What Martha Chumo Teaches Us About Ideas

Ideas aren’t great on their own. Behind every great idea, there’s an individual that didn’t just come up with it, but is willing to put their heart into it. And it’s quite often those who are willing to put their energies behind ideas that end up with fantastic results.

Martha Chumo, Photo Courtesy of CNN

One such individual is Martha Chumo, a 19 year old programmer from Kenya who taught herself everything she knew. Chumo has something to teach us not just about having great ideas, but having the passion and the energy to devote towards her goals. Chumo was set to attend Hacker School, a U.S. based retreat for programers, in New York to master her skills and meet fellow coders, but quickly found that the obstacles in her way didn’t just begin with becoming accepted. As explained by CNN, though the school was free to attend, Chumo needed about $4,200 for trip costs and a new laptop, no easy feat. Undeterred, Chumo started an Indiegogo campaign for her trip and ended up raising $5,800, more than plenty to cover her costs.

That wouldn’t be the final obstacle however. In the end, because Chumo could not demonstrate to the U.S. government that she had sufficient “social ties” to Kenya to prove she was returning home after the Hacker School, she was denied a visa. It’s at this point that many would give up or at least be extremely devastated after such efforts, but Chumo remained passionate about her desire to learn and declared that she would be starting her own hacker school in Kenya and has raised $15,000 of $50,000 goal, which gives her an excellent start to continue her dream of a Developer School in Nairobi and nothing to sneeze at for someone who, just a year ago, didn’t know a single line of code. In the process of applying for medical school, Chumo happened upon coding through a tech internship which sparked her curiosity to head straight into this world and not look back.

Martha Chumo, Courtesy of Indiegogo

So what can you learn from Martha Chumo? Perhaps her Development School goal didn’t reach $50,000, but in many ways she has succeeded. She raised the money she needed to attend the Hacker School, even if she didn’t go, and she already has a good start for a school that she wants. Most of this has happened because of Chumo’s passion and willingness to push her ideas to the limit. We can learn most certainly that ideas don’t exist on their own and that quite often great ideas are great because of the backing they have. One of the reasons we think idea software is so important for companies is because it puts less obstacles in the way for employees who are passionate about something. Even though Chumo was clearly not deterred by the many obstacles in her way, we still very strongly feel having the least amount of obstacles in the way can only benefit companies. Had Chumo been allowed to come to the U.S. and attend Hacker School a lot of doors would have been opened not just for Chumo but for others who could make excellent partners with her, and thus business opportunities. Whenever you put up obstacles in front of your employees to block their ideas, you never know what you’re blocking out. And if you get someone as passionate, dedicated, and resourceful as Chumo is, you’re not only missing their ideas, but all of the strength they have behind them.

image credits: cnn.com, indiegogo.com


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What Martha Chumo Teaches Us About IdeasLola Olson is a freelance writer who creates content, manages social media, and advises on marketing strategies, working with Wazoku, Find Invest Grow, Pink Therapy, and several other organisations.

Lola Olson




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