Over Committing Too Early

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One of the early Ever Africa ventures was JuJuFire. As our first attempt at eCommerce it proved to be a source of multiple mistakes, failures and many valuable lessons.

The first and arguably the largest JuJuFire failure was that we took too long to get the original product idea developed. We were overcommitted to its success and resisted change when it became necessary.

During development we should have explored multiple product ideas and various materials in parallel.

Early in the process we settled on the idea of making engraved wooden iPhone covers. It didn’t take us long to find a suitable carpenter to make them. As a bonus they were to be made from offcuts. No plastic, just recycled wood.

The issue was that laminating the offcuts and cutting the lip necessary to keep the phone in place was incredibly difficult to perfect. We wasted weeks getting this right – feeling as if we were close to completion the entire time.

Shortly after taking the covers to market we realised that our original price point was too high. The price that we needed to sell the covers at squeezed our margins and made them unattractive. Too bad we had taken so long to get it right.

If we had moved through the development and prototyping stages faster we would have been less committed to the success of the wooden covers. We would have explored alternative and less expensive materials sooner, the team would have been keener to devote more energy to the product, and we would have had better more profitable products on the shelf by now.

by Craig Rivett

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    Craig holds a Masters degree in Economics from UCT. This ambitious young man worked previously as an economist, consulting primarily in healthcare and competition economics industries. In April 2013, Craig became the first employee, later becoming a fully-fledged partner in Ever Africa. He joined Ever Africa to focus on entrepreneurship, business development and changing the world through technology. Ever Africa has steadily grown, with investments and operations spanning the telecoms, media and technology sector. The projects embarked on by Ever Africa include the development of Ever Egg, Litter Wars, Tribage, Juju Fire, Donnder and StellieSafe. He’s changing the world, one app at a time.

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