The BAKE Blog Awards are held yearly to recognize Kenyan bloggers who publish great, useful content online. This year, the awards were held in May and one of the big winners was Sam Wakoba. Sam’s blog Techmoran, won the award for the Best Technology Blog.
We caught up with Sam to get some insights into his blogging journey.
Who is Sam Wakoba, in a few words?
Sam Wakoba is a humble and hardworking Kenyan, passionate about bettering lives in any way he can. He believes that, with the right information, anyone can be empowered to become a better citizen, employee or business person. My calling has been to dedicate my life and time to empower communities. This is just the start.
How did you come up with the name for your blog. Why ‘TechMoran’?
A Moran is a warrior and tour guide in the Maasai community. As tech ‘Morans’ we want to protect our local tech ecosystem as well as guide those who are new to it. International media covers African tech in a bad way – focusing more on NGO backed companies. We want to show the world everyday innovations in Africa hence protect the entire ecosystem.
When did you start blogging?
I began blogging in 2010 but wasn’t doing tech. I was more interested in entertainment and business but then tech became so mainstream and everyone was talking about Kenya. The only problem was they were only talking about MPESA, so I felt the need to write and expose more local innovations apart from just mobile money.
What inspired you to start blogging?
I was inspired to tell the African story. I wanted the world to know there are thousands of other innovations apart from MPESA in Africa and I wanted to help readers understand they can also launch their own companies by reading about young people in their own country or on their continent who are building great companies. I just wanted to inspire innovation on the continent.
What do you know about blogging now, that you wish you had known when you were starting out?
I think I’m still learning. Blogging is a lot harder than I thought and if I knew it was this hard I could have taken up a simple job in a company. Our biggest challenge has been to make ourselves different from online news platforms and at times we have even thought of just being a news platform and forgetting about blogging totally.
Are you a full time blogger or do you do it as a side hustle?
Blogging is my full-time job. I have given to this business my entire self and if it goes down I go down with it, if it grows big I grow with it. I’m not looking back.
What blogging mistakes have you noted in the Kenyan blogosphere that you wish could be rectified?
As a blogger, you are a voice and an authority on a subject you know so well or are passionate about. The major challenge I have seen is bloggers who want to be experts in everything which is a good and a bad thing. By being an expert on many things you lose you true self and get much more traffic but by remaining focused on your industry, you become a niche blogger, with more authority, less friends and less traffic to your site which is still a good thing.
Do you face any blogging challenges? If so, which ones?
The challenge now is PR. PR guys are paid to push their content on you and sometimes they are the ones suggesting to the client on media buying. If this doesn’t change, PR will spoil blogging in Kenya. This means less real feedback to the clients from bloggers and less customer satisfaction derived from their businesses. They will close shop if they don’t do independent customer feedback and market research.
You have won the award for Best Technology Blog for three years in a row (congrats!) after dethroning Moses Kemibaro who won in 2012. What is your secret for staying at the top?
I can’t say I dethroned Moses. I really look up to him for most of the work we do and he is also so proud of us. We can say that we are a product of Moses Kemibaro. We think he would be a good fit for us if we approached him to our board. What keeps us at the helm is listening to readers and becoming better everyday in covering the startups and gadgets we love. I think consistency is our biggest secret!
Finally, what next for TechMoran?
We are starting a glossy print magazine for designers and techies as well as monthly tech-business events.
We wish Sam Wakoba and his entire team all the best in their endeavors.