About this episode
In this episode, we'll learn how his love of music, talking, and helping others led to empowering designers and developers to go from content creators to community leaders.
Matthew Munger: Hey Timothy, it's a pleasure to speak with you today.
Timothy Ovie: Hi. Quite excited to be here.
Matthew Munger: Let's get started. Can you share a little bit about yourself?
Timothy Ovie: I'm a Program Committee Manager. So basically my whole career has evolved around marketing, content, and community. So I basically spent the past five to six years in the tech industry moving from content writer, to a marketing and communications manager, to currently building a community for community managers or people who build communities in Africa. Because it's kind of like a new industry in Africa whereby people usually get into the industry, not purposely, but through maybe hosting events and maybe championing products they find themselves using.
Matthew Munger: What is the tech scene like there in Nigeria?
Timothy Ovie: Okay. So basically it's kind of bubbling right now. So it's currently in this era whereby people have been doing a lot of stuff to be able to solve local problems that we are facing in Africa. So I think one thing that’s bubbling is around the payment space.
So we really find it difficult to make payments, make international payments. So getting money across to Africa, getting money outside of Africa. It’s really a crazy thing in Africa right now. So that's what most people are building right now. So developers are coming together to build various infrastructures…. FinTech universal infrastructure to solve the problems that we are facing here in Africa.
So right now we are in this growth stage whereby we are mostly currently building where we solve local challenges.
Matthew Munger: What is life like there in Wari, Nigeria?
Timothy Ovie: That's a very interesting question because there is foreign narrative around Wari, Nigeria. You can see online most times, it's mostly known for oil, right? So basically it's like an oil producing state, crude oil is what I'm talking about. So basically most people who work down here are mostly working in the Hoyer oil industry.
Times are changing right now. I have more people moving towards the tech space, and because of that, I'm growing stuff here in Africa, Nigeria. So going to work in a small agency, going to work in medium-sized organizations and stuff like that. So yeah, it's a 9-to-5 thing with literally little nightlife.
Matthew Munger: What do you really enjoy about living there in Wari?
Timothy Ovie: It’s the simplicity of the city and also I would say the cost of living.
Matthew Munger: What is the population size there?
Timothy Ovie: You are looking at 2 million people in the city. So the state is 6 million in population and there are like 2 million in the city.
Matthew Munger: That's large. That's a lot of people.
Timothy Ovie: Yeah.
Matthew Munger: When you go out and you're not leading community events and things, what places do you like to visit around the city? Where do you like to go?
Timothy Ovie: If I'm not leading the community and doing events, I'm basically doing a bit of entertainment. The other side of me, which is not like a tech part, right, I also manage artists and also help with marketing promotion for musical talent. So if I'm out there, I'm usually visiting clubs, visiting lounges, visiting fast food and restaurants whereby they have this side attraction for music.
Matthew Munger: This other interest in helping artists, where'd that come from?
Timothy Ovie: I think basically, I started in the industry, I think actually back in 2016-2017. At that time we didn't really have developable environments for you to try for it to be a career. So basically, I met someone, can I give a shout? So give a big shout to….co-founder Andela and Flutterwave. I reached out to him at some point and said, “Hey Chief, I would love to learn Digital Marketing Nanodegree, right, a nanodegree from the University of Digital Marketing. But the cost is kind of way too high. I don't know if you're able to cover the cost for me.” So we had a little back and forth and he sent money across, like he did that for me. And at that point, that's what I needed to take the next step in my career.
When he did that, I was kind of like,”If someone is able to support me at this stage, who really has no relationship with me, that means I should be able to do that in a community. So basically that actually brought up the part of supporting people and finding the best way possible to help anyone while building their career or while they are building any amazing stuff.
Matthew Munger: It's amazing– That there are people out there who so selflessly give of themselves to really invest in others and see them early on kind of find their feet, find their place, and head towards the version of success for them. Did that experience with him, did that kind of inspire you to get involved in community and helping others?
Timothy Ovie: Yeah. So at that point I was really calling it like, “do building communities” or maybe “supporting people,” maybe “advocating for people.” I just saw it as a rule of life for me at that point. Like, it's not just for me to create support….
So from that moment I gotta understand this is something larger than you, right? So yeah, that was a great pivot point for me to take this as something I have to do. Not just a feeling, but something I have to take seriously and find a way to support others.
Matthew Munger: Can you describe– where do you normally work? What does it look like? Do you have any kind of views of the city or something?
Timothy Ovie: I mostly work from my home, right? So there's one thing about me. I love everywhere being dark, no lights, and it gives me this focus on my screen while working. And my windows kind of give me a view of the streets. But most times I usually close off the window to avoid the light and maybe some distractions from what is happening around me. I love my environment, it's like a type of dark environment where there’s little….light.
Matthew Munger: Hmm, so a very focused space.
Timothy Ovie: I have like, an empty desk, so everything on my desk is just an external screen and keyboard max, and just like a clean empty desk. So that's just like a clean space.
Matthew Munger: Do you listen to any music while you work?
Timothy Ovie: Oh yeah, I do. Getting distracted, right? There are usually particular artists that I love playing. So that just keeps me focused and just do the work.
Matthew Munger: Do you have any kind of other hobbies or interests that you like to do?
Timothy Ovie: I think that should be talking. I love talking. I love talking and hanging out with people. So if that’s a hobby, that would be mine. Uh, I just love talking a lot. I love just getting into conversation or trying to spark conversations around people.
So just get people's opinion and thoughts around various issues and various prominent topics around the environment and the city at that time. So that's one. I think if that's a hobby, yeah, that's my hobby.
Matthew Munger: Your hobby is talking to people.
Timothy Ovie: Yeah, talking to people, making a connection, hanging out with people. And for interest, I think my most interest right now is around music and also around community. That's two big interests. So yeah, my interests are around music and community.
Matthew Munger: Music and community and talking.
Timothy Ovie: Yeah.
Matthew Munger: And talking about both of those.
Timothy Ovie: Yeah, exactly.
Matthew Munger: Timothy, tell me what is your role and can you describe kind of more in depth what it is you do?
Timothy Ovie: So currently I'm Head Of Community at a community in Africa. So it is a community for people who are community managers, developer relations, and their advocates in Africa. So what I'm doing right now at our current role is to enable us to create a lot of education.
We level support for community managers based in Africa. From doing events to doing workshops, to rolling out content and articles around building community.
So my role entails mostly education and support and interacting with other community managers to create support for other community managers. So creating this bridge for community managers and just support all around it, just like my day to day.
Matthew Munger: Yeah, training other community leaders. Is this anything like what you imagined you might be doing at this time?
Timothy Ovie: If I'm to look like two years back, my thoughts was at this particular time I'll be working as maybe a marketing manager for a record label, because of how I was totally invested in music at that point. So I was like, ah, maybe two years time, three years time I should be working as a marketing manager for a record label and stuff like that.
But yeah, plans and life, how you are close to what you do not do best, what you do freely. So that kind of leads me towards the community, even though I still listen for music.
Matthew Munger: What excites you and motivates you about investing in community managers.
Timothy Ovie: The community space in Africa is kind of young. So I think it was a few months back, or let's say a few years back, that people got to understand that community management is a role itself, right? It's not just something people accidentally do, right, it’s a role itself. So you could be able to build a career out of it.
So what motivates me is that I see a lot of people, developers, designers doing this community thing, where I know that they're doing community work. So you kind of see folks who just love getting people together to talk about the particular products. You kind of see folks who love to write technical articles, how-to-do guides on various products and try to push that for people to be able to use it and understand and learn from it.
So seeing that so many people are still at that particular angle of things that maybe we are just doing this for doing it. Maybe I just love sharing my work, but not intentionally building this community. It kind of motivates me to be able to create a lot of education around building sustainable communities and of creating a lot of support for people who build communities in Africa.
Matthew Munger: For anyone listening to this, how could they participate, help, or get involved in building the communities there?
Timothy Ovie: That's like a tricky question and a wonderful one. So for that, if we are to focus more in Africa– so if we’re able to support people who build communities in Africa, I would definitely lean towards the education part because it's kind of a new brand. Because in the long run, these individuals, these companies would benefit from direct investment into community managers to learn how to build communities. So I think this is a good time for people to plug into educational support for people building and leading communities in Africa.
Matthew Munger: So educational resources and investment into the communities there.
