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Watch, Read, or Listen to: Creating an App for Black-Owned Businesses (Blackible)

In this podcast, Creating an App for Black-Owned Businesses (Blackible), we discuss:

2:20What tool did you use for project management?
3:22What are you addressing problem-wise that’s missing out there in the marketplace?
5:55Who should download this app?
8:05No Code Applications
9:15Common Data Store
14:15What can enterprises do to consume power platform?



Danny Ryan:It’s Monday, October 5th. And today, I talk with Perry Kankam, about an app that he developed this summer called Blackible. And it’s basically Yelp for the black community. If you want to learn more about how he did this and some of the things that he learned while doing it, please give this a listen. Today, I’m here with Perry Kankam. Perry, how are you doing?


Perry Kankam:I’m great. Splendid. How about you?


Danny Ryan:I’m doing great. For folks who are listening to this, you’re missing out because there is a lot of good looking on the screen right now. I don’t know if people can take this, two fine looking men like us on one screen. But, you may need to back away from your computer right now. I joke around. Good seeing you. It’s been awhile. Love to catch up on you.You’ve been busy this summer, summer of 2020 has been interesting and you’ve taken advantage of it by going out and building a new app. So, tell me a little bit about this project that you’ve had. And I love that you’re doing this. I think there’s a lot of people at ThreeWill who want to stay up on the latest technologies and take some of these little side projects and go after them. So, I’m proud that you’re doing that. I’m glad that you’re doing that. So, tell me a little bit more about the project.


Perry Kankam:Right. Thank you. So, this project began as me trying to expand my horizon and basically learn new things and apply them. Because I do learn and kind of self tutor and watch all the videos. But, it’s a different story or scenario when you have to actually bring them into real-world experiences. ThreeWill gives me the opportunity to apply some of these languages, but I’ve seen some new ones that I also wanted to kind of try on my own. So, I had to make time for that and that led to this summer project, we speak off. It’s an app named Blackible that I built and created. And yeah. Literally from logo design to every line of code by myself. So, it was pretty, my nerdy sidetracked every bit of it and it was 463 hours to complete the entire thing.


Danny Ryan:You tracked the time?


Perry Kankam:Yeah, I did.


Danny Ryan:You bought the, you obviously own the domain and you went from soup to nuts.


Perry Kankam:Yeah. Yeah, Definitely.


Danny Ryan:Awesome.


Perry Kankam:Yeah.. It was a crazy project, not having a project manager, not having a UI guy, not having… It’s a lot of nuts and bolts that goes into it to actually make a project function. And that made me appreciative for what ThreeWill provides for sure. Because me having to handle all the different pieces was, it’s a lot, it’s a lot. So..


Danny Ryan:I mean, that’s great that you… Austin and I, Austin will, he’s producing this podcast for us. We had this quote where we say, and I got, I picked this up from Georgia tech, which was, ain’t nothing easy when you’re doing for real. It’s like everything sounds easy, but then when you try to do it for real, [crosstalk 00:03:04] it’s not easy.


Perry Kankam:Definitely.


Danny Ryan:So, this is great. So, you even had the chance of… Now, did you use Scrum? Did you use Sprints or were you just, you made it, you actually tracked your time, but did you use like a Sprints or how did you manage what to go after next?


Perry Kankam:So, my main management tool was Trello.


Danny Ryan:Okay.


Perry Kankam:So, I have known about Trello for a while, but I’d never really gone into detail actually used it for anything yet. So, yeah. I created a bunch of stories. So, I used, it was as Scrum, but kind of my own way, whatever worked for me because I just create a bunch of stories and then had my done column, had my committed column, kind of few different columns, and then just move things around just so I can track and know what’s going on. So, yeah. I used that and then I kind of estimated my stories based on what I felt like. Most of my estimations were really off, but this is completely new, a new sector that I was venturing. So… [crosstalk 00:04:09].


Danny Ryan:You had to fire yourself halfway through the project? Say your estimates are way off. [crosstalk 00:04:13] Sorry, we’re going to need somebody who knows what he’s doing here.


Perry Kankam:Right. Right. Right. But, thankfully going in, probably the first 50 to a hundred hours, that’s when I had issues estimating the most. But after that, there was things where I started to get a little more accurate because I knew what was going on and had more experience and knew what I was capable of and what took me the most time and what the biggest challenges were and stuff like that.


So, after the first 80 hours or so, the estimation and started becoming a little more accurate. And yeah. I used Trello as my main tool. And then that’s basically what helped me know where I was at, at what time, what my impediments were, what I needed to come back, phase two. So, yeah. You could just create a bunch of buckets. So, I had a bunch of buckets that I was just dropping things in. So, one of my buckets right now is phase two. And I have a few things in there that I’m going to start working on. Like search, I actually started working on that last night. So, it’s yeah. It’s a beautiful tool to use, for sure. And it’s free. So…


Danny Ryan:Nice. And did you do any research? So sort of, so what problem does this solve? [crosstalk 00:05:32]. And I’ll hit some marketing things too. So what are you addressing problem-wise that’s missing out there in the marketplace?


Perry Kankam:Okay. So, at the moment, me as a black man, obviously, there’s been a lot of friends and family that I have that have had many or multiple struggles with starting businesses. And mostly it’s due to a lot of issues that we’re currently facing. Be it racial, be it financial, a whole bunch of stuff, exposure issues, and whatnot. So, while I was learning these new languages and these new platforms and technology, I really wanted to use it for something while I was learning. But, I couldn’t really come up with any ideas. And one time we were at a family event and someone mentioned something about a directory, if it was available, it will be great because a lot of people want to actually support these black businesses, but just don’t know how.


Danny Ryan:Yep.


Perry Kankam:So, this app I created is for everybody. It’s for everybody, it’s for every race, it’s for every soul. So, anybody who wants to support the community, because it’s at a moment where we need it the most, can actually get this and then do what they need to do. Because I was just trying to remove that excuse of, we don’t know where to find them, we don’t know how to do it, we don’t know how to support, we don’t know how to do this and that and that. So, that was my main goal for this. This platform seeks to bridge the gap between black owned businesses and their potential companies… Sorry, their potential consumers. So, instead of overwhelming users with thousands of results, I, or we, my team, I don’t really have a team yet, I’m still putting all that together.


Danny Ryan:You can just say my team [crosstalk 00:07:20].


Perry Kankam:My team. Sound more professional. My team, we carefully curate. We don’t just pick any business, right? So, there’s a criteria that I follow. For example, online presence, we’re at a point where you can just have a shabby business, you have to actually put some effort in it. So, I’m helping those who are actually helping themselves. So, at the moment nobody’s paying me any money or anything. I just, I think so far I’ve manually input over 300 businesses. I created my own admin portal and this is what is connected to my database. And this is what updates the app in real time.


So, I, yeah. It’s been a lot of work, but I’ve learned a whole lot during this journey. Besides just helping or giving back to the community, it’s been more of a learn something new every day. From technology to, wow, I didn’t know these types of businesses existed, to meeting some of these owners of these businesses. And it’s been a fun little journey. For a summer project, for what I was thinking, it it’s been very… I, so when I had this idea, I actually got a quote from one company and it was $21,000. So, there was no way I was going to do that. So, that was my biggest motivation because obviously I’m a software engineer. I knew I could build it, but I didn’t think I could do such a clean job with the UI, especially cause that’s my biggest deal. If I download an app and the UI is not good, I automatically deleted it. I don’t care what the backend has. So…


…until I had a lot of sketches, I had a lot of things. I changed a few times until I could get that piece right. I knew that I could possibly make something big out of it. So, that was one of the most important things for me. And yeah. I wasn’t going to pay $21,000 for it. And one of the biggest things I’ve learned over the journey is time management. I was just, I just felt like I had a lot going on, so I couldn’t build it. So, Trello has been an amazing tool for sure. So, between ThreeWill and some of the things I run on the side and that, my summer has been very, very, very, very, very busy. So, it’s been fun, time management wise, I’ve learned a whole lot and how to actually maneuver around and using my time as wisely as possible. So, yeah. It’s been a lot of different skills that I’ve picked up that are not just technology at all. So, that’s amazing.


