ALICIA WANGARI JN

WhatsApp Group Meet-Up

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WhatsApp has become a necessary evil. I’m in a couple of groups.  Some are very interesting,  some very nondescript, others not so relevant while some I ‘left’ every other time, and they keep on adding me back. One extended family group was becoming annoying and after finding 300 messages and 20 random pictures one evening I ‘left’. I was added back immediately, given a lecture and asked to wish people happy holidays instead of being disrespectful and going AWOL.

The other day, in one of the more chatty groups someone had the very bright idea of having a meet-up and a coffee boost. The idea was welcome and after getting 15 confirmations the date was on. The D-day which was one of those long gone Nairobi cold weekends, a good quorum of 7 entrepreneurs turned up. Turns out due to involuntary gender responsive strategies it was going to be a women only affair.

The weather by default had dictated the dress code, the  meet-up saw the fancy ankle length and knee length boots get polished and those funky sweaters that remain unworn half the year round adorned. It was a good day to be warm. It was an easy meet-up, not the ones you are obliged to carry business cards and sell elevator pitches to each other.

We simply had a chat about the traffic, the small time Nairobbery which is child’s play compared to Jo’burg, the ongoing Kenyan politics, the fact that Kenya has been rated tops in Africa for fast-paced growth and topping the same charts with corruption. It was an easy discussion, a good place for online buffs to have a well-deserved face off. It’s weird how when you meet the WhatsApp people in person you are either overwhelmed or underwhelmed.

At the end of the coffee boost the members who showed up had a few funky ideas on how to make the group more intentional, relevant in a way that adds value to the members who are all entrepreneurs. Too many groups nowadays just share Gifs and rated pictures.

At the tail end of our meeting one of the members shared with the group the challenges that made her close her business and embrace an opportunity in a new business partnership. One of the key things she highlighted was that as much as you are passionate about your business, when push comes to shove you have to take a bow.

Currently I’m getting into new partnerships and figuring out the parameters of these new mash ups is never easy. It’s one thing running your business laissez faire; it’s another working with someone else who will question your decisions and strategies. I might not have dished out a single card but I did enjoy myself and got to wear my fancy boots.

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