Meet The Two Trinidadian Techies Who Just Developed A Breakthrough App

Meet The Two Trinidadian Techies Who Just Developed A Breakthrough App

Small island, big dreams.

Every Trinidadian, young or old, knows how serious the "pump" is. For those who are confused about what "pump" means to Trinidadians, your confusion ends here. To "pump" means to party hard, which Trinidadians are notoriously known for. Most parties, usually referred to as "fetes," are found out about by word of mouth, radio ads or Facebook event pages. Usually, it can be a hassle trying to gather all the necessary details of parties on one forum. Things like price, venue, etc. can be somewhat annoying to find out. I, myself, have always said that I wish there was one forum where every fete was listed and detailed to my liking. Thankfully, Andel Husbands and Jonathan Agarrat, both 21 years of age, came to not only my, but thousands of Trinidadians' rescue when they developed the app, "WhereDPump."

WhereDPump, which was launched on the App Store on June 23 2016, was something of an overnight idea. Andel Husbands, who attends the University of South Florida in Tampa, developed a website for the same purpose and of the same name in September 2014. Around the same time, he had contacted his long-time friend, Jonathan Agarrat, about the website. It had turned out that Jonathan was working on a similar website with the name "On D Avenue". The two decided to create a partnership and build on their skills together. They then launched the "WhereDPump" website in December 2014. The duo set to work on the iOS app in December of 2015 and balanced university, internships and coding to produce "WhereDPump" which has over 600+ users as of July 2016.

On the app, which is free to download on the App Store, users can see a list of "pumps" and are able to click on them to get the details, such as venue, where or who tickets can be collected, times, etc. Users can click "pumpin" or "not pumpin" to indicate if they would be in attendance. For club events, there are options to be able to get listed on a committee member list which is highly beneficial. Users can also "like" events to see a list of their favorite past events. Additionally, there is also a point system for users to accumulate points in certain ways which occasionally can be redeemed for free passes to events and such.

I sat down with the duo to discuss the future plans for the app, as well as future plans for themselves as young developers trying to establish their names in the industry.

Jonathan, who attends the New York Institute of Technology, said that they have "barely scratched the surface" in app building and there is still a lot to be done. He stated that they add new ideas to the drawing board on a daily basis using user feedback to aid in such. Andel shared Jonathan's sentiments and added that their main goal is to have it take off in Trinidad and Tobago to where it becomes a very widely known app, and then from there they may be able to expand to other islands with a heavy "pumpin" culture such as Jamaica and Barbados.

As for their personal future plans and goals, they are both on different pages. Jonathan wants to build and educational software focused on the system in the Caribbean, and essentially make learning accessible to everyone. Additionally, he has a dream of working on medical devices. For Andel, on the other hand, he plans to build his skills in various areas of computer science such as web design, app development and graphic work. He also wants to start a company in Trinidad and Tobago focused on these areas. However, though both have seemingly contrasting personal goals, providing a high standard of technology in not only Trinidad and Tobago, but throughout the entire Caribbean is on both of these young men's personal agendas.

Overall, for two individuals this young to be starting their own app is incredibly commendable, especially coming from a small island nation like Trinidad and Tobago. Both Jonathan and Andel believe that there is an opportunity app andweb developing to gain a wider market in Trinidad and Tobago, so if you are a young individual into technology reading this, let these two be your inspiration!

Don't forget to download WhereDPump in the App Store today! It is only available for Apple Users, but an Android app is currently in the works.

Cover Image Credit: Andel Husbands

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A Sociological Assessment Of A Cultural Object: The iPhone

How a single invention has changed American culture.

Human communication has evolved tremendously in society over the past few decades. From the United States Postal System in 1775, to the creation of the telegram, then the landline phone, touch tone phone, and eventually cordless phones, e-mails, and now instant messaging and Snapchat—technological progress has become one of the human race’s largest accomplishments. These changes have also influenced business; food can be ordered with a few clicks of the thumb, students can e-mail professors within minutes, and even checks can be deposited in bank accounts with a specific fingerprint.

