Showing posts with label Creative Entrepreneurship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Creative Entrepreneurship. Show all posts

Let Yourself Be Perfectly Imperfect.

I remember watching my desk mate and fellow classmates walk past me during assembly to the front of the podium to receive gifts for doing well in exams . While this happened I would wonder when it would ever be me. At times I would daydream walking up the podium to get my Cadbury chocolate for grades well earned. Yet again and again, I would wake up and find myself in the same place leading on the other side, with no chocolate in sight apart from the occasional generous friend giving me a kionjo.

In the afternoon, after class, I would stay in behind longer than usual while my deskmate went for Hockey practice so that I could catch up on some reading. I would do the same during the weekends when she and other high performing students would go out of school for Sports competitions. 

I did not let myself get into Sports because I was scared that my grades would deteriorate even further. If only I knew what I know now as someone working in the Video Game Development Industry, on the importance of play in activating the brain for learning and strategic thinking. 

Anyway, I digress; my daydreams were the closest I got to receiving such a chocolatey gift. I know, I know you must be thinking gosh how petty. All the same, I am a human being and coupled with my raging teenage hormones at that time I was allowed to feel that way. 

Most schools did not have such gifts and students still did well. However, that was not my reality and for that, I felt inadequate. 

The fusion of art and tech is the future; creativity is getting more on demand during this time of accelerated digital transformation -- Wendi Ndaki

Don't get me wrong I had my strong points. I remember being awarded the second position for drawing a portrait during an inter-house competition. But now looking back, I realize no one saw it fit to give us brilliant creative students chocolate as recognition for our creative genius. It tells you a lot about the education system and the solutions for these ingrained mindsets that the sciences are the most important and should be given priority at the expense of the arts.

Anyway, I laboured through high school and ended up with a good enough grade to do a Diploma so as to qualify to do my Degree. This only happened because I am blessed with caring parents who made sure I went through my University education. 

I ended up in IT and I decided to embrace it. I eventually fell in love with it which led to me starting this blog and joining the gaming industry where I feel most at home because of how art and tech fuse seamlessly.

To be honest, one must be strong-willed and passionate about art to go through such experiences and still be at it. And because of that, I celebrate myself.

Having gone through the hardships I did during my time in High School, I have come to appreciate applications that gamify learning such as Mavis Beacon for typing and Duolingo for learning foreign languages. Because I love learning new things. It's just the method of learning I used in High School that did not work for me.

I learn best by doing practical stuff that is why Art was my favourite subject in High School and IT grew on me in Uni. 

I used to attend classes during the day and work in the ICT department in Uni at night. I would juggle that with doing assignments and also being an active member of a student-run organisation called AIESEC where I would eventually get elected as a Vice President. I even got to travel to Rwanda as a web design volunteer teacher in a High School in Huye through AIESEC.

My alma mater USIU-A made learning fun and my time on campus was full of adventure. I still remember the 24 hour ride from Nairobi to Kigali by bus for that volunteer opportunity. And how we would go to the Rift Valley region for leadership conferences on a regular, both through AIESEC and USIU-A as student leaders.

As I sit here writing this, my life still has its challenges but I feel like my past experiences ground me. I am more appreciative as my life takes shape and as I establish myself as a Creative Entrepreneur. 

I currently have clientele from both the Arts and Tech industries. I have travelled to numerous countries fully sponsored because I chose to be bold, follow my heart and do what I love. I recently spoke in a panel with CEOs and influential people in Kenya and I almost did not recognize myself. I received a good sum of money for winning as a team at the Hack Ur Culture Hackathon. My team Hack Circle also received funding from the Goethe Institute Joburg to further develop another solution we created at the same Hackathon.

I have found my calling in the fusion of the arts and technology and I intend to share this passion through the work I produce and hopefully make a difference through inspiring stories that encourage those hesitant to follow this path that it is possible to succeed in it.

It will be tough at times but totally worth it. Let it be imperfect as you start and watch it improve as you go. We are always on a journey towards an elusive perfection, so let yourself be perfectly imperfect. And try try try. Apply for those opportunities and then let go, meanwhile count your blessings and stay positive. All will be well.

I never got that chocolate in High School but I tried my best. Now I can buy myself all the chocolate I want with money earned doing things I absolutely love. What more could one ask for? I did my Diploma while my classmates were doing their Degree I felt low in the beginning but when I went to do my Degree I achieved more than I thought I would. And so can you, that thing that is putting you down right now will make for a great story in the future. Be kind to yourself and those around you and let yourself be perfectly imperfect.

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8 Team Building Lessons from the Internationally Acclaimed Netflix show Money Heist

Image source

In an ideal world of team building, each person each day is excited to be involved in the project or work they do. Are you?

