My Lifestyles In Tech is inserting human faces to some the progressive startups, investments, and policy formations utilizing the technology sector across Africa.
It is midday when she joins our Google Meet name from her dwelling in Amsterdam. On her aspect, the weather is 10 levels but whatever the chilly, she tells me the skies are blue and the sun is out.
We spoke per week earlier than she was to commence up her new role as Netflix’s Director of Payments for the Europe Heart East and Africa living.
Of the a range of laughs we had throughout the name, basically the most memorable got right here when I asked her what she would usually attain to unwind after a protracted day at work.
“Netflix,” she said and we both cackled for what felt like some time.
There’ll be no escaping that wide red N within the days to advance again.
Nonetheless earlier than Netflix, there was Uber, Etisalat, some DJing right here, some scuba diving there.
Her name is Ebi Atawodi and that is her life in tech.
Give it up for the DJ. Plump Stack Developer. Lifetime Pupil
In case you visited Atawodi in her dwelling on the present time and it was night, she would seemingly be at her piano playing tune with a practised dexterity that tells you she does this on the total – and she does.
Nonetheless if this meeting took living while she was an engineering student at Nottingham University, then potentialities are you’ll per chance presumably have met a younger Atawodi along with her palms on wheels of steel, thrilling listeners with the thumping bass of dwelling tune.
DJing on the university’s radio space was one thing she did because she loved tune, but funding this enjoyment was no stroll within the park.
“I like tune. I labored onerous as hell at two allotment-time jobs to develop ample money to bewitch vinyl info for my turntables.”
While she studied on the university, Atawodi was already a paunchy-stack developer and thanks to this, her university abilities was varied from that of her peers.
“[University] was now not drudgery. I wasn’t going to the C programming class or the control systems class because I needed to. I would creep because I critical to brand what I’d be doing at work the following day.”
And her job as a developer was at a startup called Connect2Car founded by Kemgadi Nwachukwu.
Nwachukwu was an older family ideal friend who, by sharing links to platforms like W3 Colleges, helped Atawodi survey an complete new world of finding out earlier than she even bought into the university.
“My mother was a book lover and we had books at some level of the dwelling but it was the most main time I knew that I would possibly perhaps creep on the online and browse and learn design more.”
Armed along with her dial-up web connection – sluggish because it was – Atawodi grew to became unstoppable. From HTML to ActionScript, the entirety that would be learned was learned and the correct restrict she faced was her mother telling her to shut the computer down when it was time for bed.
With this starvation for info at a younger age, the stage gave the influence living for what is going to became one amongst Atawodi’s ideal strengths – her ability to learn and adapt.
From heading communications at Etisalat to heading funds at Uber, Atawodi has needed to avoid wasting on many hats and with every hat, she has had a system to assist her opt into any role. Fortunately for us, she had no reservations about sharing.
Joining a new crew is daunting and for her, two things are critical to procure.
There’s the exterior info; i.e, the things you learn earlier than you resume your role.
“When I joined Uber [as General Manager] I remember I had a Google Doc of all the other general manager interviews in markets that had been are residing, I watched all of them. I was taking exhibit of what they had been announcing.”
Combined with this had been hours of reading what of us had been complaining about and what the market wanted.
She would attain the same when it was time to address funds at Uber.
“I didn’t know the leisure about funds. I remember going online to google things like ‘funds 101’ and ‘funds for dummies’.”
After this comes the inside of information. The day arrives and now or now not it is miles main to commence up working in a firm with an gift crew and constructing. For Atawodi, she attracts inspiration from a book called “The First 90 days.”
The book insists that what stage the firm is in; are they expanding, are they shopping for traders, and many others. and what comes next is questioning and listening.
“I attain a 360 where I factual creep listen. I inquire of the connected stakeholders what they attain and what keeps them up at night. And then I inquire of them what they’d focal level on within the most main 90 days if they had been me.”
Atawodi emphasises that the drag to gaining info begins with admitting that you attain now not have it.
“It’s k to now not know.”
“How about we stick with services and products?”
Ebi Atawodi was born in Lagos, Nigeria but due to her father’s work as a fighter pilot within the Nigerian Air Power, she needed to pass round loads. Some years had been spent in Benue, Nigeria, some within the UK and a few others in Pakistan. With every pass she needed to change colleges.
“I as soon as did a count and in total, I feel I moved 12 instances”
Nonetheless even with all this plod, Atawodi loved being dwelling in Nigeria.
In the course of our name we talked about what she cherished to be unsleeping of and aside from Bjork and Icelandic tune, she listens to a range of Nigerian tune because it helps her now not leave out dwelling as powerful.