Danny Ryan:So, I think it’s wonderful you’ve done this and the, instead of… You’ve given a way to, for people to find, to do something real, to help the black community. I mean, this is really good that you, instead of, you really focused in on something of how you can help and I think that’s pretty awesome. You’ve combined it with a lot of things where you’re able to learn things yourself and grow yourself. What a wonderful way for you to spend the summer. And that’s pretty awesome. Can you do us, maybe do a little demo? I don’t know how easy it would be to do that, but for people who are just listening to this, I’ll try to talk, maybe if you can talk through what you’re doing and then this will encourage people to come over. You can… We also post these up on YouTube as well, if you want to take a look at this. So, Perry’s walking through it right now for us. So, walk us through the app.


Perry Kankam:Okay. Yeah. Before I get to the actual app, I’m just [crosstalk 00:10:56].


Danny Ryan:Yep.


Perry Kankam:So, I was surprised when I actually got this domain, but it was available so I took it. So, this is the actual website for the people on the technical side, I use different technologies for the app and the website. So, for the app, I used the Ionic platform, which is a hybrid language, which allows Android and iOS. I did have issues on the Android side, but I was finally able to get through it and learn some Kotlin, which is Androids language and some Java. So, it was a whole bunch of different challenges going through it. But, this actual website is built with React. And this was just my way of basically testing around all these different things I’m learning. Obviously with the Ionic platform, it uses Anglo on top of it. So, that’s the website and [crosstalk 00:11:44].


Danny Ryan:It looks great. Looks responsive. It looks awesome.


Perry Kankam:Thank you. So, yeah. At the moment, both Google Play and Apple. So, let’s get to the actual app. It doesn’t look as clean in the browser, but [crosstalk 00:12:01].


Danny Ryan:No worries.


Perry Kankam:Yeah. We’ll just work with that. So, this is the banner. This is the UI that I ended up settling with after a whole bunch of back and forth. These are all scrollable. I’m using my mouse, so it won’t be as smooth. But as you can see, we categorize these businesses, so that it’s easy for you to come in and just say, “Hey, this is what I’m looking for. And this is how I want to support or whatever.” So, we have a feature space, basically the businesses who are doing outstanding, up to five different businesses, can go up here. And this is the trending section. So, whoever’s getting… I have a little algorithm I wrote in the database. Basically, whoever is getting the most attention, we’re measuring this based on their reviews, and if they’re actually positive reviews. So, if you’re getting a lot of attention, but they’re not good reviews, you’re not going to make it on here.


So, obviously these businesses are going to range from food to hair, to whatever. So, if you also come down to this tab, this is the explore tab. And these are the categorized sections. There are a plethora of black owned businesses in the world, but I’m curating this, I’m picking up the best that I feel like it’s what you will want to check out. Because I don’t [crosstalk 00:13:23].


Danny Ryan:Are you starting just with Atlanta or sort of how you growing to different geographies?


Perry Kankam:Yep. So, that was one of the fun parts of this project. So, I’m actually going to talk about it in a second.


Danny Ryan:Okay. Sorry. Sorry.


Perry Kankam:It’s okay. So, the mileage, I have my computer allowing my location. So, it shows how far everything is for me now. That, believe it or not, took me about 50 to 70 hours.


Danny Ryan:Oh, really? So, geolocation, like where are you located? And then how far away that place… [crosstalk 00:13:55] Did you use a service for that? [crosstalk 00:13:57]. Or how did you [crosstalk 00:13:58]?


Perry Kankam:So, I used a service. There’s something called, I’ll get the name, but it’s a math equation that you actually use to calculate how far. You use the earth’s radius. It’s a lot of new things I didn’t think existed. But, yeah. It was interesting. But, this actually, whenever you first load the app, it asks for your location and that’s what the location is used for. If I wanted to come in here, this will give you a description about the business.


Actually let me go to one that has quite a lot. Let’s see, Sublime Donuts. Okay. So, description about the business and then there’s a picture. You can favorite these and when you favorite them, it actually… I’ll talk more about the favorite feature in a minute, but you can share with your friends. This gives you, you can go to the website, view their menu, their open hours, their Instagram, their Twitter, their Facebook, their social media, their phone number. And if you click any of these on your phone and it goes directly to a call. If you click this, if you’re on an Android phone, it goes directly to Google Maps. If you’re on an Apple phone, it goes directly to Apple Maps.


Danny Ryan:Sweet.