Matthew Munger: Where do you aspire to go from where you are today?
Timothy Ovie: I hope that I'll be able to do a lot of work with community-led Africa by doing a lot of education and support for community managers. So when I'm done, I look forward to leading the ambassador program, leading the community program in the community-led company.
Matthew Munger: How many countries is that in?
Timothy Ovie: So currently we are in four countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda– Kigali. So yes, we’ve got community managers from those countries, a part of the community.
Matthew Munger: Is there a resource or something that you think– and let's bring it to Nigeria– Is there something that you know about, some resource, some website, some Clonable, something that people need to know about?
Timothy Ovie: One thing right now in the African space is most people usually love building products very fast. Usually love having things being done at ease. So no-code is kind of wanted and popping in Africa during this period. So to be able to spin up a project and with things whereby you are able to design particular stuff on Figma and move to Webflow, that’s an amazing thing for designers here in Africa. So I think one thing I want people to know is how fast you are able to convert a Figma design to a Webflow design, like our move from Figma to Webflow.
Matthew Munger: How do you actually go from Figma to Webflow? Can you quickly walk me through how you describe it?
Timothy Ovie: Okay, so I think basically for me, that means you already have the designs already on Figma. You just have to be able to create a new Webflow project, define the style guide, then you have to be able to export that Figma asset to Webflow. You have to be able to arrange the particular frames and components.
Matthew Munger: So you get the design finished in Figma, then you go to Webflow, you start a blank project. You build out the style guide, get your typography ready, and then start building your layouts.
Timothy Ovie: Exactly. So from there on I move to exporting the assets from Figma. So basically from your icons to your images or other assets.
Matthew Munger: How do you handle the responsive design from the different breakpoints going from Figma to Webflow?
Timothy Ovie: We usually start doing the edits for mobile first, because I would say Africa has a deal with mobile first. Like 51% of Africans are mostly on their mobile. So maybe we will convert a particular design, but mostly we're converting that design on desktop.
Matthew Munger: I mean that was my experience as well, that phones, smartphones are much more accessible than desktop computers for most people.
Matthew Munger: Who is someone else in the Webflow community, either locally or globally, someone else who inspires you?
Timothy Ovie: Colleen, I think she's currently the Community Leader Of the Year.
Matthew Munger: Colleen Brady.
Timothy Ovie: Yeah. I think she's my favorite community leader in the Webflow Community, and also a person that inspires me when I think about the Webflow Community. Even apart from the Webflow Community itself, she's also there for you in other individual stuff. You are brilliant. You are doing– I think there was a time like in intense moments when we were doing a community managers festival in Africa. The first one was around October last year. It was kind of a tense moment for me and she just slid right into my DMs and said, “Hi” and wished me success, which gives me hope. Like there's a reason for me to continue doing what I'm doing. So she is one person that definitely inspires me in the Webflow Community.
Matthew Munger: Absolutely. Yeah Shout out to Colleen
Matthew Munger: What is some advice that you want to share with others?
Timothy Ovie: So for community leaders, I wanna say thank you for the great work you are doing. It's definitely not going unnoticed for creating that support for people and putting people first before you. For me, my advice is every now and then, every few months, kind of take a step back and reevaluate your personal growth, if you are growing as well as if your community's growing.
So for community members and people who are part of communities, please try to treat community managers and leaders very well. We are humans. We tend to also make mistakes. Reach out to us in a kind, good manner, and just have this good interaction. Because we community managers, we are humans too.
Matthew Munger: So community managers, take care of yourselves and look at your own growth, and take moments to pause and evaluate maybe your kind of own mental health and personal growth. And for community members who attend events or are part of communities, make sure you appreciate your community leaders and managers.
Timothy Ovie: Yeah.
Matthew Munger: Show them some love and kindness and some grace, and help them out whenever you can.
Timothy Ovie: Yeah.
Matthew Munger: All right, Timothy, we've come to the end of our time here together. If those listening would like to reach out and connect with you, how can they do that?
Timothy Ovie: Oh, definitely connect with me on Twitter. So you can check my username @timothy_ovie spelled O-V-I-E. If you shout on Twitter mostly that's basically where you’ll be able to connect with me. I'm on Twitter most times.