Individuality Matters at KCHKNA

The power of a company comes from the confluence of talents. A company does not excel because its founders are super intelligent, visionary, or hard working—all good qualities. Rather the organization thrives when the members of the company unleash their individual talents. It is therefore critical that individuals are offered an environment where their talents are naturally encouraged rather than snuffed out. At KCHKNA, we aim to provide such an environment.

This article was inspired by a book by Todd Rose titled The End of Average: How we succeed in a world that values sameness. You can check it out here

Todd Rose has shared a lot of ideas on why we miss out on the talent in many capable individuals because we use the same ability metrics for people with different individualities. In his book he argued that early practitioners like Fredrick Winslow Taylor came up with ideas that justified companies valuing systems rather than individuals. For Taylor, making the factory as efficient as possible meant providing standardized training, standardized work procedures, and standardized measures of performance and progress. In the process, the individual did not matter; what mattered was how well they followed the standards or fit the standards.

These ideas—collectively referred to as Taylorism—were applied across many factories but the impact is most palpable perhaps because Taylorism was applied to the factory that almost everyone goes to: the school. The products of this factory are you and me.
In America in the early 1900s about 6 percent of the population graduated from high school and 2 percent from college. So, the output of the school factory was evidently not impressive. Along came Edward Thorndike who embraced the Taylorist idea of standardization and rigorously applied it in the school system. Students got a standard education with little regard for their individual preferences or natural abilities—if you were of a certain age, you would learn these topics, in this order, for this long. The students’ level of intelligence was measured against some average, and their fate therefore depended heavily on how far away they were from the average. The standardization of education did lead to much better output—more people graduated from high school and college. These graduates had received a standard education, allowing them to do—on average—a good job at many factories. At these factories Taylor’s influence meant that the jobs were also standard, so there wasn’t too much trouble; the factories expected what they received.
Edward Thorndike’s ideas, or a variant of them, have been adopted by schools all over the globe. This is because it allows those responsible for education to measure their success using neat metrics—for example, number of people who graduate. But to graduate doesn’t mean to have learnt, and definitely doesn’t meant you have what it takes to excel at some job. But remember this was the age of average—and in many ways still is. What this means is that on average the average graduate will do an average job, earn an average salary, live an average life contributing an average bit to a society of average individuals.

But a time comes when we no longer want average individuals because the stakes are higher. You want people to be not just good at what they do but magnificent. You want an organization where the employees don’t wait for the bell to ring to move to the next task but are motivated enough to know when to move to the next task. And to do that, it appears, we would need to focus more on the individual, to take into account what their natural abilities are, and then offer them a customized path on which they can excel without the need to compare themselves against some arbitrary and dubious average success icon.

We believe that for the human race to progress we would need to tap far more into everyone’s potential by focusing on the individual. We feel that one of the key ways companies can thrive and offer employees work that is exciting and impactful, is through focusing on empowering their whole company. You may be a bit puzzled when we say ‘focusing on the company’. Let’s start with a question: what is a company?

A company can be thought of as a group of individuals working together to achieve one common goal. A company is made up of people and indeed, when everyone knocks off, the company goes home; what remains are the buildings, the chairs and such other props. If management teams care about the people working in the organization—rather than the immaterial, abstract organization itself—such a team would scale heights much faster. We are not saying it’s not good to make a profit but the point is we can make a profit if we care more about the people who are behind that profitability. In other words we focus on metrics that measure the quality of life of the individuals making up the company—and then we aggregate those measures to come up with a measure of how successful the whole company is. In this way you would not have a successful company whose employees are not successful, or a happy (based on some metric) company whose employees are anything but. When the company underperforms management does not just fire its employees; rather we would focus on understanding how we may be of help for them to reach their potential—because they are the company. The truth is that with the different backgrounds, understanding as well as perception that we each have, our performance across different tasks will differ. But we are all good in certain fields or contexts, and as management we would love to see our team members be in contexts where they can shine. After all, who wants to be known for mediocre work? Who doesn’t want to show the world their best self?

