Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Wantrapreneur Chronicles #1: Circumstance

"Are entrepreneurs born or made?"

Of course they're all born! One person remarked (get the joke?). Seriously though, this is one of those questions that you find being asked at entrepreneurship forums and the like. The real question is: is there something special about entrepreneurs, that sets them apart from the rest of us? Something that is not attainable by mere mortals? Or can anyone learn and become one? Is there hope for we mere mortals?

The same question has been asked of leaders and leadership: "Are leaders born or made?". No doubt there are factors that predispose some people to be more entrepreneurial than others - personality, upbringing etc. However, one often overlooked factor is circumstance. Part of my heritage as a Kenyan and African is the colonial oppression that my forefathers (and mothers) were forced through, a period which spawned many visionary and dedicated leaders across the continent, heroes and heroines who gave everything including their lives to the cause of the liberation of their people.

What is amazing to me is the fact that some (maybe even most) of these leaders would have been the least likely to have become the die-hard freedom they came to be. These leaders were born of circumstance. They were not trained in the methods of leadership per se, but in a bid to throw off the oppressor, they became leaders. There may or may not have been some early indication of leadership potential, but the circumstance forced it.

In the same way, some entrepreneurs are born out of circumstance. They may have never dreamt of becoming entrepreneurs but somehow they find themselves there. They start off as 'wantrapreneurs' and gradually find their footing as entrepreneurs.

One of my friends exemplifies this: caught on the wrong side of the financial crisis, he found himself out of a job with narrow chances of landing a new one in the near term. After going through the natural progression of denial and depression that was only aggravated by the fact that none of his numerous job applications bore any fruit, he eventually came to accept his new reality and had to get creative to make an income. So, he started his first 'business'. He had never considered himself an entrepreneur. His dream was to get a job at a particular multinational that he held in high regard and progress with his career. He had a simple idea and dove right in. However, more for a lack of experience or business acumen than naivete he tried to get his company off the ground to no avail, failing totally at one point before gathering courage to try again. Today he is doing OK. He's not wildly successful (yet) but he has found his feet and is slowly making it work.

Obviously not every one who starts like this ends up being a successful entrepreneur much as some of the very heroes of Africa ended up being very poor, corrupt national leaders once they became presidents. However, circumstances can create that spark out of which are born great leaders and entrepreneurs.

Tune in next week for another episode of The Wantrapreneur Chronicles.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

To change the world start with your next customer

The desire to 'change the world' has been attributed especially to the so-called 'millenial' generation as a form of 'entrepreneurial idealism'. However, millenials aside, entrepreneurs really do change the world!

The name Percival Elliott Fansler might not ring a bell but you should remember it the next time you are taking a flight. Back in the early 1900s Mr. Fansler proposed a new kind of venture, "a real commercial [air]line from somewhere to somewhere else." And thus was born the world's first commercial airline. Mr Fansler's venture lasted 4 months flying one route twice a day. Still, he managed to fly over 1200 passengers on his airline. 100 years later, billions of passengers fly tens if not hundreds of thousands of routes, covering massive distances, operated by multiple airlines of varying sizes all over the world. Air travel has radically altered not only global and local communities but even more fundamentally the way we perceive the world.

Mr. Fansler in all likelyhood may not have been able to stretch his imagination to the sheer scale of today's aviation industry, let alone the fact that we now not only transport people from one point to another within the Earth's atmosphere but beyond it. He did however radically alter the lives of the people he flew on his airline, giving them if nothing else the thrill of flying.

Another name that might not ring a bell is Ms. Fatima Ahadi, and you might not remember her name beyond reading this article but her story is just as valid as Mr. Fansler's.

Ms. Ahadi, a former finance professional turned small business owner who had the entrepreneurial insight to start a unique kind of real estate firm in Kenya. She focuses on providing quality, affordable housing to the lower end of the market, in a real estate industry that is mostly focused on the higher end. Through her work she has (quite profitably) enabled thousands of families to own homes that most likely they would otherwise not have been able to.

Did Ms. Ahadi change the world? I think so. She may not end up sparking the same scale of change that the airline industry has, but she has had an effect on the lives, on the world, of her clients. You see, the common denominator between Mr. Fansler and Ms. Ahadi is simply this: by providing a unique product/service they were affecting the lives of the people who took up their value proposition, one way or another.

