Feature

A day in the life of… Dayo Akinrinade, founder and CEO, Wisdom

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Getting exercise and oxygen is how Dayo Akinrinade, founder and chief executive of the social audio app Wisdom, starts her day.

“Typically, first thing in the morning, I’ll go for a power walk through the park or visit the gym, depending on the day, to get oxygen and the body moving, and get the brain working at its full capacity,” she says.

Like many of us, Akinrinade follows exercise with something warm – usually a cup of tea or hot water and lemon – and then it is time for her workday to begin.

She says: “Starting my workday, I look at the metrics, the numbers: how is the product performing? How many users do we have? What kind of actions are

they taking?”

Also high on her to-do list is reviewing reports around moderation, safety and wellness on Wisdon.

“Safety is important with us having an online social community. It needs to be a safe space because it’s a mentoring community. The idea of social audio is to have honest, authentic conversations, but if the environment isn’t safe, users aren’t going to be authentic and won’t feel that they can disclose and be mentored.”

Akinrinade also checks in with the technical build team, the marketing team, and sometimes the design team, ensuring that she is creating those all-important touch points.

“My key role as a CEO is to ensure there’s a vision, targets and clarity. Ultimately, it’s about ensuring everyone has what they need to do their job properly,” she says.

Interestingly, Akinrinade does not look at her emails until after she has completed those tasks, which she says is intentional.

“I believe emails are reactive, they are people seeking what they want from you, whereas my plan is about what I need to get out of each day, so is proactive,” she exaplains. “I’m a fan of the principle ‘What are the top three things that you need to get done today?’. These are the tasks that are going to move the needle and ensure things are done. Anything else is a lower priority.”

Akinrinade then moves onto a series of meetings and some designated solo work time. Throw in meetings with Wisdom’s stakeholders, such as Apple, and hosting conversations or interviews on Wisdom, and it is fair to say no day is the same for Akinrinade. When she is not building out the business, Akinrinade says that her priorities are family and rest.

“I do try and have a rule that on one day of a seven-day week, I don’t do any work. There’s value in switching the brain off and treating it like a muscle, by resetting. I believe my brain needs a day of rest. If I don’t rest, it won’t be as effective,” she says.

With a mission to democratise access to mentoring, Wisdom replaces the inequity of closed networks and “warm intros” with an open, diverse audio-based community centred on knowledge sharing, where people gather to have conversations that matter, using a platform that is powered by a deep-learning neural network.

Akinrinade’s company works with Spectrum Labs, a provider of AI-based content moderation, to create a safer environment for Wisdom’s users.

“Spectrum Labs has modules where they can detect things like misogyny or child harm. It’s not just a list of bad words that some platforms have – its technology has nuanced and specific use cases. What really attracted me to Spectrum was the intersectional approach to AI and moderation.”The theme of diversity extends beyond the Wisdom app itself and connects to Akinrinade’s experience as a woman in the tech sector, which she describes as “an overwhelmingly positive experience”.

Having always been a part of the tech industry during her adult life, Akinrinade says that for years she would be the only woman on a project with several men who all shared the “same type of thinking”, so now feels it is “great that as the years go by, we’re seeing more diversity”.

The priorities for Akinrinade and the Wisdom team during the year ahead are to “grow the community and ensure we are shaping the app and releasing the right features that our community wants”.

These developments include providing high-quality audio for content creators on the platform and community engagement features, such as likes and reactions. But one of the biggest is creator monetisation, through building on the Mentorcoin virtual currency used on the platform.

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