KCHKNA Inc. is one of the companies in Africa that gauges the potential of its team members not through their grades. We look across many metrics—it is definitely harder than just a quick peek at some grades—to understand in which context such and such could thrive. This in the long term allows us to keep members who love being at the company, and thus deliver high quality output shipped out with love and passion.

If you’re applying to join the team at KCHKNA, know that KCHKNA is more interested in your story and your worldview rather than your experience. The word experience is perhaps overrated and we believe people with drive and passion can get things done much better than those with experience. If you are not an average person; if you feel uncomfortable being like everyone else, but only just better; if your goal in life is not to walk the path already travelled: then show us your game, and let’s work together!     

Work at KCHKNA

As of 11 March 2021 — Still open!!

All intern positions come with a monthly lunch and travel allowance (within Mzuzu)

Some positions require relocation to Mzuzu

Throughout this notice number of years is a proxy for desired skill level and is thus useful only so far. Please focus on demonstrating your skills not just talking about your skills. For example, instead of “I am very good with Java” just show us the app you built with Java.

We look forward to you joining us!


KCHKNA Mechanical Engineer (Intern, 6+ months, 2 positions)

Job ID: KKFAM202026ME

You will be involved in the modelling and design of an energy from waste system. Your major goals include research, design, rendering and prototyping the power plant components.

Experience: 0 – 2 years

Skills:  CAD Software e.g. SolidWorks, FreeCAD and AutoCAD and other basic research tools

Your tasks include:

  • Design, prototype and build relevant equipment including steam turbines and shredders
  • Create and compile technical drawings using AutoCAD/SolidWorks/FreeCAD software
  • Identify appropriate materials to produce a bill of materials for the system designs
  • General technology and equipment analyses for a waste management system
  • Conduct engineering studies as needed, including written reports and recommendations

Requirements

  • Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Energy Engineering, or related field
  • Hands-on experience working with motors, machining and welding tools, etc, is a plus

Soft Requirements:

  • Technical Technophile
  • Swift at getting things done
  • Attention to quality

Compensation:

  • Lunch allowance provided for the duration of the internship, until, if so, conversion to full-time role

KCHKNA Game Developer (Intern, 6+ months, 2 positions)

Job ID: KKFAM202026GD

Ever thought of creating games that do more than just be games? Join us to create gamified services and applications that empower!

Experience: 0 – 2 years

Key Skills: Unity 3D, C#, 3D modelling software e.g. Blender

Your goal:

  • Create virtual environments in which KCHKNA products are embedded and tested

To achieve the goal:

  • Design, prototype, and implement code, logic and functionalities as per communicated design
  • Troubleshoot and optimize code for mobile platforms
  • Maintain or improve existing code to fulfill new requirements
  • Implement, test, debug, and ensure integrity of code, including code done by others
  • Communicate with designers to establish effective pipeline and integrate media assets
  • Tune and create light and render configuration presets
  • Choose or create materials via 3D design software
  • Participate in planning, and executing best practices or efficient workflows to ensure timely delivery
  • Share knowledge to other team members
  • Ensure all documentation is recorded

Technical Requirements

  • Technical technophile
  • Diploma/Degree in Computer Science, Computer graphics, Multimedia field or related field
  • Excellent knowledge of Unity, including experience with scripting, textures, animation, UI network and user session management
  • Experience with 3D software
  • Familiarity with unity material, lighting systems and render settings, capability to tune the lighting and render setting for good 3D view
  • Proficient in C# programming, knack for writing clean, readable, and easily maintainable code

Soft Requirements

  • Technical Technophile
  • Swift at getting things done
  • Attention to quality

Compensation:

  • Lunch allowance provided for the duration of the internship, until, if so, conversion to full-time role

KCHKNA Mobile App Developer

There are two options:

  1. Intern (3 positions), 6+ months
    Job ID: KKFAM202036MADi
  2. Part time (1 position), Competitive rates
    Job ID: KKFAM202036MAD

You’re welcome to apply if you understand such things an NFC, Bluetooth, QR Code from a technical standpoint, even if you don’t have the following specific skills.

