Over the last few months, I have treated the task of growing and building Ushahidi very much like how one would grow and build a business, or one would run a start-up (or rather how I imagine one would do it since I’ve had no experience doing either). It has been a challenge, mostly because we have not had the luxury of pre-planning, and because we have operated with limited resources and been a largely virtual organization. From the beginning, we’ve sort of just taken a rapid proto-type and growth approach, often figuring out things as we go along and relying on the fact that we really believe in what we are trying to build as our compass.
In addition, while there is a lot more structure to us then when we first started, and while we are now planning, and looking at metrics, and thinking more strategically than ever…it has been important for me to make sure that we retain that element of quick-out-of-the-box thinking that has made Ushahidi possible…back when it was just an idea that we built on nothing more than our passion for Kenya (OK, it was not that long ago but it seems like eons sometimes given how much progress we’ve made :-)) .
Balancing the two is easier said than done, especially when trying to navigate the donor funding world, which sometimes (I think) struggles to figure out how to support us and our non-traditional approach. Nevertheless, we soldier on, driven by the great support we’ve gotten from the community that has evolved around Ushahidi (thank you!) and from the recognition we have received in the media.
For us to be featured in Forbes magazine is a big deal for many reasons – it speaks to our entrepreneurial approach to social problems, it speaks to the incredible talent we have in Africa that often doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves in the international media, and it says to me that we are on to something.
So today, I will revel in the great coverage we are getting…and save my worries about how we’ll make payroll next year for tomorrow.