My friends, My cofounders

Sometimes I wake up as early as 4am, about the time I’m writing this piece, thinking why our metrics  hasn’t quadrupled from last month, thinking of the best way to execute our growth strategies, looking for the minutest malfunction on the website (I always find one), then I beep John, one of my technical founder, hoping he will see my messages when he wakes up later in the morning but John replies my messages at 4am. He is also working out ways to make our technology better, all the time. This goes to my other cofounders; Shawn and Zainab, working smart and tirelessly on how WESABI can conquer Nigeria sometime very soon and then Africa.

You see I had met Shawn back in the school, we attended University of East London together both studying Information Systems, he was a year above me. Everywhere I find myself, I always love to mingle with people smarter than me, Shawn was a smart lad, I knew it right from the very first time we met, in kuala Lumpur at the train station, heading back to school. We sat beside each other through the trip and discussed so many topics, he was a very intriguing person, so we became good friends. While I always aced my courses, he was my go to guy when I had problems in database courses. I never pretty much got a hold of database back in school but there was always Shawn to the rescue.

Zainab and I share something a little more profound, I wouldn’t bore you with how I met Zainab but I liked her, she didn’t like me very much. There was something about Zainab, she was smart, and creative with her thoughts. I always love having conversations with her, we argued a lot, she wouldn’t let me win, she always felt she knew what she was talking about with proofs and references. The boy-girl chase kicked in, we dated then got hitched then she became friends with Shawn too.

While I was still working 9-5 in one of my previous workplace, we had been looking to hire a good developer for sometime. I was the Business development manager, I was part of the panel interviewing for this role. My experience as a developer too was needed. We had interviewed quite a number of candidates, I personally didn’t like any, not because they were bad in software development but I always look for attitude before professional skills while questioning people on what they can offer. One week had passed, and nobody had met the criteria. Some day during the second week, John was one of the candidate that showed up, it was the first time I met him. He was humble, and smartly dressed. He spoke with so much passion about his work, he showed us projects he had personally built. I remembered asking him if he had a project he was working on, he showed me a guest registration system he was about to finish, asked him if he could finish it during this interview. He was affirmative, he rounded it all up, right there and then. John was hired, He was a smart lad. We worked closely at work because of our roles but asides that, we became friends, we hung out after work…with Shawn too, sometimes with Zainab.

You see we were all friends even before wesabi came into the picture, we will discuss ideas, executions and their feasibility. When the idea of wesabi came forth after Zainab and I had had not-so-good experience with handymen when we moved to a new home, we already had a team. We dissected the idea, researched it, asked random people questions, we even conducted a small survey. I remember how we debated with so many names; You don’t even want me to mention some ridiculous names we came up with (especially John *tongue out*), we laughed so hard during this period.

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We have had our trying times when I thought we won’t be working on this project together. Nigeria sometimes bring the beast out of people, and sometimes, we just need to hustle to make immediate cash, of course wesabi wasn’t going to start bringing cash soon. I remember when I quit my last job to face wesabi squarely, Zainab was shocked. There were times when we scold ourselves, but then again, we smile over it and settle. We are not perfect but together we will drive the project to unbelievable heights, that I can assure you.

People refer to us as cofounders but in truth we are just very good friends trying to achieve the extraordinary.

Should the Handyman transport fare be covered?

Should Handymen charge for their transport fare? Personally, I don’t subscribe to it, but then I’m thinking from a client side, if you ask 100 plumbers or electricians, 90 of them will answer Yes. Some couple of months ago, we were still contemplating this within the WESABI team; there was a request for an AC repair man from Ajah, Lagos, on a Sunday. The client had wanted our AC expert to come same day, even after telling him no one was available on the Lagos Island. The nearest available expert in our network was in Egbeda but the client insisted he comes over still (those staying in Lagos will understand this distance). The expert arrived at Ajah after some hours, only for the client to say “I’m going out and this work has to be postponed”. He just left without giving a hoot about where the expert was coming from.