Experience: 0 – 2 years

Key Skills: Java, Python, PhP, MySQL, Javascript, WordPress, GitHub,

Your goal:

  • Build lightweight, robust and secure applications

To achieve your goal:

  • Develop (as part of a team) and maintain Android applications (mobile and tablet) using Java
  • Facilitate the troubleshooting and resolving of pre- and post-production issues
  • Assist with various stages of the mobile application development lifecycle such as requirements gathering, user interface design and usability testing
  • Keep abreast of the latest in mobile technology and conduct research and prototyping using such technologies

Technical requirements:

  • Proven achievement of completed mobile application projects
  • Experience in working with small to medium development teams
  • Knowledge and/or experience in mobile backend development is a plus
  • Possess a degree/or somehow show knowledge in Information Technology, Computer Science, Computer Engineering or a related field

Soft requirements:

  • Technical Technophile
  • Swift at getting things done
  • Attention to quality

Compensation:

  • Lunch allowance provided for the duration of the internship, until, if so, conversion to full-time role
  • Competitive pay for the part time role

KCHKNA AI Engineer (Intern, 6+ months, 2 positions)

­­­­Job ID: KKFAM202026AI

If you have some experience developing artificial intelligence models, whether through courses or projects, we welcome you to join us.

Experience: 0 – 2 years

Key Tools/Skills: Python, Tensorflow+Keras, Pytorch, Docker

Your goals:

  • Build AI Minimum Viable Products that automate internal processes
  • Build enterprise-grade AI applications for external consumption

To achieve your goal:

  • Conduct technical research
  • Perform statistical comparisons across models
  • Visualize and explore data sets e.g. geospatial data about Malawi
  • Create synthetic data
  • Analyze and understand the client’s problem; design, implement and verify a solution addressing the problem
  • Design and build machine learning models for such things as risk control, demand prediction, equipment fault detection, adaptive electricity pricing, etc.

Technical requirements:

  • Knowledge of basic maths behind supervised learning and unsupervised learning
  • Knowledge of Tensorflow, Python, and relevant libraries
  • Experience with Natural Language Processing is a plus, but not required.

Soft requirements:

  • Technical Technophile
  • Swift at getting things done
  • Attention to quality

Compensation:

  • Lunch allowance provided for the duration of the internship, until, if so, conversion to full-time role

Why work with us?

At KCHKNA we believe that technology is an amplifier of human capacity. We build tools that are not just technologically impressive but that aim to empower our communities. Here are a few other benefits:

  1. You are going to make products that will be used right away. You will test your products in production. We believe this is invaluable experience
  2. You will be learning to use the most advanced software tools used by the world’s top companies and researchers
  3. Opportunity to be mentored by foreign experts from Singapore, India, China, US, Canada and more in areas such as mobile programming and artificial intelligence.
  4. Each month you will get to read and discuss a wide variety of books with other KCHKNA team members. It’s fun, and useful!

Apply at https://kchkna.com/index.php/contact/

Cryptocurrency: Seamless Value Exchange

Crypto, among other things, aims to allow fast, cheap and painless exchange of value–not necessarily money, but since money is a measure of value we could simply say “money”. Sending money around the world is currently still rather inefficient and expensive–try sending money to some otherwise unknown (and poor!) country like Malawi and you’ll actually have to budget for the transaction expenses! But what really gets sent when we say we are sending money? Surprisingly not money, but numbers! It is now so commonplace to receive money as mere numbers that we never quite question the fundamental meaning of this. In this article we talk about, rather summarily, what money is for and how new money can be of benefit.

A mythical story goes thus: Way, way back when people needed to exchange goods they could only do so by giving away goods they owned in exchange for goods they wanted to have. They would then need to find someone who needs what they wanted to let go of. Since they did not have flying machines and pretty paved roads back then, such exchanges may naturally have been between friends and relatives in close proximity. Later on it appears people realized that it is mighty hard to run into someone who needs what you have at the exact time that you need what they have!
While it turns out that this (barter) system is not exactly what preceded money, this story highlights an interesting aspect of goods exchange: there is value (and valueables) being exchanged. In such a system when you gave someone two bags of maize in exchange for their goat, you had an exchange using things that had intrinsic value—and that term—intrinsic—is an important one!

