Entreprenuer (Incubator)

Why reinvent the wheel?

Western society is quite a long way ahead of us when it comes to adoption of new technologies. When it comes to the internet, phenomenon like online eCommerce to social media have not yet been adopted so heavily in the third world. An immense body of knowledge exists on how western society started purchasing through eBay or how 400Million people started socializing on Facebook. While most people are aware of its success, and many of us techie types, even know how it works, few actually ever focus on how the adoption of these evolved. This presents a great opportunity for those focusing on third world markets like Pakistan.

For example, you can probably get a professional quality eCommerce site running for less than 50,000Rs ($500). Why, then isn’t every other company adopting it? Only now are we beginning to see adoption of this with book and electronics vendors developing (usually basic) online presence. Liberty Books in Lahore for example recently went online (much to the excitement of my wife) however most of their online inventory isn’t in sync with what they have in store. ERPs are another area where most businesses are still in first generation POS and inventory management systems. I am a big cynic of people who say Pakistani markets are a great opportunity to do business but there is clearly need and hence an opportunity for those who can understand and drive adoption of IT by businesses in our context.

All good answers begin with a question, so here are mine:

  • How do people initially notice innovations (not just technology innovations)?
  • How does word spread?
  • How does adoption typically look over time?
  • What factors accelerate or predict the rate of adoption (obviously you want to get in the game just before it takes off)
  • What innovations are more suitable for adoption in a Pakistani context?

I’m reading a book on the topic and I will be updating further blogs with a series of stories on the topic in successive blogs