Push Playlists: Just start off with your name and what you do or like what's your affiliated with things of that nature?
Korede: My name is Korede Aderele, I'm a computer science major. I'm from Lagos, Nigeria. I'm an international student in the states right now studying at Drexel University, third year out of five. I've done a couple internships and lived in SF for six months from April till September. I worked at Coinbase and Google over that period and also worked at Google the summer before. I've been pretty much back and forth between the Bay Area and Philly over the time I've been in states. Um, yeah, I guess that's my interest for the most part.
Push Playlists: What got you into tech in the first place? That's always an interesting story.
Korede: Uh, yeah, I, I guess I've been fascinated with building stuff since I was a kid. Writing software was the closest way I could easily do it as opposed to like hardware, which is much harder to get into from jump. I was really interested in the startup space in Lagos while I was in high school and I kind of wanted to do that start up thing or at least work in that space. So I came to the states and applied to a bunch of internships. I ended up at Google that first summer and everything else came after that I guess.
Push Playlists: Can you give us a glimpse into what your first experience was like at Google?
Korede: It was interesting. I guess it was really exciting. The general theme for me was to really maximize on that. The analogy I use for doing internships and coming to the states and all those things is just generally having my horizons expanded so it was less about what I was doing and more about how much more I would be able to do because of my experience. I learned a bunch more about tech and got a lot connections and all that stuff. The second time I learned even more about even more connections. So just that general pattern of having more stuff I can potentially do with my life. I'm really excited.
Push Playlists: What is your ultimate goal in general?
Korede: Um, so, uh, I don't know. That's a loaded question. I don't really know. Right now there's a number of things. I'm really trying to challenge what people think about as computing, right now. I'm really fascinated with open source technology and blockchain. I worked at Coinbase for three months, so I guess that it kind of got me into that mind state. Then of course stuff about how to properly plan Urban environments like in my home country of Nigeria and the future of cities in developing countries.
Push Playlists: It's interesting that you brought up the urban planning thing. Can you explain like your fascination with urban planning in general? Especially in immigrants from developing nations?
Korede: The reason why I'm interested in finding out about urban planning why I'm interested in learning about software infrastructure. They all have to do with questions of scaling and efficiency. Being from Nigeria, it's like a super huge population that's growing super fast. And it's like, how do urban areas or rather the places where most people live actually scale to fulfill their needs? It's just about solving those questions both in terms of software and in terms of human beings, which are fundamentally different but have similarities.
Push Playlists: How's your experience in Philadelphia? How have you maneuvered that space in the last two years or three years?
Korede: I've probably not done a great job. Sometimes I feel like I'm not great at exploring the city even though my school is right in the city. I could probably do a better job. Part of that is because I guess I've kind of been between the East and West coast for the past two years. However, it's definitely a city I'm developing a connection to for a variety of reasons. This is definitely a city with a lot of culture and all of that. I dunno, I could definitely do a better job.
Push Playlists: I always read your tweets, man. You have very interesting tweets and it definitely resonates when I talk to you. How does music play a role in this? How have integrated music into your life?
Korede: As i’ve gotten older, music’s played a very foundational role in my life. It's hard to talk about but I really started to get into music as I was leaving secondary school. I really picked up on Fela Kuti. He's this activist/artist from Nigeria. It was the first time I really thought about the implications of music on a sociopolitical level. Because what Fela represented was something really wholesome in terms of standing firm for what is right. Besides that the music itself was extremely meaningful. Especially as I left Nigeria for the States. Even if you're looking at his music outside of context of understanding, Fela's music still resonates with people across the world. Even though everyone might not understand the fact that he was criticizing military dictators in Nigeria in his music, he is held up to such a high regard, which I have always thought was very powerful.
Korede: So just thinking about that, I think that was when I really started to appreciate music. I mean I always listened to music. However, I didn't start appreciating music for what it is until Fela. It's an art form. I've never been one to restrict my listening to one genre either. I think I have fairly eclectic tastes. My roommate freshman year was a film and video major and was also really into music. So I got used to the way people talked about music in a very academic way. However, these days I'm just realizing that if something sounds good to me then it doesn't always have to be about some really deep thing. All interpretation is subjective.
Push Playlists: How do you find and discover new music now?
Korede: I discover music through my friends. That's been nice. The tech around music these days has been really good. I've tried to work at Spotify earlier this year because I thought all the stuff that they were doing with music discovery was really interesting. Of course it's not perfect, but right now it's really fascinating. I remember watching a documentary years ago about how the iPod essentially revolutionized how people listen to music. How they changed music from being something that was played on jukeboxes or collective experience to an individualized experience. It gave people the ability to craft their own soundtracks/worlds. The ideal to me is the intersection between these two concepts. You're listening to a song or playlist and your instantly able to share that experience with someone else.
Push Playlists: It's crazy to me how a local artist from the middle of nowhere can put there music in the cloud and have someone across the planet listen to their vibes. Apart from formal communication, I feel that music is the best way to transfer cultural ideas. There's people in the states that have never been to Korea that feel connected to that culture because of KPOP. I've never been to Japan but whenever I hear a song, albeit an Anime theme song, I feel connected to the people over there. It truly makes me empathetic to people I legitimately don't know.
Korede: It really is kind of insane. It happens more frequently than not that I stumbled upon people's maybe in tech or some other thing and I find them like talking about Nigerian music and I'm like, how the hell did you happen to find this Nigerian artist who's not even that popular outside of the country. I guess that's really just a testament to how the internet or whatever has really helped music permeate culture.
Push Playlists: I’m interested in what your thoughts are on improving Spotify or any other streaming service.
Korede: Once again, I'm still trying to figure it out myself. I don't consider the current state to be completely ideal. Honestly, I can't really articulate what the ideal state is anyway. Regardless, I feel it'll begin to get in a more ideal state when sharing is much more seamless than it is now. I definitely think Spotify is better than Apple Music in that regard. I guess that's also an immature argument. Although, Apple Music has a much more robust social feature than Spotify. I think my ideal would be a world where dj set lists can be made live. A world where people can open their phones, flip open their music apps, and send songs to someone. We already have the technology that allows pretty seamless personal and collective listening. I just feel that we could push a little more. I think Shazam and music knowledge apps like that are pretty promising as well. I think we often underemphasize how futuristic technology like that is in regards to pure music discovery.