Thanks for taking the time to chat with me on Remote Religion today. Please tell me about yourself
My name is Olabinjo Adeniran. I'm a growth & marketing expert for startups. I've worked and consulted for some of Africa’s largest technology startups including four YCombinator-backed startups. I also co-founded and led growth at Future Africa - Africa’s fastest-growing venture capital company, investing $6 million in over 60 startups in 2 years.
Thanks, Binjo! You've had extensive decade-long experience in marketing and growth. How did it all start?
I got into marketing randomly.
Originally, I wanted to become a developer so I started a blog in high school to learn how to build websites. Later, during my A levels, I teamed up with some classmates to start another technology-focused blog and became the one responsible for driving traffic to it.
This drove me to write content and get good at driving engagement using social media. Because of this, I got noticed by startups in Nigeria and received my first offer to manage social media for a startup in 2012.
Amazing! I noticed you've worked at two crypto companies before the recent Web3 hype. What were the problems you were solving then and how were your experiences there?
I was contracted to manage digital channels for Bitkoin Africa (now Hellicarrier) in mid-2017. The challenge at the time was that there was some interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies but there wasn't enough education. People had heard about it but didn't know how it worked, how to use it, what to use it for, or where to purchase some safely.
So, I spent a bunch of my time at Hellicarrier creating educative content. Coincidentally, this was the year when Nigeria got on the global crypto map. By late 2017, Bitcoin searches reached a high point globally and Nigeria was the number 1 market. Because of the articles we published at Hellicarrier, we ranked top 3 for Nigerian Bitcoin searches.
Later, I joined another crypto-focused startup called Bundle. While there I was responsible for building an early community of adopters who helped us test and refine the product before launch. I also built a waitlist and referral system which got us 11K people before we launched.
How do you think growth marketing has changed from when you started. How would you advise someone just starting out or considering a career in it?
I think a lot has changed. Initially, startups hired digital marketers focused on driving external acquisition.
Now a lot of startups are hiring growth marketing folks so they can think beyond external forces of acquisition and build growth loops inside products themselves. Today growth marketers help fix things like onboarding or notification systems and think about retention triggers from day one. For someone who wants to build a growth marketing career, I'll advise them to study 3 things:
You've worked extensively at startups, and almost all companies you've worked at have gone on to find success. How do you evaluate companies to join? Do have any mental models / frameworks you use?
Yes, I do. I ask myself a number of questions:
I like to think of the companies I work for like I'm an investor. The longer it takes to convince me that the product makes sense, the less likely I'm going to work there. I like companies that charge fees, have healthy margins, and have large opportunities for growth
Are you an advocate for career breaks? I read on Benjamin Dada that you took one in 2018, and it seems you're currently taking one now. Why?
In 2018, I discovered that my self-worth was heavily tied to my work, and I didn't like it. So I took time off work to consciously detach myself.
Work should be a path to something - a goal, income, impact, working with others. Unfortunately, we spend a lot of time at work and it tends to encroach too much on who we are. I needed to create better boundaries between work and myself.
Hmm. You're so right! What's getting you excited in the crypto / web3 recently?
I'm excited about a couple of things.
Awesome! What do you do for fun?
I sleep, try to eat new food (although I always end up at the same Lagos restaurants), exercise, read books, watch a lot of movies and series, do a little bit of gardening, and I plan to do a lot of travel this year.
Awesome! So what’s next for you?
I honestly don't know. I do know that I want to do a lot of writing. I just published a book that's a compilation of a 30-day series. I'm currently working on the 2nd one. There might be 2 more before the end of the year, maybe one on Web3 in Africa. I'm very open to what I want to do next and not very rigid on the details.
Thank you for your time, 'Binjo! How can people follow you?