Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 was simply amazing...

I entered the year 2012 as a random web and software developer. As usual i was still struggling to blend my life as a second year student of Methodist University College Ghana and my life as the founder of a software development start-up Oasis Websoft.   Oasis WebSoft was developed with the idea to provide web and software solutions here in Ghana and beyond. It was almost three months since I had  left my job as the lead software developer @ 9ja Mini, a start-up by a good Nigerian friend of mine which  aims to bring all social chat apps to one platform via a mobile and web app.This is a small documentary we shot during one of our late night hackerthon at 9ja Mini   -
     My year started off with the official launch of Anansi web browser which i developed with two of my good friends namely Aaron and Gyanta.The beta version of the Anansi web browser became a quick success and we have since had 3,678 downloads on softpedia  In 2013 we will be releasing the full version with a Chromium engine  The picture above is a picture of me ( in red ) Displaying Anansi web browser to my friends on my university campus and demonstrating how it works for the first time in November 2011.
    After the launch of the web browser i wrote a Java Matrix Library  that includes calculation of determinants, matrix multiplication, addition, encoding ,decoding ,cipher ,Gauss Jordan and echelon of a matrix.I wrote it in the Java programming language and can be run on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux.Our first method calculates the determinant of a two by two sized matrix.It was quickly adopted by Softpedia and added to their database of software programs for the Windows operating system. I did this project as part of my contribution to the open source community.
      In march I was awarded by the Free software and Open Source for Africa (FOSSFA) in Abuja Nigeria as a Guido Sohne fellow in recognition of my continuous use and support for open source technologies such as Linux,Fedora and Drupal, and for having a technological vision for Africa just like the late Guido Sohne. I posted a blog post about my award and the late Guido Sohne called Guido Sohne is my role model.
      We also launched and deployed Anansi Operating System ( Linux Distribution ) which we built with open source technologies like Suse and Kiwi. Currently we have released the complete source code here   We have embeded all the basic softwares and system wares that will enhance your desktop connectivity examples are wine-devel package,apache2 package, audacity package,libreoffice-base package,anansi softwares,netbeans-javaparser package plus many more. With the help of more code contributors we hope to add a bundle of educational tools targeting our educational system in Africa and possibly with a local language  ( Swahili and twi etc. ) keyboard layout and localisation of some of these educational tools. 
       Other software we also launched were Diabetes web app (It is a simple web application that allows you to know your diabetes status. ) , Anansi Calcpad is a handy application we developed in tandem with Seafire Software that allows you to perform basic calculations in a familiar interface. The software also allows you to take notes in the Story Pad view.You can access Google Reader from the application’s menu (the News Aggregator View) in order to read news. We also deployed our first mobile app called  Anansi app . It mobile app that is a social news blog that delivers latest news and information from CNN,TechCrunch and Oasis WebSoft  plus you learn to also code via my you-tube channel. Download now from the Windows phone market place.
      Finally my company joined forces with other African developers to develop and launch Africapp. A pan-African mobile application store that aims to serve the growing need of mobile users in Africa and Diaspora.
       My company was nominated for the 2012 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship (AAE) due to our exceptional entrepreneurial achievements. I am currently featured in the November issue of Forbes Africa Magazine dubbed “Mark Zuckerburg of Accra”. I was given an award by Methodist University's Student Representative Council for being the University's Achiever of the Year 2012 and also featured in my school's home page I was also interviewed on Ghana's The Be Bold show
I also did some key note presentations. My major one was at the first ever IT Leaders West Africa Summit  held in Ghana. I spoke on engaging with mobile technology. I also did a presentation on Building the African Web for Mobile @ Mobile Monday. 
      My start up company grew from a small software company into providing web and software solutions to companies as well as individuals in Ghana and beyond. Some of our clients include MVP Hair  , Odoom & Associates, LLC ( USA ) and African Economic Development Plan ( USA ) 
I concluded the year by helping the Barcamp Ghana team, Google Ghana and Ghana Think foundation organize Barcamp Accra in my university .Barcamp Accra assembled Accra stakeholders , mentors and youth together in one building. The theme was “Removing fear of failure as a start of success. Check our photos from the event here >>
     My predictions for next year is to grow our revenues , expand our online teaching school , employ and train a few more people. We also hope to advocate the use of Free and Open source technologies to  boost economic growth and reduce poverty through mobile, web and software solutions in Ghana and the rest of Africa.Hard work will always beat talent :) Although I do not expect to finish my work within this life time , i will do my best and let God handle the rest. I want to thank each and everyone who believes in my vision.God Bless you all and in 2013 we will continue our good work.   Happy new year :) #TeamOasis 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

My Guest blog post on Start Smart at Entrepreneur's Corner

I like to describe myself as a technology enthusiast and aspiring entrepreneur. What I’m currently focusing on is the development of apps to help solve everyday problems in Africa. The apps I’ve developed thus far include mobile, software and web apps.

As an entrepreneur I think there a number of things that can determine whether you succeed or fail. For me, some of the things that have helped me along the way have been:

My faith- The life of an entrepreneur can be particularly stressful, and I’ve found that my strong religious background has been a great source of support for me.

My mother- She’s been an amazing role model for me. Throughout her career she’s challenged herself and sought new opportunities. She’s also been extremely supportive of me and encourages me to be creative and optimistic about the work that I’m doing. As a software entrepreneur this has been extremely helpful, I’ve learned to become comfortable with experiential learning. I love trying out new technologies and learning new ways of doing things

 Welcoming failure and feedback- Failure is a part of every learning process and being an entrepreneur involves opening yourself up to learning all the time. Making mistakes pushes you to find ways to find the most appropriate solution. In addition to making and learning from mistakes feedback is very important. As entrepreneurs we often make the mistake of assuming that everyone around us, including our potential consumers will see our vision the way we see it. Remember the customer is always right so it’s important to gather feedback early on.

      Stay motivated and creative!
-          Raindolf