Regulatory intervention is not the problem. As the ‘Red Book’ given by Facebook to all its employees ends by saying: “If we don’t create the thing that kills Facebook, someone else will.

Leaning on regulatory intervention to boost sales exacerbates intellectual laziness and dampens the entrepreneurial spirit. 

Four Thursdays ago, we posited that Telkom taking on culturally entrenched M-Pesa head on, with T-kash, is ineffective. And how Microsoft responded to accusations of dominance. Even with 20,000 agents in play, a no-costs barred marketing campaign and its value- adds.

Possibly, we observed, a flank attack, like Equitel’s, would offer a better chance of success. It’s still early days, so the verdict is still out on this one. The verdict that is already in, however, is that interoperability and regulatory intervention won’t change the fortunes of the underdogs for the better.  Here’s why.

Reasons why regulatory intervention does not help

First, struggling salespeople usually complain of not having anyone to sell to (prospects) as the reason for their dismal sales. And yet, even the sales manager giving them a list of ready-to-buy prospects (hot leads, to use sales jargon) only makes the situation worse.

They sit on the list like a hen on eggs. Only, the list doesn’t hatch. Also, any effort by them to get it to ‘hatch’ is half-hearted at best, and rarely yields an ‘egg’. In fact, the once hot leads quickly grow cold.

The problem is the way of thinking; attitude

You see, the problem wasn’t the lack of leads in the first place. It was the salesperson’s debilitating demeanour which he unconsciously projects to the prospects who then don’t buy.  Putting food in his mouth, won’t get him to chew, let alone swallow, it. Giving him ‘ripe’ prospects won’t get him to sell. Nor will it give him any undue advantage.

Addressing the underlying issue is a better bet at seeing him jumpstart his sales. As wisdom has it, “If all the wealth in the world were divided up equally, in a short time, its distribution would conform to patterns almost identical with those that had previously prevailed.”

Like wishful salesman, like wishful regulatory intervention

Second, it may sound simplistic to extrapolate, but this principle translates itself to business. The more in these times of rapid change we live in, that are triggered by technology and accelerated by the Internet.

regulatory intervention

As argued in the article, dominance is becoming the new normal. Forward thinking regulators are wary of tinkering with inherently innovative business behemoths. That’s a significant reason why Facebook is still on its feet despite the mounting challenges it is contending with in the face of the Cambridge Analytica privacy abuse scandal.

‘Only the paranoid survive’

In addition, these giants themselves thrive because they disrupted the ‘old normal’ and live in a state of near paranoia of being disrupted themselves. For instance, the “Red Book” given by Facebook to all its employees ends by saying: “If we don’t create the thing that kills Facebook, someone else will. “

That kind of cultural thinking and entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t get levelled out by regulatory intervention. Meantime,  Airtel is currently screaming interoperability via painting the advertising space red (and green), while Safaricom is giving you cash back for M-Pesa transactions.  Will interoperability in itself  favour Airtel (or, Telkom when it onboards)? I think not.

What do you think?

(PS: I wrote this in 2018. Four years later in April 2022, the needle hasn’t moved and interoperability is now being pushed to pay bills)

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