The Borneo Post (Sabah)

Amanz Network expanding language of technology


IT Took just a few days for the community of Amanz Network to touch Ikhwan Nazri’s heart. A reader, who wanted to buy his grandmothe­r an iPad, posted a question on Amanz Network’s Facebook page. He wanted to know if there was an iPad app for the Quran.

Ikhwan, who had just joined the website, replied that there was, and pointed him to one in the App Store. “Three or four hours later, he posted a picture of his grandmothe­r holding the iPad, and wrote ‘Thank you, Amanz Network’.”

Ikhwan was delighted. “I was like, ‘Okay!”. It was then that Ikhwan knew Amanz Network was on the right track.

Today, ranks as a Top Five technology website along with English-language rivals like the popular forum and tech blog

Amanz Network began as founder Aman’s pet project. At age 17, Aman began blogging about technology on in 2005. When the .my domain was opened to individual­s in 2008, Aman was among the first to migrate.

After graduating in 2011, Aman decided he needed help to take Amanz Network to the next level. He wrote a post on his Facebook page that he was looking for a CEO and partner to help expand the website.

But there was a catch -- Aman had no money. Ikhwan decided he could survive on his savings from his freelance work and took up the job. They had a lucky break in his third week at work -- an angel investor who believed in the potential of Amanz Network decided to invest. Even then, Aman only got paid for the first year.

This experience has taught them to run on a very tight budget. Until today, their overhead costs

Pare kept to a minimum to reserve cash for more essential spending on infrastruc­ture and equipment. The team is mobile, working from home, cafes and at times, the first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet they see.

Ikhwan’s job as CEO is to keep the website and company running. He seeks out investors and secures the advertisem­ents which are the main source of income. Ikhwan would also attend events organised by the Multimedia Developmen­t Corporatio­n (MDeC) to meet investors and pitch Amanz Network to them.

Aman founded Amanz Network in 2005 as a website in Bahasa Malaysia to bridge the gap for those who were interested in technology but were not comfortabl­e reading English-language websites such as TechCrunch and Computerwo­rld.

They had this niche pretty much all to themselves. “Any language is the same, we just want to make it friendlier and accessible,” said Ikhwan.

He said the ever-responsive Aman also always tries his best to answer questions and provide solutions to his readers who wanted to know more. Reviews of mobile phones, and anything related to them -- software, apps and accessorie­s -- are hugely popular and draw many comments from avid readers.

‘Mungkinkah WhatsApp Hadir Dengan Sokongan Versi Web?’ is a recent headline, ‘Lebih 500,000 Google Cardboard Telah Diedarkan – Halaman Khas Untuk Aplikasi Realiti-Maya Disediakan Google’ is another.

On the forum, users can learn the finer details of technology in discussion­s on Perbezaan IP Proxy Dan VPN, and share online shopping experience­s with Kedai Online Yang Boleh Dipercayai. And because some issues are global regardless of language, they will be alerted to how their comments will be moderated via ‘Tiba masanya Amanz lebih strict dalam menerima komen’.

The articles, reviews and forum discussion­s have helped to drive Amanz Network’s reach to almost two million visitors a month as of November 2014, with 700,000 unique visitors a month.

“According to Google Analytics, we reached out to 10% of total population in Malaysia this year,” said Ikhwan.

Multimedia Developmen­t Corporatio­n (MDeC) has selected Amanz Network as a youth success story and an inspiratio­n for Digital Malaysia. These youths represent the rise of innovation and creativity of new enterprise­s in Malaysia’s fast-growing digital economy.

The team is focused on delivering quality news to their readers. “For our readers, it is our responsibi­lity to bring the news out to them, regardless of our status, regardless of our condition,” Ikhwan said.

But their ambition goes beyond reaching urban Malaysians online. For the past two years, Ikhwan and his colleagues have been unplugging themselves and leaving their desks (or home offices) “to turun padang” and share what they know about technology with the “mak ciks” in rural areas just like what they did last year at ‘Projek Kelantan’.

They use everyday experience­s to explain current technology like cloud services to the “orang kampung”, said Ikhwan. To illustrate how cloud services work, they liken cloud services to bank automated teller machines (ATMs).

“Orang kampung faham la apa itu ATM. Kalau mak cik simpan duit bawah bantal. Kalau mak cik tiba-tiba kena pergi tempat jauh, macam mana kan duit bawah bantal. Tapi kalau mak cik simpan dekat bank pergi Kuantan masih boleh keluarkan lagi. The same thing for cloud service la. If you store your file on one satellite server, you go anywhere still can get your file. Mak cik masih boleh dapatkan file,” said Ikhwan.

Without jargon, in their mother tongue, Amanz Network’s team helped demystify technology and showed less tech-savvy people how it can help and benefit them, he added.

Now, Aman and Ikhwan are planning to spread their wings to Jakarta in 2015, and introduce Amanz Indonesia. Indonesia is a huge untapped market, and they are confident that Amanz can compete.

“It’s the adventure!”


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