Catalyzing the growth of the Kenya tech community

Fireside Chats and Community Forums

By Erik Hersman
iHub
  Published 06 Oct 2010
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We announced late last week that Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph will be joining us at the iHub for a couple hours. It's a time for questions to be asked of him, but also a time for him to talk about the last 10 years of his time leading Safcom. Unlike the first "Fireside Chat" we had with Russell Southwood, this one is a lot more structured and the communication on it wasn't as clear, causing some confusion within the community.

We knew that there would be a problem with the amount of people wanting to attend MJ's talk at the iHub, thus we created a signup process. We also wanted to ensure that there was a wide variety of questions that could be asked, the hard ones included. MJ will not see the questions beforehand and the panel will not modify the questions as asked. What we are doing is ensuring that the questions are distributed so that they carry a wide range of issues, as our goal is to make for an enjoyable event for everyone.

Fireside Chats vs Community Forums

MJ and Russell Southwood are the first two of our talks by successful Kenya CEOs and visionary tech thinkers in Africa. We see the position of the iHub as a nexus point for all types of interaction within the community, and these times are excellent for everyone involved.

With the new membership rules for the iHub going into play, we're starting to differentiate between two types of talks. The first, which we call Fireside Chats, are only open and accessible to Green members. The second, we're calling a Community Forum event, and they're open to anyone in the community to signup for and attend. In this case, you can see that the MJ talk is a Community Forum event, and thus has a more structured format - for the executive's comfort, as well as a our ability to have a high quality discussion.

Thanks for bearing with us as we try to figure out the correct formats for these meetings. In many ways everything we're doing at the iHub is an experiment, and we appreciate your feedback, pushback and help in making it happen. After all, this is your space.

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