You’ve built award winning sites like NotJustOk.com, BellaNaija.com and TheNetng.com through, Antigravity LLC, a company you founded with your friend. What’s the secret?
I don’t think there’s any secret, apart from the fact that we had set our quality of work far ahead of anyone else at the time, and that has to be continuous. In whatever you do if you’re several steps ahead of others you’re bound to stand out.
What’s the founding story of Antigravity?
I had the vision for Antigravity while I was in university. I started building websites under that name and a few years later I reconnected with my childhood friend at the time who was also into web design. As time went by, we partnered on Antigravity because we had similar ideas.
How did you raise startup capital?
We didn’t raise any startup capital. Whatever initial costs we had, we paid out of our own pocket and became profitable pretty fast, since web design isn’t exactly a capital-intensive business.
You have a great deal of experience building websites for businesses. What’s your favourite platform to use and why?
WordPress is my favourite platform, because it’s flexible and easy-to-extend. This is where other platforms are lacking. I’ve also learnt this platform like the back of my hand and I’m not going back, until some other kickass platform comes along.
What are your recommendations for web-designers who want to build successful sites for their clienteles?
Well first of all, I’ll ask web designers to stop being lazy and stop using ready-to-use templates. CSS3/HTML is really not that hard, once you get the hang of it. I can definitely tell whether a website is built from a template or not immediately it opens. For me each project has to be unique, and I don’t let any two of my sites look alike. It’s a new challenge with each client.
Tell us about sturvs.com.
Sturvs.com is a website that has grown and evolved over the years. It started out like Digg, with user submissions then evolved into a content aggregator that is now expanding to other African countries. It also has a growing blog network.
How did you come up with the name?
Well, it’s a slang for the word “stuff”. I believe in easy-to-remember brand names, so it made perfect sense.
What was technically the most challenging of developing Sturvs?
I would say dealing with traffic growth and server infrastructure.
Tell us how you built Sturvs to what it is today.
Persistence. Sturvs is not yet where we want it to be but it will get there. There was a time Sturvs was shut down and had to be reengineered because the old system it ran on had security issues and was too rigid. Many people laughed at us thinking that was the end but here we are today, still growing strong. I could easily have given up then, like many other Nigerian/African websites, but I persisted.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
Well I have a new startup launching soon. This keeps my eyes open at night.
What motivates you?
I have very high expectations for myself, and the fear of not meeting them motivates me.
How do you cope with set-backs and negative comments?
I don’t get bothered by them. Each one is a chance to prove somebody wrong. They only add fuel to my fire.
How do you stay ahead of your competitors?
Hard work and continued self-development. I’m learning how to build mobile apps right now. It’s something I think I can be very good at if I master it. But there’s just no enough time and might have to leave that for the pros while I focus on business.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?
I don’t think I’ve made any major mistakes in my life, but if I really had to answer this it would be ever working for anyone. I know every job is an experience and added exposure, but in the tech industry I believe so much in what you can put out on your own and how far you can go if you put your mind to it. Don’t try it if you’re a Doctor, or a Lawyer o (Lol)! You’ll starve! Each profession has its ups and downs, but the tech industry is one with huge startup potential.
The best advice you ever got.
Move to Nigeria
What’s your typical day like?
Ok let’s see, I wake up around 8am, have my morning devotion then eat, grab my laptop, check emails, check Sturvs.com (you should everyday too), and then get to work for the day. Sometimes I have meetings and I go out for those. If I don’t have any event or friends to see, I go back home and do some more work then go to sleep (after midnight most times).
What do you do on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?
I read books by successful tech entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Brad Feld etc and keep up with industry news. I’m not exactly the reading type but I use Zite to get the latest on all topics I’m interested in.
Lastly, any advice for young entrepreneurs and future business developers?
I would say get the right team members together (as this is the first determinant for the success of a business), have faith in God, and work hard.