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My Endorsements for Nairobi County

Like me, I'm sure you must have election fatigue by now. To be quite frank, I have sworn off local media until after I vote. I had also resolved not to publish any more election related posts, but then I read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. The concept of objectivism fascinated me greatly and got me thinking about some of the policies being spewed by candidates for office. As a capitalist nay a compassionate one, I am wary of any politician promising redistribution of wealth. The begging culture (harambee) sadly is a national culture and it is important that we break this habit through our policies and politics. It is for this reason I have decided to share my endorsements for candidates for Nairobi county as this is where I get my bread and butter. We start with governor, a powerful new executive position. I will consider the three leading contenders: Kidero, Waititu, and Mbaru. Among the three Kidero gets my endorsement, yes he is haughty but he also has the best combination of s

Walk My Path

The last few months in my toastmasters journey have been a whirlwind. Since December last year I have delivered four speeches and taken two roles. Of all these yesterday's speech was the most exhilarating. I spoke on a topic which I am deeply passionate ( EVA ) and its potential to generate wealth in rural areas. The speech was also special as it was delivered as part of the International Taped Speech Contest for Toastmasters. I was humbled that despite very worthy contestants also giving speeches the judges awarded my speech as the winning speech. Here is the full text of the speech below, titled Walk My Path. UPDATE : You can now see the video here or at the end of this post. Almost 60 years ago, my grandfather at the behest of British colonialists was forced out of his central province and found refuge as a miller in the Rift Valley town of Njoro. It took independence of our nation for him to find a chance to move his family back. 30 years ago, my father left a cushy gov

Martha Karua for President

With slightly over a month before the first general elections under a new constitution, I have assessed the candidates for Office of the President of the Republic of Kenya, and I have no doubt in my mind in my selection of Narc Kenya's Martha Karua as my choice. Martha Karua always had a head start in my mind's eye, as early as February 2011, I registered under her Narc Kenya party because she appealed to my vision of a candidate. I nevertheless withheld making my endorsement for the 10 months following, giving other potential candidates the opportunity to surprise me. And while there were a few surprises along the way: Raila's embrace of Kalonzo, or Mudavadi's surprisingly good interview on BBC's Hard Talk, Peter Kenneth's flawless launch for presidency, and even Johnson Sakaja's brilliant defence of the Jubilee Alliance, none of these were sufficient to sway my vote. On March 4, 2013, I therefore intend to cast my vote for Ms. Martha Karua and here

My Chris Rock Moment (sort of)

Is humour important in business? Oh yes certainly! Humour is a great way to break the ice, get people to relax, and build rapport. These are very relevant to salespeople as well are always meeting new people during sales pitches, conferences, cocktails or other events. This week I made an attempt to see how funny I was in front of an audience... luckily it was the very empathetic group of fellow toastmasters and not the Apollo theater. However there were a number of CEOs, senior executives, and businessmen/women there so the jokes could not be that pedestrian. This was my first time to try the jokesmaster role, and I intend to keep taking it up more to polish up on my punchline delivery and deadpan face (Martin Freeman from office UK is my role model and suits my geeky self). If you would like to know more about toastmastsers and how it can help improve on your communication and leadership skills visit the website  or attend a meeting

Competing against Established Businesses

Most of us who were boarders in Kenyan high schools would brave the early morning chill to attend prep; a rigorous educational exercise that was mandatory in some institutions. As sleep starved teenagers, this was a herculean effort requiring an almost superhuman discipline. However when one zeroed in on their objective, the task would seem relatively easy. Over a few weeks while I was in form three, I had an objective of which I devoted my entire capacity to achieve, and woke before the crack of dawn on many mornings to bring it to fruition. Sadly it was not an A in mathematics, chemistry or physics. Rather I would wake up every morning, before all my classmates, to sneak to the nearby shopping centre to buy two crates of the freshly baked bread. You see, then just like now I was a businessman. Even in those formative years of my entrepreneurship I understood the basic concepts of demand and supply. Bread in high school is one commodity that has unusually high demand. Apart from the

Best New Years Resolution Ever

Welcome to the New Year. It’s the second day of the year and if I was you I wouldn’t be too hard on myself if I had already broken some of my New Year’s resolutions. Keeping resolutions is hard, but when it comes to your business there is one resolution you should make, and you cannot afford to break... If your business is like most businesses in Kenya – bar education or retail – at this time you are facing serious cash flow crisis. Consumer spending is at its lowest after an indulgent December and will only start recovering from mid-February. If your customer base comprises of individuals or small businesses, they are prioritizing their personal expenses over business expenses, meaning your invoices get paid last if at all. Facing a similar January a few years back at our co-working space Genius Executive Centre I began January with a number of offices to fill from tenants who’d left the month before. I had read somewhere that when things are at the worst is when you ad

