Friday, September 18, 2009

Bidii Afrika

The Bidii Afrika forum was a lot of things to a lot of people. Initially I joined it voluntarily and I must admit it was quite good. At the time it allowed for sharing of ideas on many viewpoints and the kind of interaction I haven’t had until I joined Twitter. It even had job postings and a lot of good free stuff from Francis Chege, who went on to form Young Professionals.

The Moderator, Robert Alai, was fair and impartial and the whole thing worked well. When the history of Kenya’s technology revolution is written, Bidii Afrika will have its own chapter. It changed the way we look at a lot of things.

The experience people got from being part of a forum, from sharing ideas and stories, vacancies and classified ads and quite frankly anything that popped into peoples minds I believe opened the door for some of the bloggers in Kenya today.

But with time the content deteriorated, so I opted out, only to find I’d been added again.

“Every time I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!”

Finally I just marked reduced the frequency to “daily digest” and marked Bidii Afrika as spam.

I’ve heard that at one point Bidii Afrika had 30,000+ members. I’ve also heard a lot about its founder, Robert Alai.

I’m not going to discuss rumours. What I do know as an absolute fact is that Bidii Africa is no longer a Google Group. I also know that Robert Alai has insulted me on Twitter, so I’m inclined to believe whatever rumours I hear.

Some time back, just before the now infamous 2007 elections, as a joke, I created a profile for Mwai Kibaki on Facebook.
By the time Facebook shut it down (for impersonation) it had been written about in the newspapers and it had about 8,000 friends, a small number compared to Bidii, but I have some idea of how it feels to have something you’ve worked on shut down.

I also know how it feels to have some people hang on your every word, it can get to your head.

Arrogance used in the right way is a powerful thing, without it, the world would not have Donald Trump!

Unfortunately for me, Bidii is back, as evidenced by an E-mail I received last week.

The only advice I have for Alai is this, if it is true that you don’t have a rosy personality, check it at the door. You can be a bastard in your own free time, separate it from the work that you do.

If all this going around is “created by your enemies”, work on improving your image. Whatever you work on will benefit from that.

As a red blooded African man, you don’t need to suck up to anyone, but you also don’t have to generate needless animosity. This thing you have going with Kahenya on Twitter is ridiculous.

Start from there.

That’s all I have to say

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Weekend thing

Ha!! The weekend! Its been a while!I never thought I'd appreciate them so much. It all started on Friday withe the BBC Tweetup. Truth be told we dont need the BBC to do that but it was fun anyway. I will not miss the next one.
Saturday was a day of KPLC aided blissful bumming.

FRIDAY NIGHT! It was really nice to meet the Twitterati, akina @inteligensia, @mkaigwa @sciculturist,@Kahenya you know, the real bloggers. The people @moseskemibaro called "...the most digitally connected group of people you could possibly hang out with in Kenya..."

Lots of fun, these people

Saturday, September 05, 2009


I had a very interesting conversation with some two guys this week. One of them's a successful electrical engineer, the other runs a popular bar in the CBD. A mutual friend of ours has gone mad. The dude is making some good money now and its changed him. He's become arrogant, unreliable and quite frankly he's pissed off too many people.

Seeing as we've known the dude for a while we decided to discuss the situation over a cold one. Unfortunately the dude will have to sort himself out. But we resolved to be there for him should anything bad happen.

So the conversation switches gears, the Electrical Engineer is getting married soon, so he's bought a new house and recently flew to China to do some shopping with the fiance, "just like that".

Naturally, this would come off as bragging to some people, but not Elec eng, dude said he thought he was a baller until he went there. He met some guys who have "real money" not the paltry half mill he blew on household appliances and a 4 star hotel on a whim.He met a guy who'd spent 1.9M on some virgin atlantic tour he takes with/without his current mama 3 times a year, compared to that my boy felt like a pauper!

You see Elec Eng is doing pretty well, he's about 5 years older than me and he thinks for some reason I'm good company. So we talk, and he talks to my friends and we drink and usually on Friday nights at the bar, we're one big happy family.
But Elec Eng isn't always there and that day I found out why.

Hanging out with us guys, he is King.

A successful self made man, driving his own (no loan) E-Class among fresh graduates makes him just that, King. The girls hang on his every word, the boys buy him drinks hoping to sumbua the chap he buys rounds. He said all this could easily get to his head, easily lead him to be comfortable and he'd loose his edge. So he keeps changing the venues he drinks in and tries not to get too comfortable. 

Similarly the manager runs a joint which is being threatened by a neighbouring one. His bar has a unique feel and is well known for its product (its not a strip club, I'm being vague so that I dont name names) . He wants to renovate it to counter the upstart. But we're advising him not to.

So what do we have here? Two guys, one who loves change advising the other not to change. Interesting


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