Mark Kaigwa

Archive for the ‘Perspective’ Category

3 New GMail Apps That Will Change How You Email…Forever.

In Perspective on September 22, 2010 at 10:00 am

I’m certainly no GMail ninja. But I sure do like some of the amazing tools and people who take hours and hours to create apps and services to make e-mail simpler and a better experience. I’m constantly looking and applying hacks, tweaks and scripts to make my web experience better.b294c2a4-20c3-478f-b66e-3f52d7def141

Recently 3 “in GMail” apps, I’ve come across have completely changed email for me.


This is easily one of my favourite apps. It has completely changed the way I experience email online. Rapportive adds personality and CRM if you will, to the mundane back and forth that email can sometimes be.

What Rapportive does is display a detailed social profile of whoever emails you. Based on how frequently they’ve used that address online, it will show you that person’s presence on the social web where GMail would ordinarily serve you ads.

From an avatar, to their tweets, Facebook profile, brief LinkedIn positions/description and other social networks, Rapportive puts the personality back in email and makes it a more pleasant experience. It also helps you to annotate these profiles as they display to allow you to keep personal notes on each of your peers or friends profiles.

I find it saves me time and allows me to see my connections

They’ve also got a great API and Raplets (add-ons to increase the experience)

You can install it here for Firefox & Chrome.


Email signatures have always challenged me. Different contexts means you’re trying to pass along a different message and I use multiple email addresses from one GMail inbox, so sometimes you want to include links to your Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog, Delicious, and you end up with an email signature about half the size of your email.

WiseStamp solves this problem. Aggregating your social profile (that you’d like to share at least) and letting you create better looking and easier to manage email signatures.

Adding social profiles and making your email signature more dynamic, while not overwhelming at all, is what I appreciate about this app.

You can install it here for Firefox & Chrome.



I use multiple email addresses from one GMail inbox. So I’m constantly sending and receiving different emails with from different inboxes. Naturally, I use GMail’s Search function. But sadly, this like many other small things in life, takes time and is valuable clicks away.

CloudMagic solves this problem by indexing your entire inbox and allowing real-time search of your inbox. From contacts, to quotes from email threads to searching for strings in simpler ways that GMail’s regular Search function would (in a fraction of the time.) This proves it’s worth minutes after installing.


You can install it here for Firefox & Chrome.

I probably ought to state, that I’m using Google Chrome for all this. Chrome’s got some way to go, but I tip it over Firefox at least for now.

And as a matter of principle, if you’ve never had a GMail address or haven’t transferred your email over to Google Apps (Mail, Docs, Calendar for your domain) I suggest you do it now…or at least think about it. You won’t regret it.

Or ask someone like @TheMacharia to help you.

Words by Radiolab

In Perspective on September 15, 2010 at 4:30 pm

One of my favourite podcast series,  NPR & WNYC’s RadioLab commissioned this video by Everynone. Be inspired.

It was for their Words podcast you can download here.


In Perspective on September 8, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Why I’m running for the Safaricom Innovation Board

In Perspective on August 10, 2010 at 8:54 am


Al Kags played a key role in putting Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom to task regarding their approach towards innovation when they first released their Terms & Conditions for all wishing to submit proposals for innovative products and services to Safaricom. It elicited quite the response from the community and gave the mobile service provider much to think about.

Safaricom responded and the outcome was an Innovation Board. They are looking to assemble a board of members who will oversee their innovation interests. Following consultation period with mentors and peers I made the decision to announce my intentions to be a part of that Board and now, I look to the people I have come to know, admire and respect: the crowd.

A gamble? Sure. But without a shadow of a doubt, the reward certainly is more promising and in my opinion an achievable one. The reputation and respect I’ve earned among online communities and the example of the success of my short film, Dawa, reassure me that this effort is certainly not wasted. The network of social capital, as well as the nature of this online environment I’ve become a part of forms the basis for my decision.

The challenge, the expectation and the sheer audacity of applying for this position may raise some questions. I’m prepared to engage in debate, dialogue and discourse online and offline.

Online, the platform I’m using to pursue my campaign is Formspring at

There I have all the “Frequently Asked Questions” including my interests, motivation and expertise as well as what I plan to bring on the table for the position. In addition I’m keeping things open by asking you for your questions, all of which I plan to answer.

The 3 standard questions I’ve included at the bottom of this post (to save you one click), as for the others it’s up to you to get reassurance or answer any doubts you might have regarding this effort. The rest of the useful information for the nomination is below.