Perry Kankam:If you open these websites or menus, I have an in-built browser inside of the app where it wouldn’t take you to Safari, you actually open in there and then you can done it, if you’re done or you can keep clicking if you need to. You can leave a review, five star or whatever. I have a, I put a check for basically, if Danny puts his name, obviously you have to create an account first. So… [crosstalk 00:15:28].


Danny Ryan:You do create a… So, you have people creating accounts on it. [crosstalk 00:15:31].


Perry Kankam:I’m logged in already. So, one person, per one business, per review. So, you can’t leave multiple reviews on one business. So, if you click to read the reviews, you’d see some reviews. Let me actually go to this business. The trending one would, this one has a lot of reviews. So, I’ll just use this. And for example, this is my friend. She does hair. So, this is me trying to help her business. [crosstalk 00:00:15:58]. So, click here, she has multiple reviews. If I wanted to add one, I can add one here and then put my name, my comment, and then five-star or whatever, and then submit it. And it goes directly to my database in the back, and then it loads directly. This is real time. Everything’s real time. [crosstalk 00:16:15].


So, now to your question about the cities. I have a plethora of cities now. So, this is where I’m at now. The cool thing about this and the most difficult, one of the challenging things for me was how do I allow users to select the city, so that as soon as they click something, the entire app changes to that city.


Danny Ryan:Yeah.


Perry Kankam:So, that took me a while, but I was able to get around it. For example, let’s go to London in the United Kingdom, in Europe. So, now we’re in London, everything’s going to switch to London. [crosstalk 00:16:46]. So, this is restaurants in London, these are featured restaurants in London. These are the trending restaurants in London. There’s Toronto, Canada. There’s Houston. Let’s go to Houston. And these are, this what’s happening in Houston. So, this is not just business wise. This is a travel app, too. So, for example, I’m in Atlanta, but next week I’m going to Houston, I want to see what’s happening in Houston so that I can make a plan for whatever while I’m out there.


So, I want to do nightlife in Houston. So, I come to Houston and these are a few night lives. And if you realize, if you’re out of 100 mile radius, I don’t show the how far it is from you anymore. [crosstalk 00:17:28]. I list it by the most relevant and that’s by how many ratings versus how good the ratings are. So, this starts from the top first, the highest ratings. So, Prospect Park has one rating, which is a five star. So, they are first. So, for example, I’m going to go to Houston. I’ll favorite this so that when I get to Houston, I have everything in the collection. [crosstalk 00:00:17:48]. So, inside of here, I come to my favorites and Prospect Park is right here. And I have a few other places I favorited.


So, I’m going to go back and then that’s going to lead me to this tab. This is update profile. For now, it’s just your first and last name you can update. These are your reviews that you’ve left. You can edit the reviews and then change the stars. And whenever it gets back to the database, I have a algorithm, no JS function in the back that basically takes every new review and then takes the average of the place and then adds it to it. So, those are the reviews. This is your location. You can switch location from here to. And then this is support, this is just information on how to find us and whatnot. App Version is supposed to show the current app version, but it needs the actual phone resources to do that. So, it won’t load on the browser.


And one last thing is the deals. So, this is deals section. [crosstalk 00:18:45]. Basically every company that wants to do deals with black people, gets listed here. These are online businesses. So, these don’t use location. You get this wherever you are in the world. So, yeah. That’s pretty much it. This top banner is actually clickable. So, you click that and it takes you to a link. This morning, I was just working on a new banner to register to vote. So, by end of day, today, it’s going to be up on the header. So, yeah. That’s, pretty much along the short of it. It’s much slicker. It’s much cleaner on the phone. So, anyone listening to this, it’s free to download. So, App Store or Google Play and [crosstalk 00:19:27].


Danny Ryan:And just search for Blackible [crosstalk 00:19:30].


Perry Kankam:Yeah. Blackible [crosstalk 00:19:29].


Danny Ryan:That’s the best way to get to it.


Perry Kankam:Or go to and then you could click from right here.


Danny Ryan:Nice call to action. So, man, I’m going to start pulling you in on some of our marketing stuff. You better watch out.


