Becoming an Entrepreneur
A True Story
on May 2, 2023
Starehe Institute has always held a special place in my own memory. It was during my time there in the years 2006 and 2007 that I learnt how to use a computer efficiently. I became so adept at using computers that I could navigate through the Windows Operating System without using a mouse.
It was also at Starehe Institute that I started developing a sense of who I am and what I believe in. I attribute that improved self-awareness to the inspiring quotes and motivational books I devoured while in the institute. Boy, didn't I enjoy reading quotes by prominent figures in history!
But my Starehe Institute experience that I treasure most was the entrepreneurial initiative I embarked on with my classmates Stephen Mutevu and Kennedy Munene. The three of us, after learning how to design websites, banded together to create an educational website we called Gskool.com. Our mission was to offer on the website quality lessons in such subjects as Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Geography.
Soon after we set up the educational Gskool website, Mutevu and Munene applied for Google ads. Their application was approved, and sooner than later, we had on Gskool.com a number of Google ads that could earn us money depending on the number of visitors clicking the ads.
Now, Google states clearly that website admins are not meant to click Google ads on their websites. They are not even supposed to test if the ads are working. Ad clicking is a preserve of website visitors, not admins. Mutevu, Munene and I didn't get to know that back in 2006.
So when we had Google ads on Gskool.com, Mutevu and Munene began clicking them in earnest. And their excitement mounted as they checked Google ads account for Gskool and saw their earnings rise. They must have thought they were destined to become rich while still teenagers in Starehe Institute.
But alas! A few days into their ad clicking venture, they received a bombshell from Google that the ads account for Gskool.com had been disabled because the ads' clicks were coming from the same location, what Google refers to as invalid clicks. Mutevu and Munene, clever as they were, just couldn't outfox Google's software engineers.
To be honest, I was actually happy to hear that the Google ads account for Gskool.com had been disabled since both Mutevu and Munene had denied me access to the Gskool admin portal in spite of me having contributed a substantial amount of content for Gskool. Much of the stuff in the Physics section of the website had been my own work.
But my efforts in founding Gksool.com were not in vain because when I was applying to MIT, Cornell, Stanford and Dartmouth in 2006, I sent CD-copies of the Gskool website to those top American colleges. I did that so as to impress the admission officers.
Even when I went for my MIT interview, which was conducted in Nairobi by an MIT graduate named Eston Kimani, I mentioned my work in creating Gskool.com. A week or so after the interview, Eston phoned me to inquire if I was the one who had created Gskool.com. He seemed impressed by the website. Unfortunately, I wasn't accepted at MIT or in any of the other three American colleges I applied for admission in 2006.
Our entrepreneurial initiative in founding Gskool.com left a lasting impression on me. Later on in 2011 when I was dropping out of the University of Nairobi, I wanted to set up an educational website similar to Gskool.com. I envisioned it to contain engaging content in the school subjects I was knowledgeable in: Maths, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Geography and Economics.
With time, it crystallized in my mind that what people need is stories. I therefore eventually changed my plans and created a blog for sharing human-interest stories. Since hymn-singing is one of my passions, I added on the blog a videos' section for sharing the hymns that I produce. I also created a pop-up window for inspiring my blog visitors with the quotes that invigorate me.
Setting up this blog has been a challenging but exhilarating experience. I have encountered so many technical hiccups as well as rejection and criticism from people. But thanks in part to the transformative education I received at Starehe Institute, I have weathered the storm and created a blog with such original content that Google approved my application for displaying its ads on the blog.
Now that the blog is running smoothly and attracting visitors from around the world, I have faith that it shall flourish like flying termites after an evening rain. Or to borrow the immortal words of King David in Psalm 27:13, I am confident that "I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living". Hooray, I am an entrepreneur at last!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story about me becoming an entrepreneur, you might also enjoy another one on "Blooming Where Planted" that I wrote several years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Respecting People's Feelings
A True Story
on Apr 27, 2023
I like it when people all over the world visit this lovely blog of mine. That's why for the past six months or so, I have been updating my Goodreads connections, most of whom live overseas, about every new story I have posted on this blog. (Goodreads is a wonderful social networking site for avid readers.)
What I like even more is when I receive positive feedback from avid readers. (Aren't avid readers smart and intelligent?) Since I started updating my Goodreads connections about new stories on this blog, I have received quite a number of encouraging feedback messages. One lady from America, for instance, told me last year that I have a wonderful way of telling my stories. Another lady recently informed me that she enjoys reading the spiritual and human-interest stories I post on this blog.
Updating my Goodreads connections about new stories on this blog has not all been moonlight and roses though. A number of them have sent me discouraging comments. On the evening of last Sunday for example, two Goodreads connections sent me messages, asking me to desist from bothering them with whatever I am doing on this blog. Their messages hurt me like hell. I was full of gloom the following day (Monday).
Well, I have learnt from my readings never to take anything personally. But man, those two negative messages I received on Sunday depressed me for shizzle. I had to keep requesting God to restore in me the joy of His salvation.
Given how those two Goodreads connections depressed me, I wish they had unfriended or blocked me on Goodreads without my knowledge instead of sending me hurtful messages. Truly, the Bible is right when it says in the book of Proverbs that reckless words pierce like a sword.
The depression I felt on Monday as a result of those two negative messages made me reflect on the times I have uttered careless words to others, especially when angry. I remembered the time in 2007 when I curtly told my younger brother Symo that he wasn't bright while he was reading a book in the house. (Symo is actually a bright chap; I just hope he forgot my denigrating remark.)
I also remembered the afternoon in 2017 when I furiously rebuked my elder brother Bob Njinju, and then a few days later, I took him on a guilt trip by reminding him about all the times he had wronged me. As I gave Bob a piece of my mind, I was just thinking about myself and not considering the distress I could have been causing him with my arrogant rebukes.
And I remembered, too, the time in 2016 when I begged my immediate elder brother Paddy for some money for posting letters to several Fortune 500 companies headquartered in America. When Paddy sent me the money after I had already posted the letters, I complained in a Whatsapp group of my siblings about his untimely assistance.
My eldest brother Joe Kagigite, in his reaction to my complaint, advised me to just appreciate the money I had received from Paddy, however late it came, instead of grumbling. Joe was right. Again, I was just thinking about myself. Maybe Paddy had sent the money late due to work or personal problems.
At Starehe Boys' Centre, a prestigious institution in Nairobi where I had my high school and college education, we had a school rule that stated:
A Starehian respects authority and is dutiful, polite and considerate of other people's feelings.How I wish the whole world would live by that Starehe rule! Especially being considerate of other people's feelings. People need to learn and understand that their actions are not just about them. What they do, say and write affects others as well.
Which is why I have resolved to be kind to others and say only what is helpful in building them up. Should someone wrong me, I will try to point out their sin without destroying their self-esteem. In short, I will strive to live by the Golden Rule so aptly stated this way in the Bible: "Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you." (Matthew 7:12)
My beloved reader, I beseech you to also respect other people's feelings. Before you tell someone to desist from sending you emails or text messages, pause and consider the emotional pain you could inflict on him. Be considerate and always keep in mind, as my high school piano teacher Matthew Brooks once told me, that "it doesn't hurt being kind." Ciao!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story about respecting other people's feelings, you might also enjoy another one on "Rising Above Negativity" that I wrote sometime back. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.