Building Netsob: Episode 2 – Netsob’s first social network, a massive flop

Image credit – verge.com

This is the second and third entries in a series of entries which follows Sorbari Akpea, a young, ambitious, Nigerian entrepreneur, as he tries to build a new internet giant called Netsob. The original posts were entered into his journal at 12:51pm on the 16th of February, 2012 and 1:16pm on the 1st of March, 2012 respectively. For the complete entries published so far, click here.

Netsob goes live today with its first network: iUnilag – a social utility which aims to connect University of Lagos students with each other and their school. The site contains several features which help students keep in touch with their old friends, make new friends and also post and receive news update of what’s currently happening in their school. The network is exclusive to students in the University of Lagos.


After iUnilag’s second week online and only eight students have registered on it, I, Sorbari Akpea, have finally concluded with all certainty that iUnilag is a massive flop.

Am I disappointed? Not really. Okay, maybe a little. The major reason why I’m disappointed is because I intentionally ignored one of the basic rules of starting up a company which says: launch fast and iterate rapidly. Instead of doing that, I spent almost six months perfecting the social network only now to launch and discover that people honestly don’t want another social network. They already have Facebook. They cannot be bothered to register on another social network. Six months hard work, dead.

So what’s next for Netsob? Am I shutting it down? God forbid. Like the rule says – launch fast and iterate rapidly. I may not have launched fast, but I’m definitely going to iterate rapidly. I’m currently changing idea. Now I know Nigerian students don’t want another social network. But they must want something. My next step: find out what they want and give it to them.

One thing I learnt with this major flop (actually I already knew it, this experience just further drilled it into my brain) is that until you launch your company, everything you’re doing is simply speculation. Speculation that could be massively off. Like Netsob’s iUnilag. This is why people are always advised to launch their businesses as soon as possible then start improving it according to what their customers are saying.

But no problem, no problem. I’m changing idea. Netsob isn’t dead yet. Only metamorphosing. And my next project; I’m definitely launching it as fast as possible and then iterate according to our users’ taste. This time around, I’m not keeping any idea in-house for more than a week. I’ll launch it and see whether users will love it or hate it. If they hate it, I’ll change it. I’ll keep changing idea until I launch something they love. I may be wrong but I strongly believe that after changing your idea 10,000 times, you have to be right at least once, don’t you?