Alexander Twinokwesiga is a lawyer and an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, a writer (babatwino.com), and a serial social entrepreneur (alextwino.com).
The three careers highlighted in the brief bio, a writer at The Deuteronomy, East Africa’s first and only weekly legal newsletter, and The Writers Block Uganda, a news and social commentary website.
alextwino.com is composed of,
- Umoja Bridge
Umoja Bridge is an administrative services (immigration and business registration), legal and business consultancy, and investment advisory firm for East Africa.
- Something Ugandan
Something Ugandan is an online shop for products of artistic expression as made by Ugandans or coming from Uganda. Products range from art, to music, to movies, to fabric, to fashion and its accessories, to innovative creations, and to unique creations.
- Turn The Page
Turn The Page is partly an online bookstore, partly a book club and partly a book reviewer. Its main interest is African literature.
- Sweet Safari.
Sweet Safari is a ground travel agency and reviewer of destinations of interest in East Africa. It is an online tour booking site.
- Hikes And Runs East Africa
Hikes And Runs profiles upcoming marathon or running events in East Africa.
It prepares packages for those intending to participate in such events,
It prepares packages for those intending to go on hiking tours to various destinations in the region.
It also hires out necessary hiking equipment to those without.
An HP Probook 4540s, core i3.
Why this one?
It was, as I was advised, the best I could find at the time and for the fee that I bought it.
Current mobile device(s)?
Why this one?
I got it as a temporary phone after I had been welcomed back to Kampala with a beating and robbery as I left the Ne-Yo Concert in October 2015.
One word that best describes how you work:
How did you end up at your current gig?
A conflation of my innate capabilities, exposure to educative experiences, and the quest for a better fathomable world for many beyond myself.
Are there any career decisions/life choices/failures that were fundamental in making you the person you are now, doing what you are doing now?
To pick on a few; losing my beloved Father at the age of 24, working an 8-5 job and career, which I retired from at the age of 25, and returning home (to Uganda) helped me exploit all the education and experience that I had amassed prior to each of those definitive moments.
Is your start-up able to fully support you or do you have side gigs to sustain you as it grows? Any stories of some of the struggles/sacrifices you’ve had to make to see this dream come to life?
Even in as much as it drains me in all ways imaginable, as I have sacrificed all that is available to me, my work has, thankfully, been a source of, to use the word, pride every other day.
I do lots of these so-called side gigs for so many people, but, unfortunately, I/we live in a culture that does not value the efforts we render. Most, which I would value and ask to be paid in millions of UGX, do not even earn me a decent meal or a cup of coffee.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I believe in marketing like the year you live in. As such, I cannot do without Chrome, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Telegram, and, of course, WhatsApp.
What’s your workspace like?
I live and or work in five towns in East Africa; Kigali, Mbarara, Kampala, Nairobi, and Arusha.
When I am not working from my bedroom or living room, my workspace is, as mobility has made it possible, in the palm of my hands, and on the road – if that is not so problematic to appreciate. I work from anywhere, really. I can draft a notice of motion on a morning matatu in Nairobi, write an article while waiting in a foyer in Entebbe, attend to orders while on a boda-boda in Kampala, attend a meeting in a café in Kigali, and deliver a product in a bar in Mbarara.
I do have colleagues in all major and minor towns in the East and Horn of Africa that believe in me, or that I work with, and/or who can deliver satisfaction as well as I would fancy. So, phone calls, emails and texts help make the otherwise overwhelming processes a little less so.
How big is the team of people you work with and what’s your formula for managing them?
As reflected on my entrepreneurial website, alextwino.com, the team is made up of six core persons; a Chief Executive Officer, a Chief Digital Officer, a Chief Financial Officer, a Chief Communications Officer, a Graphics Design Manager, and a Distribution and Sales Manager, but, as you would expect, there are several unnamed people that we deal with. My family and friends, for example, have been helpful especially when a need arises in a town that I am not physically present.
It should be noted, however, that at the end of the day, it is all on you, as the visionary.
What’s your best time-saving trick/life hack?
- If a person I am meant to meet with does not show up one minute after the agreed time, then they can stay where they are as they are eating into my time.
- The longer you wait to fire someone, the longer it has been since you should have fired them.
What’s your favourite to-do list manager?
I used to love Wunderlist, but, lately, I use my diary a whole lot. I never call it a day until every item I set out to when I left the house is checked against – as completed or done.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
*Looks around* The telly? For the news. Even before computers and mobile phones became common, I have always skimmed through all channels, at every top of the hour, to keep abreast with affairs both local and foreign.
What everyday thing are you better at than most?
Making and drinking tea. Believe me. I take a lot and are made of it.
How do you recharge?
I have been asked, and I have asked myself the same question before, and the answer has always been; “I do not know”. How to decompress, that is. But I am working on finding an activity, or person (winks), that will help keep my ever roaming and anxious mind and body loose.
What do you listen to while you work?
Huh! I can listen to the radio or music, watch TV or a movie, read a book, and hold a conversation while I work. And, I work around the clock, so there is always one or all of the mentioned happening at the same damn time.
What are you currently reading?
As we talk right now, I have paused my reading because, on June 1, 2017, I completed my reading challenge for 2017, which is/was 52 books in 2017. I will resume, to triple it, before the end of December 2017.
What usually leads you to buy a book?
Either a book club recommendation, or to clear an already developed reading list.
Books you’ve read recently that have impacted on you deeply?
There have been many over the years, but the very last book that I read, which was Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future was a good one that I would recommend, especially for those who live in and think about or work for a brighter future.
What kind of impact did they have?
I am not Musk, of course, but I relate a lot with his sentiments, his thoughts, and his (work) ethics. I hope I can achieve only a portion of what he has.
Any mentors/role models that you are working with/have inspired you and what lessons have you managed to learn from them?
I have no mentor or role models. All that I do is a result of my God-given blessings and/or talents.
My mentor and role model was my Father. He died.
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
A fair share of both. I am too shy that I prefer keeping to myself. Also, I am not what they call an anti-social, which calls for keeping up appearances.
What’s your sleep routine like?
There is none. When it happens, it is polyphasic. I have been sleeping for a total of two hours a day since I was twelve years of age.
How do you strike a balance between work, family, friends and other social obligations?
There is, honestly, no balance. At least, in my life. I concentrate on, and dedicate all my time and direct my energies towards work related activities. As a result, I have sacrificed, so to say, my family, and culled my friends to as few as only those that I know that I refer to them as OQPs (Only Quality People). I, sadly, have no time for social obligations outside the scope of my biases. It would take motivation.
Who would you love to see answer these same questions?
Everyone has dreams and a story and the right to achieve and tell it respectively, right?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Amongst the many, I do recall a moment with my Father in which he said to me, in 2013, that I should “Acknowledge that you are a child of God and all the best things in life will follow”. I find it worth note.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Besides that, I pray, hope and work towards the world without opportunities and/or work to do, not really.
If you have any additional questions for Alex, feel free to drop them in the comment section below. He will try and answer those he can. Click here to read other Hustle Tales
The Hustle Tales (adapted from LifeHackers, How I Work series) asks people that are doing epic things how they go through their daily routines to make sure whatever is needed to get the job accomplished is done. If you are interested in doing one these interviews or know someone you think should do one, inbox us with the details and we’ll see if we can make it happen.