The Kuyu Project interviewed Ahmad Rufai "Mukoshy", Founder of Yarnable.com . Ahmad released Yarnable at BarCamp Nigeria in May of 2010.

Deb: We are really interested to know how you really started to fall in love with tech?
Ahmad: Well, it was childhood passion. I use to love since my infancy, we use to have one owned by my Dad when I use to be in Primary School. Then I was about 6 or so. Even though he use to have it before then, just that I began to use it at that time.

Deb: So your dad let you use a computer while quite young, what types of programs did you like to use on it?
Ahmad: It was easy, because at that age I loved games! But my Dad was insisting I learn typing and thank god for that, now I type pretty good. ;)
it wasn't easy.
Deb: Good to hear, but of course we are learning that games can be good for learning as well. With all of your tech startup ventures that you have going, is game design also something you are interested in?
Ahmad: No, I lost my interest in games quite long ago. I do not even play them now. I'm more interested in social and propriety ventures now. Nowadays, Beacon typing tutor are used for teaching typing with games attached. But for me, I learnt typing on a computer using a typewriter typing tutor hardcover book.

Deb: Yes, that are so many such programs today. So, by social you are talking about your startup Yarnable that you founded in May of this year? How is that going? And what's your vision for it?
Ahmad: Yes, Yarnable as I define it in my own words is a social micro-discussion site allowing users to create and share topics that interest them in fewer 140char. Yes, I built it all from scratch all in my semester break which was 3 weeks - a month.
Deb: Wow!!! that's impressive to develop such a program from scratch on your semester break.
Ahmad: However, I had an algorithm I wrote on paper including the design plans, so it was easy for me to carry out the building since I got some sort of blueprints. ;)
Deb: So you write out your designs before proceeding with coding? Do you always work that way?
Ahmad: Yes, I developed that habit in time. I figured that it takes me more time to build any application if I do not have my blueprints. Since I had to reason, code and debug while building it up, so it turns to be cumbersome. But now, I have my coding book where I do all my algorithm before I start laying down a block of code.
Deb: That must be a very valuable book for reference as time goes by.
Ahmad: Yes, it really is, it even contains things I've not yet ventured, still incubating.
Deb: Oh, then it is something you must close by you.
Ahmad: Yes, always! ;)

Deb: So, one feature that seems really interesting is the forum feature. So can anyone start a forum in Yarnable?
Ahmad: Yes, users can create topics per se in boards like Musics, Gaming, Programming and so much more. However, it is restricted to 140 characters. This makes discussions short and straight to the point since 140 char will allow a sentence or two.
Deb: True. And you have Yrn.me which is a URL shortener for dealing with long URLs.
Ahmad: Yes, it shortens any long web address to barely 11chars. It can shorten up to 2,000 char web addresses.

Deb: There's much hype and excitement about mobile tech in Africa today, how do choose where to focus your work?
Ahmad: Yes, the hype over mobile technology makes me shape my focus to cover the mobile sector as well. Of recent, I began to learn how to develope iPhone apps and mobile version of web sites. I will be putting up a mobile version of Yarnable very soon.
Deb: So do you have plans to also develop for Noika and Android phones?
Ahmad: Yes, it depend on the market. I figured the iPhone app store is the biggest market so far, So I felt it will be a bigger deal. I may learn more on Android apps because I see the future in that too. Plus, I realised that iPhone apps are easy to build with JQuery and HTML!
Deb: And Google just came out with the App Inventor for Android this week http://appinventor.googlelabs.com/aboutAhmad: Oh! I've not seen that yet, just coming across it now.
Deb: Yes, it could be a great tool, I'm just starting to explore as well.
Ahmad: Yes, I can see that.

Deb: We did want to ask you about what advice you would have for teens who want to learn more about using tech and digital media to aid their communities?
Ahmad: Well, I would love to encourage teenagers to embrace the technology sector and precisely build on things that are in need and current. The tech world is moving faster than imagination, but I believe courage will always take one there. Nothing is impossible, like I use to say... its not impossible, it is actually I-M-Possible (I'm possible). So, never should you under estimate you capacity. Two years back, I never thought I could be the one building apps today, and 1 year from now I'm sure it will be a totally new story of success.
Deb: I like that I-M-Possible, what a positive concept.
Ahmad: I feel teens have better chances being young and stress free, now is the time to start the journey. Thank you. I would also want them to remember that, imagination is the only really limit to human possibility. If one can imagine it, so it is possible.

Deb: So, our last question for you today, have you had any great mentors along the way?
Ahmad: Though back then, my one mentor was the internet but as I grow deep into it, I meet people who'd guide me, people like Mambe Nanje, a Cameroonian web developer and some few others too.
Deb: True, the Web has been invaluable for me as well as I started into tech, and finding fellow techies online is one of the real benefits of social networking that I see. Well Ahmad, thank you so much for sharing with us. We will share your thoughts with the teens at The Kuyu Project and we hope that you will follow our progress as we try to support teens in Africa who want to use tech for positive change.