It’s amazing how I have managed to garner a reputation for always being angry in certain social circles. Particularly on Radar, I have been referred to as a terrorist, someone who prides in mindlessly bullshitting (or attacking) other people’s ideas, amongst other things. I have in not so many words been blamed for some people abstaining from sharing their thoughts or products for fear of being judged. Some have even gone as far as looking forward to the failure of things I lay my hands on just so they can have a good laugh - I know this because this sentiment has been expressed to people who happen to be friends of mine.
Sometime in 2009, I wrote a casual blog post titled Celebrating Mediocrity which basically expressed my disgust with the low ambitions of most web services created by Nigerians. This sentiment hasn’t changed much. What has become even stronger is how much people are willing to defend their shitty products or weird processes online, sometimes questioning the intelligence of the same people who are supposed to be consumers of their offerings. This post is not an attack on anyone in particular but I will be giving a couple of very specific instances.
Sometime in December of 2014, my friend and colleague at the time posted a tweet complaining about the fact that Konga keeps sending her emails she can’t unsubscribe from. Now, unless you absolutely love spam, we must have all tried unsubscribing at some point. I know I did, back in 2012 - I’m not sure I was even a registered user at a time, but I got mails from them anyway. The first time I tried to, the unsubscribe functionality was broken and threw errors instead. I tried again a few months after and it worked… except that it didn’t. I still got the emails. Unfortunately, some smart ass working at Konga thought it was best to reply with this.
@OnyekaAg u probably missed this http://t.co/lbBWBj9ho8 Please explain the Hot Mess Part. Thanks— Kessy Asuamah™ (@kessyswagga) December 3, 2014
I’m not kidding that link in his tweet was pretty much a screenshot of one of Konga’s spam mails, with the unsubscribe link circled complete with an arrow pointing to it - just in case she didn’t know how to use computers. Oh, and in case the tweet gets deleted - http://postimg.org/image/xj3airymp/ & http://postimg.org/image/boop5igpd/
Subsequent discussion around that, particularly remarks from some Konga developers I met with later that week was amazing. They had basically decided to take any instance where deficiencies in their platform is pointed out to mean a personal attack and were going to fight back, rather than reflect and fix what is wrong. I considered writing about it at the time, but I was able to resist the temptation of a knee jerk reaction.
One thing I cannot do is observe this, amongst the rest of the madness that surrounds us in terms of service delivery and product development without calling people out on their bullshit. I was having a conversation with a friend from Uganda the other day where we expressed our collective disdain for this pervasive mediocre mindset. Its almost as though we have set the bar low for ourselves so we can beat our chests and stand tall after basic accomplishments. I’m sorry but no progress is made that way.
Some people however have taken this demeanor of mine too far, and immediately take up a defensive stance whenever I point something out where they are concerned. A recent example is this little quip I tweeted earlier this month.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Thank you SimplePay. https://t.co/EMFweNwkaVhttps://t.co/fxswbsh7qz— Ezra ‘God’ Olubi. (@0x) April 9, 2016
Someone called my attention to the copy of Simplepay’s pricing page and how it was an almost 1-1 replica of Paystack’s. Now I understand we are in the same business and there’s a limit to how much you can write things differently to not appear like you’re copying the other guy.. but come on. I found it amusing, and it particularly reminded me of how VoguePay came into the scene back in 2012 with a website that essentially lifted Eyowo’s copy, along with some of the assets. Too poor, but flattery alright. Next thing I know, someone who I will assume is affiliated with SimplePay launched a tirade of tweets at me. Okay, just two.
@0x @paystack hello Ezra there is not need to fight dirty.
I wasn’t not even fighting.
@0x @paystack just saw this site…www.stripe.com kind of looks like @paystack ???? No??? They are copying you guys right?
Uh oh, now who is fighting? He must have realized the irony because he deleted the tweets the next day or something. Unfortunately, I think he is still angry at me because a few hours ago, I made a light hearted response to him on this thread and things just went downhill from there.
This isn’t the first instance I’ve been misunderstood and hastily judged out of context because of some comment I’ve passed in the past and whatever unwavering impression people have come to hold about me, and it definitely won’t be the last. I can get used to this, and I will still call bullshit when I see it.
Next time I call your product or process out for being unimaginative, don’t take it personal. It’s really because I know you can do better. Okay, fuck that. You probably can’t.