One Hundred and Forty

One Hundred and Forty “Our children may learn about the heroes of the past. Our task is to make ourselves the architects of the future.” One Hundred and Forty “Kenya has become a country of ten millionaires and ten million beggars.”  One Hundred and Forty “It’s the little things that citizens do. That’s what will make a difference. My little thing is planting trees.” One Hundred and Forty These words spoken respectively by Jomo Kenyatta, JM Kariuki, and Wangari Maathai are similar in that they influenced millions. They also have something else in common. One Hundred and Forty. As in each of the statements is less than One hundred and Forty characters. 140 is the maximum number of characters that you can write on the social media website twitter. Kenyans are second only to South Africa in using twitter in Africa, sending nearly a million tweets a month. And 70% of these Kenyans on twitter are using it to monitor news. This is according to a study called How Africa Twee

Entrepreneurs Chat with Kalonzo Musyoka

Back in 1995 there were precious few internet connections in Kenya, and these few were courtesy of Dr. Shem Ochuodho's pioneering ISP. In Nakuru county there were even fewer, 3 to be exact, and one of those happened to be in our house. We used it mainly for email, my dad getting to communicate with mom who was out of the country. We only dialed up every other day as the costs were dear. Being part of such a small community though had its advantages with one of those being that Dr. Ochuodho would send daily emails with a summary of the news of that day as it appeared in the press. This was back in 95 when KBC was the only TV and radio station available in Nakuru and thus the only source of electronic information. Dr. Ochudho's "news"letters were therefore a gem and helped me appreciate just how effective internet communication was in relaying information. Fast forward to 2012 and we have a plethora of ways to instantly communicate. However when it comes to relay

5 Cost-Effective Techniques you Can Use to Avoid Your Car Getting Stolen or Carjacked!

Cars are great. They get us from point A to point B and they carry our goods or personnel to the customer when we are in business. Of course they are also an important asset that any owner would make sure to protect against theft. This article tells you 5 cost-effective ways you can use to do exactly that... Read more about the 5 Cost-Effective Techniques you Can Use to Avoid Your Car Getting Stolen or Carjacked!

5 Common Drugs You Need to Know About

It’s that time of the year again, a nasty flu virus has been going around and everybody is walking around with a handkerchief. We all hate getting sick, but what’s even worse is getting sick and being given illegible prescriptions for medication you have no idea about. This article tries to demystify some of those common but illegible drugs we are usually asked to swallow to ease our illnesses Read about those 5 Common Drugs you need to know about

How do you find clients online?

Where do I start? The spread of the internet into every sphere of our lives and the mega stardom of internet wiz kids like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin has fired our imagination. It’s now possible to believe that with a good idea and internet connection one can have a viable business.  We’re living in the internet age and It’s a great time to own a business but the question is, can you really use the internet to grow your business? People ask me where does one start, how do you find clients on the internet, and can this be outsourced? What is Prospecting? The thing to remember is that the internet is a fantastic tool, it can do several wonderful things but a tool is only as good as its’ user. To really benefit from the internet you have to know how to use it. Just like in a traditional business, the first thing and most important to use the internet for in your business is to get prospective clients. Some simply call this marketing but we like t

If a picture is 1000 words a video is a million!

Here at Genius Executives, we've been very busy the last couple of months. We've re-branded our company  and put together a strong team to make sure we remain the top outsourcing and consultancy company for small businesses in Kenya, One our the biggest challenges we've been facing however is how to tell someone about our revamped EVA products that now come in black-boxed packages called Genius Boxes. Working through hundreds of different speech ideas and text we came to realize that a video can say best what EVA and Genius Boxes are all about. Won't want to take the fun out of the viewing so you can go ahead and see it for yourself here.

The Love Letter

After shocking the sensibilities of a conservative audience with my first time speech on cars ; I went back to the same audience with this mellower version: Boo Boom Boo Boom What was that sound? What was making that sound? It was the middle of July and unlike most days in that month; the sun was a blazing ball in the sky and the heat stifling. I had walked almost a mile to meet you. My shoes were dusty, my hands clammy with sweat and my legs ached . I was irritable and tired and then I saw you.  Boo Boom Boo Boom It was my heart, beating, audible, in love. Strong but curvy, your colour a deep flawwwwless mahogany and smooth, oh so smooth. My hand involuntary stretched to touch you, but I stopped myself before I made contact, fearing by putting my sweaty and dusty palm on you, I would mar your beauty. You were the vision from my dream, and I instantly knew I could not live without you. I finally got the courage to take you home that afternoon but it took me time to get used

An open letter to the Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Power

Dear Eng. Joseph Njoroge, KENYA POWER’S RE-BRANDING IS A WORK IN PROGRESS First of all let me commend you for the great strides you have made at Kenya Power. Despite working in an environment with high cost of supplies, rampant vandalism, legacy employees, and generally hostile consumers you have managed to accomplish a great number of things. Applying for new electricity connections especially in rural areas has never been easier or cheaper. Prepaid meters have introduced certainty in billing and protection of revenues for our national utility provider. You have also worked hard to improve the customer experience with more responsive customer care, use of information technology and a charter on response times. Certainly if Kenya Power continues on this path you will delight your customers with a world class service that improves their lives. Naturally in rebranding a parastatal you will encounter challenges, but all challenges are solvable. I’d like to share some suggestions on