But, so the myth continues, a few smart folks figured that they could use tokenization! The idea was as follows. Suppose I want to have your 11 cows, and while I could give you my dogs in exchange, you obviously don’t want my dogs since…who would accept dogs in exchange for cows anyway. So instead we—started with me and you, but this we now includes our whole token-bound community—agree that you can give me  a token that I can use to get something of as much value as the cows that I want from you. Two things emerge: first, we need to determine and agree on the value of the cows; and, second, we need proof that indeed you can use this token in the said manner.

That token is money. Money is used to measure the value of things—and in unfortunate cases ‘things’ may include humans. I can give you this token called money which has no intrinsic value—unlike the cows, you cannot eat the money if you get hungry; similarly, money won’t go hunting with you like the dogs may. So, money has no value on its own. But, and a huge but this is, we as a community can give money value! We do this by simply agreeing that it has the value we desire.

You may then wonder what physical object is the most desirable token aka money? Initially it seemed necessary to have something that is scarce, perhaps hard to make or acquire. This use of some special objects was mostly done to fight counterfeit tokens. The tradition continues to this day whereby only certain organizations, such as central banks, are allowed to make legitimate money. You and I can still agree that some such piece of paper is worth some such value (e.g. company shares work somewhat like this), but this would not be called legitimate money, and we may struggle to find users beyond the two of us. What remains true is that the form of the token does not matter. The use of gold or silver or specially printed bank notes is not to say that these things are any more eligible to be money than a piece of paper off my notebook. Again, the major reason is to control the flow of these tokens, and avoid counterfeiting. An interesting extreme therefore has come about recently.

If money or the token of exchange can be of any form, does the token then need to be physical? Remember that the problem we were trying to solve by having only a few lucky people have the power to create money was to create some level of legitimacy or trust in the system. This idea of trust comes about especially in contexts where you’re dealing with strangers, who may or may not be in the mood of being honest. So, a stranger walks up to you to do business. She buys your land and pays with a token. She hands you the token that she pulled from her pocket and then on it writes: “Give Whoever Has This Token Anything Of Value Equivalent To Eleven Healthy Living Cows”. Perhaps to make it more legitimate she could sign off with her name: “#MoneyMaker”. There is a good chance you have been scammed. To prove this, go to the local merchant and try to get something with even one-tenth the value of 11 Healthy Living Cows.
Now instead of her own token, she can give you a government token. Yes, the government token may be prettier, but aside from that her self-created token and this are no different. And yet, with this government token you can go about trading with others. What the gov token has is public trust. The government token has been assigned value by the community—though it still lacks intrinsic value. People trust this token because they trust the system whose de facto head is the government. This has little to do with whether you like the government of the day or not: you have trust in a system where government plays an important role but the system is still a people-led one.

Cryptocurrencies aim to create the required public trust independent of the government or traditional central authority. Note that trust is only needed if there is room for someone to act dishonestly. If it is impossible, or mighty hard to be dishonest, then trust is not called for. Using advanced security features and making it very hard to forge transactions, cryptocurrencies conjure up community trust simply because no one (actually not 100% true…) can make counterfeit crypto.

It costs money to make money. It used to be necessary to print money and issue shiny coins with which we could also play Heads or Tails. These legitimate tokens were an advancement in exchange of value, but it is now a cost that is superfluous. Countries like Malawi that already have a tight budget would do well to move quickly toward these so called trustless systems—trustless to mean you don’t need to trust the bank or the individual you’re engaging with because the algorithms make sure nobody cheats.

Going hand in hand with cryptocurrencies is digital money. Digital money (not necessarily currency) has been around in some form already for a long time. While cryptocurrency is recent (started in earnest around 2009), digital money (money that is wholly electronic/or just numbers backed by no physical assets) can be said to have been around for as long as decades prior to 2009. For some time already money has not really been changing hands—rather it has been information changing in people’s accounts. The advantage of this is that information takes up less space and is not as costly to make as are physical tokens such as coins or notes. Digital money therefore is an attractive option even for places that do not yet want to implement cryptocurrency.