This piece is inspired by the Netflix series Money Heist and a business training I attended on building an awesome team by IE International University. As a viewer of Money Heist, I was impressed with how the heisters were able to make the general public join them in a rebellion all thanks to the remarkable team they had built.

As a writer in the entertainment industry, I have realized that collaboration is important and in order to collaborate well, great teams need to be built. 

The essentials of team building are purpose, mastery and autonomy. Businesses around the world that are able to successfully achieve these 3 goals usually also succeed in providing motivation, allowing for creativity and improving productivity in their teams. In addition to these 3 essential elements to team building are gender representations, adapting to changepersuasion, recruitment and networking.

Let's talk about all the essentials as inspired by this internationally acclaimed Netflix show.

1. Purpose

The Money Heist's team purpose is to print 24 billion euros and also to complete the greatest heist ever. The fact that they plan to print the money means that they will not steal; that is how they get the protestors on their side.

In a team, things happen and goals change but the larger goal should never change. In order to have a great team like the professor, it is important to educate the team into their behaviour and purpose as individuals and as teammates.

2. Mastery

Education should make sure that each team member has a high level of mastery in their area of expertise. In Money Heist, the person digging the escape tunnel, the person printing the money and the person keeping the hostages in check were the best at what they did.

We like to work in teams when we believe that we're going to get better at what we do or what we like to do. This is highly motivating. 

As a team leader, if you assign a role to someone and they act hesitant or say they don't want it, it's important to help that person understand that they are going to be incredibly valuable - not only in this team but also to themselves as they build towards greater competency for the future.

Nairobi: Image source

Aspiration for greatness inspires mastery. In Money Heist, the aspiration is to a great robbery, freedom, breaking away from traditional society, and its requirements. This aspiration for greatness gives an opportunity for mastery through practice. 

For instance, Nairobi is good at printing money but she goes to become an even greater master when she prints 24 billion euros in the greatest money heist in history. 

Berlin is a master of social, emotional and cultural intelligence. He understands people very well. He knows what makes them tick enough to know what and how to say things in order to persuade them to do what he wants them to do.

3. Autonomy

Money Heist highlights the power of a team that is formed by autonomous people who can make decisions within the guidelines of the culture of the group. Everyone was able to make decisions in order to change and adapt the plan to changing conditions on the ground. There's a culture of instant communication especially when it comes to who is in charge when the professor is not around.

It is important to remember that everything is derived from culture. The professor taught them to have shared values which included spilling no blood, making the money, and getting the money out so that they could improve everyone's lives. 

Denver: Image Source

Team leaders are meant to be driven and passionate about what they do so that the team members can learn by example. Each team member should be self-aware enough to know what drives them personally.

In one episode, the team leader Berlin who was not in full possession of his mental faculties ordered Denver to take Monica's life. When met with the dilemma of shooting her or being killed himself, Denver made a rather clever decision that saved both their lives and led to their love affair. This goes on to show the power of autonomy versus blindly following of leaders even when they are clearly on the wrong.

Berlin: Image Source

Therefore, in order to form a good team, it's important to foster a feeling of autonomy and ownership in each individual so that they can act in accordance with the purpose of the team.

Hierarchy also determines culture: the money heisters hierarchy was that of peer relations except for the professor who was slightly above. This contributed to the openness of the members when it came to communication. There are many moments in the series where different people became the boss. 

4. Gender representation

In Money Heist, there is a balance in gender representation; we see powerful female figures in Raquel and Alicia who represent the former and current head of the police. While Raquel allows for moral ambiguity and questions what the police do, Alicia does not. She is a member of law enforcement with questionable ethics and morality. She will torture and harm people in order to get what she wants. Although they were both in the same team, to begin with, they no longer are because they do not share the same values of good and bad.

Raquel shows her autonomy when she joins the heisters, a team she was once against. This is the beginning of her transformation into developing her own power and her own set of ethics and values. She becomes completely revolutionized, even wearing different kinds of clothing like shown in the picture below. She carries with her all the knowledge she has of law enforcement and becomes a crucial member of the heisters team. 

Raquel: Image source

5. Adapting to change

It is important to note that in every team there will be conflict and resistance. The reasons for resistance are fear, loss of control, uncertainty, surprises and unfamiliar things - all of which stem from change. One of the key features of teams is that they can change' this is highlighted by how the law enforcement team changed once Raquel left.

A radical change also occurred among the hostages when Monica joined the heisters. This is after Arthur dismissed her when she told him that she was carrying his child. The painful dismissal leads Monica to the arms of Denver her captor and eventual lover (Stockholm syndrome). Monica fully embraces her new team and even goes on to take on the name of a city and what better city for her than Stockholm. 

Stockholm: Image source

6. Persuasion

Persuasion is a key skill in team building. And it requires a show of evidence and credibility. You are more likely to persuade people if you show them evidence that you believe they should do the thing you say and you have credibility in it. One should also have emotional, social and cultural intelligence in interacting with a group to increase the chances of successful persuasion. 

