Michael Kimathi: A (soon to be) viral video + the key to unlocking personal and community growth

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@Michael Kimathi (AUG Nairobi, Kenya) is a bit of a celebrity at Atlassian. This is not only due to his boundless passion for his Nairobi Atlassian User Group (AUG), but also because of the trailer that he recently created to share the magic of his group with the rest of the world. Check out his video below and read on to discover his secret to leadership and community success. 

Tell me a little bit about yourself! 
 
I love people, music, and swimming in that order. I’m a father, a farmer, an entertainer (thedjmk.com), and a Techie. 
 
Tell us more about the role technology has played in your life so far
I am a trained Computer Scientist but consider myself an innovator and a trendsetter due to my love of solving problems. My friends know me as a true entrepreneur because my journey entails building solutions and helping build solutions which impact the lives of people and communities around me. I graduated with BSc Computer Science from the top university in Kenya and which is ranked 12th in Africa, the University of Nairobi in the year 2013. I was running a BlackBerry Dev community 2 years prior to my graduation in 2013. During my university years, I helped establish the pioneer GDG's in Kenya. I also built solutions which competed favorably in Prestigious East Africa competition "Pivot East.” I also co-built one of the biggest Open source, agile entrepreneurship communities in East Africa nairuby.org. I am now the co-founder of BantaMik which is a Software and Strategy consulting company.
 
How did you first find out about Atlassian User Groups (AUGs)?
 
I found out about AUGs in late 2015. I was interested in learning more about the culture of TEAM and learned from AUG community members about best practices and a culture of collaboration. I started the second AUG, AUG Nairobi in Africa after Cape Town, SA. I was influenced by the fact that the community will contribute to the aspect of scaling and building the efficiency in Teams. I hit the Road with consistent meetups which built the community from 0 members to over 800 members in under 2yrs. So many communities have asked me what is the secret to this tremendous and consistent success with communities and I have just one answer. I Love People. Some say, "Why choose to deal so much with people, they can be so difficult!" My answer is that people are the true wealth and happiness.
 
When and why did you first start using Atlassian projects?
 
I started using Atlassian tools in early 2011 while building an NGO accounting management system which could integrate the accounting teams in East Africa and learn from each other best accounting practices. The power of Bitbucket combined with version control capability ensured that we delivered our project on time and developed the projects to the customer's needs. 
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What is your #1 tip for someone looking to start an AUG group?
 
While I couldn’t possibly give just one tip, I’d recommend anyone interested to study the Art of Community by Jono Bacon. Consistency. Ensure that you are ready to host members on a regular basis because that is why they join in the first place. Also, build relationship-based community as opposed to just members who meet to discuss tools and to network. This is achieved by listening to what your community needs and providing it on time. My advice would be to understand more and communicate regularly to ensure you are empathetic to your members since they are people first.
 
What inspired you to create the amazing trailer video for your AUG group?
 
I was inspired to create the trailer video by winning two most prestigious awards at Atlassian Summit Europe (most active) and Atlassian Summit US (master of conversion) in a row. It was during those moments that I realized the impact of helping someone else achieve their goal. I was showcased to the world through Atlassian summit the US and therefore AUG Nairobi was introduced to the world. I set a goal for 2018 to do more to spread awareness about our AUG to the larger country and to empower them to be more productive and efficient. Then and only then we can have sustainable and scalable solutions in Africa. I am not sure what you know about Africa, but wanted to showcase African talent and human capital and highlight that it needs the solutions which are at the center of the human capital. This is depicted in the video celebrating the success in different aspect powered by AUG and its members.

 

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What is your favorite memory of an AUG event?
 
My favorite moment!! Every successful event which empowers a new soul is a favorite moment. Actually, they were two moments of an AUG event: One is when on behalf of AUG Nairobi I received the Most Active in EMEA 2017 at Atlassian Summit Europe in absentia. The second is when I was showcased along with all of AUG Nairobi live at Atlassian Summit US and received the master of conversion award. 
 
What is your goal (both personally + for your AUG) for the rest of 2018?
 
I will be taking AUG Nairobi to the next level which will entail active participation in building solutions and growing innovative culture powered by TEAM to respective member companies. Personally, I will be opening an innovators garage that will be geared to assisting the brilliant minds I've discovered while hosting AUG Nairobi community and other communities. The goal is to empower them to build disruptive solutions. I will also be actively looking to settle with a life partner :). I will also be Deejaying to your next party 😃
 
Thanks, Michael!! 

8 comments

awesome@mike

Carolyn French Community Champion May 16, 2018

Best of luck in achieving your goals, Michael! The Nairobi AUG is very inspiring!

"My answer is that people are the true wealth and happiness." 🙌

amazing and fantastic piece and learning a few tips from the leader himself!!!😀😮

Good job @MK for taking AUG Nairobi to where it is today. The sky is the limit!

Cheers @MK.You are a great inspirational to many.....keep it burning

Awesome progress mike,,, I am always proud to be part of the Awesome Nairobi AUG family.

John Paz Atlassian Team Jun 12, 2018

This. Is. Amazing. That trailer tho!

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