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Monday, August 22, 2016

A Discovery I made about two people I admire a lot

So one of my favourite websites of recent has been Quora and I've fallen in love more with it over time based on the simple concept of random people answering random questions on random things. More like a Yahoo Answers Reloaded but with more swag.

So today, one of the questions was about what to do when you don't know what to do. This was the particular case I was in today, but as usual the most upvoted answer was spot on. The answer was simple, do something. When you're stuck, then do something about it, pause not stop if need be and review what it is you're not doing right. In those moments, you'll most likely find clarity.

Fixing that Android
So last week, I was at the famous Computer Village in Lagos, Nigeria to help my niece fix her virus-infected phone and in that split second as I was about to part with precious cash, it dawned on me that I could actually fix this thing. So basically, the phone was infected with an adware virus [opens unsolicited ads on every little action you perform on the phone, eventually clogs the phone memory and keeps shutting it down].

Initially, I did a hard restart with some button combinations on the phone...Oh you can already guess it's an Android device if you're a techy. Oops, that reminds me, I need to turn off the debugging mode on the phone. That's a task for tomorrow.
So as I was saying, I decided to take the phone back and gave the technician an excuse of being in a hurry and went home.

After three hard restarts, no show...so I decided it was time to go 'Code Red' which meant 'flashing the phone'/reinstalling the OS or whatever it meant to completely wipe off everything and have a fresh Operating system. Heck, this is not a tech blog but allow me to brag a bit. Lol...anyways I fixed it and it worked. Yay!

A question on Mark Zuckerberg's Success
So, the real reason why I wanted to write this blog post was something I read on Quora again a while back.
Someone asked a question: How did Mark Zuckerberg become a programming prodigy?, which I immediately was answering in my head and wondering what the answers would be. I tried to imagine which programming language he had immersed himself with from a young age or how many cans of endless energy drinks and coffee were consumed to reach that competency level of coding. But, to my surprise, the answers all mostly pointed to the fact that his coding skills were seen as at then not to be top of the game but his success is mostly credited to his business mindedness more than his techy-ness which was just an enabler.

This comment hit home for me:
"Zuckerberg is not a programming prodigy. The application he wrote was not unique, and not all that well-made - that is, not a brilliant, exemplary piece of programming. We can leave it to IT historians to come to a definitive answer for why he was so successful, but my belief is that he happened to strike on the right combination of timing, marketing, and features in a fairly crowded space."

While this is not an excuse not to be good at coding [if you have the interest that is, cos sincerely I HATE programming and everything that looks like it], my point here is that, success is not a one-way street. The key takeaway for me here is that while I strive to improve on my technical skills, Soft skills such as people, negotiation and communication skills are equally as important, if not more important. 

Elon Musk, one great mind
While I was still pondering on that, I stumbled on another Quora article asking about one of my idols, Elon Musk, the mind behind Tesla Motors [electric self driving cars], Space X [private space travel to Mars], Hyperloop [redefining transport from what we know], co-founder Paypal, etc.

So the question went thus:
How did Elon Musk learn enough about rockets to run SpaceX?
Well, learning from my previous experience, I tried to imagine what business skills he had, or right team he was surrounded with and I missed it yet again.

Surprisingly, the top voted answer was not from a random Quora member but Jim Cantrell, a founding member who worked directly with him when He wanted to start SpaceX. Interestingly, Jim had written a book on rocket propulsion and gave Elon Musk practical advice of his grandiose vision of planetary travel that it wasn't going to work.
Wait a sec, it's like Isaac Newton telling you things about Gravity and you are doubting him, who does that? Well, except you're an Einstein who probes and comes up with the Relativity Theory or an Elon Musk who wouldn't just take NO for an answer. THIS is one reason my love for Elon Musk has grown so much.
Image Credit: theodysseyonline.com/elonmusk

