Wednesday, 27 February 2013


As I was checking my LinkedIn messages I got one from Mutembei Kariuki; an acquaintance I met last year at AIESEC Innovation CafĂ©. To cut the story short Mutembei wanted me to fill his personal survey report.....Simple I did it for my him  and decided to create one too.
Before closing the tab, I came across a; Job compatibility and personality survey depending on the numbers you input they get to give you a report on the best suited careers depending on your personality among other things.
When the report ‘came out’ I was amazed! Captures pretty much of stuff I like doing. Below is my report; based on this, do you believe I am suited for these roles? If you know me well, personally and professionally does this survey give me an honest report? Only thing this survey didn’t capture is my passion for social media but I guess they haven’t programmed it for specific and new careers! Leave a comment at the bottom or check MY RESUME tab just in case you think this survey lied to me!
In as much as this is a personal survey, I thought I’d share it with you and since I find it cool you may as well take one at

Here’s more;
I am naturally suited well towards the following roles:
You are well-suited towards sales roles since you are persuasive and often able to convince others of your ideas. When presented with an obstacle, you often come up with out-of-the-box solutions. You can sell to others in innovative and creative ways. If a product is not selling, you will often come up with new techniques to sell it that have not been tried before.
You understand how to portray your ideas to make them appealing to others. Combined with some analytical skills, this would make you phenomenal at marketing. Marketing is more art than science, and you thrive in areas with rules are not clearly defined.
Product Management
You like to take build things and pursue your own ideas. When given responsibility to manage a product, if you can believe that its yours and given full responsibility for it, you will excel at the job. However if the role is presented to you as mechanical list of to-do items, you will treat this as someone else's idea and not perform as well.
You are always looking for opportunities and ideas. In a mediocre organization that is very rigid, you will fail. However within the right company that values innovation, disruption and new ideas, you will quickly rise to the top because of your enterprising nature. You are more well-suited towards small businesses and start-ups that tend to be open and flexible.
Business Development
Similar to your prowess at sales and marketing, you will do well at building partnerships for your organization in a business development role. You will thrive where the opportunities and role is less defined. You are the rainmaker for your organization, and will always keep trying to bring in new opportunities and ideas. When paired with the Social personality-type, you will be a 5-star BD person.
Venture Capital
You believe in taking calculated risks with your time and your money. You would be well-suited towards venture capital (VC, Angel, Private Equity) where you are making risky, ill-defined investment decisions in new and small businesses. Where the rest of the world sees uncertainty, you see opportunity. When combined with an Analytical type, this would make you an ideal junior or mid-level manager. When combined with a Social type, this would make you an excellent partner at a VC firm.
This is your best-fit role. You have had some experience organizing things - events, parties, charities or groups. You are naturally good at organizing businesses. You are able to deal with your fear of failure and take calculated risks. All Enterprising types should try starting a business at some point in their lives - even if it is just a small side- business. It will be a rewarding experience.
When combined with an Artistic or Analytical personality type, this makes you well- suited to being an Inventor. This also influences what kind of products you will make as an inventor. You may already have thought of new products that are just waiting to be invented. You may also have a patent to your name. When combined with an Artistic personality type, you will come up with the most creative inventions possible.

Sunday, 24 February 2013


Trademark Registration Requirements in Kenya
To obtain a trademark you will need to have fulfilled the following requirements:
- Power of attorney simply signed.
- Design of the trademark in JPEG format in case of a graphical trademark (not required for word mark).
- The design of goods and/or services for which  the trademark will be registered or the classes in case they are known.
- Details of the trademark owner (name, address, registration number).
- Invoicing details (name, address, fiscal number, registration number).
- In case that priority is claimed, the certified copy of the priority document will be filed simultaneously with the application.
- Statement of whether the mark is used or intended to be used in Kenya.

Trademark registration procedure in Kenya
The mark is published after the acceptance in the Official Gazette. The opposition period is within 2 months after the publication. The registration procedure lasts 15 months. The protection lasts 7 years from the filing date.
Who is the regulatory authority?
The government agency responsible for trademarks in Kenya is the
Kenya Intellectual Property Institute located at South C, Nairobi.
Can the registration be canceled?
The registration may be canceled if the trademark was registered without any intention to use the use it, or there has been no use of the trademark up to one month before the date of the application has been set for cancellation. The registration may also be canceled if there has been no bona fide use of the trademark for a continuous period of five years and one month until the date of application for cancellation. Permitted use by a third party cannot be accepted by the proprietor unless the user has been recorded as a licensee.