These occurrences happens every now and then, sometimes a client would just suddenly change or cancel a schedule while the expert is already on the way to client’s address. One time, we decided to start charging a very minimal fee to cover for our worker’s transport, then again, order cancellation increased. Once some clients realize they have to pay One thousand naira (₦1000) fee to cover for worker’s transport, they decline. We were caught in the middle, left in dilemma.

In the end, we could keep arguing but wouldn’t it be fair to pay for these fares but then that will be introducing a bias to the argument already. I will like to know what your bias on this.

They won’t see TECHNOLOGY coming!

I have looked around me in awe of how technology has evolved, evolved our way of life, way of thinking, way of doing things. The Nigeria and Africa community seem to lag behind sometimes, but you see, Paul Graham explained in his book; Hackers and Painters, “until the elite of Nations start to re-think their ways about making money. If the Elitist in a Nation still think stealing a Nation’s wealth is the way to riches rather than creating it, the Nation will be stuck in the 19th century”.

This opinion relates very well to me, with respect to the country I am from; Nigeria. Just recently, there was haggle about a tech company that supposedly duped the Central Bank of my country. I use this example as the perfect scenario to show the way most elitist still think in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Remita is a FINTECH company and was contracted to procure transfers of payment from commercial banks to the CBN, to a certain account called TSA.

You see, like the usual FINTECH, Remita charged a certain commission for certain amount of money being processed across its platform, this amounted to billions of Naira being processed across the Remita Platform. Out of the blues, some elitist in my country’s so called political class raised eye brows.

Before I go on, I need to let you know most of the money that made the extremely rich people rich in my country are stolen wealth. Are there genuinely Rich people? Absolutely, few I must say. This Elitist from the so called “House of Assembly” couldn’t phantom a small company making so much money without stealing a dime in a very short while. They didn’t understand how it was possible. I remembered, one of these elitist even asked a representative from Remita to show them the product physically. (How funny)

I’m sorry if this is starting to sound like the usual political warfare in my country, but this article isn’t about politics, it is about how Elitist in African countries can’t see what technology can achieve in a very short while, how they are not even ready to change their thinking, how they couldn’t care less as long as they are getting richer by “stealing”.

I still don’t think the Elitist in Africa have woken up to reality, they don’t know there is a group of smart individuals coming. Where Nigeria and other African countries will only exist to them as a place of in-habitation, where the rules will mean nothing to them, and the Law will be created by them. Where all they need to create wealth, a lot of wealth is just a one-bedroom apartment, a laptop and the internet. While the Elitist and their brain-washed followers fight over country’s resources and unavailability of stolen cash, technology would have created a different kind of wealth. The Revolution has started and it will be shown live on your nearest smart devices!

They won’t see TECHNOLOGY coming!!

One Year Anniversary!

It’s a new month, we wish you all the blessings that comes with it. It’s also our 1st year anniversary at WESABI, we couldn’t have made it this far without you guys. It’s been an awesome journey so far, we are far from where we are going closer to it than we were back at August 1st, 2015. There are sometimes when we are down, working extremely hard to achieve more than we have achieved now, in those times, we beat ourselves up, and feel down and out, but the next morning we wake to a text from a WESABI worker saying; “Oga, may God lift this platform to greater heights, you increased my income 3 times last month with your platform, my wife too sends her regards” OR from a client saying “The carpenter you sent me is amazing! Neat jobs all through. I didn’t know there were still extraordinary ones among these Artisans. Thank you so much!”. How can we not keep striving to deliver one of the most innovative services to both our workers and clients?

We want to get to a point, where WESABI is present in every neighbourhood, bringing verified service providers to you remotely and to your doorstep within the shortest possible time with just a push of a button. Where you want to wash your car but do not want to go to the auto car wash, and you can get someone from the neighbourhood to the job for you through the WESABI platform; where you are tired of fixing the same wiring problem in the electrical box in your home, WESABI should provide a truly skilled electrician to sort it out once and for all, where you are looking to build a website for your new business, but do not have the luxury to spend a fortune, WESABI comes in handing because of our bidding process.

We want to create as much freelance jobs as we can, while delivering spectacular services and customer relationship.

Thank you Again, for being part of this, it’s been a pleasure serving you and working together. Cheers to GREATNESS!!

7 Tools Every Homeowner Should Have

If you are a cautious housekeeper and love to be handy, here are the top 7 necessary items to get your small task at home done. How many do you have?

  1. Philips screwdriver. A Philips or X-shape screwdriver is probably one of the most common tools in any toolbox. Flathead screwdriver. A Flathead or straight screwdriver is invaluable; most light switch plates use straight screws.

measure_tape.png2. Tape measure. Your tape measure is indispensable for figuring out placement of objects, and calculating floor plans and furniture sizes. It’s always a good idea to measure more than once to make sure you’ve got it right.

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3. Utility knife. From cutting paint around windows that are stuck closed to opening boxes, scoring drywall or even trimming the edges of carpet, the uses are so many that you’ll be surprised how you ever got by without one.

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4. Level. Some people are good at eyeballing whether something is level or not, but this tool takes all the guesswork away. It takes only a slight error to make objects look off-kilter.

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5. Hammer. Pounding nails, pulling nails, crowbar action, tapping things into place — it almost goes without saying why you need hammer.Its leverage can assist you when you take that wall down.

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6. Pliers. The serrated jaws of pliers assist with holding objects firmly, as well as with pulling, pinching or bending metal.

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7. Ladder or step stool. Painting, reaching the light-bulb, changing fixtures, trimming the hedge, stringing lights, getting into the attic and many more activities require the aid of a ladder.

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The First Job

It all began in Dec 2014, the idea; Oh! What a great idea this will be. I had just moved to a new apartment, the idea had struck me, why can’t I simplify all of these things, so the process began. The team was put together, we decided on what and how the platform will look like. In our minds, we were creating the “smartest” startup in the Ecosystem.

Our Alpha product was ready by March 2015, so we decided to run a test with friends and some few random individuals. It was an uncoordinated exercise, had lots of glitches but we took the lessons and effected the changes to make it a better platform.

July 26th, the time had come for us to launch, to see what our “smart” startup will be in the face of an ever punishing Nigerian market. We all agreed to make it go live by 12 Midnight which will be 27th July. So it was midnight at last and we had officially launched a startup, not that I had not undertaken any business before, in fact, I had always been an entrepreneur since my secondary school days (I used to manage my mum’s poultry farm) but this felt different, it felt new, it felt exhilarating.

12 midnight felt like dawn, I was awake all night waiting for the first task prompt; Heart racing, anxiety at all-time high, will this flop? Will anyone ever visit our platform? 8am had come so fast, I hadn’t slept all night, not a single task had been posted, the consolation rang in my head “no one will visit your “smart” platform in the middle of the night” but then 24 hours passed, then 48 hours, and I can’t remember me being so sullen in a long long time. My head must have been processing about a million thoughts per minute, like “Oh God, we have failed”, “it’s a disaster”, “The end is nigh”, “such a wasted effort”, and so on and so forth (it’s funny how the human brain works). On the fourth day of waiting, an email sprung in “I need two shawarma delivered to me”, that email, at that moment felt like I had just closed a multi-million Naira deal, felt like a kid who had just been presented with a pack of chocolates.

The first task from our “smart startup” was created, like Magic, emails notification of task requests started pouring in 3, 5, 7 days afterwards

It all began with a certain Stephane (featured image above) who requested for a shawarma delivery, the unforgettable moment in our “smart startup”

WE ALL NEED HELP, SOMETIMES

So, you just moved into a new apartment, the sink is leaking, door knobs are cringing, the house is a mess and needs serious cleaning out, oh and you also got to buy groceries and food stuff and a whole lot of other stuff. Then you remember you don’t know anyone in the new neighbourhood; you had fixed an appointment with your mum to come visiting the next day, the day after that, work resumes again! Unless you figure out how to make time stop, to allow you figure out a way, well, there wouldn’t be much that would get accomplished.

This literally was me two years ago, it felt so hard to get things done alone. I needed HELP!! We all need help.. sometimes. Then the WESABI came on board, the space could be disrupted, i wanted to automate these things badly.

