We got a new neighbour last year November. One of the members of the household is a professional chef. He agreed to teach me how to cook intercontinental meals. We have done some classes in December. I have augmented my learning with some books and YouTube. 

Result. I have been cooking all kinds of new things these days.

On Christmas day I cooked Spaghetti Bolognese. 


A week before that my teacher had taught me how to cook both Spaghetti Bolognese and Chinese Fried Rice.



When my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law visited us three days after Christmas, I cooked them a special meal. It was not something they were used to but they praised me and did some takeaway for my sake.

I have been grilling chicken and gizzards this new year than I have done all the previous years of my life combined. 

I even now cook rice differently. My spaghetti and noodles are now like what you see in their adverts and packaging. 

I have more spices than anyone I know: Yaji, Chili Pepper, Jollof Rice Spice, Ground Ginger, Onion Powder, Stock Mix, Pepper Soup Spice, Ground Tumeric, Cayenne Pepper, Curry Power, Ground Nutmeg, Thyme Leaves, Rosemary Leaves, Meat Tenderizer, Black Pepper, Whole Oregano, Bay Leaves, Sazon Everything Mix, Oyster Sauce, Dark Soy Sauce, Light Soy Sauce, Ground Crazy Fish, Ground Cameroon Pepper and Ground Red Pepper.

I now know the difference between Olive Oil, Canola Oil, Sesame Oil and the Vegetable Oil I have always known. Especially the huge price difference. Come see me shout when someone touches my Olive Oil in a way I do not approve.

I have also been baking more. I sold close to $800 worth of Ethereum at $580/Ethereum to buy a very expensive LG gas cooker that has temperature dial, timer and a broiler. The next day, Ethereum started its meteoric rise. Now it is at over $1,200/Ethereum. Talk about bad timing. Now I sweat the cooker like it's its fault.

I baked mince pie.

I made chin chin.




I am now the latest convert to stir frying. I have chopped more carrots, more celery, more onions and more garlic than I have ever before the last one month. You would think I am practicing for a competition.

I have been reading so much now and learning a lot about the world of cooking that it's like I am entering a whole new planet. Just yesterday I bought suya spice from a suya seller in my neighbourhood. I read the bestseller by Samin Nosrat, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking and it has been very eye opening. I now season meat long before I cook or grill them. I boil water till its steaming furiously before putting in rice or spag or any main food. I play with temperature settings masterfully when using the oven and when stir frying.

I guess if the Excel and Power BI world comes to an end, I will be welcomed to the culinary world. I guess I can then rebrand as UrBizEdge Cuisine. :)

What do you think about my chances?

Happy new year! And we (UrBizEdge) have been lucky to get Bill Jelen (whom I consider the most popular Microsoft Excel legend) to be our special guest this coming Sunday.


You can RSVP at https://www.meetup.com/Microsoft-Excel-and-Data-Analysis-Learning-Community/events/xtlsvrycccbnb/

It will be a very open and interactive session.

This year I am becoming more deliberate with planning and following through with the plans made. I think I have been too unstructured and spontaneous in many of my business and personal dealings.

And you, what big change are you making this year?

 


Microsoft is doing us a special honor. Three managers from the Excel team at Microsoft HQ are going to be guest presenters at our Dec 6, 2020 live meetup session. You don't want to miss this opportunity to learn directly from the people behind the amazing Microsoft Excel and hear them answer your questions. 

The event page is https://www.meetup.com/Microsoft-Excel-and-Data-Analysis-Learning-Community/events/xtlsvrybcqbjb/. Register to attend so you get the calendar invite.


Title: What’s New in Excel for Office 365

Guest Speakers:
Guy Hunkin, Microsoft (Principal Product Manager, Excel Team)
Itai Goldstein, Microsoft (Product Manager, Excel Team)
Dror Yashar, Microsoft (Senior Product Manager, Excel Team)

Description:
During this session you will learn about new and exciting ways to explore and analyze your data in Microsoft Excel, including the ability to ask questions and get answers using Natural Language in "Excel Ideas" and new powerful Excel Data Types that expand what you can do on the grid. Unlock new scenarios and simplify the creation of your spreadsheets with the latest core capabilities like brand-new Dynamic Arrays, latest XLOOKUP function and more.

