M’bolani is how you greet people in Cameroon.
September has been interesting so far and has featured a few events. The month saw Nendo join the UN Global Compact Kenya family - which is a network that supports UNGC’s ten principles on human rights, labour, environment and anticorruption. We’re very excited about the feature and look forward to more partnerships.
With that said, let’s get into the week’s latest insights:
Have you ever wondered why certain media personalities seem to constantly remain on top while a similarly talented underdog never seems to catch a break? Michael Tauberg explains this as the Power Law and illustrates his point through an extensive list of graphs. While they may initially look daunting, the concept behind them is quite fascinating, especially when it comes to ranking top musicians and movies.
The African podcasting Festival is due to start in March 2020. In response, Melissa Mbugua and the team at MNM circulated a small poll on their Twitter and Whatsapp groups that resulted in a general overview of what Kenyans listen to. While the report did not cover a majority of the population, it definitely sheds some light on what the market is ready for.
This next article may remind you of those long nights putting together essays in school. A new NYT story by Farrah Stockman and Carlos Mureithi unpacks how Kenyans have made a cottage industry of writing top-grade papers and assignments for American college students. Yes, it is cheating (on the American side), but isn’t it also economic empowerment (on the African side)? After all, there are people who are working hard and getting good money as a result.
One person in the comment section has an interesting point of view. He says, “An indispensable skill in today’s world is the ability to successfully delegate. I applaud these students for getting their projects executed in a professional and timely manner. Carry on.”
What do you think? Let us know here.
The freelance industry also opens a huge debate on the current role of education and how universities can easily turn into degree mills. As one commenter says, “The demand by our society is for credentials, not expertise; branding, not quality.”
Speaking of the youth, there are two views that are very welcome after our Wamlambez feature. Our friends at Odipo Dev put out a piece on Algorithms and the New Wave of Kenyan Music. Building on that, the inimitable Christine Mungai pens her thoughts on twerking being a form of rebellion and resistance by youth in society.
Here she takes us on a journey from Atlanta’s Freaknik all the way to the rise of 'ratchetness'. She also touches on the time a disgruntled Generation Y exposed Gen Zers who were breaking social norms on Twitter. The outrage and conversations that followed needed unpacking, which Christine skillfully does.
A few months ago, we were invited to FSD to see some work that they were doing with a firm called Citibeats. Rafe Mazer and Dan Onchienku (a Nendo alum) both put together the final report and it makes for good reading. The report questions the standards that banks and fintechs are held to considering the number of Kenyans online who have expressed negative experiences with customer service.
Because Nendo looks at hundreds of millions of comments, complaints and compliments across a number of brands, it was interesting to see the report align with work that we uncovered years ago in our inaugural banking report.
Speaking of banking, I was recently at a roundtable with executives from South Africa’s Nedbank Group and seeing how they were thinking about the evolution of finance was interesting. Tyme Bank and Discovery Bank specifically, are two brands that I’m watching closely.
Tyme promise, as a “fully digital bank” to require no documents, no monthly fees and an open account in 5 minutes using smart kiosks and a mobile app. Discovery brings their behavioural insurance learnings to the banking sector through their concepts on rewarding customers and incentivising them to practice “behavioural banking.” They’re both bringing business models that challenge convention and bring a new value proposition to the table.
We’re renaming the 'Bottom of the Newsletter' section to 'Links a la carte'. Like much in this newsletter, we hope you sample from the menu and try whatever suits your taste.
You can always reach me and the team by hitting reply (I’m a bit behind on responses, but we do read them and do our best to write back and share a response).
Until next time, Mark and Team Nendo