No. 85: Netflix is Taking it Global

One more before bed.

Netflix released its shareholder letter today and had some interesting results. Jake Bright mentioned in his comments during the book launch for The Next Africa, that Netflix is paying attention to what is happening in African markets in the internet TV streaming space. So, when I saw that Netflix released its letter I figured I should take a look. Interesting highlights:

  • 43 million members in the US
  • 23 million members internationally
  • Nearly nine million more paid subscribers year-to-year in Q2 2015
  • 48 percent year-to-year international revenue growth
  • Launching Japan in Q3 2015, and Spain, Italy, and Portugal in Q4 2015
  • Plan to be fully global by the close of 2016

Hopefully, Jason Njoku, CEO of iRoko Partners, posts something about Netflix’s updated figures. iRoko continues to make moves. They went completely mobile a few weeks ago.

Does anything else stand out to you in the letter?

No. 84: I Can’t Wait to Read The Next Africa

When Aubrey Hruby and finance ministers from several African countries waited for the globe at Google headquarters to rotate to the African continent so that they could see how many hits the continent was getting at the time, they were stunned to see just a couple dots compared to completely outlined countries for the rest of the world.

That story from some years ago was just one of the interesting stories Aubrey and Jake Bright shared during their DC launch of their first book, The Next Africa. Since that time, Google hits for terms like “Africa and tech” are up 1000 percent, according to Aubrey. Goes to show how things are changing in terms of the conversation around Africa.

I’m a big fan of Aubrey and Jake, and was thrilled when Aubrey first mentioned that she was working on a book covering business investment in Africa. Their book focuses on the growth the continent is experiencing with a careful eye to some of the risks that could jeopardize this growth.

I love their approach of talking to folks doing interesting things on the continent. Data points have been thrown around for some time now. Seven of the ten fastest growing economies globally. Average five percent GDP growth. $880 billion potential agriculture productivity. The list goes on. Who are the people driving this growth? What is on their mind? What drives them? I think Aubrey and Jake get at this.

With the hundreds of interviews Aubrey and Jake did for this book, we are still just scratching the surface on really interesting people and companies that are killing it across the continent right under everyone’s nose. I look forward to seeing 100 books coming out over the next several years covering various nuances of the business environment across the African continent. At least one other book comes to mind that does a nice job teasing out stories from business leaders across the continent: Success in Africa by Jonathan Berman.

What are some other books that are telling interesting stories about Africa’s growth? Help me grow my backlog of books to read and leave the titles in the comments.

No. 44: My A-Listers For Africa – Business and Policy

For quite some time, I have wanted to distill my sources for information and analysis on business and policy across Africa. I will try to keep this post updated with a list of the people I follow for insights. Some post long-form content. Some stick to Twitter. Here goes:

Razia Khan – Head of Macro Research for Standard Chartered Bank. When big economic events happen on the continent, I automatically go to her Twitter feed to see what she thinks about them.

Chuba Ezekwesili – Has good insights on Nigeria’s economics.

Jason Njoku – One of the more outspoken entrepreneurs on the continent when it comes to making sense of building a business on the continent.

Ory Okolloh Mwangi – Keeps me hip to Kenya’s political environment. Look out for her waving her BS flag.

Chris Becker – Lead Economist at African Alliance. African Alliance always put out helpful intelligence on what’s happening across the continent. Chris will occasionally send out a post from his personal blog.

Eliot Pence – Director at McLarty & Associates. Publishes sharp insights on US-Africa policy.

Aubrey Hruby – Visiting Fellow at The Atlantic Council. She and Jake Bright are coming out with a book this year, I believe, on Africa’s business environment.

Brian Laung Aoeh – Partner at KEC Ventures. Most of his portfolio is US and Israel-focused, but he pays a lot of attention to the technology space in Africa.

Patrice Backer – COO at AFIG Funds. Posts frank insights on business and political events across the continent.

Eric-Vincent Guichard – Founder of Homestrings.com. Whenever foreign direct investment comes up in the news, I go to see what Eric is saying about it.

Bobby Pittman – Founder of Kupanda Capital. Like following his posts because of his background working in the US government and at the African Development Bank and when I’m looking for insights on infrastructure development on the continent.

Rolake Akinkugbe – Runs Energy and Natural Resources desk at FBN Capital. Doesn’t post a lot of content, but does make frequent appearances on CNBC Africa.

Todd Moss – As news of the attempted coup in Gambia emerged, I read it all through the lens of the Golden Hour, Todd’s first novel. In his day job, he runs the Center for Global Development.

Jake Bright – Whitehead Fellow at the Foreign Policy Association. Writes for FT This is Africa, Bloomberg, and Quartz to name a few. He has basically carried the Africa standard at Bloomberg Radio, educating the listening audience on Africa’s bond markets, infrastructure development, technology sector and more. Check out the link to The Next Africa, the book he and Aubrey Hruby have coming out soon.

Ibrahim Saigna – Runs Century Private Investments. He doesn’t publish a lot, but he provides helpful insights on Africa’s finance environment when he does.

Jacqueline Musiitwa – Legal Counsel and Assistant to the President at PTA Bank. She and Ibrahim have collaborated on some good pieces.

Kurt Davis, Jr. – Investment banker at Barclays. Writes sharp insights on a number of industries and the political environment on the continent.

Paul Wallace – Reporter at Bloomberg. Consistently good analysis.

Aly-Khan Satchu – Operates on a 26-hour day. That’s the only way I have been able to make sense of how productive he is.