Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for tuning into this week's episode of my Tech story. My name is Alice Kanjejo, your lovely host.

And guys, the reception we've received so far and the guests we've had so far, the conversations that have been had on this platform have been so surreal to be part of and so amazing to just see my ideas come to fruition and all these amazing people to have come here and share their stories. I don't take it for granted. So thanks so much for your support so far.

As always, this is just a subtle reminder for you to subscribe from wherever you're listening from, whether that's on YouTube or Google podcasts, Apple podcasts, wherever you're listening from, make sure you subscribe support us by also following us on our social media platforms @mytechstory Africa. And yes, without further ado, as you can see, we have someone else in the building, someone who I'm very excited to hear the story that he's about to share. And I don't know what else can I say.

I feel like I'm just very pumped, as you can see from my face, to have this conversation with this lovely person. So today we are joined by the lovely Evans Munene. And guys, when I read this intro, I feel like he downplayed himself because you guys already know this is my favorite part of the podcast.

But I'm going to read his intro and then I'm going to let him speak for himself to just give us a bit more context and we can get straight into his story. So Evans Munene is a software engineer and entrepreneur. Subtle.

He has made it subtle, but he is definitely when we get more deeply into what that actually means, you'll be very amazed by the potential that this guy has and what he has done so far. So Evans Muneneis a software engineer and entrepreneur and he is also the founder of three startups, one failed, one dead, and one successful. I like that.

I like that you added that touch of because people like to forget or not bring up the fact that maybe they started a startup that didn't work out, so they put it in the back burner and not claim it or whatever. So I'm very happy that that's something that you've claimed, that one failed, one dead and one successful. He is currently a senior software engineer at Chums IO, which is one of the biggest reasons why I wanted you to be a guest here.

And Chums IO is a savings app that is building a community of savers by enabling people to save as little as five Kenyan shillings through behavioral economics. Wow. Now this is about to get juicy.

Tombs has grown to serve 80K plus users in just one year. And they also managed to secure our award, or rather be the winner of the Mobile App Awards in 2022 in the savings category. Ladies and gentlemen, Evans Munene.

Wow. Now, thank you so much for being here, Evans. Thank you for inviting me to the show.

I'm very grateful to be here. I have a lot of questions, but of course, that's why we are here, to answer the questions that I have. But tell us more about when you say you're a software engineer and an entrepreneur, can you expound on that to give a bit of context, just an overview before we get deep into the stories? Yeah, so I build apps for a living.

I like working with tech, but even more than that, I think I'm obsessed with building delightful software. Things that make people just feel a sense of gratitude. In the sense that if you use them or banking up or like Uber, that feeling when that someone took their time to do something that has lifted a burden off your shoulder, I tried to strive for that.

And so that's what led me to think about entrepreneurship and building products around problems that I was facing or people around me are facing. Okay, first, and also, I just wanted to say congratulations on the award that you guys won in 2022 for the savings category. How was that feeling and how was it just see tunes your last product.

I know we are skipping to the last product, but I just wanted to know what was the feeling to see your last product get to where it is today? Yeah, no one wants to hear about the failures. Everyone wants to hear about the failures and that's why you're on this platform. But let's just first hype the people up.

We were greatly honored to be, one, nominated, and two, to win that category for best Mobile App in the category of Savings in the Mobile App Awards 2022. Wow. Again, it came as a surprise to us because for us, we're just building an app and we were satisfied with the testimonials that people are giving us.

But to think that people would actually go and vote and say that these guys are doing stellar job meant so much to us. I'd like to thank everyone who voted and also our users as well, because they're the people who promote us and again, just fills our hearts with joy. I love to hear that.

I love hearing successful founder stories. And again, success is an individualistic metric, but I feel like, at least for me, I feel that you've achieved some level of success and it's just the beginning. And I hope that I'm hoping to see that this app or whatever products that you keep building as you go end up reaching the skills that you want it to and it ends up being successful.

And that's what we're hoping for, not only in the Kenyan economy, but the African itself. We love hearing successful tech startups. So, yeah, kudos to you.

Thank you. But now I think we can take it back. No, but it's the truth.

It's not any gas. It's just everything is true that I've mentioned. But now I want us to now go back to the beginning.

So, Evans, tell us about your tech story. Where did your interest in tech begin? When did you even know about these things? And where did the journey begin? I think I'd like to say that my journey began at an early age. My dad used to have a laptop and I used to like playing games, games on the laptop.

