Taking on Silicon Valley and Paying it Forward

An authentic insight into Nnamdi Oranye's story

As an enthusiastic African Youth living in the diaspora, I am passionate and always looking for ways to keep up with the progress happening on my motherland. As such, I reached out to one of my trusted connections and told him about my dreams, visions and ambitions for a flourishing Africa. He told me that with the size of my drive, I need to connect with Nnamdi Oranye

Nnamdi Oranye is a media contributor across various international outlets and the author of “Disrupting Africa: The Rise and Rise of African Innovation” as well as “Taking on Silicon Valley: How Africa’s Innovators would shape it’s future.” His singular passion is promoting African innovation as a means to leave a legacy of African innovation for generations to come.

Being inspired by Nnamdi, I reached out to him and I am glad to have him take time out of his busy schedule to give us an authentic insight into his journey.

1. Humble Beginnings

Q: How did you get started and what or who inspired and empowered you to?

I’ve always been interested in technology and assumed people around me were just as passionate about technology and its role to change lives on the African continent. In about 2012, I started tracking African innovators, meeting them at conferences etc. This culminated in me promoting them on a weekly radio slot on PowerFM, a South African talk radio station in 2015, and then documenting innovators and identifying trends in my subsequent books.

I was empowered to do this after noticing that our African innovators, whilst having developed world-class innovations don’t get the same level of exposure as their Silicon Valley counterparts such as Uber, Facebook, Whatsapp etc. I figured if we gave our innovators a leg up by giving them the exposure they deserve, it’d be one step in moving the dial of African innovation forward.

Q: What unique and creative strategies if any did you use when you were first getting started?

I didn’t particularly have any creative strategies to promoting African innovation. My think was that if an “Engineer turned Afro-tech optimist and Author” can promote African innovators, anyone can. And when put in context, it’s easy to promote and be passionate about African innovation because we do have some truly disruptive innovators solving African problems, in the way only Africans know how.

2. Mindset

Q: What mindset distinguished you from others who were doing the same thing? How did you develop it?

As above (I think you can merge the two questions together).

3. What is your definition of success?

Success in my world is defined as leaving a legacy of African innovation for the next generation – and I hope I’ll be there to see it. Success would be, as an example, when in a technology class, African students are being taught about global disruptors who changed the landscape, that our African innovators would be on that list. That would be true success for me - being able to humbly contribute to a bold vision and seeing it visualized.

4. Failure

Q: What do you think is the main reason why some people face failure when going after their vision?


I think its self-doubt. Self-doubt that they can’t achieve their dreams regardless of what it is. Success isn’t measured in grand ambitions. It’s measured in the ability to make an impact on a person’s life and leave a contribution. Self-doubt erodes that.

5. What is the best piece of advice you have received or came across and would like to share with everyone?

Always pay it forward.

At 25, when I asked my first mentor what I could get him for being such a huge influence in my life, he said “Nothing! I just want you to make sure you pay it forward when your time comes to mentor the next generation”. I’ve continuously tried to live up to that advice. It has been a corner stone in my contribution to society.

If you enjoyed this story, be sure to connect with Nnamdi on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/nnamdi-oranye-b62204b/ 

To view my work, visit www.dukuinspires.com

Technology, Self Improvement

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