Got Me Thinking From Someone In Facebook Developers Circle, Lagos

I remembered been asked by a guy in Facebook Developers Circle, Lagos, Nigeria these 3 questions stated down, he asked:

1. Is it still possible to build a SaaS company in this day and age?

2. What programming language would you recommend to a newbie starting out?

3. What advice would you give to your 18 years old self?

Three questions! So greedy right, lol…

Let’s hit them one at a time.

Is it still possible to build a SaaS in this day and age?

Firstly, for those of you that don’t know, SaaS stands for Software As A Service. It’s basically some software which you bought and subscribe to monthly, rather than paying for it one off and owning it forever. A good example is Fresh Sales, a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution that helps businesses across different industry verticals to manage their interactions with existing and potential customers.

I’m currently privileged to be working on a SaaS product, and I know some SaaS companies in Nigeria today, so the answer has to be yes to this question.

Images of Few SaaS Companies in Nigeria are as follows:

Infact, I’d say it’s probably never been easier to build a SaaS company than it is today. The reason for this is the fact there has never been a greater supply of tools or talent to help you do this. Platform As A Service (PaaS) style solutions like Amazon Webservices give you the tools to build a scalable architecture for your product at an entry level price that even a self bootstrapped SaaS startup can afford. Back in 2018 when I first started working in a Software Company, you’d need to be able to afford managed servers and have to code much of the architecture which is currently available at a small monthly fee yourself, lol and I don’t know this myself as at then.

This is quite a large barrier of entry that has been removed, but so many start-ups in Nigeria don’t know and they let there developers go the stress route of coding that architecture themselves which cannot be better than the International product which they are benchmarking, like imagine you have 3-6 developers and you are trying to say they would deliver 100% that exact product that you are copying from that over 50 engineers developed it.

If it’s in Yoruba dialect they would say “Ko Possible ra’ra” meaning “It’s not possible at all”, so that’s it.

In terms of talent, hiring freelance developers is easier than ever due to online freelancing sites. Yet another reduction to the barrier to entry.

On top of all this, people are becoming more reliant on software to live their lives with every year that goes by, so the demand for software is only going to increase going forward.

What programming language should a newbie learn first?

JavaScript or Python. Why? They’re two of the simpler languages to learn, and are also the two most popular languages in the world, meaning you’ll have access to the largest number of jobs possible by learning them.

Obviously I recommend any beginners JavaScript course on youtube and freeCodeCamp(www.freecodecamp.org) to any newbies who want to start with JavaScript, it’s a great way to nail all the essentials (yes I am biased!).

What advice would you give to your 18 years old self?

This is an interesting question! First I’ll do the serious answer, then the joke answer…

Firstly, get your procrastination under control. It may seem like you have forever to get things done, but the truth is you’ll be looking 30 in the face way sooner than you think.

Anything good in life will come from sustained effort over a long period of time, and procrastination absolutely kills this and will stop you achieving much at all for many years.

As a side note, procrastination is such a big problem for me in the past, but now I usually tell myself the truth and sticking to it and is such a huge issue for so many people to this day that. I have no method or system for this, but been truthful to myself and sticking to it has allowed me to minimize procrastination in my life which have allowed me to get far closer to self actualization.

Next, you need to focus on entrepreneurial money making ventures at this age. There’s a couple of reasons for this because If you wait till mid 20s (like I did), you’ve missed out on that compounding, and you can never get that back.

Looking back, when I was 16; I learnt computer because I knew it was the dawn of the internet age. There was so much opportunity back then.

People look around today and think that all the good opportunities were in the past and now they’ve gone. This isn’t true. There’s always something new happening which gives you a change to get in on it at the ground floor. You can see this is true because if you look back a decade, there were things just starting out which are huge today, and the same for the decade before that. There will be things today to do, you just have to find them. I’m certainly not saying it’s easy, just possible. If you want to start a side hustle and need an audience to gain customers for it, Twitter is a great place to do that, lol and I’m sharing my twitter handle https://twitter.com/ObinnaChilaka because I don’t have much followers, lol, funny right, anyway I’m not a twitter person.

As well as the compound interest another benefit of starting young is that you get more dice rolls. What do I mean by ‘dice rolls’? Well I see each business venture as rolling a dice. If you roll a six your business takes off. Anything else, and it fails. To me it seems success is just about keeping on rolling the dice till you get that six (whilst learning from your mistakes each time). At 30 there’s a lot less time to roll the dice than when I was 18, so there are less chances to win.

Finally, I’d tell the yet to be paid developer that his personality isn’t set. I really had the feeling back then that I was born a certain type of person (ie the type that had serious challenges in every phase of his life), and that determined what I could and couldn’t do in life.

I would tell young me that your life is not preordained in this way. Your personality is moldable like clay, not set in stone. Yes, you have certain tendencies, but there is so much scope for change and growth. The old adage, “Just be yourself” is bullshit. Decide what type of person you want to be, and make it happen. Train and condition yourself. Make a conscious decision about who you want to be, don’t just leave who you are up to chance.

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