What are the downsides of cryptocurrencies and perhaps digital money in general? As with all things some people will stand to win more than others. In cryptocurrencies there are individuals or corporations with computing resources that allow then to earn significantly more money and influence through facilitating transactions—much the same way that banks milk you in exchange for the services they provide. There is also room for destabilizing another economy without ever setting foot there—simply via the internet. This is an example of cyberwarfare, and is not necessarily just due to the advent of cryptocurrencies. Additionally, philosophers and other social researchers fear that the future may belong to a new breed of feudal lords—those who understand and manage these technologies. The creators of these tech  systems are not necessarily political or religious leaders. They thus have little obligation to behave morally. The hope however is that should they create a flawed system—that is, one that benefits just them—the majority of people would abandon the system, rendering it truly “trustless” and thus without users.

Cryptocurrencies are a nice idea some of whose aims are to make transactions more efficient, to make fraud much harder, and to avoid central currency issuing or controlling authorities misusing their power in such a way that they disrupt the economy and innocent livelihoods. Perhaps a future is coming where money, of any form, may no longer be needed. At the moment however, Bitcoin and others are taking us away from physical money AND a central issuer of such physical tokens, to enable us to transact and interact more seamlessly trustlessly.

To read more about cryptocurrencies and digital currencies:

Project Ubin | Akoin | China’s digital currency

Investing in the Future

When in 1995 Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Lab, predicted that soon people would be buying books and newspapers straight over the Internet, Clifford Stoll wrote a critical article. Stoll—an accomplished astronomer with a PhD to his name!—discussed why the internet would fail stating in particular that ecommerce would not work. And oh boy work it did! But that is just one individual who, like many of us, probably does not wield the power to predict the future too well. Organizations can also go wrong: in 1876 Western Union believed that the telephone had too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication and they saw no value in it. KODAK, one of the biggest companies in the world that contributed a lot in the area of photography, went bankrupt in 2012. Their collapse may be partly attributed to their failure to pivot toward the new technologies in photography. As the world was moving to digital photography KODAK was hesitant to change.  These are a few examples of companies and an individual who were unable to see the future value of a technology or innovation. But while some failed to see the immense value that certain technologies would create, others failed to properly estimate the price mankind would have to pay in exchange for enjoying certain technologies.

One of the reasons the human race has advanced so much is that some few individuals imagined a future far different from their present. These individuals then invested in their vision, be it in terms of time, finances, or career. These great innovators could not have possibly thought about every aspect of their technologies. Perhaps to the inventors of just-in-time manufacturing their desire was to make affordable goods and do so with supreme economic efficiency. But this same invention then played a central role in allowing companies to also overproduce, an outcome unintended.

So, as we invest in the future we think both about what good a technology can do as well as what could go wrong with it. This assessment is continuous. We then at times realize that some technologies are generating more harm than good. One such key technology is that of energy generation from fossil fuels. It is a great invention, and we must candidly applaud people who created the requisite extraction and refining technologies as well as the business schemes to make electricity available to paupers and the rich alike. However, as we learn more about how nature works we change our habits to incorporate our latest knowledge. At present it is generally believed that there are better ways of generating electricity that do much less environmental destabilization. The alternatives include renewable energy solutions—technologies that generate electricity from sources that can be replenished and often do much less harm to the biosphere. There is agreement that renewable energy sources are better than non-renewable sources. However, there isn’t always as much agreement as to which renewable energy source is best.  For example, generating energy from solar power is wonderful but perhaps only to an extent. The more people adopt solar power on a large scale, the more materials we would need to make the solar panels and the larger the land needed for these solar farms. These issues could lead to more waste being generated in disposing of solar cells, or potentially land not being available for other uses. Nevertheless, it is through these debates and discussions that as humanity we’re able to devise clever and better solutions. It is when we cease debating the merits and demerits of our technologies that we must worry all the more.

