Hy Matthew, I am Oyindamola. Please tell me more about yourself.
Hmm, in what aspect now? Ohh Jesus, so this is how it is. (chuckles, in all aspects, anything you can think of). My name is Matthew Olukoju. I am from Ondo State, Nigeria. I am a graduate of FUTA. I studied industrial chemistry and finished in 2019. I like playing video games, listening to music, and watching movies. I am just a regular introvert, I don’t like talking too much, and I am not a social person. Although I like it deep down. I also picked up an interest in sports recently. Apart from this, I am a product designer.
You mentioned that you are from Ondo State, Nigeria. How does it feel to be a Nigerian?
How does it feel to be a Nigerian? It feels like you are so unfortunate. (laughs) That is how I am feeling. I am too special to be in this country. But we are still hoping that Nigeria will become better one day.
I was talking to someone yesterday and we had to bring up the conversation between the older generation and the new generation. So, as a person, which generation do you prefer to be in?
Normal things, I like the new generation. The technological advancement, civilization, and opportunities you have now are nice and quite good. And the fact that a lot of people are moving from the old system, for example; in the aspect of education, the way you do your job, everything is changing fast and rapidly.
And I think this generation is also very fun and fast. We are already launching 5G even though they launched it in some other countries years ago. This generation is quite cool, unlike the older generation, when they were still in the stone age. Now, you can learn and connect with more people on social media in the comfort of your home. Also, talking about jobs and employment, people get to work remotely, and these are all the benefits that come with the advancement in technology and innovations.
Do you think being an introvert is a bad thing?
There is always a good and a bad side to everything, and being an introvert is not an exception. Back then, I was always indoors, I didn’t go out at all. And this was really affecting my communication skills, I hardly made friends. I had very few friends, and I rarely talked to them. But now, I am improving. I can easily relate with people now.
So, you mentioned that you have an interest in sporting activities. Which sport do you have an interest in? Weren’t you a football fan before?
Football is the most popular and biggest sport in the world. But for me, I wasn’t really a big fan of football then. The only players I knew then were Ronaldo and Messi, but now I know more about football. I even have a football team that I support. I listen to the news about them. I am also familiar with the updates. Asides from football. I like basketball, board games, and games of snooker. Although I am yet to learn the last one I mentioned, I played it once and I liked it.
Before you started picking interest in football, what did you do with your free time as a guy?
Most of the time, I press my phone, watch movies, listen to music or just chat with people online.
Well, this question will take you by shock, but I am still going to ask anyway. Some people say “love na scam”. Do you also believe that love na scam?
I won’t say yes and I won’t say no totally. I believe that there is always a good part to something and there is always a bad part. But from my own perspective, what I think is that a lot of people do not understand what love means. They take love for what you like or admire. Let’s say for example, there is a girl or a guy that you like some traits about him/her. It might be something you admire about him/her and not that you love her.
These days, a lot of relationships start like this and they get served breakfast, then they start saying that love na scam. Sometimes, I believe that the person you like might not like you back with the same energy. At the end of the day, if the other person acts the way he/she likes, you can start saying love na scam.
Another example is when you don’t know the intention of your partner or maybe you don’t even care to know. At the end of the day when you break up, you come back saying love na scam.
These days a lot of relationships are based on material things. So my own opinion is that one shouldn’t just love blindly, at least that is why you are educated. You should use your brain and think about what is good and what is not good for you. Sometimes it is not about following your heart, you have to think about what your heart is leading you to do.
So are you trying to say that those who aren’t educated can not love rightly?
It is not like I am saying that. For example, a higher percentage of uneducated people will not fall in love with someone who isn’t educated or someone who is way below your level of education. Let’s just say 80/20. Asides from following your heart, there is a way you measure if the person is good for you in terms of behavior, and family background. Or sometimes their capacity of them being able to take care of you emotionally and other ways people measure the right person for them.
After you have marked all your checklist, you choose to give it a trial and this is where you start spending more time with that person, giving them attention and likeness will start building up then you start loving each other. So I am not saying that an uneducated person cannot love rightly. But based on your level of education and exposure, you would understand things more and know what you should do and shouldn’t do. You will not just take someone’s words and run with them.
Relationship coach! Welcome back from the climax. You took us up and brought us down. I don’t know what you are doing in Digital Abundance if you are fit for a relationship coach like this.
