Editor’s Note. Niyi Sodipe is the founder of 960Creative. He firmly believes in using the internet to solve problems. He also writes and speaks fluent Chinese. You can follow him on Twitter – @Niyi_Sodipe, friend him on Facebook.
Before jumping into the list I believe I have to explain the initial thought process behind this oxymoron of a title.
Early 2003, my family moved to China due to my father’s work. At the time we left, if you remember, there was no mobile internet modem as we all carry around today. I remember those long lines at the internet café filled with others like me that just came from jamb lesson. Back then, it costs about N300 to open a yahoo account. Few months before we left, NEPA (now known as PHCN) decided they would torture the tenants on the estate where we lived by giving us light for about 5 minutes each week. Bottom line, it was a crappy situation.
For the next 7 years, the image above was what I had of Nigeria and since I wanted to start a web design company when I got back in 2010, I had to create a plan to run the business in the Nigeria I knew, that of 2003. While the original plan was extravagant and outrageous, a simplified version has helped me run my company with minimal downtime.
2003 Plan would involve me carrying my laptop to the internet café while saving for the VSAT satellites that were so popular. But what’s the current reality?
Survival Kit Item 1: Freebies
2003 Plan: The first question that I asked was, “How do I cut down on the time I spend designing and redesign websites?” The answer was simple, “Get a bunch of ready-made freebies.” The idea wasn’t to download already completed designs, but to get base items like icons, base website templates and little scripts that I always use during projects. This would still allow me to be creative enough to design what I want as I get to save time, fuel and my laptop battery.
2010 Reality: This plan didn’t and hasn’t really changed much from the 2003 plan. There are a ton of free legit items on the internet that other designers give out including icons, base templates, simple scripts etc. Using freebies or purchasing premium ones is an invaluable step that cuts out repetition and saves me a lot of time. Nonethless, I do create some items from scratch whenever necessary.
Survival Kit Item 2: Screenshot Tools
2003 Plan: To have a source of constant design inspiration when offline, I took a whole bunch of screenshots of websites I liked. Even if I just liked the way the border looked – *snap* – I’d take a screenshot. I had about 3GB worth of screenshots when I landed. Now it’s 10GB.
2010 Reality: These screenshot really work for me during my first few months before getting a modem. Granted, as of writing, these screenshots look really dated but I still use this method today and it helps me stay inspired when I have to disconnect my modem to save battery power.