Building great products that users love

User satisfaction is as a result of building great products. Isreal Akintunde is the VP of engineering at Blueloop and flux which helps users make or receive payments with or without the internet, he speaks about his work and how he has being able to build user friendly products. This article is the third of a three multi-part series. Check out part 1 and 2.

I am Israel Akintunde, VP of engineering at Blueloop. Basically I manage our engineering teams. I am passionate about using technology to solve problems. There are only a few situations where technology cannot be used to solve problems.

What skills did you have to learn or what skills do you have that enabled you attain this height?

I had to learn a lot of skills, I had to learn both hard and soft skills, I had to improve my communication skills. I used to work alone as a developer prior to Blueloop. To be able to work effectively with my team, I had to embrace teamwork. Just as Ben had  actually mentioned in the previous interview, none of us then had experience in developing a mobile app, so I had to pick up an entirely new language and I had to learn that, then develop the current platform that we have, so I actually had to learn a lot of things. 

What motivates you to work hard?

I just feel that if I don’t actually work hard, I don’t think there’s another thing I’d be doing because I have a goal for myself, I have some things I want to achieve and those things  actually can’t be achieved with just sitting down and doing nothing. So I actually work hard to attain a particular goal I set for myself.

What do you love most about your team?

Wow, okay, so we all started working together since our first year in school in 2017, so over the years, I learn from everyone and I have actually evolved over the years, so my team keeps me focused and motivated. 

What activities keep you together?

We actually came together, learning how to write codes, we go to conferences together, we eat together, we argue and talk about different things, and these activities keep the bond stronger. 

What opportunities have you identified in Nigeria and in the world?

One thing young people can leverage on is just technology, is the internet, having access to the internet opens you up to a whole world of possibilities being able to assess like different information even beyond you are being thought or you will get to be taught by your lecturers and what have you. The internet is actually one major resource that should be leveraged upon by youths and should be used for the right thing, so basically the internet is a major resource that the youths should take hold off.  It has multiple applications and in Nigeria and in Africa there are still a lot of problems that have not been addressed, there are no concrete solutions that have been developed to solve , so you could actually leverage on resources things from the internet, just learn things and build yourself up basically

What platform did you learn some of these tech skills?

I learnt them mostly from books actually not a particular platform, well there was this time when we wanted to start flux, we had to actually get tutorials and several courses, so we got a course from the university to do that but personally the skills that I have and I had to learn I just got, how I usually do it is this, if for example I want to learn a particular language or framework, I just search the best book available on the particular topic. There will always be an array of resources available already, so I just pick the first two or first three then use that.  

What sectors do you find interesting asides from fin tech?

So if I wasn’t doing fintech or writing software code, it will actually still revolve around code but the next thing I like doing is hands on engineering work, like working on engines, machines and all of that.

Who inspires you?

When it comes to tech the person that inspires me is Elon Musk

What is the importance of customer feedback while building your product?

 A lot of companies and startups just have meetings and then launch a product without doing adequate customer research or getting user feedback on whether or not the user would be interested in the feature and just roll it out and at the end of the day, the feature or product ends up not doing well. So user feedback is actually important because you get to know what’s in the customer’s mind, you get to know what they want and what they don’t what, which in turn will help you you make the right decisions when building a product

What’s your advice to young people?

So my advice to young people is basically consistency. I was recently talking to somebody that wants to start a business and the person told me she was scared of failing and all of that. Just as Ben mentioned, flux is not our first start up, our first start up was an e-commerce platform, we built an e-commerce platform to basically power commerce between Nigerian universities and we had to stop that because of some of the issues we faced and it wasn’t easy. We learnt a lot and the lessons are very instrumental to the growth of flux. We spent a lot of time on the product, we spent around a year building the product, we spent a lot of resources and all of that, but we kept persevering. Whenever we encounter challenges, we do not allow it to stop our goal, we come back together to discuss new ideas and work on one of it is flux, so my advice to everyone is basically to make consistency and hard work your mantra. 

This interview was brought to you by the Leadspace Team. Leadspace is a home to tech entrepreneurs. We provide a conducive workspace and virtual offices for businesses as well as business support services. Chat here to learn more. 

Photoshoot courtesy of Nathyjegs.

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