“The industry moves quick, learn how to adapt quickly”
Koromone Asabe-Yobaere (KAY) is a creative storyteller, communications specialist, and brand manager with over 10 years of professional working experience. She currently serves as Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer at Jamit, an audio entertainment and media company empowering Black and Africa voices and audio storytellers. Koromone holds a B.A and MFA in Creative Writing from Hofstra University in New York, USA. She is also an advocate for African women in technology and is deeply immersed in Africa’s technology ecosystem.
Q:SPEAK TO US ABOUT HOW YOU FIRST BECAME INTERESTED IN TECHNOLOGY AND WRITING AND HOW DOES THESE TWO PASSIONS INTERSECT IN YOUR WORK?
I started reading (mostly) fiction books and writing poetry and short stories at a young age. By the time I was in JSS 3, I had read all the published Harry Potter books. When I transferred to my second high school – BIS – I was lucky to have teachers who developed my writing, speaking, and listening skills. My year 11 English Lit teacher encouraged me to study English Lit and creative writing in university, which I did, and to continue to grow as a writer.
I first became interested in technology when I interned at Mashable. At the time I joined the Mashable team, Pete Cashmore was the CEO and used to walk around the office; lucky me. It was at Mashable that I got exposed to the world of editorial and business writing. Mashable was a great experience for me and still remains one of my favorite workplaces.
But I didn’t hone my technology and business writing skills until I joined Flutterwave as a PR associate in 2016. I was pretty green in the fintech space when I joined Flutterwave, but it was the perfect place for me to blend two things I enjoyed doing: writing and managing brands.
The rest, as they say, is history
Q: IN THE TECH WORLD, INNOVATION IS KEY. HOW DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WRITING WITHIN THE EVER-CHANGING TECH LANDSCAPE?
The best writers are curious, open to learning new things, and aren’t afraid to adapt to different environments. I am inspired by my founder friends who work tirelessly to keep their startups profitable and afloat during trying economic times. Africa’s technology ecosystem is made up of resilient and brilliant people who have inspiring stories and anecdotes to share with the world. In telling their stories, I am playing a small role in the continent’s development.
Q: CAN YOU TELL HOW YOU DEVELOPED THE SKILLS NEEDED TO STAY RELEVANT IN THE INDUSTRY?
-I am not afraid to ask questions when something is unclear to me. Some people don’t ask questions for fear of looking or sounding stupid. That fear is an irrational and ego-based feeling and I refuse to submit to my ego.
-I learn transferable skills from my direct supervisors at any job. C-suite leaders are walking history books. I don’t clock into work like a zombie; I show up to do my job and collaborate with talented leaders and team members who can add to my knowledge bank.
-I study the lives of successful entrepreneurs from around the world. I am particularly fond of Alex Liberman and Sara Blakely.
Q: WHAT ARE THE FEW CHALLENGES YOU ENCOUNTER IN YOUR DAILY WORK AS STORYTELLER AND CREATIVE WORKING IN TECH?
-Finding talent (general problem in the ecosystem). Most (Nigerian) creatives are pressured into taking on conventional desk jobs and very few decide to go against the grain. I get it, no judgment. But knowing that there are talented writers out there working long hours and jobs that they aren’t passionate about breaks my heart
-Gender prejudice. I don’t need to say much here. You only need to speak to other women in the technology industry and they will have similar horror stories about how often we are sidelined or passed over in professional settings.
Q: SPEAK TO US ABOUT WHAT EXCITES YOU ABOUT YOUR ROLE AS A CREATIVE IN THE TECH SPACE?
-Excited about the new startups and businesses coming out of the media, entertainment, and gaming industries
-Excited about the opportunity to work with podcasters and voice creators in Africa and around the world
-Excited to turn Jamit into the #1 African storytelling platform for diverse voices
Q: WHAT SKILL SET IS REQUIRED TO UNDERTAKE A CAREER AS A STORYTELLER AND CREATIVE IN TECH?
- Public speaking
- Natural storytelling skill
- Active listening
- Empathy (humans are humans, not robots)
- Organizational skills.
Q: SHARE A FEW LIFE LESSONS YOU HAVE LEARNED IN YOUR JOURNEY THROUGH TECH?
-The industry moves quick; learn how to adapt to change quickly
-Business is not personal. Try not to invest too much of your personal emotions in the workplace
-Your colleagues are not your friends or family members but they can make great additions to your professional network/community
-You cannot do everything at the same time. Prioritize 2-3 goals, knock them out of the park, and then tackle 3 new goals.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE TECH-RELATED BOOKS, BLOGS, OR RESOURCES THAT HAVE SHAPED YOUR PERSPECTIVE AS A WRITER IN THE TECH INDUSTRY?
-Book: Crazy Is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags – Linda Rottenberg
-Podcasts: Founder’s Journal; Morning Brew Daily; HBR IdeaCast; Think Fast, Talk Smart
Q: CAN YOU NAME A TECH TOOL, SOFTWARE OR GADGET THAT HAS HAD A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON YOUR WRITING PROCESS OR PRODUCTIVITY?
-Google Docs (Thank you, Google)
Q: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR NEWBIES BUILDING A CAREER IN TECH?
- LinkedIn is your best friend. Keep your profile updated as frequently as possible
- Human beings are fallible. Learn from the people you admire but remember they have their secret lives, flaws, and foibles
- Stay curious and always be learning
- Define what success means to you. If you go by another person’s definition of success, you might find yourself on the wrong path or working outside your purpose/calling