Hey Ope! Thanks so much for joining us today! Would you mind telling us about yourself?
Thank you for having me. I’m Opeyemi Olabode, a life coach, author, and blockchain developer.
I love being at the cutting edge of technology but I also spend a lot of time mentoring and training others.
A life coach! How’d that come about?
I’ve always loved to help people fast-track their journey in life. I spent a lot of my childhood in leadership roles and during university, I mentored other undergraduates. Right now, I also mentor teenagers in Ibadan.
How did you get started as a developer?
My journey as a developer started in 2013 when I experienced my first campus ASUU strike. During this I met a lady in my church who was in her fourth year studying Computer Science. She had web design tutorials on her PC that I copied. Fortunately, we had a desktop computer at home so I could practice them both day and night.
Even though my course was Computer Engineering, the syllabus didn't teach us to become developers so I spent my semester breaks gaining experience. Hackathons and bootcamps on campus also helped.
Really interesting. How did you get interested in Web 3.0?
My transition into Web3 happened systematically.
In 2019, I began hearing web3 buzzwords everywhere. By August 2020, I came across a whatsapp post of the Africa Blockchain Alliance. They were giving a scholarship to attend the Consensys Academy Blockchain Developers' Bootcamp. I didn't take it seriously but at the last minute decided to register. It was through them that I got into the first Ethereum hackathon in Nigeria, ETHLagos 2020.
Once I completed ETHLagos and the Consensys Bootcamp, I had a solid foundation of the basics. From there, I hopped on EtherPunk and and ETHDenver hackathons. I also joined the Binance Africa Masterclass and hackathon too.
During all these learning seasons, I kept my web2.0 job, waiting for the right moment to make the dive. I didn’t leave my Web 2.0 job until June 2021
What convinced you?
I loved the challenge of blockchain technology. In web2.0, developers mainly have to think about security, stability, and scalability.
In web3, you also have to think about mathematics, cryptography, security, economics, business, interoperability, gas prices etc.
I worked in my previous full stack role for 3 years and wanted to leave peacefully so I waited for the right time to say goodbye. I was handling very key projects as the lead developer, one of which involved a foremost bank in Africa. I wasn't willing to sacrifice my relationships for my new career direction.
If I had left abruptly, the company would have been stranded for awhile. I am still on good terms with everyone in that company which is what I always wanted. I consider that a core value for me.
By the time I was finally ready to leave, I had already turned down at least 15 offers.
15 Offers! That's incredible. How did these come about?
They mainly came through referrals and Linkedin DMs.
That's admirable. In the end, which company did you go with?
Brinc Finance which is a DeFi 2.0 project. They’re a bonding curve token protocol.
Very cool. What have you learned from your experiences so far?
First, remote work doesn’t just take you out of the office, it takes you into the world.
It’s not just about flexibility; it’s about allowing Blacks, Latin Americans, Asians, and Europeans to work together with the same vision, discipline, standards, and values.
I totally agree. What else?
This was my first fully remote job so I didn't have a proper workspace. This affected my back. Remote developers should go for healthy chairs and tables. They should also do exercises once in a while and pay attention to their diet. Put a system around it if you're too busy to cook but eat healthily and rest well.
I also learnt to attend meetings promptly and deal with a diversified team. There were also timezone challenges which is typical of the web3 space. I was 8 hours behind some team members and 8hours ahead of others so I had team meetings at 2am. Now I have clear working hours so that I can attend to other things outside work, but I needed to be faithful in attendance first when it wasn't as convenient.
Wow. This is really great advice. Sounds like time zones can be tough to manage
Yes. Another challenge I had was that web3 devs must embrace the reality of entirely new challenges that can come up at any time.
It could be an issue with Geth updates, or with EIP1559 transactions as I had when I started. I looked everywhere for the solution, but couldn't find it. I eventually found the workaround on Twitter because it was a trending issue. The point is that there will always be issues and you may not find the answer on stack exchange.
Also, it is a MUST to have a personal learning plan. It doesn’t have to be in line with your current company’s tech. For example, even though I work on a DeFI 2.0 project, I have actively been learning about GameFi and Metaverse development. I am also an active member of WolfDAO, building a solution that tokenizes time as NFTs.
Ope this is a masterclass, please continue!
In dealing with cultural differences, he who wants friends must first of all be friendly. I've learnt that the choice is largely mine. I can either keep racial boundaries or break the barriers.
We need to keep an open mind towards every team member, especially when there are language barriers. For instance, a lot of my team members speak Korean and a couple cannot speak English fluently so translations are done at times.
During code reviews it’s not wise to take ownership of another team member’s task or module without authorization. I also encourage devs to use questions rather than enforcing their opinions on others.
Differences of opinion are worse when you don't have any idea what is being said in the other language. It’s very important to keep an open mind and be simple in all things.
What’s next for you? Do you want to continue working in DeFi?
I will keep working in DeFi for a little while longer. I also want to explore other use cases of blockchains.
I’m particularly interested in the Metaverse space and hope to jump into it fully soon. I’m also optimistic that blockchains will be the bedrock of IoT in the future. I think I will always be moving with the trends and innovation.
Amazing. I can’t wait to see what you do next. I’m also excited to see if you can beat your previous record of 15 offers 😅.
Haha....thank you. I’ve already rejected two metaverse offers, actually. 😄😄😄
What's the best way for people to keep in touch with you?
That would be through my LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.
Great. Thanks so much for joining us today. Really appreciate the shared experience and wisdom!
Thank you very much