Remain Original, because that’s your best business insurance and dare add your career insurance.
– Fisayo Olajide
Fisayo! Who e epp? (A Nigerian saying used to retort an aphorism or quote, to ask who has profited from the saying)?! A friend asks; let’s call her Yeye.
Me, knowing that we Nigerians have more convictions in our sayings than the Gospel, I feigned ignorance to her meaning and asked: “What do you mean?”
Yeye: Don’t form (pretend) that you don’t know my meaning. Who don profit from originality? Let me speak English like you. How can I profit from originality? What’s your meaning?
Me: Well, originality is your fungible resource that will profit you in all your endeavors.
Yeye: Fisayo! What’s a fungible resource o?! Speak English abeg.
Me: Hehehahhaa. Okay, in business terms, where you have fixed cost. The cost you have to periodically bear for being in business, which usually determines how much you need to sell to make a profit. So, your originality is your fixed cost, that costs you nothing. And, when you pay nothing…
Yeye (interrupts): Okay, I get the idea of not paying for the fixed cost. So everything I produce or sell will come with a profit when I add my originality. Me too sabi (I also know) accounting small.
Me: Yeye, Prachtig! (like the Dutch says, meaning Excellent/Wonderful)
Yeye: But, tell me, how do I then deal with the stolen clients, copying of my stuff, and the betrayals.
Me: That’s a good question, I can’t form(pretend) that I know the answer to that. But this I know, if we are still using the fixed cost analogy, then the stolen clients, copied stuff, and betrayals can be likened to the short term variable costs, and in the long-term, the advantage you benefit from your originality or fixed cost, in this case, will even out those short term losses…
Yeye: Hmmm, I see. But, Fisayo these losses are costly emotional variable costs.
Me: Yes, Yeye they are. And again you can take solace in the thought that, those that steal your clients, copy your stuff, and betray you, will pay a higher variable cost because they will have to spend more energy, time, and other resources to keep the stolen clients, continuously copy your stuff, and live with their betrayal.
Yeye: Okay Fisayo, what you say makes idealistic sense, but any precedent?
Me: Auntie, you go (will) pay for this consulting session o!
Yeye (laughs): No wahala (wahala, a Nigerian slang meaning problem/issue)! I go pay, give me an example.
Me: Na who talk sey, “I sabi everything!” I no be Google. ( who says I know everything, I am not Google)
Yeye: C’mon now, just give one example now?
Me: None comes to mind presently. But think of it yourself, like really, I’ll give you a minute to think of someone or a company you know, that has stood out in a crowded market, but yet stands out in the market due to their originality.
Yeye, pauses to think, and then, shyly asks: Can I say, Oprah?
Me: How do you mean?
Yeye: Talk show boku for this world, but nah her own still be premier for market (there are lot of talk shows, but hers top them all).
Me: Aha! See you sabi. Who e don epp! (Look at you! You know who originality has profited)