Some musings from East Africa as Craig looks back on an exciting first year for Cojengo.
Nairobi, 12 months later. The title sounds like a Swahili spin on a classic UK horror movie, luckily the last year has only had a few really scary moments, not to say everything else went perfectly, but even the bad times have seemed good and challenging since launching Cojengo.
I don’t know what it is about the start of the year, perhaps it’s the focus on goal setting and best intentions for a new year. Precious downtime over the Christmas and New Year break, allowing us some free time to look back, feel a little nostalgic and perhaps more aware of life in general and what needs to be done.
So it seemed fitting, sipping on one of Kenya’s finest lager, Pilsner (my new favourite over Tusker) that I sit down and think back over the last year, from a bar within Jomo Kenyatta airport, which I’ve sat in so many times and seems to have undergone just about as many changes as Cojengo and myself over the last year.
Angels and investors were something I’d never really encountered until October 2013, then to combine these two unknown entities seemed an impossible task, but such a things do exist. They gave Cojengo a chance and the chance to realise what had been a ambition of mine.
Under normal employment circumstances (in my experience, being content in a decent job with moderate responsibility and a predictable future ahead of you) 1 year seems like a pretty long time, running your own business is completely different.
Entrepreneurship is an interesting word, with lots of connotations. I didn’t know what to expect, but having never done anything that enterprising before, the biggest realisation for me has been how quickly monthly board meetings come around, even doing financial forecasting or anything that involves a degree of scheduling, I’m astounded how quickly I find myself doing the same thing month on month and it feels like a few days. Things also take longer than you expect, which is another thing I’ve learned, so combine this with the feeling of time flying by it can be frustrating.
So what am I reflecting on exactly and what is the point of this blog? It’s hard to tell. I think the emphasis is less about the solid progress we’ve made in growing our customer base, deploying our solutions in Africa and raising our profile through people we’d never expected to meet. It is simple, it’s an immense sense of pride and happiness knowing that even if we fail tomorrow, when we look back on 2014, no matter what happens, we’ve achieved something way beyond what we ever thought Cojengo could be and achieved the hardest thing of all - taking the first step towards doing something scary!
But, we don’t want it to end. 2014 has given Cojengo an incredible base from which to truly realise our potential and deliver on the original objectives of the business…now there’s no excuse, we simply have to do it.
What really scares me is what I’ll be writing 12 months from now.