Around this time last year, I was in my (supposedly) final year in school and I wanted to leave a legacy. I spoke with Jide -- one of the few people who are my close confidant -- about it. Jide was my roommate the previous session, so we had gotten very close. This thought spawn a lot of ideas which we shared between ourselves. None clicked until one night, while Jide, Ola (another classmate and one of Jide's roommates) and I were chilling in Jide's room, a random idea came for us to create a website for all classmates to keep contacts after school. It would also allow past computer science students to mentor subsequent computer science students. Also it would showcase students whose got skills and are doing stuffs.
That night, as it evolved, the idea spawn away from the original concept to a facebook-like application for our class + the mentorship thingy. We were preparing for our final year fun events (beach parties, barbecue nights, dinner, etc) and we would use the project to woo corporate firms to pay for our funtimes. As more people in the class heard of it, required features grew wider and more facebook-like but we still went ahead with it anyway.
Being the most experienced developer in the class and the one who nurtured the idea to growth, I tasked myself to raise the team who would build the application and also to interface with the corporate guys. I raised a team of 4 guys and 2 girls and gathered e-mails of the corporate contacts.
I exchanged a few e-mails with my corporate friends and things seem to be going fine. Corporate friends were responding, team was enthusiastic and in our first meeting, I coined the name "CSC Students' Lounge" for the application, CSC is what we call computer science in The University of Lagos. The name was agreed upon by the team as a temporary name, for lack of a better name. I created the requirements for our facebook-like, CSC Student's Lounge. Little red riding hood was still hopping happily!
After two or so meetings, team members started giving excuses on why they would not be able to make it to the next meeting. Then subsequent meetings turned into inspirational sessions, as I had to start telling team member how the project could boost their CVs. Corporate friends were still responding, but you need an application to sell now! So I kept corporate friends on a hold and began re-strategising. Couple of weeks after, app was not done and team inspiration was down, so I began droping team members. In fact, some even came to me and requested to resign. Finally it droped to Jide and I, and I had to revisit the idea.
I dropped all the facebook-like features and it returned to just mentoring. Then one event occured which made me incorporate articles. A computer science student from a remote university came to UNILAG and met us presenting a project we did for a course in information technology (CSC421). My team's presentation (and me in particular) impressed him, so after the presentation he approached me, introduced himself and told me how he enjoyed my display. He told me he was very interested in computer science but because stuffs like that does not happen in his school, his interest was begining to wane. He now reads computer science just to pass exams and get his degree, yet he told me how he would love for people to bring stuffs like that to them. He said a lot of students would embrace it with open arms. The idea of experts putting-up articles at intervals for students' consumption was born! A lot of other ideas came along and brainstorming with Jide, we prunned them until they came out right. We also called the application "CSC Lounge".
We sat down to implement and when we were done with the first working prototype, we began to think of how to get it up online. We were not regular income earners so raising cash for hosting was an issue. We needed to come up with stategies that would allow us raise cash while not getting our mind of the project. The only closest option was asking for contributions from friends and acquintances. We did that and after some time it worked and we were live.
Yesterday, 5th of April, 2011 at 6:05 AM WAT, we moved CSC Lounge to the root domain http://csclounge.com after running on a beta domain for exactly 2 weeks. What we currently offer is a platform which acts as a technical dump for people who do stuffs in the industry -- they could dump things; from a single line tweak to a fully flegded article. Students then ask them questions based on their dump. This way they mentor students and they keep the interests burning.
A lot of other great features are coming along (and a redesign too). This is because we are not just the everyday blogging platform (like the one you are on now). We aim not only to answer the question "What can I get from the platform" but also "What can I do with/on the platform". Some of the features are already even implemented, just waiting to be released.
The URL again is http://csclounge.com and it's open only to verified students and selected experts. We hope users enjoy using it as we enjoyed working on it.
I'm dedicating CSC Lounge to everyone who has, in one time or the other, being my protege. To my current protege Dumebi Duru, who would never see me online on Facebook and let me be, but would always have one question or the other to ask. I hope you grow in your quest and become one of the bests.
To my ex-classmate and ex-protege Bukky Osi (was also on the team but pulled out) whom during those class assignment, I would explain to her what to do and she would come back with the tasks done. Your interest and development still impress me, I wish you could dare more and certainly hope you become a name to reckon with.
To all my other numerous proteges, you'll soon get a couple more mentors ;)