might call them “game changers.” I must then hold these insights closely to my chest like a good chess player. If the game intensifies, I must be able to generate at least five more in “quick fire”!
Finding the “insights” requires hours and hours of continued study and research into an industry. This type of study is like an “immersion” — you must eat, sleep, think, think, think, learn, learn!
# Know and understand your product:
You know there are people who have been running businesses for years who don’t know what product they’re really selling. Surprised? I meet such people all the time.
Sometimes the product you’re selling changes. Actually this happens a lot. You can go out of business if you’re not constantly reviewing what is it that you’re actually selling to people!
# Hire the right people:
To be honest with you, the thing that excites me the most on this new venture is the quality of people who have joined us. It is just amazing! We now have more than 80 people working for us from South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Dubai, and London. I’ve already lost count of the number of nationalities. I expect this number to ratchet up to 200 by August, and it will be over 2000 by the end of the year.
To be continued. . .
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.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa