After some headless-chicken-run type of exercise for the last two weeks, I finally got into the Microsoft Certified Trainer program. I am now an official Microsoft Certified Trainer. Yippee! 

I am still trying to figure out how to make the most use of this new achievement. Till I fully understand the benefits, below is the official list of benefits from Microsoft (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/mct-certification.aspx)

As a Microsoft Certified Trainer, you gain access to a personalized benefits and exams dashboard, where you can find a wide variety of useful resources, download your MCT certificate and MCT program logos, and engage with the MCT community.

Ongoing benefits and support

As a Microsoft Certified Trainer, you gain access to a personalized benefits and exams dashboard where you can find a wide variety of useful resources, download your MCT certificate and MCT program logos, and engage with the MCT community. Your benefits and exams dashboard also connects you to the latest news and resources, including trainer readiness resources, announcements about exams, and Microsoft training and certification products. Explore MCT benefits, including: Explore MCT benefits, including:
  • MCT Central. Exclusive to MCTs, MCT Central offers both technical readiness and soft skills training materials to help MCTs prepare for teaching Microsoft courses, plus easy access to product and program resources. In addition, MCT Central helps MCTs stay up to date on the latest news, find a job, or connect with other MCTs around the world.
  • MCT prep kits. Access online trainer preparation packs containing helpful downloadable content for teaching courseware, including videos, slide decks, and courseware content, in a helpful OneNote format.
  • Microsoft Download Center. Receive comprehensive access to the entire Microsoft library of training and certification materials.
  • Courseware Marketplace. Access to Microsoft Online Courses (MOC) and MOC ON Demand.
  • Azure Pass Voucher. $100 monthly use of Azure Services through MCT Software and Services.
  • Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exam discounts. MCTs receive a 50-percent discount off of MCP exams. To obtain your 50-percent discount voucher, go to the exam list, choose the exam you wish to take, and then select Schedule with Pearson VUE. Your discount is automatically applied.
  • Pursue a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification—at no cost. Every 12 months, MCTs can request one free MOS exam voucher to help keep current on MOS 2007, 2010, or 2013 certification. To receive your voucher, email your name, Microsoft Certification ID (MCID), and location (state and country/region) to MCTMOS@Microsoft.com. You will receive your voucher, plus assistance in finding a local test center, directly from Certiport. (You must register to become a Certiport user.)
  • Microsoft Labs Online (MLO). MCTs receive free access to Microsoft Labs Online to support trainer readiness.
  • Microsoft Certified Trainer exam discounts. Microsoft values MCTs and is committed to helping them remain current with their certifications. When you schedule an exam with Pearson VUE using your Microsoft account credentials, your discount will automatically be applied.
    Note: The MCT discount does not apply to Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) or Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exams.
  • MCT community. Join exclusive private communities for peer support and networking, and communicate with the Microsoft training and certification team.
  • Courseware support. Get direct Microsoft support for questions on official Microsoft training and certification products.
  • Early invitations to Microsoft Certification beta exams. Be among the first to earn new certifications by taking certification exams before they are available to the public. Please note that we offer a limited number of beta exam vouchers, and they are allocated on a "first come, first served" basis.
  • Free access to Microsoft e-learning. Learn new technologies and experience different delivery techniques by taking courses through Microsoft e-Learning.
  • Large discounts on Microsoft Press Store books. Receive a 40-percent discount on all printed books and a 50-percent discount on all e-books in the Microsoft Press Store catalog
MCT Software & Services subscriptions are uniquely tailored to provide exclusive access to resources that help you, as an MCT, further develop your technical expertise and training skills. These subscriptions provide MCTs with exclusive access to Microsoft technologies.
Two subscriptions are available, depending on your specific training focus, and they provide you with a breadth of resources, including software downloads and Microsoft Azure monthly credits.
  • MCT Software & Services is designed for MCTs who deliver IT Pro and Office training. This subscription provides access to the latest Microsoft services, including Azure and Office 365, in addition to the ability to download thousands of software titles to support training prep needs. If you do not possess a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) certification or a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) certification, you are eligible for an MCT Software & Services subscription.
  • MCT Developer Software & Services is designed for MCTs who deliver developer training. This subscription provides access to the latest tools and services to train developers on the Microsoft platform. To be eligible for an MCT Developer Software & Services subscription, you need to possess one of the following certifications:
For more details on MCT Software & Services, see your benefits and exams dashboard. With either subscription, you get access to core Microsoft products for training use, including Office, Windows, SharePoint, SQL Server, and other resources valued at up to $15,000 USD.
MCT Software & Services subscriptions automatically terminate upon expiration or termination of your current MCT program agreement, whichever is earliest. These subscriptions come with training use rights only and enable an MCT to prepare for training delivery. MCT Software & Services subscriptions do not allow the software or services provided to be used in a production setting, including commercial use or in a classroom. The MCT program certifications and qualifications, along with their associated MCT Software & Services subscriptions, are subject to change as determined by the MCT program.

image: iconfinder.com

Yesterday, I took a pause.

