Podcast: Marek to (some) young tech entrepreneurs – You don’t know everything simply because you read TechCabal

Marek Zmyslowski YNaija

On the first edition of the podcast ‘Conversations with Chude’, we speak to Polish-born Nigerian-based tech entrepreneur, Marek Zmyslowski.

The former chief executive officer of Jovago, has become a thought leader in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem, not just because of his positions he has held, but because he is not afraid to share his opinions on his industry, on the country, and on the space.

That’s the country he came to, almost by accident, after he applied for a job, and he was told he would be assigned to Nigeria. “I didn’t know much about Africa,” he says. “So I Googled Nigeria and what I found out was about Boko Haram and 419.

“It wasn’t the best PR about Nigeria, but I said ‘you know what, it’s just media’.”

He is now founder of HotelOga – after leaving Jovago in clearly contentious circumstances – with offices in Nigeria and then in Egypt.

“HotelOga allows hotels to work with every online travel agencies in the world,” he explains his new business and how it is neither competition for his former employer (now called Jumia Travel) or his former sparring partners at Hotels.ng. “The travel agency doesn’t need to get people here, they don’t need to send anyone, the hotel doesn’t need to send anyone to make a deal with a travel agency in India. HotelOga is a platform that connects them.”

But it is his opinions, as usual, on the tech space in Nigeria that drive the short conversation (the first ten minutes were sadly lost) – just after he makes it clear that he didn’t steal his Nigerian fiancée from Nigerian men.

He talks about the technology eco-system, he talks about the competition he has faced while running a business in Nigeria, he talks about Jason Njoku and what he represents for this industry, he talks about the new climate for business in Nigeria – and he mouths off on what he sees as the future of the growing tech space, not just in Nigeria, but on the continent, including how much work a generation of entrepreneurs needs to do.

“There are a lot of wannabe entrepreneurs trying, people without experience trying to launch a company or even if they haven’t launched a company, they already think that they know everything because they read TechCabal and TechCrunch,” the 29-year-old says with a smile.

“If you have time to read TechCabal everyday and TechCrunch, I don’t think you’re an entrepreneur. You are not busy enough.”

He is still smiling when he says this.

Listen to the full podcast below:

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