The truth about my departure from Dealfish.
Today is Jamhuri Day in Kenya meaning its a public holiday where we can get to spend time at home with our families or spend the day out, like all other public h0lidays in Kenya. For some, public holidays are a great time to nurse massive hangovers or even to continue drinking for an extra day over what in this case a long weekend. For me, on this end, its a great time to blog and tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about my departure from Dealfish as Regional Manager for East Africa.
Let me start by saying that working at Dealfish since I joined on the 1st September 2010 as employee “number one” for East Africa has been a truly rewarding, and ultimately, a phenomenal experience. At the time I joined Dealfish, everyone who had known me as one of the founders of Dotsavvy really took a second take and wondered why the hell I was leaving my own successful digital agency to start/join a nascent online classifieds business?! For many, it just did not seem to make any sense. It did however for me. I had spent the better part of a decade building Dotsavvy into what is arguably one of Kenya’s better digital agencies. For anyone who has had the pleasure/pain of working in Kenya’s digital services sector as I have done for over 10 years, this is not always a bed of roses but can be hugely satisfying on so many levels. In a nutshell, I needed something new – something I could sink into with ALL my teeth, leveraging my many years in digital services. Something that would be a whole new level of challenge. Dealfish was it for me. I was chewing at the bit. I was ready to roll. Nuff said.
Today, one year and three months later, Dealfish ranks as Kenya’s second most popular local web site after the Daily Nation according to Alexa.com, the online web site ranking service. In addition, Dealfish in Kenya boasts over 85,000 active ad listings for a myriad of products and services, nationwide. In many ways, the arrival of Google Trader, Junkmail, Cheki, and PigiaMe over the last few months with aggressive online marketing validates all the effort that has gone into making Dealfish a online success story. Dealfish did really set the ball rolling in both East and West Africa as the first real run at making online classifieds a “serious” business in Africa. I am proud and humbled at what we have achieved at Dealfish – I feel super privileged and honoured to have worked with such a talented team in East Africa and beyond.
Going to the heart of this blog post, I did not leave Dealfish for some of the many reasons that have been floated online and offline, some being unnecessarily harsh, crude and untrue. I did not have a fight with fellow senior managers’ Neil Schwartzman and Stefan Magdalinski at MIH. We did not fallout over the market strategies for Dealfish or management control. My departure has been totally amicable and I gave in a three month notice as per the terms of my employment agreement which was duly accepted – this incidentally happened before the announcement that Kalahari would be closed in Kenya and Nigeria, as well as the temporary suspension of Dealfish operations in Uganda and Ghana. Hell, Stef(an), Neil and the MIH East Africa team held a farewell party for me last week where we had a blast, for ALL times sake. Yes. This is the truth. I have left on very good terms and intend to work closely with Dealfish and MIH in Africa as a client from early 2012.
Where am I going to next? Much has been said and much has been leaked. I will be joining InMobi as the Director for Sales in Africa. I am really excited about this new career opportunity since its very much in-line with my own interests with digital marketing within the mobile space. In addition, I get to handle both East and West African markets which are clearly growth markets for mobile marketing, especially in Nigeria and Kenya. So there you have it, in a nutshell. Nothing sensational to report. Simply a change of hands so to speak? At the same time, I want to wish the awesome crew at Dealfish and MIH Africa all the best in 2012 which will be their biggest year yet – mark my words! (Google Trader, Cheki, PigiaMe and Et Al, watch this space!).