My first impression of Paystack

Adewale Akande
7 min readFeb 2, 2017

Product design is something I recently grew enormous passion for and I’ve always wanted to go deeper than just building story boards, user flows, wireframes and sweet looking mock ups. It was a Tuesday evening, when I stumbled upon a post on medium explaining the process and also sharing some very insightful and cool stuffs about the new Paystack website (You can see it here) and I’m in the house sitting in my very small corner(My table/workspace, though I don’t like calling it that), getting to the end of the post, I swiftly navigated to the new website to see what it looks like and I was like WOW!!! WTH!! I can’t really express how excited I felt seeing the animations on the home page header and I went in my head “I’m gonna learn how to do this”. Paystack is a seamless payment solution built to answer the problems of accepting payments online in Nigeria.

Going here and there, entering every pages I can find on the site like I was checking out the rooms of a newly built house I was gifted, I landed on the careers page where I found out they were accepting applications for design interns and Front-End Designers, I couldn’t go for Front-end since it requires a strong knowledge of HTML, CSS and Javascript so I applied for the internship rather, I’m not currently in a full-time work so there’s enough time for me, it was about midnight same day I sent the application mail of which I got a feedback exactly 20mins after I applied, “That was a freaking fast response” I went in my head, after several weeks of design exercise and screening, I was selected among the three guys that eventually made it and that’s how it started.

Finding my way

We were asked to show up at the Paystack HQ by noon of February 1st for a Meet & Greet, it was on Wednesday, and only if you could guess or try to imagine how excited I was waking up that morning, I had to do some home chores as usual and clear some tabs on my chrome that has been there for over a week(I have failed tremendously at keeping a clean browser tab, I’m of those digital hoarders), I was getting carried away on medium before I realize i don’t have too much time on my side anymore, it’s my first day so I don’t want start it late(even though I’ve always been a late comer, scientific research shows we are usually more creative though *cover’s face*), I rushed to get dressed and headed out, it wasn’t really a nice experience locating the building, the estate numbering was a total mess and got me confused several times, thanks to the almighty google maps that eventually came to my rescue.

My first hour

It was almost 12.30pm when I eventually got in, I met a guy at the reception who directed me to the waiting room, where I met two other fellas who already settled in, a boy and a girl(or a lady), seems like they’ve been around for a couple of hours, looking relaxed, having a slice of chocolate cake and already feeling at home, they were the other selected interns, so I’ll probably been spending more hours of my next 10weeks with them. The waiting room had a really nice set up, the only reason why I’m calling it a waiting room is because that was where we had to wait for our Intern Director, it doesn’t really have that kind of set up though, One side of it had chairs like a cafeteria, where we were sitting had living room kinda set up and across where I was sitting was a wooden stool and a tall white table, I found having all these type of set up in just one room very interesting which already speaks of the design culture at Paystack. On the walls were three posters with very sweet messages, my favorite was the one with “never stop” written on it.

We immediately had a quick introduction, the girl Akachi and Tomi was the guy’s name, I sat and we chatted for a while until they started talking about music, i don’t do Hip Hop no more so I was like zoned out for a while but in no time, we quickly became friends and felt kinda comfortable around ourselves, like we’ve known each other before. After a while a lady came in to check how we were holding up, our intern Director was out on a meeting, so we had to wait for a while for me him to get back. The lady also gave a sliced of the the chocolate cake i mentioned earlier, it was good for me, I didn’t take breakfast before leaving the house.

Another guy we met before our director arrived was Loknan or Lockner, I’m not sure which is the right one, He was the Product Engineer, very funny human being, at a point he was standing at the entrance to the waiting room explaining to Kachi for like 5 minutes why he can’t borrow her his pen, which he later brought after she had already given up on it. Or was it to mention the moment he called me Bobrisky when I introduced myself to the rest of the team as Bobby which almost got me a red face and the other time I had to clarify that I wasn’t a spy from Amplify Pay because I had said initially during the screening that I used the Lead the design team at amplify not knowing I was referring to Amplify Digital Agency rather. But generally, the atmosphere was very welcoming with loads of beautiful people around us.

Meeting our Director

About an hour after I got there, our intern director finally landed, Ope, product designer at Paystack, he was much taller and bigger than I thought, I don’t really know how to describe someone but you can see what he looks like here, but for many designers like me, he’s well known and admired for his proficient skills in design. After he settled in, he came over to the waiting room where he introduced himself and we all did a brief introduction of ourselves also. He then went straight into telling us more things we need to know about the internship like the duration, what we will be learning, the work structure, the pay and the list goes on. It was a very insightful meet, he shared some of his work ethic and lifestyle with us as well asking us about ours. Before we called the meet a wrap, he gave room for questioning which we all asked as many stupid as questions as we can(not all was really that stupid though). One of the questions I asked was about writing as a designer which later led to our first assignment, you are actually reading what we will asked to write right now and we are to submit it the following day.

The first exercise

After the meet, we head down to the conference room where Ope spoke to us a little bit about what we will be covering for the first 3weeks, after which he gave a little introduction into design thinking, it was a very insightful session, we were added to the team’s slack channel by Ezra, the CTO (Mehn! I’m really hoping we are added to the team’s page on dribble, we can spice it up with some doodles you know) and as you would’ve thought we got on the company’s free wifi (unlimited streaming shit for the music lovers :), and I can also keep up with the New York Knicks NBA session on youTube without worries).

After all that, we were given a quick exercise to solve, in just 10mins we were to design an app for a particular service together, We quickly join heads and started mocking up things on Sketch, the interface was majorly influenced by decisions from Akachi and Tomi, while my hands were on the computer designing the screen as soon as I can. After the round off, we presented what we did and Ope showed us what he did in his own ten minutes as well and it was really cool which tells why he is the boss. After the day’s exercise, he still sat there in the conference room with us for a couple of hours where we later spoke about more nice stuffs.

It was around 4:15pm and Salat (the Muslim prayer) was approaching so I had to head out to look for a nearby mosque, unfortunately I couldn’t find any but I came across one generous Hausa guard who later offered me his praying room to observe my Salat. That was the only moment I didn’t feel good, my prayers are very important part of my daily routine, my life to precise and it’s important to observes those prayers at their specific times. I’ve decided I’ll be going to the office with my prayer mat, there should be enough space at the back of the building for me to pray. After that I headed back to the office around 4:35pm to get back together with my crew, it was long after then that Ope took his leave and we work for like an hour more before we decided to leave for our respective destinations.

Going Home

It was roughly past 6 at the time we finally set out, before then we were invited to the Product meeting by 8am the following day, before getting to the bus stop where we all went our separate ways, we had a little chat on how medium is really addictive due to the awesome stories that are posted by users and how it has inspired many designers to also write about their experience in the industry. After seeing Kachi off, I had to walk back to where I’ll get a bus home, it was around 6:15pm I finally got a bus home.

It’s going to be a busy, work-full, interesting, challenging & insightful 10 weeks of my life, probably the busiest because I’ll have to do to a lot of organization and time management to get the best out of this internship experience, it’s something most of my friends would even be surprised about, me applying as an intern but I don’t really care, I’m more concerned about focusing on what I came here to learn and who I would’ve become by the end of these ten weeks but above all I know it’s gonna be fun. Proud to be one of Them Paystack for a while.

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