Mxit - The First Mobile Messenger
I started my career as developer in 2012 at Mxit, which was one of the first mobile messaging apps in the world - it started gaining traction here around 2004/2005. The head of mobile development there, a brilliant programmer named Jaco, suggested I join the J2ME team, their flagship client - a wonderful and exciting challenge for me coming straight out of university.
Mxit, spanning over 10 years of existence, reached more than 100 million people worldwide.
They operated way before Whatsapp became a household name but unfortunately due to various reasons Mxit didn't make it and officially switched off their servers somewhere in 2015.
Here's a good article about the rise and fall of Mxit. This article also includes information about Mxit version 7, a project in which I was closely involved in its development and design (specifically the J2ME, Blackberry and Android apps), together with a great team of coders and led by two people who I see as visionaries in their fields, Phil Barrett, expert in all things UX-related, and the product owner at that time, Andy Volk, who is now Google's Head of Ecosystem in Sub-Saharan Africa. The iOS version of Mxit 7 was also spectacular, led by Peter Matthaei, later founder of the app Namola, which made national news recently.
My time there was invaluable for me: regardless of the development experience, it taught me how a successful medium-to-large software business operates on all levels, and I progressed my way from J2ME to Blackberry and ultimately to my love, Android.
At one stage I was team leader of 3 different development teams which also gave me experience in dealing with different developers and their styles, as well as managing tasks.
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