So WESABI was birthed; an online social network service that allows you have access to exceptionally skilled personnel, and also get all your task done. The best of plumbers, master craftsmen in woodwork, verified house cleaners, errands guys, just about any services you need within a click.

So, here is how it works; first you post a task or a request, with all the relevant details like location, budget and all the other info. WESABI then sends a notification to the nearest available WESABI expert in your locality. Once we confirm he or she is available, you the client will get an email to notify you our expert will be coming over. And in case you are wondering, all WESABI experts go through a rigorous verification method, as for the Artisans, we handpick the best through various means of recommendation from master craftsmen. We also take our time to train them on mannerism, etiquette and customer’s service.

And oh, payment happens through us, meaning once a WESABI expert bills you, you pay us, once they are done and you are satisfied, we then pay them. Basically WESABI saves you all the hassles you need to deal with from hiring just random Artisans and also makes your life easier by providing you a platform that cater for all your services under one platform So what are you waiting for; POST A TASK TODAY and let’s connect you to SABI people

The Lesson thus far

Earlier on i had published my very first post on this blog, to me, it was a landmark because there had been so many procrastination to setting up this blog in itself. Procrastination; that’s one thing i’m striving to get rid off as my journey into project WESABI continues, not like i hadn’t ran businesses in the past, in fact sometime in my 300 level, during my first degree, i owned a fish farm which incidentally, I ran pretty well, but of course the pressure wasn’t at all time high then. There was still “subsidy” coming from my parents as “pocket money” so it wasn’t in any way to be compared to WESABI.

I’d like to note some germane lessons i have learnt on this path:

  1. Nothing is Original: Whatever idea you have, someone else on the planet has thought about it as well and there is room for more than one if the product/service fills a need and is better than what is out there.If you for once think you have an idea especially in Nigeria, and you think; oh,  i really should just rush things and put it out there because you feel it’s an entirely new project, i hate to disappoint you, you are so wrong.So back to about 4 months ago, i was having a chit chat with my developer and he was telling me someone is trying to duplicate our idea out there, he was surprised when i told him, okay, i will like the person to see how easy it is to actually implement an idea like WESABI. If you don’t put your heart in any startup or business, you can be as intelligent as Newton, it won’t fly.
  2. Business Plan: Yes, you need a business plan as a road map, but shouldn’t be followed literally because things are constantly in a state of change. In fact, whatever you are thinking at the beginning is probably wrong but you will learn what you need to make a success after 9-12  months of operations. WESABI original model is far from what is on ground right now, we had to learn, adapt, and change.
  3. Resiliency and Networking: We have been made to change so many things in our original plan, at first, we opposed it, but then we had to look at thing from the neutral point of view, sat back for a moment and compared, these were tough times. We didn’t let that be the end, we were focused, i was resilient, i had to make this work. Another thing that was missing in the initial stage; we were all too close and personal to the project, we needed to get out there, network with people, especially entrepreneurs who think alike, no disrespect but as an entrepreneur, hanging around job seekers won’t help much. In fact it makes you feel depressed!

THE FIRST

This is the first of many post that will be coming from this space, this blog is dedicated to project WESABI; the one stop platform connecting service providers to end users. It all started when i moved to a new place in Abuja, finding a plumber and other handyman service was such an headache. The idea sprung up in my head, i then related with my friends; Shola Lawal, Aliyu Audu and Yinka Brimmo what they felt about creating a platform to find all your service needs. That was three years ago, we had worked around all possible models, fast forward two year later, there came along my beloved; Zainab, who helped put an icing on the cake to almost perfect our business model.

Today, WESABI  is part of a growth academy being organized by CC Hub and intel. Things are really looking up, it’s been a tough road traveled on this path, but the light at the end of the tunnel seem so close now, it’s great to be among like  minding thinking. So much of this opportunity is owned to Japheth Omojuwa; an intelligent lad i met through Monsurah Alli-Oluwafuyi; such an awesome being.

The end is uncertain, i have never been so afraid but i do not need a telescope to see that there is hope and that makes me feel so brave!!