product

How I built a handy mobile app in weeks for a small Whatsapp community heading to Ghana 🇬🇭

In 2019, a few things stuck out to me and started to shape what I spent my work mode time on 🤓.

Insights
  • Getting deeper on measuring parts of the customer journey that matter
  • Focussing on niches and improving my ability to find out what a particular customer segment wants
Product Making


I had to be really honest with myself, as much as I loved sharing what it looked like struggling in style (checkout #practisehours videos on Twitter), I knew I was not going to be able to code at the highest level - just another thing to slow me down.  This is a bit of a weird one because if I hadn’t spent the first 6 months improving my coding skills, I don’t think I would have personally been able to use great tools such as Webflow. For me, getting a better understanding of things such as padding, margins and being able to embed, and tweak scripts if necessary made this part much easier.

  • Working with tools that help me get things out the door quicker rather than reinventing the wheel
Staying curious
  • Reading more broadly helps me to look ahead and see what trends are happening
  • Challenging myself, and being intentional especially if I found it fun or felt like it would help me grow

So what happened


I knew I was coming to Ghana and didn’t really know what to expect but felt like it would be the perfect opportunity to meet interesting people. I messaged my friend Yvonne, and she said Lorraine (Founder of Liona Nails in Accra) might be putting together a small Whatsapp group.

The conversation that kicked it all off (my version)

I messaged Lorraine and I think she created it there and then. Low and behold, it felt like every time I opened the group chat, another 10 people had been added. Knowing Lorraine, I can't say I was surprised, she doesn’t do anything small 😂

Anyway, there was a bit of everything. Different personalities, people sharing the events they were going to and of course some shameless plugs.

I noticed that even though everyone knew what events they were going to thanks to thisisaccra, there wasn’t really anything for us to connect properly.

I saw an opportunity to add some value and play with a no-code tool that I was eyeing.

After 2 hours of scrolling through the chat and some sorting and segmenting, I was able to build this web app using Glide.

Whatsapp group full of excited travellers to Ghana

It got great feedback and reminded me of a few things.

  • Build something for yourself or someone you care about
  • Go where the market is. I can attribute this thinking to Justin’s post
  • Communities are a great launchpad. People want solutions to their fears, passions and problems
  • Don’t look for perfection. I used Glide and it still had the glide domain and branding

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About James Abayomi Ojo

Product Maker & Cultural Storyteller