Over the weekend, we had a chit-chat with Trer and Donny about the upcoming Change Agent’s Night. Below is what they had on their minds.
What have you found to be most mysterious about life after college?
We had so many expectations before we graduated. We assumed things would work out just fine and everything would fall into place like manna from Heaven. This was brought about by the hard work and grades we got while we were studying at University. We graduated and then “Boooom!!” nothing was as we had thought.
Life after graduation, for me, was not that difficult but I could observe from some of my fellow graduates’ lives that it was hectic. They did not get jobs. They were disappointed by the systems they thought would work in their favour. They started businesses, some survived over a year to two while others failed in their early days.
In a nutshell, I found life after graduation to be very unpredictable and requiring one to leave expectations behind.
I have seen you become really honest about entrepreneurship and your life, why?
The reason I try by all means to be honest about my life and entrepreneurship is because I’m fed up with people who over glorify entrepreneurship. Making it like a walk in the park while actually it feels like riding a bull in the cowboy sport. Haha. We need to start telling the truth. So that we do away with high expectations in the minds of those aspiring to embark on this journey.
I think honesty is a rare quality coming from a lawyer! Haha! Guess I can lean on your honesty for this question. What would a fresh graduate gain from attending this event?
Hahaha! Lawyers are actually very honest human beings bro. I wouldn’t want to create any form of “expectation” in the mind of the fresh graduate lest I fail to live up to my promise like most people in high places do in our country.
However, I hope that my story; my career and business journey, will inspire someone and help improve their life. We are not going to talk about financial successes of our businesses because we would be preaching lies. My focus will be on two points:
1. Business & The Law.
2. The Dark Side of Entrepreneurship.
My name is Thato “Trer” Rammoko. Trer is my nick name, pronounced “Trey”, the r at the end is silent. A Debater by personality according to www.16personalities.com. I play the analyst role and my strategy is people mastery. I Love brainstorming, I am a black hat brainstormer, a problem solver, innovator and critical thinker. I am very competitive, winning isn’t everything it’s the only thing.
I am a team player, I played rugby in high school and varsity, and I am a firm believer that teamwork makes the dream work. I Love Sci-Fi movies, superhero movies in particular. My favourite avenger is Iron Man, I see myself in him; human on the inside but machine on the outside and of course I am techie so it was love at first sight.
I am a creative; I love music & poetry. I rap; I have a mixtape out visit www.trermusic.com to check it out. I love witnessing talent and I love helping talented people unleash their full potential. I have never coached anyone but imagine I would be a good one, tough but good.
I have a background in Mobile networks, Software engineering, Artificial Intelligence, Algorithm Analysis, Data Structures, Theory of Computation, Project management and Human Computer Interaction.
Why is life after graduation so mysterious?
Life after varsity is hard, graduates face a trilemma:
1- no money to pursue post grad education.
2- no resources, knowledge and discipline to start and run a sustainable business
3- and not enough jobs in the market.
This leaves our graduates stranded, confused, bitter and angry. Life at this point is mysterious, uncertain and scary.
What are the three important lessons that you have learned in this mysterious life after after varsity?
After graduation [of which I did not attend, story for another day] like most graduates I was demotivated [maybe depressed, but I am not a doctor so I wouldn’t know] by the reality of unemployment but my immediate response to the reality was entrepreneurship. After doing the math and comparing between furthering my studies, employment and entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship seemed like a better and obvious selection.
As difficulties arose with this path I had chosen for myself, I grew angry and bitter, blaming the government for my unemployment, blaming family and friends for not investing in my ventures, blaming colleagues for choosing school and employment over entrepreneurship and not supporting my cause, blaming BEDCO for supporting brick and mortar businesses only [bitterness], blaming banks for not funding Innovation, blaming Basotho for not being tech-savvy enough care about digital innovation.
I was basically angry with everyone. And this continued over a period of two years (2014 – 2016). Gradually as I continued to pursue the startup life and reading about other tech entrepreneurs in Africa, I realised that I was blessed to have the skills, personality and positioning that I had and that the emptiness of the canvas that frustrated so much was actually an opportunity to paint it.
The Digital gap that frustrated me so much was my responsibility to close. Upon realising that, I stopped blaming everyone around me and focused on building the startup. As soon as I did that, I began to meet with the right people, that enabled me to be where I am now. So instead of criticizing I took responsibility and started participating in contributing to make Lesotho a better Nation.
While in the park, he got an opportunity to join WeThinkCode. Caught between a milk and meat catch 22, Mohale approached me and asked me help out with WIINC while he went to WeThinkCode Training.
Looking at the little and slow progress I was making with Itmas (A cab hailing application at the time) and the long road ahead, I saw the opportunity to access the park and I did not hesitate, I agreed to help him.
I joined the WIINC team and we started working together. It was during that time in the innovation park, that we founded Lunchbox, and Events Poynt. 2017 came to an end, it all was still bleak, all we had was a strong team of developers, 4 projects under development, no money and no business no direction.
2018 came and Technify was born. Its sole was purpose was to structure our work, generate income and fund our projects. We added a fourth member to our team, Mr. Pule Molise an Industrial Designer from the University of Botswana. Four months later [April] we won the UNDP hackathon with Itmas [now a payment application].
Within another four months we got accepted in the Vodacom Innovation Park. None of this would have happened outside the collaboration. So lesson 1, take responsibility of your future; lesson 2, collaborate with like minded people and avoid the bitter and angry negative people, they are useless like I was for two years.
After winning the UNDP hackathon, we received Training & Mentorship from MEST Africa. After 3 years of trial and error unmentored approach we had acquired informal experience, one that cannot be referenced in curriculum vitaes.
When such experience was exposed to training and mentorship the dots connected so quick and gaps were filled so much we realised that all that unstructured, unguided, unorganized effort was finally paying off, with the help of Training and Mentorship. So lesson number 3, do what you can where you are and the future will untwist itself in your favour. If you don’t start you can’t be helped. The world is full of mentors willing to help you just start.
Being a techie, what can you say about the future of work?
The future of work is Digitalized, Connected and Automated. The world is going digital, cashless and paperless so IT Skills are absolutely necessary and will soon be fundamental.
The world is also going online, because the internet makes the world village and creates opportunity in e-governance, e-commerce, e-learning, e-treatment and e-productivity. So Internet literacy is very very very very important.
Most of the jobs we see today will be automated in the future; Legal and Accounting are the first to go. Contracting and accounting among other will be automated. So parents must really reconsider encouraging their children to be lawyers and Accountants.
So there it is ladies and gents, let us meet at Kingdom Lounge tomorrow.