Majority of the countries in the developing world, including Kenya, have established long term blueprints that guide their social, political and economic agenda. Kenya has Vision 2030 blueprint which aims at ‘transforming Kenya into a newly industrializing middle income country providing high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030’. Rwanda has ‘vision 2040 master plan’. Uganda has ‘vision 2040’. Saudi Arabia has ‘vision 2030 plan’. Nigeria has ‘vision 2020′. China is now on ’13th long term development plan’ (2016-2020), and there are other five year plans that have been established since 1950s; these plans are linked with one another despite the changes in political regimes. These plans have played a role in mobilizing a country’s resources and focus to a more promising future that everyone can look forward to. What has been the progress of Kenya’s vision 2030 so far? Maybe that’s totally different blog post. The essence of these economic master plans is to guide a country despite the changes in political regimes. This is because politicians have a tendency of making short term decisions that only seek to make them re-elected while leading a country to nowhere. There must be someone willing to sacrifice short term gain for long term gain as in the case of Singapore with Lee Kuan Yew.
We can borrow a lot from such especially in startups. When a startup is on mission, then it does not stop until achievement of the results. I think this is something that is overlooked and could help us a lot. In 2006, Facebook turned down $ 1 billion acquisition offer from Yahoo the reason being as Mark put it “They (Yahoo) did not properly value things that did not yet exist so they were therefore undervaluing the business”. In this case, it turned out to be the right decision because the market value of Facebook now is the region of $300 billion. There are other many startups that turned down acquisition offers from other established companies but the explanation given by Zuckerberg stood out for me. It seems he had a longer term view of what Facebook could grow out to be and did not want to sell out for short term gain.
Another example I saw is from Marvel Movie Studios. I’m a superhero movie junkie and I like both Marvel and DC Comics franchises. When Marvel was making the first Iron Man in 2008, they tried to imagine how the story would play out in future. The directors say in this video that they look at the big picture and see how things can relate between movies. For example, they are now making Avenger Infinity War, Part 1 coming out in 2018 and it is a culmination of Avengers franchise which they have been setting up since Avengers 1. The Avengers Infinity war will see the avengers meet the guardians of the galaxy and it’s a story that has been building up since the start of Avengers franchise. We’ll see how this plays out. What I see them doing here is that one event is a set up for the next and building the possibilities that could happen in future even if these possibilities are not clear at the present. I know that these examples seem far fetched, these guys were not struggling to quickly make money from their creations in order to sustain themselves. But maybe we can learn a thing or two from them. “We tend to overestimate what we can achieve in one year and underestimate what we can achieve in 10 years”. -Bill Gates.