This is a unique capability and a potent one for entrepreneurs. Companies such as Zappos that have been lauded for their extreme customer-centric approach understand this. The point of interaction with the customer is a powerful opportunity not just to feed the bottom line by making that sale, but to actually 'change the world'!

So to change the world, start with your next customer.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Is innovation what you do when your back is against the wall?

I remember watching the movie, 127 Hours. In a dire situation, facing almost certain death, his hand lodged by a rock against a crevice, the main character in the movie does the unthinkable to save himself – he chops off his own arm! Usually people will behave in the same manner when pushed against a wall, they will find some 'creative', if painful, means to solve the situation. Why is this so? Why can't we be naturally creative and innovative all or most of the time, regardless of whether there is a pressing situation or not?

Famous educator Sir Ken Robinson states that we lose something of our creative abilities through the course of formal education. We literally have our creativity educated out of us! Back in 2013 I attended a 2-day design thinking workshop at the re:publica conference in Berlin that brought me face to face with this reality. For our first exercise, working in pairs, we had to ask our partner 5 times over, “What is creativity to you?”. We found that by the time you got to the fourth or fifth time asking, you had exhausted the superficial definitions and had to really think: "What is creativity?". The workshop turned out to be a landmark event for me. I discovered, that I am a 'creative' despite the fact that somewhere along the course of living, I had come to believe that I did not have a creative bone in me!

Prior to this my imagination of a 'creative' brought up images of 'artistic' people, designers, architects and such. And this is typical of how most of us think: there are two kinds of people in the world – the chosen few, the creatives and the rest of us, the non-creatives – you are either one or the other. But if we have that germ of childhood creativity still locked inside us somewhere, can we learn or re-learn how to be creative?

Tom and David Kelley of IDEO and authors of the book, Creative Confidence claim it is possible! They have given themselves to the task of trying to restore that child-like creativity that many of us have suffered the injury of losing or being hoodwinked into believing we are not 'creative types'. In their HBR article, they argue that there are four fears that block us from reaching creative nirvana. Eliminating these fears leads us to embracing creativity and being more innovative, naturally. In summary, the fears are:

  • Fear of the messy unknown: 
“Yes, we know it’s cozy in your office. Everything is reassuringly familiar; information comes from predictable sources; contradictory data are weeded out and ignored. Out in the world, it’s more chaotic. You have to deal with unexpected findings, with uncertainty, and with irrational people who say things you don’t want to hear. But that is where you find insights—and creative breakthroughs.”
  • Fear of being judged: 
“... we self-edit, killing potentially creative ideas because we’re afraid our bosses or peers will see us fail. We stick to “safe” solutions or suggestions. We hang back, allowing others to take risks. But you can’t be creative if you are constantly censoring yourself.”
  • Fear of the first step: 
“Creative efforts are hardest at the beginning. The writer faces the blank page; the teacher, the start of school; businesspeople, the first day of a new project. In a broader sense, we’re also talking about fear of charting a new path or breaking out of your predictable workflow. To overcome this inertia, good ideas are not enough. You need to stop planning and just get started.”
  • Fear of losing control: 
“Confidence doesn’t simply mean believing your ideas are good. It means having the humility to let go of ideas that aren’t working and to accept good ideas from other people.”

Friday, 26 September 2014

Creating Sustainable SMEs

An except from an article I recently wrote for The Broker.

SMEs are the lifeblood of most economies. Thankfully, there is no limit to human capacity for innovation – the bedrock upon which entrepreneurship is built. Enabling entrepreneurship should be of foremost importance to governments and can be promoted by establishing three main pillars, which will lay the foundation for sustainable business growth.

(continue reading here)

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Go big or go home. Really?

When I started out I had this idea that I had to be big, well, not me (literally) but my startup. 'Go big or go home' as they say. Especially by virtue of being in tech, there's a tendency to think this way, that you have to scale to massive proportions, you have to be a 'growth startup'. Be the next Facebook or the next Google! You're not worth looking at if you're not signing up millions to hundreds of millions of users. Paul Graham asserts that:

A startup is a company designed to grow fast.