Here's an excerpt from Jim Cantrell's observation on Elon Musk:
"So I am going to suggest that he is successful not because his visions are grand, not because he is extraordinarily smart and not because he works incredibly hard. All of those things are true. The one major important distinction that sets him apart is his inability to consider failure. It simply is not even in his thought process. He cannot conceive of failure and that is truly remarkable. It doesn't matter if its going up against the banking system (Paypal), going up against the entire aerospace industry (SpaceX) or going up against the US auto industry (Tesla). He can't imagine NOT succeeding and that is a very critical trait that leads him ultimately to success."
 This just made my day. I believe the best way to start any task is from a position of possibility. It opens us up to new ideas, new ways of doing things and its refreshing and liberating. It's easy to settle for the familiar 'easy' ways but the future sure belongs to those who are ready to take on the tough questions and challenges that have been left unanswered for centuries. As rightly described in the book I'm currently reading 'Zero to One', that is the way to create groundbreaking discoveries and for me, this is my goal regarding the education sector in Nigeria.

P.S. It's sad to know that Mayowa, the lady who fought Ovarian Cancer that I talked about in my last post has passed on. May her gentle soul rest in peace. To all the wonderful women out there, remember early detection is key. Get your pap smears done, go for regular checkups. God bless us all.

Friday, July 29, 2016

What's up with humanity?

The world couldn't get any more crazier than it is right now. With all the drama in US politics, crazy terrorist attacks every now and then, one can only worry how humanity seems to be very absent in humans these days. Like we literally do not give a hoot about people's feelings and when you do, it probably just a political move to score cheap points or win favours.

I've been following the #SaveMayowa trend, about a lady that Nigerians came together to fund-raise over $100,000 for Stage 4 Ovarian cancer treatment. Amidst all the drama that ensued, one particular thread of tweets caught my attention and it almost brought tears to my eyes. Read the thread below:








*UPDATE to the above TWEET thread*

This is definitely worth looking into as there are more Davids out there neglected by society and the government. There's so much we could do by just spreading the love.

I personally believe the mess created out of the previous issue should not deter people with good intentions from giving. Although, it is also evident that it may not have been a scam.

Comparison/Relationships
So I wanted to put up a post one time about how annoying it can be in these days of social media. I think a message I listened to by Joyce Meyer rightly described it well. In some not too distant past, we wrote letters to our loved ones [not copied templates from the web or manage to write HBD LLNP on someone's birthday], paid physical visits to friends and played outside while nature was a spectator.
Somehow, those processes required lots of connection, real socializing and emotional bonding. I mean even love letters were a thing at some point. But these days, we have it easy with technology which in its bid to connect us together actually does the opposite. We have become lazy and self-absorbed these days.

I'm pretty sure we were much happier when there were no phones because we channeled our thoughts into words and penned them down. And when possible we visited our loved ones and were much present in the moments we shared with them. No notifications buzzing, or what have you.

Another funny trend is the habit of 'checking up'. Now it seems people 'check up' these days just to measure up and update their personal memory archives of where you are at that point in time. That's pretty much it. You can read the lack of genuineness in the 'check up' the moment they drop the call only for you to discover 90% of the time was spent mining data from you like some interrogatory interview.

It's time we stop comparing. Social Media is all a facade. No one ever posts their down moments for you to see, neither does everyone have it all together. So be thankful for where you are and keep trusting God to take you to where you desire. Here's something I wrote in a Facebook post one time on the issue:


How Market?
On the business side of things, we closed two key partnerships this week and I'm mega excited to see where this leads.

Wish you all an awesome weekend ahead and feel free to drop your feedback or comments on the issues above.

 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

I wrote a Poem after a long while

I slept pretty early yesterday and woke up to many missed calls. But I needed that sleep and I'm glad I got it. Only challenge now is that I'm awake at this awkward hour. I have been thinking of a reasonable strategy to reach more audience with my project which I'm involved in full time [This baby here >> www.elearn.ng].

I get a lot of "wow, nice concept", "we need this". If for every "wow", I got a Naira, I will be rolling with Uncle Aliko right now.

*inner voice screams* "Stop lying Michael!"

Whatever. *shrugs*

So, the other awesome part of this well deserved rest is that I was actually woken up by the muse. When this happens, I know something cool is popping. Right there in my half-awake mode, at 1:30am, the first few lines came into my subconscious...It was beautiful. I shrugged it off. Then more lines...No way...I woke up and penned typed it up in my phone's notepad.

