Since I began this blog in November 2012 it has presented me with rewards that went way beyond the obvious. It spurred me into exploring ways technology could enable me to work with people at a distance, and as a result my experience has been enriched by good friends in other parts of the world. One of the principal agents in this is Duncan Goldie-Scot, a tireless entrepreneur who is helping to open up the developing world by founding, backing, nurturing and incubating micro-businesses . And micro-businesses don’t stay micro.
In February of this year Duncan emailed me an introduction to Anika Penn, a bright young New Yorker with a new company that he was backing. She was going to need to pitch to investors, and could use my help.
Anika and I had three one-hour Skype sessions over the next couple of weeks, after which there was a pause while she travelled to Kenya where her business was being piloted. I expected us to speak again on her return, putting finishing touches to her pitch with anecdotal material from her Kenya trip. I reckoned without Anika’s flair and determination. From Kenya I received an email with a link to this.
I was bowled over, as was Duncan who had also received that email. She told us only that she had filmed it on the roof of a community centre in Kibera.
I habitually give to people, planning to do something on camera, a strange piece of maverick, counter-intuitive advice. Don’t be too comfortable. An element of peripheral stress can distract your mind into forgetting to introduce some of those inhibitions that get in your way. I hadn’t told this to Anika because it hadn’t come up: I thought we were preparing a pitch to a live audience. Anika had just decided to run with the ball her own way; and it looked to me as if the blustering wind had provided some of that peripheral stress. I didn’t know the half of it.
When she was back in New York we arranged another Skype chat. I was eager to find out all about this.
As I said earlier, this job has its rewards.