Days 2 and 3 of Nane Nane

Lots of people are stopping by now, slowly but surely the foot traffic is increasing, especially since Filemon brought his stereo, speakers, and TV, and wired it all up to blast some fun music. By tomorrow I'll be able to burn a DVD of our old video and then the TV will attract people even more. We're getting many dozens of names on the sign up sheets, with feedback, which is uniformly positive, except that 3/4 are still complaining about the price. Yesterday in a lull I left Alfonse and Oscar in charge of the tent, along with Chris and his assistant who were hanging out in case a sheller broke, and took Filemon on a trip to some bike shops. We visited 6 of them in the course of 3 hours. The owner's of the first were skeptical initially, but after seeing the video on my laptop, and hearing about how the bank may end up extending credit, they said they'll buy 2 at a nice discount, and re-order once they prove interest. The next 5 were all very positive, very excited, and all promised to buy a sample as soon as we could get them one. In other words, out of 6 bike shops, we got 6 yes's to buy at least one product, and to try to re-sell it. Had I not seen this with my own eyes I would have found it very difficult to believe. With a new product you would expect some early adapters, but also many doubters, and certainly not a 100% success rate in getting very cash conscous bike shop owners to front some money in order to be able to sell them. Later I randomly met some ex-pats who ran a safari company as well as a foundation, and they offered to take one of our bikes to a remote Masai village that their foundation is helping develop. With just a verbal description they said their foundation definitely wants to buy 2 ASAP, and they weren't even deterred by my saying that the product is still in beta and hasn't yet become entirely reliable.

Today Katya Soldak, the NYC based video journalist and my friend who arrived last night, was interviewing lots of people at our tent for a news piece for a French wire service. Again the feedback I heard Filemon translate has been uniformly positive. There's real excitement and a quick 'AHA' moment about this product for close to 100% of the people who see it, including lots of actual farmers who spend their days shelling corn by hand, or taking it on the dala-dala's to remote shelling centers.

If we can sort out the technical and manufacturing issues we'll have ourselves a quick homerun, no doubt about it.

Semyon, Tanzania

No comments:

Post a Comment