Name: Mark Kaigwa
Phone number: +27-76-884-9931
Motivation: Here’s where you give input to why you’re recommending me (Max: 1000 words)

You can fill in your nomination here –

If you might be wondering why there’s a South African phone number there, it’s because I’m in South Africa for the rest of the month. My trip down here was for the World Premiere of my short film, Dawa, participation in Durban’s Talent Campus and to do Digital PR & Social Media consulting. Not to mention attending conferences including Tech4Africa this week and The Internet Show Africa last week. More on those in a follow-up blog post.

It’s have a simple and open approach using the power of the social web. I’ve put together a small team to coordinate this effort and besides that I’m asking for your vote. And more importantly, your advice, comments and questions. There’s no winning or losing here, only learning.

Nominate or Ask Me Something. Up to you.


Images via smokebelch & bitrot

Perpective as defined by The amazing Don Packett and the gang at Thunk! Lab

When a group of smart people are struggling with an innovation based problem, it’s never a lack of knowledge that’s holding them back – it’s a lack of perspective.

In Johannesburg’s Ellis Park for #ITA #SVK. Maaaadness up in here!!!

In Perspective on June 24, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Mark Kaigwa
– Sent from my loyal and trusty Nokia e63 –

Posted via email from Ukwelii wa Mambo

[Video] OK Go – This (Ukwelii blogging silence) too shall pass

In Perspective on April 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm

To make up for the blogging silence so far, I’m giving you a couple videos that have over the past couple of months caught my eye or I know will enthuse you as I prepare for a return to the interwebs…If you’re looking to catch up on where I’ve been  you can check my Posterous Blog “Ukwelii wa mambo” – lot’s of nice snippets and titbits of my daily trails along the web and the universe

Below is rock band OK Go who (with a little help from insurance company State Farm) made this viral video which captivated me with it’s use of a Rube Goldberg Machine (that “simple” contraption that works throughout the video)

I’m sure you’ll be fascinated for the moment…And yes, this blogging silence shall pass. Consider this the beginning.

My portrait as sketched by a Chinese Artist in Charcoal at Central Park in New York City

In Perspective on January 11, 2010 at 5:11 am

I love New York.

Mark Kaigwa

Posted via email from Ukwelii wa Mambo

Kuweni Serious – Waking a Sleeping Generation of Kenyans

In Perspective on December 15, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Young people in Kenya are no strangers to controversy, it must be said. The perpetrators of Kenya’s post-election violence in the last elections used the youth to execute their agendas.

It’s about time somebody spoke up and like Obama will tell you, there’s no better time than now.

Introducing Kuweni Serious ~ Swahili for ‘Get Serious’

They have some serious points of view for ‘young people’ seeing as they are the firebrands of a sleeping generation.

Kenya’s youth have largely been characterized as hedonistic generation of brand-obsessed youth, moving from party to party in the night and congregating on Facebook during the day – using TV, music and brands as our badges, our ID. We’re the Moi generation – the ones who grew up on the now-defunct “Maziwa ya Nyayo” school milk. We watched our parents root for and obtain multi-partyism, and we watched the country shrivel up and almost die under years of Moi’s rule.

And they are not afraid to call out the issues that plague young people in Kenya today.

We’re detached from the affairs of the country, they say – picking our addictions (which one will it be? Drugs, sex, TV, alcohol or God?) while the country burns. Perhaps it is true – what would you expect from a generation who are continuously referred to as “tomorrow’s leaders” in a country where people like one Mr. Kibaki have been in government for as long as Kenya has had a government? Tomorrow never comes, so we might as well carry on with our lives and forget about politics.

Here’s one of the videos on Kuweni Serious featuring George Gachara of Picha Mtaani of which needs a blog post from me too. He speaks candidly on the role of the media in Kenya, and his prediction of what will happen in 2012.

So as you can see, there is a debate that ought to be going on, young person to young person. More on Gachara’s interview here. Note: Youth in Kenya is anyone under 35. Kuweni Serious are trying to put a spotlight and include thought leaders on what we really ought to be thinking about, seeing as youth continue to be the majority of voters in this country.

It is perhaps only when our country was set on fire that we began to see how deeply politics affects us. A few months later, we were paying hitherto-unheard-of prices for fuel, there was water rationing, and power rationing, and then food started to run out. Only then did many more of us realize that we can’t hide forever in the company of the Lil’ Wayne’s and Prison Breaks of this world. Perhaps it is only when our comfort zones were threatened that we realized that our leaders, our “Honorables” are self-obsessed, thieving, murderous idiots. Honorables, indeed.

Blinky Bill, member of Just A Band and overall inspiring dude is honest when asked why he thinks we’re a whining nation, and why he thinks we keep voting in the same old people into Government.

Which moves us on to the real question on youth. Staring it face-to-face and asking people what matters.

