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Leslie Tita | UI & UX designer residing in Maryland

Leslie Tita | UI & UX designer

This where I assemble all my thoughts and projects as the years go by

We truly have a choice

Leslie Njamen  Tita : Cameroon A different story” – The excerpt from the book

“We truly have a choice – but of course we also need surprises. How many of you would believe that we could use only numbers and statistics to build a nation like the United states.

The story I have to tell, will share a perspective, my perspective, I will not enter the bandwagon of negativity neither will I go on a sprint for propaganda. This a story, my story and maybe that of million of others.

My background and family have nothing of extra special, so I thought. My mum is a retired scholar from the western part of Cameroon known as the Bamilekes precisely Bangante but grew up in the anglophone region of the country, she did her studies locally but was offered a scholarship to England where she got her masters from university of Warwick, her tribe however were popularly known for the economic know how, and my father former diplomat and ex Chief Technical Advisor in the Private Sector Development Program of the UNDP, who had the opportunity to dine with Fidel Castro, fancy and has had more far achievements than I can list, but this isn’t about my parents, though as it plays out, you don’t choose which family you are born into, but their achievements will forever change your life regardless..

I would come to discover the Anglophones and the Bamilekes, have often been sought to be highly disregarded and mismanaged, but that is problem I readily acknowledged, because as Charles Swindoll said “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of what you do about it”

Despite my origins, over the years I had come to developed a deep sense of passion of places and also the belief that though one do not choose where you are born, you can choose what you will become, So, my credo became the acknowledgement and the act. One without the other is self-indulgence. This is what I believed.

Leslie Njamen Tita : My book on a blog

A book by Leslie Njamen Tita

“C’est de la Bouyabaise !!!”, the sentence I use each time I find a situation unbelievably ridiculous, and right now that is what I’m saying while writing this. Just to clear out any doubt I am not a hero, an ex-soldier, a millionaire, an ex convict, politician or a child soldier.

 

I will not be dramatic or self pitying, this is not a #kony2012 campaign.

 

Though, I may not have invented anything yet or won the lottery or raised a Million dollars for my startup; the fact is as a young adult I face similar challenges any Black – African – Cameroonian would face; finishing with school, career job, thinking of dropping out and focusing on my startup full-time, trying to convince my friends to invest their money in me, reassuring my mother everything is fine, uploading wonderful pictures of me on facebook and keeping up with my emotional life, learning lessons from my past failed relationship, like don’t cheat on your partner, it isnt fair to her and my son David Ive never met.

 

Instead of focusing on those  Ill like to share something else too I believe in fervently, something journalists, authors, critics, and some of my very own people instead harshly criticize and complain about, with a majority of their solutions being nothing but insanely radical.

 

I believe in the nation of Cameroon

 

I’ve always wondered if there was something I personally could do for my nation, because the Cameroon I know is beautiful, challenging, corrupt, young, lazy, poor and ambitious, but most importantly, no matter what I think of this country it will continue to thrive in an upward curve, if not for the straightforward reason the is a brink of hope, for everyone. Economists, politicians, journalists and foreign policy experts with their statistics and historical facts may find counter arguments to prove me wrong, but I have come to learn that in life “they are lies, damn lies and statistics”.

 

MIT Farewell

 

While the MAKEwithMOTO tour is done for now, the epic journey continues. Stay tuned for what’s to come. A huge thanks to all our participants for bringing their ideas to life with hackable phones and 3D printing!

Steve Jobs

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.Steve Jobs

Leslie Njamen Tita at MIT

nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br />

nzingambande:

[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Njamen Tita]

As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.

We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).

I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.

I also had an amazing team this weekend.

Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.

Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.

#thegrindisreal

Source : http://nzingambande.tumblr.com/post/64119574324/photo-courtesy-of-andrew-hong-mit-museum-left

My Favorite animal

My favorite animal

When I was younger our teacher asked what my favorite animal was, and I said, “Fried chicken.”
She said I wasn’t funny, but she couldn’t have been right, because everyone else laughed.

My parents told me to always tell the truth. I did. Fried chicken is my favorite animal.
I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA.
He said they love animals very much.

I do, too. Especially chicken, pork and beef. Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal’s office.
I told him what happened, and he laughed, too. Then he told me not to do it again.

The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was.
I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, so I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken.

