DEMO Africa is only a few days away. So, to get ready, we are showcasing interviews from nearly a dozen we have done with some of the 40 entrepreneurs who are slated to demo or launch at DEMO Africa October 24. Here is Collins Mugume, founder of Meka.
How do you know when you are failing in product development and how do you make a correction – do you make the decision on your own, or do you consult your team?
We started building the Meka platform early 2011, it is not until mid 2012 that we had a stable platform. We failed a number of times, from the design to functionality. We knew we were failing from the routine tests we carried out on every stage of development. We had a team of independent users that tested the platform at every stage. That is how we were able to tell whenever we were failing. We made corrections by going back to the drawing board and coming up with better ways or better code to make the platform deliver. The decision to make changes or revise a module or any functionality that wasn't delivering as expected was/is carried out by the team not just me. I personally think team work is very crucial in product development. There is a lot that an individual my over look and yet it is very important for the product’s success.
What signals from your consumers do you look for to signify that you are winning?
Independent referrals – To me there is nothing more assuring that our service is being appreciated than a user telling a friend or someone else about the platform. That independent decision for one to spread the word, to market your product is real evidence that your product is serving its purpose hence winning.
Here's the write-up for Meka:
Meka is the industry innovator in comparison shopping, price and product reference. Very many buyers/consumers waste a lot time moving from place to place looking for items or simply information about different items they are interested in sometimes without luck. The many times buyers are taken advantage of/cheated because they had no idea what the item costed at the store next door.
With Meka, consumers can quickly obtain free and unbiased information about products, services, prices, location, vendors and sellers with ease either from their mobile phones or computers before making a purchase. For the vendors, there is nothing better than getting information about your items straight to the buyer or potential buyers without breaking a sweat. Having online presence without stressing about a website and all the related logistics. Meka platform is made up of a Website, SMS and Smartphone apps/Mobile. There is a huge mobile audience that the vendors now have an opportunity to reach out with ease. With over 14 million mobile users and 4.2 million internet users in Uganda as of end 2011, the audience is huge!