I had many tasks pending, emails to reply and work plans to make. Yet, I decided to do something completely non-work related. To stand back from it all and free my mind.

I went to check out the Lekki Free Zone, and examined the Ibeju-Lekki I keep receiving real estate deals about. I was also hoping I would see the Lekki Airport, the Dangote refinery, the 4th Mainland bridge and the paradise the marketers constantly talk about.

Interestingly, I wasn't disappointed. Not that I saw the paradise the marketers described but that what I saw was way more than I expected. I am already accustomed to the ways of marketers. I have seen people market training I gave them the idea of and would facilitate for them, and when they were done embellishing it I felt like registering for the training too. I guess it's the nature of marketing itself, because even the hyper technical me can sometimes get into an angelic description of Microsoft Excel and how it will save you from all your enemies + make your dreams come true.

I took a bus from Iyana-Oworo to Obalende, another bus from Obalende to Ajah. Then I took a bus from Ajah to Eleko. At Eleko, I took a bus to Free Zone (that's what the bus driver called Lekki Free Zone, I almost missed my bus stop as it didn't register in my brain). I tried getting into the Lekki Free Zone but my schemes didn't work on the security men. So I had to content myself with a walking view of the industrial area by walking from the 2nd gate back to the main gate. Then I asked about the other places -- Dangote refinery and all. I even asked if one can get to Ondo or Ogun state from following the Ibeju-Lekki road to the end and was told that it ends at the ocean, so any going further will be by boat.

I then went to Eleko beach. Paid one parasite N500 at the entrance. You should have seen the way he leeched on me. At the beach, I saw waves wasting away and no one riding them. A few locals who go waist deep while others try to keep it at ankle level. It reminded me first of Bar beach, then Cotonou beach with its white sands and Lome, the city by the beach. In Lome, all you need do to go to the beach is get on the expressway. You could throw a stone from inside your car into the sea while on the road. Then I remember Bayelsa state, their ungated beaches and the children who swim in the sea. Finally, I felt bad for us. I had asked a guy at the beach if no one comes to surf the waves and he said only the white guys come on Sunday to surf the waves. So even in our own land, we still don't know how to make the most of what we have. The foreigners have to mine the crude oil, surf our waves and own the Lekki Free Zone. Not that we should become xenophobic but that don't we ever feel ashamed that we don't try to rise above some mediocre level of use of our resources and capabilities. Anyway, I decided I was going to rise to the highest innovative level in my own chosen field.

Then I went home. And it was a long way home. Ibeju-Lekki is extremely far. It's like going to Ibadan. If you are buying land there, be sure you want to build a country house there and not your 24/7/365 house (where you'll go to work from).

Yesterday, I had a good pause. It was like a micro-vacation.


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On Sunday, I spent about 30 minutes writing an article on personal finance and sent it to BellaNaija as potential guest post. Yesterday, it was posted and you can read it here: https://www.bellanaija.com/2017/08/michael-olafusi-3-money-mistakes-nigerians-make/ The comments people left have been amazing.