And that was literally the only thing. And if there was no games, I tried to just do paint and just feel like a whole page. I tried to just get some kind of interaction.

I really liked it. I think it was in high school when it all started coming together because I signed up for computer studies again for Premade, you were doing the APO Four system. And then in high school, again, I enlisted for computer studies so that I could play games.

But then when you go to form three from Four is when our life started becoming real and we started working on projects and programming, and there was something about it that just really piqued my interest, that you could build something out of nothing. And I was so interested in I couldn't quite explain because it wasn't like something like a game that gives you like a dopamine hit. But the feeling that came out of building something out of nothing really stood out to me.

And so when you worked on our fourth year project from Four project for KCC, it cemented the idea in me that I think this is something that I am really interested in and really would want to do. And so I remember when I finished high school, I went and bought two programming books and started learning. I didn't go so far with them, but they really picked my interest.

But then I picked it up. Now, when I joined university. Before you proceed, I wanted to take you back to where you said that in high school you did computer studies.

I'm not sure which guest it was, but I think on this platform we had someone who mentioned that they did computer. But computer wasn't the same as what actually programming or what building software is. So would you say that the learning that you did in high school, like, okay, was impactful? Yes.

In your journey, that's where you learnt about maybe the potentially building something out of nothing. But would you say that the Kenyan system, eight Four system provides enough education or foundation for setting you up to be in the tech industry as a programmer or whatnot? I'm just curious. Interesting question, because I certainly agree with what your previous interviewer said, your previous guest said in that it's not so much a dive into the technical building of software.

But then again, I'd also like to give props to my teacher at the time. Because even when we're benchmarking with how other schools are doing it, we realized that we were actually being taught how to build software. In those cases, you could just build simple forms with Microsoft Access and call that a product or call that your project.

But our teacher went to great lengths to make sure that we actually learnt a programming language. So for us, we picked up it was Visual Basic, and we literally wrote actual code. And even when we benchmark with other students or when I spoke to my friends from other schools during the holidays, they were like, we've not even come close to what you guys are doing.

I don't think so. Honestly, with the computer studies with my high school, I don't think they were learning those things. And were you guys being graded on those things, or that was just something that your teacher I think he went out of his way.

He went out of his way to make sure that we actually studied and put those constraints that you must build your project using for us to visual basis. Yeah. Shout out to him.

It's called Mr. Juma. Shout out to Mr.

Juma. Man sorry, do you mind me asking which high school this was and what year this was that you don't have to say it, but maybe the year so that we get, you know, now technology may advance. So I want to know what tech was at that time and how it's transformed throughout your journey.

I went to my high school, kabak graduated. I have those guys. Okay.

They have reputation themselves. Nonetheless, I'm very grateful that I went there. It cemented a lot in terms of just my interest.

And I don't also think, again, reason why I'm shutting out my teacher, because he also went out of their way to expose us to more than just the bare minimum. Exactly. And that's what got me on this journey.

Wow. Shout out to Mr. Juma.

Okay, so from high school learnt that you can build something out of nothing. Tell us about uni. When I was joining university, I only had two ideas of two professions I could join.

I thought to myself, I want to do computers. So those are the only places I filled. And then I said, if that doesn't work, I'll probably be a teacher.

Wow. And I thank God, because I was able to get into Nairobi as a computer science student because I was not looking forward to being a teacher. Could you see yourself right now being a teacher? Honestly, even your voice, you really have a presence of someone who could potentially help someone be where they want to be.

But I just don't think it was definitely I definitely don't think it was this piece for you. Let's just say I'm happy I took the path that I took. But yeah, I joined University of Nairobi studying computer science in 2014, and that's when I really got exposed to tech software, just the whole landscape.

Not just like in the syllabus and what we learnt, but also just get connected to the Internet, start learning about programming, start learning about what interesting things people are doing and the mind blowing things, projects that guys are taking. And started thinking, okay, I guess I can try to build something. So I think I started as a Windows Phone developer.

A Windows Phone developer? I'm learning something new every day about this development. When we're joining university. Windows Phones were kind of a big thing.

They were really together with BlackBerry, I think. Not yet, but yes, Blackberries, I mean, they were there, but Windows Phone looks like they had a sense of promise. So think of, okay, me, myself again, I also had a Windows Phone.