She sent me back to the principal’s office. He laughed, and told me not to do it again.

I don’t understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn’t like it when I am.

Today, my teacher asked me to tell her what famous person I admired most. I told her, “Colonel Sanders.”

Guess where I am now…

*** Thanks, labbie48

He is still president

image

Imagine this scenario, you are given an important piece of property to maintain, and your contract last 5 years. At first you are hysterical, happy, you have a great new job, and also the security you will not be fired over the next couple of years, your first days are great, dressing up nicely everyday, treating everybody nice, taking care of the property, consulting your employer for any important decision. Everybody likes you.

Over the next couple of years, you grow incredibly good at your job, earning the respect of your employer, so you consult him less and grow more independent. Your great work earns you an extension for another 5 years. Great right ?

At the 10 year mark, you consider yourself a veteran, an experienced and knowledgeable person who knows it all and needs little outside advice, if you started at 20, now you are 30, do you remember your thought process at age 20 ?

Your ideas about how to run the property evolve with you, and because you believe you had been successful in the past you think you can do this your whole life.

But you see thats where you start getting it wrong.

Your ambition and vision starts to distort your real mission, from taking care of the land you decide to take over the land and next take over your owners. and even though you were hired because you were a great fit, your short sightedness, ego and ambition will cloud your judgement even if that was not your original intent.

At that point you will start suffering from what is called Marlow’s Rhetoric of Self.

Now take a look at Cameroon’s president. he has been in office for the past 30 years, that is two hundred and sixty two thousand eight hundred man hours working.

Can an individual rule for that long ? Yes, but can they rule without self rhetoric ? the human nature proves otherwise.

I read a lot of hate comments and tweets from people on the last 30 years of his presidency, they even started a trend #30ansansmourir (30 years without dieing), why people will wish death unto an individual, still boggles me. He is doing his job as president, keeping peace and stability, on the other hand, the economy has been far from prosperous, it never recovered from the ’92 economic crisis, the unemployment rate is alarming, over 10 million unemployed, and the youth have lost patience, the foundation of any country.

The way out of this will be very excruciatingly painful, challenging and hard ,but I have good news for you. It only gets better from here, a lot of the young people I talk to, are creating businesses, startups, trying to go back to Cameroon, and depending on themselves not the government for their financial success.

Even though some people assume they are prepared for a new president, deep down they are not, research studies shows people hate change, and they are scared of what a new president will do.

Nevertheless I like comparing Paul Biya’s 30 years reign to the evolution of the iPhone, a strong slow repetition of small incremental changes.

Things can change, things will change, things are changing, slowly but surely, painfully but inevitably, Humans were meant to thrive.

Do you have ideas on how we could move forward from here, I’ll love to hear them. why not start a trend #waystomoveforward ?

Leslie Tita : Is Cameroon Fucked

image

Cameroon has done it again… this time by winning the Olympics with bad press. As we all know by now, news agencies have reported the defection of 7 Cameroonian athletes, which has been syndicated worldwide, even the washington post is talking about it and while everyone was been quite verbal about their disappointment and shame, some even when forward to launch a petition against granting asylum to those athletes.

Why does bad news spread faster than good, I wonder if the Washington Post ever reported on Cameroon the first country to develop a medical tablet dedicated solely to saving lives. Of course not we live in the era sensational journalism,

Nevertheless the whole time my head kept wondering what will I have done if I was in those athletes shoes.

That is a very easy decision to take, because the answer depends on two things, your background and your perspective on life, you see Cameroon is a 21 million strong country, with a majority of people living under $5 per day (I’m so tired of this world bank statistic) but despite that, Cameroon has observed a steady economic growth of 4.5% since 2012, yet year in, year out there is massive exodus of talent and brain.

My story is quite similar, I left Cameroon 2 years ago to further my education in the states, I would not say, I lived on $5 a day, but like a majority of the youth, I went to college and graduated.

Straight out of it, I decided to work for Night club as their web designer, not because they weren’t better jobs, but getting those better jobs has proven to be a hassle.

You see in Cameroon, though over 11 million people are unemployed, this employment figure doesn’t count the informal sector which employs millions of people like taximen, bike owners, or “buyam sellams”.

