Every quarter, Techpoint Africa publishes the Nigerian Startup Funding Report, a data-rich compendium on the funding activities within the local internet startup space. Behind these reports is Yinka Awosanya who works with the Intelligence team to gather and make sense of the data.
When he’s not staring at endless spreadsheets, he’s either covering Africa’s tech giants or analysing how government policies are affecting technology on the continent. Here’s how he’s working from home during this pandemic.
- Current role: Team Lead, Intelligence by Techpoint and Corporate & Governance Editor, Techpoint Africa
- Location: Lagos
- Current computer: ASUS Notebook PC (currently being fixed)
- Current mobile device: Huawei Y9 Prime
- Describe what working in this pandemic is like, in one word: Boring
Tell us briefly what you do and what your job entails.
As an editor, I give the reporters advice on what to do, and how to do it as well as recommendations on how best to approach their work. Also, I contribute to their pitches during our weekly editorial meetings.
As regards Intelligence, I work on the Nigerian Startup Funding Report. And so far, we’ve released ten reports. Additionally, I consult for the company when clients need our data gathering and analysis services.
Tell us briefly how you started your career and how you got where you are today.
I started my career in journalism accidentally. Though I was president of my secondary school’s press club, I went in a different direction afterwards and did computer training before working as a cybercafé attendant.
After that, I got a job as a research/editorial assistant at a media company in Lagos. That was the first corporate environment I would work in, and that’s how I got started. I did not even start as a reporter, I started by doing some secretarial work in the office. At some point, we started a blog and I was doing the writing, which mostly focused on agriculture, climate change, and a bit of technology.
After a while, I started freelancing. When I left that media house and joined Tech360 NG, as a freelancer. Techpoint Africa launched in 2015, and when I was extended an invitation to join, I declined. Instead, I freelanced for the company from 2015 through most of 2016.
And then from the end of 2016 all through 2017, I was on a sabbatical; I didn’t do any major writing. When I came back in 2018, I joined the Techpoint Africa team full-time. Apart from writing, I’ve been on the Intelligence team, working on our reports.
Is this your first time fully working from home?
No, this is not my first time. As stated, I was a freelance agent between 2015 and 2016. All the writing, graphic designs, and secretarial duties I did were done from home.
However, it’s different because then I chose to work from home. But now that I can’t go out, I don’t have a choice.
Walk us through a typical workday since you started working from home.
On days when I have to either join the general or editorial meeting, I wake up at 6 or 7 a.m., take my morning walk, and then make breakfast. There are some days when I have meetings scheduled for after the in-house meetings; I talk to potential clients at these other meetings. I also send proposals and talk to reporters about what they’re working on if they need my help.
Apart from that, I stare at spreadsheets all day because everything I’ve been doing this year has been centred on data.
Because I need electricity to work, I turn on my laptop and get to work once there is power. Consequently, I don’t have a closing time, which is terrible. Sometimes, I might not work for three to four hours at a stretch, but I make up for the lost time when I settle down to work. So sometimes I work late into the night just to make sure that I finish my tasks for the day.
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What apps, gadgets, or tools have you been relying on to work from home, and how do you use them?
My phone, mostly for meetings on Google Meet and Zoom; my MiFi for connecting to the Internet; Google apps: Sheets and Docs; Slack for team collaboration and communication; Evernote for taking notes; my laptop, and my power bank.
Having to work from home, how do you allocate time for work and other things?
So when there is power, I try to work on office assignments. Then when there is no power or late into the night when I don’t have anything to do, I try to unwind by watching Netflix or playing games. I also take a walk while listening to podcasts.
How do you avoid/cope with distractions?
I live alone so there are no distractions, except maybe food. When I’m working, I sometimes pop into the kitchen to get something to eat. And then thirty or sixty minutes later, I’m back in the kitchen trying to eat something.
How do you recharge or take a break?
I take a walk, play games, or watch shows on Netflix.
What’s your biggest challenge with working from home and how are you trying to solve it?
My biggest challenge with working from home is power supply and Internet connectivity.
To solve the power problem, I use my generator which I turn on for two to three hours to do as much as I can. But most times I try to do attend to everything that is on my plate when there is power. Then for Internet connectivity, I purchase mobile data and use my MiFi as a backup.
What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to? What do you recommend?
Reading: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Greg Shaw, Jill Tracie Nichols, and Satya Nadella
Listening to: Hidden Brain, Pessimists Archive, Business Wars, Built in Africa by Techpoint Africa (all podcasts).
Watching: The Family, Orange Is the New Black, and Black Mirror on Netflix, and Everybody Hates Chris.
Recommend: The Story of Us, The Story of God, and Hip-Hop Evolution (all documentaries).
What piece of advice would you give someone trying to adapt to working from home?
Find what works for you and stick to it. There are no two ways about it.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Victor Asemota, Growth Partner at AnD Ventures; Tope Olofin, CEO of NaturaGlow by Abby Jo; and Adedeji Olowe, CEO of Trium Networks.