See you in the online live class session!

Joining link is https://vip.urbizedge.com/excel-live

(c) https://class.urbizedge.com

Recording of past sessions are available at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0kdLm6FekrMWYBcervKPF_eAZk9dnoSI​​​​​​​

I am in between deciding to emigrate or stay. The entire interest started two weeks ago. Maybe the #EndSARS events triggered it. I was very unhappy with how our government officials lie, deceive us and hold what was meant for them to just share as palliatives. No truth, no shame. The "no army", the "no shooting", the "Ikoyi court burning to bury a case" etc all made me feel like it was time to have another option of where to be even if I still run my business here.

image: finglobal.com

 tried engaging immigration consultants online: https://migrategroup.com/ and https://www.canadavisa.com/

MigrateGroup were very helpful and did a comprehensive free evaluation of my options. They did a profiling of my biodata, career and qualifications. We went through the options of emigrating to USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Spain, Germany and New Zealand. It became obvious that Canada was going to be the easiest and shortest to gaining a permanent residency and second citizenship.

CanadaVisa.com were dodgy and seemed only interested in getting more money from me after I paid a $19.99 for an evaluation only for them to tell that I need to pay another $500 to get the evaluation. I felt like walking into a trap. So I told them to keep the $19.99, I was no longer interested in their service. 

Then after reading a lot of people's experiences of migrating to Canada (https://www.quora.com/There-are-so-many-negative-stories-about-people-s-experiences-after-migrating-to-Canada-and-obtaining-permanent-residency-Are-there-any-positive-stories-out-there-Is-it-really-a-bad-idea-to-migrate-to-Canada, https://www.quora.com/What-has-been-your-experience-migrating-to-Canada and https://www.quora.com/Do-you-regret-moving-to-Canada), I decided to quit the Canada option.

In fact, I decided to quit the whole emigration idea. That was a week ago.

Then this week, the fever restarted. And it was UK this time. I got some motivations from friends to emigrate to UK. Thankfully, I am aware of the UK TechNation Visa programme (UK Global Talent Visa programme). It seemed straightforward and I think I stand some chance of getting it.

Still I see no immediate necessity for emigrating. But looking at the direction of things and the shameful way government is handling everything, I feel sure that things will relatively (to UK and Canada) get worse in Nigeria and I might be back to considering this same emigration in 10 years time. So I concluded that it is better to just do it now and not ever get to a future that I start wishing I had do it earlier.

What do you think?

I am currently considering applying by myself (no consultant's paid help) for UK Global Talent Visa and Canada Express Entry. Ensure that I take my wife along (which both programmes allow at an additional cost).

I will also find a way to keep running my business here. Luckily, my team are a bit more able to work without my supervision/intervention. 

 I hope you are in good health and safe. This October has been like a 2020 amongst the months of this year.

Today I came across something worrying on BusinessDay newspaper (26 Oct 2020, page 29)


In particular, this part:



Here's the text extract:

"

Data compiled from the breakdown and highlights of 2020 budget performance presented by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, showed that in the first 7 months of the 2020, that is between January and August 2020, N2.5 trillion in revenue and spent about N6.25 trillion creating a record budget deficit of N3.7 trillion. At this pace, analysts suggest that the government may generate roughly about N4.3 trillion in revenue, spend N10.7 trillion in expenditure and end the year with a historic deficit of almost N6.4 trillion! To put this figure into perspective, Nigeria budgeted to spend just N6.06 trillion for the entire year in 2016. Today the deficit is on track to exceed that figure in just one year. In fact, total government spending in 2018 alone was N6.94 trillion according to the government. This means that the government is creating debt today at a record pace never before seen in Nigeria’s history.


