- Kenya is full of youthful people, who have a Steve Jobs-like sense of drive and imagination to succeed.
- On Kenya’s balance sheet one of its assets is a young population, roughly 59 percent of Kenyans are 24 years and younger.
- Ready to break out of old often destructive patterns, many youthful thinkers are ready to take on a new mindset, addressing issues like income inequalities.
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand” said Confucius, a Chinese philosopher more than 2,500 years ago.
Lecturing and preaching have severe limits, young adults learn best by doing, by imitation, in these surprising times.
Kenya is full of youthful people, who have a Steve Jobs-like sense of drive and imagination to succeed.
On Kenya’s balance sheet one of its assets is a young population, roughly 59 percent of Kenyans are 24 years and younger.
Ready to break out of old often destructive patterns, many youthful thinkers are ready to take on a new mindset, addressing issues like income inequalities.
It is achieved in part by ensuring the traditional ‘social good’ functions of public administration are effective, for instance, the provision of a public education that stresses critical thinking and access to quality universal health care.
In creating a more equitable playing field, business has a role to play in providing products and services in demand that, in the process, create well-paying jobs that serve to raise household incomes and create even more demand in the local economy. That’s the economic theory, in practice it gets a touch more complicated.
Myth of business is that the entrepreneur comes up with a bright idea, pitches it to investors, instantly gets financial support, and voila, the business is a success. Just as rough seas make a good sailor, smooth sailing in business is a rare outlier.
Business case study of how things go in the real life is that of Steve Jobs who was fired from Apple, the company incubated in his parent’s garage, that he created with Steve Wozniak in 1976.
Coming out of the digital wilderness, in September 1997, he returned as interim CEO, the company lost US $ 1.04 billion and was within 90 days of being insolvent. Based on focus, and a plan to come up with ‘the next big thing’, after years of losses, in 1998 Apple made a $309 million profit and went on to introduce a string of profitable industry disruptive products like the iPod and iPhone, along with game-changing idea of apps.
We often have this starched ‘white bread’ stereotype of leaders, who are portrayed as a cross between Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela. Like some in a position of corporate power, Jobs could be witty and charming one moment, and just plain nasty and maddening the next.
Published in 2011, Walter Isaacson’s acclaimed biography called Steve Jobs is recommended reading. Available in paperback in Kenyan bookstores, it sets out an amazing story of an enigmatic individual who created companies that went on to transform personal computers, animated movies, phones, music and digital publishing.
Social media like YouTube is full of interesting clips on Jobs, complementing the book, which paints a portrait of a flawed, but visionary individual that contributed to creating the information age we live in.
Trick is to take that knowledge and apply it in skills, creating products and services that create value for the customer. To do that, a mindset of curiosity is required. An ability to be open to the possibility of knowing you don’t know. “It’s what you learn, after you know it all that counts” said Earl Weaver.
Being curious involves reading books, a discipline, a habit worth cultivating, practised by Madonna and Bill Gates alike. Why reinvent the wheel, better to stand on the shoulders of others, and learn from their experience. Reading can be almost a meditation, based on a power-of-habit routine, setting out a cue on when to read, establishing a routine and giving yourself a reward.
Jobs was a consummate practitioner of simplicity and focus who said: “On being fired from Apple and called back: What a circle of life. You know? Life is just always mysterious and surprising, and you never know what’s around the next corner.”