Straight out of university, a Nigerian youth wants three things: get a high paying job, travel to USA/UK, and buy a classy car. He then sets the foundation for a lifetime of bad financial decisions. Not that anything is wrong with wanting those things, the problem is the timing.
He wants it all in the next four years; so he sacrifices building a strategically focused career and acquiring skills of real value, for getting any job that pays the most today — even if it is not along his field of study or interest.
He consoles himself by saying he is just using the job to acquire enough money to go further his studies in the US/UK, and then makes the second terrible mistake of spending all he earns chasing foreign degree and travel pictures to show off on Facebook.
Finally, in between the job and the travel he buys a car using a flexible payment option or with financial assistance from friends/family. He has no long term strategic plan that doesn’t involve resetting his entire life every few years.
Every major decision resets his life — rather than build up strategically on what he has already. The high paying job is the first reset, cutting him off all his university study and field of knowledge. The car is another reset, emptying his bank account. Then the US/UK travel is the ultimate reset, he abandons all — job, car and career growth.
Not everyone follows that pattern completely, but most of us are guilty of that young man’s main sin: no long-term strategic plan that nicely builds up on all we achieve over time — especially as it relates to finances. Many of us suck at managing our money, and I want to help you break away from the common mistakes we often make in handling our money.
1. Following the Crowd
 I see people blindly following the crowd. This is why most Nigerian youths have similar mindsets and unreasonable expectations straight out of school. They are more in touch with the crowd than with reality. It is, also, the main reason a lot of people went into MMM and other bad investment decisions. They hear family and friends talking excitedly about how they are making a killing from them and they hop along. A financially illiterate mind is the fraudster’s workshop.
How do you become immune to the crowd pull?
It starts with proper financial education, the same way we became immune to our grandparents’ superstitions by being educated. Regardless of your field of study and career path, you need to educate yourself on personal finance. You need to be able to distinguish between what makes financial sense and what doesn’t. That is the only way you will resist buying a car too early in life when you are daily inundated with pictures of friends in their new classy cars. That is the only way you will be able to see beyond the immediate returns people are getting from unsustainable pyramid schemes and understand that there are other more enduring ways to grow your money.
So, in a sentence, to avoid the mistake of following the crowd, arm yourself with financial education. If you need guidance on free and reliably ways to become financially educated enough to constantly make expert money decisions, just shoot me an email at michael@olafusimichael.com
2. Saving Wrongly
 There are some, who either by nature or nurture, are able to resist spending their money recklessly. They make a regular habit of saving. Just that they commit another blunder: they save wrongly.
Is it possible to save wrongly? Yes, it is.
Mum said they bought the cow for her and my dad’s wedding for N900. That same cow now sells for over N250,000. Imagine she saved N900 that year in her bank account, today it will not even buy her a cow leg pepper-soup as the interest rate on money you put in savings account is negligible when compared to inflation (most banks even cancel any interest once you withdraw from the account more than twice in a month).
Whenever you use your bank account as your primary savings/investment account, you are saving wrongly. You might even be better off spending the money now on stuff you can sell in the future — like silverware, quality leather sofa and any other stuff with a life expectancy greater than that of a cow.
How, then, do you save wisely?
Have a proper investment account. If you are risk averse, do treasury bills and money market investment funds. If you can stomach some risk, then go for stocks and real estate investments. Just make sure you don’t hand that money to your bank, even if they say they’ll give you a good interest rate on fixed deposit account, it will still be way lower than what you’ll get from treasury bills.
3. No financial plan
 If you don’t track your expenses, income and savings/investment, you are setting yourself up for financial failure. Any going-to-be-successful financial plan is built on actual historical data and forecast of periodic expenses, income and savings. Once you have put in place a structured approach of monitoring and controlling your expenses, you begin working on growing your income actively and passively. The difference between your income and expense, your savings, serve a dual use. One is to provide you a cushion for shocks that come in life — unexpected expenses and emergencies. The second is that it becomes the seed for growing your income passively via prudent investments, which is the biggest component of all the super-rich people’s wealth.
As a rough guide for you, here is my own financial plan that I have been using for years. I have it broken down into steps below... (continue reading at https://www.bellanaija.com/2017/08/michael-olafusi-3-money-mistakes-nigerians-make/)
image: fourhourworkweek.com
Last week I bought two books: The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss and The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. And against some of the very discouraging reviews that has kept me off The 4-Hour Workweek, I found the book to be the best book I have read in two years now and wished that I had read it before now.

The 4-Hour Workweek is an action book. It forces you to rethink the way you have been doing things and act better. By the way, if you are about to read the book, I'll advice that you don't have too much spare money lying within easy reach. This is the type of book that is best read when you are broke or you'll end up spending your money on some bold bets.

It has fired me up to take actions I have been postponing and to stop viewing my progress in life by how busy I am. It opened my eyes to the value of time and how much it can multiply the reach of whatever income one earns. Using his very words, "You don't have to be a millionaire to live the lifestyle of a millionaire." If you aren't always pressed for time and are creative enough, you can enjoy all the things and experiences you felt you needed millions to access. You can travel cheaper and more flexibly. You can access more uncommon opportunities and you can follow a thrilling unique path in life.

