If you accuse me of casting that headline to get your attention, I stand accused. I am determined, in fact desperate, to get this message across to you.
I will tell you a story that will prove to you that this danger is real. The story is about me.
My purpose of sharing this story is not to elicit your pity. I neither deserve your pity nor desire it.
I am more concerned for you than you should be for me. It was a burden laid on my heart that I must release.
This is the story. In 1996, I found myself in a bookstore in London. I was browsing through the rows of books on the shelf. Then my eyes rested on a particular book with the title: How To Sell On The Internet.
That title immediately got my attention. I know about selling. What on earth was the Internet that you could sell on? I grabbed the book from the shelf and went to pay for it.
I headed straight to my hotel and, without unpacking all the stuff I brought in, I flopped on a chair and started reading How To Sell On The Internet.
For three hours straight, if not more, I couldn’t put the book down. The authors got me hooked to the book as it described what was, back then, a future we would embrace some years to come.
As I read the expertly written book, I was captivated. I saw vividly what we are already taking for granted today. Things like transacting business with your bank through you PC without actually stepping into the banking hall, not minding if you’re in Nigeria and the bank is in Japan.
Today, you don’t even need a computer to do that anymore. Your smartphone has taken that burden from your notebook!
“If all that I’m reading in this book will be possible in the nearest future,” I told myself, “then I have to be an evangelist for it in my country.”
With that resolve, I devoted myself to teaching Nigerians everything I knew (and everything I would be learning) about how the Internet work. And the message spread rapidly across the nation like a wildfire.
With the help of SuccessDigest magazine, the publication that served as a vehicle for propagating the mission of SADC, young Nigerians who were enamored with the Internet as we give wide publicity to its ability to give them a passport to earn legitimate living online, took to it like bees to honey.
Fast forward to 23 years later, the Internet is today no longer a coming attraction but an attraction that is everywhere and one that is here to stay. Not only that, the Internet has sped up technological discoveries to the point it appears a new one is coming on board daily.
That is good news for those who are looking for new opportunities to jump on and ride to their success. But what about those who have existing businesses? For many of these, it is a nightmare.
New technologies are known to take businesses away from their owners if it caught them unawares. Generally, new technologies make available a new and cheap way or better way of producing existing products.
And if you the owner of the existing product and you’re blind-sided by new technologies that make it easier for new competitors to enter your market, you will have a lot of trouble in your hands.
That’s why many of the companies who are here today and gone tomorrow as you have been reading lately in this magazine were victims of technology breakthroughs.
It’s not an interesting place for a business owner who has a thriving business today and wakes up tomorrow to find he has competitors who couldn’t even compete against.
I know how tough that situation is. I am right in it!
But that brings me to why I am telling you this story. Had it not been or the fact that I caught on to the new Internet technological breakthrough early and GOD led me to teach it to many Nigerians, I would’ve been singing a different song today.
Is it that bad?
Ask the printers that you know. Ask publishers who you are friends to. Ask your neighbor who is into taxi business who has given up the fight of trying to wrest his business from ubiquitous UBER.
And on and on goes the story.
What is the way out? Or, is there even a way out?
That’s the topic that we have raised a panel to examine next week Friday. (See page 4 for detail.)
This is an appeal from me to you: don’t treat this subject with disdain. When we were telling our Internet seminar attendees some 20 years ago that the desktop, according to Bills Gates, will take the place of the printing press, there aren’t many that believe this was something that could one day threaten their source of livelihood.
Today, it has already happened.
I can tell you without mincing words that I would have been a major victim had it not been that GOD choose to use me to teach Nigerians some of the many uses of this technological breakthrough called the Internet.
So, make sure you get, as they say, a ring side seat for the panel discussion to be streamed live on YouTube that you could watch from your device anywhere in the world.
I encourage you not to miss it. You will thank GOD that you didn’t!