The professor is great at persuasion, an example is how he got Tokyo to the team by saving her from a trap the police had placed to arrest her. He also revealed some details about her life that no one else knew and explained how he was going to help her change her life.

7. Recruitment

Hiring is dependent on culture: what culture do you want to create, and who are the people who can help you create this culture? It is important to ask yourself questions such as

  • Will you have a shared purpose with the new member of the team? 
  • Will they be accepting of responsibility and autonomy? 
  • Will they be able to make decisions much like the ones the leader would?
  • What role will they take?
  • How will they fit with the other members? 
  • Will they be able to communicate easily in the group and will their addition be useful?

Mastery should be taken into consideration too because you want to hire people who are capable. For instance, the  Professor hired Tokyo because she was good with a gun and great at being a thief.

New Recruit Bogota: Image Source

8. Networking

Who is in your network? What are the networks of the people who are in your network? Networking helps us access expertise that we don't have and get our goals achieved as a result.

We should all be like the Professor who was a connector connecting networks. He had done his research and figured out a network of thieves with specific skills that he needed for this particular heist. He was so good at networking that he was able to bring Raquel who was once against the team to his side and into his network. 

Thanks to Money Heist we have seen the power of autonomy, mastery and purpose in accessing the drive and motivation of people to really want to be engaged in their work. People seek meaning and a sense of accomplishment as a primary motivation. 

Giving room for gender representation in our teams is also a great way to build healthy teams. We also need to improve our persuasion, recruiting and networking skills because after all, we all need each other. 

Have you watched Money Heist? What was your biggest takeaway lesson from it?

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African Creatives to the World with Africacomicade's Gamathon

Did you know that the Video Game Industry is bigger than Hollywood? Well, it is and in 2020, the global games market is set to generate more than $160 billion and increase by 7.3% year on year. In Africa, the market for games has risen from $105 million to $570 million in just four years! The African population is young with the average age being 20 years. This will form the labour force of the future, as well as the gaming community that will raise the user base for games.

Africacomicade Founders

Oscar and Oluwatosin the Co-Founders. Their talk can be found

The Africacomicade Gamathon is a virtual event that is hosted on It is an initiative that was started by Oscar Micheal and Oluwatosin Ogunyebi to showcase African Creatives to the World. This is not only limited to the Creatives in the Gaming Industry but also those in the wider Entertainment Industry like film, music and content creation. Gaming is an industry that brings other industries together and this will become even more evident once you register for free and attend the training sessions and talks. 

The aim of Africacomicade is to let the world know we have African Game Developers who are doing well. And to invite Creatives of all kinds from Storytellers to Illustrators, Marketers to Animators, Musicians to Sound Technicians and more to learn how they can plug into this inclusive Industry. It is a chance to show all these people the job opportunities they can leverage.

The Gamathon started on the 24th and will be running till the 30th of this month August 2020. The first 5 days are dedicated to training through talks and panel discussions. A lot of insight into the gaming industry will be shared by Industry leaders. Then on the final two days, Creatives from different African Countries will team up and create games for 48 hours in the exciting Africacomicade Game Jam.

If you are a newbie, not to worry. There will be training sessions in the program such as using platforms like Buildbox which requires no coding to create a game but focusses more on logic. Communication about all these training opportunities will be done through the Africacomicade Discord channel. Gaming and Game Publishing companies will also come in and inform new as well as established Game Developers what they have to offer.

The training sessions are in an effort to assist in the education needed in the Gaming Industry. It seeks to highlight how there are endless opportunities for what one can do with their gaming skills. 

As a player you can become a professional game tester and assist Game Developers with the much-needed feedback during the different development phases of their games. You can also become a Professional Esports Athlete and stand a chance to earn just as much as the professional football players do.

So as you can see there will be lots of activities before the Game Jam this weekend. If you are a Creative and, to be honest, I believe we all are, you may want to register and learn how you can offer your skills in this fast-growing Industry. Also, note that there are lots of prizes to be won. I look forward to seeing more African Creatives building their networks and growing in the Industry. And I hope you will be one of them.

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8 Interesting Ways to Remind Yourself That Every Experience Counts.

Source: Freepik

How did yours start? I mean the journey to where you are in your life at this moment. It all makes sense when you look backward.

For me, it all started with my love for cartoons,

which led to my love for drawing said cartoons. This, in turn, led me to take art classes in high school after which I took a detour and studied Business IT in University. All the while doing commissioned portraits for my classmates on the side.

The following is an account of my own experiences and how they have turned out well, in spite of me feeling like I had taken a wrong turn a couple of times such as in University. I know many of you have felt like this one time or another.

1.) Look back and identify that thing you've loved doing since childhood then pay attention to how life is nudging you to get back.

