It’s easy to judge Veon by comparing it with WeChat. The comparison, however, is flawed in the sense that WeChat didn’t become what it is today all at once. WeChat was a simple messaging app much like WhatsApp. Many things contributed to its success (having a vision is definitely one of them). But it also enjoyed the unfair advantage of being in China where almost every other messaging app was blocked. All platforms need a killer first product. Messaging for Chinese users was that product for WeChat.
On that end, I think Veon had the right mindset. They needed a product, a basic one, that people would like to use. They just happened to come with something that’s seven years too late. And considering that I know a little bit of just how corporate innovation works, that’s not a surprise to me. Hence, the best analysis was this comment on Pro Pakistani:
Nash did a good analysis of what it could have been in a Facebook post (a worthy candidate for ProBlogs). I don’t agree with him because of the precise reason I stated above. What alarmed me though was one of Veon’s employee making the case of “do not compare it with WhatsApp”. His comments contradict what they managed to build in the first place.
If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.—Lewis Carroll