Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cut costs but don't Waflash

New colloquial words usually originate from a mutation or amalgamation of existing words. Take Waflash for example I know that most of you have probably never heard of this word but it carries deep significance for me.

Long long ago, in a galaxy far far away (...just had to use that, it's for the lulz) I shared an office with an otherwise affable chap called Wafula. Now I say otherwise because Wafula had a serious weakness... read on. Based on my limited business knowledge at the time, I knew that there were only two ways in which a company could maintain a positive cashflow: 1) increase sales 2) cut costs. Wafula however only believed in number 2, while I was a rather strong proponent of number 1.

I came to realize just how strong of a disciple Wafula was of the cost cutting dogma one sweltering February afternoon. You see in our office arrangement, Wafula would pay for electricity while I catered for the internet. Since we were sub-tenants, the main tenant would pay for the rent. Ordinarily the cost of electricity would be about Kes. 5,000 while internet was Kes. 10,000. This February the cost of electricity doubled and Wafula was furious. Since I never scrutinized the electricity bills I cannot say for sure what caused the increase. Wafula however was incensed and believed that the overhead fan that I would keep constantly on to ward off the heat was the cause.

What he did next remains etched in my brain forever. First he asked that I switch off the fan, to which I refused explaining that I would be unable to work in the heat. He walked off and I thought that would be the end of it, only to storm in minutes later brandishing a knife. Knowing the madness that staying in an office could cause, I immediately took a defensive stance. Wafula however was not a violent man (at least not violent to others) and he instead took the knife to the fan cable and with one swift motion sliced the electrical cable; severing the fan from its power. He then calmly brushed himself down and walked off, not uttering a word.

From that day onward, any time someone would take extreme cost-cutting measures I would label it as doing a Waflash.

I thought about this as I watched the Safaricom CEO declaring that Safaricom could have made higher profits if they Waflashed like KCB who recently fired 22 senior managers.

I still belong to the faith of increase your revenues, but I wonder: Have you ever Waflashed with your business?

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