Someone asked the other day,”so which are you, an Entreprenuer or a Business man.”Well” I said “a bit of both actually.”

This got me thinking though whether one could be better off being one and not the other.Firstly lets discuss the difference.

Entreprenuers are considered as those who work on new ideas and generate new products.Some say they are not usually concerned with revenues but more on their products and how those fit with the special needs of their clients.They more or less bootstrap to generate new land and new products. What keeps them alive apparently is the impact side of their business and less about the profit making

Business men/women on the other hand are seen as arbitrage opportunists.They model their business to make profits and unlike their friends on the other aisle, are less caught up with the impact side of their business.They however,do care about the employees they employ.They are swift to implement and make calculated risks when starting a business.

One can draw many conclusions as to the advantages of being either or.In my opinion hough you don’t necessarily have to be one and not the other.An Entreprenuer is considered a new land creator and can create out of thin air.However, a business man is better at making commercial sense of any business and has better luck at creating a profit business.Merge the two and you have an unstoppable person.

It is not for me to say which side of the aisle is better, but I will say that the lessons learnt in whatever business you are in are crucial.Their hearts are both in the right place. One may look to create a Da Vinci the other has the street savy to protect that Da Vinci.

Hope that makes sense.Try and be one.Difference explained.


Well ! it has been a busy 3-4 weeks.As a family we have been up and down trying to add some final touches to a product that we hope will start its journey off.Interesting though it has been all hands on deck and work has affected even play.

That is why we choose to mention that resting rejuvenating or re-charging is a necessary part of your journey.Unfortunately most pick leave days as work days for their projects.Needless to say life can catch up with you and sometimes find that those days give you the opportunity to catch up with that side of your life.

Despite this find time for your self,partner or family by being present by taking time off.

Be present, have fun,stop the abacus from over heating,walk bare feet,talk less,listen more enjoy.You need the healing.We hope to do the same too.For now though its all hands on deck

Hope to catch you soon.

Turning Your Hobby Into A Business:

Lately, one of my young ones has picked drawing and coloring as their past time activity. At first I thought well, it would be one of those temporary projects where he would figure out that his artwork was lacking. To my joy though he has stuck to it and has actually improved to a level where I can say he can take it further. As a parent, I am left wondering whether it is right to take his hobby to the next level. Maybe even monetize or make a business out of it.

Should I though?

Hobbies are a part of your entertainment and relaxation system. By definition hobbies are those activities that you love and have fun while doing them. whether you can turn your hobby into a business can be affirmed albeit with some considerations. These considerations however, become even more critical when you decide to make them for someone else.

So what should we consider before taking the leap? Here is my top list.

How will the business decision impact your love of the hobby? Business are tough and without the explicit guarantee that they will work out, one needs to make “business” critical planning decisions before deciding to venture into one. In the long run the business aspects may end up killing your love of the hobby. Before taking the risk especially for someone else take time to consider/explain the possible consequences including failure.

Can I allocate the time/resources to push the hobby into a business? Any venture worth taking requires one of two things. Capital or Time. These are the two currencies you have to deploy at each stage for you to make a proper stab at a business venture. Sometimes these two are not inter changeable. You should therefore carefully consider what you are currently doing vis a vis what time/resources you can put into the business now and into the future.

Do I have the skills or do I need to hire? Most of us consider ourselves businessmen/women without having the skills and attitudes. Your skills and commitment are the lifeline of your business. Before venturing out sit down and list what skills you have and what you need. If there are gaps, determine how you will fill those.

Despite the hype it is a marathon and not a sprint? Businesses are grown and you should be willing to consider to do it as a side project as you learn. It is important to test markets slowly until you get a proper market fit. You might be surprised that most people get into one thing and along the line change into something else.

It might be what you love but it’s not what the market wants? Businesses are a death trap for needs and wants. What you want is usually sacrificed at the altar of what the market needs. My young one as I told you loves drawing action figures. The market unfortunately may need other type of art works. How then do I have him compromise without feeling he has lost? It is important to set your expectations and have these conversations before venturing out.

These are among many other considerations you might make before venturing out.

After making a judgement call and you believe you can adequately fend for yourself then go for it.

Before you take the business journey here are some “business’ considerations

First create a minimum viable product MVP.abv. This is your version 1 product with the best available features with all considerations in place. This has to take time. Market testing, iterating etc….

Second consider registering your venture. Is it a sole proprietor, a company etc.? If you can afford one, have a business lawyer explain the different aspects including liabilities beforehand.

Consider your organization chart and hire or contract those you can upfront. These should be key personnel. Develop your org chart over time.