This thinking is fueled further (in part) by the fact that venture capitalists especially at the early stages (seed/startup) typically invest in such startups. After all, they are in the business of multiplying their investment several times over at exit. They would naturally gravitate to 'growth' ventures. New entrepreneurs following where the money is, similarly gravitate to the idea that they have to build something big, after all that's the only way they'll attract those investor dollars (or shillings).

However, in the real economy, the fact of the matter is the vast majority of entrepreneurs are small, 'lifestyle startups' and small businesses (and these 'small players' taken together probably employ more people than the relatively fewer 'big players').

Here are two realizations I had to come to with this regard:

  1. Do I really want all that comes with being big? It is far more demanding in every aspect. Scale brings complexity with it. Just managing all the relationships involved – from investors to customers to suppliers – is a task in itself. Add on to that the operational complexity that comes along with it. The journey there is just as much a roller coaster.
  2. Do I want to be big, or do I want to be profitable and sustainable (based on sound fundamentals)? I take a few lessons from watching Shark Tank and I remember one episode where the entrepreneur wowed the sharks with a stellar $3+ million in sales the past year, only to shock them that out of that she actually made a profit of $60,000! Being big does not mean being profitable. It may mean massive revenues but marginal, or zero profits, or losses.

This does not mean that you shouldn't be ambitious and have big dreams. As they also say: "Dream big start small". It just means you have to be honest enough with yourself to know what you want, what you are content with, and how far you are willing to go as an entrepreneur. I also found from reading this account of part of the Airbnb story, that looking for solutions that scale is not always the answer!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Fallacies of entrepreneurship

I've been involved in the so-called 'Silicon Savannah' to varying degrees since almost the beginning of this incarnation of the tech/software industry in Kenya.

Recently, I had a conversation with someone who runs an entrepreneurship consultancy & capacity building firm. They've worked with entrepreneurs in several sectors including those in the tech/software sector. This acquaintance proceeded to express extreme dissatisfaction with the encounters he's had with many 'techpreneurs'. The narrative is not new. These 'techpreneurs' just want to sit behind their laptops and code. They're not interested in getting out of their comfort zone and hitting the streets to get customers, engage suppliers or otherwise get their hands dirty in the work of running a real business. They're comfortable with just building products that they imagine users will want while entertaining grandiose thoughts of millions of investor shillings and such, all without bearing the weight of actually running a business.

His observations hit a little too close to home.

That's where I started. I was younger and less wise as I say. Five years ago I left formal employment in pursuit of this very 'dream'. Admittedly, I was probably a better coder than I am now (though I think I am a better writer than I was back then :). I knew I could whip out great code fairly easily. This was at the cusp of the iPhone SDK 2.2 release. So, I tapped my network and somehow (I still wonder just how) managed to raise significant capital. I thought the rest would be just a breeze. So off I went in search of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

It wasn't long before I realized I was badly mistaken. 'Build it and they will come' is not entrepreneurship. The 5 years or so since then have been a journey of learning. I call it the 'wantrapreneur to entrepreneur journey' (I'm still on the road).

As I reflected on the conversation with my acquaintance, I found that in reality, there is no such thing as a 'techpreneur' just an entrepreneur who 'enterprises' in the technology industry.

The distinction is subtle. In a sense, the term 'techpreneur' evokes certain wishful thoughts and leads one to imagine that being in tech makes them somehow special. They are not subject to the same rules as mere entrepreneurs. Popular media (insert your favorite scene from 'The Social Network' here) only re-enforces this notion.

Similarly, I'd venture to assert that there's no such thing as an 'Afro-preneur', but merely an entrepreneur who happens to be African.

At the core of every entrepreneur, of whatever cultural background, or industry, are the same basic characteristics that prompt these individuals to mobilize people & resources, hustle, and create new things for the benefit of others and for their profit. A real entrepreneur will more or less be just as comfortable in tech as in agriculture (my friend is very impressed with the 'agri-preneurs' actually). As long as the promise of a good return on their investment exists, they will find away to work their magic.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Venture Capital Lessons from the Shark Tank

I was watching the Shark Tank episode where James Martin, founder of Copa di Vino turned down an offer from the sharks for a second time. The first time he came on the show he had an 'unproven' business model with a modest $500,000 in revenue seeking an investment of $600,000 in exchange for 30% of his business. Kevin O'Leary made him an offer but wanted to pursue a licensing business model based on the patent on the container. James turned him down.

