What will a fix to the Lagos housing crisis look like?
Renting a house in Lagos remains a chaotic experience
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The madhouse of house-hunting
There's no other way to say it, house-hunting in Lagos is the worst. Here's the first thing you need to know when you're house-hunting: you're going to get a bad deal. Yet, you must do your due diligence so that even in a sea of bad eggs, you pick the one with a crack that isn't noticeable. It reminds me of that one time my friend found an apartment where the staircase to the rest of the building was smack in the middle of the living room. You don't want to be the mug who ends up renting a place like that.
You'll need strategy to find a good house in Lagos, even though what you're really doing is choosing the brand of uselessness you can live with. Be warned though, even when you're on your toes and you understand the game, you can still be taken for an idiot.
Take this thread that lists the special skills you need to find a halfway decent apartment in Lagos. One piece of advice is to "Try to look for an apartment during the rainy season. In the dry season, look for signs of where the walls/ fences in the area look discoloured at the bottom or covered in moss. That is where water reaches when it rains."
Here's another one, "While this may not always be possible, try to talk to people who live around the area or a few Neighbours before you pay for an apartment, it just may save you a year or two of stress and sorrow."
In June, I started to toy with the idea of moving houses. Technology has made everything easier, right? Wrong. The only aspect of house hunting technology has improved is listing houses. You can sit in your house or office and check out a bunch of houses in Lagos. Granted, a few of those listings may be bogus and the picture quality could be better, but you get the gist.
Quite a few startups tell some great stories about how their service or product is looking to solve the housing crisis, but they are often at price points that make them super niche. Yet, one can hardly blame these startups, the housing problem in Lagos is like the problem of last-mile delivery; if the underlying infrastructure doesn't improve, technology will have a hard time making any real impact.
Yet, I can't help but wonder, what will a long-term fix look like for a problem this complex? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or hit me up via email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Enough about those problems, let's turn our thoughts to possibilities - writing that line really made me feel like Fela.
Building a Cameo for Nigeria?
Sometimes thinking of the perfect gift for a loved one can be tricky. But one surefire gift that's sure to surprise is getting their favorite celebrity to send them a shout out and record a video just for them. Cameo, an app that lets you hire celebrities to record these sorts of videos, has become pretty popular and valuable. It made around $25 million in revenue last year and is valued at $1 billion - the company is also profitable.
This week, a new startup in Nigeria will attempt to create a Cameo for Nigeria. A few reliable sources tell me that the startup, which is backed by Temple Management, already has Don Jazzy on board as it looks to launch with a splash on Monday. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, but beyond that, is there any Nigerian celebrity right now whose star power has more pull than Don Jazzy? He ran an impressive campaign for VFD Bank for over a year and looked briefly involved with the abeg app as well. I don't know about you, but Don Jazzy's pull and influence is definitely an article I'd love to read.
That's enough reporting for one day, so let's talk a bit about August and some other ambitious plans.
In September, I'll be starting a podcast, but right now I'm doing research in the hopes of understanding what the best podcasts have in common.
You can help me along here by recommending a podcast you think I should be listening to.
Don't forget to also share the newsletter, we're still far off from our target of 2000 subscribers by the end of August.
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See you on Friday!