So I was like, maybe this looks like somewhere this is a niche, I can cover it for myself. That was my first step in taking wrong bets. But yeah, we started by building a simple it was like to do up, launch it on the store without any kind of marketing, got like 1000 users and I was like, okay, wow, this is really something that's quite interesting for me and something I really want to do.

But nonetheless just started exploring other ideas and also working with other companies because as well I was getting exposed. And through attachments internships, seeing what other people are doing, it cemented an idea in me that we can build products or I can build software and they can serve a purpose. I started like a small startup, like a tech shop with a friend of mine in university who was a classmate of mine.

What do you mean by tech shop? Building software for customers. Okay, I hear you. Yeah.

So my dad is in the construction industry and so I used to see him build houses and sort for clients and I thought maybe I can extrapolate that to my field. And so I am going to build software for customers in that same kind of trajectory. That was also my second step in making a very wrong bet.

A very wrong bet, but still part of that process, I think. Let me just highlight the fact that as a kid or just growing up from primary throughout high school, throughout uni, I think we underestimate or people underestimate how it's the small things that make such a huge impact in your life. For example, just your dad being in the field that he was in and just seeing him do what he does even if he doesn't know it.

This was the reason why it inspired you to even get into the tech space or do this and that in the first place. From Mr. Juma teaching, you going above and beyond and saying like, okay, beyond what's in the syllabus, let's learn this programming language and doing this and that.

So I just find it very interesting that in our journeys of life. Like, even when I talk about my tech story or just anyone in general who talk about their stories, I strongly feel it's always related to something small or just seeing that inspiration that in that moment you don't know will have the impact that it will have in your future. So I just wanted to highlight that, guys, that's true.

Small things, they so seeds exactly. The ones that come to reap exactly. Later on years or even decades in the future.

And I am no exception to that case. Yeah. So I think that's kind of a brief summary of what no, you've not mentioned why it was the wrong what is the wrong idea.

So I think one of the things I'm very grateful that I did that because there's a lot of discovery involved, but you also get to discover when you've made the wrong bets. And one of the reasons why that is the case is the assumption of just because I see someone do something that it will apply to me one to one. That my situation for me.

I looked at what my dad was doing in the construction industry and said, this has to apply one to one with what I'm doing. And so I'm going to model my work off that model and it's going to work out. But you see, those are two different industries.

Yes, those are two different people. He started his business much older, me much younger, and those are many subtle and small things which are quite impactful that I did not consider. I just said, okay, it works for him, it must therefore work.

And even in the process, you have that internal bias of surely it must work out for me. I mean, it's this simple, it's one on one, I can do this. Why would it not be successful? Yeah.

And so the reason why I say it was a wrong bet for me is that I found that for me, building software for customers wasn't a very fulfilling thing and also as a business, wasn't quite as productive or successful as, say, building a product, where I ran into a number of issues. I'm sure Dominic also might have mentioned it because we later on also worked on it with him. But there were so many things that I ignored, particularly because of the nature of software, where it's not a tangible thing that you can touch.

And so you price it at whatever price that you think that the market is willing to bear. Sorry for interrupting you, but I'm trying to process you saying building software versus building products. Can you give us the difference of what these two are? Yeah, definitely.

So when you're working, you're expending effort. You're using your time. You can either be using that time to build something for someone else, or you're building your own thing and then selling that thing to others.

So when I say building a product is as in your case it's honeycoin, you define the products, the customer decides whether they want to buy into that. Whereas building services, selling a services someone is literally just buying your time and your effort and your expertise to build their vision. Okay, I hear you.

Okay, proceed. Yeah, so for me, building services didn't turn out to be a great endeavor for me again, particularly because of a number of reasons. I didn't have a big reputation coming out of university, I didn't have all that experience.

For me, I was pricing to win, which means I'm trying to price at the lowest possible cost, telling myself eventually I'll be able to price at a rate that is commensurate with my effort. But that day would never come. We'd always try to find ourselves like we're trying to price to win again, seeing that software isn't a tangible thing that you can say okay, I spent 2 trucks of something.

You're quantifying your creativity and your mental effort and that nestled didn't translate well because again, we just want to soft train in a process where we are pricing to win. So we're always quoting even lower than the actual cost just so we can get some of these clients. So though it made revenue, it wasn't a business that was suited, at least for us, it wasn't sustainable.