Ofcourse I could have applied for a job at the state companies, but tribalism, favoritism, and corruption drive a lot of our companies, who would hire a half anglophone, half bamileke. These are they kind of unfortunately questions companies look at; where are you from ? Who is your father ? What is your last name ? Do you want to sleep with me ? even though I was qualified, getting a formal job was still not possible, now imagine that is the same reality for millions of people who have obtained their bachelors or masters, so all they can do is to sell clothes at Mokolo, that is a funny sad reality.

A better example, is my best friend, who graduated from a state university, gets a scholarship to go study in China, gets his masters, he is back in Cameroon and its been 6 months today, No job.

Due to the powerful nature of the government, a lot of our parents are civil servants, they have worked day in day out to able to send their children through school, no great pays but by some kind of money management technique called “njangi” they were still able to afford.

Because of that I do have a lot of classmates who went straight abroad for studies after high school, these guys do not come from high income families, a lot of them had to borrow huge amounts of money to send their kids abroad, in Cameroon we dont have a “College trust fund”.

Unfortunately once these get abroad they swear never to return. After all why should they return ? Nobody wants to come back and sell clothes !

But the is serious problem with that kind of reasoning, some will argue that what if our parents had followed that same logic we will not be where we are today, but you see our parents lived in a very different era, they were paid to go to school, had full scholarships and their jobs paid off well.

After the 90’s all of that changed…

Nevertheless thinking the is no need to comeback is fundamently flawed, yes patriotism doesnt feed a nation, but hope is really what should keep us moving.

My gig at the night club, put me in position to recognize an opportunity, I got recommended, went for the interview in 2 a piece coat and got the job.

A great job I would say, great perks, great starting salary, great team of people, and I was given a brand new Macbook Pro, a 24/7 home internet connection, even the Presidency of republic did not offer that.

…But well things started going wrong, as with many Cameroonian companies who start off well (Cameroon airlines, Sonel, Snec), a lot don’t survive to retain their talent, in my case my company upfront refused to increase pay package but once they did they added $50 (lol), they were constantly stressing out the employees with undertone racial statements and kept a majority of executive positions for their French counterparts but basically an unproductive work environment for a high-skill job.

I remember once during a Thursday meeting, the CEO told us, the reason he didn’t want to increase salaries was because he felt we did not show the zeal, thus we don’t need it, and how he knew how to manage our money better.

In my head, I said F**k You !!!!

His statement revolted me, but you are in Cameroon, who will you go complain to. This company started to use a very common tactic, they knew the job market was difficult so they capitalized on it, basically they told us, if you didn’t like the pay, you were free to leave. No one left, that says a lot !

So while some people got paid $100 monthly to do exactly what Apple geniuses do, the expatriates got paid $2000 upwards to do nearly nothing (in my opinion).

In clear English, we were being exploited !

Tell me why would any talented young engineer wish to continue to go through that stress.

So I did what I had to do, I decided to look abroad for better opportunities, later on quit ! (so did many others after me) I headed to the US, in the hope of one day getting that a solid background and going back to start my own business.

A lot of other people share similar stories, a lot people I know will never go back Home if things don’t get better.

So here we are ! Stuck with a lot of talent who will prefer to stay abroad because they believe conditions are better, and others who believe working hard in Cameroon will someday pay off.

As an idealist I strongly believe Cameroon will change for the better (thats the reason why I started writing a book), no one lives forever, so with continuous perseverance and hard work, it will take us 1, 2, 5, 10 years, if you take a page from Mandela’s book, he sets a perfect example.

I’m preparing to go to Cameroon to focus on expanding my startup, today the team is 6 people, but I wish to grow and create thousands of jobs and retain the talent, but to be honest with you a part of me is scared.

I could very well stay in the US, get a great job working, for someone like Google, Twitter or Facebook but my perspective of life is different I prefer to go for the unknown rather than be comfortable, I prefer to hope than to live on what others have built. So I really don’t know how this whole thing will go down, the government may decide to crush me with their tax and corrupt system, thus making this decision a great mistake, I don’t know, who knows ? but I have always learnt to trust my guts, optimism and live by my passion.

If only I could inject into those 7 athletes an ounce of my optimism.

Fresh Insight and Some Good Stories about Africa

For the upcoming MIT Africa Innovate! Conference (April 14, 2014 @ the MIT Media Lab), I’ve had the pleasure of curating a series of talks on the question, “What is your big idea for business in Africa?”

