Facebook Inc. Has a Music Big Boy & He’s Nigerian, an Akwa Ibom Son

Ime Archibong of Facebook Inc
Nigerians in general have very good representation in Africa’s creative industry influence; but the ratio of Akwa Ibom born creative talents to the State’s total freeborn population is striking. In every generation, there is always an Akwa Ibom born musician, fine artist, comedian, chef, Fashion designer, radio host or even creative sportsman of national repute. Now, Facebook Inc has a top staff, their ‘Music Big Boy’ of Akwa Ibom origin. He’s Ime Archibong.

For music specifically -- I know I'm one of the "music" guys at Facebook, I've been tremendously bullish on it”, Ime said in an interview with Andrew Flanagan of Billboard in 2014.
Ime is the head of strategic partnerships at Facebook Incorporated. Like most outstanding professionals of Akwa Ibom origin, he is a natural creative - which is reflected in the several roles he has played in the Tech Industry - but not without the counterpart potential that Akwa Ibom people get known for, which is Business.

Akwa Ibom Parents and Choosing Your Career
Ime’s parents both emigrated to the US from Nigeria. His family settled in the state of Kansas where Ime was born; before moving to North Carolina. Both parents are Professors, and you can only expect to encounter Akwa Ibom born educationist-parents when making your career decisions as a son.

As predictable, they did not fancy the idea of him going to a reputable university only to study Engineering or Computer Science, as he was finishing from High School. 

“For my parents, the pragmatic outcome that they see from education is, “oh, you need to go be a doctor or go be a lawyer.”” He recalls.

Back then, it wasn’t easy to find an African American in Engineering, talk little of succeeding in the Sciences. Ime being the son of a black immigrant, his family did not consider it sensible for him to dare a field that did not have his kind. But he went ahead all the same.

When he graduated from Yale University with a BSc. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Ime took a job that most Tech professionals dreaded; he was a Software Engineer working on storage systems and servers at IBM. According to him; “I worked on that for a solid tow and a half to three years”.
And then the Akwa Ibom trade in his blood kicked, and he realized he needed to do more of business than Engineering; he began to target the business side of Tech development, and soon went for an MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. IBM saw the business develop out of him and had him transited to the IBM Corporate Strategy team. 

He became an Advanced Technology Business Development Professional with primary task being the licensing of IBM’s global portfolio of storage research.

After 6 years with IBM, in 2010, he joined Facebook. Since he did, he’s been a super hand to work with; and a super partner to run with. Ask Mark Zuckeberg, who has gone on his jogging-round-the-world challenge with Ime Archibong beside him.  
Mark and Ime jogging 'round the world' together

 At Facebook, he has easily combined skills of business, strategies, music ear and tech development; he has been a major bridge between Facebook and the creative media industry. As leader of the Multibillion dollar corporation’s business development/product partnerships team, his squad has been saddled with the development of several Facebook products and strategies and then integrating them into the traditional but evolving system, and that has had a lot to do with music and videos.

Hear his passion on Facebook and Music;
“So I'm personally not worried about how music and Facebook end up overlapping. I think it's a long-term game that we're going to figure out together. We love the industry. We have relationships with artists, we have relationships with the music service providers, and we have good relationships with the labels.”

His Sister’s Wedding
In early 2013, the Archibong family returned to Nigeria to give their daughter out in marriage. And Ime made the trip. And trust Nigerian marriage ceremonies! The fanfare is usually nothing short of a festival; complete with the energy, passion, entertainment and excitement. According to Ime, he became frustrated with not being able to share the experience accurately with friends and family back in the US. And that disappointment gave birth to the [How Are You Feeling] button.

“…there was a great moment where she was dancing with my father. I was able to take a picture, I was able to tell everyone via text what was going on but I wasn't able to share that song with everyone that was back in the States and trying to follow along with me. [The 'How are you feeling?' button] is now giving me the ability to share that full story along with the context, including the music, of course which delivers the majority of the emotion.
Ime, with Gerard Pique and Mark Zuckeberg in a special birthday party for Mark's wife Priscilla

He was asked; “Did that moment contribute to your work on that?”  Absolutely”, responded.
Other than music, Ime has ben managing Facebook’s relationships with companies like Spotify, Beats Music, Rdio, Hulu and Netflix, according to www.businessinsider.com. The new look Facebook messenger, as a stand-alone app separate from the Facbook app; and the corporation’s initiative to take Internet to the world called Internet.org are attributed to Ime and his team.

Ask him about his favourite music genre, and he’ll tell you of an alternative R&B that has “a lot of a lot of '90s and '80s R&B tracks that are being remixed and infused with a little modern electronic dance”. The fella is true blood Akwa Ibom; never out-of-touch with Ol’ School music.

Meanwhile, I have some message sent to Ime. When he eventually replies them, I'll love to ask him why Mark Zuckeberg loves to jog with him.

Uduak Umo is a Chartered PR Consultant and Public Interest Researcher.
Find me on Twitter on @umo2013