Today on Man Around Nairobi we feature creative Gift Mirie Mwaura. Gift Mirie is a Director and the Head of Digital and Strategy at Pied Piper Agency, a Digital and Media Communications Agency based in Nairobi. He has a background in advertising and marketing, having worked on iconic accounts in the FMCG, banking, telcos and sport betting industry among others. He is passionate about connecting people to opportunities and curating possibilities.
Did you grow up in Nairobi?
I was actually born in Nakuru but moved to Nairobi when I was around 5 years old. In Nairobi, I generally lived in the Donholm area until a few years ago. I’m among the first generation that had the initial PS 1s and hence my childhood games rotated between physical and virtual Football i.e FIFA. I’m a cocktail mix of hood and Barbie; some of my closest estate pals went to public schools like me, while others went to international schools like Braeburn, both having a great influence on my outlook of life. Fun fact although I later came to play rugby and football in High School, for a few solid years in Upper Primary I really loved playing cricket!
In the hood, everyone is out to get a good deal and that’s where I guess my love for business, storytelling and quick thinking emanated from. I’m a Digital Communications Strategist and double up as a copywriter; my background helped me have a solid grasp of Sheng and English which comes in handy at important times for key campaigns.
What do you love about Nairobi?
I love the phrase “Ku-make it in Nairobi unahitaji ujanja, nguvu pelekea ocha!”
Nairobi symbolizes endless life possibilities for all if they pursue opportunities that they see. I’m happy Nairobi has a place for us new business owners; there are numerous opportunities to showcase your skill, product and services at business seminars, networking forums and Private Sector events. I also love the grace extended by many SMEs to give a shot at us upcoming entrepreneurs. I can’t fail to mention the sprouting office hubs that have provided many young businesses with the framework, space and facilities to fully exploit professionalism in the workplace.
On a personal basis, some of my coolest moments are when I see someone familiar at a gig, we look at each other and simultaneously say “Doni?” We immediately click, tunajuana!
What would you change about Nairobi?
For me, time is a make or break for my biashara. I’m thankful that we now follow traffic lights and thus can more accurately tell how long it going to take you from point ‘A’ to ‘B’. However, that service lane on major highways would work wonders for me, if implemented effectively.
Also, the systems around the city such as inexplicable blackouts, poor drainage and garbage collection systems really affect the overall productivity of the city. If I were Governor 047, I’d desire to have an incorruptible revenue collection system and disburse it in the priority of road maintenance, water piping and drainage, garbage collection, security and alternative sources of power.
I’d also see how I’d reduce the payments needed to run a business. Like I can’t comprehensively understand if you have paid a deposit what exactly is a space’s goodwill if not blatant greed!
As a professional how is it working in Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
As a Communications and Marketing Strategist, I feel that for me Nairobi offers a broad pool to play in. A great number of companies coming up and evolving regularly require my consultancy services and that’s a win for me.
In addition, my particular field involves casting your net wide to catch a good harvest and what better place than Nairobi, where everybody knows a door opener and/or provide an opportunity to be in the same room as industry tycoons.
I believe Nairobi has a good number of networking forums, both formal and informal, and that the city provides great opportunities for exceptional meetups to happen.
If you had a tourist friend coming in from outside the country what three things would you say to sell them the idea that Nairobi is worth visiting?
Top of mind for me, “Mat za Ronga ni zii”. There’s something about our matatu culture that is distinct, unruly and unapologetic that really showcases who we are.
I’d advocate for the Giraffe Manor in Karen, just for the sight of giraffes prodding into the dining area to be fed. (Everybody needs to follow Ellen’s lead on this).
Also if you can get a chance to visit the Maasai Market at the Supreme Court then it would be a worthwhile visit. And if you can manage to pass by Sonford fish and chips that will be a tasty bonus.