Newsletter 1.9

Dreamtime

(image of the Nazca Lines taken from this blog post)

This is The Praxis Circus.

And unfortunately this is going to have to be a shorter than normal one due to the amount of work I have to get through this week.

I have been thinking a lot about building a successful and sustainable business in Nigeria and the specific set of skills required to surmount the challenges that being in such a volatile environment throws up regularly. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to offer beyond the terribly mundane fact that most people have here have very little disposable income, so if your business requires volume to survive, you had better make sure you can provide your goods and services at a cost that people can afford. Issues of design, aesthetics, purpose and greater good seem to come at a very distant second to price for most things, but quality should never be compromised.

We should all be like Amazon in that regard.

"There are many ways to center a business. You can be competitor focused, you can be product focused, you can be technology focused, you can be business model focused, and there are more. But in my view, obsessive customer focus is by far the most protective of Day 1 vitality."  

I have personally been very product focused and pride myself on aesthetic aesthetic and design sensibility and “authenticity”, and sure, I believe in giving good customer service, but maybe the difference between a business that can thrive in our environment and one that doesn’t is found in the degree to which providing an amazing customer experience is at the foundation of why you do what you do.

Building a framework for great customer service is different from building a framework for supporting the design of products as the former can work regardless of what it is you are creating, while the latter is about the thing being created.

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This story about the faked death of a journalist by the Ukrainian government could literally have come from a Monty Python sketch and is further proof of how the tools of disinformation have gotten out of control and are now writing the scripts for us to follow.

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More frustrating Nigerian gist, this time via Femi Fawehinmi speaking about Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s new book. The task of creating a system that can successfully incentivise more virtuous and productive behavior from our leaders in this country is going to be an enormous one and on darker days I don’t believe it is possible to accomplish this within a democratic system…

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I think charts are amazing. This one 👆🏾, showing the biomass of all life on Earth compared to each other is beautiful and an extreme example of the Pareto principle at work.

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Speaking of plants, I wasn’t aware that The Netherlands were this advanced when it comes to agriculture. It goes to show you what is possible when the focus is placed on innovation, productivity and a common goal (in this case, feeding themselves) beyond using farming as a means to try and make money.

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Fancy some real life Black Mirror design fiction with your tea? Go on then.

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In the latest chapter in the musicians’ petty, transcendent beef, Drake responded not with the venom of a battle rapper but with the anxiety of a pop politician.

😂 Good ol’ old school rap beef seems to be back and social media amplified, with zingers like this:

He is like a horror-movie psychiatrist, excavating a patient only to use deep-set pathologies against him.

It is worth a read even if you don’t care about Drake or Pusha-T. Extra points to the writer for referencing some previous beefs that also went beyond the pale. The truth is though, that in this internet-augmented age of simulacra and social networks these sorts of things only last as long as the next big thing. If Drake is smart, he will focus on making his next album the best it can be and leave Pusha-T alone for now. The unfortunate thing is that in the rap game, everybody is as guilty as the last person so it probably won’t take long for Pusha to provide ammunition for a Drake comeback.

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Have a great week and remember to breathe. It is never as bad as it seems - it may be worse than you think it is, and even that is not as bad as you think ☺️.