The second time around he had proven his wine by the glass model and was raking in $5 million in revenue and on track for 12 million and was seeking $300,000 for 5%. He got an offer of $600,000 for 30% from three sharks which he turned down, greatly disappointing the sharks once more.

In a recent article on ABC's website he was noted as one of the most disliked entrepreneurs to appear on the show yet one of the most successful, now on track for $25 million and to serve more glasses of wine than "McDonald's serves cheeseburgers". According to the same article, Mr. Martin claims the sharks missed out on 20x ROI in 2 and a half years!

Now, I won't comment on Mr. Martin's 'stage presence' on the show but here are a few things I learnt about venture finance from this:

1. Investors need to understand that making money fast is often not the sole or primary reason why entrepreneurs start businesses.

O'Leary claims in the aforementioned article that whatever Copa di Vino's founder is making, he could have doubled it. That may be a fair claim, but it wrongly assumes that the founder's primary interest is making tons money, fast.

From the investor's perspective, a very valid primary objective could be: to maximize return on investment and turn the investment around in the shortest period of time. That means, buy it as cheap as you can and sell it as much and as fast as you can. As Mark Cuban says at one point during the episode, "there's not enough meat" in the deal.

Kevin's proposal is based on essentially commoditizing wine by the glass, making it available to other players and especially the dominant brands. James on the other hand sees the value in his own brand. The investor and the entrepreneur see the world with regards to the enterprise from very different perspectives. The danger on both sides is either myopia or tunnel vision: each party does not give room to consider the other's perspective objectively and weigh it appropriately and contextually.

Which brings me to the second point.

2. Entrepreneurs need to be confident about themselves and their businesses when they stand in front of investors.

The minute an entrepreneur stands before an investor, they need to understand that many times, if not most, of the time the investor's primary interest is ROI (putting so-called 'Impact Investing' aside). If the entrepreneur is not sure about themselves and their business they will end up selling short.

In this case, I respect Copa di Vino's founder for being confident in his business and having the guts to stand by it, particularly in such a public setting and before a 'rock star' investor group. The worst thing for an entrepreneur standing before an investor is to be desperate or appear to be desperate or unsure of themselves, the investor will eat you for lunch (that's why it's called the 'Shark Tank' I guess).

Where did Mr. James Martin get this confidence come from?

  1. He was determined that licensing out the technology was not the path he wanted to take: be clear on what is NOT acceptable to you just as much as on what is acceptable to you as an entrepreneur. In other words, be crystal clear about why you started your enterprise i.e. your purpose, vision and mission, whatever it is. If it is to make tons of money, fair enough, but be very clear on it. Also, be very clear on why you need the investor's money. Communicate these clearly to the investor. Bring him into your world.
  2. During the episode, James at one point stepped out to consult Jim Koch, founder of Samuel Adams Beer and one of the giants of craft brewing in America and an advisor to his company: Seek out experienced and authoritative industry players to advice you. Get objective counsel. Don't depend on your own lofty dreams, the right advisors will ground you.
  3. He mentioned that his valuation was not a simplistic guesstimate but done by experts and he refused to alter his offer significantly (the best he could do was 8% for $300,000). Was his valuation accurate? Well, I can't say for sure but the fact that he had hundreds of phone calls from investors after the show says a lot: Get an objective, third party, valuation of your enterprise. Know what it is really worth.
  4. In the first episode that James Martin appeared, much as he had only started proving his wine by the glass model, he had been in the wine industry for a long time.The second time around, he not only had this to his credit but had grown his expertise in the wine by the glass model significantly as evident in the company's growth. He knew that he didn't just have a great way to sell wine, but that he also had great wine to sell as well: Know your stuff. Be an expert on your industry, your business and your value proposition, and know it inside out. The investor may know about business but may not know about your particular business or industry.

Be clear on these things and be ready to walk away from a deal if it does not meet these benchmarks. As James Martin concludes, "Make sure no one undersells you even if they're a shark."

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Why is it so hard to implement innovation?

One word: 'Culture'.

Culture is the single biggest hurdle any established organization has to go over to become truly innovative. Why? It's simple: innovation is not just about stuff you do, it's about who you are as a company; it is a culture.

