Startup Tips From Adegoke

Adegoke Olubisi | Co-founder & CEO, Helium Health

Hey T-Tribe

Today we share something from Adegoke Olubisi, Co-founder & CEO of Helium Health, Africa’s leading healthcare technology provider backed with over $12.5M in funding from Y Combinator, Tencent, The World Bank GEM Project and more. A Software Engineer by training and a Product Owner at heart, Goke continues to be at the forefront of technological disruptions across Africa. Prior to building Helium Health, he founded two of the largest social platforms and productivity suites on the continent with over 30 million users.

He shared several important things to take note of as a founder

Embrace remote work
A small change that has made a huge impact on my life is embracing remote work as being the future. Transitioning from doing things in person to accepting and embracing the world for what it is; which is a global community, has been very helpful to me.

I had a conversation with my co-founders at Helium Health and we realized that we are actually almost never in the same place. Everyone is always in a different place working on something for the company.

You have to deliver to earn respect
An important piece of advice is that you have to accept that no one will have any respect for you and they have no reason to. This is not their fault. You have to put in the work, time and effort to deliver what you want to achieve.

When I look back on the time we started Helium Health I think through the process of us trying to convince investors initially. No one was interested in medical records or healthcare in Africa but now that we have like thousands of people who use the platform, people now get it. So if you have a fantastic idea and no one is giving you that ear, my advice will be, relax. It is okay.

Don’t expect anyone, no matter how correct you are and no matter how smart the idea is, to simply take your word for it.

You just have to actually do the work and make them see reasons to believe in what you are doing.

It is important to have good relationships with co-workers
Have a good relationship with those you work with. I have a very different relationship with my co-founders and management team. We are very good friends and we talk 24/7. Nobody feels like they are coming to work. We lean on each other for strength which is something that you require when you are doing the kind of work that could make you pull your hair out.

One thing that I found to be most valuable in everything that I have done, is the fact that I was able to ensure that I worked with people that liked me as much as I liked them. That way it never really felt like a business relationship as we had each other’s back and we still do till today.

It is important to fully understand what you are getting yourself into
It is important to know everything on the products side, industry side and on the expectation side.

A lot of times when someone wants to start a company or business they are enthused and filled with passion without necessarily completely understanding what they are getting themselves into. Building a company involves years of long endeavor and hard commitment, it requires you to give your life to certain things and you need to be sure that the industry you are going into is what you want and you also need to be sure that if things don’t work out you’ll still be interested in the journey.

There are so many questions that we never answer and being a more mature person now I don’t approach building a company the same way I would or I did 5 years ago as the approach is very different. This is because I understand success and failure better. I am able to envision if things work out and ask myself questions like “Is this what I want? Why exactly do I want to be in this industry? Would I want to be in this industry in 5 years?”.

Thought leaders over books
If there are voices or thought leaders that you follow, you should always do your best to consume their content. If there are thought leaders or founders that stand out to you, it could be someone crazy to you like Elon Musk or someone more organized and prestigious like Michelle Obama or anyone that speaks to you regardless of the industry you should consume as much of their content as possible because that level of inspiration tends to be almost divine than reading a “10 steps success” book.

Match Personality Types
One of the mistakes I think I made at some point in hiring is not looking at the importance of personality types which I think people need to study. If you run a company and you haven’t done the personality type assessments on yourself and team, then you might be setting yourself up for trouble. This is because you could spend a lot of time and effort trying to change people or wondering why people are the way they are or why they work the way they do but you could have saved yourself some time and effort if you had done the personality test initially.

If you run a business, any type of entity or even a relationship, you have to assess their personality types. That way you can understand them better, accept them for who they are and figure how best to work with them. This means that you can have people in the right roles that fit into their personality so their experience is more natural. The more out of place people feel in a place or in a relationship the more they gradually drift away from it and it just almost never clicks. I know people argue that peoples personalities change but I barely ever see that, my experience has always been that people’s personalities remain the same all through their lives.

One of the biggest mistakes I made was putting people in the wrong place because I did not understand their personality and my method of overcoming it is to study and test people’s personalities.

Use time wisely
I would say “days” is the most important unit of time. I’m one of those obsessive people that barely sleep and I think about my day in two parts; I think of my day before my mandatory afternoon siesta of like 30 minutes to an hour and I think about part two of the day which is after that siesta till like 3 am every day.

I think there is so much you can achieve in a single day if you took out all the unimportant things like spending so much time in traffic. If you decided you will get a workstation at home, get good internet and you will work remotely, that way you will probably be able to achieve more in one single day.

In Lagos, you are probably doing two meetings a day max, from the two meetings a day you are now doing 10 meetings remotely. I think that’s one of the big privileges people that work remotely get. I also often live in the United States and one of the biggest privileges people have is the accessibility of time.


There you have it,

  • Embrace remote work
  • Be clear on what you are getting into
  • Understand the people you work with

I hope this has helped you

You can connect with Goke on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn

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