No one is ever honored for failing to build up their own people. This is
why locals who look down on their fellow Africans end up being disappointed
in Westernized situations (including competitions).
Note image attached in the email Wangari sent in the initial Whitebox.go.ke.
Last comment in the image notes.. the Whitebox team and partners (whoever
they are) will work with approved products or services GUIDED by
This is not about seeking foreign funds, but about utilizing local funds
(in national and county budgets) to build up society (including local
talent). Racism is not a factor here. Patriotism is. One of the
competitions should target making the procurement process more transparent
in counties and state corporations.
The competitions we need are not the ones which draw locals who follow
foreigners all over the place but the ones seeking input from intelligent
villagers seeking to overcome (not run away from) problems in their
On Tue, Oct 23, 2018 at 9:07 PM John Paul Karijo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Hi Muraya,
> I agree with Jimmy.
> I got into the whole Startup and Innovation space through such a
> I have trained young people how to prepare and win such competitions – but
> once they win I have to carry the guilt of building someone up and not
> knowing what to tell them to expect in their future.
> Goals of competitions are really good on paper and zero in reality.
> Also we are not the USA, China, Russia, UK, Germany, Israel, India,
> Singapore, etc – We are Kenya our context is different…
> Startups here are working on solutions to fundamental issues as opposed to
> these countries where they are past that and are working on incremental
> solutions. Also adoption and diffusion of innovation here in the Savannah
> takes longer and is harder than these countries you just mentioned.
> If they want to build local talent they should invest in the Community
> Innovation hubs that are doing it such as Swahili Box and Sote Hub and Lake
> Hub and Eldoret Hub… they should support other upcoming ones and the
> founders trying to make them a reality such as Nakuru Hub and Meru Hub.
> With kind regards
> Believe in yourself then you can change your world
> Skype: john.paul.em
> Cell: +254735586956
> On Tue, Oct 23, 2018 at 8:36 PM S.M. Muraya via kictanet <
> email@example.com> wrote:
>> Do nations such as the USA, China, Russia, UK, Germany, Israel, India,
>> Singapore, etc, not engage in such competitions? Is the goal of such
>> competitions not to identify + build up local talent?
>> Competitions must occur to IDENTIFY localized talent. These are persons
>> who will be most fulfilled working to develop their localities in Kenya.
>> LOCALIZATION to make life easier for every Kenyan (resident:)
>> On Tue, Oct 23, 2018 at 5:47 PM JImmy Gitonga via kictanet <
>> firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>>> Thank you Patrick for a comprehensive look at the cons of the Whitebox.
>>> We have seen so many of these “innovation harvesting” competitions,
>>> hackathons and organisations, we should have learnt something by now.
>>> Having been part of an award winning team at the Pivot East conference,
>>> I can tell you what it takes to “impress” the judges. To get that the
>>> winning idea to escape gravity is where the work is. Then, VCs were not
>>> serious. I don’t know about today. But one thing that has remained the same
>>> is the rhetoric.
>>> I expect whitebox to spectacularly fail. The guys with good ideas are
>>> executing them against all odds. If we don’t fix the virtual infrastructure
>>> like “idea/innovation protectionism” and get everyone to understand this
>>> requires all sectors to pull in the same direction, let us at the very
>>> least grow the human capital through the Andelas and Moringas of this world.
>>> One day we will build everything here, constantly innovating and
>>> iterating to stay ahead of the sharks. Right now, I imagine that trying to
>>> bring innovators into a cooperative group is like herding cats. We are not
>>> ready yet.
>>> Patrick has given us very good ideas. But execution …
>>> Jimmy Gitonga
>>>> Message: 1
>>>> Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2018 13:05:01 +0000 (UTC)
>>>> From: “Patrick A. M. Maina” <email@example.com>
>>>> To: “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
>>>> Subject: Re: [kictanet] Article – Protecting Ideas: The Government
>>>> Whitebox is out…
>>>> So what now?
>>>> In my previous message, I discussed Pipeline commoditization, an
>>>> exploitative model used by VCs / large corporations to mine ideas cheaply
>>>> at the expense of Innovators, and which relies primarily on “greyzone
>>>> ethics” application of behavioral science principles (e.g.?opportunity
>>>> baiting in poor countries).
>>>> Remember, you are NOT “the chosen one”. There is no such thing. It is
>>>> an *illusion* created to trick you into acting against your own interests.
>>>> In a given “innovations competition”, even if just 100 submissions are
>>>> made, your odds of being the “chosen one” are terrible at 1/100. In many
>>>> cases, more than 1,000 submissions are made and it is more likely you will
>>>> be among the 980 hopefuls who don’t get chosen.?
>>>> This doesnt mean that the “chosen ones” end up with a better deal (many
>>>> regret) because they often get taken over and the local founder is turned
>>>> into a “ceremonial CEO”; a pseudo-employee with no real decision making
>>>> authority and a seriously compromised ownership structure (can be kicked
>>>> out of own business).?
