I was the first person I knew to get home internet, I was the first person I knew to get a smart phone, I was the first person I knew to use email. I was messing with programming at university when it was done on punch cards and computers were the size of a bedroom. As a UK teacher, I taught IT and we taught html coding on notepad before there was software to do it. I worked for a software company where we were creating mobile apps, before they were called mobile apps. All this experience, and my behavioural science background, has helped me to understand how all this changes, all the time. That at any moment the solutions might be different, but what remains are the goals you want to achieve. It’s my view both technology and design are the servants of purpose, otherwise it’s art. I look at web design from business fundamentals of ‘what are the goals’, how can we try achieve them within the clients capacities. My design criteria are always how can function and form and an understanding of how people react to that, serve the goals.
My development process is generally in 4 phases:
- Research, analysis and in-depth understanding of brand/business goals and existing digital footprint, allowing for a specific and tailored quote.
- Wireframe development (99% of my current client sites are built on WordPress)
- Placing Content
- SEO, OG, Analytics, and User training.
There is no standard price but generally fall between ($1500 – $5000)
As the #nu creative movement in Nairobi picked up steam in 2016, there was a thirst for industry expertise and information among creatives, with no natural way to satiate it. The Alchemy Sessions provided an informal and soft way to help fill some of those knowledge gaps. The occasional afternoon sessions were/are hosted by a local guest expert who shares their experiences and expertise around a topic for around 20 minutes, followed by a lengthy Q&A and some time for socializing. As a ‘for free’ initiative, it relies on experts being willing to give their time. I also drop in regular sessions around digital strategy and marketing for creatives, but try to keep the focus mixed. Alchemy sessions are done in collaboration with the Alchemist Bar, Nairobi. Aside from getting larger than expected audiences, the results of this initiative have been amazing, many new connections have been forged, conversations have changed and it’s created an energy for similar sessions run by others.
Hosts have included: Jess White (Akum Agency), Muthoni (MDQ), Eric Musyoka (Producer), Marek Fuchs (CEO Sauti Sol Ent), Nameless (Musican/Producer), Makadem (Musician), Paul Ogala (Actor Sense8), Monique (TV Presenter/Singer), Blinky Bill (Musician), Ian Masters (Screen Writer)
I returned to photography in the last couple of years, interested in supporting the music business/digital strategy initiatives I was working on, with imagery. It’s now become a renewed passion, using the proceeds of photography to help support the pro bona work with artists and to create content for web development projects. It’s also taken me to some great places in East Africa.
The gig scene in East Africa, its personalities, its vibrancy, its authenticity, sometime rawness and low light, are an ongoing but pleasurable challenge. I love natural light and the effects and atmosphere of stage lighting. I am always looking for that iconic shot, the one that truly encapsulates an artist, which, in practice, translates to a lot of head shots! I feel I’m close to reaching that goal if an artist takes a photo for their profile picture.
It’s a real joy when my photos of East African musicians appear in music industry media, because for me it’s all about shining a light on them.
If you’re thinking of booking me, please check out my Instagram or galleries first, you’ll see I prefer candid, unposed, low light. It’s not for everyone.
Digital Strategy forms the core of my ‘for free’ work in East Africa, alongside the workshops. Delivered either as public talks, small group sessions or commercially as one off reports or as a consulting service.
Understanding the principles of how digital can be tamed to help build sustainability and success as an artist in East Africa, is quite far removed from how an artist actually translates that into a workable strategy. The status quo, capacity and financial constraints in the locale can add to the challenges of embracing digital fully. Methods used globally, do not always work the same way in East Africa. Leveraging digital has a significant role in artist development and exposure and adds real value to the mostly DIY approaches artists in the region are taking. I have seen real value add at many levels, and impact, from researching, testing, curating and sharing the available knowledge.
Customized Digital Strategy and Digital Footprint Analysis, are equally useful for commercial businesses and brands. They are both an integral part of my web development process, but can also be commissioned separately. (Usually in the ballpark $100 – $1000)
Digital Strategy workshops for commercial businesses/brands can also commissioned, where the organizers are responsible for all the financials and logistics.
ONGEA 2017 | NAIROBI | Panelist
SAUTI ZA BUZARA Movers & Shakers 2017 | ZANZIBAR | Panelist
ONGEA 2018 | NAIROBI | Panelist
ONGALA MUSIC FESTIVAL 2018 | Dar Es Salaam, TANZANIA | Session Leader on Artist Branding and Management
PANELS + CONFERENCES
I’ve been in East Africa for more than 7 years, most of this time engaging with the creative sector, getting to understand the challenges they face to become sustainable. Without the warm sweater of an organization or a funding agenda, it’s been an excellent opportunity, not just to describe the status quo, but to have tried and tested means to escape it, to create a body of potential new approaches for East African creatives to succeed.
This deep involvement in a scene over time, focusing on person and infrastructure, gives me a unique perspective on how to move forward and much data to add to discussions about music business East Africa.
The constant research sometimes ends in articles, sometimes in new connections and is always focused on impact.
For those with an interest in the newly emerging music scene in East Africa, or having it talked about somewhere else, please feel free to contact me.
The opportunities for workshops came about after doing some talks on digital strategy, giving creatives some curated understanding of how to leverage digital in the growth of their career/creative business. Workshops offer the time to get a little deeper, customize the content, and be more relevant as participants are challenging their own strategies, rather than engaging with the theory.
4 x Masterclass Series on Digital for Creatives | NAIROBI | CREATIVES GARAGE funded by AFRICALIA [Oct 2017]
SOUNDS OF KILI | 3 day Musicians Bootcamp | ZANZIBAR | In collaboration with RML, CDEA, MUSIC IN AFRICA & GOETHE INSTITUT [June 2016]