Ire Aderinokun, co-founder of BuyCoins • Techpoint Africa

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Ire Aderinokun is a front-end web developer and user interface designer from Lagos, Nigeria. She is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of BuyCoins, a cryptocurrency exchange for Africa. Ire is also a Google development expert specializing in basic front-end technologies and has written over 100 articles on these topics on her blog.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at the professional lives of some of the key figures in the fintech space in Africa. In this first edition, Ire talks about her professional background, her roles at BuyCoins, how she stays productive and also how she takes a break.


  • Current role: COO and VP Engineering, BuyCoins
  • Locations): London and Nigeria
  • Current computer: Macbook Pro
  • Current mobile device: iPhone 11 Pro
  • Describe how you work in a nutshell: focused

Briefly tell us how you started and how you got to where you are today.

I have always been interested in web development; when i was younger i did it for fun and i never considered it a career. I rediscovered it during my master’s studies; it was then that I understood what computers were. So, I decided to try to learn on my own to see if I could fit into it. I took online classes and read blogs and things like that and then I started freelance for a while before I started working for a real company.

What is your job exactly ?

I lead the front-end team, so everything front-end is basically my responsibility. And with the role of COO, he manages operations and oversees a bit of the business and financial side, making sure we’re compliant.

Tell us about a typical working day.

Well, now it’s just to be home and work from home, right? So I wake up around 7:30 or a few minutes before eight, start the day by checking my emails and just trying to start slow. Usually, I just try to keep track of notifications and plan what I need to do for that day, whether it’s more of an engineering day or an operations day. I just define my tasks, get them done, and try to schedule and bypass the many meetings that I usually have; I schedule them to have free days where I can just work without external disturbances. But because of the lockdown, there isn’t a lot of variety; he sits in front of my laptop all day.

What apps, gadgets or tools can’t you live without?

At BuyCoins, we use Basecamp for our project management. We also use Notion.

I use Spark for my emails and think it’s a great email client that makes it a bit easier. I use Bear for note taking – some things go in Bear and some in Notion, but I use both.

I also started doing bullet journaling, so it’s like having a physical journal and writing stuff. And I found it really helpful to take some things off and focus on what I need to do that day. It helps to write them down on a piece of paper and cross them off when I’m done.

The most important thing is Google Calendar; I don’t think I can survive without it. I put everything there.

I am using Sketch for the design.

My iPad, AirPods, and Apple Watch are the main gadgets I use every day.

What’s your favorite shortcut or hack?

Activate the Do not disturb function so that you are not distracted by inevitable messages.

What task (s) do you dislike but still do?

Most of the operations related tasks. I don’t like them, but I have to do them so the business doesn’t implode.

How do you keep track of what you have to do?

We use Basecamp. I also use Things sometimes, but I would say Basecamp and my bullet journal are what I use to keep track of what I need to do.

Basecamp looks more like anything BuyCoins that needs to be done then in my physical journal it’s more like what I need to do for that particular day or week, and it’s more granular.

How to recharge or take a break?

I take naps and watch TV shows. I try to make sure I take breaks in the middle of the day so it’s not like I’m sitting at work for eight hours straight. I also play Animal Crossing.

Other than work, what do you spend your time on? What do you like?

It’s hard to answer because there isn’t much to do now. After all, we can’t go out. But I try to meet friends whenever I can.

I love watching YouTube and TikTok – all types of content.

But I guess outside of the coronavirus, I like hanging out with friends and hanging out more. I also like to travel, which I obviously cannot do now.

What are you reading, watching or listening to now? What do you recommend?

I watch Lovecraft Country right now, it’s like the basics. I also see again Fresh meat, which is a British TV show. Most of the time I reviewed stuff, so there is also Community, and It’s always nice in Philadelphia.

I don’t listen to music often, I mostly listen to podcasts so I would recommend ATP (Accidental Tech Podcast). Cortex is another one that I like, and Somehow I Manage, which is a podcast on “The Office” TV show.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Do what you want to do and understand the difference between saying “I wish I was something” or “I want to be able to develop a website” and doing it. Also, being careful not to say I’m a developer when I haven’t started doing the job yet. So just be very action oriented.

With what you now know, what advice would you give your young self?

I would say I wish I had started this a little earlier because I ended up going to school for five years and getting two degrees for things that I don’t actively use. I won’t say I didn’t need to do them, but maybe if I was more aware, maybe I could have made a more informed decision.

What is the problem that you are still trying to solve?

I guess I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do in the long run. I feel like I don’t necessarily have a five-year plan. So that’s still something I’m trying to figure out.

Who would you like to see answered to these questions?

I would love to see my co-founder, Tomiwa Lasebikan, do it, as I have no idea how he works. Also, Moyinoluwa Adeyemi, software engineer at Twitter and Android GDE.

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I write about media, technology and Internet culture.



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