Zimbabwe-born Kudzi Chikumbu is the leader in community and creators at one of the world’s biggest entertainment short-form video platforms, as well as a passionate champion of diversity and authenticity. He’s also a Global Judge for Red Bull Basement, the programme where student changemakers from around the world work to realise their most impactful, feasible and creative tech ideas.
Taking off his executive hat to speak on the podcast in a personal capacity, Chikumbu talks about the factors that contribute to developing good ideas. Among them, he offers these pieces of advice for anyone who might be facing, for example, a significant career transition.
1. Be authentic and true to yourself
Ever since primary school, Chikumbu has always felt that he stood out from the norm, and that feeling continued as a student from Africa at Stanford University and into his initial career as an accountant.
“You can be out of place but still be successful, or even the best,” he asserts. “My superpower is I’m me and not like everybody else, so I embrace that. This is why it’s really important to double down on your authenticity. It’s such a buzzword now, but it truly is a superpower, because then no one can touch you.”
2. Have a vision – and believe in it
“Nobody knows your dreams, or how good you are – only you do,” Chikumbu says. “Be clear about what you want, and be able to articulate that. I think it’s easier if it’s powered by authenticity, by powering into something that feels like 100 percent you and something that you love.”
In the podcast, which you can listen to in full below, the creator also reveals the early collaborator who helped him to focus his vision, as well as other influences.
3. Start taking action in advance
Chikumbu was a creator long before his talents hit the spotlight. While still an accountant by day, he worked on multiple blogs, YouTube channels and other social media outlets at night and on weekends.
He describes: “I created the skillset and also created this personal brand for myself, where people could see that I was serious about this lane. That’s why it’s important to actually have the vision, have the belief – but then actively take steps to do it. It may not be as great in the beginning, but it adds up, and you get better and then it becomes part of who you are.“