KCHKNA Inc. is based in Africa and is focusing on bringing clean energy to African countries, starting with Malawi. Africa is one of the best places to deploy large scale renewable energy solutions. While is Africa one of the best? First, across most of sub-Saharan Africa there is practically no electricity infrastructure to support a modern industrial economy. The demand is far higher than the supply. So, it is not a question of whether there is demand; rather it is question of whether we can devise a business model that works here. Second, again, across most of sub-Saharan Africa there is practically no electricity infrastructure. This is good because there is then no need to tear down an old functioning system in order to build a newer, more environmental-friendly one—because there isn’t such a system at the moment!

We believe that we need to push more heavily on renewable technologies. We believe that in the long run deploying renewables on a large scale—rather than LED lamps to some forlorn villagers—is more cost-effective especially since across most of Africa the necessary renewable sources such as water, a good amount of sunshine, and waste are readily available. Germany, Japan and other economies that have been traditionally powered by non-renewable sources have taken steps—through policies as well as developing different innovations–to pivot toward clean technologies. Africa on other hand is lucky in that it will not need to pivot; it can start with renewables. KCHKNA aims to spearhead the development of such enabling technologies so that Africa and the world may thrive.

A Better World With Clean Energy

The word energy is derived from Greek enérgeia, a word that was developed by Aristotle (384BC-322BC) to mean the capacity to do work. Thomas Young first introduced the word “Energy” to the world of physics in 1800 but it was apparently not popularized.  Finally, in 1905, Albert Einstein established the general equivalence of energy and mass with his theory of relativity paving the way for scientific use of the word “energy” today. For more on this history see here.

While the meaning of energy can be ambiguous, its impact is not. Humankind has lived a better life since our advancement in our use of energy. Some of the greatest shifts in human history happened thanks to the discovery of electricity, one form of energy. In the conceptual West, key figures such as Ben Franklin, Michael Faraday, and Thomas Edison made important contributions to our understanding and harnessing of electricity. Electricity in turn has powered innumerable inventions that have undoubtedly enabled new ways of living—computers, elevators, and maglev trains have respectively enhanced our computational intelligence, made possible taller and compact buildings, and made travel faster and more efficient.

While there is much consensus on the utility of energy, there isn’t nearly as much on how best to generate the energy. Energy comes in different forms. Often the form that the energy is in is not the form we want to use. This requires a process of energy conversion—informally called energy generation. (Energy cannot be created or destroyed, so the idea of energy generation simply implies making the energy available in the form we want, which is in this case is as electrical energy). For example, the energy of the battery of a phone is in the form of chemical energy and we have to convert it to electrical energy in order for it to be used to power the phone electronics. Unfortunately converting energy from one form (the source) to another results in energy losses and waste products.
Energy sources can be classified into renewable and non-renewable sources. Most of the non-renewable energy sources have disproportionately negative impact on the environment (They are called non-renewable because they cannot be replenished, at least not as fast as we’d like). It is estimated that major sources of energy are petroleum and natural gas, a thing of concern since these energy sources produce undesirable waste products. Renewable energy sources on the other hand produce much less waste—though not zero waste—than non-renewables. Non-renewable sources have powered much of the electricity revolution.

But why are non-renewables no longer desirable? Let’s discuss a few representative non-renewable energy sources. Coal and oil are two common energy sources. The burning of coal produces carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases), which contributes to global warming, a phenomenon of rising temperatures. Coal produces the highest amount of greenhouse gases per unit of energy produced. Oil and natural gas are cleaner than coal, but they too are very hazardous to the environment. Producing the oil creates air pollution; the toxins which are released in the atmosphere are dangerous for humans and ecosystem. The burning of oil and natural gas, like the burning of coal, also releases carbon dioxide. And the other disadvantage of oil is that the spills of oil can affect the surrounding environment. One of such incidents of oil spill is Exxon Valdez oil spill which occurred in Alaska in Mach 24, 1989, when an oil tanker owned by Exxon Shipping Company struck prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef and spilled 37,000 metric tonnes of crude oil. This incident did a lot of damage to the environment, including destroying some of the species that lived there.