My detour introduced me to the world of Technology and Business which would then lead me back to the genesis, which was my love for cartoons.

How? well, I always had a wanting attitude towards computers and had avoided taking computer classes in favor of my art in High School.

I came to realize that it was because we were mostly taught theoretically and did not get to interact with the computers as much. Why? well, we had just one computer lab in a boarding school with close to 1000 students.

Fortunately, I got to enroll for IT essentials and Cisco Certified Network Associate classes right after finishing High School. The courses had lots of fun visual aids and were hands-on so I fell in love with computers as a result.

Source: Giphy

Once I got over my funk with Technology, I went on to graduate with a degree in Information Systems Technology from USIU-Africa.

My Tech background came in handy when I finally got back on track by enrolling for a certificate course in 3D Animation at Shang Tao Media Art College. I later met a lady that would end up changing my life in ways unimagined.

2.) Ask yourself who is doing the thing you love and succeeding at it.

Her name is Ng'endo Mukii and she is an Independent Filmmaker and Animator. I met her at a speed mentoring session called Match Mentor organized by The Arena Kenya.

When I first saw her that day, she was on the panel dressed in a lovely colorful African print jumpsuit. I loved her style, confidence, and I was impressed by what she had accomplished so far.

 After the panel discussion, a timer was set for us to go for our rounds of speed mentorship. It was like an intricate dance: one step forward, two steps back, turn to your left then go towards your right. This is the way we moved around in groups of 4-7 from one mentor to the next.

Maintaining a keen eye on her table, I continued with my dance around at the mentors stationed close to her. This continued until I eventually got the chance to go to her table. Our session felt super brief, but I remember leaving feeling so inspired, it had been worth the complicated dance.

3.) How can you be of help to them while in their presence as a mentee?

I got her contacts and right before I left, I asked her if by any chance she had an internship position in her company. She replied that she did not have any at the moment but I should email her and remind her I was the lady with a head wrap so that she could remember me.

I did as requested knowing too well that if I did not, she might not have remembered who I was considering she had met dozens of new people on that day. She was friendly in our conversations online and I kept tabs with her thereafter for close to a year. She would later contact me while I was

doing the internship I wrote about here in India. 

 Source: Clipart

4.) Count your blessings and remember that everything is always working out for your good.

Funny thing is she was also in India at the time of contacting me, only in a different state. What are the odds?

The universe is truly interesting and I am in complete awe at how things unfold in life. I told her  I'd be delighted to intern for her when I got back home.

This is how I was blessed with an opportunity to work closely with Ng'endo who is not only an amazing human but also a multiple award-winning Animator. I got to see how she goes about her daily activities and it was amazing how easy she made all of it seem.

5.) Cultivate a strong relationship with your mentor and be as helpful as you can even after your period of working together.

My internship with her was such a great experience. She would later trust me with her extra work which I did remotely after the internship. And since we had built a strong relationship, she knew about things I was interested in and would send me links and email forwards on the same.

6.) Heed to their advice and be open to trying out the new things they recommend. After all, you have to be willing to change the way you do things in order to be like the people you admire.

In one of our many conversations, I had mentioned my interest in games. One day she sent me an email about a workshop happening at the Goethe Institute on gamifying African cities. I was intrigued by the whole concept and so I applied and got in.

I had attended one-week workshops before so I was eager to absorb the knowledge and simply move on with my life. This particular workshop was different; it introduced us to a project called Enter Africa.

So when we were told about the magnitude of the project that is, it's running in 14 other African countries concurrently and the requirement to commit for the next two years, it all came as a surprise to me.

It was during this workshop and subsequent meet-ups while working on the project, that I started

getting acquainted with concepts such as gamification.

All the same, it ended up being a pleasant experience. I was sent to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on a one-week workshop and then to Munich, Germany to be a panelist for my very first time representing Enter Africa Nairobi.

7.) Request for help from your mentor when called to do something they have done numerous times.

I remember how ecstatic I was when I read the email that I had been chosen to represent the Enter Africa network as a panelist in Germany. Once all the excitement had died down and some normalcy kicked in, I realized that I would need some help preparing for the panel discussion.

So I called Ng'endo to share the good news with her as well as to ask her what she would advise me to do in preparation. I did as I was told and I remember being super calm and confident on D-day. Her advice had been of great help.

8.) Be open to change the trajectory of your life when you stumble upon new things that align with your interest and that compliment your passion.

We finished our 2 years as members of the Enter Africa project last year. I even compiled a list of gratitude messages from the team members below.

During my stay in Germany, which I was fortunate enough to extend to one month, I got to meet a Kenyan doing his PhD there. I first met him at the Munich Media Days Conference where I was speaking and later on we set a meet up with him, my father and myself a couple of weeks later.

