“I loved the cold opening man.”
Hassan sent that to me at 9am as I recovered from Friday’s hangover — don’t have friends! I Googled “cold opening,” because while I’ve heard the term before, e no really click that morning. Can we form a coalition to abolish technical terms? Beyond the fact that I’m an olodo, Hassan gives me nuggets; he's a walking, breathing, “what if x and y happened?” — shout out to his girlfriend. But this isn’t about existential Hassan and his girlfriend, if she exists. It’s about something he asked: “do you worry that you’re so snarky and critical?”
As though he planned it, Jessica Lessin, the founder of the media publication, “The Information,” sent a Saturday email with the title, “Are tech reporters too negative?” Her answer is, “as a journalist, I’m wired to believe that the hype isn’t always as it appears.” That line means she’s getting my $399 subscription fee later in the year.
TL:DR: If you’re here, what you’ve signed up for is reporting that asks questions and remains responsible; it’s easy to be critical, yet, what’s difficult is knowing that the other side will have solid points.
That said, today’s theme is hypocrisy. Shall we?
Why aren’t we that mad at TekExperts?
When the Orange Bank exposé about developers came out, a lot of founders, investors and tech people saw it as validation that their way works. Some of the comments were really interesting, and at the time, I tweeted something along the lines of: I hope these founders keep the same energy when the stories come out about their startups and their workplace issues.
Almost as planned, this week, Socrates Mbamalu, at the Foundation for Investigative Journalism did the work, reporting in depth about the work culture at the tech company, Tek Experts. Work culture is fascinating, and when I was a full-time journalist, the thinking was that tech startups were so fragile they couldn’t yet stand the negativity that were stories about their toxic workers places. But it isn’t negativity when you treat your workers like crap, that’s an issue that needs to be discussed. More stories about work conditions will come out in the coming weeks.
While that report is important because there is a conversation to be had around work culture, tech bros haven’t been loud in their condemnation of Tek Experts. It may be that they’re taking time to reach out to people who can “give context.”
This is how I see it: let’s keep the same energy and drag bad behaviour from companies with the same vim, and no, a Techcrunch feature won’t fix this.
And about Techcrunch …
Give stories to TechCabal, TechNext….
I was at the airport on Saturday evening and I realized, we really worship white (and rich) people. They don’t have to ask for it, but we break protocol for them, even in the middle of a global pandemic.
It was confusing, but then I drew one weird analogy that while we complain about how only white founders in Kenya get funding, we also want our stories to go to first and often exclusively to foreign publications like Techcrunch.
Organizations and people who make the decisions know that narratives sell the story so there's a PR component to this. Yet, it's critical that the media publications here can tell the stories of the apps and tech solutions they use. It’s not my business,but if you don’t trust TechCabal, Technext and co to tell your stories, then we will always be here.
“Here” is a situation where features which aren’t critical or crucial keep getting published - long may your press releases rot in their inbox. In any case, some of the people at “local publications” have now crossed over to international publications, so you’re going to pitch your stories to them anyway — I also hope you get aired.
It's too early for companies to not be questioned, and with the “everyone should be a media house push,” founders who never really talk anyway will find reasons to keep being tight-lipped. No one wins with situations like this.
I'll stick with another wonky analogy to see this one out. This one is the Nigerian music industry vs Nollywood rush for global acceptance. Both have had their low points but there's enough context here to write another newsletter, so I’m going to share those thoughts for an Afrobeats Intelligence crossover with Joey Akan.
I’m now carrying my wahala till Friday.
Thanks Adesewa for writing me on Friday, I might be inclined to not judge people too much for not leaving comments.
That said, we're now at over 600 subscribers - should I have some merch for our 1st, 500th and 1000th subscriber?
Let me know your thoughts and please, shareeeee because, I can't get to 1k without you.