Kotakode’s Ambition to Take the Market of Programming Forum
Programming since the last few years has become one of the most popular job fields. A number of job titles such as Data Scientist, Machine Learning Engineer, Natural Language Processing Engineer, and others are quite common.
Interestingly, more and more people without a computer science background are now interested in learning programming. This is also in line with the trend during the Covid-19 pandemic where many institutions offer a number of free online courses, including programming.
But in practice, especially beginners, often get into trouble when they learn programming. Reflecting on this, Peter Tanugraha, the founder of Kotakode, took the initiative to build a local version of a programming forum like Stackoverflow.
The young man who graduated from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto, Canada has encountered several times that Indonesians find it difficult to describe their problems inadequate English at the forum.
“Stackoverflow is well known for two things: they are a strict community, [for] questions that are not good or clear, [community members] will give comments to the point. [Impressed] rude, but actually they are professional,” said Peter. According to Peter, this high standard makes users with mediocre English skills not get the expected response.
“Then I thought, really sorry, even though they have a problem and want to solve it, whether it’s work or assignments [college or school]. They are very unfortunate,” said Peter. From there, the young man who had worked as a Deep Learning Engineer at IBM began a deeper observation by asking his friends and colleagues in Indonesia about such a problem.
“I was told that Facebook Group and Telegram in Indonesia are the main places as an alternative [Stackoverflow] to ask questions. I was surprised, I just found out that there is a chat group as a question and answer forum [programming],” said Peter.
Indonesian Language Programming Content is Still Lacking
After being a member of the group for a while, Peter also noticed the phenomenon that the frequency of questions asked was very high. Not infrequently, many of these questions are very basic.
“So I think the problem is that we lack Indonesian language content [programming] on the internet. And from there, I try to calculate using a script to count the number of users in these groups and forums, in fact, there are around four million in total,” said Peter.
Finally, Peter came to the decision to make Kotakode. The first challenge he encountered was finding someone who had the expertise to answer questions. At that time Peter managed to gather around ten to fifteen people who were already working in well-known tech startups and were willing to answer questions at Kotakode.
Targeting Funding This Year
As differentiation from Stackoverflow or other forums, Peter applies a gamification mechanism. Both the questioner and the answerer of the account get a certain title or badge, one of which is judged by their activeness. Other differentiations include the presence of a blogging platform.
“There is a QnA [question and answer], but there is also a blogging platform. In essence, we want to create a platform where people can share knowledge,” said Peter.
So far, the Kotakode team consists of 14 people spread across the Marketing, BizDev, Engineers, UI/UX, and Project Managers divisions. He also admitted that he is currently running Kotakode bootstrap, but he targets to start looking for funding this year.
“Now we are part of Block 71 Incubator, but bootstrapping, so it must be cost-efficient. The target is to start looking for funding this year,” said the young man who often struggles with Python and likes Swift. Currently, Kotakode has more than 2 thousand registered users.
Per day Kotakode can get around 500 – 3000 pageviews. In November and December, Kotakode has just started to launch a community partnership with a number of universities and vocational schools in Indonesia; the program will run at the beginning of the semester (January 2021). This strategic move is projected to bring in thousands of new users.