Earlier in the day, I had read something beautiful around the same theme from the awesome Somto. We did an awesome collabo sometime ago on a poem about Nigeria. It was really cool. In case you want to check it out, it's still available, although it could use some editing.

This time last year I was in Venice, Italy and I happened to stay there for a couple of months. July is usually a month where one of the amazing festivals called 'Redentore' happens.  So they practically build a bridge every year that links one part of Venice to another island called Giudecca. Then close to midnight, there is a display of fireworks and people camp out till late, out in the open, eating, drinking and soaking in the beautiful night view of Venetian waters. Sigh. I hope to go next year as I was told by my friends that this year's was even more awesome. Anyways, fingers crossed.

So, when you read this poem you will understand where the inspiration came from...here you go.

 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Let me Rant today

So today I went in for a meeting to seek for sponsorship on a project I'm planning and the outcome wasn't too good but that's not even my major issue. I am very concerned right now about the future of Nigeria. Okay hang on, that's normal anyways. To be more specific, I am very very concerned about the state of the educational system in this country. Now I'm not even going to begin with the issues at all. They are numerous. I remember doing a podcast assignment where we were talking about access to technology and quality of usage impacts the digital divide.

We were meant to take different country perspectives and I obviously was talking from the Nigerian perspective and it made me more aware of how far we have to go. While others debated around quality of technology usage, my major issue of debate was even around technology access as quality of usage would have been a case of putting the cart before the horse. Penetration of technology is still relatively low. Relatively.

So this project I'm planning on a good day is as a result of government's neglect to the overall educational system but there seems to be a myopic view to it all even when you try to help. It's like a man who house is on fire that prioritizes finishing the late night news to putting out the fire. Sooner or later, someone's going to be suya.

I remember going for a meeting around Marina and on my way, I passed by a lady buying some items by the road side and two small girls were around her pleading for some money/hand out. And she goes "Go and work". I was almost forced to stop and ask her what she meant. 5 year old girls at 10am in the morning should go and work. Work where? I understand that as humans we tend to be very comfy as long as we are okay and our immediate environment is okay...and that's fine anyways. However, there are some who don't have it easy as you and someone has got to do the job of salvaging the situation, take initiative and put their money where their mouth is.

I personally love people who walk the talk. If you must talk, then by all means walk and work that talk. Too many analysts who do nada. They are good at breaking down and analyzing issues but solutions? Na.

Government has not done much to salvage the situation and if Africa is said to have a youth population of about 60% and we aren't bothered about how these youths will be educated/enlightened, then we are chilling on a ticking time bomb. It's only a matter of time...

There is so much and I choose to make an impact in my own way using technology to enhance learning outcomes.
What is the role you will play on your end in developing Nigeria/Africa?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Business Lessons from Lagos Traffic

So I struggled with sleep so much that I slept in my sleep. Haha. More like 'Inception' happened. It was my body who had the upper hand this time. Greatness one day at a time is anchored on the foundation of consistency. It's how habits are formed. Taking that shot once a day which turns to twice a day, every hour and you're hooked.

Today was spent at a video shoot with a client amidst responding to tons of emails, putting out fires and trying to balance an already tipping social life. So I have resolved to strike that balance because it is what puts spice in everything.

So today on my way home, I was thinking about how much we have to learn from our environment. Let's not even get started with nature on it's own which is not my focus. I mean everyday life. The moments spent in Lagos traffic commuting home are usually one of my most reflective moments. Before it used to be doing laundry at late hours which has not happened in a long while.

I personally feel there's a lot we can learn on corporate business from the so-called informal economy in Nigeria. In it's crudest form of application, I feel hawkers in Lagos traffic can teach one a lot on business. I'll take a few of the things we can learn from them:

Lagos Traffic [Image Credit]

Product Availability: There is virtually nothing you cannot buy in Lagos traffic. Trust me I mean literally nothing, from live chickens to landed properties to food items to...anything. Now one mistake you can make as well is to make eye contact with a typical Lagos traffic hawker sales personnel. Asides having a huge range of offerings, you always find them when you need them, traffic spots. Hardly will you see traffic without a hawker sales personnel. There's hardly shortage except you see the KAI officials [responsible for regulating such activities] on their trail.

