Tuesday, 17 March 2009

This life of ‘techie’

ON a breezy afternoon, Dele Odufuye sits comfortably in front of the computer. The atmosphere is calm, and the only noise is the buzz from the computer. He is enthusiastically touring the Internet regions; logging on sites offering new programmes and software. He is a young IT entrepreneur, trying to carve a niche for himself in the sector.
Early this year, he was feted at The Futures Award, as winner in the Best Use of Technology category.
Surprisingly, at the Awards, there had been a sudden surge of adrenaline. Many had reacted to the decision to give him the award back-to-back. Many had asked what was so special about him that he could win back-to-back.
These uninspiring vituperations did not change the fact that Dele is one of the oddest kinds of ‘techies’ to be with. At 10, he was already dreaming a world in computer. “Everything started about that age,” he says. He hardly leaves his computer for anything apart from food.

HOW does he feel winning the award back-to-back?
“ I feel fulfilled that within a year, I kept the trend of bringing out the best in what I do,” he says.
According to him, “the first year services were definitely different from that of this year. Apart from the services we render, we create products that are thought-provoking; and also, leveraging on the past award, we are engaged in social responsibility activities, for instance, organising mentorship programmes in secondary schools in Lagos and a couple of workshops and training for website designers and software developers for the general public, where many people enjoyed the programmes.”
Dele confides in his bemused guest. “My simple nature is largely dependent on how I was brought up. I hardly went out, always indoors; and apart from school, you wouldn’t find me outside.”
He says this trait has been maintained and as a computer person, you hardly see him outside. “The only relationship I have with the outside world is my computer,” he muses.
The computer geek does not feel guilty about his relationship with computer. In fact, it has made him very conservative.
“Everything about me is the computer. That’s the cause I believe in and my interest is to be part of a platform or create a platform, which will inspire young Nigerians making positive use of the internet/ technology — rather than porno and frauds on net. I believe and I dream that the next phase of technology should come from Nigeria,” he says. “People should buy their children computer games to help build their level of reasoning,”
Dele adds, “You like it when we are both lazing and gisting, I play guitar at my spare moment. I have mine, so, when I’m less busy, I play it. In fact, the strings of guitar turn me on. If I need to unwind, I just sleep.”
“Me? Watch TV? No, the only thing I do to keep abreast is to listen to news on radio. I’m very stale with music, prefer the old one, not the new generation songs. And really, when it is past news time, I switch off my radio, I then make do with newspapers,” he says.
His kind of person? “In between — to my friends, I’m an okay guy, but for those who are meeting me for the first time, they say I’m an introvert and shy person. It depends on the person to choose.”

HIS love for the computer is a recompense for the gifts his parents bought him years ago. “My parents engaged us in computer Games on holidays, long ago. That was when computer was not very common. Then, computer was just being introduced as a course in my junior secondary school. Basically, I picked interest in the subject than any other one,” he sings.
Perhaps, a shocking release. Dele did not read computer science or even informatics in school. He studied Environmental Management and Toxicology at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB); however, his interest in the computer never stopped.
Two years before he left school, he started working part time for an IT company in Lagos. So, he was able to marry the school and work together.
According to him, “immediately after school, I founded my company, Tsaboin Tech World, and I have been working since then.”
So, what engages his time at Tsaboin?
“We are into building Internet/Intranet application and also business process automation. We have a product that major in photography services — photesteem— so, basically, photography is not a hobby to me. We also manage a social network site called TSARITE — a Nigerian based social network site,” he says.

DELE believes that IT literacy level, compared to the population is lamentably low in Nigeria. To him, the government is trying, as the rate at which it is increasing is geometric, “so, we can say we are moving forward. Five years ago, how many people were able to access the Internet compared to now? The good part is that the idea of computer is no longer strange, but the accessibility is still low. In other words, the dream of having one-person-per computer is still far from being realised,” he says.
What books does he read?
“I read a lot of Christian Literature, business books and Business/IT magazines.”
The book he is actually reading now is Success is Who You are by Sam Adeyemi. “But my favourite is The Richest Man in Babylon. The most inspiring thing is that if you apply it in your financial life, it works as expected in the book and I can recommend it to anyone.”

WHO would he love to meet?
“Steve Jobs,” he replies. “I’ll rather meet him than Bill Gate. He is an open source person — any programme/ software released on Internet, where other developers have access to the source code to recreate, modify or upgrade. Currently, Microsoft is not close to that. The person next to that is Michael Jackson, he is just unique in every way.”
His role models(s)? He has five, who fall within different job categories. “For IT, it is Steve Jobs; Entertainment and Life is Dele Momodu, while Business is Jim Ovia. And you know one thing about Jim and I? We are not too tall. For Success it is Sam Adeyemi and Achievement is Wole Soyinka. These are the people that inspire my creativity,” he says.
The computer geek, who believes in retributive justice, says that in life, it is better to sow a good seed. That’s why the best practical advice he will give anybody is to work hard. “Hardwork always pays off,” he explains.
Dele attended Ogun State Polytechnic Primary School, Abeokuta and African Church Grammar School, Abeokuta, for his secondary education. His tertiary education was at

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