Strange title don’t you think, well its true I did contemplate quitting my most revered calling ..coding. But before I tell you what happened let me first discuss why I got pissed. coding is an art and a science. Its writing lines after lines of code and producing something someone can use on a day to day basis. I remember one time my niece asked me what I do for a living and it was really hard explaining to her what coding is all about, but the little darling already had a theory of what I do “Uncle si unaandikanga kwa blackboard ya white siku mzima” She calls both my physical white board and my IDEs Blackboard za white….then again she is just 4 years. Any who that’s me digressing…
Kenya is a country of hype, don’t believe me look at how Susan wa Tujuane became a house hold name,Look at Dida… Kenya is just one awesome country where trends are just over-hyped Let me steer to my side. Code and In general the IT boom. I have had people in the country and the few other African countries I have been blessed to go to call Kenya a great tech scene. The silicon sijui savanah au what ever they call it. I once had a Tanzanian friend tell me how they believe Kenya is wired,things are run by computers. I looked at him and was amazed..Is this the same Kenya I know. But here is what really happens, ordinary Muggles will watch the 7pm or 9pm news.. They will see images of ICT in Kenya some snapshot of guys in IHUB or Nailab, some local apps that claim to change the world will be show cased. Then Bitange Ndemo will talk about a new fiber landing on the coast..And bassss…you will feel all snuggly inside and lie, yes lie to your self that Kenya tume fika…But wait I have the true test of gauging the level of tume fika.
With the exception of MPESA what other Kenyan brewed tech product do you use? Yes am talking to you my dear reader? You will wake up in the morning watch DSTV CNN muhimu, check your mail GMAIL muhimu, drive/jav to work chat up your pal/chic/clande/chippo on WhatsApp, WHATSAPP muhimu…get to work Microsoft ndo zako,boss akitoka/kazi ikireduce Youtube,Facebook,Twitter Muhimu..Skype Kiasi. Go for Lunch uko na mullah so you eating something fancy you check in on FourSquare and Instagram the food to a pal. Toka hapo back to works Uko sleepy kiasi so you chuk out your headphones and listen to music on your Galaxy something MXplayer or something like that. 5 ikifika hujui kama traffic ni mbaya WAZE ita help, tells you how the traffic is..On your way home you will be on some social Media/listening to music on a foreign made app. And Morrow you will do it all again… Yet you will say that the Kneyan tech scene has matured and you think Zuckerberg should open an African HQ along Ngong RD as we wait for Konza ijengwe. Amen Bratha Amen.You know Not what you say
The sad truth is the only thing that has grown in Kenya as a resort of said tech boom is Safaricom’s data Revenues and Other ISPs in that matter. “Sasa Jaymo Unasema hii Yote ndo?” Let me elaborate… I hate tech competitions… Ile roho safi Hackathons za kupeana prizes I never go…Sio Ku participate . Never!! Why? simple…You give a winner 1mill coz app yake ni briliant and It ends there. Safaricom AppSTAR the last event I can remember had winners…Name one product from said venture that is in use by ANY KENYAN CURRENTLY. I waited for them to release them to the market for me and other Kenyans to use but wapi?? Before that kulikuwa na AAC winners announced prizes announced but bilaz….inaishia hapo….all the while Kenyans will be shown this on media,ma picha za IHUB na Bitange ndemo…we will say tume fika…some kid will now apply to do computer Science to become Mnoma kama Mr/MS/Miss so and so who won 10,000 USD. Epic fail
But wait all is not lost, Am not quitting code..My landlord still needs his rent on time. In spite of all this bullshit kuna a ray of hope….In the name of PivotEast…na sijalipwa ku blog hii so don’t say sijui nini. Pivot is the real deal, All the solutions they award turn out as products that people use. Pivot sio place ya kupeleka App yako ya ufala ndo upatiwe pesa ya kupeleka dame yako lunch place fancy.. Its the real thing, real Coders/Devs/Code Jammers/Hackers who develop things that can grow. The first thing msee atakuuliza is how many clients do you have and whats your revenue model..sio how does it pass data au why did you use NGINX instead of Apache. In my opinion Pivot is what will drive the tech scene we all dream of sio hackathon sijui ya madame pekee, sijui ya UoN pekee kuandaika ma app za ku show map nikama Google Maps has been cancelled.
And this year Pivot has gone a step further:
- Participating startups must be domiciled in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia or DR Congo
- Entries to the competition will be considered to be startups as per the universal definition of a “startup”* or a startup company (*as done below)
- Participating startups must indicate details of at least two members of their team in their application profile
- Companies that reached final 25 lists of Pivot 25 in 2011 or Pivot East 2012 may not compete with products/services previously submitted for the competition, the judging panel will have discretion to disqualify entries in breach of this requirement.
- Competitors selected to the final 25 list must have set up a legal entity (business name, limited company etc) for their business by 15th May 2013. Competitors with legal entities already set up will have an added advantage at all judging stages.
So atleast am not quitting code coz I still have a shot at making something that you as my reader may use in your day to day life. Haya nimemalizia hapo. Let me finish tweaking code ya PesaBox kiasi nimeskia kuna vile nafaa ka modification kiasi.