Monday, November 27, 2006

Journey of an Afro-preneur: Making my way back..

It's such a refreshing feeling to be able to blog again after such a long time, I think its been almost 3 weeks since my last post and the few people who actually read it have been asking me "what's going on?.."Well to answer my "fans" :-) a lot has been happening :-) and that's all I'll say...I'm just kidding, well in the few weeks I've been off the blog I've been designing the Kwangoo.com database (alone) and its been really interesting, I basically have to think of every possible feature to have in Kwangoo and then come up with a suitable and optimised structure, sounds boring, well it can be but its not like I have a team behind me.

Last friday, 24th Nov, was interesting, I called up my friend TK and she informed me that the people on the TV show she's shooting were interested in featuring kwangoo.com, that was exciting news for me but also scary since so far kwangoo.com is just a splash page, this put me into overdrive and I holad at Bluefi5h to setup a meeting for the weekend which unfortunately didn't materialise, but we meeting today and hopefully will cover a lot of ground.

Working on kwangoo as well as other projects hasn't been easy, sometimes I just want to quit it all (work, school and God forbid kwangoo) but I can't, I need the day-job to pay my bills, I'm not sure I need school (You tell me...) but I figure I can go on another day and even though it's breaking me physically I'll push on.

On saturday, while on my way to a wedding party (which by the rocked like krazy), I met a friend of mine blacksheep (the guy is one dark-skinned brother :-) ....) and we had a rather lengthy discussion about kwangoo.com. I told him what my vision was and the way I was going about it, I was surprised at his level of excitement which seemed to supersede mine, and I like that koz it gives me psyke or drive to go on.

I wish I had a team of developers to work with on Kwangoo.com but I don't so I work with what I have which in this case is an overburdened mind and body that could do with a major makeover.

Yesterday I tried to take a few pics of the kwangoo.com splash on my very wonderful Dell Inspiron E1505 (runs like a ferrari but has the most stupid OS on it...) but the pics were so unclear I decided to let it go. In time I'll setup a blog for kwangoo.com and I'll post all the pics :-)

Anyway, gotta go meet bluefi5h ....

Cheers

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Journey of an Afro-preneur: Building the Kwangoo Brand

I mentioned last week that our vision was to build the most prolific online social brand in the region and slowly by slowly we heading there. I need to mention that our budget for this whole project is currently standing at....let me look at my accounting books...zero 0Ksh 0$..sad but true..I think the lack of money makes as even work harder towards achieving the goal, it forces us to network even more, to pull resources together, basically it makes us put in the extra mile to ensure that we achieve it..

Last friday I decided to conduct a small "focus group" (The Apprentice got me on this line of thinking) to get users view on what they would like to see in a site of this kind, No I didn't go to the streets and ask people questions or hand them some questionnaires, I used the power of the internet and decided to IM them :-) cost cutting and efficiency of time is critical at this point dude to limited resources. The views I got were rather interesting and most weren't knew but I was glad to hear them from potential users and they will definitely be factored in.

Bluefi5h sent me the t-shirt concepts yesterday, although I wasn't in the office where I have internet access (I seriously need to hook up some internet at home) I still managed to access my mail on my phone (this wouldn't have been possible a few years ago when no one had a fixed line or even a mobile) and look at them on the small phone screen and I was impressed with what he had done. So today I rushed to the office and had a proper look on my mammoth 17 inch monitor (not flat ..aint that so sad..) and you can just imagine my excitement at looking at them properly. I did what I consider is always important, get user views on the look of the t-shirts, I got good feedback which I communicated to Bluefi5h immediately.

The plan is to use as much human resource and network associations to build the brand, let people be part of the online social move and move it from just a word of mouth brand to the brand that everybody wants to be associated with.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Journey of an Afro-preneur: Baby Steps


This week has been quite exciting, I met up with Bluefi5h (those Kahawa hookups :-) God Blesss Capuccino) and had a talk with him about Kwangoo.com it really is amazing how much we have in common when it comes to creating an online brand but Bluefi5h took it to the next level when he explained to me what he would like this brand to be, the ultimate goal is to buold the number one online brand in the region. We know where we want to be in the next 5 years and we taking the "Baby steps" to achieve that vision one day at a time.

One of the most fruitful things to come out of our conversation was the development of a release schedule, we both pretty busy people so it's hard to come up with tight schedules and stick to them but I was glad that we both so the need to come up with a timetable. Bluefi5h is primarily going to focus on developing the brand and growing it, he has many contacts in the design field and they will come in handy when we need to really grow the brand. A clothing line was mentioned and it rallied a few ideas from the two of us. Such brainstorms make the whole idea exciting and worth the effort even with the challenges we face.

