Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Success is not an upward trajectory

August 2012 was a bitter sweet month. I was happy to finally complete school; the sad part was the uncertainty of what was coming next. For the first time I could do whatever I wished, but what? Was the question. I had a few conversations with my peers, lecturers and people who I thought were successful but none of them had the answer I was looking for. Perhaps it was because I was hoping someone would magically hand me a flight plan with an itinerary of everything I needed to know. But I never got it.
After final exams, I went back home and my dad thought that it was time for me to leave home. He was kind enough to let me stay an extra night before sending me on my way. The cold harsh reality was starting to sink in, that I had to find a job or create one.
The following day, he dropped me at the stage and wished me luck. All I had was 15,000/=, a travel bag of clothes and a laptop. As he sped away, I saw the clouds forming in the near distance. The view of Buziga from Bunga was spectacular.
For the next four months, I crashed at a friend’s place as I fought to get my life in order. I had hit rock bottom. I had never imaged in my life, debating between buying food or a jerrycan of water. Six months earlier, those questions would have been very trivial, but at that moment, I couldn’t believe it had come down to a life and death situation.
But I kept at it; dreaming, reading and praying. I knew what I wanted to be; rich at the time. I started sending emails to everyone I thought could get me business as a photographer and film maker. Two months later, a few jobs started coming in and I made sure I executed them to the best of my ability and kept hoping that the next job would pay better than the previous.
Then one day, I receive a phone call from Uganda Christian University, regarding a proposal for a promotional video Carlos and I had written a few months before, which in my opinion, thought  was overpriced. It was hard to believe that someone wanted to hire me at the price I had quoted, but then again, I sounded confident and accepted to do it. There was one small problem though; I needed to raise the seed money. Clearly family was out of bounds and all my friends were unemployed and broke.
With only enough taxi fair to Mukono, I went to see a friend, Mark, who had given me work before. I convinced him that if he lent me the amount of money I needed for the project, I would pay him back with ten percent interest. I clearly had no collateral, heck I might have walked back to Kampala had he said no. But luckily he agreed.
From that project, I didn’t look back, I went on to start a media company, outdoor advertising and finally investing into a tech start up.
Almost a year later, I find myself back on a desk, working for an ad agency. The three companies I started have been sold off and my former partners and I hardly see eye to eye. There is a lot of sentiment to go around about what I could have done better and I know that now. Better still, I know that nothing lasts forever and it’s the hard cold reality.
But perhaps the most important lesson of all is from a quote I read back in my dorm room by Steve Jobs, “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” Sometimes it’s good to fail because then the heaviness of being successful is replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again which presents a learning opportunity and therefore grow.
And as long as we are growing, even if the circumstances around us do not indicate we are on the right track, well, you are.
It’s been a remarkable journey for me, living through the highs and lows of life. But through it all, the urge to move out of my comfort zone and stay ever curious has seen me achieve things I thought weren’t possible.  Truth is, having a dream and staying curious is the beginning. As a former entrepreneur, I have learnt it also takes courage, focus and strategy to steer your team to safety.   

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2013 in pictures

Irene Namubiru and I at resort beach, 1 Jan for the Uganda waragi Beach party. *LikeABoss

At Aero beach #Yolo moment. I had quit a bit to drink that night which made me realize I was no longer in collage, that was the last time I went on a bender. 

Posing with Robert Kabushenga - CEO of New Vision. I admire his business accumen. I have always thought I could be
as shrewd as he is some day, but then again, I'll probably be better. *Time*experience 

I am sure the picture says it all. Gotta love PR. If someone had told me PR would be this fun, I would have signed up

I finally took a Steve-job-kinda looking picture. Taken by Nicholas Nsubuga, of course with my setup

I soon realized that an effective PR person has to dress 20% better than people in a room. This was at the end of year staff party, Mark bought me that drink, which has the highest alcohol content I have witnessed. This picture is a representation of the culmination of many small plans coming together to make a stronger, smarter, bolder, humble me.

