A completely stupid Idiot’s guide to what @iHub and @theNailab is and is not

It is 2013. Move on.

Gawd!! My blood boils with rage.

Very many times, I have come close to a state of mind where I could get off my script, punch a bitch in the nose and then go back to code.

People just DON’T get the purpose of these Tech-Spaces.

“Relax Salim. It is never that serious”, an idiot occasionally tells me. “People who tell you ‘it is never that serious’ have never done anything of note in their lives.”, I respond. “Sometimes, it is THAT serious”.

Sue me.

What it is?

  • Open/Free-Space – Everyone is welcome. No frills. Open-door policy. Some people are even allowed to bring their pet-dogs and loud mouths. No bias on age/gender/sexuality/color/race/religion. Just have a tech-brain. Simple.
  • Techies’ concentration camp – I cannot think of a techie skill-set (save for bomb-disarming) that you cannot get at iHub/Nailab. You want it, it can be done here.
  • Meetup space – Over the last 24 months, over 35 start-ups have been established at iHub. Nailab’s figures are also impressive. That membership. That one-time coffee-date with a potential partner at iHub. That conference. That launch. All bear fruits by linking up birds of a feather.

 What it is not?

Public Cybercafe – Bored over the weekend? How about you come to iHub/Nailab, pick a table and a seat and torrent away. The speeds are SUPER-HIGH and you can download all you can. Right? Get a life, bitch!! Wait, is that a Skype Call? A sign says “please make all calls from the balcony”? Fuck the balcony. I will talk from my desk. I will talk for as long as I want.

Weekend-hangout (Java Magua) – It is Saturday. Let us go to iHub and make some noise. Play Foosball while screaming our heads off. Right? Oh, Salim and Anto are coding? We don’t care!!

The Danger

To the average mind, iHub/Nailab are spaces for free Internet where you can come and chill sipping coffee as you wait for your movies to download. As you sip and bite your banana bread at 2-mega-bites per minute, you spot some techie, walk towards them and ask “What are you working on”. The idiots will spill all their beans. The experienced will say “nothing”.. or “just a website”

I have seen “foreigners and immigrants”, if you allow me to use that term without feeling that “salim hapendi walami” and labelling me a “threat to the tourism industry”, come to iHub with no Ideas or direction, listen to 2-3 techies and bloggers, go home, get some finding and START competing companies with the same Ideas they stole.

Well, no ideas are exclusive and unless it is a SOLID product, no one claims ownership. Granted. But what if the “problem” these techies talked about with these foreigners who come as “journalists”, “bloggers”, “researcher”, “professor at XYZ university” was financial? If we could only get USD 100k investment for marketing etc, the product would scale, some techies would tell these people.

They go back home, do some presentations on this “opportunity to improve lives in Africa by using SMS/Mpesa/USSD” etc. Throw in some names like HIV, Kibera and SiliconVagina (Sorry, SiliconSavannah). Get funding, then come and SHAMELESSY start a competing company on the next table to you at iHub/Nailab.

This is a crying shame.

I have given VERY MANY examples of these on my TL and blogs. I will say no more.

Come to iHub/NaiLab. But always remember. Not everyone here is your friend. Everyone has their own agenda. Just STFU and code.

Ni hayo tu.

Back to being the MFWIC!