Seyi Fabode – CEO and Co-Founder of Power2Switch

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I’d pay more attention to people, because at the end of the day, it’s your relationship with people that matters the most. No surprises there, since teammates, customers and investors/stakeholders are all people.

Seyi Fabode, 35, is the CEO and co-founder of Power2Switch, an innovative website that enables residential and commercial electricity customers to compare and switch electricity suppliers. Together with co-founder Philip Nevels, Seyi raised venture capital investments, defined company strategy and hiring, and led Power2Switch to exponential customer growth. The company was selected into the Illinois Smart Grid Cluster, the Cluster Acceleration Program (CAP 20) and the Excelerate Class of 2011. Power2Switch was also one of five startups chosen to participate in the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative.

Prior to earning his MBA, Seyi was an operations analyst at EnergyQuote, an energy brokerage and management firm in London. He also served as a commercial analyst for a privately owned power plant in London. It was his experiences at these two businesses that laid the foundation for what would soon become his entrepreneurial passion–Power2Switch.

What are you working on right now?

Power2Switch, a website that educates consumers about retail electricity. We give customers the ability to comparison shop for electricity providers and save on electricity expenses. We also educate consumers (both residential and small commercial users) on how they can reduce their energy usage and further reduce cost.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I worked in the power sector and saw the information gap that existed between customers and utility providers. I moved to Chicago and was frustrated that I couldn’t switch providers. I knew there were several providers out there, but there was not one good site that would enable me compare and make a smart decision about who could save me some money.

What does your typical day look like?

I wake up around 6:15 a.m. and I avoid checking emails until I’ve prayed, exercised (when I don’t feel like crap) and gotten ready for work. I chat briefly with the Mrs. I listen to music when I drive in or read when I take the train. Once I arrive at the office around 8 a.m., I list my “to-dos” for the day. I check site metrics (traffic, conversions, customer feedback) and then start on the day’s tasks. This is around 8:15 a.m., and the day stops being typical from that point on.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I write them down and share them with as many people as possible. I’m a people person and have no problem with harsh feedback/criticism. I also wireframe a lot. Sometimes the wireframes are web flows or user-experience ideas, and other times they’re just a steady flow of words to get my thoughts out.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The move back toward a more connected society, despite technology seemingly making us more distant. I’m also excited about the increasing interest in design and its application into every sector of our lives.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I wasn’t actually an employee, but as a co-founder with a friend on my first startup out of university in the U.K. (we provided resource optimization spreadsheets to small businesses, especially recruitment agencies), I learned the value of treating your team members with respect and giving them ownership. The other guy cursed and insulted the team; it wasn’t a pleasant thing to see.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I’d pay more attention to people, because at the end of the day, it’s your relationship with people that matters the most. No surprises there, since teammates, customers and investors/stakeholders are all people.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Read and filter. Read almost everything that comes your way, but filter very quickly. There are lessons or nuggets of information to be gleaned from everything out there. But be selective about how you apply/use this information.

And, at least once a day, read something totally outside of your interests. You never know what you might learn.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Staff onboarding apps, especially for enterprises. It takes almost a week to get a new employee integrated into a company. And it takes increasingly longer to do so the bigger the company gets. A simple onboarding app would cut cost, ease the process and speed up time to productivity.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

I wish people would pay more attention to other people. I’d initiate a “no-technology-communication, speak-to-someone-you-don’t-know” day.

What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?

FlipBoard: A well displayed/designed access point to a world of information.
Base/Future Simple: An awesome user-experience and well-designed CRM tool for small businesses.
Quora: A people-created information source for the information junkie.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Two books that say the same thing: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho or Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss.

What’s on your playlist?

Plej, J. Cole and Djavan.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

@firstworldpains provides perspective and humor at the same time.
@hunterwalk has interesting perspectives on the tech space.
@azizansari shares a daily dose of comedy.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

This afternoon. Everyone on our team is funny in their own way, and Phil (my co-founder) has the most amazing one-liners that he delivers in a deadpan tone.

Connect:

Seyi Fabode on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/seyifabode
Seyi Fabode on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/seyifab
Power2Switch on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Power2Switch
Power2Switch on Facebook: Facebook.com/power2switch
Power2Switch’s website: https://power2switch.com/

Published on June 11, 2012 .

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