This reckless behaviour by the Federal Government has now pushed the budget deficit to revenue to 174 percent as at August 2020. The debt service burden has worsened to 85% this year as a total of N2.1 trillion was used to service the national public debt compared to revenue generated of just N2.5 trillion as at August 2020. As at H1 2020, the Debt Management Office reported that the national public debt had reached N31 trillion.


Analysts from EUA Intelligence told Businessday that they fear that if the 1 year treasury yield was more market reflective and rose to a price of around 14% on local debt and 8% on Eurobond to reflect the rising rate of inflation in the country and current market average market yield on Nigeria’s Eurobonds, it will add an additional N1.08 trillion to the national debt service, which will put the debt service ratio of Nigeria from 85 percent today to 128 percent, effectively almost bankrupting the nation but forcing it to pay far more in debt service than it is able to generate in revenue.


“If the country fails to take adequate steps to improve its revenue performance, then it must cut its spending significantly rather than increase it. The excessive spending has failed to generate the promised economic growth and is on the verge of pushing the country towards a debt overburden situation which is terrible for the economy,” said an analyst from EUA Intelligence.

With the government now planning to increase its personnel expense which analyst forecast will hit N3.3 trillion this year (after posting N1.9 trillion personnel expense as at August), the only feasible way to pay for the salary increment as our finances are today is to carry more debt which unfortunately is dangerous for the government’s finances today.

"

Other facts I want you to know are:

Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation

Almost all hyperinflations have been caused by government budget deficits financed by currency creation (aka printing more money).

Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation

Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation

Now my deductions:

Our situation shows all the signs of factors that lead to very high inflation (and hyper inflation):

1) Huge budget deficit

2) Low and reducing tax receipts

3) Investors now no longer interested in low yield government bonds

4) Point 2 & 3 mean government will have to do more money printing (seigniorage) to cover the deficits

5) High and worsening unemployment rate, anti-business policies and low confidence in government = an economy where seignorage only leads to price level increase rather than boost productivity

6) Capital controls already in place (which is always a very bad sign and one that signals the government is not able to achieve much anymore with the normal fiscal and monetary tools)


My personal and business considerations:

  1. Hold as little cash and non-asset backed investments as possible. So today I sent redemption requests to Investment One and Meristem to take out almost all the money in my company's money market fund with them. Those funds are where the next year's office rent, tax payment reserve and money to fund products/expansion are in. But right now, I want to put them in a better than Naira place.
  2. I am re-evaluating my personal investment portfolio. Until now, I do a target allocation of 20% US Stocks, 10% Cryptocurrencies, 30% Nigerian Stocks and 40% Real Estate. I am thinking of switching temporarily to 20% Cryptocurrencies (with a huge chunk in stablecoins) and 20% Nigerian Stocks. Ordinarily, stocks should hedge against the effects of high inflation, but reality doesn't always work out that nicely in the short to medium term. And I fear that some companies may go under. I am favouring export-based and food companies. So I intend to put more of my stocks allocation into companies like Okomu Oil and Presco. 
  3. Focus on scaling up the aspects of my business that earns us foreign currency. For now its very small but has many growth potentials that I have been overlooking because I was busy chasing the bigger local opportunities. Now I will consciously grow it even if it means spending some time away from the local opportunities.
  4. I recently got into Estonia's e-residency program and got registered as an e-resident of Estonia. I had to go to London last month (perhaps another story for another day, did 3 Covid-19 tests in 3 weeks). With the e-residency I was able to register an international arm of my company in the EU and get access to many startup services that are not normally available to Nigerian companies with less tax burden than I face here in Nigeria. Now, I will be working extra hard on realising the global opportunities potential that comes with it. Not so I can emigrate but so that I can have as much of my business diversified away from the happenings in Nigeria as possible, just as I have done same to my investments.
  5. Decouple from the system as much as possible. By system I mean the Nigerian systems. You don't want to put all your foreign investments in a Nigerian financial institution. If they go under or get very stressed, you will get that stress or even see your money go under too. That's the nature of custodian/counterparty risks. I stay completely clear of Nigerian financial institutions dollar funds and their foreign currency investment accounts. In fact, I prefer a setup where I can access my money without needing a Nigerian bank. I don't want the stress that comes on the financial institutions during a difficult period as a hyperinflation period would cause to trap my money.
What do you think?

