Dispatch from Kinshasa: Scaling is a Dogma

Our Founder, Nate Houghton, is currently in Kinshasa visiting the team. He’ll be updating us periodically on his activities there.

Why even try?

The Congo is a difficult place. Period. No spin. Absolutely true.

What kind of difference are we even making?

When I arrived here two weeks ago, I was frustrated. So much was the same. Nothing we had done has, as of yet, created transformative change. There are still big problems - huge problems - that prevent the Congo from becoming the amazing and prosperous country that it should be.

In my "other" career - the one I do to pay the bills - I send emails. I literally send emails for a living. I like to think they're well-written, and I'm able to do them at massive scale in a way that most people can't manage, but, at the end of the day... I send emails.

The thing about direct email marketing is that it almost never works. 10% is an amazing response rate. 15% is otherworldly. And there's a lesson there: It doesn't have to always work - or even usually work - to work.

I'm not suggesting that CLI's Leadership Intitute only works 10% of the time. What I mean is that we don't need to positively impact the lives of every single young person in the Congo to be worth the investment (though that would be quite nice, and we'll continue striving to do so). We're proud of the 2,000 youth whose lives we have been a part of. That's a really big number, even if it's only a fraction of the population of the DRC.

The idea of hyper-scaling successful initiatives is a dogma. Like all dogmas, it should be questioned.

Each individual life matters, and that's why CLI matters too.

Nathaniel Houghton