MindGames Productions LLC is the result of hard work, sweat and passion and years of planning by its Managing Director Ray Mutai, a former radio producer with some of the leading media houses in Kenya.

Swala Nyeti sat down with Mutai, who is also the Producer at MindGames Productions, and he shared his interesting journey that culminated in the establishment of the production outfit.

Swala Nyeti: How was MindGames born?

MindGames Productions LLC is a media production company based in Nairobi. It was born purely out of passion for radio. I recall the early years when I would listen to the radio on Medium Wave. The signal would fluctuate often and at times disappear altogether but I kept at it because there was such an excitement to hearing stories from places so remote that I probably never will visit in this lifetime. The love for audio production emanated from this.

Swala Nyeti: Did you always want to run a business?

When I registered the company, I had no idea how I would run it as a business. In fact, from the day I received the registration documents till the day I first received the first electronic funds transfer for business done amounted to a gap of nearly 7 years!

My main objective was the need to monetize my trade and by then I had put a few things in place. I imported equipment from Germany and kept them in my house for all the 7 years! I also made business cards for the company, complete with the name CEO emblazoned on them. How optimistic!


Swala Nyeti: How did that turn out for you?

Over time, I would be disillusioned. Importing and owning the production equipment, registering the company or even having my name on a business card was nowhere near doing business. Business would take lots of work of building a brand and developing relationships and a network that really worked.

It happens that I started from a place where most of us creatives do. We have these amazing ideas on execution of the creative process but rarely operationalize them as a monetized engagement. It was true baptism by fire but from an initial revenue of 200 thousand shillings the first year to over 4 million annually, the company has made huge strides.

Swala Nyeti: So, how did you overcome this initial challenge?

I will give credence to the experience and confidence I have gained in the 14 years I have been in media production for the amount of work that has gone into developing MindGames Productions LLC to the place it is now. This is not to say that we are anywhere near the mainstream players but it is a good foundation and an assurance that we will get there.


Swala Nyeti: What is your background in media like?

I started off as a technical producer at Radio Waumini, where most of my journalism education met the professional and technical side of things. The technical and creative bit proved quite exciting and I ended up at Family Radio 316 managing the live and production studios with the wide array of equipment and software that came with the job.

It brought a lot of joy to spend long days and sometimes nights working on the equipment or monitoring the broadcast signal while at the same time collaborating with presenters, creatives and producers on content delivery strategies.

These experience went further and developed as I moved up in the course of my career through Royal Media Services, Ghetto Radio, the Standard Media Group and a number of radio programming consultancies.


Swala Nyeti: How has that experience helped build your business?

MindGames Productions LLC has benefited a great deal from these experiences. I have managed to resolve a lot of operational challenges because of knowledge, skill and relationships developed in the course of being formally employed and the experiences outside of formal employment.

The personal experiences have linked my company to business while the technical skill and knowledge have, for instance, enabled me to set up my studio and work on my graphics and website development. This way, it has been possible to cut down on overheads.

Swala Nyeti: What keeps you going through the tough times in your start-up?

As much as this has taken time, I always quote Ben Carson, whose book “Gifted Hands”, which I read way back while younger that “The same opportunities exist (for all of us) but we can’t start out as the Vice President of the company.” Knowledge, experience and especially personal human relationships established over time are the most powerful tools for success anywhere, including business. There is still a long way to go.


This continuous improvement process has seen MindGames Productions grow to work with notable clientele and achievements. We have collaborated on productions for notable organizations such as Safaricom, Branch, KCB, Mount Kenya University, Yara International, Frontline Aids and several local and international media organizations.

I also won th 2020 Founder of the Year Award for my business efforts. It is worth noting that MindGames Productions has a database of over 500 voice artistes that we enable to earn from their talents.

Swala Nyeti: What challenges have you faced during this journey?

I have had my setbacks and still do. That the process is slow which is both a challenge and an empowering factor. Capital to catalyze operations has been another as has been business development. These are and will hopefully, only for the coming few seasons be challenges for MindGames Productions LLC.

Mac Otani and Ray Mutai. PHOTO/COURTESY

Swala Nyeti: What is your advice to anyone starting a new business?

One, get into something you love. That way, you will not give up easily because your passion will sustain you through the low tides. Two, research and know your market and aggressively look for all relevant information about the business. This gives you authority in decision making including pricing and strategy. Three, aim to cut overheads.

Four, learn the system and work your way through it so that you gain more from the opportunities available. Five, be ready to be the full time chief executive officer; executing everything including accounts, marketing, human resource, collections, cleaning, tea girl/boy tasks plus core business.


Swala Nyeti: What’s your specialty and how can people reach you?

As we look to the future we endeavor to move with the convergence wave which entails digital graphics, video and audio for online streaming. It can only get better!

Find MindGames Productions on Instagram @mindgamespro, twitter @mindgamespro1, Facebook MindGames Productions.