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Notes & Thoughts #1 - Small Beginnings

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October 7 · Issue #1 · View online
Notes & Thoughts
Welcome to the very first issue of Notes & Thoughts from The Red Notebook!
I am truly excited to start this journey with you, and I hope that this will be the beginning of exponential growth, learning and connection.
So grab a cup of coffee or tea, get comfortable and let’s get started!
Solomon King Benge

First things first: What is The Red Notebook?
The Red Notebook is a platform and community for young African entrepreneurs and business professionals to learn, grow and connect.
As a platform, The Red Notebook provides weekly knowledge, advice, and insights from peers and established business professionals on themes like leadership, personal finance, career growth and entrepreneurship.
As a community, it connects people who are intentional about their professional development, career growth and entrepreneurship journey. It creates an opportunity for connecting with and learning from peers with the same level of commitment and intentionality.
We leverage social media heavily, so please take a minute to connect with us and follow us on the following platforms: Twitter - Facebook - Instagram - YouTube - LinkedIn and Telegram.
If you believe there’s someone who could greatly benefit from this, invite them to join the Red Notebook!
We look forward to connecting with you!
On Celebrating Small Beginnings
Everything has a beginning, like this project - The Red Notebook.
The greatest and most formidable creations humans ever come up with started as a simple idea. A small spark of light in a spontaneous moment of inspiration. And through imagination, careful nurturing, and possibly hundreds of mistakes, became an unstoppable and irreversible force that we often cannot live without.
The printing press, the steam engine, automobiles, electricity, internet and mobile devices… every single one of them was an idea that started with one person, and then a team and then finally brought the world together.
As I start this journey with you, I want you to hold on to that knowledge, and that awareness: that everything starts small and everything starts in your mind, without any physical form. And what follows after that is the constant, intentional nurturing of that spark of light. Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute until it becomes a living, tangible thing that is bigger and more powerful than anything you could ever have imagined.
It takes work, and it takes time. Yes, sometimes, an abundance of luck shortens the journey considerably, but as they say, fortune favors the prepared (and the bold).
For me, nothing drives that point home more than seeing where some of the world’s most valuable brands - like Amazon - started. The picture below shows what is possibly Amazon’s first office, alongside one of Jeff Bezos’ early business cards.
You can read about Amazon’s history here, or watch this insightful video that highlights their history and growth.
Reflect on this: What Are Your Small Beginnings?
What small beginnings are you taking for granted? And what lessons has impatience taught you?
I know that personally, there are mistakes I made that could have been avoided if only I had been a little bit more patient and focused on a long-term investment goal, than a short-term attempt at getting rich.
I also know that there are skills that I would be a master of today, or a lifestyle I would have right now, if I had simply committed a few, consistent minutes each day for the past few years.
So, what have you dropped, changed or ignored that could have a tremendous impact on your life, family or career, two, five or ten years from now? How can you get this back on track?
Read This: An African Tech Exit - The Beyonic Story
Beyonic is a Ugandan-bred digital payments services provider which operates in Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. In June, 2020, it was acquired by MFS Africa, in what could possibly one of Uganda’s most interesting startup exits.
This interview with Luke Kyohere - one of the cofounders - is a quick, but down-to-earth look at what it took to get Beyonic from idea to acquisition.
I also found this behind-the-scenes story by Dan Kleinbaum - also a cofounder - to be an especially insightful perspective from the venture-capital and human-capital side of things as they built the company.
Listen to This: How I Built Calendly with Tope Awotona
I use Calendly a lot for my scheduling. I like it for its simplicity, flexibility and integration with third parties, so I was pleasantly surprised when it got featured on “How I Built This”, one of my favorite podcasts, hosted by Guy Raz.
The interview with Tope Awotona, the Nigerian-born founder of Calendly, is a fascinating insight into innovation, creativity and grit.
Watch This: Pathfinder - 9 Lessons From Failure
Speaking of beginnings, I want to share this video with you about lessons learned from project I started - and failed to finish - more than a decade ago. I created this video to share 9 critical lessons that have stayed with me since I closed this project.
Pathfinder was this insanely ambitious plan to digitize and map Uganda, primarily for tourism and business purposes. The big, hairy audacious goal was to put GPS trackers on boda-bodas and set them loose for weeks, collect the data and plug it into this gorgeous mapping system I had built.
How to Build And Launch Your Product or, 9 Lessons From Failure of a Project | The PathFinder Story
I hope you have enjoyed reading this very first issue of Notes & Thoughts! It’s one small step for this dream that started as a tweet and is now going out to 130(!) subscribers on its maiden voyage.
This is a small beginning worth celebrating!
Connect and Share with us!
We are building a community of African entrepreneurs and business professionals, and we leverage social media heavily, so please take a minute to connect with us and follow us on the following platforms: Twitter - Facebook - Instagram - YouTube - LinkedIn and Telegram.
And lastly, communities are not built in isolation. If you believe there’s someone who could greatly benefit from this, invite them to join the Red Notebook!
Thank you, and see you next week!
Solomon King Benge
Founder - Fundi Bots and Curator - The Red Notebook.
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