It wasn't sustainable. I want to take you back to when you were mentioning how when you were, yes, you were building all these services but you didn't have the right connections or the right avenues per se to help you to where maybe you potentially wanted your career to end up in. And I wanted to ask is it because of I don't know, did you have how do I want to ask this question? Were you more introverted, more kept to yourself or is it that you were within a circle and then forgot to interact? Or was it just I know in uni you can end up focusing so much on the course and then the later itajipanga.

But I just want to get to why that was the case and what your mindset was. At that time before you realized that maybe I should have done this or made these connections better, or maybe not spent this much time building software as and instead focusing on building connections. Yeah, that's true.

Hindsight is 2020 as I say. I look at all the things I did that time, I'm like I was really dumb. Yeah, so many things that could have done the opposite way.

Again, the main problem that I or like the root cause when I try to think about it is the blind assumption or just the lack of exposure and knowledge to know. Wisdom comes with time as well and also wisdom comes from the mistakes we make. So I think I'm wiser now than I was back then and at that time I probably couldn't have known better.

But it all started from the assumption of I saw, like, for me, trying to pick what my dad was doing. I tried to explain it to myself, okay, but not truly picking everything. I was picking the things I wanted to see.

I would not consider that, let's say for him, he had worked like, let's say at least like 20 years in that industry. He already had a huge network. He already had kind of a strong reputation with the people he had worked in.

I didn't have all those assets, but still I got in expecting the same result. And that doesn't necessarily apply. That is true.

So it was a call for me to be a bit more humble and a bit more cautious in the sense that you can't just look at what someone else is doing and assume that it means it will work the same way for you. I believe it was spiritual said that there is no industry that is so large that you'll be profitable by merely just participating in it. You have to find something that is quite unique about you.

You have to carve out a niche. You need to truly find something that sets you apart. And you truly need to also be aware of where you are.

What am I showcasing? What do I not have? What do I need to build on? And those are things that I just went in blindly. The assumption that as long as I'm building software, it's going to get work out itself. I like that response.

And I think one of your good friends who was also a guest of this podcast, I think I really pick up a lot from what my guests say, is that at that time you made a decision that you felt was the right decision for you. So I strongly believe that you can't blame yourself for making such decisions because maybe, one, they were necessary part of your journey, but two, you did what you knew to do with the knowledge you had at that time. Yes, but yeah, now we know better.

I was giving not a talk, but I was talking to a few students who are asking me about entrepreneurship and asking me like, what do you need to start? And I was telling them that for me, I believe the only two things that you need to start I think you need to be courageous. That is true. And secondly, you need to have a sense of rational optimism.

You need to have a sense of wonder about the world. You look at things and you're like, wow, there's so much opportunity, or there's something that can come out of this. And so I had those two, but I guess I still didn't have it wasn't a very rational it was just optimism.

Pure, pure optimism. And that kind of pure optimism without necessarily being wise or being exposed enough is I think what I'd say led to the feel of my first two startups and it's something that I've grown from as well. But at the time, I don't know if I could have made a better decision because otherwise I could have just been like everyone else and just, I'm getting a job and that's fine.

But if you're courageous and you'll stumble along the way, you'll make a number of mistakes, but nonetheless you'll be wiser. Exactly. I 100% agree.

So, yeah, take us through now how you got to your first startup. I think you were mentioning how you started the business with Dominic and tell us about, from your perspective, how that was and how that built up to where you are today. Yeah, in my final year of university, I met up with a friend who we had met in church and were just no acquaintances, but then I also found out, oh, we're actually in the same campus, we were studying in Chiromo.

And so from time to time, we'd find ourselves going back home at the same time and we'd talk about a number of ideas every other time, we talk about crypto and a number of things. But there's something that stuck out for us. We're like, I'm about to get home, I need to pass by the store and I really just hit the queues.

And both of us, that was a point that really resonated with us. Like, it's 07:00 P.m. And I'm only going to buy just something small, but I'm going to have to wait.

Yes, it was sucking the life out of me because that's something that we're experiencing every day. We said, ask myself, okay, how could we address this problem? What could we do? And so we thought about a product that would be a click and collect product where you shop. The idea was that you shop while you're in the office, you take a bus when you get there, it's just waiting for you.

And so we were quite enamored by the idea and we thought to ourselves, okay, perhaps this is something that we can actually try delivery services before they became a big thing. Actually, it's quite interesting because a week before we launched, I remember my dad sending me a snippet from the papers that read, spanish startup Gloval is setting up in Africa. And I remember just the feeling where I felt my soul and everything, let me just leave my body.