Sales and Marketing: The client prospecting to sales closure game is strong as anything. All you need is make eye contact and they are kind enough to shove that fresh Gala sausage roll in your face and advertise all the wares on display just in case you may change your mind [which you most likely will]. They make you hungry even when you never planned to be. Another key skill is cross-selling and key partnerships. Once you buy that gala, the same Gala guy may ask you to try to take another brand of sausage roll in case your plan was to grow sausage rolls on your head while the Lacasera soda drink seller is right on queue with a chilled drink to 'wash down' the snacks. Epic Closure game. Did I mention that they sell in motion and run after your vehicle while calculating your balance and packaging your purchased items. No downtime man. Hardcore sales.

Tenacity: I am tempted to believe Usain Chukwuemeka Bolt was once a hawker in Lagos traffic. Now let me give you a typical scenario. You are in a fast moving traffic and out of your wickedness sudden realization, you remember you have to purchase some snacks and your flick your hair to the side and you whisper a melodious "Psst...Gimme one Gala". Now hold on for a second, you only made an open call for RFPs, in this case Gala. No one needs to tell you the 100m senior boys race just started as you will see about 5 grown men chasing after your moving vehicle with boxes of sausage roll on their hands, money on the other, slippers flipping into the air as they race to be the first to reach you. Now once the lucky one reaches you, the follow through game is strong. They are always smart to leave their wares on your fast moving vehicle while they count your balance and hand you your goods. All this while, the only thing they are focused oon is closing that sale.
Street Hawkers Peddling their goods [Image Credit]
Only after that sale is closed do they remember their rubber slippers as they now make their way back to locate the poor footwear. Sometimes, we neglect the core of our business [whatever that is] to focus on mundane things while forgetting that at the end of the day, not selling = no business.

There's surely a whole lot more to learn and this list is not exhaustive at all. I must rest now as tomorrow is another day. Media interview at noon and of course focusing on the core for the rest of the day.

Wow...time's far spent.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Get up 8 times!

I have spent the last 18 hours in front of this PC non-stop and ideally I should be tired and exhausted but I am definitely not giving up just yet.

So I tried fixing an email activation problem on a platform we just launched and it finally got to work some minutes ago. Almost 1am but it feels so beautiful to see hard work finally pay off. I will definitely get up happier knowing that things will get better.

I am learning to understand failure better. For whatever it takes, I can stare it in the face and stand my ground. NO more safer routes and familiar terrain. That's boring. Greatness like I said in my previous post is achieved one day at a time and part of greatness demands a shift from the norm, the usual, the common, the majority and a transition to the uncommon, the unfamiliar terrain.

That is where ability is truly stretched and flaws are probably more evident. However, our seemingly visible flaws are only a revelation of blind spots which helps us take action to correct them. Like the Bible says, the righteous man shall fall seven [7] times and will rise again [Proverbs 24:16]

Fall down seven and stand up eight. Success is good if it doesn't get to your head and failure isn't so bad if it doesn't get to your heart. So don't be afraid of failure. Get UP NOW!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Greatness One Day at a Time

Hello Everyone!

As awkward as this seems, it feels great to pen down a few words that have been on my mind this past week but first allow me to welcome you to this amazing second half of 2016.

There are many things to be thankful for and as I saw it put somewhere, the world needs a BIG TIGHT COSY GROUP HUG right now.

Image Credit
Everything seems to be upside down and chaos seems to be the order of the day. This is where individual responsibility comes in as we individually in our little areas of influence choose to be the light. The tiniest ray of light is potent enough to dispel any force of darkness.

Let us be the light in our schools, work places, street corners, living rooms, churches, mosques, etc. Just a little light for a start and watch how influential the light spreads. Let's repay hate with love, anger with kind words, rebellion with reasoning, and what have you.

As Mother Theresa said, an eye for an eye make the whole world go blind.
Image Credit

On my end, I have decided to take my quest for greatness one day at a time. One idea at a time. One decision at a time. Consistency is the key thing and however little I will take baby steps to achieve my goals and I urge you to do same.

