The average user downloads ZERO (0) apps per month - Google Firebase YouTube Channel, So there is reason #1 for this apps potential failure.
Primary advantage is eliminating the ‘Hakikisha’ issue. But a dedicated app to send money ontop of the USSD tool kit that works FOR FREE/WITHOUT DATA? Why would someone download that? Masoko couldn’t even zero rate their own site to give it an advantage so why would this chat app be any different? One buys bundles so they can send money more ‘conveniently?’ Spend money to spend even more money? SMH
This would have been ideal. Zero extra apps to download. Zero learning curve. But we’re talking about safcon, the same people who launched a cab app to compete with Uber instead of simply working with them to improve the uber experience - or better yet, focus on stabilizing existing services before wasting money on new ones.
Here’s why they wouldn’t integrate with other users (unless maybe their approach fails completely):
- They are safcon so profit over people is their approach
- Their ‘Data Driven Approach’ doesn’t work as well when they don’t have access to your contacts. They tried with Songa and people here complained. With this app, they can ‘justify’ their need to access and use that to market services to you.
Whatsapp was rumored to start ads in your chat history (scroll between chats and see an ad for Samsung S9+ between your chat with Susan and James). Having a chat app that could potentially access your microphone means you could start seeing ‘tailored ads’ depending on your MPESA History.
This also opens another avenue for the government to ask for access to their chat app which would be an OTT service. KRA would love to access peoples MPESA history and this is one way to do it.
Safcon has relied on poaching to try make its products succeed - Blaze, Masoko - with meeeh to crash and burn results. Whatsapp has admitted to having 55 employees, 32 of them engineers so who would they poach this time round? WhatsApp CEO quit over alleged privacy concerns so I doubt he would want to work with a profit first outfit like Safcon even on advisory basis.
WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum quits over privacy disagreements with Facebook - According to the Washington Post, which spoke to “people familiar with internal discussions” over Koum’s departure, there were tensions with Facebook over WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption, which ensures that messages can’t be intercepted and read by anyone outside of the conversation, including by WhatsApp or Facebook. WhatsApp executives believed that Facebook’s desire to make it easier for businesses to use its tools would require weakening some of the encryption.
Airtel, Telkom & Equitel should approach WhatsApp and work with them to integrate payments directly. Equity has an advantage that it can test direct bank integration and if this works their competitors will follow suite. Let everyone move in 1 direction and leave safcon trying (and mostly failing) to have thing run their way. They’ll be more open to collaboration when they lose market share or generate enough negative sentiment that affects their appeal to investors
In short: Citi is worried that Safaricom has reached its peak and there’s no room left for growth — making it a bad choice for investors https://kenyanwallstreet.com/?p=17916
Seeing competitors profit from industry collaboration and increased user satisfaction with their telcos (not safcon) means higher user spend which would raise the competitors profiles. Where one rises, others fall.
Google has repeatedly failed in their attempt at messaging so they may not be the best example right now. But it goes to your point in showing how difficult this is to achieve. E-Commerce is simpler and safcon failed at that, so tackling such a global issue is the last thing they should be focusing on. They forget that majority are only there because of MPESA and when that changes (yes, when) they won’t survive.
To summarize their entire approach to business since Michael Joseph left:
Safcon likes poaching and ‘borrowing’ ideas from others so here is one:
To succeed in Africa, Innovate around cost. Cost is the #1 deciding factor in Africa.
Why buy Volvo trucks when you can buy Chinese ones at 1/4 of the price and they do the same work? Why get Siemens when you could get Huawei and accomplish the same goal? How many permanent safcon products can you name which innovated around cost - putting people ahead of profit - since Michael Joseph left? Are these products accessible to everyone? How many of them were innovated by Safcon or were they just ‘borrowed’ from other people?
To innovate around cost, adopt 'First Principles Methodology’
- Put People over Profit
- Innovate Around Costs
- Adopt First Principles approach to problem solving
They embrace this and keep doing it, and their competition will never be able to reach them.