It is not just about thinking up new ideas, nor even about implementing those ideas. You can do that on a one off basis. Even the most 'un-innovative' organizations are capable of producing one hit wonders just as much as the most unkind individual is capable of surprising us with a kind gesture once in a while. They may have done a kind action but that does not make them a kind person. The organizations we term as truly innovative are those that are able to show innovative qualities and churn out innovative products or services consistently and repeatedly.

To prove the point, in recent history, people started wondering if Apple had lost its innovative mojo, why? Simply because it seemed that Apple had stalled in producing innovative products consistently. (However, popular media in a fast paced world can be quick to judge).

You see, there are two different aspects of innovation here:

  1. Innovation as a verb: It is a doing word. This refers to innovative actions that an organization can take, for instance, bringing an innovative service to market.
  2. Innovation as an adjective: It is a description (of the culture) of the organization. Innovation is a way of thinking and being that is deeply ingrained in the organization. It is a norm and a belief system among the employees. In the same way that we would describe a person as kind, or patient, or tall or short - innovation becomes a way to describe the organization.

Today's executives are being pressured to make their companies innovative. It has become almost an imperative for the leaders of today's corporations. However, many start with a lot of enthusiasm only to soon find themselves running up against a wall. Why? They try to institute innovative actions (innovation as a verb) but forget that innovation is in reality a culture and 'implementing innovation in the enterprise' is really supplanting or radically altering the existing organizational culture.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast, technology for lunch, and products for dinner, and soon thereafter everything else too. - Peter Drucker.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Productivity Hacking: Enter the 'Productivity Hacker'

Most, if not everyone, reading this article will be familiar with the term "Growth Hacker" and "Growth Hacking", a form of data-driven, aggressively growth-focused marketing. Originally coined by one Sean Ellis (according to Wikipedia), who defined the term 'Growth Hacker' as:
A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth.

At a basic level, it's all about using non-traditional means to drive large scale adoption of a product - growing marketshare, hence growing the startup by expanding the customer base. (Others claim this is just online marketing by another name). In essence though, I suppose Ellis' point is the 'growth' part - doing whatever it takes to optimize growth and growth potential.

In a recent article, of what now seems to have become a continuing series (here, here, and here), I discussed the clear importance of building capacity in a startup enterprise, focusing on two parts to this: financial capacity and more importantly human resource capacity. I made the claim here that "Capacity is alpha".

Growth Hacking is directly correlated to capacity. There's no point in aggressively growing your market, if you do not have the capacity to serve a rapidly increasing customer base, or at least have the ability to scale up capacity on demand. And of course, there is a place for that.

In a subsequent article, I elaborated further that beyond having capacity, what matters even more is productivity:
At whatever scale of operation, what matters more than how much capacity you have, is how much of that capacity you are making productive use of.

The bane of every startup is having untapped potential, unused capacity.

Let's apply this to how startups make use of human resource capacity, the same could be true of other forms of capacity, say financial (or put it another way, other factors of production, for the economists amongst us):
Take two startups A and B: both in the same industry, under the same micro and macro-economic conditions (for argument's sake), both having the same level of output, client base, product features, same capital base etc, but if A manages the same feat (market share, revenue, profitability) as B with 5 employees against B's 10 employees: A is twice as productive as B, I would bet my money on A.

Furthermore, A has just proved that, all other factors held constant, B should be twice as productive as A.

So why isn't B twice as productive as A?

Enter the Productivity Hacker.

Now, while I have not been known for coining terms (just as I have not been known for my math or economic skills), what I mean by a Productivity Hacker, is simply the person in the company who is not involved in the day to day operation of the organization, in its production or distribution activities or its management. Instead, this is the individual or the team, that studies and observes the organization from a third party perspective. A lot like a biologost studying a living organism - because really, any organization of people trying to achieve some goal is exactly that: a living organism. The Productivity Hacker is, for all intents and purposes, a scientist, and his specimen is the startup, he seeks to study it, and then to improve it.

Now I should be quick to say that, yes, such people do exist in the form of strategy officers or strategy consultants, just as the Growth Hacker, may just be another name for an online marketer to some.

