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Meet NOSA and ETINOSA; The BIU Students who Co-Founded TheCommunity.ng

  Meet NOSA and ETINOSA; The BIU Students who Co-Founded TheCommunity.ng

Tell us a little about yourself, educational and professional background.
My name is Nosakhare Emmanuel I attended high school at Kings' College Lagos while Etinosa Obaseki attended University of Benin's Demonstration Secondary School  and were are currently studying Computer Science at Benson Idahosa University in Edo State and we are the Co-Founders of TheCommunity.ng That's all the professional background we have at the moment *laughs*

What was the inspiration for TC? Please tell us how it all began
 Etinosa and I became very fascinated about tech (precisely programming) in our 200 level. I just started PHP at the time and I began doing research online. I noticed that there wasn’t a lot of local help. Most of the answers were foreign. Stackoverflow became our favourite research site but we longed for something similar in the Naija tech space.

How easy was it combining your academic work to focus on TC? I imagine it was scary
Seeing as we're in Computer Science, it has actually been very helpful as I've seen some of the abstract concepts, like binary tree search's, we are taught in class actually applied.
The only way I think it's been a bit of a problem is in the time I've had to take away from academics, but even then, I'm a good student (most of the time), so studying doesn't usually take very long for me. In all, the work has made me care less and less about academics, not learning but academics. I still try to be balance them both since I don’t pay my school fees myself. I thank God for making me a fast learner so I don't have to read to long for it to stick and it’s helped.

What makes TC different from the other Social Networks in the space?
Our goal is to make our platform feel local and at the same time encourage quality and professionalism. We want to provide tools that let individuals as well as organizations build and manage their audience. On TheCommunity, there are several cultures to organize discussions based on interests. The major purpose is to ensure that discussions about important issues, discussions that can help make life more meaningful to someone. Of course, people can have a meaningful discussion on say, WhatsApp or Facebook Groups but TheCommunity.ng takes this a few steps further by actively organising these discussions.

I feel like not enough people know about TC. Is this deliberate?
Well, we haven't discouraged people from knowing about TC, but we haven't encouraged them either. The reason is because we don't feel like we are done with the work we are doing with it. Although right now, it's completely usable. Everyone within the school knows about TheCommunity but getting to people outside will take some time.
What are some challenges you’ve faced so far running TC
Well, we started out as rookie programmers. I talked to Etin about a discussion site. He bought the idea and that’s how TheCommunity began.
Starting was a challenge, because we were nowhere near professional. We only knew that we wanted to solutions and we didn’t want to go too far to get them.
Okay, we got good at PHP, we could now take advantage of new object oriented programming approach. Things were looking good, but not good enough. We wanted the ease of extending the code and quickly adding new features but PHP just wasn’t doing that for us. I found the Ruby language to be more flexible. It was difficult to write the entire site all over again.
We also had to switch the database from MySQL to PostgreSQL for efficiency.
Was there any time you felt like giving up on TC?
I've had that thought one too many times. A few months ago I had doubts. But then an organization said they had an event and needed us to build a site where people could vote (yes TheCommunity offers various software services). We took the opportunity to add voting functionality to the site. That’s how we had our first 4k users.

What would you say is the biggest challenge local tech entrepreneurs face?
We have very few Nigerian platforms online that let tech people interact and share their ideas.
What are some interesting social projects we can expect from TC going forward?
Our API will soon be available to anyone looking to add our features to their website. Eg Voting features and discussions.
We are also working with a I.T. and branding companies and investing in mobile technologies.

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