Hi Geo, thank you for your time. Could you please provide a concise summary of your background, fun things about you, and your professional experience, particularly in the context of remote work?
Absolutely! My name is Godspower Eseurhobo, but you can call me Geo. I come from West Africa, specifically Nigeria. Currently, I work as a Program Tech Product Manager for AI solutions and language technology with a focus on social good. My passion lies in building AI solutions that cater to diverse users and use cases around the world. On a lighter note, I am also an Arena Fide Master with the World Chess Federation (FIDE) although it may not be considered a “fun fact” to everyone as competitive chess is quite hectic. I am fluent in Spanish and have a deep appreciation for languages as powerful tools for bridging gaps and amplifying voices on the global stage. I find languages fascinating, which has opened doors for me to understand and appreciate different cultures.
Apart from my involvement in product management, I have a keen interest in the creative realm, particularly in advertising. I dabble in various creative outlets like drawing from time to time. Breaking into the remote working space was an exciting journey for me. I started off working remotely in my career and that was because despite being early in my career, I put myself out there and shared my experiences and learnings on social media. One thing I’ve learned is that there’s always someone watching, so it’s essential to build your presence and network. This approach eventually led to my first role in a distributed team environment. I was given the opportunity to contribute to the growth and success of a company on a global scale. Initially, I worked in a hybrid role that combined product marketing and product management. This experience involved putting products on the shelf while also gathering feedback, strategizing, and positioning the product as a solution to customer problems.
As I progressed, I fully transitioned into core product management, where I focus on strategy, problem identification, and defining solutions through a comprehensive product management framework. This is my current role, and it allows me to make a tangible impact in solving real-world challenges.
In a nutshell, that’s a summary of my background and professional journey in the remote work landscape.
Was it difficult for you when you were transitioning from social media marketing to product management and what were the key things that you learned from your transition?
Yeah, that’s a very interesting question. When it comes to navigating careers, understanding your strengths and weaknesses is crucial. It’s the only way to improve and capitalize on your strengths without being blind to your areas of improvement. To do this, it’s important to identify what you enjoy doing and what you don’t. This self-awareness is key to finding your path to success and determining the direction you want to take.
You should strive to have a balanced skill set, emphasizing the things you enjoy doing. By focusing on what you enjoy, you can put in more effort and grow in those areas. In the tech space, it’s not just about certificates or qualifications; it’s about having the technical know-how and the ability to dive into new areas and become an expert. This hands-on experience is essential, and you need to identify what you can consistently spend time on and develop expertise in. This is particularly important during a transition.
When transitioning, it’s important not to view it as starting completely anew. Many industries have transferable skills that overlap with other fields. Recognizing these transferable skills is crucial when deciding to make a career transition. For example, I transitioned from social media marketing to product marketing, and it wasn’t like switching from one extreme to another. It was a journey, and I identified the steps that were closer to where I wanted to be. Moving up the ladder gradually is easier and allows you to see transitioning as a journey.
One challenge people face when transitioning is fear. It’s important to have people who can guide you and help you overcome that fear. It may seem ambitious, but if your dream doesn’t scare you, it may not be worth pursuing. Finding mentors who have walked the path you intend to take is crucial. Building relationships with experienced professionals can be challenging, but it’s possible. Joining relevant communities is a great way to connect with people who can help you succeed. If you want to become a full-stack developer, for example, joining a developer community rather than a product management community is important.
Once you’ve connected with these communities, it’s essential to do your homework. If you reach out to someone for guidance, they will evaluate what you’ve done independently. Taking the first step and showing that you’re committed and have done some groundwork is vital to gaining support from mentors. Taking ownership of your learning journey is also essential for mentors to continue supporting you.
Maintaining a clear mindset and staying focused on your goals is another important factor. Some people jump from one area to another if they don’t see immediate results. It’s important to realize that the effort you put in at the early stages builds the foundation for future success. Consistency is key. It’s not about giving 100% every day but consistently showing up and making progress, even if it’s incremental. Little drops of water eventually make an ocean. Stick to your chosen path and keep adding to your roadmap to get closer to your desired goals.
Can you tell us about your product, Afrisplash Remotely, and its impact on the future of Remote Work in Africa?