I don't want to say I hate when that happens, but I know that sometimes it happens because you're really looking for you're busy building, you're busy thinking, this is it, man. And then someone who maybe has even bigger funding. Now you start thinking about, what are the chances of my success if such a thing with similar whatever comes into the market again.

I'm always had I gone back to that time, I don't even think I'd be that stressed or that worried about a competitor being in the space because even years later, I still look at it, I'm like, I think we were still somewhat different. We could still cover niche. But when it's your first time building a product, this has to work.

There's a lot riding on this. So we built a product. I was the engineer, engineer, designer, everything that was not operational, wearing all the hats, front end, back end, build the back end, build the app and then deploy know we say it after university.

And so it was bootstrapped. We were strapped for cash. And so we were really trying to save money everywhere.

So Dominic would go and hand out flyers next to the store. And then I'd be at home looking for orders, refreshing the page. And then when an order comes, I just get on a bike.

You get on a bike and make the delivery and then make the deliveries. That is also operational at this point. So you are doing everything at that point.

You do what needs to be done. You do what needs to be done because you don't have money to hire anyone. Oh God, I'm just imagining Dominic handing out flyers.

Hello, can you try this out? Check this out. It was very rough at the time and yet I look at those days with a lot of Fodness because I think we were to pick courage and pick optimism. During those optimism, we don't even care.

We don't even have money. But it's like this has this idea is so good. It's too good not to work.

Surely it cannot work on the balcony of our house waiting for orders and be like, this is going to be big. You know what, I see this coming. But that said, you cannot break the natural law.

You can only break yourself against it. There were a number of things that were a number of things that were not in our favor. That some I've learnt.

Maybe it's actually quite interesting to talk about a sense of pride because a lot of it was we had optimism, but it's not the rational optimism. For me at least, I think about it and think to myself, I should accommodate it with a sense of humility. Because for us, we're like not, it's going to work instantly.

By the end of the year, everything is going to be okay. We're going to be everywhere. Even the math to you guys was making sense.

We don't have money, but it's okay because with how big this thing is going to be, you guys just knew this is working out. So at least now with a lot of what we're doing, I try to approach it with a sense of humility and a sense of, you know what, I don't know, let's find out how big this is. And I think that has served as well, especially for Dominic with Honeycoin and even for me working with Chums.

That sense of, you know what, I really don't know how it's going to. Turn out, but I'm going to do it anyway. I have a suspicion, I have a hunch about something, about the world, and I'm going to prove it.

At least I'm going to test and find out. And that's something that we didn't have. But that said, I'm still quite the amount of optimism.

Just be getting on a bike, riding delivery. I think that's what separates successful people from the rest, because I feel that sense of even if I don't know, I am going to pursue it anyway. Even if the first one doesn't work out, the second one doesn't work out, somewhere, something will work out if you just keep doing something.

Because every single time you fail, it's an opportunity for you to learn to apply in your next thing that you're going to pursue. So I think that's definitely what sets people apart. That energy of, like, you're saying optimism and courage to just say, fuck it, I'm going to do it.

Yes, that's true. Maybe the one thing that I'd advise or I tell my younger self is that don't be too in love with your product. Wow.

Yeah. Be optimistic, be rational, and be courageous, but don't be too in love with it, because how do you do that? How do you not be in love with the thing that you feel is going to be your game changer? It's hard, but you don't want to have a solution that's chasing problems. The solution needs to be brought up by a confirmation of this is actually what's happening and this is what's going on.

Want to have a solution of chasing problems? Yeah. So, like, you don't want to build an app and then start looking for things that the app will solve. You want to start from this actual problem, and then you'll let that define the app or let that define your product.

And in many cases, the product that you will build or the product that will end up being successful will be quite different. It'll take on so many forms in between, and there's so many things that you're going to add and so many things you're going to remove, but nonetheless, it will still be a product. So don't fall in love with the shape that it takes at the beginning.

Try to be very iterative modifying itself, especially in the early stage. Just trip it. If something doesn't work, test it and just be like, no, this doesn't work.

Let's just kill it and move on to the next one. And I think that's the whole mindset that pushes the whole Silicon Valley mindset, when Zuckerberg says something like, fail fast, fail early, it's that thing. Actually, what's interesting is most people that I know who build their startups, whatever their initial idea was, I'll say seven out of ten times, it is completely different to what it becomes.

So I 100% agree with that analogy of don't fall to in love with your product. Wow. I understand that there are some products which are so they sound so delusional and yet make 100% they make sense, like, later on.

