Introduction: INside is an in-house feature of the amazing talents at Indicina. At Indicina, we believe that our people are more than the roles/titles that they hold, and we want to be able to shine a light on that through this feature. INside captures who Indicina employees are beyond work. For our first episode, Chisom speaks to Ladi, an Engineering Manager on the Indicina team.
1. Can you briefly describe who Ladi is?
Ladi: Beyond Indicina, I’m just a guy who loves tech, science, philosophy, and gaming. I’m also a bit of a geek. In general, l love seeking out novel experiences and anything fun. Yeah, that’s basically me.
2. So would you say being a geek is one of the reasons why you decided to delve into tech?
Ladi: Growing up, my parents owned a cybercafe. We were living in Lagos at the time. From a very young age, I was exposed to the internet and tech in general. I got fascinated by it, and from that point, I made up my mind that this is what I wanted to do with my life.
3. Can you describe what you do at Indicina? As an Engineering Manager, what’s a typical day like for you?
Ladi: Okay. My job is making sure the engineering teams I manage are, at all times, performing at their best. It’s basically supporting them in ways I can; removing blockers as they arise; making plans for what exactly we’re doing next; how we’re going to execute it, and making sure my engineers get the opportunity to shine.
Ladi: So a typical day for me would be: Joining some team stand ups in the morning, listening to what each engineer is working on, giving my input when need be, and, if there are any blockers, I’d come up with plans to address them. After that, I’d follow up on what we talked about during stand-up, as well as any ongoing projects. I also monitor the performance of the applications I manage and come up with improvements. Lastly, I take a look at support issues raised by the customer success team and create a plan to address them. So, yeah, that’s basically it.
4. Did you start as an Engineering Manager?
Ladi: No, I joined Indicina when we started building the Originate product. I was one of the first developers employed to build that product. So, yeah, I started as Software Engineer, got a few promotions, and here I am.
5. What was it like building Originate? A brand new product that was going to help lenders? I imagine the team was smaller back then. What was it like?
Ladi: Yeah, it was pretty interesting and challenging. Working in FinTech was a new phase for me; I was the only full-time software engineer on the team at the time. I got to work with a lot of interesting technologies, learned a bunch of new things, and met some very interesting people who are still some of my closest friends to this day.
Chisom: Nice. That’s quite the story. I can imagine what it was like at that time.
6. What made you join the team? What inspired and motivated you to want to be a part of the team?
Ladi: I got a referral for Indicina when Originate was just getting started. Later that week I got to chat with Jacob, the CTO, and, subsequently, Yvonne, the CEO. They both explained what they were trying to build, and I thought it was a pretty interesting idea. I’m big on working on things I believe are impactful and have real-world value. Consumer credit fits the bill. I pretty much got sold on the idea.
Chisom: It’s legit the same thing for me as well, so I totally understand. So definitely, if you could go back in time you’d make the same decision, right?
Ladi: Yes. And I want to give a special shout-out to Jacob because 10 times out of 10, I’d take the opportunity to work with Jacob again.
Chisom: Shoutout to Jacob! Okay, great!
7. So are there any interesting or weird facts you want to share? For instance, I can’t ride a bicycle. So, are there any interesting facts we should know about you?
Ladi: I’m not a fan of most Nigerian foods. So that’s a weird fact. Most native foods — draw soups, swallows, I’m not a fan. I believe most of them are overrated.
Chisom: Like which one?
Ladi: Amala in particular is overrated.
Chisom: I think I’d have to agree with you on that
Ladi: I guess both of us would get canceled then.
8. What’s something you care about deeply?
Ladi: At the moment, I would say climate change. Even though there isn’t much I feel I can do at the moment, it’s something that I care about. For example, I had the opportunity to work for an oil company a while back, but I was against it simply because of the environmental impact. And fun fact — I don’t have a generator precisely because of that. I don’t want to keep burning fuel and pollute the environment. I’m working towards getting solar panels setup though. So yeah, climate change.
Chisom: That’s an interesting fact, and I think you’re already contributing positively, to be honest. Yeah.
Ladi: My 0.0001% contribution (lol)
9. Okay. So, if you are asked to choose one out of 4 things to have for the rest of your life. The options are movies, music, books, and games, which would you stick with?
Ladi: I’ll take games out of those, because I don’t find most of the movies that have been released lately as interesting. They feel like you watch them only to kill time; they’re not stuff that I can’t live without. I think the last movie I watched, and maybe the only movie I can remember watching this year that I can say I enjoyed, was Dune. That aside, most of them are just like flicks that you turn your brain off to watch. For books, I do most of my learning through videos anyways, whether that’s on YouTube or other learning platforms. So that’s not a big deal for me either. Music? I would just pick games over music.
Chisom: Okay, cool. What’s a movie/series that you didn’t enjoy 100% but you think everybody was all hyped about it.
Ladi: Okay, one series I think is overrated — Money Heist. That thing is bottom-of-the-barrel stuff.
Chisom: Okay, I’d have to agree with you. Wow! I haven’t seen Money Heist and I don’t think I’m going to enjoy it, so I just didn’t bother.
Ladi: Yeah, it’s actually overrated (lol)
Chisom: If I wanted to play fighting games, which one would you recommend that I’d 100% enjoy?
Ladi: I would recommend Mortal Kombat if you wanted to play a fighting game because it’s easy to get into. It can be fun at any level, so I’d say Mortal Kombat.
Chisom: Okay, cool. Sounds good. I enjoy playing Mortal Kombat too.
10. So, where does Ladi see himself in the next few years?
Ladi: Likely start a company of my own. I have a few ideas I’ve been playing around with, in five years, at least one of those should have kicked off. I’d likely be running a company, or at the very least, be a CTO of another thing equally interesting. Yeah, one of those two.
Chisom: Sounds good.
11. So basically, you’re a tech bro. What’s it like being a tech bro?
Ladi: To be honest, it’s nice. I’ve been doing this remote thing since I started working for Indicina; before the pandemic. You get to work on your schedule and you’re decently compensated. So, yeah, I can’t complain. It can be stressful sometimes; it has its moments where things get intense. Especially when you’re trying to build a new product and meet deadlines. There’s a likelihood that there will be unforeseen setbacks, but for the most part, it’s pretty nice; I can’t complain.
12. What’s a hidden gem about Indicina that you think others should know about?
Ladi: Okay, I would say one thing I like is how we handle feedback to an extent. So the openness of the company basically. We do have a top-down structure, but it’s not rigid in the sense that anybody can say message Yvonne and ask her a question, and she’d respond, or message Jacob. Literally anyone. And I like that openness. It’s a very nice environment to work in is what I would say.
Chisom: Yeah, I agree with you. I think that’s pretty much all of the questions I have for you. And I realise that there are a few things we have in common that we could get cancelled for.
Ladi: I look forward to getting cancelled.
Chisom: Lol, not me really, but yeah, no problem. Thank you so much, Ladi. It’s been really nice talking to you. I hope we get to do this another time.
Ladi: It’s all good. Alright. This was fun.
Chisom: Yes, it totally was. Thank you! Bye!