A collection of the best insights and resources for the ambitious mind
This blog post originally appeared on techboxx.co
Successful startups are almost never started by one person. Usually they begin with a conversation in which someone mentions that something would be a good idea for a company, and his friend says, “Yeah, that is a good idea, let’s try it.” If you’re missing that second person who says “let’s try it,” the startup never happens. — Paul Graham.
I had this kind of moment three weeks ago. Fortunately for me, I not only had one person to say, “let’s try it!” I had two. And between us, we had the design and technical nous to put together and ship a battle-ready website in quick time.
With a special focus on speed, we set about developing the simplest version of what we hope will become the best collection of little ideas and dashes of inspiration for makers of tech-enabled things, on the Internet.
There is no better teacher than experience, but sometimes reading can take you a long way. This is especially true when you are starting out, because then, all you have is the experience of others. Luckily, the Internet offers many tools and platforms for ideas, learning and inspiration. But then again, when there’s so much information, it’s easy to get distracted — hoping from site to site — while getting nothing done.
This is where Techboxx comes in.
At Techboxx, we spend time scouring the web for gems of content, packaging them into bite-sized chunks and uploading them online in a low-noise environment for easy consumption. We do this — so that you don’t have to — in the hope that the time and effort that you will save will be channelled towards making ideas happen. Because that’s what real entrepreneurs do; they get s*** done!
It’s probably hard to tell, but we are super excited about this project. Why? Because we cannot fail. This quote from Rilke by Rainer Maria puts it across perfectly;
What we fight with is so small, and when we win, it makes us small. What we want is to be defeated, decisively, by successively greater things.
Here’s why we can’t fail:
Even though we are out to serve an international audience — because well, we are an Internet-based company and the Internet is brilliant at blurring boundaries — our main focus is on the African maker.
Africa needs more makers.
While the world will always be in need of bright ideas to solve our biggest problems, Africa’s need continues to gather pace at a near-disturbing rate.
Industries. Markets. Jobs. Skills, all these are issues that need urgent attention.
With Techboxx, we are by no means looking to bring about world peace, what we are looking to do is spark the energy and creativity of ambitious minds to start asking questions like “why can’t we do it like this?” and then help them follow through on that curiosity. If we can help in so much as getting a few more to do a bit more, our job would have been well done.
Generally, everyone has the capacity to be creative. We don’t know whether that comes from sporadic flashes of insight, elaborate linear processes or some magic formula. What we do know, however, is that creativity needs the support of an informed mind space to perform well.
Through the use of clever insights, code chunks, design snippets, awesome tools and key discussions — we hope to nudge a world of tech creators, new or otherwise, towards big ideas and also help them build brands around those ideas. Because it is one thing to be able to spot trends and come up with uncommon solutions to common problems; and quite another to be able to make the resulting solutions happen.
Great cities attract ambitious people. You can sense it when you walk around one. In a hundred subtle ways, the city sends you a message: you could do more; you should try harder.
No matter how determined you are, it’s hard not to be influenced by the people around you. It’s not so much that you do whatever a city expects of you, but that you get discouraged when no one around you cares about the same things you do. — Paul Graham.
There aren’t many things more powerful than a community of driven people working on inter-related problems.
We believe there is immense value to be drawn from bringing passionate people together in the name of work. I use the word ‘work’ lightly because it’s only in the sense of the results that it produces that it can be termed work. To the worker, it’s anything but. Passionate people love what they do so much that the concept of “spare time” often seems mistaken. These are the people that inspire our work because we see a bit of ourselves in them.
At the risk of alienating people, if your work does not involve a moment of reflection at the end, that allows you to be able to say something like, “wow, that’s f****** brilliant”, Techboxx is probably the wrong platform for you. After all, inclusion by its very definition excludes others.
Going in, we understand how difficult it’s going to be to have an audience big enough to fully justify the effort we’ll throw into Techboxx. This is largely down to two factors. One, not everyone wants to be a tech entrepreneur. Two, not everyone is cut out to be one.
In Africa, and indeed across the world, ‘looking for a job at big company X’ is an ingrained culture that has enjoyed decades of reinforcement and reversing it will take some doing. This is especially true in our home country, Zimbabwe. That said, we still can’t help imagining a world where creating a company is the default. We’ll do our fair bit to make it so, whatever the outcome; it will be worth our while.
It’s exciting to think we may be on the cusp of another shift like the one from farming to manufacturing. That’s why I care about startups. Startups aren’t interesting just because they’re a way to make a lot of money. I couldn’t care less about other ways to do that, like speculating in securities. At most those are interesting the way puzzles are. There’s more going on with startups. They may represent one of those rare, historic shifts in the way wealth is created. — Paul Graham.
We are excited by the idea of having a little corner of the Internet that owes its existence to our effort. Much more than that, we are excited by the opportunity to be part of this revolution, wherever it may lead.
I originally posted this blog post on techboxx.co. If you enjoyed this post, it’ll be awesome beyond words if you can pay us a visit there or just hit the recommend button here : )