By Prince Osuagwu,
Looking at Facebook’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, Ime Archibong, one sees the figure of a Hollywood honcho; the type who keeps you glued to the tube in a box office thriller-crime movie. With his huge, tall frame sitting on a well built macho body, Archibong could have passed for another Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallion of Rambo fame.
The difference, however, is that Archibong plies his trade in Silicon Valley and not in Hollywood. He directs activities at Facebook and not on a movie set. He leads the team focused on accelerating Facebook’s product strategy by establishing partnerships, driving product integrations and unlocking new business opportunities with leading companies across multiple industries and sectors.
Call him Zuckerberg’s deputy and you would not be far from the truth, because they seem to be Siamese twins in fashioning new ideas that have transformed Facebook into something much more than a social media initiative. The fact that they are beside each other at every trip and event Facebook is expected to play active part, says it all.
When he decided that, Vanguard was the only newspaper in Nigeria he would give one-on-one interview, prior to his coming to Nigeria alongside his boss, Mark Zuckerberg, he opened up on how Facebook sees Nigeria and what benefits the multi-billion dollar company can derive from the visit.
“One of the things I had walked away with having spent time with many Nigerian young entrepreneurs and ecosystem partners I have met over time is the energy in their hustle. It really inspired me.
“I knew some of them who studied in the United States and decided to come and settle in Nigeria. But they are doing something really interesting in the ecosystem. I was really blown away by their dedication to transforming Nigeria.
“Despite the challenges prevalent in the environment here and indeed on the rest of this continent, there is still a lot of creativity coming out from this part of the world. I sit and scratch my head looking at the geniuses that come out of here despite the conditions and wondering what they can do in better conditions.
In a non personal capacity, I also want to learn and understand what is on the ground. It is an opportunity for Facebook to add value to what they are trying to do. More importantly, it is part of a listening and learning process for us to really appreciate what is happening around from fellow tech minds”, he added.
However, he also revealed another side of him that is not known to many; Archibong is a full blooded Akwa Ibomite. But in his entire adult hood the tech expert has only visited his country, Nigeria, twice.
For him, it is an exciting experience and he relished the idea of home coming like a toddler could relish his Christmas clothes: “I am happy to be home. We are doing some sort of town hall meeting with some tech entrepreneurs and developers and specifically sharing Facebook’s ten year road map with them. I have been in Nigerian a few times, my father is from Uyo, Akwa Ibom but he grew up in Aba, Abia State; my mum is from Enugu, so we spent a lot of time going back and forth when we came home for the holidays in those days.
“During my last visit, we were able to work in Nigeria and launch an internet.org initiative in Nigeria; that was the first time I was here by myself. So this second coming is so important to me in so many ways” he added.
Archibong is truly a big boy both in body size and in terms of portfolio he controls at Facebook. As the Director of Strategic Partnerships, he leads the team focused on accelerating Facebook’s product strategy by establishing partnership, driving product integrations and unlocking new business opportunities with leading companies across multiple industries and sectors. He also supports the Internet.org team, leading their global partnerships work with developers and content creators that will accelerate the next 5 billion people coming online.
Prior to joining Facebook, Ime was an Advanced Technology Business Development Professional at IBM, focused on licensing IBM’s global portfolio of storage research technology. He started his career at IBM as a software engineer in the Systems and Technology Group before transitioning to the corporate strategy team, and then eventually the business development team.
Ime holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Yale University and a MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Archibong is one of Silicon Valley’s 40 Under 40 Tech Diversity launched in 2015, in partnership with theREGISTRYBayArea.com, to highlight the underrepresented role models and achievements of the wide range of people who make the tech industry brilliant.
“40 Under 40: Tech Diversity – Silicon Valley” is a unique recognition of the outstanding achievements of 40 diverse leaders from underrepresented ethnicities, under the age of 40, in the Innovation Economy.
They are viewed to have a heightened focus in the tech industry to embed diversity into their companies, services and products, as well as their working practices.