I wish you all a great week ahead! Speaking of greatness, now let me dust some thick cobwebs here. Haha!

Friday, March 27, 2015

As we match to the polls tomorrow...

Hiyaaaaa *waving*

*sips cup of rich creamy Latte* It's barely 24 hours to the D-Day and these past few days have never been so dramatic in Nigerian politics, listening to the news and all. I saw one picture a friend used as his BBM display picture showing a crowd of people at the airport and it was quite surprising, disappointing, and many things at once. Most saddening fact was that it had now come to this. Typically people go to their countries to vote but oh well. As concerned citizens, all we can do is use our weapon (the permanent voter's card) to cast our votes, pray for the peace of this nation and hope for the best.


I remain optimistic about Nigeria being transformed for the better though some will differ, but when all else fails, hope remains. It's all I've got, it's all some of you also have (well...except for the dual citizenship passport in your back pocket, giving you the flexibility to jet out any moment. Hahaha! lucky you.). But for a number of Nigerians whose lives are built in  and around the country, Nigeria is probably all we have as at now and if it scatters, we are impacted also.

Image Source

I find it very surprising though, when people with close ties with Nigeria in one way or the other curse the same land and speak negative against it. To what end is this? This is not an attempt to ignore the issues we have which we are all aware of. We know there is corruption; that topic is overflogged. We know the system is messed up, we know we have leadership issues and that majority of our youths are either unemployable or underemployed talk more of taking up leadership positions. We are aware of the insurgency issues, gender inequality with respect to educating the girl child, not leaving out the alarming school dropout/completion rates.


Yes, Africa is rising (although it's becoming a rather over-used phrase), but what is our role in all of this?


Firstly, we need to be 'critically' aware of these issues before we can engage meaningfully in our individual capacities. There is a huge difference between pointing out obvious issues and engaging critically. One talks about the problem, sometimes knowledgeable with statistics at their fingertips which come in handy for challenging dissenting views on Social Media, not forgetting the priceless joy of winning beer parlour arguments. Action is rare with this group. The other group also understands the problem, may not be as knowledgeable but always probing to unveil the 'why' behind the problem and seeks out ways to contribute to its alleviation. 

As we all know, talk is cheap and sometimes of no value. Let our PVCs do the talking. 

I hear you ask, won't the votes still be rigged? Possibly...I can't say but one part needs to be done before we can address the next. The 2011 elections experienced one of the highest participations of Nigerian citizens in ensuring they cast their votes, monitored the counting and waited till results in their local governments and wards were announced after which they posted on social media. This year also has seen much interest cos really people are TIRED!

Image Source

Secondly, we need to identify our area of contribution. 
Let writers impact, 
let teachers mould,
let artists design, 
let musicians inspire, 
let street sweepers do their thing, 
let preachers edify,

let's just do all with a purpose with God at the center of it all as we render our services to the benefit of our family, society and nation at large.


Come March 28th, I pray for the peace of Nigeria. I pray that the innocent blood of precious lives that have been wasted on this land will not be in vain. I pray our lives will blossom and March 28th shall be the dawn of a new era for this nation in Jesus name!


Still it is important to ponder...what part will we play?


P.S. After I wrote this, I stumbled on this short 7-minute clip by Pastor Sam Adeyemi of Daystar Christian Center which captures part of what I said and even more.



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Crazy Schedules + more food pictures

I think I may have just spent a full hour catching up with blog posts I missed. I have actually had one heck of a stressful day yesterday but it was worth it. I really had mixed reactions to the numerous posts I read.

First, I was vexed for Atilola's ordeal, then smiled at Toinlicious mention on her post last year and giggled at her new love while wondering where Relentless has been.

My schedule has never been crazier yet I have resolved to keep God at the center of everything I go through cos that's the only way I can stay sane.
So, I resolved to do something which as simple as it sounds has worked magic. I noticed that what I do most times when I wake up is to pick up my device and then check notifications (welcome to 2015). From doing that, I end up clicking one interesting link which leads to this juicy news article that talks about some trending video that I must quickly watch before I'm jolted back to reality by a friend's chat notification...Voila! half the day is gone.