Screw Textbook Publishers

I feel very fortunate in the time I have spent as an entrepreneur. Not only have I gotten to meet a great number of different people: partners, suppliers, clients, proteges, employees but I've also provided products and businesses of utility AND made money. I like think of myself as an innovator as most of my ventures have been firsts: 1st person to publish the laws of Kenya online , 1st person to launch a low cost business centre , 1st person to automate the company registration person ; but I do not naively believe that I was the first one to come up with these ideas. Rather I was the first one to move from conceptual stage to actual implementation. As any real entrepreneur knows, implementation is 80% of the work. If you regularly read this blog, you'll therefore know that when I get a new business idea I usually share it freely. No need hoarding an idea, get it out to there and then make it a race to see who can make it work first. It is with this same spirit that I'd

Mulika Mwizi

In one of my first classes at the University towards my law degree I encountered what must be one of the most eccentric lecturers in Kenya. Besides a deep seated hatred for apples (for the crunchy sound made when eaten) he was a multiple accident victim whose injuries had left him with a condition where he could lapse into complete catatonia. Not only did this affect his duties at the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda where he was a prosecutor but it could also make him re-boot halfway into his lecture. On re-boot (despite lecturing for hours already) he would begin "good morning class today we are going to look at..." In spite of this, I still found myself immensely enjoying his class and the subject he taught - criminal law. There were many reasons why I liked criminal law but perhaps the number one reason was because of some of the fantastic stories we discussed. We would study intentions and acts of murder, manslaughter, arson, cannibalism, conspiracy, buggery (do

Live Blog Kenyans for Kenya Concert - a Teeniez Perspective

So I am watching the Kenyans for Kenya concert with my younger teenage brother and asked for his thoughts on why it looks like such a flop and why he would not attend. Here are his top 5 thoughts: The event wasn't publicized enough. He only heard about it yesterday. The presenters (Julie Gichuru, Anne Kiguta, Jeff Koinange) are too old to be hosting a show targeted mainly at young people (from the music being played) The Citizen TV studio and the formal talk of the presenters make it feel like news read  boring. The line up of the artists should alternate good and not so good, that way the tempo and excitement can remain relatively high The stage is too far from the audience.

My Brush with Al-Qaeda - Part II

Continued from One day earlier.... "Kindly spell the name for me sir" "AL HAZEEF, A-L-H-A-Z-E-E-F, come on you have my passport why don't you just read it, I need to check in and go about my business" "I'm sorry for the inconvenience sir, with passports in Arabic we always confirm the English translation." the pretty hotel receptionist Njeri looked up from her computer at the middle-eastern man impatiently tapping away at her desk. She hated this type: young, filthy rich with petrol dollars and ready to throw insults if things weren't done their way. Njeri started to sigh but caught herself midway - that would only aggravate the situation. She was glad that her shift was almost over, Mike would be at home by now and she couldn't wait to curl up in his arms and tell her about her morning. A small light flashed on Njeri's computer bringing her back to

My Brush with Al-Qaeda - Part I

We were all laughing heartily as we reached the hotel lobby, one of my arms around Achieng's shoulder and the other holding my ribs which ached from the night full of humor. My younger sister Loizer was recording everything with a hand-held video camera which surprisingly was still on. Kibe my cousin could barely make it down the last flight, he was not used to so much liquor and humor. Just a few minutes back, a joke from Shiko my other cousin had destroyed all his remaining inhibition and whiskey sprayed from his nose as he was reduced to a cackling mess. The sight of Kibe uncontrollably guffawing while spraying liquor from his nostrils had in turn raptured any remaining decorum we had and we entered the lobby a riant mess. I figured the hotel staff were accustomed to tourists behaving badly so initially I was not surprised at the lack of attention as our company reached the lobby. It didn't take long to realize however that the staff were not indifferent but rather all the

My First Time

“I was very anxious, and glad it was over quickly”  “Felt shy at first but once I got the hang of it, I loved it” “A really painful experience!”  “Super, freaking awesome!” These statements came from a group of teenagers as they all described their first time…         drive a car A  life time lived to its full results in a painted mosaic of memorable moments,  and for me none are more memorable than my first times with a car. I'm Learning “Stop!”, “Slow down...” “Left, left …. No left” arms flailing around giving directions to unseen places; it’s distracting I want to do it my own way. This is different from how I imagined it. I had planned the whole thing out in my mind – practiced it with the meticulous precision in front of the mirror. I was supposed to be in control, guiding the pace. Shifting the gears higher or lower as my passions dictated. Instead here I am, befuddled , anxious, immature. She doesn’t respond smoothly to my touch but jerks around as i