Cloud only? Connecting too!
I initially thought that this (rebooted) learning and writing journey as I figure out what to do next would be more technical in nature but I’m increasingly convinced that this journey will inevitable go beyond the more technical. I’m finding myself reflecting on and doing what I’ve pretty much done since when I first plugged into the KE tech scene: (re) connecting people with the hope that further down the road, they would build new businesses, get new clients, or some interesting outcome.
Last week I did a little experiment: I posted an 'ask me almost anything for 30 minutes' with 5 people. The intention was to learn and share. I was implicitly pushing back against the notion that spending a few minutes of your time having your brain picked for free over coffee is a no no. I understand why some would offer that perspective, but still think that it’s not a waste of time and offers an opportunity to learn. I’ll probably do this again soon once I figure out an optimal cadence, and urge anyone - especially those who have specific expertise or experiences. I have learnt quite a bit so far!
Collaboration and Ecosystem building
A few days ago there was an interesting discussion on Twitter comparing East and West African entrepreneurs (read Kenyan and Nigerian entrepreneurs). A key take away for me from some of the comments was that in .ke there is not enough collaboration, and alliance building amongst entrepreneurs. True? Not True? More nuance needed? That’s a discussion to be had and some action. The work of ecosystem building (and the lack of such individual builders) also came out.
Connecting, ‘getting your brain picked’, collaborating and ecosystem building have a common thread: they require building trust. This is necessarily hard and takes time. Hard because it’s all about people. Hard also because ‘getting your brain picked’ doesn’t necessarily pay your bills today. I think they are all worth the effort. What about 'ROI', someone might ask? Every interaction between people need not be reduced to a financial transaction. The fruits are often seen when one zooms out over time (multiple years, decades even) and outside of one’s business / echo chamber / network / cocoon / etc.
I posted this excerpt by Tom Peters a few years back when attempting to experiment with a collaborative product / venture building approach: https://mugambi.co.ke/collaboration-hard-vs-soft/
“Soft” (people, relationships, organizational culture) is “hard.” You get things done, for example, on the basis of your patiently developed network of relationships. You imbed a captivating and effective culture by living and reinforcing “the way we do things around here” day after day after day, in fact hour after hour after hour— forever. And the focus on people? Here’s the thing, an organization is nothing more and nothing less than “people (our folks) serving people (our customers and communities).” And for the leader, who is fulltime in the people business, it’s all about people (leaders) serving people (our folks) serving people (customers and communities).
It is written for a company’s leadership but could apply across an ecosystem.
Here is to to more people and companies building trust and collaborating. It is an arduous task, but that is the way to build a vibrant, growing and lasting (tech) ecosystem.
p.s. I’m still doing my learning and experimenting, as well as thinking product, while connecting people as always.