The African Enterprise (06/09/2021)

The paradox of modern metropolis, Human capital externalities, and Self-portraits.

Hi friends,

I hit publish on an essay and recorded an interesting podcast conversation last week.

The essay is titled when questions trump answers and is based on a Yuval Harari quote that:  Questions you cannot answer are usually much better than answers you cannot question. Since I first shared the idea in a call, I've had the opportunity to pass it through several conversations, and the feedback from sharing it here has helped get it off the ground.

In the essay, I write about the answers we hold that become central to our beliefs and thought processes. As time and things evolve, new facts emerge that may invalidate those previous answers. Our ability to also evolve is dependent on the courage and ability to question them. It requires courage because questioning can be confrontational. It might feel, to some, as losing their truths. 

There are global, national, societal, and individual truths. Some things will universally be considered wrong, some will only be considered wrong in our country, some in our immediate communities, and some personally. When holding a belief, it's important to know where they are in the spectrum. 

Read here


Podcast update

I recorded with Olaseike Ibojo, a customer success manager for the dispute team at Paystack. She manages relationships with banks and corporate clients. She also provides support that enables customers to use Paystack’s technology efficiently and is primarily responsible for managing and resolving disputes.

We talked about customer success management and the job of building and developing relationships, as well as being the middle person between customers and business. We also talk about customer success management as a retention strategy and coping with the varying needs of customers. 

I found it very valuable because, at every stage of building and creating, there is need to maintain good working relationships with the consumers/audience. That relationship is important so they can continue consuming, provide feedback, and guide improvements.

Listen, Show notes


Coolest things I learned this week

The paradox of modern metropolis

According to this paradox by Edward Glaeser, author of Triumph of the city, proximity has become ever more valuable as the cost of connecting across long distances has fallen.

The cost of connecting across long distances has fallen so drastically that when I hit send on this email, there is no limit to who it connects me to. All this should mean the need for proximity is nothing but marginal. That, by the ever-increasing growth of cities, is not the case.

The point with this paradox is that the cheaper it is to connect over long distances, the more reason we'll see to aggregate.

Today, 55% of the global population lives in urban areas. It is projected to be closer to 68% around 2050. In 2000, it was 47%. In essence, as the technologies that promote long-distance connectivity improved, it was no deterrent for urban aggregation.

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Human capital externalities

There are many reasons for improvements in education standards in any country. One of them is the correlation between education and the country's GDP. Economists call it the Human capital externalities.

It is a term for the idea that people become more productive when they work around other skilled people.

Generally, the chances of a person thriving are strongly influenced by their immediate environment. When the productive output is generally high, the chances of an individual's being high increase.

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Selfies as self-expression

The development of Self-portraits, or selfies - as they're now widely known, was a big part of Snapchat’s growth. So I was not surprised to see it described by Billy Graham in how to turn down a billion dollars as a representation of how we feel, where we are, and what're we're doing. The most popular form of self-expression.

In the words of 16th-century Scottish poet Robert Burns, “Oh would some power the gift give us, to see ourselves as others see us.”


That’s it for this week.

If you have any thoughts or questions, hit reply and we can have a chat. And if you enjoyed it, share with friends.

Till next week,

Kelvin