Since the "launch" of the splash page, a few of my friends have signed up and even though the numbers havent been record breaking the feedback and queries I've received have gone a long way in encouraging me to pursue this vision. In the last few months I've been working on a code snippet that could really enhance the registration process of new users as well as spread the word just when I thought it was hopeless the code has come together and is working woohoo!!am so excited and bearing in mind that Bluefi5h will come up with an exciting interface am rearing to go.

One of our core objectives is to set a trend that others will be daring enough to follow, they say "Imititation is the highest form of flattery" and I wouldn't be surprised if others followed :-) It's only fair that I mention that there have been other social networking sites developed and they definitely did blaze the way but its also important to note that what we are trying to do is indigenous and will encompass the latest trends on Web 2.0 (Javascript wil really work its magic..damn browser compatibility grrrr!!...)...

Everyday I learn something new, I follow the trends in social networking and pick as much as I can from every site that pops up or dies, all these lessons are applied in kwangoo.com

Monday, November 06, 2006

Journey of an Afro-preneur: Kwangoo.com so many questions??

So the splash page for kwangoo.com has been up for about 5 days now, I've received some awesome reviews on the logo, people really associate with it and it gives them a desire to know more about the site and its features.

Duke looked at the splash page and said "i see a kenyan trying his luck with a myspace-ish idea" :-) well I have to admit myspace.com is a major source of inspiration but am not trying to be one.

I've received many questions from people asking me when will it be launched? and as much as I'd like to launch it yesterday I can't, kwangoo.com is still in the development phase and once I have something that can hold people in as I release updates I will, so for now I would urge my supporters to be patient :-) it will come...

I'm basically an Army Of One so you can imagine the load on my shoulders, but am enjoying it at the same time dreading it. On one hand I have a dream coming up and that is major adrenaline rush!! on the other hand I have the demands of life pulling me down and yet I have to deal with kwangoo.com as an online brand. But its an experience I wouldn't trade in for anything.

I want to thank a few guys for their support even with such a small step like a splash page, Major props goes to Bluefi5h, Gigi, Duke,Benoit, Gisty jeng and the rest whom I havent mentioned. Good things are on the way...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Journey of an Afro-preneur: Kwangoo.com Online

Finally the child is being birthed, I finally managed to upload the site on Thursday 9am, am not a very good designer but I came up with a simple page which I'll redo in the next few days in the meantime go to www.kwangoo.com and marvel at the baby we are about to unleash to the world.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Journey of an Afro-preneur: A demanding week

It's been a demanding week for me and despite me hoping for the best from every situation the "Murphyesque cavalcade" (I got that line from another blog which was talking about the string of problems they have been facing) of stumbling blocks seems to be getting to me. I have the rigours of full time employment to deal with, a string of projects I need to deliver, meetings with my contractors (basically people who have paid me to do for them work),family issues on my back and the occasional desire to just pick up a blunt object and go mass genocide on every living soul within 200 miles.

So the domain is ready and is aptly named Kwangoo (which is like a twisted version of the swahili word "Kwangu" which means "my place..") I like the name cause its catchy and easy on the tongue even for the non-bantu out there, I'm informed that non-bantus and caucasians would have a problem with the word "kwangu" and would pronounce it as "kwangyou" which would be so wrong in my view, so I twisted it at the end and added to letter O's.

So now am trying to get the logo up and running which seems to be the place where my patience will be tried to the core. Bluefi5h seems to be operating on another level of existence where the word "today" seems to mean something else, so am left hanging as he says his sending me the logo and when I check my mail I see nothing, now you know why I have visions if inflicting bodily harm to my lovely neighbours (bluefi5h lives about a km from where I live :-0...).

Jisty Jeng also seems to be on another parallel universe, he did the wrong concept despite me insisting on Kwangoo. Uganda is far if you look at it from a walking distance perspective but am sure I can organise for his arse to get a thorough beating.

I even considered having a company. Logoworks, do for me the logo but having looked at the cost about USD300 I had to shelve that idea after all I have no budget.

On a lighter note, I decided to pay the organisers of my "randaranda" a visit on Monday where I finally met the 6 beautiful ladies behind this exciting concept. I spent the better part of the vening talking and listening to them and they spent the better part of the time just being themselves and drowning me in so much humour I almost cracked up.

So now its thursday am a logo short, and am wondering is this the way it was all meant to be when this vision came about or does it get better with time?