Explain your job to a five-year-old.
I help people know each other so that they can work on things together. Sometimes I am also like a parent, I ensure everything is okay.
What keeps you up at night?
Insomnia. Hehehe, just kidding, I think about progress, sometimes deadlines, other times opportunities for my company and how best I can support the team and the startups we work with.
What’s something you wish you knew earlier in career/life?
I wish I learnt much earlier to trust myself a little more. I wasn’t very confident in my strengths or abilities, which in a way pushed me to want to learn more, to listen more, but it almost became obsessive to the point where I wasn’t sleeping because I wanted to research and read. When someone would compliment my knowledge of something, I would doubt them.
What’s your favourite book?
Oh wow! This one is a difficult one for me to answer because I read at least 2 books each week. I have so many books that I consider my favourite. If I must choose one from my favourite books this year, it will have to be ‘The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty by Clayton Christensen, Efosa Ojomo, and Karen Dillon. It is quite a profound book because it talks about our approach to innovation in developing countries with very good examples from Africa and other relatable developing countries. They discuss a number of case studies by looking at innovative products, solutions and approaches.
What (singular) achievement are you most proud of?
Wow, this is a difficult and reflective question because I rarely look or think about that in my career. I am always on the go and once I do something, it is over, I want to start or move to something else. To be honest, I had to ask for help on this question from a few people in my circle and the majority mentioned how resourceful people in my network are. So, I would say that that is something that I am very proud and grateful for. I value people in my network.
A genie gives you one wish for the African tech ecosystem, what would yours be?
My answer will be very cliche, we need togetherness – UBUNTU mentality. This pandemic has shown us our interconnectedness as a people. It has also shown us (and the world) the massive opportunities available in Africa, look at the number of investments Africa startups have raised in the middle of a pandemic.
I don’t see and understand how a startup from Lesotho or Djibouti or any other African country should struggle to set up in another country (regulatory environment aside). I feel ecosystem players in the new country should help them by providing a discount in their coworking spaces for Africans from other countries, sharing an office for a few days, making a few introductions and recommendations. As Africans, together we are our greatest resource.