My Decade Long Experience in Marketing and Growth

Olumide Aderinwale
4 mins read
Remote Religion is a series which shines a spotlight into the life of a remote tech worker in Africa. We explore the promise and perils of remote work and how to navigate career transition.
In this edition of Remote Religion, we spoke with Olabinjo Adeniran, a Growth manager based in Lagos, Nigeria. We talk about his journey into growth marketing, how he decides what to work on and his advice for growth enthusiasts looking to pursue a career in marketing.

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:

  1. User acquisition - build depth in certain channels like SEO or using one's network to grow customer bases.
  2. Product loops and triggers - How do we get people to talk about this product? How do we get people to use this product with their friends? How do we get people to keep coming back to use this product? How do products like this typically grow?
  3. Business models. How does this product make money, and what features have the highest margins or lowest margins. How do we grow without diminishing these margins?

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:

  1. Does this product make sense?
  2. How does the business make money?
  3. How much margin does it make on the product/service it provides?
  4. Who are the founders? Do they have the capacity to build the company?
  5. Do I think this company can succeed? If I don't think a company can succeed it becomes very difficult for me to sell it to other people.
  6. What problems exist in the space today and are they interesting for me to solve?
  7. How can my existing skills & experience help this company succeed?

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.

  1. More optimised computing networks. I think of blockchains as a new kind of computing network. I'm excited about platforms building new types of networks that power different types of transactions like Filecoin and Solana
  2. I'm excited about the opportunity that crypto provides to connect Africans to the global economy. We're underserved and disconnected and need to participate in the online world. We've been out of it for so so long in different measures. I think crypto can help us bridge the economic gap

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?

Twitter @binjoadeniran




Want more content like this?

Thank you!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Read More