Starting out his career as a software developer in 2001, Oluwapelumi Oyetimein realized that there was more to building a successful app than writing code. After trying his hands at other aspects of business, he decided to focus on marketing. Today, Oyetimein has made a name for himself in the industry, leading marketing and growth for several top companies.
Today on How I Work, he talks about his transition from software development to marketing and how he consistently stays on top of his game.
Current role: Marketing Lead at Umba
Location(s): Ibadan, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya
Current computer: HP Omen 15
Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Describe how you work in one word: Remotely
Tell us briefly how you started out and how you got where you are today
I actually started out as a developer and a lot of people don’t know that. I think because over the past 10 years I’ve done more of marketing, it slightly eroded into the background.
I built my first website in 2001 and eventually went into proper desktop software development around 2007. But in 2011, I decided to switch to marketing.
So, I built a mobile app which got downloaded a bit, I think about 300,000 downloads at that time. And I think the turning point for me was entering a bus and seeing someone beside me using the mobile app that I built. I realized that a lot of developers who have these ideas don’t learn how to build a business around it. So, I decided that I needed to figure out how proper businesses work and eventually be able to build a business on my own.
I moved from development and started out with operations, then accounting, and then marketing. When I got to marketing, I said, “okay, fine this, works better.” And then with marketing, I started looking at what would be better for me considering my background, so I decided to stay in digital and doubled down on performance marketing and growth. That’s where I’ve played in the past five years now.
What does your work entail? Walk us through a typical workday
My day starts with me going through the numbers on my different dashboards to see their performance, and then backtracking from the numbers to see what can be done to either optimize or keep stuff running.
Then of course, there’s the strategy and the brainstorming part. This is when I sit back and then look at what I can do differently. I have a whiteboard that I use to plan things out. Then I have a proper brainstorming session with my team where we look at the problems we can solve for the week. We sit down and take a couple of minutes to brainstorm and then start implementing that solution for the rest of the week. So it’s data, strategy and then execution.
And then of course there’s the team management part where I have to work with other team members, and especially as a lead, ensuring that everybody working on the team is progressing in their own way and also delivering on what we all set out to do. I also have to manage up, because I also have bosses to whom I give updates on what we’re working on and get feedback with respect to the business.
What apps, gadgets, or tools can’t you do without?
For gadgets, the one thing that I always have with me is my phone, and then other times, my laptop. I make a joke in my circles that wherever I am with my phone and laptop, that’s my office.
The tools which I use on a day to day: Google Sheets for data analysis, the entire Google Workspace, so Sheets, Slides, and Docs. But outside of Google, I use tools like Hotjar, Customer.io, Notion, and Slack. I know a lot of people try to separate work from WhatsApp, but WhatsApp as well.
What’s your favorite shortcut or hack for getting things done?
One of the things I do is to ensure that everybody knows their part. If everybody knows what they’re supposed to be doing, it makes your own work easier. I also take note of all the things that I have to do and then check them off as they’re happening so that I have a sense of accomplishment on the things that I’m doing.
What task(s) do you dislike but still do?
I hate repetitive stuff. It kills me, really, but then I still have to do them.
For example, something I’m doing right now is ensuring that the campaigns we have running on Customer.io are documented properly with descriptions and all of that. It’s repetitive because I have to go look at the campaign, copy and paste the link. It kills me but I still have to do it because we can’t keep track without knowing what we have.
How do you recharge or take a break?
I play games, watch movies and then I sleep. Sleep is very necessary because for people who look at screens a lot, the eyes get tired.
What are you currently listening to, watching or reading?
I’m rewatching Suits. For what I’m listening to, I just play any of the nineties or 2000s Hip Hop playlists on YouTube Music. By the way, I rank YouTube Music over all the other ones. Apple Music comes like a distant third after YouTube and Spotify.
I’ve not really had time to read proper books in a while, but there are blogs that I’m looking at. CXL has a very in-depth blog and Ladder.io has really growth focused blogs.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
One is to “be at the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing”. I’ve always tried to live by that.
The second one is pinned to the top of my Twitter profile: “Don’t just show up, show up with the intention to be excellent. Don’t just do stuff, do it to be the best.”
The third one is that “everything is negotiable”.
What’s a problem you’re still trying to solve?
Influencing customer behaviour for the less digitally-savvy group of Nigerians. It can be quite a pain building a product and recycling the same set of people who are digitally savvy. How do we make certain behaviours second nature so that certain barriers are almost non-existent.
Unfortunately, some people have made it worse by being criminally-minded so while surmounting the initial barrier, you also have to start talking about how safe digital products are. It can be quite exasperating.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Bukayo Ewuoso, Senior Account Manager for West & Central Africa at Eskimi; Ntongha Ekot, Growth and Marketing professional; and Olumide Akinsola, Group VP of Growth and Marketing at QuickBus.