What does failure mean to you?
Jason Njoku: I have failed numerous times in my business career and, as with success, it manifests itself in a number of ways – no money, no prospects, being shunned or laughed at by your peers, seeing your mother cry yet again because you have not ‘made it’ once again, even though you promised her this would be the last time.
It means letting people down and not being able to rectify the situation. But, it can also be a catalyst for success if you address and rectify previous mistakes and make sure you don’t make them again. For me, failure is also the fire to spark success.
Failure to me, is not using your wealth or any power you wield in a productive and progressive way.
Failure to me, is not realizing the opportunities that present themselves to you, wasting time building a bank balance rather than an empire.
Many of my African peers, rightly or wrongly, define success through the material goods they can accumulate. Expensive foreign cars, huge houses, jewelry, designer clothes, throwing lavish parties, quaffing champagne and Hennessy ad infinitum, and more. I don’t waste too much time on such things. I didn’t have them when I was poor, I don’t really need them now.
Many entrepreneurs don’t really speak about ‘failure,’ as they want to keep up appearances – failure is still very much a taboo topic to broach with many African entrepreneurs so very few actually talk about it, let alone in public.
What metrics or methodologies have you used to define your success and/or failure?
Nothing particularly scientific – I look at my P&L sheets, I look at website traffic, I look at our growth trajectories. Being able to meet payroll month after month, building a product or brand that people actually want are day-to-day successes that are also important, as they are things that I had previously failed at in other early ventures in my younger days.
Ultimately, for me, success means a certain degree of freedom – I have opportunities and connections and can make things happen at lightening-quick speed, all things that weren’t possible when I was failing.
Iroko is Africa’s largest content partners on YouTube and Dailymotion – both in revenue, unique viewers and monthly views and the largest distributors of Nigerian music and movies globally online. Iroko partners are the largest licensee of Nollywood movies with over 4,900 titles in its library.