LAKEHUB LAUNCH: A Giant Leap For Kisumu City

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Odede James

It’s not every day that you run into an old primo friend, and in the same hour, the two of you run into yet another primo friend. No, not every day. But it happens once, when you least expect it. So Friday decided to remind me what one might look like after ten years, or two people for that matter. I met Deryl Aduda (whose dad is the only reason I pronounce ‘torture’ properly) at the entrance, seconds later one Keegan shows up too, tucked away inside Mega City, Planet Media Cinema would host the biggest event in Kisumu yet; Lakehub was launching.

The venue did well to underscore the seriousness of the event, almost scared the hell out of me. This was after one Chandi Tome helped me set up my banner at the entrance. Now you’ll excuse me, I’m not a fan of Cinemas, partly because I hate lies and partly because the last time I was in one I paid five shillings, Cynthia Rothrock was still young and hard-hitting (and beautiful, actually the only reason we went to movies those days).

''Now this is that Widget I was telling you about'', techies get down to work at the Space
”Now this is that Widget I was telling you about”, techies get down to work at the Space

You’ve definitely heard of Nailab, IHub, The Nairobi StartUp Garage, not exactly what you’d consider technical terms especially when you have a Facebook or Twitter account. All these are tech spaces, birthed (by tech geeks) by the sole purpose of aiding the community around them achieve quite simple solutions. Tough tasks simplified. All the above mentioned are all based in Nairobi, you now understand why I referred to Lakehub launch as the biggest event in Kisumu yet. The first technology hub outside Nairobi.

READ RELATED: Official LakeHub Launch in Kisumu City

So what’s the story here? The same old, that which history books have recorded down for Nailab, Ihub et cetera. As James Odede-the group’s co-founder- puts it, a group of techies decide to meet over coffee in town. The coffee joint becomes their regular meeting place and it’s only a matter of time before one pops up the question,

‘’Indeed great ideas have been conceived in this coffee shop, many great ideas, don’t you guys think it’s time to get down and make this baby walk?’’

Lakehub's Chandi Tome at the Space
Lakehub’s Chandi Tome at the Space

Next step is giving coffee a break and actually setting up a place where the techies can talk all day without the rude interruptions of Café waiters. Lakehub did just that, and now we can all say the City of Kisumu has in it the smallest hub yet immensely purpose driven, an incubator for the ideas that will pillar this and the next generations of the City.

READ RELATED: Register for the #CollegeHack & Earn Free IT Skills

The Launch

When Noel stepped on stage I thought, Oh well, yet another of those boring guitarists I see in Campus Shindigs. A minute down through his performance I shamefully folded my laptop and sent a hundred percent of concentration to the stage. You cannot do that, you cannot Facebook with such acoustics honoring the room. His spoken word co-artistes did splendid, punchline after punchline. If by any chance any of them gets to read this, we need a performance in Egerton.

A few presentations to aid the audience in understanding the day’s business, Lakehub hosted quite a number of speakers who amounted to tonnes of inspiration to all present, a figure I’ll roughly place at just over 500 tech enthusiasts.

Nailab’s Beverly finds herself in waters she’d never thought she’d tread; technology. Armed with zero IT background after school, she lands into the job market, papers ready. Years later she finds herself already a pro in Tech, something she never studied in school.

Ever heard of BitPesa? Bitcoin? Not yet? Me too, okay until Friday I had zero knowledge of the same, and to explain it to you my friend is going to be an uphill climb. So in very simple words, just the same way Mr. Karanja John introduced BitPesa to us, I’ll quote, ‘’what WhatsApp is to the usual texting, is what BitPesa is to MPESA.’’ Got it? Good. It simply an online money transaction platform with close to zero charges. If you’ve ever thought of sending a million shillings to someone at the cost of say, 50 cents, BitPesa is the way to go. I’m not kidding.

Finally, Nyimbi Odero, the days keynote speaker. He makes mathematics look so simple by the way. Only took half an hour to ram into our heads the importance of innovation, how not to go about it and perhaps the avenues best pursued. A father figure he was, reeking of experience and an eloquence that would make you question why you paid fifty shillings to the boda boda guy that morning, when all you could do was buy a skateboard and skate yourself to the event.

As I folded the Magazine Reel banner at the entrance that evening, I saw satisfied faces walk out of Planet Cinema hall. The gleam plastered on their faces made me realize just how massive the step made today was. A first for Kisumu, a first for the City we so much adore.

Long Live LakeHub

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