January 4th, 2020


If you’re reading this, you probably already know – I’m James AKA TheBritishAreComing.

There’s a few things you need to know about me:

  1. I’m a tech agnostic developer, with about 15 years commercially.
  2. Although British, I’m awful at English! (poor grammar get out of free card)
  3. I love food and caffeine.
  4. I talk a lot of shit.

I want to lay the foundations for who I am and why i’m here, tell you a bit of my story.

On Monday 6th I’ll post what i’ve been working on the last 2 weeks and then you’ll see the same every 2 weeks from there 🙂

Me :)
Me 🙂

Before we get started

Here are other articles in this series!

  1. Precursor
  2. Sprint 1 – The Foundations
  3. Sprint 2 – The ummm Foundations?
  4. Sprint 2 – Nerd Ramble
  5. Sprint 3 – Cooking with matches!
  6. Sprint 4 – Now We’re Cooking With Gas!
  7. Sprint 5 – Robot Uprising
  8. This Is Not the Sprint You’re Looking For
  9. Sprint 6 – That’s a Weird Looking Patronus
  10. Sprint 7 – Corona Stole My Title
  11. Sprint 8 – Adventure Time!
  12. Sprint 9 – Now In Technicolor
  13. Sprint 10 – Refinement
  14. Sprint 11 – Motion In The Ocean
  15. Alpha Release 1.0.3
  16. Sprint 12 – No Rest For The Wicked
  17. Alpha Release 1.0.4
  18. Sprint 13 – I Need a Break
  19. Alpha Release 1.0.5
  20. Sprint 14 – Just James Things
  21. Sprint 15 – Wearing My Heart On My Sleeve
  22. Alpha Release 1.0.6
  23. Sprint 16 – Warm Up
  24. Alpha Release 1.0.7
  25. Sprint 17 – Coffee’s back on the menu!
  26. Alpha Release 1.0.8
  27. Sprint 18 – We’re on fire!
  28. Sprint 19 – Slowly fast
  29. Sprint 20 – Let’s get Nerdy
  30. Alpha Release 1.0.9
  31. Sprint 21 – We’re back!
  32. Alpha Release 1.1.0
  33. Sprint 22 – You Look Cute Today
  34. Alpha Release 1.1.1
  35. Sprint 23 – Sausage Smuggler
  36. A SoSa Retrospective
  37. Sprint 25 – I am SoSa and don’t call me Shirley
  38. Sprint 26 – The best laid schemes of mice and men
  39. Sprint 27 – Vogue, Strike a Pose
  40. Sprint 28 – a New Hope
  41. I Couldn’t Think Of a Title
  42. Guess who’s back, Back again!
  43. Demolition Man
  44. Squid James
  46. We Didn’t Choose This Life, We’re Just Living In It
  47. Let’s go!

What’s this post about?

Most people reading this hopefully already know what SoSa is but if you don’t SoSa is a community I started in 2014 which unfortunately I had to put on pause in 2018 and i’m now in a great position to start rebuilding again.

In the next 6 months I will build a fun, engaging and ethical social platform for mobile, desktop and web.

It’s not just about development! I need to write all the documentation, make sure it’s really easy to test, create pipelines, build a solid and scalable infrastructure and market everything all before I launch!

The most important part of the journey will be engaging the community and letting the world know we’re creating something awesome!

Brief History Of SoSa

First, let’s start with what SoSa was!

Happy 4th Birthday SoSa
Happy 4th Birthday SoSa

Originally called Social Savanna, SoSa was created for imgur community.

In 2013, the community were crying out for somewhere they could engage beyond the 140 character limit.

Around Christmas 2013, I was feeling a bit lonely and decided to ask the imgur community if this was something they really wanted, not just a fad.

I got a resounding yes through hundreds of comments and thousands of upvotes.

During that time I ran a development studio and until my team came back in the new year I started making mockups and playing about with some ideas then posting them to imgur for feedback!

Over 3 months we built essentially a chat platform that allowed people to connect and launched in Feb 2014.

And in 24 hours, over 15,000 members had signed up. Then in 2015 we opened it up to people outside of Imgur and continued to grow.

What went wrong?

Most of my 20s I didn’t do much for self care and I decided to start an IT business at about 22 because I couldn’t get a job in the IT sector.

I had no idea how to run a business so being the tenacious work horse I am — I grinded.

When I started this journey, My body was a wreck and I was struggling financially.

My weight loss
Aug 2018 | Nov 2019

Overall, there were a number of contributing downfalls to SoSas downfall:

  • The build was rushed, with no proper testing.
  • We had no idea it would grow so fast.
  • We didn’t actually know what we were building (eg the point of it)
  • I had growing health concerns.
  • We had mounting debt!

Come 2018, everything came to a head and I needed to bring things to a full stop before I did something I would have regretted.

One early September night, around. I said good night to SoSa.


It was time to sat down and work out what I needed to work on and how to start.

I needed to get healthy, clear my debt and get the community back on track.

So, I wound everything down and started focusing heavily on my weight, debt and mental health.

James in the gym Christmas 2018
Christmas day 2018 at the gym!

To date, I’ve lost about 60kg in total since 2017, I’m exercising most days, eating mostly right and keeping my mental health in check by reguarly going out, spending time with friends and using things like a gratitude journal.

The debt has been cleared and I’ve saved enough money to give me at-least 6 months working on SoSa even if shit does hit the fan!

I even made time in early 2019 to meet some members in Dublin (Pandatoast, carl, Khazaroth and OneLatte), I visited venice (beautiful by the way recommend it to everyone) and some time to relax in Barcelona!

My first holidays abroad since 2012!

Doge's Palace Venice 2019
Doge’s Palace Venice 2019

What will SoSa be?

I’m building a fun, friendly and privacy first community that makes it easy to socialise and benefit the planet at the same time!

There are a few core goals I want SoSa to achieve:

  • It should be easy to socialise.
    From registration, I want it to take less than a minute for someone to get involved in the community and chatting with other people.

    The more time you put into your profile, the more more you’ll get out of it but I don’t think sign up should be a process, it should be enjoyable and part of the journey!
  • Socialising should be easy.
    Anxiety, confidence and other issues can become hurdles to making new friends and socialising. I want to try and tackle these by providing fun, simple ways of getting conversations started.
  • Friendship must be accessible.
    Accessibility also shouldn’t be a hurdle to making new friends and I want SoSa to be as available and accessible to people as possible.
  • User’s must have full control of their privacy.
    Conversations can get out of hand, user’s should be able to control what they want to see and what other’s see about them.

    It’s also important for people to have control over who tracks their activities so we will be avoiding external trackers such as google analytics on SoSa, building our own tools to make sure we can make a great experience for the community.
  • Advertising must be privacy friendly.
    Advertising will only be served from our own platform, not a third party.

    Long term this will be better for the community and means we can advertise things that resonate with the community and provide surety over users privacy, even if it does hurt us in the beginning.
  • Socialising should be free.
    SoSa be free, you will not need to grind or pay money for a great experience.

    There will be paid extras, but these will only improve an already great experience and will also be achievable whilst you’re using the platform without grinding.
  • Social Good
    I want the platform / app to use people’s engagement as an incentive for charity drives, donations and doing things like planting trees.
    I want the community to be one for social good.

Thank you for reading my first post, I hope my English wasn’t too bad and if you’ve got any questions please leave me a comment 🙂

If you’d like to follow SoSa’s progress you can follow us here, LinkedInFacebook or follow our blog over at