Who is Collins Iheagwara?
Collins Iheagwara, a Tech guru, had a quick chat with the Guardian Life team about transitioning to Tech and starting his company. Collins is a nerd who grew up in Abeokuta, Ogun State, and attended Obafemi Awolowo University. He began a career in tech right out of university, and Simpu is his second start-up.
What caused the switch from Liberal Arts to Tech?
I’ve always been interested in technology; I grew up liking it despite having a liberal arts education; however, my liberal arts education was more of a coincidence because I was supposed to study Law at the university, but Nigeria effectively rewrote my destiny to English. This didn’t stop me from pursuing my passion for technology, as I enjoyed hanging out with the computer science guys at university and even participated in a number of hackathons. In reality, I recall debating whether or not to leave Uni in my third year to start my company, but our course advisor persuaded me to stay the course.
What significant childhood/growing up experience influenced your career path?
I think I was naturally curious from a young age; I was the kid who would open up every appliance in the house and basically grew up questioning everything, trying to figure out how it worked, how my father’s car started, how it moved, and so on. I believe that if you have a naturally curious mind, some of the outlets would be things like technology, engineering, and other related fields, and that is my path.
What major challenge has impeded your business?
So, there’s a brain drain going on right now, where a lot of brilliant minds are leaving the country to improve their lives because of the poor standard of living we have in Nigeria. As a result, it’s always difficult to find the right talent on the ground to help you create the kind of empire you want, and finding the right talent is one of the biggest challenges I’m facing right now.
What are your favorite and least favorite technology products, and why?
So, I’m really tuned in to how Apple develops most of their products because they’ve figured out how to make it work. If you look at the Apple AirPods, which is one of my favorite items right now, you’ll see how miniaturization works. My least favorite product is Windows technology; I have no idea how to use it, and I sincerely believe that if I was giving a windows laptop to write an exam, I would do poorly, no offense to the Windows team. Most of the time, I believe what is lacking is a lack of cohesion between the hardware and software. It’s a little too pressured.
How do you think further technology advances will impact your job?
I believe we are living in the age of Artificial Intelligence; many activities can be automated right now, and the better it gets, the less repetitive work we will be doing. For example, imagine calling a phone number on Simpu and getting a response from an A.I bot created to have the same emotional intelligence as a real person. It will save you a lot of time and duplicated work, allowing you to spend more time on more creative and productive activities, such as spending time with your family.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
To be honest, I don’t think I have a work-life balance yet, partially because you have to put in a lot of hours when you’re first starting out; I have to outwork everybody to get ahead as a start-up; I only have 24 hours to do a lot; maybe as Simpu grows financially, the balance will fall into place.
What major project are you currently working on?
So, at Simpu, we’re working on bringing voice calls in the near future, in addition to being able to sync all of your chats and databases across all social networks and WhatsApp in one location, we’d like to be able to help voice calls as well, which would be massive. In the meantime, we’re working on a mobile application for SMEs to provide convenient access to their customers. The mobile App will effectively house all of the services we currently provide on our website.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In five years, I want to be a billion-dollar CEO. That’s what there is to it.