Ladybrille Man

Ladybrille Exclusive: Amaete Umanah, Founder WHOT! Card Game, Ladybrille Man of the Month January 2012.

The Ladybrille Man of the Month monthly feature honors The “Man of the Month,” for his brilliant contributions to his local and/or international community. We look for everyday people and celebrities within and outside the African community who have done or are doing extra-ordinary things. People who understand the importance of not only achieving but also reaching behind and lifting as they climb.

We are honored and excited to celebrate and close out January 2012 with Amaete Umanah, an Electrical Engineer and Technology Entrepreneur of Nigerian heritage who has just launched the WHOT! Card game. WHOT! Card game is available on iOs, Android, Amazon and Apple App stores.

Umanah joins a distinguished list of past Ladybrille Men of the Month(s) which includes Hollywood Actor Edi Gathegi, NFL Player Amobi Okoye, Hollywood Actor Jimmy Jean Louis, Author, New TV Host and Matchmaker Paul Carrick Brunson, Fashion Photographer Simon Deiner, Fashion Producer Jan Malan, artists Mateo Vic and Wizkid. Enjoy the interview, please share and do congratulate him!

Our interview was conducted by phone. Amaete how are you?
I am well thank you. Thank you very much for having me. Welcome. First things first, am I pronouncing your name well?
Yes. It is “Ama- a-tay” (pronounces it) What is the origin of the name?
It is from the South, South part of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom, Ibibio. And what does your name mean?
From what my father has told me, over the years, it means “I love my father.” So, I am sticking with that. (Laughs) Oh! Really? Interesting. That is very unique. Let’s get into your background. I understand you studied engineering. Tell us a bit more about that?
Amaete: Ever since I was five years old, my mother stuck it into my head that I was going to be an engineer. (Laughs)
Amaete: (Laughs)
Living in Nigeria, that was the only thing I could think of (because) living in Nigeria at the time, you were either an engineer, doctor or a lawyer. So when I came to the USA, I just stuck with the goal of being an Electrical Engineer. What University did you attend to achieve your goal of being an Electrical Engineer?
I actually got my degree at Devry’s University.

LADYBRILLEmag: Where is that located?
They actually have their campuses all over but I got my degree in Pomona, here in California. Where did you get your fascination for all things gadgets and gizmos . . .? You have such intensity and love for technology, technology . . . how did you come about having such a huge interest in gadgets and gizmos?
Ever since I was a kid, I have always been intrigued by electronics. My parents did a good job of buying me a lot of these toys that intrigued me. When I was seven (7) years old I got my first Walkie Talkie and it was just intriguing to see how that thing worked. (Chuckled) (Chuckles)
Living in Nigeria I remember wanting a computer so bad. You know when they started coming out with 386 this and 486 this. . . . My parents couldn’t afford it. So, I remember the days when I would just spend hours going through PC Magazine, dreaming . . . (In a surprised voice) PC Magazine? The American PC Magazine?
I beg your pardon? The American PC Magazine?
Yes. The American PC Magazine. So your parents or somebody consumed a lot of that. Where did you get access to those?
We had a family friend that lived down the street that was an electrical engineer and I used to go to his house. He had a lot of these magazines and I would spend hours just going through these magazines dreaming that I would actually have these computers in my room. Wow! (Laughs) Definitely a freak, a computer freak. (Laughs)
Amaete: (Laughs) Beyond your love for technology, I also know that you have a very playful side to you and that includes traveling and running marathons etc. Tell us some of the countries you have visited around the world.
Well, just recently, I visited Trinidad/Tobago? Was that for the carnival?
It was a mixture of both business and pleasure. (I have visited) Puerto Rico which is part of the United States, England, France, Austria, of course Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea are some of the places I have been to and had a lot of fun. How exciting!! As someone who loves to travel, I can only imagine how great it has been for you! Before we get into a discussion on your innovative launch of WHOT! Card games, I’d like to discuss very briefly with you about social media. I know you are well versed with social media. Would you share with our audience the relevance of social media, especially for the many Ladybrille entrepreneurs, who will read this and can benefit from its use?

Amaete:I look at social media as a means of sharing. . .I come across a lot of things that are very interesting to share. One of the things I like to do is to share. Social media allows you to share on facebook, twitter, youtube etc. When you go online (especially for business purpose), the question you want to ask yourself is, “where do people hangout?” Social media allows you to go where people hangout to showcase your idea, products and whatever you may have. As a business owner, could you share how social media has been beneficial to you?
We launched our game on December 1st, 2011. Social media has really helped because I have people contact me from twitter because someone tweeted about (Whot! card game) and before you know it, they have spread it to other platforms. We are now on android, iOS . . . it has allowed me to reach an audience that I would never have been able to reach. So, it has helped me tremendously in getting exposure, getting an increase in downloads. That is actually a good transition to talk about the WHOT! Card game you launched. First, let me approach it from the angle of African entrepreneurs launching technological innovative products in the American marketplace. You don’t often hear or see that. What was the impetus, why did you decide to launch WHOT! Card game?

