As I had mentioned earlier, last week I made my way to Strathmore University for CMS Africa Summit 2014. In case you did not know, CMS stands for Content Management Systems. This forum brought together IT enthusiasts, students from various Kenyan universities, web developers and bloggers.
My takeaways from the conference:
Knowledge is Power: This may sound cliché but it so true. The existence of open source software has enabled its users to improve their skills (and personal development). By sharing one’s knowledge of open source, you not only increase your connections but improve how businesses are run and contribute to the greater social good. It is very important to carefully pick CMS that suits your particular needs. I have been loyal to WordPress since it hosts my blog but I will explore others such Drupal, Joomla and Typo3 to see what they have to offer.
From Huston Masinde of Skyline Designs, I learnt that it is very important to empathise with your clients and the final users of your products. Know that money is not the only measure of value. In case, your clients are not able to pay cash for your services, tap into their networks or services that they can offer. In the case of the end user, ensure they are able to easily use your product. Web developers should ensure that information is easily accessible once a user logs on to a page.
Paul Otieno shared about having a creative village which he compared to a typical village in a traditional African set-up. It is important that people in your creative circle, are bubbling with ideas just like in the olden days, where the grandparents were custodians of stories that were to be passed down generations to generations. Creatives need to trade their ideas in order to refine them and to build social currency. This goes hand in hand with protecting and looking out for each other. The villages did not only do good business, but they also did business good. I know that we were taught that the business of business is business. However, doing genuine CSR will go a long way in building your brand.
Ruth Cheesley of Joomla shared her experience as a woman in the world of open source. She stressed the importance of making one’s voice to be heard. Ms. Cheesley encouraged the audience to make contributions in their areas of interest through commenting on posts, reviewing codes and sharing their work.
Though I attended one out of the two days of the conference, I had a great time , met new people and I am definitely challenged to start coding!