I believe the future of remote work in Africa is incredibly promising. It is one of the key reasons why I embarked on building AfriSplash Remotely. The vision behind it is to empower talents to live, work, and succeed from anywhere, regardless of their location within Africa or even globally. This entails providing the freedom, flexibility, and ownership of their work schedules, allowing them to participate on the global stage.
One significant aspect of the future of remote work in Africa is the opportunity it presents for self-taught individuals. Many African talents have had to invest substantial effort in self-learning, acquiring a diverse skill set to contribute on a global scale. This means collaborating with leading companies and brilliant minds from around the world to build solutions that have a positive impact not only on African markets but also on other markets globally.
In my personal experience, I have had the privilege of working with individuals who have come from renowned tech giants and Ivy League universities, allowing me to collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds. This diversity is the essence of remote work’s future in Africa—bringing together individuals from different walks of life to create innovative solutions, irrespective of their backgrounds. For me, the future of remote work in Africa is about leveling the playing field. It allows individuals, regardless of their origin, to deliver solutions on the global stage and make an impact. It eliminates the need to uproot and start over in a new location, as was often the case in the past. Remote work provides the opportunity to work from home or any location within Africa, contributing value on a global scale and achieving financial stability without sacrificing one’s roots.
In essence, the future of remote work in Africa is about empowering individuals to access opportunities and create a significant impact, regardless of their geographical location. It is a path towards greater inclusivity, equalizing opportunities, and building a diverse workforce that collaborates seamlessly to shape a brighter future.
As a thought leader in the remote workspace and a major contributor to empowering Africans in remote work, what factors do you think affect Africans from getting remote jobs?
When it comes to the challenges of remote work, it’s important to recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each individual faces unique obstacles and experiences distinct struggles. One common issue I’ve observed is the overemphasis on technical skills without considering the broader context. While technical know-how is essential, it’s equally crucial to understand how to work effectively in a corporate environment and deliver value beyond just having the necessary skills.
Collaboration is a major stumbling block that many remote workers encounter. In a knowledge economy, the ability to work on complex problems as part of a team is crucial. It’s not just about having the knowledge; it’s about demonstrating initiative and leadership. Taking the initiative to solve problems, even without explicit instructions, sets exceptional remote workers apart. During interviews, showcasing this proactive approach can make a significant impact.
Another critical aspect is strategic thinking. It’s not enough to focus solely on execution. Remote workers need to show that they can contribute to the bigger picture and develop comprehensive strategies. By going beyond task-oriented thinking and demonstrating the ability to build strategies that stand the test of time, remote workers can position themselves as valuable assets to any organization.
There are also challenges related to compliance and legalities. However, the emergence of companies like Deel, and Remote.com, and partnerships like Gusto and Remote.com are working towards easing these challenges. Such collaborations ensure that companies can hire from anywhere and eliminate unnecessary restrictions. As these barriers continue to be addressed, remote work opportunities will expand further.
Effective communication is yet another essential skill for remote workers. Being able to articulate thoughts, share the reasoning behind decisions, and guide discussions is crucial. Remote workers should demonstrate their ability to provide insights and back their ideas with data, fostering innovation and collaboration within teams. By positioning themselves as subject matter experts, they can gain the trust of colleagues and employers and thrive in the global marketplace.
Ultimately, companies are looking for remote workers who can contribute their expertise and drive growth. The goal is to hire individuals who can make informed decisions and lead the way, rather than those who wait for someone to dictate their every move. By showcasing their ability to think strategically, collaborate effectively, and communicate their ideas, remote workers can position themselves as invaluable contributors to organizational success in the fast-paced and competitive global landscape.
So what are the ways that companies can enable more opportunities for Africans and foster inclusivity?
To truly open up opportunities for Africans, one key aspect is for companies to embrace a fully remote approach. However, we are currently facing a challenge where people still associate remote work with specific locations. This is the reality we need to address.
There is an important distinction between being remote and being distributed. Being remote means having the freedom to work from anywhere as a location-independent worker—be it from home, a café, or any suitable place. The company needs to provide the necessary support to enable this flexibility. Unfortunately, many companies are still hesitant to fully embrace remote work, creating unnecessary restrictions. The real game-changer occurs when a company becomes distributed. This means going beyond remote work and establishing a presence in different geographical locations, incorporating diverse cultures. By transitioning from being solely remote to being fully distributed, which is the hallmark of a truly remote ecosystem, we unlock global opportunities for Africans.