Absolutely. But I think for most people, your product is something that you'll keep defining. I think what I mean by that is something like Airbnb or like the iPhone.

Is that something that Steve Jobs could have just asked a committee? I think it's Steve Blag says you have to ask your customers. But then Ford will say, if I ask my customers what they want, and they've built a faster horse. So there's a time for having a sense of wonder and saying, I truly believe this is it.

And then there's also a time for, you know what? Maybe I should be more cautious. Maybe I should actually let the market define what my product looks like. So you need to really recheck about your and you won't really know until you try.

You wouldn't know until you try. I think trying is definitely ten steps ahead of someone who is not trying. And the idea still remains an idea.

I think when you put it out there, it's open for modification. It's open for a failure or success. But either way, there's something you will learn better than constantly wondering, what if? Because the feeling of, what if I did this? What if I did that? And then you end up in a career that you don't even like or enjoy.

You only have one life. So how do you want to live that life? And your career is basically 90% of your adult life. Okay, not 90%, but a huge chunk of your time goes to what you dedicate your time to.

So really and truly, being audacious is something that you just have to grow grit to do it. And if you're an entrepreneur, it's probably 100% of your life. If not even in your sleep, you're thinking of what you ever see yourself.

Do you think that it's easy for people to become entrepreneurs, to go back to being employed? Is that something that you think you would do? Yeah. Not because in our minds, in our hearts, and our dreams, our products or companies will always succeed. There'll never be a problem.

But that's never a guarantee. And you also need to remember that the path that the next person takes to you, even if that's an entrepreneur doing the exact same thing, is not the same as yours. God comes out a path for every single person.

And so people usually talk about the Colonel, the founder of KFC, as a motivating story. I hate to hear that story because he got his success at 65. I'm like, oh, Lord, please.

I know you do it in your time. My time is now. My success is now.

But no, that's still true. I think I like the story of Henry Ford as well, because I think he's also someone who came from having so many failed ideas. So you never truly know.

But you have to take that courage. And sometimes we mean taking a break. Don't fall in love with the entrepreneurship mindset where I'm working on this thing just so that I can say I'm an entrepreneur or like I'm sticking up to the man, I'm defending my own thing.

You don't want to sink five years of your life working on something that was never going to succeed. The solution being the problems, if it doesn't work, it's okay, you can take a break. You can get things you want to do.

It out of a sense of joy, not out of a sense of you have something to prove to other people or even to yourself. Even to yourself. I think it's part to have values that are not defined by yourself.

So that you're never truly being swayed by your own emotions or you're never truly being swayed by your idea of how the world should be. And so sometimes by mean this thing doesn't work, you might have obligations, you might have a family, you might have things that you're also trying to balance at the same time. And so to make a blanket statement for everyone, you can never go back to work.

Once you start entrepreneurship, that will be a lie. Even people who've had successful companies, you'll find some of them become serial entrepreneurs. They build new products.

But then some others, your product is acquired and yeah, now you're working for another company and still you can still get that same satisfaction. I think one of the problems about our current culture, like our hustle the grind mindset is that everyone needs to be an entrepreneur. Everyone needs to be successful.

Everyone needs to have their own product and their brand. And I don't think that's true. I think there's a lot of value even for if you're an entrepreneur, that means someone is going to work for you.

God really know, like if you grow and you want to be this big, that means that people who work for you, it doesn't make them any less. It doesn't take away any of the value because of what they're doing. Some people are very good even within the specific field and you can still prosper even while working for someone.

You need to define success. Success is not just money. Success is not just like building your own brand.

Otherwise you'll have people just trying to build something that will never succeed and just dig themselves deeper into a hole of misery. I love that argument that you've just brought up. And I think what I'm gathering from you, I think the biggest thing I've gathered from you, from this conversation is don't fall in love with not just your product but really anything in life.

Just leave space for modifications, for changes. Because in the case of product, because in the case of product, you never know how this is going to work out. But you do it anyway.

In the case of life in general, even in something as parenthood, you know, you don't know how you're going to raise this kid, but we're doing it anyway. We're going to try. This doesn't work out, we try something else.

So I think that for me, is the biggest takeaway from me is that even in entrepreneurship, you never know what the journey is, but you're doing it anyway, whether it's going to go back to employment, whether it doesn't make you any less anymore. It's just we're all trying to figure out this life thing. I think for me, a lot of my value set and my viewpoint is based off the fact that I'm a Christian.

