Conversation with the Co-founder of Ushahidi and Mashada Creator: David Kobia

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David Kobia

Hint: The next podcast is with STL a.ka. Stella Mwangi, brilliant woman she is!

The Interview

icon for podpress  Conversation with David Kobia [36:31m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Things Covered

1) University background before immigrating to the US
2) His experiences when he first arrived in Alabama in 1998.
3) How Mashada got started in 1999.
4) Did Mashada grow quickly or incrementally over time?
5) The origins of some of the darlings of the blogosphere including Thinkers Room.
6) Mashada was an accident?!
7) The process of monetizing 8) How has Mashada evolved over time?
9) Discusses shutting Mashada down during the post-election violence in Kenya
10) The double-edged sword that is free speech forums
11) How Ushahidi got started
12) How the blogosphere got the word out to the ground about Ushahidi
13) How are incidents verified on Ushahidi.
14)How United for Africa works as compared to Ushahidi
15) The Netsquared challenge where they won $25,000
16) How are they planning to expand Ushahidi
17) What is Kobia Interactive
18) David Talks about his time working for TIME Magazine
19) His working life within Kobia Interactive
20) How did African Tees get started
21) Things to be aware of if you decide to sell t-shirts online
22) The difference between African Tees and other t-shirt design firms
23) How David manages to balance so many projects; What takes most of his time?
24) How should Africans be spending their time on the web?
25) Words of advice for new immigrants

Websites, technology and people mentioned

1) Mashada
2) Ushahidi
3) Thinker’s Room
4) Ory of Kenyan Pundit
5) Erik from the White African
6) Google Maps
7) Google Maps API 8) Learn what RSS is by clicking here…..
9) United for Africa: Used during the xenophobic attacks in South Africa to assist support crews
10) Netsquared Challenge: Check out this article that discusses Ushahidi’s victory at Netsquared.
11) Kobia Interactive
12) Time Magazine
14) Time Warner
15) African Tees
16) Jamhuri Wear
17) Julianna from Afromusing
18) Google Documents
19) Check out my review of Skype here
20) Presentation by founder of Amazon on the Golden age of the Web

Have a blessed day and an even more blessed life,

No Comments

  • By JKE, June 26, 2008 @ 9:33 am

    David forgot to mention rcbowen’s page (way back in 1996-97 :-) ! Nice podcast, thx.

  • By Mwangi, June 26, 2008 @ 4:28 pm

    @JKE: I would pretend to know what that is but as far as content creation goes, I think all I knew about back in the late 90s was geocities,, hotmail and sites a bit too racy to mention here.
    I am glad you enjoyed the interview, David is a brilliant man.

  • By JKE, June 26, 2008 @ 9:51 pm

    Well, way back in ~1996 there were about a handful sites with Kenyan or Kenya-related content (and not only some fancy tourist sites with wildlife etc.). Check for Kuzungukuzunguka (sp?) webring – the initial admin of that webring was an Australian-Kenyan as well, if i remember it well.

    Yeah, I REALLY wonder how DK manages to combine all these side projects.

  • By Mwangi, June 26, 2008 @ 10:04 pm

    @JKE: I tried to join the Kuzungukazuguka Webring but it was all way too complex for me, even with all the time I spend online, and it didn’t look like it was worth all the effort. I guess there must be something in the water down here in Oz, quite a few cool projects have blossomed down here.
    I am actually quite curious to see what happens if Ushahidi does end up taking a lot of his time, to his other projects: will he delegate, outsource, eliminate or Godwilling, will Ushahidi end up being so successful that it won’t even matter.

  • By rags, June 27, 2008 @ 2:09 am

    i listened to this enlightening podcast and I really enjoyed it. I also noticed that you sounded louder than Kobia and this posed a shida for me coz i had to always add my volume when Kobia was speaking and then reduce the volume when you talked. Otherwise, keep them coming!

  • By Mwangi, June 27, 2008 @ 2:12 am

    @rags: Thanks for the feedback, that is duly noted for the next podcast. I think on the STL interview the volume was pretty evenly balanced but I’ll definitely keep it in mind next time I record a podcast (you are pretty much the reason you don’t hear me so um, ah, ohhhkkk, wow all through the interview).
    Glad it was of use to you.

  • By kimathi, June 27, 2008 @ 9:27 am

    this is a really brilliant establishment david you are a role model for many back here we remember you in our prayers.-murungi-

  • By Mwangi, June 27, 2008 @ 5:31 pm

    @kimathi: Couldn’t agree more, that’s why it was very cool to interview him, to pass on his wisdom and ensure that him and his work are not forgotten. Thanks for stopping by; I am glad you enjoyed the podcast.

  • By Mwangi, June 27, 2008 @ 5:32 pm

    @rags: Then it should be a treat for you. I expect to release it sometime over the next fortnight.

  • By whome, June 27, 2008 @ 10:43 pm

    Just downloaded it can’t wait to listen to it later.
    Number 8 is a cool smiley. 8)

  • By Mwangi, June 28, 2008 @ 12:38 am

    @whome: Initially the way 8 and a bracket became a cool smiley bothered me but now that I have lived with it for a while I’m a huge fan of the 8). Let me know your thoughts on the podcast once you’ve heard it.

  • By meek meek, June 28, 2008 @ 10:18 am

    hmm not enough was said about Mashada… You have to remember that Mashada has been a platform for many and so more should be said about it… thoughts? @ Mwangi

  • By akiey, June 28, 2008 @ 11:01 am

    Finally got a chance to chill in one city for the coming weekend so I’m downloading the cast and will get back to you with feedback.
    I can sense your interview touched on a pack of good issues.

  • By Mwangi, June 28, 2008 @ 8:18 pm

    @meek meek: I think because of the extremity and the novelty of the post election violence everything had to be discussed with that as one of the focal points. However, I think enough was definitely said – or at least I learned – that the current blogosphere in Kenya would not exist without Mashada and when it’s all said and done, I wouldn’t have introduced David as the creator of Mashada if Mashada wasn’t something to brag about.

  • By Mwangi, June 28, 2008 @ 8:19 pm

    @akiey: It does seem like it was a useful podcast and I definitely learned a lot especially about taking any opportunities whether economic or to help your fellow man and I learned a bit more about how Ushahidi and the custom t-shirt biz among other things. Yup, look forward to hearing what you have to say, you’re industry isn’t too far removed from David’s.

  • By Joshua, July 1, 2008 @ 4:10 am

    This is a great interview. I love the closing comments on the growth of the web in Africa. The opportunities are great right now and those that carve a niche presently will be reaping a lot of rewards within the next 5 years.

  • By Mwangi, July 1, 2008 @ 4:15 am

    @Joshua: I am glad you enjoyed the interview and hope you will be able to share it with your readership. You know, people like you, me, David amongst others who are working hard within the African web market and African web world, which isn’t really the most lucrative, are really taking a gamble. Of course, we can never really know for sure whether or not this gamble will pay off, but I am definitely inclined to agree with you that in the coming months and years our faith and hard work will reap wonderful rewards and we will use this tool known as the net to pump a lot of good into a lot of Africans’ lives.

Other Links to this Post

  1. David Kobia Talks Mashada - Appfrica — June 27, 2008 @ 1:38 am

  2. Displaced African Review: Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss » The Displaced African — June 28, 2008 @ 4:19 am

  3. Getting To Know Africa — October 14, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

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