2020 in Review — A year of trying new things.

I had a lot of plans for the year 2020, even though it was very rough and with a lot of stress here and there, I thank God for the little have been able to achieve . Despite all the ups and downs that happened in Nigeria and around the world, I thank God for his guidance and protection every step of the way. I still have a lot I’m grateful for as I account for some wins, learning experience, privileges and achievement which I’ll love to share.

Despite the issues with Covid19, #EndSars, remote working and other major crises, the year 2020 was such a memorable time for me. Just like the year 2019, I’ve definitely grown, explored and learnt different things, achieved more for myself and with different teams I got the chance of working with.

Join me as I share some of my experiences in all humility and glory to God for his grace, favour and divine help for the year 2020.

Tech meets with Kings

On the 2nd of January 2020, I got the chance to talk and spend some time with the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II. It was a new year celebration visit as I got the chance to greet and have a good time with the king. Thanks to my one and only Mama Diaspora and Grandma for making this happen. We had the chance to discuss the future of Technology and Business opportunities in Osun State and Nigeria at large.

A short video clip with the Ooni of Ife
From left to right: Myself, My grandma (Mama Diaspora), Bro (Maxwell) and the Ooni of ife

I had a great time with the Ooni as we both engaged, talked and had fun together with a lot of laughter and experiences shared with the king. It was such an interesting experience as His Royal Majesty of Yoruba land was so funny, humble and cool.

Product Manager, SeamlessHR.

Middle of March 2020, I joined SeamlessHR as a Software Product Manager as I was responsible for some core Software Product development and managing teams comprising of Product designers, Software engineers, Quality Assurance and DevOps engineers. At SeamlessHR, we build different End-to-End enterprises SaaS applications used by major businesses in Nigeria and Africa such as Banks, major establishments and large corporations to help manage their Human resource operations (also known as HRMS), Recruitment processes (RMS) and payroll management (PayDay).

I worked remotely with different smart and brilliant team members as a PM, also serving as a Product Owner on different In-house enterprise products, working with cross-functional Scrum teams. I must say, I really learnt a lot as I got the chance to build cool products used by many businesses to help run their HR activities seamlessly and I was able to build a close relationship with my co-workers remotely, learnt a lot from them and collaborated effectively. I later left SeamlessHR around September and I got the chance to focus on some of my startup ideas fully.

Facilitator at NextGen Africa

Around July 2020, I got the chance to Join NextGen Africa, an initiative of The Bulb Africa as a Facilitator and STEM Expert for the Summer Coding Class where myself and my team got the chance to train different kids and young teens across Nigeria, UK and Dublin on Web programming, Mobile App development and Intro to Computer Science. With close to 20 students in the program for the first cohort, the training was all done remotely alongside my fellow facilitators handling different tracks.

Facilitators at the NextGen Summer Bootcamp

Kudos to everyone in the NextGen team for making the training program a success.

Mentor, Facebook Build4SDG

Around the month of August 2020, I got selected by Facebook’s Build4SDG team to serve as a Mentor at the #BuildForSDG Africa Challenge organised by Facebook in partnership with Andela. The goal was to mentor a team of software engineers and designers in building the next big technology solution out of Africa for 7 weeks. I had the privilege to meet & work with different bright minds in building awesome solutions that can solve specific SDG challenges for the African tech ecosystem and community.

It was such an interesting journey and great learning experience as I worked hand in hand with different people from different parts of Africa In building innovative solutions.

After the 7 weeks period, I was invited to serve as one of the Expert Judges at the Virtual Demo day event to assess the projects done by various teams and to grade them based on creativity, performance and uniqueness of their solution. I was amazed by the different interesting projects done by the different teams that presented. This is proof that African’s developers are very smart and creative when it comes to problem-solving and innovation.

It was an awesome moment for me to give back to the community, meet new folks and mentor them on their journey to becoming great developers. I also got the chance to learn new stuff from different people and fellow mentors from other countries in Africa. All of these happened completely online.

Mentor, Ingressive for Good (I4G)

I also served as a Mentor during the Ingressive 4 Good mentorship program where I had the opportunity to contribute towards the growth of the I4G student community and the technology ecosystem within Nigeria and Africa at large. The program Which lasted from September to the end of October 2020 is a 2-month duration where I got matched with my mentee with the goal of developing their capacity in their desired area of interest . I was a mentor on the Product management track.

EFInA’s Fintech4WD Ideathon and Hackathon

EFinA stands for Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access . During the month of September, I and a few of my friends heard about the EFInA’s Fintech4WD Ideathon with the goal of challenging innovators to propose ideas to catalyse financial services access for micro-enterprises during COVID-19.

A total of 162 teams (468 participants) registered for the Ideathon challenge, which included four pre-submission webinars by industry experts to support teams in developing relevant solutions. The ideas developed by the teams were reviewed by a panel of six judges. Winners and runners-up were selected based on the quality of the idea, the local readiness of the idea for the Nigerian consumers and context, and potential impact on microenterprises.

