Shooting my shot with Cowrywise
When this year began, I had one goal. That goal was to work with a world class digital company like Google or Microsoft. Why? My skills were more suited for that industry and my job at the time felt like it was holding me back. 2018 was one of rediscovery. I rediscovered my purpose in animation and motion design and went in that direction. I spent a lot of time learning about motion design and animation. I really wanted to and still want to become a world class motion designer and animator.My job wasn’t the right fit. I had to get rid of it. I was fed up. Freelancing wasn’t kicking it for me too.
In 2018, I wanted change but I wasn’t ready. I was eager but being eager without being prepared could get you burnt. 2019? I was ready. I had taken an internship role at OBK studios and also took animation courses. I updated my C.V, portfolio and show reel. I also tried my hands on projects that were beyond what I was used to. I became more daring. I was hungry.
I saw different job applications being put out but none of them were for animation or motion design. I didn’t mind. I applied for the jobs anyway. I just needed my foot in the door. If they were adamant on me sticking to the role advertised for, I would look for another company to go to. After a few months of applications, interviews and a few rejections, I caught wind of Cowrywise. You see, I heard of the company a couple of months ago. I was using another savings and investment app before I came across it. I’m a Muslim and the halal investment and savings option drew me to it. They put out an ad for the role of a graphics designer/illustrator and I applied.
What intrigued me the most about the job application ad was the brief. The brief came in the form of a well written story about savings circle. It highlighted the popular Ubuntu philosophy of “I am because we are”. It kind of sent a message to me and the fire was ignited. In my mind I was like “I’m your guy but you don’t know it yet. You don’t know what’s going on. Haq haq haq’’ permit me to be silly. Hehe.
How did I apply? Well, I have always understood the need for standing out. I’m 6’8ft tall so God had already given me the physical gift of being noticeable in a crowd. How could I apply this same uniqueness to this job application? I knew the role was a common one and there were going to be a lot of applications from graphics designers and illustrators all over. So I had to lay down a different strategy.
There’s something about me that has helped me through the years, it’s obsession. When I want something, I find myself obsessing about the thing until I get a hold of it. Cowrywise fell into that pocket. I obsessed about the company. The more I knew about it, the more I wanted to work for the company. The website, the mobile app, the design, the tone of communication, everything I came across was excellent. I became obsessed. I asked myself what Cowrywise needed more than what they thought they needed. They needed me in all my swiss army knife glory. They needed a motion designer/animator. So I went to work.
My application was simple, I wanted to show the company my skills with a 15 seconds animated loop that highlighted the idea of the savings circle. I began to brainstorm ideas and searched for inspiration on pinterest, youtube and vimeo. I wrote a couple of ideas down before settling for the one that felt perfect. I went to work on creating the storyboard for it. I managed to submit the storyboard to Cowrywise before the deadline. I wasn’t happy that I couldn’t animate the loop. So I thought to myself, “Why not animate the loop and post it on social media?. That way, they would understand that you’re in for business and it would be a way to test the loop’s effect on people.” So I did. Listen to your gut feeling people. It knows things!
One weekend, I decided to animate the loop. I shared it with some of my animator friends for feedback. They loved it. Aside some technical impossibilities, they were hooked on it. So I took the feedback, made a few corrections and posted it on twitter. I tagged the company and immediately people started responding to it. It didn’t go viral but it caught the attention of a lot of people. When I knew things were looking up was when Razaq Ahmed, the CEO of Cowrywise followed me. I was elated. I kept smiling at my phone as comments kept flowing in.
A few days later, I was invited to have a chat with the team. It wasn’t called an interview for purposes that were later clear to me. I was a bit nervous because I really cared about making a good impression. One bad impression could mess things up. I arrived at the office and Enor(Customer success lead), introduced me to the team and it immediately began to feel like home. I had a discussion with Razaq about my personal goals and my work history. We also talked about the future of Cowrywise and what my role in the company would be if I was to join. I shared my enthusiasm about the company and what I felt I could bring to the table. After the conversation, I was told I would be contacted for a second chat session.
I came to the office and this time we discussed numbers. How much salary I was expecting and how much the company could offer. After some back and forth, we settled on something that was fair. I went home that day feeling elated. Finally I found the place that wanted growth for itself and for the people in it. Mutual growth. Not parasitic. All that was left was to get the job.
A few days later, I got an email from Razaq with an offer. I got the job! I couldn’t process the feeling I had at the time. I didn’t know if it was relief, excitement or even fear. It was a mix of emotions. All I knew was that I was ready. A dream come true and I was on my way to make magic with the gifts God bestowed upon me. I sent in my resignation a few days later and began to prepare myself mentally for what was to come.
On September the 2nd, me and 4 other new recruits resumed at Cowrywise. We were onboarded smoothly and went straight to work. Today, 2nd of December 2019, makes it 3 months since I joined Cowrywise and the journey has been an interesting one. I’ve learnt a lot from the team and also from myself. I’m also amazed at the amount of work we have accomplished together during this short period. There’s still a lot to be done and I’m excited to put my skills to good use. The support for becoming a better animator and motion designer has been amazing and I am truly grateful for it.
I want to use this opportunity to thank the Cowrywise team for being like a second family. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of the team. To Razaq, Edward, Enor, Feranmi, Feyi, David, Blessing, Basirat, Seun, Aisha, Oye, Binjo, Eniola, Diamond, Yami, Flamezzzz, Tobe,Victor, Dimeji and Durotolu, I want to say you guys rock like Dwayne Johnson. Let’s keep this ship sailing and help Nigerians save and invest with ease.