A supposed journal of how we came up with FourthCanvas Share

Sunday 5 April

1.15pm: Tunji had just ended his phone conversation with Deji Faniyan (a friend of the company) and he discussed his plans for a class hosted on Zoom. As obvious as the idea of classes hosted online was, *we had not recently (within this COVID lockdown period), thought about it as a way to channel our ever-growing desire to share knowledge, a habit hinged upon our core value of OPENNESS. So we thought what if we hosted a class on design. “We should look into that sometime”.

*we: A bulk of our team is in “group isolation” at the accommodation facility within our office compound. We abide by the same rules including avoiding interactions with other people, even when we take a walk or go for a run—being one of the ways we keep the mind active while also staying safe.

6.15pm: Demola, Ayomide and I leave for a run to Stadium (Surulere) and back.

7.00pm: Ayomide and I get back the street at the same time and we are having this conversation on how we can help a client we had worked with in the past maximise this period to help them sell more books online. Ideas followed ideas with Ayomide dropping them “hit after hit” as he typed on his phone, staining his screen with the sweat of his palm. There we are, next to a line of the typical greenish Lagos drainage and its resulting presence of mosquitoes competing for dinner—us.

7.10pm: Aremu walks out of the compound to find us and in his usual fashion, he is listening with rapt attention and dropping a thought here and there. Shortly after a pause from our flow, one of us mentioned how Havard and Cousera have released a number of free courses for people to learn in this period and I am like “I need to maximise this thing for a number of things I have always being curious about o, like SEO”.

7.20pm: After I had shared what was my rough understanding of the topic, Aremu weighs in to give us what became an unplanned but “proper” class. To ensure we remained in one listening piece however, we were quick to identify that a walk was a better idea than staying on one spot—especially that particular one.

7.30pm: We start to walk, taking a crescent route that brings us back to the same junction, and one lap became two and three and then four. Aremu walked us through (literally and figuratively) the basics of SEO and there we were amazed by how much we had learnt in such a short while and informal setup.

8.10pm: “Now we are done with the walk and and revising what was probably the one thousandth of such randomly-set conversations. Sometimes it takes the form of a panel and some other times like this one, it is led by the most enthusiastic team member on that topic while others listen, ask questions and help everyone, including the “teacher” learn more. So we thought what if more people would want to listen in, especially in a time like this when they can afford some more time to learn and share.” It would be a series of conversations across various topics of interest over a couple of days via Google Meet, led by members of the FourthCanvas family, for our friends, fans and clients. “FourthCanvas Share” just sounded right

8.30pm-9.30pm: Now the bathroom would be the first place when you are back from a run, but rather we head straight to the closest marker board, drew up names of team members and paired them with the topics they are most passionate about. There is a small argument on how to arrange the names. Tunji had the marker and well, the final say as Ayomide tried to battle that from him, while we all watched the show. At last, Tunji’s regime survives the coup and part of his constituency’s major projects included putting his own class at the very end. Everyone wanted as much time as possible to prepare for their class and Opeyemi who is isolating in his Yaba apartment and couldn’t make a case for himself gets Class 1. I have not said that was the reason though. Winks.

9.30pm-12 midnight: I suggest we build a registration form hosted on our new-but-yet-to-be-announced-because-we-keep-finding-something-to-improve-on website. “Why not a proper landing page?” Aremu said in response. Why not, really? And so begins the sketch for what the layout was to look like, cleaning the board (did I really have to journal this?), clarifying what information mattered and what did not, influencing the journey for whoever simply visited out of curiosity as well as those who would come decided to register. We consider if people would want to check out the main website itself and ask several other questions, debating the answers and moving very quickly. We check the SMW Lagos website to confirm one thing and another site to check the other, rethinking the entire flow a few times, led in utter calm by Bolaji, as he simply asks those challenging questions you hear and say “hmmm true…”.

So, we need a landing page text and I scribble “4Citizens share on…” on the board while looking for the other part of the sentence. “I have an idea but seriously I am just giving myself more trouble”, Aremu says with his characteristic laughter. Up next, he begins to implement his idea that will all loved right away—the sentence being completed with the changing names of the topics. Brilliant, init?

Over the night: Aremu faces the actual dev work, as I create the flyers I volunteered (eagerly) to. The latter would influence the UI design. We both said things in the spur of the moment, and of course had to face the responsibility to walk the talk.

Monday 6 April

5am-7am: I had shared the designs in our WhatsApp group. Aremu was not a part of our last team photoshoot and had no great picture “as at the time of reporting this” even on Google. So I decided his flyer would have an empty space in the picture placeholder. Every one laughed and even harder when he responded he would have my session and name stricken-through on the schedule.

11am: Aremu comes to my room to discuss the process of registration, who gets what email and how. Tunji weighs in and we are able to resolve a particular situation that could otherwise be complex.

12noon: Aremu has previews for the user interface and we are reviewing with Bolaji who his advising on making the whole experience simpler for the user. We agree on a number of things and Aremu jokingly casts doubts on his ability to deliver the entire website by evening as he had hinted. “Is it not you King Aremu, what can you not do?”

9pm: Aremu shares a live preview, we advise on edits here and there. He switches attention to me, and gives me a “threat-like ultimatum” on finishing up the blog article I was to write, as well as the newsletter copy. I smile back, knowing all I was recording was a diary.

Tuesday 7 April

Somehow, through the events recorded above and the so much more I forgot to journal, including so many unforeseen problems and how in the attempt to delivering a great experience, “one landing page” led to designing up to 4 different destinations, we launch and here you are.

NB: I over-estimated my ability to keep track. Recalling this was hard and I must have missed so much and stated inaccurate times for some of the events. In Opeyemi’s voice however, “we rise”.

By Victor Fatanmi.

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