As part of the learning I have gotten from the book, I am already planning a West African tour. I have gone to open an account with Ecobank since they allow one to withdraw directly from their ATM in local currencies of, especially the francophone, countries and are present in all the West African countries. And against spending over a million naira that a standard multi-country tour package costs, I will be doing more of road trip and plugging in business interests in the trip. I have always wanted to break into the francophone countries surrounding us and now I have an extra drive to attempt this.

Even my membership drive to join the Institute of Directors Nigeria got a renewed push. Using some of the tactics and advice in the book, I asked someone I don't know to become a referee (as they require existing members to be referee) for my membership application and he accepted. 

If you think you'll profit from some serious push, then I'll recommend you get the book and read it. And to shock you, I have just read one-quarter of the book. Can't imagine what more I'll find out when done reading the remaining three-quarter.
image: myajc.com

Sometimes the best way to overcome a temptation is to give in to it.

Say you are dieting and you feel a strong temptation to eat pizza and ice cream. You might make your life a lot easier and free up mental energy to do more productive things than battling that temptation if you indulge yourself in a very small size ice cream.

Or say you suddenly have this huge desire to want to go for a foreign vacation, somewhere exotic and where you've never been to before. Again, you can save yourself the whole recurrent battle of keeping the desire in check if you just travel to Cotonou beside us here and indulge yourself in a vacation-like experience there.

For me I often face temptations, it is the downside of being exposed to too much information. I get to come across a lot of things that interest me and give rise to expensive temptations. In just the past one week, I have come under the temptation to buy a new high-end laptop, to buy the Google Pixel phone, to buy a Samsung high-end phone and to travel to Mauritius. And that is just in one week. You don't want to imagine how many temptations I have faced in the last one year!

Yet I have satisfactorily been able to handle all these temptations because I give in to them in a small way. I allow myself small luxuries. It is amazing how buying a N9,000 Bluetooth headphone can wipe away your temptation to buy a new laptop and new smartphone. That amazing feeling of having overspent has a magical way of clearing all your other expensive thoughts. Even going to an expensive Chinese restaurant can wipe away the desire to travel out of the country.

There is, however, one thing that you need to do to make this small luxury cure effective. You must always keep most of your money out of easy reach. When you have N6 million in your ATM reachable savings account, a N9,000 Bluetooth headphone is not going to cure you of all your expensive urges. The magic is in having as little as N25,000 in your account so that when you get the N9,000 debit alert and see the balance of N16,000 you feel like you've made a very significant purchase. And for me, spreading my after-investment money across six different bank accounts help me achieve than effect easily without completely running out of money. It makes those little luxuries feel really really expensive and cures me of the big luxury temptation.
Yesterday, I forced myself on New Horizons -- scheduling, paying and taking the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) 77-888 Excel 2010 Expert exam in one day. Despite some very disturbing technical glitches that had me wasting about 20 minutes out of the allowable 50 minutes total time on 4 out of 29 questions, and required the test admin to hard reboot the computer, I still managed to attempt all the questions and passed with a 800/1000 score.


I have now fulfilled the certification requirement to kickstart the process of becoming a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). The other two steps for me are to get an evidence of my instructional skills (either via a qualifying Train-The-Trainer type of certificate or a reference from a Microsoft Learning Partner) and another acceptable reference from my workplace/contractors.

I currently have trouble with the evidence of instructional skills. Though I have been delivering 2 to 8 training sessions monthly for the last three years, they just won't accept my word of mouth evidence. Then the Microsoft learning partner I reached out to, New Horizons, are at a lost about the whole MCT process and seem unwilling to make my problem theirs. Then the acceptable Train-The-Trainer certifications are not available here in Nigeria (as far as I know/checked).

Luckily, I will be presenting later this year in the MCT Africa Summit and two of the main organizers are MCTs. I reached out to one of them and he too was at a loss regarding how I should get past that stage. He got his 10 years ago and followed a slightly different path. The only sure option he provided was to attend the Microsoft backed Train-The-Trainer session that will happen before the MCT Africa Summit, in December. It's a little pricey and four months away. The other guy had to travel to the US to get his (or got his when he traveled to the US). 

In a wild shot, I emailed one of the Microsoft Learning team lead explaining my situation and asking for his expert advice. I hope he replies, and favourably.