>>>> What REALLY happens behind the scenes in such competitions is that the
>>>> sponsors get a *free* brainstorm of 1,000 creative ideas (the real prize
>>>> for them), from our best, albeit gullible, minds, while being only loosely
>>>> obligated to pay a tiny amount ($10K-250K) for a tiny fraction of them
>>>> (typically 1-20) under conditions if total subjectivity.
>>>> As many founders have already observed, the concept of “judges” or
>>>> “idea evaluators” in such competitions is utterly ridiculous. There is no
>>>> one on this planet who is capable of identifying great ideas/businesses by
>>>> relying on pitches (or even with the benefit of traction data). Such a
>>>> person would already?be a GAZILLIONAIRE with his/her *own money* (and hence
>>>> have no time nor inclination to judge competitions).
>>>> Way forward:
>>>> 1. No matter how tantalizing the opportunity, the odds for all of us
>>>> improve *only* when we *unite* and negotiate with *one voice*.
>>>> 2. Let’s build leverage:
>>>> a. Innovators ought to be well represented in the boards that
>>>> conceptualize these ideas / programs so that their interests are considered
>>>> from the onset as key stakeholders.
>>>> b. IP policies and laws need to be contextualized and indigenized to
>>>> level the playing field for indigenous Innovators. Some partial aspects of
>>>> this issue were very well articulated in a recent article by Dr. Bitange
>>>> c. The time has come for innovators form a *collectively owned*
>>>> cooperative society whose primary mandate will be to *aggregate* and
>>>> *commercialize* indigenous innovations through *licencing* partnerships
>>>> with Gov and Corporate entities.
>>>> In addition to direct partnerships with Innovators, our cooperative
>>>> entity will partner with willing incubators as well, offering a solid “next
>>>> step” after incubation/PoC.
>>>> It will act as a formidable shield for Innovators (protecting them from
>>>> IP predators) which will result in massive negotiation leverage and help
>>>> create numerous *jobs* as well as *wealth* (which will incentivise more
>>>> We can start by forming a core team (abt 3-5 people max) right away, to
>>>> get started with the formation, structuring and popularisation of such an
>>>> [Permission is granted to anyone interested in republishing this in
>>>> tech/innovation blogs, forums, periodicals or media with attribution. Would
>>>> appreciate if you let me know when you do so and send me a link.
>>>> On Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 2:12:24 PM GMT+3, Patrick A. M. Maina
>>>> via kictanet
>>>> Sounds good in theory but in practice our IP landscape is woefully
>>>> inadequate because it is a copy-paste framework that lacks local context.
>>>> 1. As a poor country it is a given that most of our Innovators? will be
>>>> starved for (and thus easy to bait with) capital.?
>>>> 2. The lure of easy cash / validation is powerful and irresistible. It
>>>> short-circuits even the most brilliant minds, causing each participant to
>>>> individually fantasize that he/she is the “chosen one”. Yet even if just
>>>> 100 submissions are made, your odds of being the chosen one are terrible at
>>>> This is classic *Game Theory* in action where self-interest decisions
>>>> by individual actors result in a less favourable outcome for all.?
>>>> 3. When you don’t have leverage (e.g. something that *only you* can
>>>> offer) you can’t negotiate. No one will sign an NDA with you. I call it
>>>> pipeline commoditization. If, by applying game theory principles, a healthy
>>>> flow of unprotected ideas can be guaranteed, why would anyone sign a true
>>>> NDA with an innovator? Ideas are not “worthless”, they are the most crucial
>>>> ingredient for execution (otherwise why did cash-rich execution King
>>>> Waymo/Google go after Uber for alleged theft of AV ideas, which they valued
>>>> at $500M???)!
>>>> Pipeline commoditization relies on *brainwash* and *capital baiting* to
>>>> unfairly swings the odds in favor of capital gatekeepers… Come on, play
>>>> our idea lottery and Win! Win! Win! Are you “the chosen one”? We have
>>>> “judges” who have never invented/innovated anything, many of whom are
>>>> career employees with zero startup experience, which makes them PERFECT
>>>> experts in judging great ideas/startups. These experts will decide who
>>>> proceeds to level 2. Gamble with us and WIN BIG!
>>>> We have to shift this model from a gambling / lottery system to a
>>>> business negotiation system. My next message will have some concrete ideas
>>>> on how to do this.
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>> *”Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one
>> who takes a city.” Prov 16:32*
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>> Unsubscribe or change your options at
>> The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is a multi-stakeholder platform
>> for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and
>> regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT
>> sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and development.
>> KICTANetiquette : Adhere to the same standards of acceptable behaviors
>> online that you follow in real life: respect people’s times and bandwidth,
>> share knowledge, don’t flame or abuse or personalize, respect privacy, do
>> not spam, do not market your wares or qualifications.