Following our last post, Why the Maker Movement, we figured it'd be great to develop a blog media series that goes towards defining the ‘state of the union’ as it were. Our Meet the Maker Series will be periodic posts dedicated to promising, up and coming local hardware developers; Jua Kali 1.1 This series will be dedicated to identifying and surfacing the amazing stories and the people behind them. We feel this would be a great boon not just for improved visibility of the various projects under work locally, but also and more importantly, to perspectively draw meaningful connections among hardware developers in Kenya. Hardware developers typically consist of your quintessential engineer, and we are an awfully reserved kin with the Internet brimful of Engineering memes. You don't have to look much harder than with a simple Google image search to know more on this. Subjectively speaking though, Engineering can be tough as nails with popularly-known caveats being a social life of less than zero (kelvin) and a horrible sense of humour ;) . Let's challenge the stereotype. That's easier said than done but here's to the first step.
We had the opportunity and pleasure of having some downtime chit-chat with Charles Muchene, CEO of CladLight, a local hardware startup that is looking to improve transit safety by developing smart visibility jackets for our boda bodas.
An interesting peak into the plight of a local and enterprising hardware innovator where we go over a lot of the successes and hurdles he and his fellow co-founders have faced in the year since starting up Clad Light. There are insights he also puts forward in terms of what he has seen to work and what will almost invariably fail when it comes to hardware development, why he believes software is relatively easier to get into and involved in than hardware and the various people/organizations that've helped him along the way.
Listen to the interview here [not studio quality].
You can also download a transcription of the interview here [CladLight Interview]. An insightful but rather lengthy read. I recommend starting with the audio then picking on different highlights in the transcription [Transcription edited for clarity].
Watch CladLight in action and Charles installing a system below