Executive interview with Charles Musisi on Life’s lessons

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Charles Musisi is a graduate of Electrical Engineering, and now Managing Director and owner of the Ugandan IT firm Infinity Computers & Communications Company LTD (i3C), part of the Infinity Management Group which was formerly known as Computer Frontiers International LTD (CFI).

Charles Musisi pioneered use of Electronic mail in a number of African Countries dating back to the early 1990s, and went on to setup some of the very first Internet Services in a number of in Sub-Saharan Africa.He has provided Technology leadership for over 15 years now, and has in the process created a successful business model which among many services provides Internet domain name registration, web design, mobile app development & hosting services; LAN & WAN infrastructure installation, cellular network installation & maintenance; VoIP telephony & call centre solutions. And many other IT services.

Charles Musisi established and still manages the .UG Internet registry for domain names (UG Top Level Country Code ccTLD for Uganda).

Charles Musisi has mentored and trained well over 100 top IT professionals many of whom now run successful businesses of their own right.

Elsewhere in an illustrious career, Charles Musisi has been Project leader, or has had a major role in the design of Services and Solutions on IT projects for several Development initiatives funded by many of the leading agencies who include the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The International Development Research Council (IDRC); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), East Africa Community (EAC), the Common Market for East & Central Africa (COMESA) and The World Bank among many others.

Charles Musisi, from the very early days was at the forefront of the formation of a number of Internet bodies that include the African Registry for Numbers (AfriNIC), the International Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN) and the African Internet Group (AfNOG). He sits on the governing board of all the corporations he has been involved in their formulation and serves as board member on a couple of other reputable organizations.

In your profession as a telecom engineer and an entrepreneur, how much of your success can be attributed to good parenting versus luck?

It’s a little bit of both. Luck never comes out of the sky. You have to expose yourself to tap into the available opportunities at the right time.

My family played a significant role. When I was studying, I had an uncle who was an environmental activist. I grew up knowing the values of the environment.

What top two skills would you say one must master to succeed professionally?

There isn’t like a definitive set of things that you have to learn so as to succeed. But rather, I will point out key aspects that drive success.

Being committed to your calls, having a clear vision of what you want to achieve, and creating support. You need to able to create support around you to withstand shaky situations.

You should have the ability to see opportunities and go for them. Above all, you have to put in the hours; hard work. Along the way, you have to learn a lot of things in order to succeed.

You say being committed to your call and being able to create support around yourself helped you succeed. How can one master the skills? Explain fully?

It’s one of the things you have to learn on the job. These are not things taught at school. They are common sense issues. You have to be someone who networks, seeks support where you identify a shortcoming in your and never quit.

As a leader, when do you stop asking questions and start setting the direction?

It happens all the time. When you finish school and get absorbed in active workforce, you have emerged as a leader. People are looking up to you. You have keep up with times.

What are your top two regrets in life? Why?

Well, truly I never drove into regrets. As a matter of fact what appeared like regrets were opportunities.

Career wise, I should have done it a little bit earlier specializing in the things I wanted to do in life which is IT and telecom. Along the way, I absorbed a lot of generic information. I should have concentrated on IT related straight away.

There have been moments in life when I have been hesitant and procrastinated over issues when I should have tackled them head on.

I have made a few mistakes through business ventures and partners that I should have never taken. The important thing is when you fall, you have to stand up.

To succeed in an environment like Uganda today, what should an executive do?

Start early, work smart, be persistent. Convert an innovation into a revenue stream. Do not sit back and expect that by luck someone is going to do you favors. You have to work for what you want to achieve.

Work honestly. Take advantage of resources like Internet to build great ideas and solutions.

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