Amaete:Good question. WHOT! is a game I played in Nigeria with my friends while growing up. When we came to the US, she would organize this WHOT! Card game nights and we would have about 15-20 people come to the house to play WHOT! Card games. I said to myself this is a great game to introduce on iOS. As of last year, no one really had it on iOS or even had it on Facebook. So, the idea came to me last year. So, when Steve Jobs (may his soul rest in peace), was introducing the IPad 1 and was sharing the numbers on how many people use it, that’s when I thought to create it. You have a co-founder who helped create the WHOT! Card game called Ime (pronounced E-May) Etim, correct?
Yes. . . that is my co-founder and my cousin as well. What exactly is his role at your company?
As a startup, we do everything. We really do not have the luxury (yet) of delegating a variety of things. He does design work, marketing, analytics. Everything I do, he does. (Laughs) I am sure our Ladybrille entrepreneurs reading this can totally relate to having to wear multiple hats.

How the Whot! Card Game Works

“WHOT! is a classic, fast-paced and an exciting card game for all ages. Get rid of all your cards first and score points for the cards you play. The first player to get rid of all their cards wins!
WHOT! is for Casual Gamers
Played with just one finger!
Very easy to learn… and addictive.
Enjoyable for kids and adults.
Competitive scoring to compete with friends and family.
A true bargain…FREE… what do you have to lose?

How To Play
‘Skip’ – Playing this card causes the next player to miss a turn, and next player in line gets to play.

‘Pick 2’ – The next player must either play another two within the time limit, or draw at least two cards from the stock as a penalty.

‘Pick 3’ – The next player must either play another five within the time limit, or draw at least three cards from the stock as a penalty.
‘Hold On’ – The player who plays this card skips over all other players, and gets to play again.

‘Reverse’ – Playing this card reverses the direction of play.
‘General Market’ – Playing this card causes everyone but the player to get dealt an additional card. The player gets another turn.

‘Whot’ – This card lets the user change the current suit to something else. Cannot be played on a ‘Pick 2’ or ‘Pick 3’ with an active penalty.

Playing multiple cards in a single turn (using ‘8’ or ’14’) gives you bonus points. The more cards you play, the greater the bonus!

Game Center Enabled
Compare your game scores to others worldwide on the leaderboard, and strive to complete all the achievements! Some are easy … and some are only achievable by masters! Distribution wise, what are your distribution methods and where can our audience access the game?
Apple App store, Google app store, Amazon marketplace . . .Kiip networks. Where have you been able to obtain funding for the game?
It is self funded between myself, Ime and an angel investor. We are actively fundraising right now. Where can our potential Ladybrille investor interested in investing find you?
They can contact me at Is Nkanikan the parent company for WHOT! card game?
Yes. We wanted to keep it native. It is Ibibio and means time. That is why our slogan says, “it is time, come play with us.”

Amaete Umanah Gets Philosophical Nice. Let’s get a bit more personal. What drives you?
Passion. I love doing the things no one has done before. I love doing the impossible. This drives me and I am (driven)to succeed in doing these things. What is the kind of legacy you want to leave behind?
I want to be remembered as someone that was a hard-worker. I want to take the culture that we have in Silicon Valley (San Jose, San Francisco, Bay Area) and bring it back to Africa. I want to be one of the early pioneers of bringing that kind of technology culture to Africa and specifically Nigeria. What are the daily principles you live by?
Don’t take “no” for an answer. When one door closes, look for another one. Be consistent. Sometimes not having a lot helps you think outside of the box.

Amaete Keeps it Light Deep. On a lighter note, what are some of the places you would recommend we visit in Nigeria for some good times? Restaurants?
When I go to Nigeria, I go to Port Harcourt, the South, South. It is pretty much all I know. Chicken Republic is a place I go. (Laughs) Chicken Republic, I love to eat there. (Laughs) I wish we had more time to delve into even more with you but we do have to wrap it up. So, one last question for you! What makes a brilliant man?! (Laughs)

Amaete:(Takes deep sigh) Ahhhhhhhh! Good question. I have to think about that for a second. (Pauses) (Pensive) Strong determination, sense of humor, God fearing. (Defaults to being witty and playful) Handsome. (Laughs) (Laughs) We already know you are a very good looking man. (Laughs)
Amaete: (Laughs) Thank you so much Amaete. I’d love to delve into the fusion of fashion and technology and what you are doing but we will invite you back on Ladybrille once you roll some of those projects out.
Thank you so much! I’d love to. I’d love to. Thank you so much for having me.

Congratulations to Amaete Umanah for being our Ladybrille Man of the Month, January 2012!

Please visit for more information and to download your copy!

-Interview by Uduak Oduok
Courtesy photo

Ladybrille Magazine

Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.

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1 Comment

  1. I love this. It is so inspiring, because i created something from the card game too.

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