Have your market strategies well laid out? Marketing is key and you should have a basic idea where you expect to draw you customers from.

Are you looking to create your brand? Brands resonate with people. They may not know the details of the product your selling but most will buy because they are attached to your brand.

Do you want to have an online presence? There was a time when an online presence was almost considered bourgeoisie. This however is not the case now and having one is considered a sign of stability.Many will consider your product, because of your online presence.

Well these are but a few of the strategies to get you going.

Before venturing out, consider the statement that your hobby is yours but if you share it with the world it will be theirs. All the best. Hope you get going.

Ask an Executive

We continue with our series as we meet and talk to industry leaders.Remember on this post we sample questions sent by you our reader and put it across to executives/entreprenuers around the globe and ask them what makes them and how can one get to where they are.

Today we have the pleasure of sitting across a banker,,Peter N and as we get to know him,we also get a glimpse of the banking industry.

So here we go! Let’s put him to the paces.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been in banking?

I have been in the banking industry for 7 years. I have had the pleasure to work in different roles including risk and client delivery positions.Recently I have moved to a different sector but I carry with me the lessons and the passions borne out of being in the industry

Is there a specific course that you would advise one to embark on early in their career in order to   excel in banking? The landscape of the banking industry has changed over time. I would recommend professional courses like project management, Business process design, programming, among others. The average banker needs to be able to have a diversified skill set in order to thrive.

How is technology influencing banking methods today? What tools are you using?

Wow I mean banking is technology. Processes are constantly being automated much to the delight of the clients. Take for example debit and credit card deployments.This would at some point take weeks if not a month. Nowadays a client walks in and sets up their account including getting their cards in hours.

Back end systems have been merged with front end systems. In the near future I predict a client will be able to do everything at the touch of a button. There will be minimum contact with the physical part of the bank.

We have seen reports where automation is expected to have a significant impact on jobs especially in banking. What is your take on this? Indeed. Bank walk ins will continue to be few and in between. Processes are being automated at the micro level. The impact of this is significant as quantifiable hands on hours of work is diminishing. This means that in times of lull, numbers can be reduced. Over the next five years I expect to see bank job numbers dwindle in specific markets in the hundreds.However we are seeing a steady growth in our local banks who are making strides in different economies.This may ease that pressure a bit.   

Banks have always been considered to have the “first right” in facilitating payments. With the growth of platforms like Safaricom’s Mpesa and loan apps, are banks feeling the pinch of competition? There is always a quiet unsaid panic over the role of Fintechs. They are likely to acquire banking licenses and this will be a shift in the industry. However banks facilitate payments in diversified areas where they have developed competencies and because of this are able to concentrate on their core areas. So no. In fact Fintechs have actually added wind to their sails if you ask me. But this may change and therefore banks need to remain vigilant and more importantly move with the times too.

Is an evolution of banking a likely occurrence? How would this evolution look like once the dust settles? Heheh..I mean the evolution has already started and may take years before we decide that maybe this is the bank of the now and the future. But I expect that there will be less and less need of brick and mortar banks. The digital space will likely take over into the future.

Lastly a fun question? You are asked to advise 5 CEOS of major banks. What do you tell them about the future outlook of the banking system? I think one of the things I would question is how they are looking at the new age customer. Banks overlook the fact that their primary asset is the client’s account. If you were to go back to that premise and ask what services you offer around that single account, then re-imagine the future life of that individual client, you are likely to develop new age digital systems.

There you have it,banking and technology are apparently blending to form something different.We hope to meet Peter in his new career and wish him the best in it.

Feel free to comment and you could even throw in suggestions on questions, people and or industry that you would like to get feedback from.Looking forward to our next interview.

Ask An Executive®

We continue with our series as we meet and talk to industry leaders.Remember on this post we sample questions sent by you our reader and put it across to executives/entreprenuers around the globe and ask them what makes them and how can one get to where they are.

Today we have the pleasure of sitting across a young educator,a teacher,Joan K and as we get to know her,we also get a glimpse of the education industry.

So here we go! Let’s put her to the paces.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How do you juggle the different hats that you wear?

It all depends with the time management and the final result expected. This is how I adjust. I allocate time for family, my teaching and my hobby which is reading and a bit of travel.

In your words, is one born an educator or taught to become one? A tough question.  I would say one is born an educator. Because not all educators are in the teaching profession. You will find them in other jobs but they will likely remain educators in some capacity.

In your opinion what makes a good educator? The calling, the passion and the self-drive. These are the three key ingredients.

How is technology influencing teaching methods today? It has influenced it mostly in a positive way. It has become easy (where there is easy access to the Internet) to browse for information. It has also made learning enjoyable since learners are able to interact with it.

