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Domino by Nick Tasler

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4The Permission Ceremony, Part 1: The Drama

Not long ago on a late February morning in Nairobi, Jonathan Mburu found himself standing in front of a full hotel ballroom. Jonathan is a slim man in his late forties with wire-rimmed glasses accenting his warm eyes and a confident demeanor. As he stood there that morning dressed in black slacks and a loose-fitting button-down shirt, a grin slowly creeped across his face. The hundreds of eager faces sitting in front of him at round tables of six to seven belonged to managers from the East African division he leads for a multinational communications company.

“I swear,” he began while holding a microphone in his left hand, and with his right hand raised like a president being sworn into office.

Today, Jonathan wasn't explicitly promising to uphold his office faithfully. Instead he was publicly giving his team permission to downright ignore many of the projects they deemed most important right up until that day.

“There will be no retribution,” he continued over the chuckles slowly erupting from his audience, “for delaying or ignoring any other projects in order to fully devote your focus to stabilizing our technology infrastructure.”

I have to confess: 'Twas I who put Mburu up to these theatrics. But I promise you I had a good reason. And Mburu had good reason for playing along with it. Here is the back story.

Eastern Africa had been in the midst of a revolution in digital communications. Thanks to a combination of foreign investment ...

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