Ayoola John-Muyiwa (AJ) was born in Nigeria, grew up in Houston, Texas and is currently the CEO and Founder of Blademy; an online learning platform that prepares Black millennials for in-demand careers in tech, design, finance, and entrepreneurship. Prior to starting Blademy, he worked as an Engineer and Trading Analyst at ExxonMobil, BP, and Goldman Sachs. He also earned a certificate in Corporate Entrepreneurship from the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, the nation’s leading entrepreneurship program. AJ is very passionate about solving problems through business and technology and was accepted into the Summer Venture in Management Program at Harvard Business School and selected as a Forbes Under 30 Scholar.
Read more about Blademy and his thoughts on the Ed Tech space.
Blademy is an online community where Black millennials come to learn new skills, land better jobs, and build the lives they deserve. Currently we have a thriving community of over 20,000 millennials of color and are partnering with companies, foundations, municipalities, startups, and universities to develop curriculums and programs that prepare our diverse talent pool for in-demand careers in tech, design, finance, and entrepreneurship.
In March of 2018, I stumbled upon an interesting statistic — the median wealth of an African American household in America is $11,000 and projected to hit 0 by 2053. This statistic was surprising to me because my intuition would have suggested a number significantly higher than that considering the demographic’s annual spending power of $1.2 trillion.
I proceeded to analyze more published data about the demographic to find a solution to the alarming trend in wealth disparity. As it turned out, African American millennials are 25% more likely than all millennials to try new technology products. The same demographic also spends 9% more time per week on social networking sites and 13 more hours per week consuming video content than total millennials.
From my study, I concluded that while Black Millennials are essentially digital leaders, they have been unable to benefit significantly from the burgeoning innovation economy. This led me to focus on building Blademy.
Today, we reach over 400,000 millennials monthly with our instructional content and the community is growing at a rate of 50% month-over-month. Blademy was also recently accepted into the Google Cloud for Startups Program, and we are working on partnerships with some of the largest companies out there.
The outcomes have been amazing! I recently had a conversation with a student on the Blademy platform who completed our Machine Learning course, and we discussed a new idea he is working on.
Inspired by the course material, he came up with a plan to use AI to identify rock samples accurately. Coupled with his traditional education and work experience in Geophysics, his new venture is poised to disrupt his current industry. That’s what this is all about!
Many other students have also gone on to join top technology companies or start their ventures to solve problems around them.
I think online learning will eventually replace traditional education. We live in a society where everything is on demand. Today people expect their taxis to arrive at their door in 5 minutes, their packages to arrive in 2 days, and their movies instantly from the comfort of their couch. If we’re indeed heading towards a future where everything comes to us, isn’t it backward that we still have to go to school?
Moreover, we need to challenge the concept of an ideal 4-year education. What if I want to binge my education like I binge watch my Netflix shows? Can I get my degree in 2 years instead? What about six months? In the future, this will all be possible!
My ultimate goal for people who take courses on Blademy is that they become empowered to take charge of their own lives and create opportunities for themselves and the community around them.
Thank you AJ for taking the time to let me interview you and share your insight. If you would like to join Blademy, head over to blademy.com to join! If you’re working on something and would like to be featured in a future edition of Society x Tech fill out this form here.