Coincidentally, he had already met my father a year before. When I informed him of what my father does for a living in Germany, he asked me for his name. And when I mentioned "Mutisya", he retrieved my father's contacts from his phone like magic.

Thanks to this meeting, I am currently preparing to pursue a Master's degree in Game Development and Animation for Film. My first love Animation has found herself a new partner and I'm totally fine with that.

 I am currently studying German on Duolingo

and looking forward to enrolling for German classes later this year. All the while reminding myself that whichever way it goes, all is well. After all, at the end of the day, I will have a new language added to my arsenal. And every experience counts. Now it's your turn to look back at your own life and remind yourself how every experience in your journey counts.

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How to Build Enlightened Wealth As A Creative Entrepreneur

"You arrived here on planet Earth encoded with divine DNA -  a specific set of talents, gifts, opportunities, connections, and sensitivities.

Image: Freepik

We believe you have a destiny to fulfill. There is music in you, a song you are destined to sing, or instrument you are destined to play in the symphony of life.

Some people discover their destiny quickly, some people take decades to do so, and others never even look for it. When you tap into this pure vein of gold you become the person you were born to be." - Mark and Robert

Now join me in the journey of discovering our divine life path through a book whose entire theme is the higher power's approach to business success.

Higher power, God, the Creator, Source, we have different names for the Supreme Being that created us and cares for our well being.

Higher power should be the center of everything we do in business. We should think of how Higher power would treat our customers, how they would create our products and how they would give back to society.

The following are 5 business lessons that, as a Creative Entrepreneur, resonated with me. These lessons are from the enlightening book Cracking the Millionaire Code by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G Allen.

1. Lesson One: Giving 

According to the book, we should think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege because other than amplifying the fact that we have enough to spare, giving lubricates the process of wealth building. 

Giving to me comes in many forms. One is creating a business solution that serves many people -another is finding ways to make people's lives a little better through monetary or in-kind donations.  This explains why most successful businesses have vibrant CSR programs.

It is a trend among the ultra-rich to have foundations where the surplus of what they have earned goes to charities in order to help other people. Oprah once said "when more is given, more is required" and she lives by example.

2. Lesson Two: Finding Your Purpose

The destiny code is your purpose in life. The music you were meant to sing in the symphony of the universe.

It took Oprah Winfrey's demotion from a lofty news anchor position - which she did not like anyway - to a stagnating talk show no one watched at that time, for her to discover her destiny.

At first, when she started the talk show, she was made to interview a couple with their child. The cheating husband confessed in front of the national TV that his girlfriend was pregnant and Oprah saw the humiliation in his wife's face. And that was when she decided that enough was enough.

She decided that she would not let TV use her but rather she would use TV to impact people's lives positively. She continues to do so using new media like YouTube even after a successful 25 years as a TV talk show host.

It is important to know that at times your destiny is shown to you in disguise. In Oprah's case, hers was what her boss thought was a demotion. Yours could be a lay off that led you to follow your passion of cooking that you were putting off for the future which never seemed to come.

The book also reminds us that we need a team and that there are people who are destined to be in our team. They will help us fulfill our destiny and we will help them fulfill theirs.

3. Lesson three: Finding Your Winners Circle

The authors introduce an interesting term in the book. The ANGELS code refers to the team of people working with you on your business. We need a strong team and they need us. It is good to have a team of people who are positive, forward-thinking and who have a track record for success.

One action step would be to come up with a list of people and start contacting them on whether they would be interested in collaborating on your joint business idea.

ANGELS stands for

Access to assets - The access to capital and financial assets your team members have.
Network capital - The people that your team members know.
Genius capital - The talents, gifts, and creativity of your team members.
Experience capital - The educational background as well as the street smarts of these members.
Light capital - Do they have a giving spirit and a strong belief in a higher power?
Serendestiny capital - What are their current opportunities and what does the future hold for them?

Use these to determine the right people to put in your dream team.

4. Lesson Four: Finding Multiple Revenue Streams

As a freelance artist and creative entrepreneur, I learned that there are multiple ways of earning from a single product.
These multiple ways can be summarised by the acronym PRISM

PRISM stands for 

Primary products
Related products
Services &

Say for instance your Primary product is a car; you could get another revenue stream from selling Related products such as spare parts of the car.

In order to ensure that your clients are satisfied with your product, you would want to share Information with them in the form of user training videos that show them how to use their cars in the best way possible.

You could also add to your revenue stream by creating Services that make the product easier to use. In this case, that could be car repairs and insurance.

Finally, through different Media, you can sell experiences through entertaining car events such as races and auto shows.

 5. Lesson Five: Treating Your Customers Like STARS

The star code is discovering and serving a special group of customers and treating them like the stars they are. According to this book, most of the startups that succeed are those whose owners focussed on this code.

