After a beautiful Friday night, I woke up at 9.00am (with lots of trouble!) to catch up with AlyKhan Satchu’s Mindspeak monthly event at Westgate. Ushahidi creator, Erik Hersman (who I have followed on twitter and blogosphere for a while; was the man with the Mic and top on my agenda was to know more about Ushahidi, their newest kid on the block ; Ihub, and just the person behind his better known blog name “white African”
( I think Erik ironically is more African than most of us!: will tell you why in a bit)
Eric did a great presentation and introduced us to his world, and while we know of all the success stories with the Ushahidi model being taken as far as Haiti; I mostly enjoyed how he openly shared some of the failures they face and how they go around it:
He also said something I think most entrepreneurs need to engage in their day to day: Eric follows the 80:20 rule, where 80% of his time is spent on normal work: daily routine) and the other 20 % working on edgy stuff, projects that have a high likely hood of failing: That way you expose yourself to an environment that forces you to learn more, I sort of feel that this is kind of stuff “doers” are made of.
The presentation was followed by a Q& A session which turned into a very engaging conversation; with topics ranging from regulation; incubation & pre-incubation for startups, seed capital; VC and Private Equity;and even touched on media and it’s pre-occupation with politics other than a focus on development stories. It was interesting to note that it was felt that International media is doing a better job in telling good stories from the IT world; while the local media seems pre occupied with politicking.
As a journalist I tried to defend; But also gave the attendants my two cents on how to get media publicity. It’s a thin line between free marketing/ publicity and Journalism. I would be caught dead reporting on a product launch, but I may probably call the same person to comment on an area of expertise; say development of mobile applications: and my take is that entrepreneurs have to position themselves as providers of content other than product developers. If I begin to respect your name as an expert, I am sure my audience will appreciate it. Be confident in your expertise, and use that to propel yourself as a brand.
Today’s world runs on relationships; make an effort to network, meet the “right” people, identify journalists that cover your kind of stories and interest them in what you are doing. And it is a two way traffic; as white African put it; journalists may also see you as a resource if they are looking for someone in your industry, info on different subjects etc;
White African notably dressed in a TED Tee shirt talked about something I have wanted to really blog about; I have but, a full page of rant on why we need Africans who are proud enough to be Africans.
A proud, confident person usually works, performs better than one who has tucks his tail between his legs, we need a mindset change and in my words I say “we need a to raise a new culture, a culture of proud Africanism. Then we will begin to think bigger; look at the bigger picture; and begin to work with each other.
One lady raised an issue about interconnecting with tech hubs from the UK, Denmark etc; and White Africans cultured response was that “we first need Ihubs in Africa to be networked. Ghana, Rwanda, & other African countries, raise ourselves up as Africans, and then after that we can begin to look at the Ihubs abroad.
Now that’s a Proud African.
We are usually, too quick to look abroad, finding funding abroad, when right next door in Uganda for instance, or Tanzania we could partner with like minds and make the most out of what we have. It’s culture Africa has never had, and it goes back a long way. That will have to change if Africa wants to be a respected voice.
The rest of my day was spent at a Kids Easter party with Imani, left her to play and went window shopping, bought a ring which I wore on my right hand, when I got back, she look at it and said “ mum did you get married?”
That’s all folks! See you on twitter? (TerryanneCNBC)
I later set up an interview with “White African”