How I Work: Mark Essien, tech genius on a mission to ‘fix Africa’

by | Jan 27, 2020

When you think of innovation in Africa’s tech ecosystem, Mark Essien is one of the few names that come to mind. Seven years after founding Hotels.ng, an online hotel booking platform, Mark has continued to impact the ecosystem through his writing, speaking, and internship programs.

On this How I Work edition, Mark Essien gives us an inside look into how he stays productive.

Current role: Chief Executive Officer, Hotels.ng
Location(s): Lekki, Lagos (Home office); Yaba, Lagos (Office, Office)
Current computer: ThinkPad X1
Current mobile device: Google Pixel XL
Describe how you work in one word: to-do list-driven


Tell us briefly how you started out and how you got where you are today

I started out as a software developer, saw an opportunity in travel in Africa, and went for it.

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Walk us through a typical workday

I check what’s on my to-do list and execute them. Usually, I have team meetings, product reviews, and administrative work (like preparing a pitch).

I tend to have meetings at the top of the hour, and use the last 15 minutes of the hour to clear something off my list.

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What apps, gadgets, or tools can’t you do without?

Phone and laptop.

What’s your favourite shortcut or hack?

Avoiding all notifications — I only pull, I don’t let anything get pushed to me. I don’t join any groups on my phone. I don’t use any apps — like Twitter — on my phone. I only use the browser.

What task do you dislike but still do?

Dealing with taxes or government-related matters.

How do you keep track of what you have to do?

Todoist for immediate tasks and Trello for my annual plans.

How do you recharge or take a break?

I watch or read science fiction while eating.

Besides work, what do you spend time doing? What do you enjoy?

I enjoy playing tennis and race cycling. 

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What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to? What do you recommend?

Watching Dark on Netflix. 

Listening to Metallica.

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What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Take responsibility for everything.

What’s a problem you’re still trying to solve?

How to fix Africa.

Who would you like to see answer these questions?

Anyone for whom it would be interesting.

Samuel Okike
Samuel Okike

I write about media, technology and internet culture. Reach me on Twitter @okikesam

On January 22, 2022, be part of the largest gathering of innovators, startup founders, thinkers, programmers, policymakers, and investors in West Africa. Register free.

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