But guess what? Dangote Cement's revenue is no where close to what MTN makes in Nigeria. In fact, Dangote Cement's two years revenue are still far less than MTN Nigeria's one year revenue. 30 years ago, it would be unthinkable that a company like MTN which sells services and not physical goods will make way more money that the country's biggest listed company that sells a highly needed good like cement across Africa.
Currently, the biggest company in the world is Apple. With over 140 trillion naira ($700 billion) market capitalization, it can buy 70 Dangote Cement and still have enough money left to buy most of our banks. In fact, it can buy all the companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and not feel like it has made a very big purchase. It is bigger than the oil companies (Chevron, ExxonMobil) even before the oil price crash. It is bigger than the companies that manufacture the private jets we all dream of owning and even the ones that manufacture the commercial and fight jets. And what does Apple sell? Mostly iPhones.
And to top it all is Instagram. A company that had no revenue (means it was losing money), had just about a dozen employees and it was just about 2 years old. Yet it sold to Facebook for over $1 billion (in today's Naira that would be over N200 billion). Looking at it with a Nigerian eye, those guys at Instagram did money ritual. And the neatest and greatest one. Unfortunately, it is the new trend. The world has been silently changing around us. A company that makes no money, has less than 20 employees and is just 2 years old suddenly becomes worth more than The New York Times that has been in existence since 1851 and has over 10,000 employees spread across the world.
Increasingly, the world is shifting from tangible goods to intangible goods. The things we can't touch and hold are being of more value than the things we can ship.
And that is just one of the ways the world has been silently changing around us.
Another is that the borders are getting erased. I haven't traveled out of Africa or even West Africa my entire life but just this year I have had business dealings with people in the US, Canada, UK, France, Tunisia and Argentina. And my being in Nigeria was not a disadvantage nor the fact that I have no intention of coming to see them physically.
Then the corporate work life has changed. More and more people are working at unconventional times and places. I work most at late evenings and early mornings, and in my room. I work more at weekends too. I don't intend to have a regular work hour soon. All that matters is getting the job done.
On a final note, illiteracy is no longer being unable to speak English. Illiteracy is now being unable to communicate with computers, being unable to use technology. And this current set of pink collar and white collar workers are going to be the next set of blue collar workers, as technology wipes off the current set of blue collar workers.