Since entering the African market in 2015, the impact of music streaming platform, Boomplay, has unarguably been felt. Apart from providing its 55 million users with both local and international music, the platform has also ventured into the world of music and entertainment news through its Boombuzz vertical.
On the first How I Work edition of the year, we talk to Joan Omionawele, the Country Manager for Boomplay's media arm, Boombuzz. She shares how she began her career form her university days and walks us through her process as creator and editor in the entertainment industry.
Current role: Country Manager, Boombuzz Nigeria (Boomplay)
Location: Lagos, Nigeria
Current computer: Macbook Air
Current mobile device: iPhone X, iPhone 7
Describe how you work in one word: Smart
Tell us briefly how you started out and how you got where you are today
I have always loved the arts and all its forms of expression. My father is a pharmacist who expected me to toe the same line but I couldn't because physics and chemistry were extremely boring to me. Instead, I would always find myself leading a drama group or participating in a singing or poetry competition at school.
As an undergraduate at the University of Ibadan, I was posted to the Nigerian Tribune Newspapers for my internship. I would spend late nights at the office perfecting my writing and editing skills with my editor at the time who believed in me from day one and taught me the basics of journalism.
After three years at the Nigerian Tribune, I enrolled for my master’s degree in my alma mata and got a job at the NETng, where I worked with amazing people, first as a content manager, then a TV producer, before being promoted to the position of editor at the entertainment platform.
I first discovered Boomplay while listening to King Sunny Ade, my favourite Nigerian music icon. I realised that the streaming service had a media arm as well. Incidentally, the management considered the work I did at the previous organisation I worked at and eventually invited me to join the team. I shared the vision of the HQ team and it’s been a great ride since.
Walk us through your typical workday
My typical day comes in three stages. I barely sleep at night and wake up as early as 4 am. Then I plan my day. I have discovered that on days that I don’t plan my day early enough, I barely get anything done that day.
At the start of the day, I reply and send emails, then I check with my teammates on the task of the day so that everyone knows what to do. Our job entails everyday newsgathering and content publishing on the Boomplay app and across social media platforms.
Be the smartest in the room
Also, as a result of the music distribution business that Boomplay does, we often have to collaborate with artists for events, concerts, and the like.
The team is made up of content writers, videographers, photographers, etc and I have the responsibility to see that each person delivers on their given tasks.
As the company headquarters is in Shenzhen, China, I’m also constantly having telephone meetings with my colleagues over there. On any given day, we speak for no less than two hours.
What apps, gadgets, or tools can’t you do without
Canva, WhatsApp, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Slides, DingTalk, Instagram, my phones, and my Mac.
What’s your favourite shortcut or hack?
The only shortcut is to attack the day early. I find that once I’m able to get things like emails and pending calls out of the way, I’m able to concentrate on actual important tasks.
These days, I’m learning to take a break at 1 pm to simply decompress before getting back to work. And then I make it a point of duty to have a spa session every other week.
What task do you dislike but still do?
That must be reports and presentations. I really wish the world could do without them.
How do you keep track of what you have to do?
A good old fashioned to-do list helps. I’m able to prioritise tasks once I see everything written down. I also use calendars to schedule meetings and DingTalk to remind me of pending deliverables.
How do you recharge or take a break?
I go out with friends or just zone out for a couple of hours. And my spa sessions! Bliss...
Besides work, what do you spend time doing? What do you enjoy?
That’s really tricky for a workaholic like me. I enjoy cracking my friends up as well.
Apart from watching movies and documentaries, I listen to music on Boomplay and watch interviews/talk shows from across the world or scroll through Twitter or Instagram to see what the world is talking/angry about.
What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to? What do you recommend?
That would be Bill Gates' series on Netflix: Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates. It’s incredible to travel through the mind of one of the world’s richest men to see how he built his empire, his achievements, and everything he has been through.
I also recently finished Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys, after one year on Netflix. I think it’s a masterpiece and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
To have courage, and to treat people with kindness and compassion. Also, a lecturer of mine once told me to remain hungry and never settle for mediocrity.
What’s a problem you’re still trying to solve?
I would love to see a situation where women have a fair share on the table and when they eventually do, I’d love to see that they do not compete to bring each other down.
I also hope to own the largest media village in Africa, where young minds all over the world can come to learn 360 media operations. Content is definitely king, and being part of a force which would provide people with this, is my life-long dream.
Being at Boomplay affords me the opportunity to try and do that as we currently serve 72 million subscribers. If we can satisfy 10% of that number, that’s a great thing.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Oprah Winfrey; Jide Taiwo, Chief Content Officer at Boomplay; Adekunbi Kuye, Features Producer, News Central TV; and Iredumare Opeyemi, Head Legal & Partnership Manager (Snr.) at MTN.