Where Africa and Technology Collide!

On Problem Solving

Asking the right question? You might think so, but you’re probably not. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in that, I find myself doing it all the time. This can be a particularly bad trap to fall into if you’re a “strategist” – someone who problem solves for a living and lays out the plan for the future.

drill bitA good friend of mine once told me, “No one goes to the hardware store to buy a 1/4-inch drill bit.” (where he got the quote from I can’t remember). Basically saying that people don’t go to the store to buy a drill bit, they go to the store because they need to drill a hole. It sounds like just a simple semantics argument, but it’s not. It’s much deeper.

When I put my marketing hat on and am trying to get just the right message across in a tag line for a new product I consistently have to ask myself not what the potential client/customer/user might need, but what would drive them to use my product or service. Once I can pinpoint the reasons why they need my product, then I can finally put together a quality tag line.

Next time you’re trying to solve a problem, make sure you actually know the problem. Take that problem and flip it around, take a look at it from a different angle. You’ll be surprised at what you come up with.


  1. Are you still in Kenya?

  2. Not at this time. I should be back there sometime this summer though.

  3. those there are some good insights! i will be thinking some more about it.

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