What technological tools are you currently using in teaching?  Video games and Google forms.

What is your view on the instruction languages? Do we need to re-look at indigenous languages and the role they play in our world? Since the indigenous languages are mostly applicable in rural areas, it is not necessary to formally teach them.However they do have their place obviously in culture.

Recently we have heard cases of cyber bullying among school going children. What influence does social media have on school going children? Those learners who have their own social media platforms are the ones who are at a high risk of cyber bullying. Parents/ guardians should ensure they are in full control of their social media platforms if they need to have them. They should allow the learners to strictly use the Internet for studies and playing games.

What role if any can educators play in social media monitoring? The educators can only emphasize on good use of social media.

What is your view on the new education dispensation in Kenya.Timely or a miss? I would say give it time. For now it’s a struggle though.

Lastly a fun question. In your past briefly describe an incident brought about by a teacher/instructor that shaped a part of you? Either bad or good. My Primary English teacher made me enjoy reading fiction books and that made me have a very wild imagination and be open minded. She would ensure that we had a whole hour of Library lesson and she would provide the books for us to read. This made me become good in English. Since then, I have never stopped reading.

There you have it,remember to become an educator Joan says there are three ingredients.Calling,passion and self-drive. An educator by heart.We wish her well and hope to catch up with her later in her career.

Feel free to comment and you could even throw in suggestions on questions, people and or industry that you would like to get feedback from.Looking forward to our next interview.


1.Data analysis and innovation are one of the foremost sub set of skills that will be critical into the future. I had a conversation with an IT consultant two weeks ago. He was looking to track milk cans for a company that offers delivery services to a dairy company. Ingenious! I thought to myself. Imagine what the tracked data and its analysis could show. How many cans are deployed and returned?Which region produces more milk?What amount of milk is pilfered ? What is the average turn around time?How does delivery time contribute to pilferage? et cetera…You see now? Data can yield a significant impact if analyzed correctly.It can have direct impact to companies’ bottom lines.The applicability is why this skill is our top choice into the future.

2.Problem solving With the adoption of technology and automation,many organizations are increasingly finding challenges be it on adoption or market competition.Complex problem solving is one of the essential skills that will let you get that job and keep it.With objective tools/frameworks one is expected to create sustainable solutions and sell this solutions to other team members.It is an indispensable skill and that is why we give it the second spot.

3.Technology design and programming.The digital world is dictating the terms of engagement at the work place,and business.Increasingly those with design capabilities and programming skills are being looked at to lead by creating tools that can be depended on.We give it the third spot. That number should not lessen its value as it is one of the critical skills that most organizations are looking for.

Our number 4 is Creativity and Initiative.Many jobs can become mundane and monotonous.Unfortunately competition is stiff and employers cannot solve every problem and create new solutions.Employees are usually better placed to develop sustainable solutions .Forward looking organizations are trying to incentivize their employees by offering spaces that can curate their ideas and solutions.Those with initiative and creativity are therefore benefiting from this visibility and are reaping big at the workplace.

5.Stress tolerance and flexibility completes our top 5 skills that will let you climb that ladder at the work place.Being able to adapt to different environments allows you to shift gears and easily move out of comfort zones.Unfortunately jobs are shifting at the work place.Job descriptions are being thrown out of the window as you are forced to adapt to new technologies and new roles almost every three to six months.It is therefore key for you to allow yourself to be flexible and have a level of stress endurance.Plan ahead and move when required.

How do you rate our top 5? What other skill do you think should be included? Reply on our comments.

Check out our next 5.

Why Communication?

Losses from communication breakdown are not fully understood or quantified much as those of a bridge collapse or floods. However the examples below should paint a picture for you, of the consequences of communication breakdown and why as you go through your career, you should put good communication skills as one of your top agendas.

Case 1: Loss USD 2mio

All in a coma,!

Company Z & Y had a contract which included supply of poles.

Company Z was set to supply company Y the poles for a period of 5 years and thereafter as per contract would either seek to remain or terminate the contract. However, company Y issued termination of the contract within the first two years of commencement of the contract. Company Z was aggrieved as it felt there was a breach of contract and went to court to seek legal redress. Company Y in its submission argued that the contract could have been terminated by either parties at any time but Company Z argued that the contract could only have been terminated after the first five years .The clause that was in contention read in part “the agreement shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date  its made, and thereafter for a successive five year term, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party”. After the arguments which also included experts on the English language, the regulator ruled in favour of company Y as the second comma on the clause(……five year term, ) seemed to suggest that the contract could be revoked at any time by either parties with a one year prior notice as the only rider much to the consternation of company Z.