When searching for job opportunities, it is crucial to look beyond companies that simply claim to be remote. Instead, focus on companies that proudly proclaim to be distributed. This distinction ensures that you become part of a truly innovative team with diverse perspectives. Additionally, resources like the remote in tech companies list can help you filter for worldwide opportunities. This list, available on GitHub, showcases companies that have embraced a distributed model, allowing them to hire talent from anywhere, free from location restrictions.
Many companies claim to be remote-friendly, but they haven’t laid the foundation to fully support remote work. This is where professional employer organizations (PEOs) and employers of record, like Deel and Remote.com, can assist in breaking down barriers. The decision to become distributed requires a top-down approach, championed by company executives. It is not merely an individual’s decision based on personal preferences but a strategic vision to build an innovative global team capable of solving problems with diverse perspectives.
Companies without a distributed structure in place can still expand their talent pool beyond their headquarters by leveraging employee-of-record services and strategic partnerships. Moreover, companies should include globalization as a fundamental part of their growth strategy. Establishing local entities in different markets allows for tailored solutions and creates more opportunities for Africans and other talents around the world. Collaborating with global teams while having dedicated teams focused on specific markets ensures a deep understanding of customer behaviors, local nuances, and wins against issues like limited data in emerging markets, leading to inclusive and impactful product development.
What are five truly remote companies that you know hire without geographical location?
Oh, that’s a tough one. Let me think. Well, I have a list of companies that truly embrace remote work and hire without any geographical limitations (link). At the top of my list is my current company, CLEAR Global. We have an incredibly diverse and distributed team, spanning multiple countries in the US, Europe, Asia, and Africa. It’s truly inspiring to see how we come together seamlessly and collaborate regardless of our physical locations.
Another remarkable example is Automattic, which is known for its remote-first culture. They have a global team that works remotely, fostering collaboration and innovation. It’s incredible to witness the talent they bring together from around the world.
Remote.com is another outstanding company that exemplifies the power of remote work. They have a strong presence in various economies, including Europe, the Americas, Africa, and beyond. They understand the importance of diverse perspectives and talent from different regions.
Deel is also worth mentioning as they have a Nigerian team that contributes to their global operations. Their commitment to embracing talent from different parts of the world truly showcases the essence of globalization in remote work.
Lastly, I would mention Hotjar, a truly global company led by its current CEO, Mohannad Ali, an engineer that started out in North Africa. They have built a remote work ecosystem that transcends borders and enables talents from diverse backgrounds to come together and create magic.
While there are numerous other companies that deserve recognition for their remote work practices, these five examples stand out for their commitment to embracing remote talent and creating a truly global and inclusive work environment.
As a thought leader in the remote workspace, what advice would you love to give anyone right now looking to start a remote career?
Personally, I believe remote work is about the desire to thrive and succeed from anywhere, not just the physical distance. So my advice to aspiring remote professionals is to cultivate resilience. Many people think landing a job with a global company is easy and quick, but the reality is different. You need to persevere and keep pushing forward, even in the face of rejection.
It’s essential to constantly optimize your strategies and adapt to the changing landscape. For instance, tailor your resumes to pass through automated tracking systems (ATS) if needed. Additionally, actively engage in communities where you can establish authentic relationships, not just for the sake of job opportunities, but to build trust and mutual support.
I’ve found that by contributing to others’ projects, sharing ideas, and fostering genuine connections, you can build valuable relationships that will benefit you in the long run. People will recognize your value and be more inclined to refer you or vouch for your expertise when opportunities arise. It’s crucial to prove your capabilities and demonstrate your ability to deliver tangible value.
As an African talent, I emphasize the need to work twice as hard. While work-life balance is important, investing extra effort is necessary to compete with individuals who have graduated from Ivy League schools or expensive boot camps. You may not have had those opportunities, but you can make up for them by grinding and putting in the extra work.
Don’t underestimate the power of personal research and development. Prioritize it above everything else. When you’re interviewing candidates with extensive experience in global companies, your passion and the effort you’ve put into honing your skills will make a difference. Showcasing hands-on experience, building projects, or even starting a small business will demonstrate your abilities and enhance your chances of success in the tech space.
P.S., You can connect with Godspower Eseurhobo via LinkedIn. Also, ensure to sign up for the AfriSplash Remotely’s waitlist, to get early access to the next-gen platform to help more African talents live, work, and succeed from anywhere.