In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Zappi went completely remote across all of our offices. One of the side effects of this move was that we had significantly less organic, social interactions between employees.

To counter this, we built Ketchup: a Slack app that promotes interaction throughout the company. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how the app works and the tech stack we used to bring it to life.

An international company with offices and employees spread across multiple continents, Zappi currently has roughly 200 employees split across different regions (Cape Town, London, Boston, Portland to name a few)…


Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

Being a computer scientist with an interest in evolution and biological processes, the topic of genetic algorithms, and more broadly, evolutionary computation is to me what a candy shop is to a 5-year-old: Heaven. The mere possibility of being able to merge two of my interests in such a seamless manner has been extremely exhilarating, and it would be wrong for me to keep this knowledge and excitement all to myself.

So in an attempt to test out some of my learnings thus far, and share my findings with the rest of the world, I have decided to put together…


Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Ahh, yes, Regret, my dear old friend. We have come a long way you and I. Sometimes you frequent my life, and other times you are absent for weeks, months, perhaps even years on end… and then bam! You rear your ugly face again. But I have nothing against you. If anything, I should thank you, because the more I think about it, the more I realize that your presence in my life is actually for my own benefit in the long run. …


In the previous episode of Ben’s financial crisis…

I explained why I initially obtained a credit card, how I obtained the credit card and what I spent my first few thousand rands of debt on. In this post I will expand on how, over a period of three years, my once innocent credit card habits (i.e using my credit card on unnecessary purchases and clearing the outstanding amount at end of the month) eventually spiraled out of control after I left my job in October 2015, in order to focus on running my business full-time.

The irony

On Tuesday morning…


In this post, I will expand on the tumultuous love-hate relationship that I have had with my beloved credit card over the past 4 years and how I ended up with R78,000 worth of debt. Mind you, this figure, which is my current credit card limit, doesn’t even take into consideration the amount of interest that I have paid over the years, which, at 22% p.a. easily brings up my total bill to more than R100,000. It even hurts me just typing that out. …


Terracotta Army — Photo by Aaron Greenwood on Unsplash

According to Carl Jung, there are four stages of one’s life:

  1. The Athlete
  2. The Warrior
  3. The Statement
  4. The Spirit

These stages have nothing to do with how old you are, what you have achieved or what possessions you have attained. Also, these stages are not necessarily linear either, so you could alternate between different phases at different points in your life, a pattern that I have seen in my own life over the years.

The definitions of these stages are as follows:

The Athlete

The athlete is the phase in our lives when we are at our most self-absorbed. There…


Photo by Roman Mager on Unsplash

On Saturday, 4 August 2018, I attended a talk given by my business partner Masharty Tembo, at The Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village in Greenpoint, Cape Town, hosted by the Allan Gray Association. His talk was titled ‘Turning Ideas Into Problem Solving Products’ and during this talk, he eloquently broke down the ins and outs of business, entrepreneurship, startups, ideation and minimal viable products (i.e MVPs).


Yes:

  • I do have degrees in Computer Science
  • I do have a strong appreciation for logic
  • I have written a lot of code
  • And I have worked on numerous software applications, systems, ‘startups’, Startups, companies and business ventures over the course of my life

But I am not just a developer.

So please don’t be surprised when I tell you that:

  • I don’t want to work on your new website
  • I don’t want to join your founding team
  • And I don’t want to help you build Uber for X or AirBnB for Y

Because I am not just a developer.


Photo by Ian Macharia on Unsplash

Some Background

I was born at the Mbabane Government hospital in The Kingdom Swaziland on 11 March 1992 to two amazing Tanzanian parents and I essentially spent my entire childhood there, with occasional trips to countries like South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and of course Tanzania. Swaziland is a predominantly Christian country and it is also Africa’s last absolute monarchy, which essentially means that the King has unrestricted political power over the country and its people.

My formal education began at a pre-school called Little Brown Hen, followed by a primary school called Sifundzani and then a high school called Sisekelo…


Dear Benjamin from January 2012.

As I write you this letter I am sitting on my balcony on a sunny Saturday morning at the Mare Monte Beach Hotel on the beautiful Greek island of Crete.

I was thinking about you all night long and I figured that I would take the time out to send you a message from the future in order to let you know that everything, absolutely everything that you ever dreamed of eventually worked out. That ingenious idea that you had right after you left university, led to a massively successful tech startup which attracted a…

Ben Mmari

Entrepreneur, writer, and software engineer. Currently building APIs at Zappi.

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