However, what really separates the Growth Hacker from the Online Marketer primarily is the context:

  1. The Growth Hacker's world is all about one thing and one thing only: Growth.

  2. The Growth Hacker's environment is unique. He/she lives in a unique kind of organization: a Startup (even more specifically, usually, a tech startup). So they live under various extreme constraints.

  3. The Growth Hacker, precisely because of the constraints imposed upon him/her has to seek unconventional means to achieve the 'Growth Imperative' and as such is required to have technical/analytical (especially data analytics) skills that go well beyond the average marketer, hence: 'Hacker'.

In the same manner my imagination of a 'Productivity Hacker' is not necessarily different, in principle, from a strategist. But the two are worlds apart by virtue of the context:

  1. While the strategist's world may revolve around many things, the Productivity Hacker's world revolves around one thing and one thing only: Productivity.

  2. The Productivity Hacker lives in the very unique environment of a startup enterprise (more specifically a tech or tech-driven startup, in whatever kind of technological field really)

  3. By virtue of this environment, the Productivity Hacker is called upon to apply unconventional means to achieve the Productivity Imperative, even inventing those means where necessary.

Now, in conclusion, just to balance this out, productivity or the productivity imperative, is not an end in itself. A problem could arise if it is taken as such. For example, in our comparison of startups A and B previously, B could hire a rock star Productivity Hacker, who goes about the business of optimizing the output of B's employees, with productivity as an end in itself, the company may end up driving their employees up the wall to squeeze out maximum productivity leading to the place being a nightmarish work environment for employees, maybe even driving some away, because it's no longer a fun, enjoyable work place.

As such, the Productivity Hacker, should be tightly knit into the company, such that they can understand and appreciate all the dynamics at play. It also means that beyond 'technical' skills - strategic thinking, data analytics etc - they need to be well informed of other aspects of running an organization - the human resource aspect, the financial aspect, the operational aspect etc. In other words, the good Productivity Hacker takes a 'balanced approach', knowing the startup's strengths, weaknesses, and potentials, internal dynamics, culture, external context etc to optimize productivity without unfairly negatively impacting one or more aspects of the organization.

This also means the Productivity Hacker needs to have fruitful relationships across the organization; in fact they should have just as good relations with the top level (founders, executives) as with the lower / operational level, in order to appreciate all the aspects of running the enterprise.

So. What do you think? Is the idea of a 'Productivity Hacker' simply hodge-podge or is there something to this idea. Let me know what you think, the comment box awaits...


Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Productivity: What do you have and what are you getting out of it?

My last entry continued the thought pattern regarding what I have concluded, from my own experience and from observation, are the two greatest challenges faced by startups and entrepreneurs: capacity and consistency. In the last post, I did some rough math to show the critical importance of building capacity, especially, human resource capacity (skills, knowledge, talent) in an enterprise.

The conclusion: Capacity is alpha.

Well, upon mulling over this further, I'd like to retract that statement and replace it with this one:

Productivity is alpha!

At whatever scale of operation, what matters more than how much capacity you have, is how much of that capacity you are making productive use of.

The topic of productivity is a familiar one to economists. And whearas, the often quoted figure of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is arguably not the full representation of what there is to an economy and its development, it nevertheless manages to express a lot about an economy in a quantfiable way.

Investopedia puts forth a simple and succinct definition of productivity:
An economic measure of output per unit of input.

It's as simple as that:

a) What do you have (inputs, or put it another way: capacity)?and

b) What are you getting out of what you have (output, i.e. productivity).

To put it another way, do the best you possibly can with what you have, until you cannot possibly do any better.

I also previously stated that enterprise growth can be summarized simply as a series of consistent phases of execution at successively higher levels:
... execute consistently as a startup, expand, execute consistently as a small business, expand, execute consistently as a small enterprise, expand… and so on. When a large corporation, ‘downsizes’, it is simply looking to find a level down where it can execute consistently again because it is no longer able to be consistent at its current scale.

I'd like, not to retract this argument, but to augment it by adding that it's not just about consistency, but consistent, optimal execution. What you want as a startup (or really whatever size your enterprise is), is to optimize your operations to get the most out of whatever capacity you have, and then maintain that level of execution.

To apply this to my own situation with Afrinnovator: Could I say I used the capacity I had (of whatever quantity and whatever quality), optimally? Perhaps not. Why?