Try football if you can’t innovate, Africa’s ‘Bill Gates’ tells software copy-cats

CEO of SOFTribe Herman Kojo Chinery-Hesse is worried that the constant copying of creative solutions among software developers is killing the spirit of innovation necessary for a flourishing App industry.

In his characteristic tongue-in-the-cheek, Herman also known as Africa’s Bill Gates, told software copy-cats to “become a footballer if you are not an innovator.

His advice was part of a power-point presentation that advised young developers and start-ups on some pit-falls to avoid if they are to succeed in the “very challenging” business environment.

At the Joy Technology and Innovations Summit -JOTIS 2015- held Wednesday in Accra, Herman stressed the point that professionals should avoid “cut-and-paste” in developing an App.

He described it as “re-hashing a Michael Jackson song”. “We have Michael Jackson why should we listen to you?” the analogy went on at the Kofi Annan ICT Center.

Apart from the moral argument that stealing is wrong, Herman also explained that “dishonesty kills innovation”.

Stealing ideas pushes creative people out of the industry because they have little motivation to keep developing programmes.

“Sharp people have better things to do with their lives,” Herman who co-founded SOFTribe in 1991, pointed out.

For those who cannot help but copy, Herman advised that they at least need to adapt it significantly.

Explaining his own experience of being a victim of idea theft, the CEO of SOFTribe revealed that a prospective client took his entire proposal to another software company and backed out of engaging his company.

Although the thieving company parades itself as a credible reference point in software industry in Ghana, Herman says he could sue the company if he is in “a bad mood”.

“I just feel sorry for them”. Herman says he never copies software ideas because he is “too arrogant” to steal. He was placed 17 on the list of 20 Notable Black Innovators in Technology. Herman has also been listed as one of Africa’s Top 20 Tech Influences and also named as one of 100 most influential Africans of our time.

In view of his experience, Herman Chinery-Hesse therefore advised software developers to avoid dealing with governments and big organizations.

“The last problem you need is dealing with organizations that involve PR” he said.

Government, he says, is slow in taking decisions and is often apprehensive about softwares.

He said as an I.T company, he has had to chase government officials all over the country and even attend his family funerals as far as Bawku all in the effort to seal a deal.

To avoid all these stressful challenges, I.T professionals should focus their products on the masses and not on governments.

Story by Ghana||Edwin Appiah|[email protected]

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