Ahh, no no no. The thing is, a lot of the things that I have said aren’t from experience(laughs). I have seen people complain to other people/ and even on social media. I have also seen a lot of things, even on social media. (Yes, that is what I am saying now. You don’t have to go through some things before you can teach them.) I think it’s just a normal thing for everybody to know. And at the end of the day, even myself, I am going to be in a position where I will have to ask someone.
So let’s come to work. What do you do for Digital Abundance?
I am a product designer.
For the sake of those that don’t know what product design means, can you please tell us what your role entails?
Product design is the aspect of design that helps build digital products like mobile applications and websites. Basically, everything that you interact with on your computer is a result of product design.
Thank you! How long have you been working with digital abundance?
I started working with Digital Abundance in November 2021.
So since you started working with Digital Abundance, how has the experience been so far?
I would say working with Digital Abundance has been fantastic, and over the months I have been able to meet a lot of colleagues and also meet with a lot of new people. I have been able to see the way people make decisions and also how they work. I will just say that it has been wonderful.
What was the experience like as a new staff member at Digital Abundance, knowing fully well that Digital Abundance has a lot of subsidiaries?
At first, I had to adjust to a new environment because it was my first 9-5 job as a product designer. And for the tasks, I wasn’t pushed to do all the tasks all at once, I was assigned to DABA, which was my main project when I came in. But I also support on other projects when needed.
Industrial chemistry and product designing, lol. Did you ever make use of your certificate, or did you just keep it in a corner?
I won’t lie to you. Since I collected my certificate, it has been in the house. The only thing I used my certificate for was NYSC registration. Since then, I have never used it for anything.
Let me take you back to a story. When I left secondary school, I wanted to be an electrical engineer, but jamb jam me. Then my Post UTME exam again. At the end of the day, I was given industrial chemistry. They washed our brains and told us that industrial is still related in a way. So I took the offer and it was fun. It wasn’t bad because chemistry was my fourth-best subject in school. The best three were physics, math, and agriculture. I started graphic design while I was in school, during a strike period. I was just like, “What am I doing with my life?” It was even my dad that took me to a printing press company where I started my design journey. It was a challenging but also an interesting journey because all the designs we were getting in the printing press then were not always so good. So I started learning myself, going on to YouTube, getting free resources, and when we resumed back to school in 2018, a friend of mine introduced me to UI/UX design. I started learning. (agba designer, I just finished counting the years). Then I interned with him because he has a creative company. I worked on some projects with him. And when I finished school, I continued my freelancing job as a designer. Then I went for NYSC. After I finished, I started staying back at home, but home was getting boring. So I decided to look for a job that would l make me leave the house and come back at night. I applied for jobs, and this is how I landed at Digital Abundance.
As the acting team leader, how have you been able to manage people? How has it been in terms of deliverables, and meeting deadlines?
Hmm, this role has made me realize that managing people is one of the hardest tasks in this life because you have to trust someone to complete a task or do something for you. At that point, your success rate is dependent on that person. If the person fails, you have also failed. It has been challenging, and aside from that, even for myself, I still have to put my hands on some projects. Having to design, supervise, review others’ work, and also report to the superior. But the more you do it, the better it gets.
So how do you manage the challenging and frustrating times?
I just get off it sometimes, calming myself down. Sometimes I can take a walk and try to think because I am a person that does a lot in my head. I think of how to do it better, or just assign it to someone else, or probably look for a quicker solution to the issue because it’s a problem that I have to solve. And then, management tools like Trello also help. I try not to overthink.
From what you mentioned now, you said taking a walk is therapy for you. So I would also like to know if food is also a therapy for you because I know that you like eating.
(laughs) Food is not therapy for me when it comes to working. But it’s therapy for me when I am just tired of my life(laughs). And in this situation, I cook what I want to eat because it gives me the necessary satisfaction. I go to the kitchen, I wash plates. There is a kind of time you have to yourself while doing all this, especially when washing plates. I will just be looking out the window and thinking about my life.
If you have a new project to work on, how do you start?
The first thing to do is to do my research. Whatever you are working on, there is always someone that has a lead or an idea about the project. And Google is there for everyone to make research. I see what I can find online then try to connect my dots and move on to the next.
As an individual, how have you been able to manage your time and end up being productive?