After working about a years at a digital company within the UK and turning staunch into a tech lead with an appreciation for construct, Atawodi wanted a taste of the commerce aspect of things; a possibility to electrify selections as somebody who knows what it is miles have to construct, code and implement a resolution.
She determined to construct her have table and sit at it. This table would be her have commerce – the Apple Retailer in Abuja.
This day Atawodi tells me she is cautious about how she hires of us as a result of events that resulted in the failure of that commerce.
After rigging a system by herself to detect foot web notify online visitors into her retailer, Atawodi found that she couldn’t realize why so many folk had been coming into the retailer and shopping for nothing at all.
To procure to the muse of the topic, she asked her chums to envision out shopping for objects within the retailer and share their abilities.
It grew to became out her employees had been promoting Apple products that weren’t allotment of the Apple Retailer’s stock; hence dropping Atawodi a range of cash.
The year was 2008 and when it was raining, it was pouring. The year also brought the arena financial disaster and with that, the associated fee of the naira plummeted and it grew to became onerous to account for working a commerce that intriguing shopping for and promoting hardware.
“After that, I said, ‘ what, I’m going to achieve a carrier commerce’. No more instruments.”
Despite her disappointment, Atawodi took one other stab at entrepreneurship and living up her have digital company which garnered about a excessive profile purchasers but it was now not long earlier than the CEO of Etisalat, a reasonably new cell network on the time, supplied her a job as head of corporate communications and sponsorships.
Issues to thank Ebi Atawodi for
Atawodi joined Etisalat in 2012 where she began to push for more partnerships that saw Etisalat’s ticket develop by partnering with the humanities and showcasing them.
Her adore for literature, artwork, and tune would advance to play with about a key applications she offered.
First, there was the Etisalat Prize for Literature. Instituted in 2013, it soon grew to became a sought after prize for many African authors. This initiative also gave upward thrust to the Etisalat Prize for Flash Fiction.
2nd, Etisalat – thru the Etisalat Images Competition – grew to became a critical sponsor for the annual Lagos Picture Competition – an occasion that brought photographers from world huge to the metropolis of Lagos for days of discussions, exhibitions and events. A staunch form cultural alternate.
The third was a carrier called Cloudnine that allowed of us to stream tune on their gadgets.
“Honest staunch is now not shining ample”
Atawodi abhors the thought that shining is shining ample. She is repeatedly pushing for better.
When there had been doubts about her options for changing the strategy of us pay for Uber across the globe, she simply allow them to know that she was there to exhibit them one other technique.
And when there was skepticism about partnering with the humanities at Etisalat, she said, “factual encounter me work.”
Lots has been written about Netflix’s extremely competitive custom but a witness at her history with competing in opposition to her have self gives one the sense that Atawodi can also simply have factual found a home at Netflix.
She was four years vulnerable when she jumped staunch into a pool and nearly drowned. Her floater deflated while she was within the water and a man wearing his paunchy squash equipment jumped in to rescue her.
“Water grew to became this thing that I feared and revered. I had this adore-abominate relationship with water, but I needed to distress myself. I’m my ideal competition.”
This day, Atawodi begins her day with some indoor rowing. She also sails, and somewhat excitingly, scuba dives.
After leaving Etisalat and needing a protracted damage, she went diving within the Canary Islands and Indonesia in 2014.
The outing was a in actuality memorable one for her.
“And then money performed so…” When she says this, we giggle again.
In Nigeria, Uber was about to enter the market and Atawodi, again from her diving outing, was at a conference where she met a launcher from Uber. After talking to him she began to inquire of questions about their programs and tried to search out out what plans they had and urged in line with what she had learnt working with Etisalat.
Factual there he asked her if she would apply to be Overall Manager. On the time, she factual desired to repeat startups and bewitch damage day from a 9-5. After two weeks of being overjoyed, she utilized and the comfort is history.
One thing more that ought to be on the list of things to thank Atawodi for: on the present time Uber has an API that lets in of us to pay for his or her Uber trips with whatever strategy of cost they’ve; from cell wallets to M-PESA.
The drag to this success started on the day she woke as a lot as search out that over 90% of funds on Uber in Lagos had failed. The ideal those that had been still able to make utilize of the Uber app had been those that had linked their international playing cards.
With her info of the market, she was able to living up the partnership between Uber and Flutterwave that now enables Uber to receive funds from native playing cards.
After this feat, Atawodi was promoted to Head of Product, Payments and like she’d executed over and over earlier than, she needed to pass, but this time to Amsterdam. This role is where she created the API with the Uber funds crew.
This day, she is responsible of funds for one amongst Netflix’s largest regions. And while it is a market with its have peculiarities, it’s critical to preserve in thoughts that over and over Ebi Atawodi has shown that every we’ve got got to achieve is factual encounter her work.