Andy Madaki is the friendly techie and PR expert. He is a Principal partner at iBlend and is the Curator of Abuja Global Shapers. Friendly, kind and extremely smart, Andy is that person with more layers than you could imagine, Meet him and enjoy.
- Who is Andy Madaki?
Ans: Andy is a not so young man from Benue State, who loves life, music, tech, business, politics and food
- Take us through your formative
I grew up in Makurdi, Benue State. Went to 3 secondary schools pretty much because I was failing from one to another. Finally got into university at 16 and studied Sociology. After my NYSC I left Nigeria to the UK for a Masters in Computer Forensics. Now I have always been interested in Business and registered my first company at the age of 18. It was a modelling agency in Benue State. I started working during my summer breaks since i was about 9 years old.
- When did you discover your love for technology?
At the age of 9 my dad registered my brother Eddie and I for at a computer training school. So that was when I fell in love with technology. Went on to work at a computer centre for a while then also at a phone store between the ages of 12 to 16. I was generally drawn to gadgets and technology.
- Did you ever find the tag ‘nerd’ or ‘geek’ offensive?
Not at all. I think it is funny because it is an unnecessary tag to be honest. Geeks have goon from being the rejected to being the cool kids. Who knows, some day society will decide to make geeks uncool and what happens. I am not a fan of tags
- What are your interests outside work?
- What do you do? ( please ignore this question if you answered it in question 1)
I am an Information Security Consultant and a Communications Strategist
- From a ‘tech perspective, what would you say are the challenges faced by SME’s in Nigeria and how would you address them?
Two major things: Access to funds and Regulation. As a startup or entrepreneur it is easy to have an idea and maybe even start the concept into a product or solution. The problem now becomes government regulations which may block your services or cost to much for you to implement. This could lead to SMEs folding up.
High interest rates in for loans are not favourable as well and this poses a major challenge to new businesses and SMEs
- Last year, you had NIITEX, a tech exhibition, in Abuja. Please tell us about it.
Most tech events hold in Lagos as it is seen to be the commercial capital of the nation and this in my opinion is not the true reflection of the tech ecosystem. NIITEX is the Nigerian Innovation and Information Technology Expo. This event aims to create a platform for entrepreneurs and innovators in the technology space especially in the North and Central region in Nigeria. Last year was our first event and we had a lot of support from several organisations from government to private sector and telecommunications.
- What going trends do you think we are yet to fully tap into in Nigeria?
To be honest, the world is now a global village and so I can say we are tapping into every trend however we do not have the capacity to sustain most. I will say we are catching up pretty okay. What we need is infrastructure such as internet access
- Lagos is light years ahead of Abuja in business and entertainment, why do you think this is so?
Do not let the packaging fool you. Most lagosians in the enterainment industry make the bulk of their money when they come to Abuja or other states for work or events. Lagos has the record labels, distribution companies, sponsors and all that but at some point “see finish” happens and so they need to stretch beyond their coasts. What Abuja needs is a confidence boost and to support talent from within. And so, i don’t think Lagos is light years ahead of Abuja.
- What challenges do you think Abuja businesses face, other than funding?
I think in Abuja we are quite laid back because it is the seat of government which means majority of the workforce are government workers. So there is a level of contentment or maybe laziness. This also affects us because the decision makers for a lot of private owned corporations like the the Telcos are based in Lagos. So it is easier for Lagosians to build and use a network of decision makers than those of us here in Abuja who need to get to Lagos in order to get the right signatures or support.
- Tell us about your role in iBlend?
I am head of research, analytics, innovation and talent management. I am big on changing ideas into marketable services or brands. I work with the team on conceptualisation and efficient service delivery as well as best strategies to reach any client’s target audience.
- How do think appreciation for quality content outside mainstream entertainment can be achieved in Abuja?
We need to develop mainstream content before we even go outside. Research is important in everything. We need to understand why people in Lagos do certain things and succeed while others fail. Most people surround themselves with fanatics who are not objective about the work they put out and this leads to mediocre outputs. We need to first of all put out good content and market it properly
- What is your take on #iStandwithNigeria
For me, I believe in Nigeria. Regardless of political affiliation, tribe or religion, we must hold our government accountable. We saw Inflation rise in 15 months, we saw living conditions worsen. it became important to tell the government to sit up. I don’t care if some people were paid for the protest or sponsored, for me it is all about holding our leaders accountable.
- What inspires you?
Problems… I love solutions, I can’t see a problem and not fix it.
- What would be the soundtrack for where you are in your life right now?
I lived – One Republic
- What 3 countries would you choose as roles models for Nigeria.
- If you had the chance to fix Nigeria, what three sectors would you address first?
- What would be the top three things on your bucket list?
Visiting every continent
Consulting for a world leader