Never too old
Never too old to learn. In my day, a gig was a rock concert, a platform was for trains, and a hit was either a popular song or something the Mafia ordered to remove a rival, a law enforcer they hadn’t bought or a pesky judge.
Now we’ve got a “hub” too. This isn’t the centre of a wheel or how I lost a hub cap navigating our ever-present potholes. (No, this isn’t my car.) A hub today is our coming together at a cluster of shops, restaurants or meeting places. An “incubator hub” is where we gather to share and thrash out ideas and where “networking” happens. There was a time all this was done elsewhere – down at the local pub, perhaps.
It has been my good fortune to be invited to take part in an incubator hub for young entrepreneurs starting out in business or building up existing commercial operations (SMEs, small and medium enterprises.)
It didn’t matter that no-one there had been born when I got a job at Herald House 50 years ago or that I have never been good with money ever since. My input was on the flaws and otherwise of the media industry of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
At the 8th edition of Entrepreneurs Meet Up at the Stanbic bank Incubator Hub on 6th and Chitepo, the energy and enthusiasm was terrific, despite the dire straits of our economy finds itself in. I came away proud to think that the future lies in these capable hands.
What is it about Zimbabweans that our everyday honest-to-god charm and skills set switch off as soon as we take up politics and taste the temptations of power and riches to come?
In business politics are best avoided when possible, we heard. Bribes and percentage “cuts” on deals are ill-advised as they can create a never ending costs spiral that’s off the books. On having a brand, we saw how a plain white cotton tee shirt sells for about $5 but one with a brand logo that’s been made familiar, like Nike, for example, can fetch $75.
Nowadays there’s too much “noise” in business life, not least from social media, that detracts from obvious aims and creates a wait-and-see attitude just when decisions might have been well made.
The ‘who, what, why, when, where and how’ are important to know in deal making. In my day, young reporters were told exactly the same thing when sent out to fetch the news.
I helped an expat training instructor at Herald House in the early 1980s called Frank Barton who said what astonished him at the time was that some of our reporters would cross the street to sell oranges in Unity Square if there was more money in it.
To work up motivation we could have used a non-vehicular hub, Frank and me.