It's really worrying that so many things other people in other countries have easy access to are either unavailable to us or very difficult to access in Nigeria. There are many things I see other people generate full-time income from in other countries, when I try them I get to battle all sorts of restrictions and in the end lose the battle. It happened to my Udemy online course, when Paypal showed me hell and seized my money twice or thrice, I gave up and made the high ranking course, that took me months of hard work to put together, free. And now I see it happening to my Amazon published books. The payment company I used to receive my book sales royalties sent me an email last month that they no longer process payment from Amazon for one of the book sales. Now I understand why so many youths get frustrated in Nigeria and seem to look lazy/uncreative compared to other youths in other countries.



If you are a project manager, financial planner, sales manager, marketer or business analyst, you need to be very comfortable using What-If-Analysis tools in Excel for flexible planning and target meeting.

In this month's webinar, I will be taking you through the practical use of the What-If-Analysis tools and Solver.
1. Goal Seek for knowing what to do to achieve a set goal
2. Scenario Manager for simulating different scenarios (best case scenario, worst case scenario, etc)
3. Data Table for creating a matrix of possible outcomes when one or two inputs are varied
4. Solver for doing linear programming, optimization and cost management.

The webinar will be on Thursday 24, 2017 for 3:00pm to 4:00pm.

Venue: YouTube live (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE1yV9RNIko)


Don't miss it! Set a reminder to help you remember.

Also don't forget to join our webinar directory to be in loop of all our webinar events: Join Webinar Directory

Three days ago, I got a free coupon from Microsoft to take the 70-779 Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Microsoft Excel exam. It is currently in a beta mode, which means you don't get your result immediately until they've used the pool of beta testers to set an appropriate passing score. 

Also you don't get any preparatory materials -- no recommended study guide nor guidance from people who have taken the exam before sharing their experience online in forums. It is expected that you are an expert already in the domain the exam tests and can depend on your technical expertise to face the exam without any elaborate preparation.

In fact, they even let you select to do the exam online using your home office or room as the testing center. And that was the option I picked as I don't trust that the Nigerian testing centers will let me do an exam at their place for free (without paying directly to them).

It was no easy task setting up my sitting room as a testing center. I had to clear everything except the sofas, center table and dispenser. Then the test guide (called greeter) from the testing platform provider (Pearson VUE) had me use my webcam to show him a 360 degrees view of the room and then the ceiling and the floor. Not even phones were allowed close to me. Then I mustn't stand up or stay out of the webcam view throughout the over two hours exam or I am disqualified and exam cancelled. No one must walk in or speak to me. The whole set-up was a very tense one. I had to hold out my wrists so he can be sure I have nothing concealed there and that I am not wearing a watch. Also he had me open my computer Task Manager and guided me to close all other applications including ones that run in computer background -- like Dropbox, iCloud and Google Drive. 

The exam was over two hours long. Though I spent about one hour 45 mins, using my sofa and center table as desk made it a very uncomfortable and tiring exam for me. But I performed very well, by my own judgement, but will have to wait till November before I will see my results.

If you are interested in taking any Microsoft exam, especially ones you can do right from your home without needing to be at the scheduling mercy of a proctored exam center, visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-list.aspx 
image: theguardian.com
I am currently reading Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-first Century having completed reading Michael Lewis' Liar's Poker.

I am barely past the intro and I already find the book a great read. It has opened my eyes greatly to how income, wealth and politics have co-mingled from as far back as the 18th century. He explained how many economists have tried to predict the future of inequality for the past 200 years and got it wrong. That technology and human creativity, which are unpredictable, keep changing everything.

Though I am yet to read enough to conclude on what points he made but from the reviews from those who have read the entire book, his main conclusion is that in the capitalist system, which we all now live in, people who make all their money from labor (just their salaries and side hustles) will never catch up or even reduce the financial gap between them and those who make a large chunk of their money from capital (real estate, financial assets and businesses).

The part I have read, however, has taught me that it is a poor use of one's time and energy to try to predict the economic and political future of any country. Especially, Nigeria. That rather than me complaining and projecting into the future the sorry state of things in our dear country, I am better off positioning myself for any major shift in income and power (re)distribution. And that history has consistently shown that national economies change in unpredictable ways and when people least expect. The same way the land owning politically connected high class in the world economies of Britian and France during the pre-18th century never imagined that there would be an industrial revolution that would shift wealth from them to the hardworking and creative technologists (industrialists); and the 20th century industrialists never expected that there would be a rise of software/internet companies with little physical assets and built by straight out of school young chaps disrupting their century old businesses.

No one knows what will disrupt the Google and Facebook billionaires in the future, and again redistribute wealth. But one thing seems certain -- very little comes to those who don't position themselves for any value creation (and receipt).