Company Z suffered losses of 2 million dollars due to the termination.

Case 2: Loss USD 8.8mio

What’s in a name but everything.

A government agency indicated the winding up of a company X and published the same in its gazette notice. It however mis-spelt the name of the company  and unintentionally captured  the name of  another company with an almost similar name. The unintended company was forced into administration after orders were cancelled, contracts were lost and creditors came in. The company went on to sue the government  agency  for damages due to the listing and won. However ,the damage had been done and the company struggled to get back what it had built for  a number of years.

Case 3: Loss not quantified.

97% of nurses who had applied for a post failed a language proficiency exam.The exam meant that they could not get the jobs applied for.Losses though not calculated could run into millions.

Most of us who have gone through a communication class rarely come face to face with the reality of why we need to be attentive in class.I have chosen to pick the examples to show cause and convince you as a reader why you should sit up when you get the chance to attend a communication webinar or class.

Allow us to share a common pictorial on the pitfalls of communication,when organizations are designing products for clients.The Tree swing project.

A customer walks into a contractor’s office and requests for the construction of a tree swing. The illustration  below shows the possible pitfalls of miscommunication.

It is important as a communicator to be precise and avoid ambiguity in your communication.Consider your audience as much as possible.To improve your skills consider the mantra KISS-Keep it short and simple at all times.

These principles will help you consider your content before presenting.They are generally referred to as the 6C’s

—Clarity: This encompasses the logical presentation of information so as to give the clear purpose of the information being communicated. Always avoid unnecessary jargon that may distort the information and follow the mantra KISS-Keep it short and simple at all times. —

Completeness:-Information sought or conveyed should be complete and give absolute facts so as to elicit change. The information should also elicit required emotions. It should have no omissions and should be persuasive.

—Conciseness:-Information should be as succinct as possible. Should be brief and avoid repetition.

Consideration:-Always consider the audience or receiver e.g. the age and the level of education, —the language etc.

Correctness:-All information grammar, statistical information, formal spelling etc should be accurate at all times. —

Courtesy:- Its important to observe decency in all your communication. Some words may be viewed to be discourteous and may lead to disinformation or may stir unwanted emotions.

This topic is as broad as you can imagine and our task was to show you that there could be considerable consequences brought about by poor communication .The next time you get a chance to be informed, please be attentive as it can mean your rise or collapse in an institution or organization.

Humane Technology

As a recent initiate and graduate of humane technology,it is only fair,and prudent that I publish on this blog what I have internalized.

Thank you to the team for allowing me to do this.Please walk with me for 5 minutes.

As an enthusiast of technology, I have been lucky to see first hand what technology can do.It has enabled businesses and human beings aggregate work,simplify roles and in some instances help connect the vast majority.It has also created new pathways that have accelerated finance.Needless to say, examples are many and this article will not venture into those.

Design and implementation of Technology however, can bring about silent unintended effects.These silent unintended consequences permeate across all societal levels and more so to the younger generation which may destabilize economies/livelihoods in both the short and the long run.

Take for instance a report in the UK, DrawingThe Future 2018 that indicated “the most popular job for children(aged between 7-11) in the UK was either a sportsman or sportswoman with a total of 21.3% of children drawing it as the job they would like to do when they were older. This was followed by teacher, vet and social media and gaming”. If you were to consider these five jobs, you would obviously see that only 2 roles are directly teachable roles in schools.This means 3 of the 5, are roles that are not directly teachable and are more a consequence of technology .If these choices remain stable over time,children are likely to be ill prepared to engage in such roles in the future. Whether this new job roles are a positive consequence or a negative one is up for debate.However without proper structures they can lead to over concentration,be a passing fad or cloud, or exacerbate common societal ills.

Some other effects can be behavioural and the adjustments can be debilitating.Stress,addiction,peer pressure influences,cyber bullying,emotional and physical disconnection are some of the most noticeable negative behavioural trends that are emerging from engagement with Social platforms.Decimation of livelihoods, is an economic negative trend,coupled with redirection of capital where a few control vast global resources.

The question put to a humane technologist is to be able to project these unintended consequences and through frameworks try to mitigate them.On a personal note the design aspect has helped me reflect on what we want to achieve and how to achieve it and the consequences after we achieve it.The frameworks are meant to help you inculcate your values,help you design whilst looking at the unintended consequences and most importantly plan for them.

A humane technologist’s mind does not limit itself on how to aggregate people but on how to purposely serve them and more importantly not to capture them.Efficient use of notification pop-ups,how to disengage continued use,how to assist those with low vision are some of the techniques that a humane technologists is concerned about.

