That’s “good morning” in Nupe
The relationship between Jovago founder Marek Zmysłowski and the Nigerian tech community has gotten so unhealthy that, when I discovered that I’d enjoyed reading his new book “Chasing Black Unicorns”, I wasn’t sure what to feel.
Marek’s insistence on telling his side of nearly every story tends to rub his co-actors the wrong way, but even they would agree that there’s no better way to control a narrative.
Marek wrote about mostly the good parts of doing business in Africa, but he also didn’t hide the bad and the ugly.
Criticism hurts, but when it’s coming from “outside”, it hurts differently.
We were reminded of this when American tech journalist Alex Kantrowitz wrote an exposé on Andela that elicited strong reactions.
Alex zeroed in on a BBC article that claimed that the company’s developers earned one-third of the fees from international clients, a claim that developers have disputed. He also highlighted the growing gap
between the talent company and its founding principles.
Now, Alex isn’t the first person to write on this, it’s just that whenever criticism is coming from “outside”, you know the rest…
Battle of narratives
There’s no better way to counter a narrative than with a narrative of your own.
In his book, Marek repeatedly referred to IrokoTV’s founder Jason Njoku as “Jackson” and accused him of being a hypocrite. Jason has responded to Marek’s criticism in the past with criticism of his own.
In responding to Alex’s piece, Andela co-founder Iyin Aboyeji repeated his promise to write a book to tell his side of the story.
You see, no person, country or organization is perfect, but if constant improvement is the goal, then negative feedback must be considered, no matter the source.
However, if that source happens to own a megaphone, you cannot win a battle of narratives without owning one yourself.