TechKenyans to TechKln

TechKenyans to TechKln


5 min read

A global outfit

Back in February this year, I wrote an article Reintroducing techKenyans. There I wrote about the community, breaking the post into 4 parts:

  • So what's TechKenyans?
  • How's the journey been?
  • What's there currently?
  • The future?

I won't touch on the first two here. Catch that interesting story linked above ๐Ÿ‘†.

I'll iterate on the last two from the bottom.

The Future? Rebrand

The Why

Kenya is a well-known country in East Africa; mostly known for its horticulture if not tea or athletes. Having Kenyans in the name 'techKenyans' has in the past alluded to an exclusive Kenyan community. At the beginning of formation, the idea was localised (for Kenyans). However, the mentality of being global was always there.

Screenshot 2020-07-15 02.44.39.png

The need for a global outfit became resounding due to the following factors:

  • a growing subscriber list from people all over
  • non-Kenyan TK's community members could feel transient (as though they are part of us temporarily) sometimes

The second factor wasn't so severe but I think we agree that any community needs to be (and feel) inclusive.

The How

The process needed to be as seamless as possible. The logos and the brand colo(u)rs, I thought, need not change. Plus the initials TK are already in use in swag (hoodie, stickers) and assets (logos). Therefore the ask was simplified to; Let's get a name:

  • whose initials would be TK
  • alludes to community in some way
  • that has a cool factor ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Quickly though, Tech Kiln was proposed by Rain during a brainstorming session. A short unique name ๐Ÿคฉ. That was a light-bulb moment! I did not want to be skewed to that name nor be limited to the creativity of my close circle so I expanded the search.

Mid last month, I decided to involve the wider community members and other associates in a closed poll. The constraints were clear. In addition to the three mentioned above, the availability of domain names and usernames on social media was a key factor. Moreover; several entities have had to change names due to copyright. All these aspects need to be factored in.

Here's a message I sent out on Slack:

Screenshot 2020-07-15 03.25.17.png

(Call it directed but we always need to work with bounds) Therefore, a poll between these three: TechKiln, TechKlin and TechKln was sent out in private DMs and in the community. TechKlin had been thrown in there since it was easier to pronounce. TechKln, though unpronounceable looked sophisticated.

Why was the poll not public, you ask? TK risked having the domains bought by malicious people. It's a jungle out here ๐Ÿ˜….

A lot of suggestions came my way. Below are notable ones:

  • Tech Kind (is already a brand name with active domain names, products or services) suggested by Adam Lupu
  • Technology Kin (I liked the allusion to community - 'family' but wasn't well-received in TK on Slack and WhatsApp) suggested by Chibuzor Odai Obiora
  • TechKenyans International (Adding international could imply global but the name still has Kenyans) suggested by Ken Nzioker

In the end, after more than 20 days, the polls for TechKiln, TechKlin and TechKln stood at 36%, 20% and 44% respectively. I was really vouching for TechKiln and while it's not all democracy, the People spoke. Furthermore, there were some key aspects that favoured TechKln:

  • is an active site
  • In techkln we could say that _we dropped the i since in TK community, it's not about the I but the WE
  • If you google "Tech Kiln" or "TechKiln" so many varied results come up. In contrast, TK website is the first result, when you google "TechKln"

Behold; TechKln

So it's settled TechKln is the name of the community.

On the site:, I dig a bit into the word Kiln. The in-depth scrutiny was offered by yet another friend Vyki. They had this to say:

"I really like TECHKILN, KILN is both a verb and a noun. It has a strong meaning of making and building, and a connotation of community as many pottery makers are independent skilled artisans who can rarely afford their own kiln and often use and fund community owned kilns to finish their work."

Superb. Even though, the 'i' was dropped; this is still at heart to TechKln ๐ŸŽ‰

That said, TechKln, I encountered some gotchas. Let's dig into those:

  • Previous sites/ accounts: redirects to the new domain. Social media accounts with the username TechKenyans were swapped and now point to the newly named accounts. That is for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Others like GitHub start afresh.
  • Pronunciation: since the spoken word is as important as written how do you refer someone to TK's website or social media accounts. I'd like to hear your thoughts. I simply pronounce it as I would Tech Kiln by saying techkiln as one word without the i or simply spell it out
  • Misspellings. The site is SEO will come in handy with the search engine results but in the spirit of future-proofing; and redirect to the main site. As for social media, for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; the techkiln usernames point to techkln. Here's an example:

Screenshot 2020-07-15 04.20.27.png

I'm appreciative to Nad for the vouch of confidence. He said (I paraphrase) "A good community will run with the name, don't overthink it"

What's there currently?

  • TK swag is available for purchase
  • Tech events (#global and #local will continue being featured) This will now cut across different countries.
  • The periodic TK newsletter
  • Developer tools (for use for free) For example, if you want to publish to Google Play store; you're free to use TK's account for that (T&C apply)
  • TK's GitHub classroom (for software development)
  • Global toolkit - A live list of technological tools cutting across a number of disciplines
  • DIY (Do it yourself) your web presence series - An ongoing tutorial to have yourself a website and blog for FREE!

and many more in the pipeline.

Several individuals were involved behind the scenes and while I mentioned a few, I'd like to say thank you to all of you/ them.