And so I try to define my life as per, how God and my faith defines life, because it means that at any point, whether I'm entrepreneur, whether working for someone, there's still something that I'm here to do at any place, there's always a purpose. I don't believe that I was put on this ass to make money. I do want a lot of money.

Let me just be clear, not here to be pious. I do want our money. But I truly believe that my purpose here on Earth is not what I define it to be, but what believe God is calling me to do.

So your purpose can be even in the software, in what you're doing. For me, a lot of it is defined through software. Like I said, that feeling when you've taken an Uber and you're like, that was a huge stress.

I was in the office, now I'm home. And just because of an app, that's something that for me, drives me a lot. And for someone else, it could be something different.

And so it's important to have, I think, a value system that's not based off your feelings or your emotions, because it allows you to have something to always stand on and to always be firm in that sense. I love that. I think as we try and now almost wrap up this episode, I wanted now to give you an opportunity to tell us about the product that is successful.

And I want you to tell us more about Chums, what your mission and vision has been and what your journey has been and what you project it to be, or rather, what we would like to see Chims become. Or even if you don't know what it is now. And it involves money.

So that part I know. It's actually a shame because there's a lot to also talk about. Chums.

I got involved in Chums while working on Pigeon. I had a mentor, a great guy. He's actually the CEO of Chums called Samanjaguna, and he studied computer science, like, a few years ahead of me.

So when we were working, we used to be in a place called Sifadila Bin. And so I'm actually grateful to him because I'm an introvert. I'd just be sit down, crouched, working on my laptop, and we'd talk a lot.

He'd go out of his way to engage and to talk with me. And so as I was bouncing ideas off him and trying to help him, as he was helping me trying to understand how to structure pigeon, he invited me to what was essentially the building of chums where we sat as a few guys. And we were talking about products and we were talking about products in the line of savings.

And we're actually talking about behavioral economics, where instead of building a product that you just give to people and they learn how to use it, could we build a product that is more in line with human behavior? Wow. As I said before, you cannot break the natural law. Can you break yourself against it? So for us, we knew that we can't make people save money.

We can't create an app that forces them. Instead, we can build an app that runs parallel to how people think or how people behave and then try to steer them towards savings. And so it was around 2018 that we started talking about it.

We spent, I think about two years. Or is it three years? Because we launched last year. And by launching, I mean our regulator.

The Capital Markets Authority allowed us to open our services to the public. But for about that's a journey in itself. Let's just celebrate that.

That's a journey in itself. But for about two years or three years, we're building. We're just operating, doing tests.

And it felt like that day would never come. Wow. And it did.

And so we built the app. Primarily, I came in as a designer. Actually, I came in just to give wow.

As time progressed, I started working on the app and I started working on the iOS side of the app and then progressed also. Now working on the Android side. So currently, I work on the app as a whole.

But it has been a great journey. I Find It Quite Interesting because Chumsy Is The One Product that I Did not Have A Huge hand in. And so It's The One That Has Had More success.

And so I don't know what that means about me when I look inside, when I look, when I'm introspective. But it also made a case for working with other people and letting also other people's ideas shine. And the collaborative effort and chums of all the products that we work on has been the most collaborative having more and more people and even more diverse in the sense of age perspectives.

Yeah. And so chums, we were allowed to operate in the public. Last year, in February, we grew from 500 to, like now, 80,000 users or so.

Wow. In the span of a few years. Not a few years.

Sorry. And it has been quite a journey. We've seen people use it, I guess.

So One Of The Biggest blessings to me is when I'm talking to someone and they'll tell me about an app called Chums and they'll tell me how it's a really good savings app. And I'm like yes, I agree with you. I shall sign up.

You don't tell them that because when it starts, I'm the one who's telling people. And then when someone tells me my Hajj is a lot about the product, honestly. And so it's been quite a journey.

And I'm quite grateful to everyone that we've worked with in Chums and are currently working with and download the app we offer. I've not even told you what the app is about. Yeah, it's a savings app.

We allow people to create goals and save for things that in future notes that phone. We try to make savings easy. We give people prompts when they spend on Mpesa so they can start setting aside a small amount.

We try to tilly to people's behavior. We try to build challenges. Like right now, we have the two week challenge.

We recently had the challenge for World Cup just so we can try to layer savings to everyday life. We offer interest because of our banking partners and our investment partners. We are regulated by the Capital Markets Authority.

