Thursday, February 22, 2007

Journey of an Afropreneur: Managing, Bears and Rails


Managing myself and others

I count a total of 5 days since my last post I guess I really haven't had much to say even though a lot has happened.I'm currently leading/managing the development of our main products and that has been and continues to be a challenge for the very reason that I have to shed the "coder" image and become a "manager" in the words of Al I need to become more corporate and less of operational. Almost 5 years of web development you realise that writing code is easier then getting a contractor to work and deliver a product that meets the standards your business is targetting. I now have to organise meetings, deliver progress reports, develop product standards, formulate budgets, negotiate costings and sell the idea to new people whom we would like to join the team. A herculean task whichever way you look at it considering that managing myself is already hard enough, I am always tempted to just push away the developer of our current product and get my hands dirty, that's the natural thing for me, but I am always reminded by Al that I am now a manager and I have to lead and manage people, try telling that to a person who gets excited when they hear such words as Python, REST, Web Services and you'll see what I mean.

It constantly is a series of personal improvements on my part as I try to learn and put into practise at the same time the lessons of being a manager. I keep focusing on the bigger picture and try to focus on my strengths while constantly working to overcome my weaknesses. I must admit that occasionally I do give into my weaknesses almost like a little child who can't control their desire to consume large amounts of candy, I find myself spending hours trying to learn a new language or to brush up on those I touched a long time ago, instead of seeing it as a chore or a duty that I must fulfill I view it like a retired athlete who keeps on going to the track to practise even though they know that they have now become a coach.


"Why would you put yourself through the agony of learning a new language?" I think because it keeps me fresh and upto speed, If we ever get a client who insists on having an web app developed in a certain language I'll be in a better position to quantify how long it will take, how many developers we need and how much it will cost based upon my experience and knowledge and that isn't such a bad thing considering that I now have to focus on the "bottom line".

StocksKenya.com goes "Bearish"

On another front, our favorite stocks portal www.stockskenya.com seems to have gone down. I'm informed by reliable sources that it's a database issue which will be resolved soon. I hope they address the issue fast enough since they do have a loyal fan base which I'd hate to see die.

RoR-Sailing using Rails


I'm not sure that's a fitting heading but for now it will do, I spent a couple of hours last weekend reading up and trying out RoR Ruby on Rails. I had earlier on started reading Agile Web Development with Rails and was eager to put what I'd learned into practise, so I decided to develop a blogging application just to see how far I could go. It really is interesting to see how Rails makes it so easy to do stuff with the minimum effort. Hopefully when am done I will put it up so that my people can see :-)

Strategising

On tuesday we had our first full day strategic meeting at MultipleChoices, demanding on the mind but necessary for any successful business.

Let's see what the next few days will offer

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