A good example of treating customers like STARS would be a story I heard from an audiobook I listened to a while ago about someone, let's call him Sam.

Sam had gone to a bar to watch a baseball match. He found the bar TV already tuned to another sports channel.

 Since he was the only one at the bar at that time, he requested the waiter to change the channel to the one that was airing his favorite baseball match.

The waiter did and then proceeded to serve him his burger and drinks. Later on, as the bar started filling up, the TV was automatically tuned to the channel he had found on.

 So when the waiter noticed, he went to Sam and told him that it was not fair because he was the first one there and should be able to continue watching his game.

Not wanting to stir up the crowd that had gathered at the bar, Sam told the waiter that it was fine. He was willing to move to another room that had no one in it to continue watching the match.

The waiter went on and changed the channel to the baseball match anyway. He also took the remote, removed the batteries from the remote, and gave them to Sam.

After hearing this story, I could not help but imagine the reaction from the other customers - and smile at how special Sam must have felt.

It is said that Sam did not enjoy the burger from the bar, but he left that place with a lasting impression and a great story to tell.


All these lessons are strongly dependent on finding one's divine life path and I believe everything else gets better with time after that.

At the moment you are able to start giving even if it is in the form of volunteering your skills and talents.

You are also able to find a team of passionate friends to work with on a primary product as well as those that are linked to it. Remember PRISM?

And once you start earning loads from these multiple revenue streams, you are able to give back monetarily or by building platforms that share tips on how you made it work for you.

You can also start treating your customers like the stars they actually are.  I believe the business will keep coming back to you because of how special you make them feel.

It's a whole cycle people!

So join me this new decade in implementing these lessons into our Creative endeavors. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Let's crack that Millionaire code.

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How a Fun, Simple Game Changed My Perspective About Games.

Image Source.

My mother is my inspiration in many ways. As a child, even the seemingly simplest of things she did seemed grand to me. 

I bet you've watched those sci-fi movies where someone types accurately and at a super fast pace without looking at the keyboard. That is how my mother types. Her typing skills were one of the skills I admired the most.

My deep respect for games started right after high school. I was pretty idle at home waiting for communication from the universities I had applied to.

One day my mother came home with her work laptop. It was relatively new and I liked how you could move around with it. The other home computer was pretty much stuck in one place.

It was only natural for me to be fascinated by this new contraption. So I curiously started exploring whatever was within and that is how I stumbled upon Mavis Beacon.

Image source.

Mavis Beacon is a game that teaches typing, with fun quests to accomplish and interesting music and animations that make the whole experience memorable.

I love animations. I love them so much that I could barely hear when someone talked to me as a child while I was watching them. My mother's words.

I owe a lot to animations; my love for art was born from my love for drawing my favorite animated characters.

Apparently, I was once left alone in the house as a child while watching a German animation.

We had traveled to Germany to visit my father. I could not understand a thing but my mother had dashed to the shop and found me at the same place she had left me. She knew me and my crazy love for cartoons that well.

So the fact that Mavis Beacon was filled with colorful animations only made my quest for fast typing skills achievable in the most fun and engaging way.

In less than two months I had finished the training and could comfortably type fast and accurately while simply looking at the screen.

Speaking of Germany, Goethe Institut sometime last year announced a call for application for Creatives who would like to attend a workshop on how to create games for change. I applied and got in.

It's been a year and a half now and my team and I have been through numerous game development trainings. Our game which is designed to address corruption is due to be launched on the 24th of September this year.

Thanks to my Mother, Mavis Beacon, Animations, Goethe Institut and my Enter Africa Nairobi team, I am slowly getting to create fun learning games. I will continue sharing our journey as a team with you here.

I hope that this article and the ones that will follow will also help you view games from another perspective.  A perspective that is larger than a fun pass time and or even a total waste of time. Games can help you learn skills that make you more like the people you admire. Maybe like your mother.

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Inside Clever Art Gallery's Unique Outdoor Exhibition in Nairobi

Nairobi's 3rd edition of the biggest outdoor exhibition in the Visual Arts happened in Nairobi Railways Museum on the 4th and 5th of May 2019 courtesy of Clever Art Gallery. And I was there to see it.

I attended the exhibition on the 4th and it was one of the most unique art exhibitions I have been to so far with art pieces displayed on top of the beautiful old trains. The art and the trains complemented each other so well you could not help but appreciate both even more.

It was just the perfect time of the year to have this artsy event because of the cool but sunny weather and the glossy green grass thanks to the recent rain. That must be the reason why I spotted numerous insta moments going on inside and outside the trains, on the beautiful green grass and next to the artwork.

Glossy Green

Being an outdoors event, it goes without saying there was plenty of space to interact with the brilliant artists behind the beautiful art pieces exhibited. On that note, I'd like to share with you a bit about the Visual Artists I met.