An oil spill into water bodies affects animals
Cleaning up an oil spillage,

In general, most of the non-renewable sources of energy are very harmful to the environment. It is estimated that 7 million people die due to pollution each year. The continued use of non-renewable resources has effects on our health and our wellbeing.
But what are the alternatives? The alternative to these hazardous sources is clean energy sources, which includes renewable energy sources. The global community is now working towards replacing some of these non-renewable sources of energy with clean energy. The European Union was an early mover on clean energy. In 2009 they had ambitious energy and climate targets for 2020 (20% greenhouse gas emission reduction, 20% in renewable energy and 20% energy efficiency). Ten years later EU is still on track to achieve these ambitions.
But is this a reasonable, sustainable trajectory? The reasons for the continued incumbency of non-renewable energy sources are many and complex but include: they have traditionally been cheaper, they are readily available or can be cheaply made, and they have already been deployed making it harder to take them down just to install a newer system that does the same thing (i.e. produce electricity). However, in many instances these sources may have been cheaper due to government subsidies. The cost of producing electricity using non-renewable sources can be just as much as that of producing from renewables. This of course may depend on location—some places with a lot of water would naturally find it cheaper to produce electricity using that water than having to import natural gas. Solar and wind energy, where available, can be a sustainable source of energy both from an economic and environment point of view.

Generating electricity from moving wind is better for the environment than burning coal
While solar power can require a lot of land, it is also a cleaner form

KCHKNA is looking at producing energy from waste, a form of energy production that is still under-utilized. Every human settlement, and much more now than in times past, produces waste. Waste material is also an energy source, albeit less dense than for example coal. But waste is made available just by virtue (almost) of human beings being alive. This provides an endless source of energy that is available day and night, anywhere! From gasification to fermentation, KCHKNA aims to turn the energy stored in waste into other useful forms, without degrading the environment or human health. That to us is what renewable energy looks like; we fit right into an existing cycle without generating an extra bit of waste!

There is still a great need for electricity around the world. As of 2020, one in seven people still lack access to electricity and most of these people live in the developing world. These people perhaps do not care as much about clean energy as they do about energy, whatever the source. But clean energy need not be an afterthought, after unclean development. If we don’t pay the price now, we’ll pay the price in the future. Clean energy is good to the environment, and it saves the people from living in a harmful environment. So, whether one simply cares about Planet Earth for its own sake, or about the people living on it, generating energy from clean sources is the way to go. The most exciting bit is that as of 2020, most renewable energy sources are not as expensive as they were! And with more and more countries and organizations coming onboard we can expect economies of scale to kick in and make the question of economic feasibility a minor headache.

Small Steps Towards a Circular Economy
A $5.35 meal

At KCHKNA we realized at the very start that sustainability can not be an afterthought, an add-on we could throw in when we’re comfortable and our business model is solid. We realized that as we grow our responsibilities and stakeholder portfolio will do too. So, as we grow it will become increasingly harder to make changes. Many big organizations know what changes (with regards to the Environment, Sustainability, and Governance) they need to make but it may simply be too costly to implement. Smaller, younger organizations may think this (ESG) could come later when they mature, forgetting that this is the time to most easily imbue certain values into the modus operandi of the enterprise. One such value we take very seriously is aiming for closing the loop. That is why waste management is our first initiative. What is called waste is simply energy in another form, and if we can recover this using the appropriate technologies we can avoid or reduce the need for manufacturing endlessly and in an often unsustainable manner.

What is called waste is simply energy in another form

KCHKNA Inc.

The West (Europe and North America) and the East (Asia) have become superb at mass manufacturing. In fact, we think that while developing countries can make most of what the developed countries can, the developing countries cannot make the same items in an economically viable way. For example, there are people in Malawi who can make shoes–beautiful shoes!–but compared to the more automated, mass manufacturing plants in Thailand, China, Indonesia, India, etc. making shoes locally may often turn out to be an unwise investment. What lacks then is often not technical ability in general, but the ability to amplify one person’s skill. With technology, one woman’s skills are embedded into a tool which can then be used by the many unskilled. This is one of the magic wands behind the rapid development of most countries–the idea of outsourcing some of our labor to some machine (which can be non-physical, such as an algorithm) that can work much faster, more efficiently, and with fewer errors. That we very much love!