Collectively, all of this has been made simpler by one such invention- the iPhone. The iPhone has changed the way society views cell phones-- no longer are they used for simply calling and receiving calls, but they now hold entire contact books with hundreds of phone numbers and emails, dozens of apps that are used for entertainment, networking, etc., and as aforementioned, access to entire savings and checking accounts. The iPhone is a cultural object that has shaped not only individual people’s lives, but the entire world.

Wendy Griswold, author of Cultures and Societies in a Changing World, defines a cultural object as “a socially meaningful expression that is audible, visible, or tangible or that can be articulated”. Griswold also writes that a cultural object “tells a story”. The iPhone fits this definition in the sense that it is symbolic of how the culture of entire countries has changed over time. Now because of this creation people have the ability to send lengthy messages within seconds across continents. With the tap of a button, someone in one country can display his or her face on a screen and simultaneously view a family member’s face who is in a completely different country and share a conversation for as long as they want.

These advancements have changed how humans view communication. Because of this technological advancement towards greater speed and efficiency, people have fewer and fewer hardships contacting others. People’s expectations about the response rate of others and how long it takes a message to send have been raised because of the simple fact that in most cases, the sender can see if a receiver has read a message, and also if that receiver is typing a response or ignoring them. The mystery of human communication across distances and not knowing whether the message was received or intercepted, no longer exists partially because of creation of the iPhone.

In 2000, an Apple worker named John Casey proposed the idea of a phone combined with an iPod, but it was Steve Jobs (1955-2011) who first initiated the design of a touch screen phone with the ability to do more than simply call and text; Apple branded this invention the “iPhone”. The first one was released in July 2007 with the ability to support applications via Safari internet search engine, which would allow the condensing of information and mobility in one device.

In terms of an audience of receivers, the iPhone was not geared towards one type of individual. Although beneficial for businesspeople with a multitude of contacts and information that could now literally be held at their fingertips, the device could potentially be used by anyone with an urgent need for communication and access.

However, the iPhone attracted a more affluent demographic because of its price, given that users would have to afford the costs that come with owning the device. When someone is seen holding an iPhone, it is generally a culturally-created sign of wealth and privilege. The advent of the iPhone also changed the age at which teenagers begin using a phone. Ultimately, the iPhone is carried by children as young as twelve and thirteen years old across the nation, and represents a certain status that is increasingly sought after among high school and college campuses. No one wants to receive a “green text message,” indicating that the person with whom they are texting is not an iPhone user.

Griswold also defines the social world in which a cultural object is created, as the “economic, political, social, and cultural patterns and exigencies that occur at any particular point in time”. This element was described above and includes the entire planet which has been affected by the iPhone, specifically those of somewhat higher status. The social world of the iPhone can also be described as one in which people are constantly yearning for something faster, more advanced, and smarter. To appease its consumers, Apple has created 14 different iPhone versions within a 10-year timespan, further evidence of the social world’s constant desire for expedited technological evolution.

Griswold ties each of the components discussed in this article into a concept called the Cultural Diamond. The Cultural Diamond consists of the four aspects previously mentioned: the cultural object-- the iPhone; the creator-- Steve Jobs and Apple; the receiver-- businesspeople, higher class adults, and an increasingly younger population of teenagers; and the social world-- an overarching group of people from privilege and relative wealth who continuously provide a reason for Apple to come out with a new iPhone yearly.

In relation to the Cultural Diamond, all of these components are related and interact with one another to form an object that has representation or purpose that can be interpreted in one way or multiple ways by an audience within society. Overall, the Cultural Diamond organizes these four components very well and allows us to analyze their connection and how they have impacted modern society. The shaping of humanity through the cultural object of the iPhone is evident when a couple is at dinner and both of them are checking Facebook, or when a group of people is waiting on a bus and have their heads down checking work emails instead of conversing. The cultural diamond is not stagnant, but rather cultural objects are constantly changing.

With this type of growth from an Apple product resulting from merely ten years, it is unforeseeable where civilization will be in another ten years.

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The Dawn Of The Electric Car

The story behind the not-so-new electric engine.

