We took a moment to relax with the super chilled, super talented Jamaine Obeng, developer, music buff and founder of Orsilus. He speaks on misconceptions and combining his passion & interests as he progressed through his career.
Are you currently working on a personal project?
Orsilus, a music making app for iPad, I was inspired by my own experiences as a musician and those of musicians around me. I wanted to try out some new ideas for music interfaces and those ideas, developed into a fully fledged music app.
Have you always wanted to work in the creative industry? If yes, can you tell us why? If not, how did you land your current position?
Yes, growing up I had 3 key areas of interest; music, computers and making things. I would make computers, I would make music, I would make computers to make music and just about everything electronic in between. So I always wanted to do something creative as a job.
My brothers and I were always very hands on with electronics, so a job as electronic engineer seemed all but certain. But as I got older, I felt more and more drawn to music and after studying a course of Music Informatics at university, I managed to get a job as QA engineer testing music software. I slowly worked my way up to a junior development position and had the chance to create some of the types of music software I had been using to make music. In my spare time I worked on my own pet projects and apps to hone my skills and I spent some time teaching myself to develop iOS App's.
About two years ago, off the back of showing one of my iOS apps I was offered the opportunity to do iOS development at ustwo, it was a bit of change, but audio software development is probably one of the hardest forms of development there is and I feel it put me in good stead for anything that may come later in my career.
I am currently an iOS developer at ustwo's London Studio but often find myself on projects where I get to use my skills other than my job title suggests.
What has been your biggest achievement to date and why?
Releasing my own App to the app store - a music making app called Orsilus. I had been working on it for the last 3 or so years and it was important to finally see it out in the world and have people giving feedback.
What would you describe as you biggest obstacle so far?
I think my outwardly relaxed nature and honesty can sometimes make people think I am less of an experienced developer than I am. So I would say not being assertive enough.
Taking a lighter note what and who inspires your creative process?
I am always inspired by the people around me, I have learnt most of what I know through watching, observing and then trying things in my own time. Being allowed to learn at my own pace has been key to my development as a creative, I need the space to press buttons, make mistakes and learn on the way. But what really gets my creative juices flowing is architecting and developing things and ideas that seem really complicated but can simplified or solved in unique ways.
What three tips would you give your younger self?
Make mistakes, try things, no matter how hard they seem and learn from those mistakes. But never let the fear of getting things wrong hold you back.
What words of wisdom do you have for other creatives?
Try not to spend too much time on one idea, in your lifetime, you will have many, so try not to get too attached to one.
If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would you message be?
Let's make something great.. together!
What legacy would you like to leave behind?
I would like to create something that will be used and remembered when I'm gone, I would like to invent something. I feel that in our day and age there is an over reliance on big companies to do everything for us and spoon feed everything we do. It would be nice to see more developers actually developing revolutionary new ideas and products rather than just pulling API's.