Net­work­ing Made Bet­ter

SLOW Magazine - - Edition 43 - Text: But­ter Knife PR Im­ages © Danie Nel Pho­tog­ra­phy

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.

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