Today we’re buzzing with Joseph Nakhla, CEO and Founder of bazinga!
Growing up in middle class Alexandria, Egypt, Nakhla wasn’t always surrounded by technology. Beyond taking a few computer courses in his early teens, it wasn’t until Nakhla came to Canada at the age of 16 and later attended British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) that the doors to the technology world opened to him.
After working for many successful companies including TIO Networks, which serves the largest telecom, wireless, cable and utility network operators in North America, Nakhla had the idea of creating an app that would help bring people together and simplify condo living.
We chat with Joseph about growing up in Egypt, where he was when the idea for bazinga! came to be, and why he chose the funky name for the app.
BuzzBuzzHome: When you were still in Alexandria were you always interested in technology?
Joseph Nakhla: I grew up in a middle class family in Egypt and access to technology was not something that you’d really see. I grew up in a low-rise that had five families and we only had one communal phone. Only one of the apartments out of the five had a phone and we all used that phone. My parents had a vision in the mid-80s that computers were important, so believe it or not at the age of 13, I was taking computer courses and became quite interested early on.
BBH: You attended BCIT for a different field than the one you’re in, how did you get into cloud apps?
JN: I actually studied civil and structural engineering originally. I had a passion for civil engineering overall and when I finished I went into the working world. I ended up having a desk job where I was designing sewer systems believe it or not. It wasn’t the most intriguing thing in the world for me I felt that I was making some kind of a difference but I’m a guy that really likes to interact with people. I try as much as I can to build solutions that make people’s lives better.
BBH: Where were you working when you got the idea for bazinga!?
JN: I was with TIO. At TIO one of the most satisfying things I experienced was the incredible number of challenges I faced, including the number of products that I was a part of creating with the team there. We were always innovating and obviously mobile innovation was the most recent. TIO was tackling mobile and social because we all got bitten by the bug of mobile and social convenience.
I was very intrigued to try to solve these types of problems using the same technology. When I came across this friend of mine who was having difficulty with their condo, I had the very first concept of helping stratas communicate more efficiently. It really just opened the doors for me I began doing more market research on it. As I did, the opportunities seemed to get bigger and bigger. No platform really exists for condo living and apartment living. I just got completely obsessed with it. It was time for me to go build bazinga!
BBH: What inspires your company?
JN: We’re a company that’s inspired by connectivity. There’s a traditional area where everybody can connect with, things like Facebook changes the way friends interact and Linkedin changed how people view each other professionally and can connect together. We’re hooked on these types of platforms because they are useful and they have made the world much smaller.
BBH: Are there any apps you’re really impressed with?
JN: There are some really cool smaller apps that we look at and admire. One of the most recent ones I just learned about is this app called LYST. It allows people to set up a carpool, which I think is a great tool and I look forward to the possibility of working together with these types of companies.
BBH: Are you a big fan of the Big Bang Theory, or was there another reason why you picked the name “bazinga!”?
JN: We came up with the name when the Big Bang Theory was actually struggling with its ratings believe it or not. We really liked the name, we wanted something that people remembered. There’s an element of the “aha!”. Bazinga is kind of that light bulb. I think that when we first came up with the name it had been used on the show maybe once or twice, that’s about two and a half years ago. That being said, we like the show, we like the people behind the show and we just really like the name from a memorable branding position.
BBH: What have been some of your keys to success?
JN: It’s incredible how passionate our team is about city living. People on our team are obsessed with how technology can make a difference in condo living. We’re not all excited about what we do, we’re actually all obsessed with what we do, and that makes things a lot easier for a CEO!
Thanks for buzzing with us Joseph!