In my life and times in the Kenyan TechScene (real, tech, not tekemangumi), I have met all kinds of people. All types of naysayers and arm-chair critics. All kinds of cooks and watchmen who think they can speak intelligently about computer network security just because they have 5-year experience in handling the server room Solex keys.
But that is not the topic for this blog post. I am taking 5 minutes of your very busy lives to tell you about 5 types of people you should run away from as fast as possible, only if fleeing is not an option.
1 – The “My young brother is also a coder” crew
I have met countless members of this crew. These are people who are doing you ‘a favor’ by giving you a project. So, they expect you to accept the lowest price for the job. Instead of the 120k you ask for the job, they will want you to accept 15k and, as a bonus, baby-sit their cat for a day, just to show them how much you appreciate their kindness.
I mean, they could have given this system to their brother who is in the US and can do it in a week, but they decided to support local employment and Kazi kwa Vijana by giving you the project that you say will take 6 weeks.
2 – The “I used to code a few years back” gang
If I had a boob for every time I have heard this story, I would have my own Mount TitiManjaro. These are normally old/older people who did 14 lines of Cobol code in 1992 and some HelloWorld Pascal code in a NONAME001.pas file in 1997. Then they decided they are better cooks than coders. Now, they can stand infront of men and women and bleet, “I used to code, nikaacha. Najua Java Kiasi na C prus-prus nusu. Hata najua kuadika SQerr Statemates.”.
They will belittle every use of technology that you employ with the hope that you won’t charge alot. Or at all. #CoderSpirit. Avoid these like a plague.
3 – The “You develop it for FREE then we share on the profits” team
Ok. You know yourself. The 11+ (and counting) people who have approached me with ideas and systems. We discuss the details, discuss the workings and revenue models. Sometimes, I, Stupidly, start the project. Then the question arises, “What’s your budget for the work?”. And they look at me as if I have asked them to lick their elbow. “Salim, this is a BIG project with limitless potential. I can pay you 200k now, or give you 20% shares that will be worth millions once the system gets traction.”. Well, biatch, f**kin pay me!
I have my own dreams. Don’t involve me in yours.
Picture this. You call your landlord and tell him: “Mr Landlord. Sina rent for the next 6 months, but kuna system Noma naunda na once imeiva, then nitakulipa rent ya 5 years. Acha nikae keja for free for now.”. What will the landlord say?
4 – The “I am the genius, you are just a coder” type
This is close to the above. Only they see themselves as master thinkers and strategists. They will want you to drop all you are doing, and ‘take this golden chance join them’. Everything else makes no sense, if it is not from them.
You are just a tool to actualize their awesomeness. All you do is code. Kama si hao, your code means nothing.
Try this for a day. Take away your code, and watch all their BIG ideas turn to vapor. Just like that.
Ideas are like bar-talk about getting laid. Everyone has 1000 of them. But it is Code that changes Ideas to PRODUCTS.
5 – The “Don’t worry about money”
“Wewe chora code. Achana na stori za doo.”, they tell you. Then after work, they drop you at the Matatu stage in their BMW. You have 200 bob in the pocket. You are the coder, without who, the company/partnership will collapse. But you are a coder, right? You code for love. Not money. Clubbing ni ya idlers. Gari ni za masonko. Madem wote ni mapoko. Sio?
Don’t believe that fallacy. If you are not earning over 100k per month as a coder over 22 years, then hauko serious. Money is KEY to your peace. Your happiness. Your productivity. Get the money. I cannot overemphasize this.
Back to code.