Other trademark procedures in Kenya:
Trademark Renewal in Kenya :The trademark renewal may be done within three months before expiry. After renewal the protection last ten years. Renewal of registration will also last another ten years.
Trademark use in Kenya: Non-use for 5 years following registration makes the registration vulnerable to cancellation

What is a Patent?
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention. An invention provides a new way of doing something or offers a new technical solution. A Patent provides its owner the protection of the invention.

Why do need a patent?
If your invention has market potential and you think that another company could make profits from your invention, you need protection from a patent.
-A patent gives you the right to exclude others from making your product.
-As a patent gives exclusivity, the patent holder has time to market the invention without competition making him/her able to charge higher prices.
-It gives the right to initiate legal action against anyone that is making or selling, without permission, the patent holder invention.
-You can make money by licensing or selling your invention to someone else.
-It gives you priority over third parties wanting to register their patents in countries that do not require registration.

What should I do to apply for my patent?
STEP 1: Request the Patent Search Study.
STEP 2: Request the Patent Application.
STEP 3: Once your patent has been granted, obtain your Patent Issue.
The attorneys in charge of your registration will complete each one of the above procedures.

Who decides if patents are granted or not?

Applications, other than provisional applications, filed with the Patent Office and accepted as complete applications are assigned for examination to the respective examining technology centers having charge of the areas of technology related to the invention.
Applications are taken up for examination by the examiner to whom they have been assigned in the order in which they have been filed or in accordance with examining procedures established by the Director.
The examination of the application consists of:
(a) A study of the application for compliance with the legal requirements
(b) search through granted patents, publications of patent applications, foreign patent documents, and available literature, to see if the claimed invention is new, useful and non-obvious.

Patent Application Procedure in Kenya
Kenya’s patent domain falls under Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) a government parastatal under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. KIPI administers Intellectual Property Rights, provides technological information to the public, promotes inventiveness and innovation in Kenya and provides training on industrial property. KIPI was formally known as Kenya Industrial Property Office (KIPO) but was then renamed to KIPI when the Industrial Property Act 2001came into force. The previous act Cap 509 was repealed in 2001. Before KIPO came into existence Kenya was dependent upon the British patent regime as she was once a British colony. Patents, unlike copyrights, are granted after an applicant fulfills a number of requirements.
The Procedure for Patent Application
For patent registration a patent application needs to be filed with KIPI and this  application should consist of:
(a)Completed request form referred to as IP 3
(b)A clear description of the invention that is easily
(c)One or more claims – this involves information that
would determine the limit of protection that would be
defined by the patent
(d) One or more drawings of the invention – these would be
visual materials to understand the invention better
(e) An abstract indicating the title, summary as well as
technical details of the invention.

As indicated earlier, in order for a patent application to qualify, it must be new (novelty), it must involve an inventive step (it must be a step forward in the technological field) and it must be industrially applicable. Patent protection in Kenya lasts for a period of twenty years. Having ownership of a patent in Kenya gives the patent holder certain rights or protection from having the invention exploited such as making, importing, offering for sale, selling and using product or process (if the invention is a process).
The requirements for filing a non-PCT application in Kenya are as follows:
(a) A Power of Attorney - no legalization or notarization necessary;
(b) An Assignment of Invention (not required if the inventor(s) and applicant(s) are the same) - no legalization or notarization necessary;
(c) A copy of the specification (including claims, drawings, and abstract) in English;    and
(d) A certified copy of the priority application and, if necessary, a certified translation into English thereof.

The documents listed under item (c) are required on the day of filing. Items (a), (b), and (d) can be late lodged subsequent to the filing date.
The requirements for filing a PCT application in Kenya are as follows:
(a) A Power of Attorney - no legalization or notarization necessary;
(b) A copy of the specification (including claims, drawings, and abstract) in English;
(c) A copy of the PCT International advertisement;
(d) A copy of International Search Report; and
(e) A copy of International Preliminary Examination Report and, where appropriate, an English translation thereof.

The documents listed under items (b) and (c) are required on the day of filing. Items (a), (d), and (e) can be late lodged subsequent to the filing date.
Who may be granted a patent?

