A common refrain in the start-up / entrepreneurship landscape is to start. There is value in ideas, in concept notes, in business plans, in the business model canvas; in pitches… BUT, to win one has to… Start.
On the 7th of December 2018, I created Valentine Makoni’s Whatsapp blog, a read only Whatsapp group (where only admins may send messages), to be used as a platform to debut an ebook: “A Thousand Words : A stream of consciousness.”
A Thousand Words was an impulsive exploration of protest art. I wrote the manuscript in a day, as a collection of random pieces of poetry. I took two minutes to brainstorm the title, made the cover art myself using royalty free imagery from pixabay.com and font in Microsoft Word and distributed the e-book through my Whatsapp Blog. From conception and execution to distribution was THREE days of doing everything myself. The tools of trade were rudimentary; Microsoft Word, Paint, A Whatsapp group. For me, A Thousand Words stands as a Do It Yourself (DIY) manifesto: That it is possible, wherever one is, to start.
Yet, even then, I was consciously aware of all the things I wished for. I wished for access to editors who would be able to improve my manuscript. I yearned for a graphic designer who would be able to design a book cover for me; pinned for a marketing resource who would design and execute a social media strategy; and desired a photographer to mould a visual aesthetic. I wished for the institutional reach of a publisher with audiences that exist; an ability to make physical copies of my work; and access to Amazon so people could financially support my creativity through digital means. I dreamed of a website so that the distribution would be wider and more consistent and a venue (with lighting and catering, and music and ambiance) to host a glamorous Book Launch.
I knew, then, that things could be better.
On the 1st of July 2020, 19 months after the debut of A Thousand Words, I am so pleased to launch my website www.valentinemakoni.co.zw and I am pleased to call it my blog, my home.
The site does not possess a wish-list of functionality. It isn’t, perfect. It does however, subscribe to a concept I learnt from Takunda Chingozo of TechVillage, one of my entrepreneurial idols. A concept that speaks of a continuous improvement in the product and delivery of the product. To begin with a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) and then live in a continuous state of Beta. Iterate, improve, repeat.
Valentine Writes is an improvement of the whatsapp blog I started two years ago. It is an iteration of the stuff I liked from my previous website and an exploration of new mediums of communication. It is an iteration of previous ends.
It is a platform to connect and reconnect with music and musicians, metaphors and poets, websites and coders, platforms and editors, creativity and readers.
www.valentinemakoni.co.zw is more of the same, and a new beginning. It will always evolve in a continuous state of Beta.