Let me just give you a quick summary of how I usually spend my day. Most of the time, what I do is that whenever I wake up, I pray on my bed, take a shower, and drink coffee or tea. Not every time, though, but very often. This sets me in the mood for the day. I check through all my notifications, through emails, slack, or any possible messages. From there, I will see all the tasks I need to do for the day. After tasks have been done and all issues have been attended to, I watch movies, listen to songs, or buy food. Or I go out, take a walk to buy something. Then after this, I go back to work if there are personal projects I am working on, and also prepare for the next work day.
Is doing the same thing every day not boring at all?
It’s not every day I do the same thing. We are human beings. I’m just saying that it’s like a standard for my daily life.
Has there ever been a day that you woke up and didn’t feel like working?
Ahahaha, yes now. I have felt that way before. But just once in a while, and it has been a long time since I felt that way. When this happened, all I was doing was just attending meetings and nothing else. I would get messages on Slack, but I didn’t do anything with them. I think the day before, overnight, I had already done all of my tasks and assigned the rest.
So, based on your last response, have you ever missed a meeting because you didn’t do what you were supposed to do and you knew that they would ask?
No, not at all. I have never done that. (laughs, the honest one)
Moving on, what is the hardest task you have ever worked on as a staff in Digital Abundance?
It is DABA o. DABA gave me a lot of wahala because it has a lot of features and it is not even all the features that have been implemented. DABA was the most tasking project I have ever worked on.
But now that you are done with DABA now, you have been flexing right?
Which flexing? Are you kidding me? Who is done with DABA? We are not done oo. We are already starting the 3.0 version.
Yeah, but at least you are still resting to an extent for now, right?
Yes, to an extent. right, but there is still a lot of stuff we are fixing.
So tell me a memorable day you will never forget at work.
Ahh,me I don forget every day (laughs) Well, I think the day I can never forget was when someone bought food for me(hei you and food sha). No o, the thing is I didn’t have money that day. I was so broke, and the person didn’t even know that I didn’t have any money. I was surprised when she gave me the food, I was just blushing. I was happy that someone made an attempt to buy food for me. It was Ejiro.
So who is your best padi in the office?
It’s Chidera, that stubborn boy. We are often together. After Chidera, Miracle. Or two of them together.
Now, coming back to you as an individual, what is that one thing people do not know about you?
Okayyy, what people do not know about me is that sometimes I usually do strong head but deep down, I want someone to just pet me and call me baby. (Eehya! Don’t worry when people read this, they will start calling you baby. Baby Matthew)(laughs)
Describe yourself in a word.
Hmm, this is hard oo. But I will say sweet. Or am I not sweet? I am sweet na
What is your favourite quote of all time?
Well, I am not a quote person,but what I have on my screen currently is START TODAY. Anything you want to do, just start.
How do you relieve yourself from work stress?
I go out a lot. Well, not too much. I go to parties, I go to the bar.
What do you have to tell the product team, being a product team member?
I will say that whatever you are doing, always try to make the right decisions and before you do anything, be ready to take the consequences, because anything you do has a consequence, either good or bad.
Life coach! Thank you.
When it comes to critiques, how do you handle them, especially when it comes to being corrected?
Like I told you earlier, I have a lot of thoughts going on in my head. So before anyone even criticizes me, I already thought about it in my head. And when it happens, I am not moved. I figure out what is wrong and how to solve it. I am not the kind of person that gets annoyed by corrections. Life is soft.
So, for Digital Abundance, what do you have to tell the all of us?
The whole company? The same thing, copy and paste. (laughs) I give Digital Abundance a thumbs up. They are changing the world. The whole world is there for us to capture.
I think this should be my last question, but if anything else comes to my head, I will ask.
If you are not doing product design and engineering, what will you be doing?
Hmm, okay. Maybe by now, I will probably be in a printing press(not selling clothes or dancing?) Ahh, no if it was dancing I would be so broke(laughs)
Finally, finally, finally, what are your hobbies? Do you like to read, to write…?
I love listening to music and watching movies. I don’t read a lot. But talking about writing, I bought a book that would help me with writing. And I have written quite a lot in the book on different topics in design. But there was a time I wrote a business plan. I have also discovered that writing is more than just writing, you have to write in a way that makes your audience connect to what you are writing. And this is a challenge for me. It has also not been fun. (Perhaps when you start to write on other topics, it might start to get fun. Try to explore).
I think we have come to the end of our gist. Thank you so much for your time and for being yourself.