Last Wednesday, I ate traditional lunch, and lectured on market opportunity. For an hour I both ate condensed ugali (dense corn flower paste, similar to Indian idly), kitimoya (fried pork) and salad, and for an hour I lectured on how one should assess the market before endeavoring to write a business plan.
Market estimation and case studies, as is used by McKinsey and others, is a good skill to learn. Today we estimated the daily sales of VodaCom, a main cullular provider in Dar es Salaam. While results were hardly infallible, they were noteworthy, and the process of estimation was effective. Many failed to understand the basic questions required: how many people live in Dar es Salaam, how many used cell phones, what percantage used VodaCom, how long did they talk per day, what did it cost them per minute, how much did this translate into voucher card sales, etc. But at the least, the estimation problem created an understanding that all information is imperfect, and that extrapolation for market estimation is imperative.
When I reiterated that I was a consultant, there to help those individuals writing their business plans, I received a heartwarming welcome. Tomorrow may be a new day, filled with requests that are difficult, enlightening, and eye opening.
Tonight, at 10:30 pm when I arrived back at the hotel, I had a beer with the Tanzanian national soccer team. I met both the keeper and the forward, two men who spoke good English, played pro in Maputo (that’s the capital of Mozambique), and convinced me that I should attend the Africa Cup Semi-Final on Saturday in the Dar national stadium. Though they wore “Serengeti’ sponsored jerseys, I drank Ndovu, and went out with my mates after we spoke. Now the fact that I have met Ivo Mapunda, the Tanzanian national goalkeeper and celebrity icon, gives me local status in nearly all situations.