You may be familiar with Andrew Mugoya from his guest posts earlier this year ("5 Reasons why Ghana is the next African App Powerhouse", "Learning from the Success of Nollywood"). A friend, my fellow co-owner of Asilia, and the company's Technical Director, I've been meaning to interview Andrew for a while. In the wake of the hugely successful launch of his ebook – African Apps in a Global Marketplace (which you can download for free, over on Afriapps), I've finally got down to sharing with you what inspires and drives the man.
What's your passion?
Learning and creating. I'm fascinated by the discovery of ideas, knowledge and understanding. That translates to a love of reading, debating, sharing ideas, innovating, entrepreneurship and being creative. Luckily, Asilia gives me the perfect vehicle to exercise most of these activities.
What inspired your interest in technology and specifically, African apps?
Technology has fascinated me from the time I was a child. I enjoy problem solving, innovation, creativity and developing solutions – technology was the field that enabled me to express these qualities. This fascination with technology led me to pursue it in university, as a career and now in business.
Apps are the flavour of the month on the tech scene. Being a son of Africa, I realised that there wasn't any avenue to discover and browse African apps. Afriapps was created to fill this gap.
What has been your greatest obstacle/challenge?
I've always found that the main barrier I need to overcome in any situation is my attitude. With most things in life, the problem and solution is usually yourself.
There is a Swahili saying that captures this well: 'kikulacho ki nguoni mwako' – what's eating at you is in your own clothes.
How have you dealt with/overcome it?
Changing my perspective to a problem and approaching it differently, sometimes repeatedly, has often made all the difference.
Strangely, I enjoy challenges as they give me a chance to exercise my problem solving and to be innovative.
What has your greatest achievement been?
Launching Asilia, developing it into a partnership with Lulu and, growing it to where it is now, in such a short time is something I'm very proud of. Our staff, the quality and style of work, our clientele and our in-house initiatives all reflect the qualities I aspired to have in the business. Asilia is the perfect culmination of the journey I've taken with my education and career.
Where will you be in 10 years?
Still running Asilia and its many initiatives and sub-businesses. I intend for my kids (and their kids' kids) to one day be part of the company.
How does Africa inspire you?
Africans, when left to their own devices, are very ingenious and innovative. Way before recycling became fashionable, Africans were reusing discarded objects to create all sorts of objects. I remember when we were kids, we'd make footballs from paper bags and toy cars from tins, wire, strings, old tires etc.
Africa reminds me that you can always make something from whatever you have at your disposal. You only need some creativity and innovation.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Do what you love. The world would be better place if we all did.
Anything we should look out for in the coming weeks/months/year?
More initiatives, more projects and more great work from Asilia and its staff. We are always creating and developing, both for clients and in-house. So there is always something exciting coming out.