It is also important to note those negative externalities brought about by technology in society are to be noted and a humane techie would thereafter, advocate for change or progress through education.Through techniques like “negative KPI monitoring” we can create lenses that can help us solve better for society.

All in all, as technology players we need to play pivotal roles in our quest to provide solutions for the society.It is a different perspective but a necessary one and we hope to move into the future in stride.

Thank you and hope to inform you more,

Pick a good book once in a while

A plumber builds water ways much the same as a builder constructs.What is the role of a writer though?

Between our busy family life schedules and the endless search of financial security read freedom,we have turned into programmed robots.Turn a switch and off you begin your daily life that is a rat race.We try to balance, to schedule to plan…arrrggggh..yes,it can sometimes seem endless.

So in all this where does one re-fuel,where can we heal our soul and reflect inward. one word.Books.

What is the role of writers you asked? well they create water ways and build our mental capacity to endure through books.Yes.endure.I say this because we have created social structures that glorify the goal oriented and shun everybody else. It begs the question where our next philosophers, astrologers..dreamers.. will come from? A good book allows you the leeway to travel into other lands and more importantly plug leaking waterways and help build other pathways in your mind.

So what is the last book you read and enjoyed?I put the word enjoyed because you have to find a level of satisfaction when you read a book.

A book allows you to experience life other than yours.It allows you to create,to reflect,and to engage.

Mental strength comes from seeing yourself in the midst of others.Do you need motivation.Pick a motivational book.Do you need hope?Pick a book that gives you that boost.Do you love fiction? well somebody said sometimes fiction reveals more about reality than facts.Indulge in works of fiction.You think you are having it tough? Pick an autobiography and get to know the meaning of “ukiona vyaelea jua vimeundwa”

A good book will always relieve you the pressure of the rat race and allow you to see yourself inspite of your circumstances

Aha and if you have a tight budget(like most of us) or just lack the time,well an audio book is a suggestion.Visit your social/app and type the name of your book and “binge hear”your audio book.

Sometimes the solutions to your problems can be just a book away.So whether it is your Bible, Qouran, Bhagavad Gita or your Sidney Sheldon , know this, human relations have been built through literary works.

Please pick a book and thank me later.

Ask an Executive

We continue with our series as we meet and talk to industry leaders.Remember on this post we sample questions sent by you our reader and put it across to executives/entreprenuers around the globe and ask them what makes them and how can one get to where they are.

Today we sit across a young leader,a fashion designer,she does the designing,the cutting and the stitching.She has her own brand and we are proud to be associated.Her name is Maureen N.

Let’s put her to the paces then.

First, a little bit about you. What made you become a designer?

I am Maureen born and raised in Limuru, and I am 28 years old. I am a designer. Being a designer is something I have always dreamt of since I was a little girl. Who does not love fashion anyways?

How important is the material you use and does it make a difference to your buyers?

  When my client visits my shop I always advise her (hopefully even him) on the type of material she/he will use depending on the kind of a dress or a suit she/he wants. I consider using the best material to make my client happy.

How do you advertise your designs and do you have your own brand name or design that is unique?

Social media is the best and easy way one can use to advertise and that’s how I advertise my designs under my brand name “scarlet designs” in all platforms.

Say if I was to join you today, approximately how long would it take me to learn, for me to start doing my own designs? Do I need to go to school to learn?

Being a designer is a calling (Wow!) and it needs passion. If you don’t have passion for designing trust me you will be wasting your time. Therefore, to learn how to be one you have to have passion. (To your second question) So(sic) you can take at least six months and yes you need to go to school to learn.

What is your take on second hand clothes or “mitumba”?

Second hand clothes are very unique and affordable. I personally like them.

Are there more established design houses locally and regionally that you look up to? What about internationally?

Yes, most people who we sell to love fashion and through them we learn more about fashion. My designs are original and I have not thought of looking at what others do locally. But internationally I look at labels like Yves St. Laurent and hope to have a brand like that.

Lastly a fun question. Imagine you are the Head of state, you have the power to do, what is the one thing you would do to change/improve the fashion and design industry?

As the head of State I would like everyone to study fashion from an early age. Hopefully everyone would love fashion and would compete to make designs. Because I still believe most people love fashion.

Determination and passion are what drives her to achieve.Well,we wish her the best and hope to catch up with her as she continues with her journey.

For her designs visit her on her FB page web.facebook.com/Scarlets-design-545692045601289

An insightful conversation with Maureen,feel free to comment and you could even throw in suggestions on questions, people and or industry that you would like to get feedback from.