#WeAreTechnext: One Year on, We are Still Telling Technology Stories Everyone Can Understand
About a year ago, precisely on October 1st, 2017, we officially launched our tech news and analysis platform, techext.ng to tell technology stories with an African slant, in a language that everyone can understand. What had preceded this was a discussion about the dearth of relatable technology content in the media space by partners in the most awkward place for tech discussion.
And, we were crazy enough to think we can make a difference in a way. The discussions ended up as a selection process for founders. In a couple of weeks, we had agreed on preliminaries, paid for subscriptions, decided on a name (that was a tough one) and poured in our resources.
— TechNext.ng (@technextdotng) July 19, 2017
Why we started
Technext was borne out of two basic pain points: first, we realised that the tech narrative is not widespread because existing media platforms see tech as mere sub-segment of business reporting. Often, we have explained this trend with the notion that “people prefer to talk about politics and listen to gossip”.
Sadly, the majority truly focuses on the content the media has given considerable emphasis. Just think about what screams at you as headlines daily…
Then ask yourself how much of it makes a difference to the ordinary Nigerian?
And, we set out to add a voice to the tech narrative. Let us emphasize the things that affect our foundations of survival, growth and development. Let us talk about innovations and the people who are courageous enough to push them in our very harsh clime.
At Technext, we believe that Nigerians read and are willing to celebrate the right stories if we lay emphasis on them (the Anambra Girls story attests). Of course, we knew that we do not have the capacity to make the sort of impact fitting our aspirations but we started anyway. We started with one post daily, then two and now we have a minimum of 4 daily.
Yes, we might not be able to get to make the boy on the streets of Sokoto to be an avid tech reader now, but we invited our friends to like our pages and we started from there… Today we have about 7,000 followers on social media (organic) and about 1000 email subscribers. And, less than 2,000 on Alexa ranking for Nigeria (from about 16,000 on launch).
Daily, we have seen a steady increase in the numbers of email subscribers, social media followers and notification opt-ins.
On the flip side, many people do not read tech because it is too techy. Somehow, we have made ourselves believe that to be tech is to be geeky and about coding. We have made tech less of what it is. Technology is more than coding. It is not an exclusive badge of some educated, privileged few. Tech is business. Tech is daily living. Tech is the very enabler of our existence and its narrative is woven into all that we are and do.
Technext is an attempt to bridge the narrative gap between the privileged and the not privileged users of tech. It is an attempt to educate the unbanked in a language that the bank will understand. It is an attempt to place an equal emphasis on a university project work with potentials and an innovative solution that just won a multi-million dollar grant. It is an attempt to celebrate the small enterprises as much as the blue-chip enjoy the attention.
Our goal is to give everyone a voice within and outside the Yabacon community. We know that this is bigger than our team can carry. But, it must be done, even if we can only set the ball rolling.
The Technext team
Technext has 3 co-founders: Anderson Ozakpo, David Afolayan & Famous Ehichioya and 4 staff members. We are in the process of replacing a content Editor that left for a new path in the course of the week. Meet the team:
David Afolayan (@aforisms_)- Content Director
I am a keen observer of topical developments in the global tech space. I like to follow the news, get the actual, read between the lines and points out what is evident but not obvious.
David is a communications consultant for a number of renown brands with corporate experience in content writing, digital marketing, PR and event management. I also take pictures and tell stories, teach and edit stories. You can call me the Content Chief!
Anderson Ozakpo (@andersonozakpo)– Business Director
Anderson is a Computer Scientist and a Business Analytics Specialist. He is uniquely interested in self-help management, personal branding and business development. He writes with the main focus on innovation, business and technology.
Famous Ehichioya (@Cyberbird20 ) – Technology Director
Famous is an AI enthusiast, software Engineer based in Lagos, Nigeria with about 5 Years working experience in the Technology industry. He likes working on Ambitious projects and strive to exceed expectations, organized, methodological and has a keen eye for details.
He is currently the Head of Technology at Chinook Capital Limited and moves development efforts at Safi.ng and Youverify.co.
Idris Abubakar (@Abubakar__Idris) – Writer
Idris is a writer, a blogger and a software developer. He writes very insightful stories and has a flair for creating the seen from the unseen.
If you are an avid reader of our site, this name will strike a familiar chord…
Oluwadamilare Akinpelu (@hakdown07)– Writer
Dammy is a tech writer, blogger, graphics designer and programmer. An avid reader with a creative and teachable spirit, he is insatiably curious with a commitment to learning, unlearning and relearning things as concerns to the world of tech and beyond.
Also, a sports lover and gamer and Damilare is an all-around good guy.
Vivian Nonye (@Vicafox1)– Social media Manager
Vivian is a graduate of computer science from the Federal University of Technology, Minna. She is a serial entrepreneur, blogger, social media enthusiast. she is people-driven and result-oriented, who has a strong ability to communicate effectively with technology to both executive and business audiences.
Vivian is positive about every aspect of life and she loves adventure, especially travelling around the world.
Our most prized dividends have been the feedback (commendations and criticisms). At many precarious turns, what has kept us going has been our expectant readers. Just that you know, one of our most read articles was labelled thrashy by a popular figure:
I should learn to temper my expectations. Articles with flowery headlines almost never contain anything of substance. The companies covered are my friends', but what the fuck was this?https://t.co/Trbslo555s via @technextdotng
— osarumen osamuyi (@skweird) February 26, 2018
We have had some great ones help us in kinder ways too:
To everyone that has reached out in genuine love (in many cases with the passion to protect the sanctity of facts) and those that have laid a path for us to survive with a bit of convenience, we say thank you. We do not know what we would have done without you!
Inexperienced as we were, we started out without plans to make money. But, people reached out to us to put their stories before our eyeballs at some point in the journey. We had to sit down and determine how much we will charge for our passion without causing people/business to kill their narrative.
I have passion for money https://t.co/ZGDwpojNqc
— AYOmide (@ayo0mide) October 3, 2018
I must confess that we are investing a lot of time and training resources to fine-tune that end of our game. We have realized that our savings are finite (just to think that we have spent millions in the space of a year from our pockets is amazing!) and some of us need to assume other private responsibilities.
The next path: Technext 2.0
The next phase of Technext.ng will feature a balance of original content with (some important secondary) news items. We have made some little difference in the way tech content has been written since our foray and we are setting out to impact the tech content space a bit more visible.
Is there any pay-as-you-use studio I can use for weekly interviews i Lagos?
I have my own camera and tripod, if there is a conducive space.@Gidi_Traffic
— David Afolayan (@aforisms_) September 6, 2018
We are setting up our own studio (space secured, brainstorming on how to finance equipping). We are are going to translate our content into more relatable forms, bring people before the camera and reach areas that have often been left out of the searchlight.
And, we will need your help: bang our heads with criticisms, suggest ideas, recommend people to interview, engage our stories and invest in our idea. We our open to collaborations, invitations, funding and willing to help everyone.
Because information is key to unlocking the mindset of our people and we must do whatever we can to make sure that the Nigerian and African narrative changes!
Okay, let us get to work!
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