I'll start with two ladies Dee and Rey who also happen to be classmates. They are both students at Kenyatta University and they had displayed their work next to each other.

 Dee does unique mixed-media pieces with paper on canvas such as the one below and thanks to her Instagram, I also found out that she also sings. It's always encouraging to meet people who are bravely pursuing all their artistic talents. 

Dee's mixed media piece

Rey's pieces, on the other hand, are inspired by animals and children - like the ones below.

Artistic Rey's pieces

llewxam is a student at BIFA (Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts). I found his name so interesting that I had to mention it and he made me laugh when he said it was Maxwell spelled the other way round.

He also shared how he got that name from his friends a while ago as they were talking about their dreams of succeeding in their artistic careers.  He is interested in doing live portraits at events. And he sent me the video below of a piece he completed in 6 minutes at an event in school. 
llewxam kenyan live painting artist

Llewxam painting a live portrait

Gideon and I discovered that we share something in common. We both studied art in high school but for one reason or the other, we could not pursue it in Uni. 

Gideon is currently doing Graphic Design at Talanta Institute. I found his portraits very interesting to look at, especially the one below done using a biro pen. There is a nice flowy vibe to the unique patterns he used on them.

Gideon's portrait

I then met three friends Dennow, Jimmy and Mwesh from Sketchmaster Art Studio, an Art school in Kasarani. 

Dennow is a really cool guy and I immediately fell in love with a piece he had done of a lady with some fly dreadlocks. I quizzed him further about it and he told me it was a piece he had done for a competition on drawing dreadlocks. 

Dennow's dreadlock piece

Jimmy, also based in Kasarani, has been in the industry for 6 years now. His art piece of an old guy winking made me smile.

Jimmy's portrait

Mwesh and I instantly broke into conversation after I mentioned that I have a sister called Mwende. It was a sweet ice breaker and she told me that many people ask her what Mwesh stands for so it's good to meet people who already know. 

Mwesh next to her artwork

Speaking of good things, it was also good to see a good number of female Visual Artists present.   

Ms. Ndunge made my day with her flower pots made out of reused fabric and concrete. It is always refreshing to see art that contributes positively to the environment. I spotted a really pretty one made out of a towel. She did Fashion Design at Kenyatta University and is the owner of the fashion brand Zaqara Kenya 

Ms. Ndunge's unique flower pot

Damaris is a self-taught artist. YouTube University is her jam. She had displayed her intricately made string art and I could not help but think of the amount of time she put into learning and creating this type of art. She is super talented and patient.

Damaris' string art

Steve Rotino is another patient, self-taught artist I met. He creates his pieces using millet and sorghum. He is based in Rongai and is also interested in string art.

Steve's millet and sorghum art

Ochi's story is quite a unique one. He did not go to high school so he is self-taught. He also told me there's a period in his artistic career he took a break for a decade. In spite of all these adversities, his pieces were the most unique and intricately done in the exhibition. He etches on wood and there's this piece he did of a lion that kept on calling people to his display section. Yes, his work is eye-catching.

Ochi's beautifully etched wood

Emanuel Kariuki was super helpful. I met him through Ochi and he linked me to an art expert I was really looking for. He learnt his craft at Sketchmaster Art Studio and is currently mentoring the new artists coming in.

Emanuel's monkey drawing

Wambui's pieces are the ones that welcomed us to the event. However, I could not trace her so I decided I'll try and meet her on my way out. Which I did. I marvelled at her beautiful mixed media piece of a peacock. It shone in the Saturday sun and brought out the lovely essence of the peacock impeccably. She is from Kenyatta University and is currently based at Dust Depo Art Studio in Nairobi Railways Museum.

Wambui's art display

And just like that after meeting Wambui, my time at Clever Art Gallery's unique outdoor exhibition came to an end. I left the exhibition with new artsy friends and inspiration to continue working on my craft. By the way, this is the first article I have written this year so it tells you a lot. I'd like to thank all you brilliant artists for sharing a bit about yourselves with me and for inspiring me through your art.
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DOTs' Unconference 2018: What I learnt about Creative Internetwork of Humanity

"Instead of the Internet of things, we should be talking about the internet of humanity." Janet Longmore.

Let me introduce you to this wise woman. Janet is the CEO of DOT. which stands for Digital Opportunity Trust. DOT. is a social enterprise that offers entrepreneurship and leadership training for young people in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

DOTs' 2018 Unconference was held in Kenya at the KCB Leadership Centre in Karen. It brought young social entrepreneurs from the 3 continents together to present their social innovations and share ideas with each other on how to make an impact in their respective countries.

These young participants stood out during DOTs' Impactathons which were short, intensive programs that introduce concepts on social innovation and enterprise and support youth to develop ideas to address specific problems in their communities.

