ZIO MWALE, Lusaka
THEY hope to redefine the whole social media experience.
A Zambian student is part of the team.
Michael Sakala, 25, is a Zambian student studying business administration at Wiley College, located on the west side of Marshall, Texas, in the United States, which is a private, historically black liberal arts college that was founded in 1873 by the Methodist Episcopal Church’s bishop.
Michael, and other with Wiley College graduates, Felix Ekwueme, Tobago Inyanza and Russell Jones, have officially launched a new social media mobile application for the iPhone android called Tell Em’.
“This social media app is different, it uses a phone’s map to pull up events and the user can purchase a ticket for the event in a minute,” Michael says.
Although Tell ‘Em is not yet released to the public, the four are hoping to redefine the social media experience by making it easy for users to connect and join in the fun with friends and family at social events and outings.
“We’re just starting up and I am so glad to be part of this wonderful venture that will benefit millions of people,” he says.
Michael says that the team has also done their market research, visited multiple university campuses for feedback and networked with other companies and industry leaders to perfect their app concept.
“Social media is meant to bring people together, not really physically, but this App is meant to do that. People will meet because it gives them a platform to purchase tickets for events,” he says.
Although they are currently raising funds needed to fuel the initial growth of the App, Michael and his colleagues expect it to be popular among businesses, media organisations, and governments, who would be able to measure and provide targeted content to their local and global audiences.
Founder of the app, Ekwueme, who is Nigerian, has a background in heavy software engineering and product management.
He aims to position Tell Em’ to fill the social divide found in today’s society, by empowering people to share more and explore in-person experiences like concerts, football and parties.
Tell Em’ retains social media features like messaging but the founders believe it could be a strong competitor for apps like Snapchat and Facebook.
Ekwueme says that the app has built a team of diverse backgrounds who met and formed a quick and strong friendship while attending Wiley College.
“Tell ‘Em’s team comes from diverse backgrounds, [Michael] Sakala coming to the United States from Zambia, Mr Jones from Tobago and Trinidad while Mr Inyanza is from Kenya and I’m from Nigeria,” Mr Ekwueme says.
Michael is joining the team as a marketing manager so that he can provide his financial and business skills to the innovation.
Currently, Michael is the vice-president for the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and the president of the Financial Literacy Club at Wiley College.
He is also a participating member of the New Seasons Youth Program (NSYP), a not-for-profit organisation aimed to propel, build and sustain the youth through a better life in education in business.
“My ultimate career aspiration is to become an accountant for a multi-national company,” he says.
“I always remember where I come from and I don’t plan to stay here, when am done with my education I will go back to invest in my country.”
Prior to joining Wiley College, Michael did his secondary education at Tum High School in Lusaka, where he completed in 2010.
In 2013, his passion for business led him to enrol at Wiley College majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and a minor in Computer Information Systems.
“From the time I enrolled at Wiley College, I have been involved in many activities but my being part of such a smart innovation is a great achievement,” he says.
Michael says it is because of his passion for business that Ekwueme tapped him to join the team as a marketing manager so that he can provide his financial and business skills to the venture.
“This is a great way to show the world what a Zambian can do, I am here [Wiley College] for studies but hard work pulled me in this situation.We will market this app and it will turn the innovation into something big,” Michael says.
As the marketing manager, his job is to help position Tell ‘Em company globally and prepare it to partner with businesses in Africa.
Well, Michael and team will have the work cut out.
After all, there is already WhatsApp, the most popular way to talk with people around the world; WeChat, which is huge in China; Snapchat, thought to be the future of social media; Twitter, where news breaks; Vine, for pure entertainment; Kik, that makes messaging easy and (potentially) anonymous; Facebook, the most popular app of all time; Tumblr, for social blogging; and Instagram, for sharing photos.
And that list is not even conclusive.