Following numerous evaluation rounds, the top 3 teams were selected from the Ideathon. My team (Team Locksley) was selected amongst the top 3 teams finishing as 2nd place with a cash prize of N1 Million.

After, we proceeded to the Fintech4wd Hackathon stage. The hackathon was to challenge every team that won the ideation to develop their innovative solutions into a workable product (MVP).

After two evaluation rounds, my team also came out as top 3 teams winners being selected from the Hackathon with more cash prices and access to a startup incubation support programs.

We got featured on major newspapers like Vanguard, Punch, Business Day and many more and tech publication websites in Nigeria like TechCabal and the likes.

Top online news platform my name and project were featured on.

Music Tech Innovation Challenge

I and my team (Music Hangout) applied for the Music — Tech Innovation Challenge which is a competition aimed at identifying and developing innovative solutions across four opportunity areas in the Nigerian music industry that can benefit from the application of technology. After the first round of application, we came out top 12 shortlisted ideas and solutions from across the country.

On December 2nd, My team which was among the 12 finalists got to pitch our technology solutions and ideas before a panel of experts. We later came out top 5 winning the innovation challenge under the Audience favourite category with the solution idea with the most audience votes, over 600 votes.

Audience favourite vote

Online Certifications

Throughout the year 2020, I had different certificates from different top-notch Universities and online training and certification programs. My year 2020 was full of learning and getting better with close to 20 different online courses. Kindly check my LinkedIn profile to view them some of them.

Speaking Conference

This year I got the opportunity to speak at an online conference where I was a guest speaker at the TDA Innovations Business and Idea conference 2020. I got to speak on the topic “ How to use Technology to Scale your Business for the future”

In attendances were different business owners and entrepreneurs from different business industry.

Major Online conferences

  • Delegate, Africa Early Stage Investor Summit (#AESIS2020): This year the annual ‘for investors, by investors’ event brought together different Africa’s early-stage investor community from around Africa which was fully virtual.
  • Participant, Startup school by TheBulb Africa: One of my Startups, Music Hangout got in into the academy for a comprehensive 8-week virtual training where different founders like me learnt the art and science of problem-solving, design thinking, business development as well as the leadership skills needed to help scale fast.
  • Black Product Manager — The Black Product Managers (BPM) Network is a community of diverse product leaders who are passionate about advancing in their careers and increasing representation. The majority of BPM members reside in San Francisco and New York.
  • Eko Innovation Product School
  • Tons of different online meetings, webinars and conferences where I leant and met different people from around the world

Challenges Faced

Despite the little wins I could account for, I had some challenges that came along the way.

  • I hardly had time to eat and sleep well. Most time I get to forget that have not eaten due to long hours of work. My sleep was a bit affected because I was combining work with other activities all day and night.
  • Became broke at some point when I left my job and was spending money on some of my startup idea.
  • I felt like giving up at different point in time when things seems not to be making sense.
  • Had some issues managing and collaborating with some team effectively for a while at some point since most of them are not used to remote working.
  • I sometimes felt lonely and isolated at some point since I had less physical interaction with people because of Covid and social distancing .

Life

  • My Family: Dad, Mum and Siblings (am really grateful for having them) where all in good health in this year.
  • I enjoyed grace, favour protection and provision.
  • I made new friends and partners
  • I had a girlfriend and got my first kiss.
  • Built a couple of projects for some companies
  • I learnt a lot about startups, investors and building of great product

I am extremely grateful for meeting extraordinary people who were such an inspiration and motivation to me throughout the year. I want to also a very big thank you to everyone who make 2020 a great year for me.

What I Am Grateful For

  • I am grateful for the different teams I got the chance to work with — Team Locksley, Music Hangout, NextGen. Thanks for the amazing works and achievement made. I’m super proud and grateful for everyone.
  • Grateful for protection, abundance, Good health and right connections.
  • Grateful for every personal and collective successes
  • The gift of family and friendships. I spent months with my family. Thanks to Covid and the lockdown.
  • I gained a lot friends this year and I am so grateful for everyone of them.
  • I am grateful to God for my life and all the things he has given to me.

What I am Not Proud Of

  • Got a couple of rejection emails from top companies i’d have love to work with.
  • Didn’t read as much books i’d have love to.
  • Didn’t let go of somethings.
  • Was too hard on myself because of little mistakes.
  • I over worked myself and took less care of myself.

2021: What’s the Plan?

I’m excited for 2021 even though I know there’s a whole lot of work ahead. In short, I already tagged it a year of excellence, greater achievements, growth and greater exploit in abundance of God’s Grace and Unmerited favours. I believe it will be my best year yet.

I believe 2021 will be more fruitful and rewarding. Therefore, I will do my best to be a better me, travel more, impact more lives, build more awesome products, do more learning and most importantly, ensure everyday day counts.

You can follow me on Twitter, or find me on LinkedIn. Let’s conquer the world in 2021 by solving problems, building great products and by lifting everyone around us!!!

Cheers to an amazing 2021.

Solution driven| Lover of Technology and Innovation | Quick Learner.