Electric cars may seem to be the latest line of trendy vehicles, but their concept and design date back nearly two centuries and are actually older than gas-powered automobiles. It wasn’t until gasoline became more readily available that people shifted away from the electric model. As we begin to face climate change, electric cars are on the rise again and may become the future of transportation.

The Original Design

In the mid-1800s, electric cars were developed with on-board acid batteries. The design was nearly impossible because the batteries were huge. The size shift in these new batteries allows them to power regular-sized vehicles we use today. In the 1880s, electric vehicles were beginning to see use in France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Personal use was uncommon early on. Many electric vehicles were used inside mines for coal transport. They are powered without consuming oxygen, which is much safer for miners. The biggest limitation for personal and commercial use was poor infrastructure. Most roads were made for horse and buggy and therefore were not easily maneuverable for motorized vehicles.

At the tail end of the 1800s, electric cars became more widespread in Europe. Electric taxis showed up in London before the turn of the century. Gasoline-powered vehicles with internal combustion engines also appeared on the market but were quickly associated with the bitter smell of gasoline so they weren’t as popular as electric vehicles. As electricity became more widely available, particularly in America, electric cars were also more accessible and grew as a commodity. Early electric cars suffered from lower speeds, in comparison to their gasoline and steam-powered counterparts. They were marketed as cars for women because they were so simple to operate.

Outpaced by Gas Cars

Electric vehicles fell out of style and behind in affordability in the 1900s, when gasoline became more easily accessible worldwide. Gasoline-powered engines were more economical to use and had greater range and speed. This made them a better option than electric vehicles. Now the reality of our climate crisis is receiving attention, leading engineers to rethink how we can efficiently power cars with a renewable resource.

When Henry Ford began mass-production of his vehicles, gasoline-powered cars were exceptionally cheaper and electric cars quickly fell out of widespread use. Roads were being developed with motorized vehicles in mind, so the limited range and slow speed of electric vehicles became a liability for the increasingly mobile public.

The motors that powered these old electric cars saw other application in the 1900s. Plenty of short-range vehicles were products of the electric car decline, including industrial equipment like forklifts and leisure vehicles like golf carts. Eventually, the first vehicle driven on the moon was an electric battery-powered Lunar Rover. On Earth, the electric car was still a niche concept.

Recharging Electric Cars

It wasn’t until the 1990s and early 2000s that the interest and development of electric vehicles restarted. The energy crises in the 70s and 80s paired with various environmentalist movements led to mass criticism. Many started to argue that our heavy reliance on gasoline would be a nightmare in the future. Between the effect of greenhouse gas emissions and the fact that gas will eventually run out, it was time for a new plan.

Larger car companies began developing hybrid electric and gasoline cars to scale back pollution and cut costs on gasoline. There was a push, particularly in California, to shift to cars with zero-emissions, which led car companies back to electric motors. However, public interest is still in the direction of larger, sport-utility vehicles (mostly in America). Which only makes marketing electric and hybrid vehicles even more difficult and costly.

Another energy crisis in the early 2000s brought hybrid and electric vehicles to the forefront of the public again. Models like the Toyota Prius were marketed as energy efficient, and as neighborhood electric vehicles were used as town cars, the concept spread internationally. These are still fairly common outside of the United States as low-speed and low-cost alternatives for city travel.

Modern Electric Cars

The rise of modern electric vehicles started with Tesla in 2004, when they produced the first highway-legal electric vehicle, the Tesla Roadster. Since then, other large auto manufacturers have produced electric vehicles of increasing speed and charge duration. One of the largest limitations electric vehicles face hasn’t changed — they are slower and have less mobility range. However, advances in batteries have improved these restraints, even in affordable models like the Ford Focus.

Finding a place to charge up can be a challenge for these car owners. Charging stations, particularly in the United States, are much more difficult to come by than a good old gas station. Luckily, the popularity of electric vehicles appears to be growing. Especially as green and affordable alternatives to gas-powered vehicles become crucial. Although they suffer from modern equivalents to their 19th-century ancestors, they ride the road to a more sustainable future.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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