About Olubusayo: As a Co-Founder of Formplus, Olubusayo Longe is a master of the SaaS industry. With extensive experience in business development, tech, and marketing, Olubusayo has established himself as an innovator and a start-up connoisseur. Since its formation in 2014, Formplus has acquired users in over 70 countries, helping businesses gather and process data from their online and offline customers.
As a dynamic and charismatic leader, Olubusayo has found his niche leading teams of developers to create the best possible customer experience. With this, Olubusayo has made his mark on the SaaS industry, simplifying digital transformation for organizations around the world.
In this edition of Executive Insights, Olubusayo sits down with Rudly Raphael to share his perspectives on the current state of SaaS and his path to success.
What advice or recommendations do you wish you could give your past self? What would you do differently?
I would be more focused on blockchain and the products around it. I also think that FinTech has gotten really interesting over the years and so I would pursue that as well.
How has your relationship with customers and employees changed in 2020 in comparison to past years?
I think one thing that was fostered better this year is the trust we’ve had to have in each other as a team. Especially since we had not voluntarily decided to work from home, so all the processes required to work efficiently were mostly absent. We had to trust that no one on the team dropped the ball while we figured out working from home. With our customers, we also had to be a lot more open with all we were doing to support their businesses, especially with the lockdown. Some of our customers saw a significant drop in their revenues, while changes in work culture caused many others to change their business models entirely. We needed to be sure we were also aware of how their businesses changed, which ultimately affected how we grew our own business.
What is the first thing you do before you start your workday routine?
I typically spend some time meditating and praying, then I go for a run, after which I ride to work (which is mostly my home workstation). Most days, I do at least one or all of these.
What do you like and dislike about working remotely or from home?
I think what I dislike the most is that there aren’t very clear boundaries between work and non-work times. It’s easy to put in a lot more work hours, which feels pretty great until diminishing return sets in. It’s much easier to burnout at home.
What is your learning style and how does that impact your decision making?
I learn mostly by observation. It’s helped me be more data-driven in my decision making.
What was the most formative (life-changing) experience of your career?
I think this was learning the importance of putting the customer first. I literally saw our customers stand-in for the product during one product release that wasn’t going as planned. In the earlier days of the business, before we had a more thorough process for product releases, we had put out a new release that caused major bugs (and we couldn’t rollback). I immediately sent out a message to our customers, letting them know what was going on. I expected a lot of backlash but what happened next was quite shocking. A number of users opted to help us check parts of the application and reported what they observed. Our users were essentially testing for us. It made me so much more focused on creating the best experience for users and always putting this first.
What hobbies and interests outside of work have indirectly benefited your career?
I used to be a professional photographer. I would shoot at events and organize portrait sessions. Doing this over a long period of time helped me learn how to interact with people better. In a lot of situations, I get the best results when people feel comfortable in front of a camera. So, I had to learn to talk to people and get them ready for photos. I would say this helped me as a leader as I find myself talking to people every day. I’ve found myself being better at approaching people, communicating my ideas to them, and being able to really listen to what they think of what I’m saying to them.
What does success mean to you?
I think I would define success as being in a state of peace with doing something really purposeful and seeing the desired results from doing so.
Has there been a time where you trusted your instinct over data to make an important decision? What was the result?
My earlier decisions weren’t really data-driven. I relied on intuition a lot and eventually got to talk to users to know what they thought about what we did. I would say that most of my early decisions were more instinctive than data-driven. I made a lot of mistakes in doing this, launched products and features that weren’t really validated, and spent more time trying to find out why (because I didn’t have the data). Overall, I wouldn’t say that instincts weren’t a good way to make decisions when the data is available (or can be available).
What is your approach to failure?
I think every entrepreneur faces some kind of failure on a daily basis. I’ve tried to always remember that failure is not a final state but just another data point in a series of experiments.
What kind of people do you choose to surround yourself with?
They are typically very driven people who are also strong-willed. They don’t know how to take no for an answer and always find a way to forge ahead. They are sometimes just antagonistic people, but I think that’s also necessary to avoid groupthink.
What books would you recommend that shaped your outlook in your career or your life in general?
I really liked The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt.
What drew you into the industry?
It was mostly from a Google contest, which we won for an original idea.
What is the biggest misconception about your industry?
I think there are misconceptions from different areas. I don’t think some people really understand how vital forms can be to any organization. I also think it can be easy for new entrants to underestimate how the landscape is.
What kind of media do you consume? Are there any media you try and avoid?
I follow general news from popular websites. Additionally, I sign up for all the platforms I find interesting (whether as competitors or just general interests). I follow product releases and try to understand how they’re evolving.
If you owned a house that needed a lot of updates, would you rather tear it down and build a brand-new house from scratch or remodel the existing home, preserving some of its original charms?
This would probably depend on how much updating I need to do. For a house that needs a lot of work, I could argue that it costs much more to keep updating it (considering that I might still need to do some work in the near future). It might be better to just start it over. If the damage isn’t too far gone, then I would definitely keep up with the fixes.