Posts / December 19, 2011

To the BongoHive crew

To the BongoHive crew,

It truly was a honor having the opportunity to spend the last two weeks with you. As the Bemba proverb ‘amano yafuma mwilibwe yaya muchulu’ says, ‘learning happens in both the learner as the teacher; teachers can learn from learners.’ I have learned just as much from you, as I’m sure I’ve shared with you.

I wish we had more time together, although the goal of the workshop wasn’t to provide you with everything you needed but rather get you excited why mobile is important and how apps can be used to solve real problems. As we discussed, there are only three things that are needed for making truly great apps: knowledge, creativity and ambition, and all three of those can easily be acquired.

I believe, you not only have the opportunity to use your skills to solve local problems, but that it is also your duty to do so. Identify a real local problem, devise a practical solution, find an appropriate technology, target a local market and finally think global. If you follow this order, your apps will not only solve local problems, but will also likely help solve problems elsewhere. If you are solving a real problem, you’ll find a way to make money in the process.

And remember, ‘thinking outside the box isn’t always enough, sometimes you have to throw the box away.’

To the girls, don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t be a great programmer, because some of the best programmers I know are girls. I encourage you to rally together and support one another. Imagine yourself a few years from now looking back and saying, ‘I use to think I couldn’t make a difference, and now look at me, look at what I’ve accomplished.’ Don’t be afraid to pave your own the way, because your actions have the power to inspire other girls of what is possible.

For me, the most remarkable thing from the past two weeks was witnessing your desire to learn and your eagerness to share what you’ve learned with each other. You don’t have to be an expert in everything, but if you share openly with one another, together you will be. If you continue to embrace this idea, there will be nothing that will stand in your way.

I truly feel fortunate for our time together, and look forward to hearing about all the world class mobile apps the BongoHive crew will create. Huge thank you to Lukonga, Bart and VVOB for making all this possible.

As Margaret Mead said, “never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”