The conference was scheduled to take place from the 17th to the 19th of October. It was an honor to be among the people invited to the first day of the conference. Esther Gathigi, the Country Director of DOT Kenya, gave the opening speech. The theme of the conference was on bridging gender and social barriers in order to build inclusive communities.

Then came Janet Longmore. She spoke of the rise of social businesses. She then introduced us to a new word: talentism which as the name suggests is the use of talent to make an impact in society. According to her, it is talentism that will make a difference. She also highlighted the fact that the internet was not made to connect things; it was made to facilitate communication. So instead of the Internet of Things (IoT) we should be talking about the Internet of Humanity.

On that note she introduced us to the Innojo app - an application whose role is to make sure there are zero barriers to social Innovators everywhere. After her address, there was a panel discussion where 3 former DOT. participants - Aisha from Kenya, George from Tanzania and Dalila from Jordan - joined  Janet and Esther on stage to discuss their experiences as social entrepreneurs.

A wealth of knowledge was exchanged. Aisha is the co-founder of Pwani Teknowgalz, a social enterprise that aims to inspire girls to join the STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields through mentorship and interactive training. Aisha told us of her school days where she was one of the three or five ladies in a class of sixty students. This is something I completely resonated with considering there were several times I was the only female or one of three females in my Tech classes in Uni. 

Meanwhile, George runs a Digital services agency called Smartcore Enterprise limited whose vision is to spark creativity in African learners through technology and provide the best learning experience.

He spoke of the fact that we are all content creators, therefore, we should play a part in content creation as Africans. George also suggested that we should find ways of transferring the knowledge we have to a format such as fun educational videos that other people far from us can learn from online .

His last point stuck in most of our minds especially after the MC kept reiterating it. "Don't just give business cards, make friends. If you are my friend, I can make money with you." My take away from this statement was once you build a relationship and cultivate trust between yourself and a fellow human, there is no limit to what you can both achieve working together.

Kamau Mugure was called on to give a short speech right after the panel discussion. I first met Kamau at the Digital Marketing Training by Kuza Biashara. He has always been an inspiring person to listen to.

His sharp memory is also something most of us admire. He greeted almost all the representatives of the African countries that were present in their native language. As Trevor Noah explained in his book Born A Crime  " A shared language says we're the same." You could see how intrigued and attentive the audience became after that. He would do the same with people's names at Kuza, never at once forgetting someone's name.

After Kamau's address, we broke out for the tea break as the first set of entrepreneurs prepared their presentation and other merchandise they would use to explain what their businesses are about. I will list a few of the many social entrepreneurs I managed to visit,

1. Lambert from Kigali, Rwanda. His business helps house helps with their job transition after working for a few years as house helps. They empower them with financial literacy training as well as carpet and basket weaving skills.

2. Raisa Akinyi of Kenya Biocyclers from Kisumu who came with her brother. They breed the black soldier fly insect that is later used to feed on organic waste at dumpsites in Kisumu. Her solution tackles the problem of inefficient waste management systems in Kisumu city. These soldier flies are then used as animal feed for pigs, chicken, and fish, thus creating affordable and consistent feed for farmers.

3. Anisha from the UK. She has created a web platform that links people to social enterprises near them.

4. Bright, a Ghanaian, employs graduates where they start a project with 500 direct and 1000 indirect employees and distributors. His model of business is so unique in that it is scalable depending on the skills of the people he has on board.

5. AmyAnne Smith from Canada. Her project was on sex work in Canada. She gave us a curious story of a lady who had been murdered in Canada. People were against the murder until they found out she was a sex worker. After that, they turned against her and even suggested that maybe she deserved it. AmyAnne found that change of heart repulsive and decided to do something about it. Her idea revolves around building a website that contains information for sex workers as well as a platform where they can share their stories.

6. Steven Ng'omba from Malawi had an amazing learning app which teaches children various classroom subjects through their phones. Steven is an animator and has a team of writers, videographers and designers who have helped the app to get to where it is now. The group is using the app to teach their students alongside actual classes over the weekends.

7. Then I met Deus from Dar es Salaam Tanzania.

I mentioned to him that I was in Dar a few months ago and how I loved the experience. 

We sparked a long conversation during the lunch break where he told me about his project which was about helping farmers access information on modern means of farming through physical and online training.

8. Khalil from Jordan was showcasing a Virtual Reality (VR) game he made. It took me back to 

In Khalil's game you were to look at 3 colors on the floor then walk around and spot those colors around the room. He said that the game is location-based because it works with sensors put in a specific room. If the player walks beyond those sensors, they will not be able to continue playing.

In one day, I got to experience the internetwork of humanity through these young inspiring and innovative entrepreneurs. It got me thinking about how to incorporate more humanity in my entrepreneurship ventures. After all, it is no longer about the internet of things. How do you see yourself combining the internet with helping humanity?

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