So what I do now is just talk to God first (not like I've been so disciplined to remember always though). I just speak into my day and command how it should go and then plan it. It's been so helpful and you should try it. There are also tools that help you stay disciplined if you have a task at hand such as Stayfocusd , a browser web extension which blocks selected sites from your browser that may be time consuming to you within specific time periods/days based on what you configure  (did I hear you say Linda Ikeji, or Facebook) and also another app is Time Doctor which helps you keep track of what you do per time on your PC and present's a daily report. You can also add users and track their time spent of certain activities (for the Entrepreneurial ones who feeks a need to measure staff downtime, you may like this)

Sincerely, my usual paper to-do list does the trick most times and I rarely use the apps but if you're into them, then cool . :)

By the way, here are more food pictures below. Oh yes! I just discovered the tasty goodness of grilled carrots. It started with some random thoughts on what I could do with left-over carrots and I decided to Google about them and I saw a recipe. Those things are awesome!

Grilled plantain (Boli), Grilled carrots, tuna sauce and titus fish

I found out that cooking makes me kinda relieved when I feel stressed and maybe in my subsequent posts I'll show you what I made one time I was really really stressed. I took it all out on food. Turned out good (surprisingly. Haha!)

The picture below reminds me of when I used to have time to cook over the weekend and dish in packs but right now...no breathing space.
Just normal spaghetti and fish sauce
Then last Christmas was amazing! God really favoured me cos I had like 3 crazy deadlines to meet up with so I practically worked all through Christmas yet had time for some fun with family. But this picture below was one of the highlights which was a family dinner event I was invited to. Maybe in my next post I will share my reservations with huge looking turkeys and fine looking bananas. *sigh* All the same, it tasted awesome!

The huge Christmas turkey, pork slices, etc.
What do you guys think of the Grilled carrots? Have you tried it before?

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Recovering Blogger

So now that our election has been shifted and it is likely that it may be shifted again from the new date of March 28th, I have serious concerns for my beloved country, Nigeria but then this is not the topic of today's post.

So I was looking through my past blog posts and was like wait o, there is a trend here. I post once, leave for a while, come back and apologize and then awayyyy again. So that's why I posted that guilt-inspired first post of the year some days ago on our election instead of following that trend. This is not to say that I'm 100% sure it won't happen but I shall try cos I miss this place!

My bio
I decided to update my Twitter bio from 'Creative Writer' to 'Recovering Creative Writer' because that is what I am right now. So so much has changed and I hope to update everyone with the relevant info that matters so I don't bore you.

Also, I have added a new title to my bio which is the Foodie aspect! 9jafoodie I hail o. I am honing my cooking skills at the moment and I must say some meals have turned out great while some? Chayeee...Diariz God. There was one beans I made one time like this ehn...if you see the way salt was competing for relevance with maggi...hmm...life of a pseudo-bachelor. 

I can also say my faith in God is something that has evolved over time and each day I learn more of his goodness and mercies. I am unapologetically grateful for how far he has brought me and the courage He has given me to take up this writing thing again and bless lives.

As simple as it may seem, I have struggled to define reasons why I write and to what end and kinda lost hope in trying to. But I'm thankful for friends who pushed, encouraged, threatened, appealed, pointed gun to my head and other things.

Another thing I'm dealing with is the current exchange rate which is not very cool AT.. ALL. The snapshot on the right was some days ago and all we can do is hope cos this isn't funny. I so much miss Naija in a weird way (yea, I know right...indirectly informing you as it is part of what I haven't updated you guys about so deal with it. Hehe)

But on a more serious note, it's not funny considering that my humble naira keeps falling like a meteor and it may get worse if elections don't hold as planned...which is likely from the indications.



I will share pictures of some of the things I made in subsequent posts but before that I have a deep throbbing question, have you ever wondered where BIG ideas come from??? Have you sat down to think about it? Like, have you?

My brethen, it is from this sizzling bowl of eba, okro and fish that I have chosen to torment you with show you below. Even the note can testify. Serving it in a plate was also a waste of precious time. Please don't judge.
"Big ideas are born from a bowl of eba" - Anon
 Hope to write up a poem or something soon. Peace!