Little Decisions

What does a video streaming service and a condom manufacturer have in common?


Netflix and chill is a great guess but entirely off the mark.

“A few months ago, I noticed whilst out shopping for groceries this thing called Durex1. One Durex condom for N150. To the left were the regular three-condom packs priced at N400. It literally made zero sense to me. Would someone really just buy one condom? What’s the point? N150 or N400, is it that much of a difference? This is Oduduwa Crescent Ikeja GRA, so it’s not like folks are poor around here. Literally rents are N5m/year and 5 bedroom homes are N250m+. Yet it’s Durex1 that was sold more frequently, so we tried something at iROKO.

We fast tracked sms billing / implementation and offered iROKOtv N100/week for unlimited access. In the first 30 days, we basically doubled Nigeria subscriptions. Literally doubled. That’s 100% subs growth within a month. Granted annual option (N250/mth) is paid upfront but that’s still pretty remarkable. A small decision. A big impact.”

Jason Njoku

Progress is hardly ever the result of a singular big decision; it’s the culmination of lots of little ones and sometimes a bit of luck.

The first real task I had at my current job was to build a payment integration. I wanted insight into the system as it worked so I’m immediately aware when anything breaks and I can quickly fix it. I really don’t want to be the Nigerian guy who made anyone’s money disappear.

Ended up settling for sending the notifications to a slack channel instead of using a dedicated notification service. This turned out to be the single best strategic decision I made on that project. My boss and third party vendors love it so much that I’ve integrated slack channel notifications to every feature I’ve worked on since then.

This week I have to solve a problem whose source is as elusive as Big Foot himself. Instead of directly solving it (I tried, but I’m wasting too much time chasing its tail), I’m building a way to detect the symptoms of the problem and hooking up slack notifications whenever it’s detected.

I could have spent many more weeks debugging our complex system, but a little decision I made months ago means I can treat the symptoms as they appear, til the source becomes more apparent. Our customers don’t have to suffer while we’re tracking it down.

Better yet, I can send the notifications to the channel where our tech support is. If I’d chosen a developer-only notification system, I’d be forced to be responsible for managing the problem myself.

A little decision made months ago has saved developers, support agents and our customers so much time. How lucky!

“I don’t believe in game changing strategic moves. I don’t believe that there is one decision you make which fundamentally certifies your success. I believe in iteration in inch by inch tactical hits and misses. I believe in luck. I believe in a thousand small decisions. When I think of all we have done over the last 5 years at iROKO, there were never any game changing moments.”

Jason Njoku

Stop waiting for the big game-changing decision to make. The numerous small decisions you make daily make more of an impact than you realize, and luck is right around the corner 🙂