From “Just Geeky” to Savvy Entreprenuer

image from

image from

Your traditional image of a geek overlays comfortably with that of the mad scientist.
Hair unkempt, shabbily groomed, largely introverted and ill at ease in social situations prefers to sit and work away from everyone else, mostly in their bedroom at home. And of course, the compulsory geek glasses.

Your traditional geek (who we shall call Geek. Let’s allow Geek to be a he) is extremely intelligent, comes up with brilliant innovations and products. However, (s) he is largely lacking in social skills, has no idea how to pitch his/her product to a potential investor or partner. Geek has no clue on how to make his product attractive to a client, and is at a loss on how to begin letting people ‘out there’ know that it exists!

Because Geek is brilliant at what he does, he assumes that the market will just gratefully receive his app or e-platform, what with it being the perfect solution to the problems he identified. And tends to get rather easily disillusioned when the client critiques his ‘baby’.

So one day, through referrals, Geek lands his first big client. The down payment is larger than any amount of money he has ever received before! Yes!!! It’s time for Geek to go shopping! It’s time he upgraded from this tired, old computer anyway! A new high-performance smartphone is also necessary. After all, these are the tools of his trade. Connectivity, no?
To Geek’s rude shock, within 3 weeks, (2 weeks before he is done customizing the app for his client), his bank account balance is alarmingly low! Now he has to trudge on with this job, with hardly any of the comfort the down payment was meant to guarantee. Bummer! And who knows when another deal will be closed?

The iHub Jumpstart Series, whose maiden unconference took place on the 4th and 5th September at the iHub, is the answer to Geek’s dilemma.

iHub Hypemaster @Afrowave

iHub Hypemaster @Afrowave

Conceptualized and by Jimmy Gitonga (@afrowave), Jumpstart consisted of eight sessions in total (4 on each day) that were unconventionally facilitated by an expert and a start-up. They were tailored to address Geek’s questions.

• How do I manage my finances?
• How do I protect my idea?
• How do I go about ideation and testing my prototype?
• How do I brand myself and my product?
• How do I pitch to an investor/partner?
• How do I incorporate a company, and register a business/product name?
• Which business model would work for me?
• Where do I get funding?

Bootstrapping 101 with @TheMacharia

Bootstrapping 101 with @TheMacharia

The expert addressed the how-to, while the start-up gave their experience on the topic, including challenges and how they overcame them. The participants engaged the speakers in vibrant debates, sometimes having to stop on account of time.

The Branding session by Fadi (@fadzter) of @ARKnative is the expert session that stood out to yours truly. Simple. Clear. I understood not only what a brand is, but I felt I could verbalize the whole vague concept that is branding.

The start-up session that I enjoyed the most was Macharia’s (@TheMacharia) bootstrapping session. A candid poignant narration of his PesaTalk experience.

The iHub jumpstart series shall be a quarterly affair with the next one expected in December.

~Her Royal Geekiness~

HTC Sensational Rant

I had wanted a HTC phone for the longest time. Word was it was a true techie’s phone. Built for excellence. HTC did not even mass-produce phones like it’s counterpart in Android; Samsung.

image from Google

image from Google

No, they made quality, targeted gadgets. Any techie worth his (or in my case her) salt should be rocking that brand of a phone! This was from a college classmate of mine (which makes him a techie, too) whose name I shall not mention on here. He had been using his HTC Onex for about 6 months.

Buying a smartphone, the smart way

So after a particularly good gig, I was all set to buy my first real smartphone. I had smartphones before but hey, I was finally getting my HTC. I did my window shopping and finally got a Z104e  at the best bargain around. I wanted white, but they only had it in black. The Sony Experia Arc, which is the other phone I was considering getting, had a screen of 4.92in compare to HTC’s 4.96, with a higher resolution of 540 x 960 pixels to the Experia’s 480 x 854 pixels. For me, with screens, the bigger the better. But the Experia came in white, which was more than I could say for the Sensation.

Sony Experia Arc

image from Google

The HTC claimed superior battery capacity with talk time of 8.25 hours to the Experia’s 7.41 hours.

Then to crown it all my Sensation (I was already calling it that) boasted a  Dual core, 1200 MHz, processor. To the Experia’s mere Single core, 1400 MHz I was hooked.

My HTC experience

When I got my gadget I could hardly wait to charge it and use it! I was going out on a date that evening. Rather than wait until I got home and charge it there, I gave it to the waitress to charge it for me while my date and I chatted so I could start using it ASAP.

Battery life

This was a shocker to me. I mean, I knew it was a smartphone with all those superior features. Therefore it could do so much more that an ordinary phone, which was a strain on the battery. But seriously? On a trip to the office, which ordinarily takes 1.5 hours, I had mobile data on, and tweeted, Whatsapped and responded to the occasional GTalk chat. On getting there  I was on 25% or so battery. Then annoyingly on attempting to take a photo, the phone told me that since battery was lower than 30%, I could not use flash. So much for indoor photography.


Then came the heartbreak. About 4 months into the use of the phone, this phone that I protected like a baby. Silicone cover, and I still had the original screen protector.( I know it came with corning Gorilla glass – aka scratch proof glass but I was not taking any chances.). So about 4 months of using my phone, the unspeakable happened. It hung! I was smack in the middle of typing a text, the keyboard stopped responding. I tried going back to the home screen, and that didn’t respond.

Not wanting to think too much about what this meant, I did a hard reboot (pressed down the power button until the phone went off then switched on).  It responded.

But over the next 2 days, the problem recurred enough times to be a real pain in my behind.  I synced my contacts, emailed myself all the texts I thought I needed to refer to, then – FACTORY RESET.

That gave me reprieve for a day or two, then back to the same story.

I gave it to someone who rooted it. (Lost all my texts and non-synced contacts) The hanging persisted. Things were getting to a point where I couldn’t receive calls sometimes because the screen would just not respond.

Oh yes, and my earphones only worked a couple of times, then the left earpiece went mute, and the charger head died within a week of usage.

Not a singular problem

One day after a particularly annoying episode with my phone, I went on a rant on Twitter. Turns out, about 5 of my friends with different models of the phone, and a few other random tweeps all had nasty things to say about theirs’.

One has a One X  (It takes the best pics by the way) (Did I mention that mine tended to take washed out pics half the time?) suddenly messed up her contacts. Most names disappeared and some numbers got matched to the wrong names. Don’t ask me how that happened.

Another one has a One X, which he does not use anymore because it “randomly hangs and sometimes just dies”.

My friend who has the exact same model as me experienced hanging for 2 weeks (this despite factory reset and uninstalling unnecessary apps) and now it’s dead. Won’t respond to charging, poking or prodding.

The only person who seems to be enjoying his HTC, one year down the line is my techie friend who convinced me to buy one in the first place.

I asked everybody I saw with different models of HTC about their experience for about a month (about 15 handsets) and most of them mentioned hanging, and lousy battery.

Might never happen again

So while I acknowledge that HTC phones have tons of really cool features – the swipe keyboard, the muted ringtone on pickup, the louder ringing while in bag/pocket, the loudspeaker on flipping the phone – way cool.

It is very unlikely that I will fork out any of my hard earned cash for a HTC phone. Especially because I am yet to hear of HTC going public and admitting any flaws in their hardware or firmware, and for that matter, recalling any model.

-her royal geekiness-