So if you have been thinking of wanting to get into savings or you have something that you want to save for, I encourage you to download the app. Tell us if it's good, tell us if it sucks. We really want to know.

Give us five stars. We never have enough five stars. You can never have enough.

Five stars. But yeah. Are you just live in the Kenyan market or do you see yourself scaling beyond? We are currently in the process of trying to scale beyond, but even in the Kenyan market, it's still a lot of value to offer to people.

It's so true. I think savings is something that people still, until today it's simple concept in your mind, but execution. Like you said, tapping into behavioral economics is the best strategy you can honestly do, in my opinion.

So that it can actually make it easier for me in my everyday life to just have savings, kind of rather than me reminding myself, okay, this month we are saving this, and then next month something happens. Okay. To not reduce apakidogo, but if it's tapped into my personal behaviors and everything else, I think it's a more effective way for me to be more adamant about my savings plans.

So I'm very happy to hear about Tunes and about your success. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, it's one of the big reasons why I would love you to be a guest today. And yes, I have really enjoyed listening to your story today, honestly.

And I think before we close out the episode I said that 20 minutes ago, but I normally close off episodes. Just four questions that are short, sweet, precise, just so that you can close off your episode well with a word of inspiration. So, Evans, what is one word to describe the journey to get to where you are today and why? It's humbling because you get to meet people who are much wiser, much better than you.

And it also gives you a bit of inspiration to know that it's awesome, that's too out of reach, that as you work on yourself and as you interact with people who are much better than you, you will also get to a point where someone describes you as wiser and better. And so that's something that, trust me, there are people, there are fountains. Don't sell yourself short, dude, because I feel like there's a lot that you've already given us in this episode that honestly, someone who is still trying to get to where you are will have picked up and said, wow, that guy from Tune said something.

So, yeah, don't sell yourself short. You're also wise in your own field. And thank you.

You're wiser than you were before. So every day is a learning opportunity, honestly. And life is never linear.

I don't know why I'm getting now emotional about this, but yes, I don't usually cry over apps, but I do okay. And what advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to get to where you are today? Take the leap. Take the leap.

Just start. There are many people who are wanting to work on it, and it's like it's like exercise. We all say we want to start exercising, but that day you just wake up out of your seat and go run.

That's when the journey begins. So for some of you, you just need to know the time has come. The time has come.

The time is now. After this episode, just do it. Do you have any regrets or what would you have done better or something that you feel you would have done differently from the journey that you've shared with us today? I think I've kind of touched on that just due to all the mistakes that I made.

I think I'd just be again, be more humble, be more open, try to learn from anyone you might have insight to something unique, like a unique insight that other people don't have. But that said, as you listen to other people, they elevate those ideas to an even better stage. So be humble, not be hardworking, be kind, open to listening to people's opinions.

I love that humbling is something that I've not had someone say when I ask. I think you've talked about a lot of being humble in this episode, and I think it's a really good reminder for people to remember, if you're not humble, life will humble you. You need to be this, but you forget to be humble.

But life will humble you if you don't humble yourself. I love that. The last question is give us a powerful parting shot oh, well, I don't think I was ready for that.

I think Margaret Mead said that, never doubt that a small number of committed citizens have the power of changing the world. In fact, it's the only thing that ever has. Wow.

What can I add on top of that, I think that was also a moment of reflection for me. Wow. Thank you even so much for gracing us on this podcast.

I think your story is definitely one that someone will resonate with out there. And I think a lot of people may have been curious to hear more about your story and just the story of Chims success. But let nobody lie to you that success is overnight.

Success is rarely ever overnight. The people who you think you just heard of Chumz today or that one year, as you can hear, is something that started two years ago, maybe even three years ago. So be audacious, be humble and yeah, just do it.

I think that's where we're going to stop this episode, guys. Thank you once again for tuning in. Once again, just reminding you to subscribe and follow us on our social media platforms.

All the links are also linked in the description from wherever you're listening from, I have been your lovely host, Alice Kanjejo, and I will see you in the next episode. And yes, thank you once again, evens bye to our audience. And tell them something, if you have any links, make sure you share with us so you can follow up on you guys.

And if after this episode drops, please track the numbers and see whether Pool will now start signing up tunes so that you can come back now as partner. Hopefully shameless plug. Thank you so much for having me.

You can follow me on Medium at Munene Evans and subscribe, subscribe subscribe to my tech story. Thank you. Okay, cheers guys, see you next week.

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