Am I overthinking things, overreacting or missing something important? Do let me know.

Thanks!



 This year has been a very peculiar one. Everyone's needs have gone up while income haven't gone up (many have even seen it gone down). And as it is for individuals so has it been for companies. However, some needs can't be deferred for long or the damage becomes more than is justifiable. 

For us as a company, we have pushed it out far for too long to add to our technical team and hiring a PA/admin. We started an internship program this year and we have kept it running even during the lockdown period. We have seen it be a very mutually benefiting one. The talent, energy and vibrancy of the interns we have had is one that shows that more than complaints of deficiency in our educational system, there is a bigger deficiency of opportunities. A UK, US or Canadian student easily get to do multiple relevant internships before graduation while a Nigerian student struggles to get one. We are happy that we are contributing to increasing that opportunities pool.

I am glad to announce that we have 3 roles we are accepting applications for:


PA/Admin Rolehttps://forms.gle/rJ5a53ibnDRbFMvh6 to see full details and application process. 

1) To assist with planning and admin tasks 

2) To help with presentations, executive meetings with clients and minutes 

3) To handle business correspondence for the CEO 

4) To help with business research and reports. 



Business Intelligence (BI) & Data Analyst Rolehttps://forms.gle/adK6foAheLiauCbM9 to see full details and application process. 

1) To work on Excel, Power BI and Financial Analysis projects 

2) To facilitate Excel & Power BI training classes 

3) To create video and written tutorial/training contents 

4) To coordinate webinar sessions.



Intern Role - https://forms.gle/NrowCU9m6wYJM2em8 to see full details and application process. 

1) To learn and support the data analysts 

2) To help with admin tasks 

3) To learn and provide support for our products/services 

4) To mange www.msexcelclub.com


Help pass on to anyone you think needs to see this. Thanks!

Before I bury you in the slides, here are the templates and resources I referred to in the slides. Enjoy!
  1. https://www.macrotrends.net/ for US stocks fundamental analysis data
  2. https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/stock-screener to screen US stocks by fundamentals
  3. http://vip.urbizedge.com/economy for historical and macro analysis for Nigeria
  4. https://vip.urbizedge.com/add-in for Excel stocks analysis app for Nigeria
  5. https://vip.urbizedge.com/stocks for US stocks portfolio analysis and portfolio setup
  6. https://vip.urbizedge.com/fstocks for Fundamental Analysis checklist
  7. https://nairametrics.com/ for Nigeria stocks and macro news/analysis
  8. https://www.stearsng.com/ for Nigeria economic analysis
  9. http://seekingalpha.com/ for US stocks analysts' publications
  10. https://www.morningstar.com/ for US stocks fundamental analysis
  11. https://www.tradingview.com/screener/ for stock screening based on both fundamentals and technical signals
  12. https://www.tradingview.com/chart/ for charting
  13. https://finviz.com/ for US stocks signals and screener
  14. http://vip.urbizedge.com/economy for Nigerian stocks charts
  15. https://vip.urbizedge.com/stocks for US stocks portfolio setup & analysis
  16. http://www.investmentng.com/forum/12-annual-reports-and-financial-statements/ to download annual reports of companies in Nigeria
  17. https://www.annualreports.com/ to download annual reports of companies in the US



























👍
Today I went to a store that sells baking ingredients and asked for ingredients to use for baking meat pie. My wife is still surprised. I ended up buying the following:

  1. Flour
  2. Baking powder
  3. Nut meg
  4. Margarine
  5. Sugar
  6. Electric mixer
  7. Mixing bowls
  8. Measuring cups
  9. Carrots
  10. Meat (was told how to create minced/diced meat from normal meat, much cheaper)
  11. Potato (not sweet potato)
  12. Eggs
After some hours of reading online and watching YouTube videos with conflicting information, I created my first meat pie.