Perry Kankam:I don’t know about all that. But, yeah. It’s pretty much clear cut and straight to the point. So, yeah. It’s just a lot of things that you wouldn’t think to or consider when you’re, when you think about a business on an app. But, once you start to get into it and build stuff, even a website to the app is something I didn’t even consider it and then I’m doing it and I’m like, “Oh, I think I need a landing page. Oh, I think I needed that.” It’s just a lot. And Trello was my best friend this summer, for sure. If there’s anything I think of, I just type it in there. In my M I S C bucket, and then I come around later and then I sort it around. So, it was an amazing tool for me. Pretty much like DevOps, but I think Trello was just, for a one man job, it was just easier and faster for me to get in.


Danny Ryan:It almost sounds a little bit like you were doing like Kanban where you’re dropping them in the right lanes just as you were getting them done, and more of just managing the state of the different things that you were working on, which is great for [crosstalk 00:20:42],


Perry Kankam:Totally. And it was a lot of things. So, I’ll just give you an idea. So, these are my notes and stuff like that. This is my marketing section. [crosstalk 00:20:52]. This is my PR. Yeah. [crosstalk 00:00:20:53]. Yeah. It was quite a lot. But this is my done, part two. It’s just things that… It wasn’t official or professional at all. It was very, things I will understand, my way.


Danny Ryan:It looks great. I mean, it’s amazing what you were able to do.


Perry Kankam:Thank you.


Danny Ryan:One of the things. So, I, you know me, I’m an ideas guy. So, from a marketing standpoint, what would be interesting for you to do is to have something where either you’re sending out or or even these different places that want to list on Blackible, that they a sticker that says, “Featured on Blackible,” so that when somebody goes into the store, they see that it’s almost, and you’ve probably seen this, a probably a cheap way to market. And having something that’s a physical thing that’s in… You’ve probably already done this and this probably on your board. But, I just I really see this as being something, you go into the whatever restaurant that you have, and you see that featured on sign in the front of it, and they’re downloading your app all of a sudden, while they’re waiting to go eat or they’re waiting for something else. [crosstalk 00:00:22:04]. I could see that being a really good…


Because the key is, is moving from the virtual world into the physical world. And how do you get people to know this is out there. And stickers… I always try to look at what is something that is something that you can get out into the physical world that’s not expensive, and a sticker is something I could definitely see people putting this on the front of their business and saying, “Featured in Blackible.” And then you almost have the app, the two app store icons, so they know they can go download the app. And then all of a sudden they’re using it to find other businesses.


Perry Kankam:Yeah. Yeah. That’s amazing that you mentioned that. I didn’t think about stickers, but I definitely have the huge flyers, so they could paste on their thing. So, yeah. I have that in my PR marketing section, for sure.


Danny Ryan:Talk to Austin because we’ve got a company that we use called Sticker Mule that you can get lots of stickers. That may be a good inexpensive option for getting the name out there in the physical world. So, it’s, man. Holy cow. So, can I… So, you’re going to sell… So, what’s going to happen here is somebody’s going to come by and buy this from you and you’re going to take the proceeds of that to buy ThreeWill from Tommy and I, and then you’re going to list ThreeWill on Blackible. Is that what’s going to happen? Is that your master plan? I know what you’re up to. [crosstalk 00:23:23]. I know what you’re up to. I don’t know


Perry Kankam:I don’t know if it would take that much for me to buy ThreeWill, but…


Danny Ryan:I knew what you’re up to. I see your plan. I’m onto you. This looks great. And I thank you so much for walking us through this and taking the time to go through this. And thank you for just personally growing and seeing a need that’s out there and a way to support the black community and and just doing something like this, so that you’re growing. It’s just another sign of how awesome you are. And just, this is just wonderful stuff that you’ve done here.


And also as you’re building this from a marketing, I’d love to help out, however I can, with my bad ideas. You can just take me or them. But, this is great stuff. So, thank you for taking the time to show this off. And again, for just to reiterate there, to get this off of the, we must do a little bit more promotion maybe here, that is the website. And then you’ll just search on, it’s both in the Play Store and the App Store, and you’ll just search for Blackible there. [crosstalk 00:24:34]. And then, or do you want people to follow you on Twitter or any other the social ways or anything that you would really like to point out that people can follow what you’re up to here?


