There is a wrong perception amongst most startups that all ideas should be money-yielding, should be commercialized as soon as possible, then take the route of Initial Public Offer (IPO) where the promoters can then cash out and being liquid, start to enjoy some form of never-ending holiday in choice locations all around the world.
My motivation came from a discussion in the course of the week when a friend, in his bid to explain to me that the problem we were discussing is already solved by a University Don, save for the fact that the solution is in the cooler because of a little snag. The Don is looking for some investors or promoters to take the idea to the market and he has been searching for the past five years.
While some ideas can be commercialized immediately, it may take some time for the promoters of some other ideas to find the right means of commercializing some of their efforts. This should not put such solutions in the cooler.
There are some ideas that are disruptive in nature, and therefore the initiators of such ideas may take their time to decide on the right model to make money. For example, as disruptive as it is, whatsapp took its time in deciding how to monetize the technology. For the users, It is convenient, but there are alternatives.
There is another group of ideas that solves very important problems that are definitely for the good of mankind. For example, if a cure is found for the dreaded AIDS by some researchers today, it will be wrong for them to keep such solutions in the cooler, because they are looking for the right model to commercialize the discovery.
Such important solutions to pressing societal problems should be available for general use as soon as possible. Indeed, the initiators of such ideas should be compensated by the society not only with adequate recognition for their efforts, but also some handsome financial reward for their efforts. Think of the state paying for the idea, on behalf of its citizens, knowing the immense benefit it will be to the larger society.
This, indeed is fulcrum of the argument of the proponents of Free education at all levels. The eventual gains from an educated society is far more than the costs that may be incurred at any point in time.
Keeping great ideas in the cooler because they cannot be monetized is retrogressive and not in the interest of the larger society. I appeal to business moguls and mentors of the coming generation to help correct this notion.
I remain at your service.
Rev’d Sunday Folayan
President, NIRA Executive Board