Interviews

Technology, the 21st Century Knowledge Catalyst

With the advent of the internet, the wealth of information spanning across the web has led to the increment of knowledge for those who are utilizing the web efficiently, Mr. Felix Rwan-dung the CEO and founder of The HORD Limited who has unveiled an online learning portal, askanexpert.expert speaks with our reporter, Ugoeze Precious Nwaogwugwu

The fundamental point of change begins with the mindset. As the world’s population is on the increase daily, it has become of great essence to provide solutions that would meet the various needs.

Therefore with the advent of modern technology solutions covering almost every facet of an economy ranging from the political, social and educational system, change is near.

The HORD Limited in an attempt to bridge the gap between the experienced and the amateurs has come up with the initiative of ASK AN EXPERT.

The HORD Limited is a business focused on seeing general avenues of contributing to the environment, society and community as a whole especially as regards coming up with strategic solutions believed to have subtle modes and at the same time a long time impact towards progressing the narrative.

Helping to empower people with the quest of looking at different challenges being faced currently as it has become of great importance to not just complain about things but also contribute, add value and support the development of people in terms of aspirations and their goals.

How exactly does this work?

We’ve modeled ASK AN EXPERT as a mobile application, with an aim to improving the way people think and empowering them in a convenient and more accessible way.

The product has been structured in different successful technology solutions and can be seen as a combination of WhatsApp, for the chat angle of it, then UBER being an on demand solution which is mostly used when needed. LinkedIn for instance, creates a connection between two groups -the experts and the customers, then Micro-blogging where everyday tips are given. There are two users, the customers, and the experts.

Experts are sourced from various professional bodies, highly placed organizations and renowned experts in their different fields coming under one umbrella to disseminate knowledge to the customers within a structured time of ten minutes.

There four(4) plans to choose from, free, premium, standard and low and both the customers and the experts get to decide if they want to give or receive their services for free or monetize it under the other available plans.

What are the exact cost implications of these services?

It’s a value added service so with mobile operators starting with MTN, there is a subscription, so as a customer you need to be subscribed to have access to the platform, so you can download the app, you can see all the experts but you can’t get to the stage of engagement of the experts without subscription.

The subscription is daily at 25, weekly at 100 or monthly at 350 but that’s using your airtime, and for MTN subscribers only. It gives you access to the market place.

Then in the market place, the experts have registered on their side, and we have done a validation and verification process to get the experts on, so it’s up to the experts to decide which of the four plans they want to come on.

We would now verify and validate that the expert is eligible for this program especially if he is coming as a premium plan, then the years of experience, relevant profile to know if he is fit for a premium, standard or low.

The premium is 1000 for 10 minutes, standard 500 for same 10 minutes and low plan 100 and then the free meaning no charge. So if you are subscribed, you can engage any of them. So it means I can see accountants’ free, premium, standard and low and it’s up to me to choose which to go with.

Who are your target audiences and how do you go about bringing them on board?

Because there are two different generations, we are trying to connect, so there is a target audience from the experts’ side and also from the customers’ side.

In line with what our overall analysis of the critical current problems within our environment, we have identified 4 different categories we are focusing on so there is a Career and Personal Development, and we are partnering with the likes of CIPM, HR, life coaches, The Olushola Lanre Academy, and others.

Another aspect is Business and Finance, and we have a lot of small and medium scale businesses. We have a lot of young people that are trying to be entrepreneurial and start businesses, we are also looking at institutions and in partnership with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, their professional practice group because those are like firms that are already established so they can provide business services to customers.

The other categories are Health and Medicine, Nutrition and Fitness segment. Medical related issues are always general things that apply to everyone, so we are in partnership with the AGPMP that’s Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria.

There are also other doctor groups that we are partnering with all those to be able to bring their physician on board.

Finally, FAMILY AND RELATIONSHIPS, we are looking for pastors, counselors, spiritualist, and we believe those are general things that can apply to everyone in everyday life.

So, we are like since you have them, let’s have an agreement, there is a sharing formula those are the kind of targets we are focusing on the experts’ side.

Then for the customer’s side, it’s a bit broader, so we are partnering with groups like ISEC Nigeria, a leadership forum that is established in universities across about 14 Universities in Nigeria, so we are collaborating with them.

It’s a global initiative, and through them, we have also had volunteers that have come up that want to be ambassadors within their schools.

They are members of the ISEC, and they have voluntarily come up like they believe in this initiative and based on that they are championing the community in their schools in the universities.

We are targeting from year 3 students to NYSC to young workers within the first 3 years and job seekers, basically from 16 years and above because it’s a professional course and because of the cost element in terms of affordability, so we believe this age group needs it more.

What are your greatest challenges?

There has been a whole lot of challenges back and forth regarding getting the model right, getting it to work which we believe we are pretty much at a safe place now, we are finally tweaking in the technical aspects.

There is also the challenge of professional bodies, communities because it’s not a one person’s decision most of the time. There is that bureaucracy of signing agreements back and forth, going through the panel in terms of employee approval, which we are patiently waiting for so we can get it more established correctly and gain that confidence. So that’s also has caused a bit of challenge regarding delay getting those processes done.

And of course, concerning funding as you grow, the monetary requirements are never ending another thing is also the quality of staff getting the right team to support this initiative

Where do you see ask an expert in 5 years?

In 5 years we would be across other African countries because there is the convenience of staying in the same light that I can engage experts in Nigeria. I can engage someone in Kenya on any issue or to make an inquiry because we have become a global community.

As businesses and events are going across borders in the same light within our portal, we should be able to get people to reach each other easily. This is because what we are building is a stable community that once established it becomes permanent especially because time is our most essential resources.

There is no need beating around the bush on Google trying to figure things out when you can simply get the answer in less than 10 minutes with the opportunity of other opinions.