Segun has been working at Cellulant for over 2 years now. He describes himself as a problem solver, critical thinker, and one to never back down from a challenge.
He is in the product management team and is responsible for ensuring our products achieve product-market fit and continuously deliver value to our customers and Africa.
What and where did you study?
I Studied Geology at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
Why did you study what you studied?
Childlike curiosity precisely! I have always been fascinated by my surroundings, the world, and generally how things work and come into being; Geology allowed questioning my everyday surroundings, especially the seemingly mundane bits of the earth like stones, sand, etc., and find interesting answers that not only help to solve practical problems but unravel the mystery behind our very origin and existence.
Having a background in Geology, how did you end up in product management?
The short answer is that I stumbled into product management.
Well, it started from my days at the university. I wanted to earn some money on the side so I taught myself graphic design and got small jobs for logos, posters, and others. From there, it progressed to photo manipulation for a while, and then website development with CMS like Joomla and WordPress. Naturally, I had to learn basic frontend development to modify themes and basic PHP for debugging.
Around that time, I discovered Figma and Adobe XD which ushered me into the world of user interface design. I ended up replicating loads of designs I found on Dribbble and Behance but discovered that many of these beautiful designs were not used in mainstream applications because they were not very practical which made me discover user experience design.
User experience design was fascinating because it introduced me to two concepts: user psychology and user research. It was in the pursuit of the latter that I discovered product management, the rest as they say is history.
What drives you?
Challenges — the thrill of waking up everyday to new opportunities to discover, learn and conquer new domains: a never ending but fulfilling adventure.
How long have you been at Cellulant?
A little over two years.
What attracted you to Cellulant?
Our heritage which is demonstrated by our presence across Africa and rich history of “Firsts” for the payment industry on the continent.
What drove you towards fintech in general?
I worked on a product for the agricultural sector that provided supplier linkage for smallholder farmers, and one of the challenges we had to solve was collections and disbursement of funds. This marked the beginning of my sojourn into the world of financial technology.
What’s the one problem you are best at solving for your clients/customers/market?
What would you say have been some of the most challenging moments for you on the job?
Product management demands that you learn how to strike a balance — a delicate one if you wish — between delivering on long-term initiatives and short-term initiatives. You will be faced with fires daily and different team members pulling your attention to many things, and if care is not taken, long-term initiatives can be sacrificed for the short-term initiatives and we lose focus on the bigger picture. Here comes the challenging part: helping all stakeholders see this amid the daily fires. I must say though, that alignment is very important nonetheless and can be very rewarding when it is in place.
Which have been the most rewarding moments?
The joy that comes with businesses deriving value from our product.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
Our Chief of Product, Faizal Mirza. (Mohamed Faizal Hafiz)-One of the most brilliant minds in the Technology space.
In your own words, what does Cellulant want to do in Africa and why is that inspirational for you?
Cellulant is on a mission to create opportunities and prosperity for Africa. To achieve this, we leverage technology to connect people and their resources, making it easier to do business across Africa. Our goal is to facilitate more transactions between more people so that we can all live better lives.
It is inspirational for me because I have the privilege of being at the forefront of the development of the African continent.