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Nigerian Made App Form+ Wins the Google Developers Challenge 2012

I got very excited when I learnt yesterday that Form+ which was developed by a friend Bolutife Ogunsola along with his team mates, Michael Ifeoluwa AdeyeriWillie Aniebiet and Omotunde Bajo all from the University of Lagos, finally made it to the grand prize of the prestigious worldwide Google Developer Challenge for 2012. The first time I learnt about the project, I was shocked at the simplicity and usefulness of it, it actually made me think - wouldn’t Google as a company have a bigger plan for this? We all know how important forms are for collecting information. If you've needed to get information from people or wanted a website for people to just register for an event you're organizing, then you will understand what I'm talking about.

However it wasn’t just about doing the obviously needed, they really went a long way in making something not just simple and easy, but something far better than what was existing. If you create a form on Google Doc, and compare it with the forms created from Form+ you’ll perfectly understand this part. In fact the only alternative close to the cuteness of Form+ that I’m aware of is Forms, and guess what? It's commercial!

What does this mean for you as a Nigerian? There is no better motivation or preaching than that which is done by action. The Microsoft Country Director (Nigeria) in 2011 once said, “There’re three ways to be rich, solve a simple problem for a lot of people, solve a really big problem for a few people, or solve a big problem for a lot of people.” Form+ should be a big block of motivation to every aspiring programmer out there or beginners.

There are lots of ways you can engage your skills and contribute to your environment today. Participate in Competitions (Microsoft Imagine Cup 2013) is already underway, there’s Siemen’s Empowering People AwardStudents Competition, usually has a lot of techy competitions and so on. Join programming communities, there’re Google Technology User Groups in almost every country. There are organizations like EYAPSSA (a startup which I’m part of), IEEE Nigeria, and so on which you can join to stay informed on these type of information as well as meet great minds, et cetera.
Once again, congratulations to the team for making Nigeria Proud J

Stop Thinking and Start Doing

So you have this fantastic powerful breathtaking idea that will change the world?
So many times, I stumble across all sorts of people with all sorts of different ideas even similar ones. It is no longer news that ideas are everywhere now. What matters most is who and who have implemented the ideas; and this is where the problem starts.
One of the major problems we face in implementing ideas is information. Here, information boils down to whether they have enough information about developing their product or service, their target market, and what it takes to bring their product/services to their potential customers.
Secondly, most people tend to look for others who can execute their plans for them, even when they have no money. Of course this is not wrong per say, but the fundamental problem with this approach is: You can’t get people to believe in your dream if you have not yet started the journey to your big destination. In other words, people spend so much time planning, analyzing,blueprinting and roadmapping,  but never really take the first step of the journey.
So an obvious question at this point is: How then does one determine the first step?
Think of a man with the vision to build a house. After drawing the structure and what have you plan of the house, the next step is to start building the house. Now, if you say:
  1. There is no money: There is a great chance there will never be enough money for you to start
  2. I can’t pay the masons or I can’t buy the bricks: Same as above
  3. Well, I can’t build it myself?: Who told you you can’t? In fact, who told you you can’t make bricks?
The point here is that, you can always start somewhere. You can start with learning how to mix sand and clay to make bricks, how to use a digger to lay the foundations, etc. By now, you can easily understand that we shy away from hardwork. And I can almost assure you it’s the same as shying away from success.
Today I was privileged enough to be amongst my two friends. There were some pile of bricks (about 50 in number) nearby, so I asked them. If given the chance, what’s the fastest way you can transfer those blocks to another region nearby(about 20 footsteps across) using what’s available? Of course they spent a lot of time thinking about how they could possibly look around for a barrow, or find people around, or even pull down a signboard and use it. In fact, they spent a lot of time thinking. And I’m sure you’re thinking now too.
The problem is that we want things fast, and we spend so much time looking for the best and fastest way to do things all the time. And usually, we end up not even finding it, or even when we find it we discover we don’t have enough money or resources for it.
One of the most critical steps in making people believe in your vision is letting them see you working hard to get your vision to work. Of course I won’t fail to mention that money can speed up the process, e.g. you can design your idea of a website on ten pages of paper and give it to an expert to develop. You will lose time fine-tuning it to your exact picture but in the end, it might be faster than if you had gone on a crash-learning course and developed it yourself.
So, the essence of all of this is for you to start today. Stop dwelling in your ideas, as one of my friends said: “Never let go of your dreams, so keep sleeping.” The point is not to say that one should not dream, but when you dream, recognize that it’s a vision, acknowledge and believe in it, then work towards it. And when you believe strongly in your dreams, and work towards it, you’ll be amazed to see how you can get a whole lot of other people to believe in it!

The Way Ahead

Hello Cosmos!

The more time flies, the more I see how I need to upgrade my vehicles. Some of my projects are getting old in the nest and rest assured I'll force-hatch them out soon. Indeed the world is growing more and more ripe for rapid software and embedded development daily. It will probably be an accurate guess to say that soon, people will be able to quickly produce a device of their own unique choice in a matter of minutes, people will be able to produce softwares by just specifying what they want automatically... But this scene is still far off. What I am interested in here is to help those who look forward to this start their journey or reach faster.

As such, I have decided to dedicate more time on this blog in engaging and helping youths who are interested in software and embedded development. (I might create a separate blog for it in the future but it'll be here for now.)

For the mean time, if you have any suggestions/questions, feel free to contact me anytime

Cheers! :)