Q&A Monday: Owaahh


Owaahh is a purveyor of stories at owaahh.com and an avid eater of certain delicious underrated yellow fruits. When he is not busy planning the end of the world, he is looking for stories to tell, of real people doing (mostly bad) real things. Then at other times he is just running around starting shit.

We had a few questions for him and this is what he had to say.

1. Your first phone?

It was a black Motorola flap phone whose model I can’t even remember. I had a sim card for two years before I had that phone, which was a hand me down. Fun times.

2. Between Facebook and Twitter, which one do you prefer? Why?

It depends on what I want to do. If it’s for work, pushing content and watching it grow, then Facebook. Facebook is also brilliant for catching up with people, and simply scrolling down pages to find interesting memes. My favorite right now is Classical Art Memes, you should check it out!

Twitter is where I find longreads from around the world. It’s also brilliant, in its own way, for catching up with people and events. I also rant a lot there, once in a while.

3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Urrrmmm…five years older than I am today! Eh. Wait, you meant….aaahhh… I want to be at the top of a digital media house producing the highest quality of content around. The kind where people go for both long and quick reads (and other forms of content) that give context, content, and everything after that.

I also want to have a few books out, so I can be an important person whose signature people queue to get. Who doesn’t want to share his signature and random thoughts with perfect strangers?

Also, like Magunga, I hope the good deities of facial hair will have rained a bit on my corner of the world. I am being confused for a woman (by sentries) a few too many times lately.

4. Any question for us? We’ll publish our answer as well.

Why do you think they chose 72 virgins as the promise of eternal happiness for urrrmmm…certain explosive lines of work? And are they given as a package or trickled down one after the other?

Hahahaha.. 72 is a rather large number to be ‘consumed’ as a package ;-). I would imagine, since it’s for eternity, the virgins would be presented one after the other as the years go by.

5. What would you do if you were president for a day?

First, there would be a banana scandal. I need to confess this so voters know what they are getting themselves into. I would copy from a certain maize scandal from years past, and then State House would smell suspiciously of fast ripening bananas for 24 hours.

Bananas would be subsidized. There would be a Banana Act next to the Potato Act (it exists. Seriously. Check it out).

Once I’m done with that, I’ld push for electronic gadgets to be tax exempt (I am assuming the day I am president is suspiciously around the end of June, before the budget reading). Computers, laptops, phones, tablets, smartwatches, fitbits, vibrators. Everything. Then watch Kenyans make money (and merry) as I retire in my still banana-smelling palatial home.

6. What’s your favourite book & movie?

Book: I want to say something deep here, but Noel Botham’s Best Book of the Most Useless Information Ever changed my life. Really.

Movie: Megamind! The “Incredibly handsome criminal genius and master of all villainy.”

7. Who or what inspired what you do now?

My old man was a high school teacher of English and History so he’s always had many books lying around the house. I grew up smelling them, tearing them, and reading them. I plagiarized my first breakup letter from Pride and Prejudice, and read many stories I wished I’d written. So I made a decision to write stories I’ld want to read but no one was telling.

8. If you were to change jobs, what profession would you get into? Why?

I’d probably go back to what I was trained for, solving crimes and mysteries. Urrrmm, and cutting up dead people. But I think I would specialize in forensic psychiatry; criminals fascinate me.

Or on my single day as President, I would force the creation of a constitutional office of Official Shit Starter, and then retire to it. Vladimir Putin is my mentor here.

9. If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I have one already; my ridiculously shapely and prominent rear head. It has superpowers, I just haven’t finished all the side quests yet.

10. Which 5 things would you want to have if you were deserted on an abandoned island?

Alright. Would there be network coverage on this island? Because I’ld carry a phone. Definitely. And a boat of course, with an instruction manual. And fuel for the boat. And a boat man to do the hard work. And a bottle of rum. Are those five things yet? Can I add a bunch of bananas and a book on what to do on an abandoned island? Or a magazine that wouldn’t make Ezekiel Mutua too happy. (Wait, he wouldn’t be there too, right?).

11. If you were a car, which one would you like to be? Why?

A Defender of the realm! Rugged, brutish, hardy but solemn, and the official car for people cursed with wanderlust.

12. If you could be in any band in the world, which one would you like to be in? Why?

Any that would take me, seriously. I don’t have anything close to a singing voice, I don’t work well in teams, and the only instrument I can play is the laptop keyboard, and the remote control.

13a. What attracted you to long form writing?

Longform is a brilliant way of telling stories. It’s a semi-book that gives the reader content and context, and the writer a lot of work to do. Since it’s a labour of love, it shows in the form it takes. It’s fascinating because it uses fiction tools to tell true stories, of real people in real events. And that’s plain fascinating! Real people make fictional characters look like fakes! Wait…
Also, it’s much easier to produce non-perishable content in longform because great stories live forever. I hate thin stories outside of news, as the writer’s primary job must always be to tell the best story possible. If an audience is willing to give you even a second of their time, why wouldn’t you give them the best possible performance?

b. What’s the secret to monetizing online for content creators?

The truth is, we are all grappling in the dark here. Advertising is still the mother ship, but we need to start looking into more sustainable sources of income. Perhaps freemium models. What I’m learning so far is that you don’t need a million people to view/experience your content, you need 1,000 who are willing to pay. Niche audiences are more demanding, and more vicious. You can’t BS your way around them, especially if they are paying. And when a subculture emerges around your content, then the money follows.

14. Share something interesting about yourself with our readers.

I am actually very shy. And docile. I couldn’t even hurt a fly (although I used to lobotomize worms in high school, but that’s neither here nor there). Eeeeh, and I’ve used my head as a weapon at least once in a fistfight (more of head butting fight, if you may). I won. And the loser had a weeklong headache and possibly, a mild concussion.