A patent may be obtained or owned by a natural or juridical legal/artificial person. Natural persons refers to individuals or groups. Artificial persons may be corporations or companies such as Pfizer, or research organizations and universities such as Harvard. Under section 17 of the Science and Technology Act, Cap 250, inventions made by scientists in research institutions established under the Act e.g. KEMRl are patented in favor of the Research Institute and not the individual inventor. But the inventor must be named as per section 33, IPA. Governments and other organizations may also hold a patent by commissioning the research, through assignment and by compulsorily acquiring patents.

What is the compulsorily acquisition by the Kenyan Government?
Compulsory acquisition may be exercised when the patentee has refused to work the patent, or when the patentee has refused to license other persons to work the patent on equitable terms. The owner of the patent must be promptly and adequately compensated.

6 Challenges Facing the ‘booming’ tech scene in Kenya

Kenyan tech scene is always labeled as booming, growing, a model example for Africa, the silicon savannah and such things. Well what I never get to see is what new stuff is rocking the booming sector in terms of innovation (not some cool and fancy apps). We’ve had hackathons, business launch pads and various other initiatives however the entrants and the winners never seem to change. Same familiar names always pop up. Then we have amazing stuff happening at Bishop Magua, ground breaking Konza City and when all this is mentioned you can’t leave DR. Bitange Ndemo of out of it course. Same stories, different writers and it’s not bad after all; when Google chairman toured Nairobi he ‘saw the potential’. We all want to have a Silicon Valley kinda thing in Kenya; can Konza be that model city in Africa? Will it give rise to some million dollar companies in the near future? Is it okay to think along those lines now? How soon can this work? The ground breaking was done but that isn’t all we need to see! The city concept is brilliant but is it what the developers need to start working on some serious stuff? NO! Let’s to flip the coin and look at what could be lacking or some of the challenges the tech scene is facing currently.

Problem #1: Lack Business Models
This is simple, most of these apps, websites are not businesses or companies that are investable, and they are great ideas though lack a revenue model to monetize in the foreseeable future. How do you make money? What are your revenue streams or sources? You’ve got to know how you will make the money otherwise you aren’t in business. Participating in hackathons is good, if you win there’s good PR coverage for you, prize money and gift hampers but that’s not why you exist as a company that’s if you are an entity yet!!! Press coverage doesn't pay bills, infact it brings in some more.
And don’t include donation and grants into some of the revenue model! Don’t create something UNDP might fund….don’t work targeting donor funding! If you have that idea set in place don’t go into it just for the money, it takes time to flow in and when it does it may dry up at a given time! Money is a side effect of solving a problem that enough people are facing and will always come if you’re passionately doing the right thing at the right time in the right industry.

Problem #2: The Consumer- Lack of Customer Focus
Do these ‘innovations’ have a clear consumer focus in mind or a clear understanding of ‘who will pay for it’? Are we doing something cool to win prizes and earn respect from our peers? It’s one thing to get data that shows the growing market in a certain industry, identify a niche, go ahead and work on something to fill it and finally make money while doing it! It’s also okay to draw your inspiration from an idea that worked in America and create a local version of it, it’s also nice to have statistics from World Bank to back up your idea but remember we are in Africa and Kenya! Different economies, different consumer habits and lotsa things!
Remember the customer pays everyone from the founders, so you better have something people can spend money on or one that helps other business serve their customers better!
Smart guys tend to think everyone in the world is as smart as they are; well it’s not the case. We are very innovative, doing really cool stuff that our friends like but no one else understands how to use or operate or even bothers to let alone pay for it. People want to use simple, easy to understand gadgets and appliances. There’s nothing so innovative about Equity bank but the focused on the bottom of the pyramid where majority of Kenyans were and banked them. 

As at now we might want to keep it simple and basic- not cool and amazing!

Problem #3: The Capital, Equity, VC’s, Friends and BOA’s.
Shark Tank is now airing on NTV; am sure you’ve seen people pitching in their ideas; some walking away with the cash and now living the ‘American Dream’….do we have the African or the Kenyan dream? Maybe! Since we are in Nairobi, the VC story is very different here; we’ve had cases such as the most recent one involving Pesatalk.
Still on this, the startup founders need advisors and some star employees who will ask for equity. By all means, good employees deserve shares as they are getting paid less to work for you than would if they worked for a multinational. And keep in mind that if people in your advisory board are big brands, they probably won’t have much time to help you. It’s cool to have Eric Hersman, Bitange Ndemo etc but these guys probably won’t have much time for you. Am sure you don’t want to learn your advisor isn’t in town via a tweet? You need someone accessible enough yet experienced and passionate about your business as you are! Just check around you will get one. May not be known but if he’s done it probably you need his help!
The truth is there’s a lot of money chasing good businesses in Nairobi; I believe money will always chase a brilliant idea fronted by a skilled and passionate team with a solid and functional business model that shows realistic revenue streams. Do we have that yet? Tell me!