And so we at Kuweni Serious – we’re a bunch of kids ourselves – have decided to go out there and find out: how do Kenya’s youth feel about all the chaos around us? Are we proud to be Kenyan or are we secretly wishing we could get green cards and disappear forever? Where shall we raise our own kids? Are we happy?

Convener of the National Youth Convention, Emmanuel Dennis, gives outspoken insight into why we can’t give up on this nation and why the youth seem so apathetic and detached from politics.

Food for thought.

We intend to seek out all the young people out there who are trying to make sense of all this, the youth groups, the activists, the people who read the news and get so annoyed that they write angry status updates on Facebook, the students, the guys and girls who’ve just landed their first job and have been hit hard by the realities of the economy. We want your opinions, we want your stories. We don’t know what we’ll find, we might step on a few toes, but we’ll do our best.

Join Us. Kuweni Serious.

And there’s plenty more where all this came from including a poignant piece by Njoki Ngumi, as well as interviews with award-winning photographer Boniface Mwangi, journalist Abdullahi Ahmed and more. Follow Kuweni Serious on Twitter and Join them on Facebook too.

As Obama said – The time for change is now.

29th October 2009

Kenya’s youth have largely been characterized as hedonistic generation of brand-obsessed youth, moving from party to party in the night and congregating on Facebook during the day – using TV, music and brands as our badges, our ID. We’re the Moi generation – the ones who grew up on the now-defunct “Maziwa ya Nyayo” school milk. We watched our parents root for and obtain multi-partyism, and we watched the country shrivel up and almost die under years of Moi’s rule.

BEHIND THE SCENES: My KBC English Service Interview with Jared @Ombui (Pics)

In Perspective on December 10, 2009 at 6:14 am

Had a great time. My first time on National Public Radio, KBC’s English Service. Was there talking about my short film @DawaTheFilm – (Follow them!) Watch the trailer here –

And go to Http://

Will try get an MP3 of the interview and post it soon.

Once again, a big thank you to Teddy Http:// for recommending me for it.

Had a great time with Jared and Julia on their show ‘Revolution Breakfast’ – they’re interviewing young Kenyans who are willing to go on air and share stories and what they’re doing. So if you’re somebody who’s got something to share or you’re doin something worthwhile, email me @ mkaigwa at gmail dot com. I’d love to connect you to them!

Or follow Jared Http://

By young Kenyan I mean your under 35. 😀

Posted via email from Ukwelii wa Mambo

A Conversation on Conservation – My post at TEDxNairobi

In Perspective, Uncategorized on December 7, 2009 at 6:58 am

I’m one of the curators of TEDxNairobi and though I wasn’t in attendance at the inaugural event (was busy working on my first film – Dawa <– Follow them on Twitter!) I was able to do the awesome planning with the great members of the Dream Team – Joshua, Phares, Sheila, Soud, Kim and Lina. If you’re unfamiliar with TED and their independently organised events have a look-see below.

TEDx was created in the spirit of TED‘s mission, “ideas worth spreading.” The program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.

At TEDx events, unique talks given by live speakers combine with TEDTalks videos to spark deep conversation and connections. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.

One of the speakers at TEDxNairobi was Conservationist and CEO of Wildlife Direct, Paula Kahumbu, of whom you should already be following on Twitter, she’s awesome, trust me. She gave a great talk, of which I blogged about on the TEDxNairobi blog. Have yourself a look-see and enjoy A Conversation on Conservation on the official TEDxNairobi blog:

Engaging Conversation on Conservation in Africa

Paula Kahumbu speaking at TEDxNairobi

Paula Kahumbu Speaking at TEDxNairobi

A self-confessed tree hugger, Paula Kahumbu opened by reminding us how extraordinarily privileged Kenya is as a country as far as diversity is concerned, and how most times, it’s taken for granted by Kenyans themselves. By demonstration when she asked to see those in the crowd who had been to a National Park in the last month, only a handful inferred to the affirmative. It brought life to her statement!

She shared on how Kenya has one of the world’s largest diversities of bees – over 1500 species.

We assume the Maasai Migration is going to be around for generations (for those who’ve not seen it already.)

Her second confession was that she didn’t have a television. Her veranda is her television from her home on the edge of the Nairobi National Park and you can always follow her amazing tweets and extraordinary wildlife pictures. […Read More…]

Make sure you have a look, and a special thanks to WildlifeDirect‘s  Baraza for sharing it on their blog too. If you’d like to know more about TEDxNairobi have a look at the posts on all their Speakers. Amazing list with the likes of Aly Khan Satchu, Boniface Mwangi, Kwame Nyongo and Tonee Ndungu and Nyokabi Musila.

You can always follow my TEDxNairobi Twitter list here.

Don’t forget to stay in the loop on the next TEDxNairobi! Fan them on Facebook and Follow TEDxNairobi on Twitter.