Today on Man Around Nairobi we feature techie Patrick Muteti. Patrick Muteti describes himself as a big-ladle life eater. He is passionate about people and technology. He is the founder of Wavuh, which is a cloud software startup based in Kilimani, Nairobi.
- Did you grow up in Nairobi?
I did! I grew up in Karengata. There were lots of vegetation and animals, from slippery guava trees that we loved to camp on to shameless monkeys that only would harass women and children. We were free to be rowdy kids and informed teenagers. We also had lovely neighbourhoods where everyone was everyone’s child; we enjoyed goodies and punishment communally.
Growing up was filled with laughter and scarred knees. We rode bikes and played kati. We played cha mama na cha baba. I was always the weird uncle. We were adventurous; this one time we went banging on Richard Leakey’s gate and accidentally banged it open and these humongous mongrels got loose…
A good part of my education happened in Nairobi. You know, we take lots of things for granted in Nairobi. This lad in high school had just traveled to Nairobi for the first time, had his first pair of closed shoes and was in living in a house with electricity for the first time.
- What do you love about Nairobi?
The chaotic hustle and bustle of Nairobi drives me. Nairobians are driven by the shilling. From honking and notoriously artful matatus to boda boda fellows living on the edge (literally) to throngs of people rushing to wherever it is they rush to. It gives us a chance to want to be better and solve our problems in our own way. I remember dropping by the CBD on a Tuesday in February 2008 to an empty Nairobi and it really frightened me. I would never want to see that again.
- What would you change about Nairobi?
If I had just one day as the president I would decentralize most of Govt functions from Nairobi. There are a good number of ministries that need to be taken closer to where most of their stakeholders are. That way we decongest the city but also give other cities/counties a chance to catch up.
Nairobi is really a lovely place. So many hardworking people. But not enough enabling is happening to these people. Everyone is inconvenienced by the system one way or another. We need to make it easier to do business. We need to make it easier for people to move from one place to another. The authorities need to be effective in service delivery. I will do my little bit and hope everyone else does. We have so much potential!
- As a professional how is it working in Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
I’m in the tech space. Nairobi is great for tech with lots of new businesses coming up every other day and established corporates being run by an increasingly tech savvy leadership, all hungry for the most efficient means of operations. Coupled by great infrastructure the sky can only be the limit. It’s an exciting time for technology and I love working here.
We also have great spaces and platforms for collaboration as a community and as well as a large consistent pool of talent from the local universities.
I would wish the bigger companies and Government gave more chances to the younger startups and see how they can sort out the traffic lights systems help them solve their problems before sourcing outside of Kenya.
5. If you had a tourist friend coming in from outside the country what three things would you say to sell them the idea that Nairobi is worth visiting?
Mama Oliech, Kiza and Giraffe Center are wonderful places to start.
I love to sightsee and Nairobi has lots to offer. I think my favorite place right now is atop the incomplete Prism Towers. I would take them there. It gives you a view of Nairobi life as it truly is; from the vast settlements of Mitumba and Kibra to the bustling Highrise and Ngara estates to the great suburbs all complimented by the spectacles that are our CBD, Westlands and Upper Hill.
Nairobi Street festivals, although recently far between, are a thing of beauty. You enjoy the local diverse talent. You also get to sit and play with Nairobians in their natural element enjoying 10 shilling ice cream and beer in transparent plastic cups.
I would then take them to Maasai Lodge, which is stunning with lots of wildlife on your way there and back. They also have this lovely swimming pool among rock cliffs and trees. Also, because some friends and I decided to walk there once from Rongai (we were teenagers drowning in testosterone), we got lost and waded into the Nairobi National Park and almost died but that’s a story for another day. Besides, what’s the Nairobi experience without mbuzi choma?
If you would like to interact with Patrick you can find him on email at firstname.lastname@example.org.