My First Pitch ever: SHAKA!

Egahi
3 min readJul 25, 2018

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“Hey, Egahi, I’ve been thinking of something, how about we build a Machine learning model that can recommend the right course of study for students at the university level?”

— Guru King

The statement above was the beginning of a collaboration that materialized into an entry at Figma X GitHub Hackathon and the rest is history. More on the hackathon here.

Myself and Guru King

A week before the commencement of the hackathon, just after DSC UNILAG’s first workshop, I ran into Oluwasuen Y. Jimoh (read: Guru King) and boom we hit it off. Talk about a reason to network after events.

He shared his idea with me, I gave a few comments and we scheduled our first meeting. We broke the problem down into bits and decided on how best to go about them. One thing was clear after that meeting, we had a lot of learning and research to do.

We agreed on what algorithm to use(read: what guru should research), decided we would build a web app (this would be my responsibility, though I had never built one before) and then we set out to gather data. Fast forward a few days and here we were, live at MEST Africa’s Incubator with nothing but an idea.

So here we were at the registration desk where an epic conversation took place.

V. Welcome guys, please register here, is this lady with you guys?

R1. Not really…

R2. Actually she can join us.

V. What’s your team name?

R1. We really do not have one

R2. Erm… Strangers!

Team formed! Team name == Strangers, because why not?!

Guru King, Danielle Akinpade (read: Sola) and my self set out to hack! Luckily for the team, Sola is a designer and front-end developer, the perfect addition.

Together we brain stormed, traded ideas, poked around the internet and set to work. Sola cooked up some awesome designs, Guru king got started on the algorithm and I prepared to link everything together and deploy it as a web app.

5 frustrating hours later and still without much to celebrate, Sola announced her departure promising to collaborate remotely (which she did) and we kept hacking. With drinks, free food, snacks and a promising idea it’s had to loose motivation.

Some where along the line we decided to call the project Shaka, (meaning Course in Swahili). About 24 more hours went by with 18 of those spent actively coding and we had a working prototype to present. We built a recommendation system and deployed it as a web app. Watch us talk about it here.

The time came for the pitch and thankfully, team Strangers were second to the last in the order of presentation. That gave us sometime to apply finishing touches and learn a bit from others. When the time came though, we still weren’t as prepared as we thought we would be. I went first and guru King spoke after. We literally forgot half of what we planned to say but thanks to our beautiful slide, we nailed it. A first time will always be a first time after all. See us pitching here

first page of our presentation slide

So that was it, 2 full days of designers churning out all shades of beauty, coders doing their magic, about 12 teams hacking away! The experience was awesome and I look forward to more. My key take aways from the hackathon were

  1. Experience: I got a taste of how it feels to transform an idea into a product and to pitch before a group of experienced judges.
  2. Knowledge: I literally learnt how to deploy a web app with flask and I’m proud of that.
  3. Network: I met a lot of amazing people and it was refreshing.
Team strangers (front) x Team Vibranium (behind)

Special thanks to Figma, GitHub, Ingressive, MEST Africa and all the awesome folks that made this possible, I would do it over and over again any time!

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Egahi

I’m constantly contemplating purpose, morality, and ultimate justice | I work on Windows at Microsoft | Occasionally, music gets me high.