If you decide to take action on your ideas, you will realize how good and how important those ideas are, and how they can serve other people.” With these words, the host of Y 107.9 FM Ghana welcomed James Mercer and Alix Blankson to the show on Saturday at 4pm. The two have realized their idea and created the new app “tayp”.
They arrived in Ghana from their hometown London two weeks ago. “It’s been great slowing down from the London pace and just enjoying Ghana”, Blankson says. She is the chief marketing officer of “tayp”.
Mercer, the founder of the app, believes that one of the main reasons why people hold back from taking action on their ideas is fear. “I think it is a skill for somebody to tell someone an idea, and then kind of brush off what’s been said to them, and just keep going and actually make it happen.” Blankson adds that not only other people’s opinions can hold one back or cause self-doubt. Another issue on the way is the feeling of imposter syndrome that comes from oneself. You may ask yourself questions like: Am I good enough to do this? Do I know enough? Who am I to think that I can start this business? In this case, she says, you need to pose a different question instead: How can I make it happen?
She explains that when first developing an idea, there is a big mountain ahead and a lot of protocol processes. “This lack of educational “I don’t know where to start” feeling is also a barrier”, she says. However, she does not believe that it takes a genius to come up with an idea. “I think anyone can do it.” It just depends on what you do with the initial idea.
But how did they come up with the idea of “tayp” at all? Mercer explains that he works in social media in the UK. While working in the office, he often received voice messages on WhatsApp by friends and relatives. During his working hours, he was unable to check them, but on a day off, he listened to all the voice notes – and realized that he found them quite enjoyable.
The founder of “tayp” further explains that social media is a toxic place where people go through extreme lengths to create content. Creating a social media platform based on voice notes was his way to get around these issues. Since then, the app has evolved and a lot of things have happened.
Mercer admits that the way to the release of the app has not always been easy and often connected with a lack of validation. He has come across a lot of people that didn’t expect it to be a great idea. Many asked him if this app didn’t exist already – which is not at all the case. But he explains that people will criticize anything in its initial phase, and that you just have to do it anyways.
Blankson believes that some people have the capacity to understand and envision the idea, and others just don’t have that skill. There is a range of people regarding the reaction to a new idea, and you need to adjust your expectations based on the group of people that you tell about it.
The team is the best example for the fact that if you believe in your dreams and work hard enough, you can achieve anything. Despite their young age and even though Mercer does not have a tech background, they have succeeded at making their idea work. Blankson also believes that people are now more open to different types of social media and the features on it.
“Tayp” is an app that allows you to record and listen to maximum 90 second voice notes. Blankson stresses the fact that that time is a limit, not a target – you don’t have to fill the 90 seconds. But that time limit increases the chance to listen and hear rather than just posting something that goes into a massive void and hoping someone likes it. “The app is built in a way that increases this dialogue and conversation”, she explains. “It is digestible and fun, and you can speak to people everywhere.”
Both Mercer and Blankson agree that the app will further grow and evolve, as their team is evolving as well. They also find it important to take feedback from the user experience in order to improve the app.
Mercer met Alix Blankson years ago. He knew that she had a Ghanaian background, which he found important to know that she was familiar with the culture. With her bubbly personality, she spoke to him immediately and he decided to include her in the team.
They both agree that when inventing something, you should be able to sell it to your people. However, since everyone reacts differently to the idea, the concept is not “one size fits all”, as Mercer explains.
One of the challenges that the two had to face on the way was hiring developers. The founder of the app says that knowing what you are looking for in a developer can be hard at times. He personally finds communication to be incredibly important, and Blankson adds accountability and reliability. She knows that time is of the essence when developing an app, so they are trying to be as agile and amazing as possible. “Trying to make things happen is always tough”, she says. “But everything is as hard as you make it.”
The app has the motto “If you’ve got something good to say, put it on tayp!” You can go on the website tayp.app to join the waitlist, or use it on LinkedIn. Find them on Instagram on tayp.app!
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