Aamito Stacey had come to office to pick her letter of endorsement for Africa's next top Model. Her and I were kinda close at University. She emerged winner and now she is a super model. I have to show this picture to my kids one day.

At the Bell Carnival with Bwayo Moses, my good friend. This was the first time we had talked all year. It was probably my fault that we hadn't because I had refused to pay him for a job. This was my apology. 

Sometimes to truly appreciate what you have, you have to live it. This was my second week at work and I could already envision the future. Taking this picture made me appreciate the agency more because all over a sudden I saw what everything could possibly be instead of what it was which was depressing (pay was wanting)

This is Bwire my boda guy. I have no idea what his second name is. But he makes me laugh and even though he is sometimes two hours late when I send him, I still use him because of his interesting conversations. Sometimes I look like an idiot, laughing in public when Im being ridden. good chap

Its been a year since the birth of my second company,Carlos & Patrick, a unique partnership with the brilliant writer/creative Carlos. Right from the start all we wanted to do was create great art and get paid for it. Its amazing how a conversation that started in my dorm room has led to the creation of brilliant work, jobs and a great friendship. To dreaming big.

2013 was great because I got a chance to work things out with my Dad. I am sure in a small way, he is proud of the man I have become.

Strategy, Strategy, Strategy

Clearly I preferred to drink vs run in the MTN Kampala marathon. Silvie, who writes for the CEO magazine is such a darling, never a bore!

Kata Kwii - North Easter Uganda. "Today was an interesting one. Sat with a group of men from Kata Kwii and sipped Ajono while we talked about Soccer, politics and women. One of those moments you are out of your comfort zone to relate with others and the experience is invaluable. Everyday, as it turns out is a learning opportunity. 
Bwayo Moses now I can relate to your Karamoja experience."

"When "I look at the horizon, I can see the destiny of my feet, my strength and sight but i have never seen the destiny of my vision - Napoleon Bonaparte"

With music artist Fille. I was having self esteem issues, lots of doubt, scars from my previous relationship. I realized to get better with ladies, I had to be (seen) with beautiful ladies. Get t

At Lugazi from filming social work emphasis documentary with Carlos. I miss those days we let our hearts and mind forge the impossible. *Fail epic-ally or succeed epic-ally like Carlos likes tos 

I met Joel Katabazi *Kata in 2012, first love Studio. He talked me into advertising. A year later we were working together in the same agency. He commonly referred to me as the weak link, he couldn't have been more wrong
With CMO of MTN and Olympic gold medalist Kiportich. I ran the PR campaign for MTN marathon and Kiprotich helped us gunner some publicity. (I temporarily managed his image) #Awesome


At Marathon with Lawson. He and I studied together in Seroma Christian High School, S.4 2005.

Maggie Kigozi, brilliant business lady. This was at an international trade work seminar. (should have dressed better)

2013 was tough , especially for mum who under went more than 3 eye surgery's. I was blessed to celebrate Christmas with her and yes, she is so cool, thats where I get my awesomeness from! #SwaggLikeUs

Work like you are getting fired next week. True in many ways and this pictures captures that moment when I almost lost my job until I realized I had to always be the smartest guy in the room in order to demonstrate my worth, which came with a lot of donkey work, research and chores.

At the launch of Kampala Marathon. The whole launch plan was my strategy. Here I was basking in the moment of success. The sleepless nights had finally paid off, or so it seemed then.

Indipendence day found me at River Nile Jinja enjoying, a cold a Nile and the juiciest stake I have ever had. Made me realize how many freedoms we take for granted in Ug. #UG2thecore

These two. The picture was taken at my house, After Konnie and Faith had slept over. I admired their sense of loyalty for each other.

I spend a lot of time alone, listening to music. That's where my brilliant Ideas come from.

December 24th 11 PM and I was still in office because I realized that the action was at the next curb!

My first ever radio interview, done by the one and only Yvonne Kushe. her and I go way back to 2007. I realized that as a PR person, I need to work on my face value, in other words, be out there more because for some reason I figured it was going to come in handy one day. I guess time will tell.