Nigerian Businessmen Perplexed by Internet Communication Difficulties

[From the Vesperfire News Wire:] Nigerian businessmen are becoming increasingly mystified by their difficulties in exploiting the potential of the Internet to expand their business and make contacts with the rest of the world.

“We keep reading about the great communications potential of the Internet, but it never manifests,” complains Ighomuedafe Obadina, owner of “Gem of Nigeria” Textiles, a small but highly reputed exporter of specialty textiles in Lagos, Nigeria. “I am sending personal salutations to establish contact with potential customers, but it’s as if my e-mails never even get read. Even people I’ve done business with before by letter don’t respond.” He added, “I have tried to be exquisitely more polite and formal in my phrasing, but no help has this given me. I resorted even to dropping of names of important government officials I have worked with, but that only seemed to make it worse.”

Financial institutions seem particularly affected. “We were never able to communicate to arrange transactions, particularly monetary transfers. We gave up and returned to using paper orders and records via airmail. It’s faster and more reliable,” said Olamilekan Ogboyomi, International Transaction Specialist at First Nigerian Bank of Abuja.

The Nigerian government remains baffled by the complaints. One official told us, “We have had to upgrade our communications infrastructure several times, because a truly immense volume of e-mail traffic leaves our country daily. Yet our businessmen complain they never receive responses. It makes no sense.”

Relaunching Ethan's Essays

I launched this blog back in August with a post promising several articles a week. I obviously quickly fell short of that. While I don’t want to fall into the trap of posting apologies for not posting, I will briefly say: 1) there’s nothing like proclaiming a deadline to the world to induce writer’s block and avoidance, 2) finishing pieces from my pool of partially written articles took more time than I expected (recall the humorous ninety-ninety rule that, in this context, states: The first 90% of writing an article takes 90% of the time, and the last 10% takes the other 90%.), and 3) some articles required feedback that required time to receive (because my reviewers, strangely enough, wouldn’t drop everything they were doing immediately to read about sick cookie monsters and such).

Now I have a pool of completed pieces to work from, so I am “re-launching” the blog for the new year. Expect to see new articles first thing every Monday and Thursday morning (excluding holidays), along with intermittent shorter posts — links, brief comments, and more.

I called my first launching post “Blog in Search of a Theme”. One theme has definitely emerged: humor. I would sit down to write a technical piece, get stuck, and an Onion-esque news article would emerge instead. A recipe turned into a story of a funny kitchen fiasco. So I went with this flow, then took the best of what emerged and ran them past other people to be certain someone other than me found them funny. I’ve posted a few already, with more to come. Humor writing has its pitfalls, but just letting yourself be silly is freeing, even exhilarating at times.

I found that some ideas I had didn’t fit the mold of a conventional article very well, so you’ll also seem some experiments with other formats, including cartoons, spoken (audio) pieces, and perhaps even some videos.

However, for now I’m not going to make humor the theme of the blog, as I do have a number of pieces serving other purposes. I can’t foresee the exact mix yet, but I hope that you will always find them entertaining or informative, and perhaps even both.