With technology, one woman’s skills are embedded into a tool which can then be used by the many unskilled.

KCHKNA Inc.

In fact this is what we aim to do at KCHKNA: To amplify human muscles (and minds). Instead of spending three hours washing clothes, you get your laundry done by an automated machine in 30 mins (6 times faster!) and all the while you could have been doing something else during that 30 mins.

Thus, the idea of embedding skills into tools gave birth to mass manufacturing–roughly the amplified ability to produce many more parts per unit time and labor than was previously possible. Yet, mass manufacturing has shown to be rather unsustainable in the long run. The fact that we can make things much faster has in some cases led to the creation of business models that are hard to live with. One industry where this is glaringly so is the single-use equipment industry.

By way of example, we show in the image a meal that cost about six Singaporean dollars (purchased 23 April 2020). The single use items include: food container, plastic carrier bag, fork and spoon, and the yogurt bottle. It is simply incredible that these items may have been made and shipped from quite far and yet still cost a tiny fraction of six dollars. But all this “labor” just so that one could use the single use items for perhaps 18 minutes and then they are thrown away. The companies that make these items are happy (our relatively educated guess) with this because they can mass manufacture a new set at a reasonable cost. But is the cost really reasonable if we think not just about the corporate balance sheet but the human scale environmental balance sheet? It may well appear less so.

At KCHKNA we are big believers in technology empowering people, and we aim to do just that. But we’re also big believers in business models where as far as possible very little of our resources go to waste. Sometimes, rather than thinking about recycling, we can rethink how we deploy our resources. For it is unwise to deliberately create waste, just so another person can have a business to take care of that waste. But it is equally important that as consumers we reduce our demand so that we can free these waste-producing businesses to do other things for humanity that may well be far more beneficial!

For it is unwise to deliberately create waste, just so another person can have a business to take care of that waste

KCHKNA Inc.
Why Innovative People Would Love Working at KCHKNA

Innovation and creativity is what has driven the world to where we are today. Almost everything we use, from our gadgets to the transportation means, was developed by someone who intended to solve a particular problem. Innovative and creative people see the world differently and they drive change in different aspects of life.
At KCHKNA Inc. we believe that innovation is a key way to enhance  human society. The last 150 years have been the most remarkable era in human history with life being made much simpler and convenient. This is thanks to unleashing the ability of people to think differently and create novel inventions. As a technology company our existence is way beyond maximizing profits; rather we aim to advance the lives of human beings. We believe the only way we can do this is by working collectively to find solutions to most of the problems that humankind is facing today.
And while we see problems in the world, we often think in terms of solutions! At KCHKNA Inc. we’re building a suite of products whose superclass is technology. Our methods might change but our mission need not.
We are certain that people who are creative, and are willing to innovate, can generate intellectually elegant and practical approaches to solving problems. We also believe that to innovate one does not necessarily require a high level of education. It is rather the ability to see things from a solution perceptive that we believe to be vital. And individuals with this psychological worldview are the ones who would be comfortable at the KCHKNA Inc. environment.

Working as a unit is key!

At KCHKNA Inc. we work hard and smart, but together. We allow people to express their views, and to pursue different hypotheses. We support our team members, giving each other honest feedback while encouraging each of us to truly aim for differentiation that empowers our community. We are convinced that the human brain—which we expect you to possess—is a truly incredible piece of hardware! The human brain has a great capacity to reason out and resolve a host of complex issues—our goal is to be an environment that bridges the gap between what is mentally possible and what we physically realize in our world. Here, we are celebrating our successes and failures acknowledging the reality that in any bold attempt we will either succeed or… learn. Either way, we are here to create a new narrative for mankind.

For jobs at KCHKNA email myjob@kchkna.com, or contact us by WhatsApp +265 881 79 41 48