Concierge Economy

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Unlike the US, Nigeria is not a D-I-Y economy. We do not work with our hands.

In middle and upper class Nigeria, we do not fix our cars or blocked toilets. We get mechanics and plumbers to do so for us. We have been spoilt by househelps, nannies and artisans and so, we are book smart and professionally proficient but domestically lazy. This is an opportunity. It is an open business window because artisans and urban professionals rarely speak the same language.

There is a misconception in Nigeria that everyone is an extrovert and hustler. Everyone allegedly screams to get things done and is street smart. No. Although everyone has been afflicted by Nigeria, some have paid their dues and now wish to reclaim small slices of sanity in an otherwise insane environment. They would rather outsource irrational negotiations with recalcitrant workers to others. The only reason they do not delegate, is because they either cannot afford it yet or are hindered by the paucity of trust in the nation. That’s where the concierge economy comes in.

The success of UBER in Nigeria, reminded me of the days when I would pray for my yellow cab to have a faulty radio. I was tired of explaining to drivers why I didn’t want the radio on during a trip. And, I hated being asked for more money anytime there was two minutes of unplanned traffic. UBER became the buffer between me and drivers.

Anyone who can perfect concierge services for mechanics, plumbers, electricians and househelps in Nigeria will be rich. As a techie, it is not enough to build a referral service that helps people find them. You must also manage them from implementation to payments. This may involve owning the entire value chain, including training. Whenever a UBER driver fraudulently bills me, I do not speak to the driver, I speak to UBER and go to sleep. UBER follows up on my behalf and gives me updates. That’s an adaptation of concierge service. It’s a service that plays the role of Executive Assistant to the middle class. It is about infusing efficiency into inefficient markets.

Urban professionals have more money than time. They would gladly exchange money to save time.

Professionals have more money than time. They'd gladly exchange money to save time. Click To Tweet


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