Perry Kankam:I mean, the most ideal and biggest support is just to have the app and actually go out and just make it a thing, a fun thing. Hey, I want to support one restaurant a month, or… I don’t really care for the followers and stuff. I just actually want these businesses to kind of feed off of this and kind of make this a Yelp sort of, if possible, that actually helps these businesses grow. So, as long as they have the app, or Blackible search in Google Play or the App Store, I think that’s enough. The rest is [crosstalk 00:25:19] going to do what it has to do.


Danny Ryan:I’d encourage people to write a review after you go to a place.


Perry Kankam:Yes. Totally.


Danny Ryan:If it’s a place that you love that is something that you want to promote within your community, then go review it and make sure [crosstalk 00:25:35] other people know about the place. Share. It’s really easy for people to do that, as well.


Perry Kankam:Yeah. Because that’s the only way. So, for sure. Share it and yeah. Reviews are… And that’s one thing, I think I have this idea in my PR list, which might not be such a great idea, but I’m going to be doing random LAFCo draws of maybe a $100 for people who’ve left actual, genuine reviews and stuff like that. So, I feel like that’s going to be the component. That’s actually helping Yelp move fast a lot because people actually leave reviews. People come back and it’s like a fun thing. So, I need to turn that around and try to make it a fun thing for people to leave reviews. Because, me in the past, I was not the review guy. But, now, if something’s actually blows my mind or something is very, very below par, I actually come back and leave a review so I just know, because it just helps.


So, one last thing. I actually, I’m still writing this algorithm of function, but it’s for the database that we’re going to be actually auditing these businesses. I’m just waiting for it to grow a little more. But after every month or every other month, what this function is going to do is take every single place or business that we have on file. If you have less than two stars, you get kicked off. So, I just want some exclusivity with this. And I think when people have exclusivity, they’re more likely to use things because they know things that actually, the work’s been done for them, they just have to go check it out. So, if you’re getting all these bad reviews and it’s continuous you’re… Yeah, you’re going to get kicked off and you’re going to have to join the long line and try to make it back on again. So, yeah. That’s a function I’m actually kind of rewriting for the database.


Danny Ryan:Just one last idea. Or since I’m a marketing guy. You’ve just, the way that you’ve described this is this is Yelp for black owned businesses. Right. I think that’s a really, that summarizes what you’ve got here. And I think that’s… Because people will go, “What is this?” And describing in a way that people understand, I think that’s [crosstalk 00:27:39].


Perry Kankam:That’s the one-liner, for sure.


Danny Ryan:That’s your one-liner. I don’t know if you need anything more than that. But, and that everybody knows, “Okay, well I get that. I get what you’re trying to do there.” So, great stuff. Good seeing you. I look forward to seeing you in person someday.


Perry Kankam:Yeah.


Danny Ryan:Hope when we get back, maybe after the new year, whenever we get back into the office, but congratulations on this. Continue the good work. Last thing. What do you think are some of the, where do you want to take to projects from this? Is there any certain technologies or anything you’ve learned maybe in general that you feel like you want to do use on your next project at ThreeWill?


Perry Kankam:Yeah. So, for sure, Angular, I actually ended up using my website as React because I did some React stuff in SharePoint building SPFx, which is a custom web part for two clients, so far. But, I didn’t go as deep as I wanted to. So, that’s why I actually delved into learning more of it. And then, that’s kind of why I decided to just use React for the actual website. So, I have used some of these languages at ThreeWill already, but yeah, definitely React would like to delve more into it if any projects do open up. They’re challenging one-page languages, but they’re fun when the challenges are rectified or figured out. So, yeah, for sure. The newer languages Angular is by Google, React is Facebook. Yeah. The JavaScript languages are definitely where I’m taking my focus more now.


Danny Ryan:Great stuff. Well, thank you for doing this and it’s good catching up with you and I hope you have a great fall and we’ll talk to you soon. Okay? Thanks, Perry.


Perry Kankam:All right. Thanks, man. Thank you, guys. Talk to you later.


Danny Ryan:Bye bye.


Thank you for listening to the Work Together Better podcast. We’re available on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher, and Tune-In. If you’re looking for a partner to help you craft a modern digital workplace in the Microsoft cloud, please come by and see us at That’s the number three spelled out W I L Thank you and have a great day.


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