Talk to a Tykling: Lanre Adelowo, Go Engineer

Meet the team – getting to know Lanre Adelowo, Go Engineer

Tyk is not just about the tech – we’ve achieved the success that we have as a result of our skilled and dedicated Tyklings. They serve clients around the world, supporting them and their businesses to operate efficiently and productively.

Our Tyklings are always beavering quietly away in the background, so we thought it was time to shine the spotlight on them – hence our Talk to a Tykling interview series.

Lanre Adelowo is one of our talented team of engineers. We caught up with him about the benefits of remote working, the importance of family and why you should always have a product development plan in place.

Let’s start with the basics. What do you do at Tyk?

I’m a Software Engineer – specifically, a Go Engineer. I work on the Tyk Gateway and Dashboard – and these days on building our cloud from the ground up, which I spend about 85% of my time on now.

I also work on other important elements of the process; things like code review, documentation, that sort of thing.

How long have you been at Tyk?

I joined in February 2019.

Do you work behinds the scenes or directly with users?

My role has evolved over time. Initially I was providing a lot of user support, but nowadays I probably get a customer support ticket very two weeks or so. Interestingly, prior to Tyk I wasn’t that keen on providing customer support, but I’ve grown to love it since working here. Tyk’s product is very technical. It’s really interesting seeing users working with it in ways you never imagined the product being used! I really like both the engineering and the customer support part of my role.

Do you get to travel as part of this role?

No, I don’t get to travel as part of my role, other than for the company retreat and the Christmas party!

Where do you work when working remotely?

My preferred working place is home. This is my first remote role and I started by doing lots of shuffling between my apartment, a coffee shop and a co-working space, but about five months in I started working from home more and I’ve been here since then.

What do you particularly like about working remotely at Tyk?

The traffic here in Lagos, where I live, is just terrible. Avoiding that gives me a massive productivity boost.

I also love the fact that I get to spend much more time with my family and friends. The time that I save by not commuting makes a huge difference. I’ve bonded more with my mum over the past year as a direct result of that.

What tips would you give to a new starter to help them get the most out of working in a remote-first organisation?

Properly set up your home office, to separate it from the rest of your apartment. It’s also important to keep to a routine. When I first started working remotely, I would work until 11 am or so before having a shower or getting dressed but over time I realised the value of doing those things first thing and then settling down to work. Otherwise you interrupt your working day.

It’s also important to communicate as much as possible when you work remotely!

Thinking about the tech industry in general, are there any particular problems or pain points that you would love to be able to wave a magic wand and fix?

One thing I would love to solve is borderless finance and international transfers. Moving money from one country to another is definitely a problem that I would love to solve some time in the future. Or have someone else solve for me! There are services like TransferWise out there that are trying, but they are not as frictionless as they could be.

Please can you give us a two-minute history of your background and what led you to Tyk?

I was born and bred in Lagos, Nigeria and I still live here. I studied microbiology at uni. I had a cousin who was a doctor and was practising at one of the government-owned hospitals in Lagos. During the holidays I would visit him at work, and he would take me to the computer lab and teach me things. That’s what sparked my interest in studying microbiology.

After leaving uni I went into the tech sector. Prior to Tyk, I was working for the Nigerian government to digitalise the tax system here. At the moment, a lot of the tax processes are done manually – you have to file papers manually and the taxman visits you and tells you what to do. So we’re trying to make that digital, putting it at people’s fingertips over the internet.

My mum thought I was crazy for leaving a government tech job to join Tyk! I’m definitely glad I made the move though – I couldn’t ask for more.

What is it that’s so good about working for Tyk?

It has to do with flexibility and freedom. And learning too – everyone is encouraged to ask questions and it’s fine to feel like you don’t know things. We have a channel in Slack where you can ask anything. I’ve asked what could have been seen as some very silly questions there and no-one got back to me privately saying I was silly!

Thinking about your earlier career, can you share an example of a mistake that you made and what you learned from it?

Not having a proper product development plan. As my previous role was a government one, we would end up with political figures needing things done who would just text or call with their demands. We couldn’t really say no, so we kept piling up tasks without a clear plan to launch a particular product or service. It would all launch eventually, but it took forever! I wouldn’t want to repeat that kind of process without a proper development plan in place with timelines.

What are the values that drive you personally? What’s important to you?

Family is extremely important to me. Hard work, as well. Those are my top two values.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I love going to the beach. It’s a nice way to relax and see nature. I love eating out too – Thai food is my favourite.

What are your three favourite podcasts?

I love the Stuff You Should Know podcast. It’s basically like a history book crossed with Wikipedia. I’ve listened to tonnes of episodes about all sorts of things, from animals to how fire works!

Coincidentally, I also love Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know! That’s all about government secrets – kind of like Wikileaks.

I also love Science Vs. It’s all about science, so recently focused on coronavirus, exploring concepts like herd immunity.

What about three favourite books – what do you like to read?

That’s a tough choice. I think one of my favourite books would have to be Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is one of my favourites too. And I can’t narrow it down to a third one right now!