The idea is simple: in a rapid round of inspiration, we wanted leading-edge thinkers and do-ers to talk about their big ideas for business in Africa.  We sought out a variety of perspectives (geographic and topical), a freshness of insight, and the power of compelling storytelling.

We won’t give it all away — but audience members will hear how fabrication, love, human capital, disruptive branding, and tech metropoli hold promise for big things on the continent.

We are thrilled to present four “Vision Talk” speakers for this portion of the conference. They are:

Magatte Wade is a serial entrepreneur who was born in Senegal, educated in France, and who started her entrepreneurial career in the U.S.  Her first company, Adina World Beverages, was based on indigenous Senegalese beverage recipes.  She recently launched her second company, Tiossan, which sells skin care products based on indigenous Senegalese recipes at high-end boutiques and at www.tiossan.com.  She was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum at Davos for 2011 and Forbes named her one of the “20 Youngest Power Women of Africa.”  Magatte is a frequent speaker on college campuses, including Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, MIT, etc.  She writes for The Huffington Post and reviews books for Barron’s.  She blogs at www.magatte.wordpress.com and at www.tiossano.com/blog.


David Sengeh is a PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab where his research is focused on the design of comfortable prosthetic interfaces. David’s work is at the intersection of medical imaging, material science, human anatomy, and computer aided design and manufacturing. David was born and raised in Sierra Leone before attending the Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway on scholarship. He earned his Bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering at Harvard College where his research at the Edwards lab focused on aerosolizing the TB vaccine BCG for delivery to the lungs.  David is the founder of Global Minimum Inc. (GMin), an international NGO that has distributed over 15,000 mosquito nets in Sierra Leone. Currently, GMin is partnering with students at MIT to facilitate a high school-oriented innovation challenge in Sierra Leone. David is also a co-founder of one of Popular Mechanic’s Innovators of the Year 2009, Lebone Solutions Inc. – a company that won $200,000 from the World Bank to produce microbial fuel cells in Africa. He has worked in Zambia, Namibia, Dubai and other locations on various projects on education, health care delivery, and medical device design.

Eric M.K Osiakwan has over 10 years experience helping setup ISPs in 32 African countries. Notably, Eric was part of the team that built the TEAMS submarine cable in Kenya, and is an ICT consultant for the World Bank, Soros Foundations, UNDP, USAID and numerous African governments. In addition, he has founded numerous companies and associations including Novica.com, Internet Research, BusyInternet, InHand, PenPlusBytes, the African ISP Association and the Ghana ISP Association. Eric co-authored the “Open Access Model” which has becomes a global model for the communication industry. He also served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Ghana New Ventures Competition, as a board member of the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), and was part of Ghana Connect, an initiative focused on making broadband accessible and affordable. Eric is studying towards an MSc in Practising Sustainable Development at the Royal Holloway University of London and is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

Tunde Kehinde is a co-founder of Bandeka.com, an invite-only social community where Africans around the globe can connect to create meaningful relationships online and offline.  Tunde formed Bandeka with his classmate from business school, Yaw Boateng with the view that it should be easier for Africans looking to connect with other talented Africans and friends of Africa to meet.  Thus, Bandeka’s vision is to be the premier platform where exceptional Africans around the world can connect to make new friendships, form new business contacts or date.  Prior to Bandeka, Tunde worked as a Business Development Manager for Africa at Diageo in London and in Investment Banking with Wachovia Securities in New York.  Tunde grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, holds a BBA in Finance from Howard University and an MBA from Harvard.  He is also an avid fan of Liverpool Football Club.

MIT is known for its focus on innovation and technology and, in that vein, we have invited as conference keynote speakers Ben Murray Bruce, CEO of Silverbird Group and Cina Lawson, Minister of Post and Telecommunications in Togo.  Panels will include leading lights in mobile and technology, media and entertainment, food and agriculture, and China and India in Africa.

There are opportunities for conference participants to share their big ideas for business in Africa during the Enterprise Africa Business Competition and to get to know new friends or catch up with old ones at the after-party.

We are expecting a really big crowd at the Media Lab (the conference blew away expectations in its inaugural version last year) — but there are still tickets available for the full conference and after party.  Register here

And if you want to share your big ideas for business in Africa, tweet them to us @MITSloanABC using the hashtag #BIBA.

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