“Look, this thing is not easy”: iROKO CEO Jason Njoku talks Entrepreneurship, Fatherhood & More in New Interview | Listen

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Jason Njoku, Founder & CEO of iROKO, recently appeared on The Africa Music Law Show, an entertainment business and law show empowering creatives.

While on the show, the globally recognized entrepreneur got very candid and shared how he failed ten times with other business ventures before coming up with the idea for iROKO, his eleventh business.

Njoku also addressed past public disputes and controversies that have surrounded his management and leadership style with employees and with entertainment industry veterans.

“I was young. I was incredibly arrogant and brash. I thought that money was the beginning and the end,” said Njoku.

The entrepreneur who now has a humble disposition also reflected on the advice he now gives to persons who want to follow in his business footsteps.

“Whenever I meet people who say, ‘oh my God I want to do the same thing,’ I always try to caution them that: ‘look, this thing is not easy’,” said Njoku.

“It fundamentally changes you as a person. It is really difficult for this experience not to affect your relationship with the people who love you dearly: family, friends, everybody, so just be really prepared for that reality.”

On co-founder Bastian Gotter’s exit from IROKO

I am an incredibly difficult person to work with, like incredibly difficult and I definitely feel that us working so closely together had a massive impact on our relationship. It changed the dynamics of our relationship and you know I think it was probably the best thing for… him to sort of like go and find new adventures at this point in time. But we worked together… obviously, he invested in the company… we worked together for five years. But I kind of feel like we have rediscovered our relationship since he basically… left iROKO because it is one thing sitting next to someone having this like violent arguments about strategy and a whole bunch of other things, versus spending a whole weekend together hanging out…. It’s gone back to us being proper friends… there are very few people who are close to me and he will always stand as one of them.

On why he is so transparent about his life as an entrepreneur and IROKO 

In my dark days, I read books and other people’s stories which kind of like fueled my delusions of grandeur. That was really important to me. So whenever I meet people who say, “oh my God I want to do the same thing!,” I always try to caution them that, “look, this thing is not easy.”

It fundamentally changes you as a person. It is really difficult for this experience not to affect your relationship with like the people who love you dearly: family, friends, like everybody, so just be really prepared for that reality.

For me, I’ve always kind of over shared… I really started blogging in January 2013 when I knew I was going to be a father. And for me, it was really important that there was some record of how I thought about a particular issue, right or wrong, at that point in time. I really wanted to chronicle my reality so my kids can understand what kind of a person I was. I’ve always tried to encourage other Nigerian entrepreneurs, to be honest with themselves and honest with the wider society. I think Nigeria is poorer because it is all smokes and mirrors and you essentially can’t believe…anything anyone is saying. I think society is like poorer for it. I think it creates… a burden, like a tax of honesty where you don’t really know whether your counterpart, or business supplier, or business partner, is out to get you or an honest person. So for me, I feel having borrowed so heavily from the story of others that I have an obligation to share back and I try to…

On overspending, conflicts with industry veterans, problems with employees. 

I was young. I was incredibly arrogant and brash. I thought that money was the beginning and the end and to hell with everyone else’s opinion. So in hindsight, do I like that version of myself, No. When you are incredibly well capitalized and everyone else isn’t around you, you do things at a pace which is abnormal. (I) probably could have spent a third of the money and ended up in the exact same place. Of the $30-40 million we essentially wasted, I am sure we could have spent just 10 million.”

Listen to Part 1 HERE:
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