Problem #4: Innovators don’t want partners
     There are loads of smart people out there doing cool stuff, with amazing business ideas but they will never grow. These people are local Twitter heroes with some following and good press coverage but one thing that they lack is that strategic partner to catapult their businesses to national or global market. Guys want full control of their ventures! These partners could be distributors, well known people with the influence and connections an entrepreneur needs to grow or could even be a financial partner but they’ll all need some equity for their time and money. Since we all feel smart; the developer keeps his code, the marketer walks around with his strategy, the finance guy keep his money & investment management knowledge and God watches it all as we try to beg him for a breakthrough independently! So everyone is disappointed and goes back to an 8 to 5 job where we can dutifully utilize our great skills for a monthly cheque! Not bad!

Problem #5: Is it just happening at Bishop Magua?
Of course there are a ton of benefits of working from the epicenter of Kenya’s tech scene, you’ll find more tech investors, mentors, training programs, events and networking sessions than anywhere else. The VC’s also tend to invest in people they know and believe in so should everyone get a desk there? However does that mean if you don’t ply your trade on Ngong road you’re doomed to fail? We can’t all fit there but the guys at Bishop Magua are definitely doing amazing stuff on their macs while sipping pete’s coffee.
We need to focus on universities and research; Strathmore is doing some amazing stuff with m-lab and others should follow suit in having these incubation centres.
But is this sport isn’t just about Computer Science, BBIT and Bachelor of informatics students or graduates. No! I believe we need to create an ecosystem that encourages partnership and collaboration mostly at the university level where guys spend four whole years just chilling and partying seriously before being given the power to read! Can a PR, journalism student can work on idea with a CS student? Yes but the government can’t make it happen, we just need to share information, knowledge and pool our skills into something. The other thing is innovation and this tech buzzword isn’t just about apps, websites….I would classify something innovative as something economically viable, with a social impact and one that is scalable and with great disruptive potential.
Initiatives such as open data are doing a great job with getting innovators information they badly need however the government and private sector too need to make public their research, to at least share it with people. 

Problem #6: Are We Ready For that Big Break?
Definitely the tech scene in Kenya is growing but is the talented Kenyans ready to take the big break or the big leap? Most of the guys I know have a main job that somehow they don’t want to let go and they pursue the side jobs in the evenings and weekends. Guys simply don’t want to take that big leap, simply because they don’t want to full venture out to business. I have also seen a few who rush back into employment after two dry months in the hustle! Whatever it is, shuffling between the hackathons, a full time job and the side hustles isn’t bad after but you need to look at what and where you need or want to be in 10 years. I think we have talent, great ideas and amazing people that can make things happen but we never want to sit and work on it so we keep talking and meeting for coffee to discuss, meetings and preparing presentations but that’s not going to set it rolling till someone decides it’s time to do it!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

DECISION 2013; Will pull Kenyans pull through the #ElectionsKE?

Not everything we want for ourselves is good for us

A young man graduates from college, goes through the normal job-searching hustle, finally gets a good job and settles down. He gets a beautiful wife and they are expecting a baby… he has been dreaming about his first car for the longest time and was willing to part with a huge part of his salary just to get it…Life was just beginning. But he didn’t live long enough to live the life that had just began, he died in a car crash…the same car he couldn’t find peace until he held the key.

What we want for ourselves, sometimes so desperately is not always the best thing for us. Sometimes, almost always, we allow things to preoccupy us until we forget to yield ourselves to the guidance of the One who holds our tomorrow. By ourselves, if we are given the future to take care of, we will crumple it today, just like the young man did by buying the car that would take his own life.

At this critical time in our country, every young person (& young is relative) is in the said young man’s position…life is just beginning. The future is nothing but bright. We bought our dream cars by registering as voters to vote in our leaders of choice come 4th March. I just want to remind us, most of the times we take our opinion for the right thing. I pray that we don’t do so this time, that we shall all take a moment to commit the future of this country to God. It is only then that wisdom to vote in the right person will come upon us and humility and serenity to accept the results even if the person we voted for doesn’t win…otherwise we will be trading our own lives and futures in those ballot boxes on 4th.
May God help us to rely on Him solely to make the Decision 2013.