Networking Made Better
Twenty-two-year oldbusiness entrepreneur, Carl Visagie, is changing the way businesses connect with each other through his app, Knektme, which facilitates start-ups looking for investors, recruiters seeking ideal job candidates, as well as general networking opportunities.
Visagie, who believes that the most valuable commodity in the world is networking, realised that having the right people supporting you when starting a business is a key factor in whether your business becomes successful.
SLOW: Who is Carl Visagie (in three words)?
Carl Visagie (C.V): Ambitious, tech, and entrepreneur.
SLOW: Why was Knektme created? C.V: It was built to help young entrepreneurs improve their network.
SLOW: How did you secure funding for your business?
C.V: I visited hundreds of venture capitalists and private investors until a few said yes. I went with my gut and went into business with the one that allowed me to retain total control over decisions.
SLOW: What differentiates Knektme from other business networking services?
C.V: It is not a directory of names or a messaging service. It allows people to connect face-to-face in order to focus on physical contact. Initially it is mobile based, but quickly becomes personal and interactive.
SLOW: What is the best practice when it comes to designing icons for a mobile product, and was this used for Knektme?
C.V: Ensuring that your icon is something that relates to your product. The Knektme icon relates to the name and to Bluetooth, which represents the identity and function of the app.
SLOW: How can we extend a user interface with pre-built actions from mobile platforms or other devices? For example, how do you design around the 3D Touch of Apple?
C.V: We use these for additional functionality, allowing users to access the basic functions within the app (for instance, zooming).
SLOW: When designing for mobile we always try to squish everything down in an attempt to provide as much information as possible. How can you resist the urge to clean up the User Interface (UI), while still displaying important information?
C.V: This is relatively easy as most apps should have a single purpose or identity. Look at Instagram, for example, which has a clean and single purpose. Focus should be on the overall functionality. When adding things in, you create more work and potential issues for yourself such as having to deal with various design teams and ultimately opening yourself up to more bugs.
SLOW: How could Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) change the future of mobile design?
C.V: AR is the bridge between VR and the real world – it would be like aiming
your phone at the face of someone to get information about them. An example of AR is Pokemon Go. It can be quite intrusive and people would have to first get used to it.
SLOW: What are the main differences between desktop/web app development versus mobile app development?
C.V: Desktop and web app development are mainly for bigger screens and are more difficult. Mobile app development is aimed at performance – you have to develop it to perform better with less powerful hardware (this will change in the future due to phone technology evolving at a rapid pace).
SLOW: How do you handle the security issues of Knektme?
C.V: We do not have any. We use the Google Firebase Database, which is extremely safe and they handle everything from security to storage on their side. Besides, the information loaded onto Knektme is public information anyway. SLOW: Please could you provide the different steps in designing and building an app?
C.V: Step one would be to develop your concept and idea. Next, the wire frame: showing the pages – how it is supposed to look and the process the app will follow. It is ultimately a blueprint of how the app would work. Step three involves selecting the kind of technology and services you have to use, after which programming would start. Step five is the design of the user interface (this goes hand-in-hand with programming).
SLOW: In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges in Africa with regards to technological innovation in business?
C.V: Africa likes to copy what is done in the United States and Europe. Starting technology in Africa is difficult as people tend not to trust technology that has not been developed or tested overseas.
SLOW: How do you see the innovation of mobile business networking evolving over the next few years?
C.V: This sector can only go so far due to human nature. The ways you identify the points of contact between humans can evolve in the mobile sphere, but are limited to the functionality and technology currently available on mobile phones (network based discovery, camera, and so on) but will definitely change if someone were to introduce a new feature to a phone.
SLOW: What would you say is the biggest challenge for start-ups in South Africa and/or internationally?
C.V: In South Africa, it is difficult to find seed funding for start-ups. If your idea is in the pre-revenue status, companies tend not to invest in it just yet. South African companies and investors seek security and safety first. Another challenge is strategic partnerships such as partnering with other companies who will help start or boost, and promote your product. Building trust in the product stems from Africa taking preference over international innovations.
SLOW: What would you say is the single most important technology trend or development impacting businesses?
C.V: The beginning of the AI age. It simplifies most jobs; previously qualified jobs will become entry level jobs starting with the most logic-based jobs such as accounting or other mathematics based professions.
SLOW: What goes into measuring the success of an app such as Knektme? C.V: The amount of active users and strategic partnerships.
SLOW: What advice would you share with your younger self?
C.V: Find as much money as you can and buy some Bit Coins before it even hit $10 per unit.
For more info on Knektme, visit www.knektme.com.