A Kenyan Entrepreneur's Thoughts on Big Brother Advice from "experts"

So, I picked this thread from Phares Kariuki, CEO Node Africa, on twitter. The thread is quite interesting and I will not dilute it by adding uneccessary introductions, so here it is:

"There’s a prevailing notion that entrepreneurs need guidance and help that’s honestly rather toxic. Nobody bothers to figure out what pain points they have, they simply give them advice. Entrepreneurs who many times are domain experts.

Many times, an entrepreneur has mortgaged their financial security and future career options. They tend to know what they need. So - if they say it’s capital, believe them, talent? Believe them. How to resolve that issue might take different forms, but believe them.

For instance - if you need capital, a LOC from a bank, debt from friends and investment all resolve the issue. The absolutely wrong approach is to assume that this grown person needs guidance and mentorship and basically waste their time.

A recommended reading for folks who want to give entrepreneurs advice? Shoe Dog, Phil Knight.

It’s easy to give advise, it’s a different thing to actually solve the entrepreneurs problem. So many people are pontificating and being downright condescending to founders, but happily want to share in the glory should it come.

Do founders need good advise? Yes. The question is - are the people giving the advise more or less competent than the founders?

Often times, the advise comes from folks who are less competent, but founders have to listen, because, you don’t burn bridges. So you sit, listen to someone tell you the earth is flat as you think about conquering space.

The african founder is assumed to be incompetent, whilst they oft understand both the market and the problem domain better than most. So you find this disconnect where folks claim there are no fundable businesses, as many of those ‘poor’ businesses thrive, make profits.

In summary, if you care about helping african startups, assume you are dealing with competent folks and listen to them. Life is hard enough, founders don’t need lectures and unsolicited advice.

For founders don’t base your decisions on the advice of those who don’t have to deal with the results."


Spot on.

Venturing into spaces that are unknown, you’ll just have to listen and make your own decisions. Facebook, Whatsapp etc didn’t exist a few years ago, wonder what advice they were given, and what they decided to use or throw in the bin.

New multi-billion dollar businesses of the future haven’t been founded yet, the advice they’ll be given I’m sure won’t help them, but they’ll just listen to not burn bridges.

i wholeheartedly agree with phares on this…