An Interview with Allan Clinton Mukhwana.Wachira John
Interview Monday is back! So excited about it, I have to admit, doing interviews is turning out to be a lot of fun for me, the guy I’m featuring is really one to watch. I think he is very humble; pardon that, I know he is. You’d be surprised whom you brush shoulders with along these streets. His accomplishments make you ponder hard what you do with your time. You look at stuff he and his team have done and you’ll know the meaning of passion. He’s had two companies, the previous one called Momentum Core, the second and current one called Cloud Rack accessible via this link www.getcloudrack.com . Almost forgot to mention, he also has blog at http://www.allanclinton.com/
Guys, brace yourselves…Meet Allan Clinton Mukhwana.
(Psst…perhaps the photos will give you a little perspective)
Who are you?
I’m a student, an entrepreneur, a son of two parents and a brother to three siblings.
What course do you do?
Bsc. Computer Technology. Currently in my fourth year of study.
Why did you choose computer technology?
I had a liking for computers from way back in high school. Around computers is when I had a lot of fun. I also loved graffiti. I wanted to do something related to graffiti; like that done on matatus. After finishing high school, dad did not want me to venture into graffiti as a mainstream activity so I chose to do computer technology.
Are there any regrets for choosing computer technology?
No. It is in line with a lot of things I do. I can fail to be that much involved in a semester but because of the things I do on the side, it’s easy for me to catch up. If I did a course like Medicine or Agriculture and the things I do during my free time are computer related, I’d have a hard time catching up. Having the passion to learn something and having an area of application for it makes it easy when you have a lot of workload.
Did you abandon graffiti or you still have plans for it?
I’ve applied it a lot in the gaming apps that I’ve made. I used to target using it on matatus. Maybe if I have time in future I’ll try it.
Describe your normal day to me.
I sleep at 11Pm wake up at 6Am. I pray when I wake up. I then think about the things I did not accomplish the previous day. If I have classes in the morning hours, I come straight to school. I have a company called Cloud Rack so if I don’t have morning classes, I work till 1 Pm then come to school later in the day. I also jog on Tuesday and Sunday.
What do you do when a day does not go according to plan?
I divide my to-do list in three categories. Say P1, P2 and P3. Those under P1 have to be done on that day. P2 can be P1’s of the next day and so follows P3. That makes it easier to manage time.
Who or what motivates you?
Knowing that I will not be here forever. I’ve read a book called Staring at the sun. The sun is used as a metaphor of death. So when you are aware that one day you will cease to exist, your priorities change, you appreciate the gift of life from God and make the most out of it.
I have taken risks many of my age mates haven’t. I do encourage myself because there’s a chance I might succeed and if I don’t I will have learnt something.
You mentioned that you are an entrepreneur. Tell me about it.
I’ve ventured into two markets, consumer and enterprise. I had a startup called Momentum core which made social games targeting the consumer. My partners and I decided to suspend it as a mainstream activity and take it up maybe later after school. I used to make websites then started hosting services. I then started cloud computing under my new company, Cloud Rack. We intend to release new products in the market for cloud apps later this year which we will sell to enterprises. I prefer the enterprise business model because we are growing in skill and we also get to maintain the customers.
I’m also thinking of doing some farming. My mom does a lot of farming and I think if I am able to, I can assist her do that better with technology.
Why aren’t there many student entrepreneurs?
There are many reasons depending on who it is. Could be they tried and failed. I think it’s important to understand that knowledge and experience to do something does not come easy and you have to keep at it. For some it’s basically fears or just that they are comfortable in their current states. Others are limited by the courses they do since they are so involving.
When did you start Cloud Rack and where do you source clients?
We started in May this year. We get clients mainly through referrals. However, we do plan to employ customer acquisition strategies soon.
You’d mentioned about your previous start up, Momentum Core and apps you’ve made. Where did they get you?
We’ve won many competitions with the apps we made at Momentum Core but at the time we did not have the necessary structures in place to take the products we made from competition level to consumer product level. That’s why I’d told you we’ve put that start up on hold for later though the apps under it are still running. For instance there’s the Tichaa series app which helps pre-school kids learn different concepts and games like Simiyu The Chicken which are all available for download.
In your opinion, how are women doing in technology?
There is an improvement in technology. You go to tech events and you will notice women and the products they’ve made. Akirachix has also done a lot to bring women on board in the tech industry.
Are there measures in place to safeguard intellectual property in Kenya?
There are a lot of measures to help people copyright their ideas nowadays. Microsoft and the Kenya copyright board set up iphub.com to help people copyright their ideas.
What’s the difference between patenting and copyrighting?
Patenting involves invention; coming up with something that does not exist. Copyright involves your assets. For instance, in the apps we made, we patented the graphics and sounds we used to create them.
Used to play video games but I’m not doing it as often because it consumes a lot of my time while I could be doing other important things.
Current book you are reading?
Praying God’s word by Beth Moore.
What don’t people know about you?
Maybe that would be that I call my grandma often; like every two days. I would also like to take pilot classes in future. I also enjoy food I’ve cooked.
If you have a dream, you have to work for it. Lots of people may criticize you but action is what counts. When you act towards your goal or dream, whether you fail or not, it gives you the confidence to pursue other dreams you might be having. It is important to be disciplined and consistent. No one is born with those attributes but anyone can learn. What counts is God, confidence and the actions you take.