My wife loves its crunchy taste but I was hoping for a non-crunchy meat pie. I don't even eat crispy fried chicken. You should see how I fight KFC staff when they put crispy chicken instead of the regular chicken in my ordered food. So now, I am begging my wife to eat all the meat pie I have spent 5 hours (learning) to bake. She's the captain of the crunchy team.

I suspect it's the two tablespoons of baking powder I put that's made it more like a cookie pie. I am researching online. If that's the actual cause, may the Microsoft Excel of the owner of the website crash.

That minor issue aside, it has been a very enjoyable process. I am even to begin a one month baking school/class next week. I can't wait to stop paying Domino's Pizza. I came across a YouTube video of how to make pizza at home. Especially the pan pizza. I am definitely going to try it. Wanted to this night but when the lady started mentioning pizza sauce, cheese and those other stuffs I didn't have, I decided to stick with just the meat pie today.

I started with cooking the meat after slicing them thin to make dicing easier afterwards. I bought N1000 meat from my regular butcher/meatseller. He knows he cheats me because I always leave the person I meet there. He agrees to my price faster than he agrees to other peoples' price. I hope they just put a fixed price on meat like the suya sellers now do. I put in good amount of water in a small pot, added curry, added one cube of Maggi Naija Pot and added some salt. 30 minutes later, I had produced the nicest soft meat. I then diced the meat.

I used my wife's potato chipper to create easy to dice chips from the carrot and potato. She helped me dice them.

I then watched 4 videos trying to figure out which is the (most) correct one. The creators better stick to their baking and not go near computer programming. One said 4 cups of flour + 1 spoon of baking powder, another said 2 cups of flour + 2 table spoons of baking powder, still another said 3 cups of flour + 2 tea spoons of baking powder. 

In the end, I mixed the following:
  1. 2 cups of flour
  2. 2 table spoons of baking powder
  3. 1 small sachet of nutmeg
  4. Enough margarine to make the mixture feel like breadcrumbs (or garri, as one online teacher said)
  5. 1 table spoon of sugar
  6. A small pinch of salt
  7. 1 egg (used half for the mixture and the other half for the inner lining of the meat pie at the point of baking)
  8. Quarter of a cup of cold water (real cold water from the water dispenser). Don't know why it must be cold water, not warm water.
I mixed them. And mixed them. And mixed again until it looked like what I saw in the YouTube videos. I then placed the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

It's so rich, you can see the nutmegs

I put small oil in a small pot. Placed on the cooker. Poured the diced carrots, diced potato and diced soft nice meat into it. Stirred for 4 minutes. Added small salt and black pepper. Added small water. Left for 8 minutes. Added 2 spoons of flour. Stirred for 3 minutes. All looked awesome. I could see the meat pie coming together. Baker's Street would want my special meat pie fillings recipe. Without exaggeration, it is patent worthy. Just take a look at it.


I took a glass bottle of groundnut and rolled out nice circular flat thin doughs from small cuts from the entire dough. 



Put them in our halogen oven set to 170 degrees centigrade. Went back to the videos to sort out which to follow regarding number of minutes to set it to. Everyone agreed on the temperature but duration was as wide apart as 25 minutes is from 60 minutes. I went with 30 minutes.





I hope I have delighted you with my personal story of how I made my first meat pie. I also shared the photos with the owner of the baking school I have paid to begin class next week. I want to go pick up my Suzuki 600cc (power) bike from my trainer this week so can't afford to start the baking class this week. With my work load, I can only squeeze out small time for one small side class at a time and settle with sleeping very late at night.



Growing up I was the dreamy type. I would watch a movie and dream it a sequel overnight. I would read a book and suddenly become close to the characters in the book. I loved rearranging events with my eyes wide open.

Today, I no longer dream. I have too many chats/emails/requests to respond to. Work to do. Meetings to wake up to.

Growing up I knew there were enough opportunities, wealth and fame to go round. Nobody's ever dimmed mine. When I met very successful people, I saw them as only ahead of me. Maybe by a few steps or a few years.

Today, I see too many lost and out-of-reach opportunities that I simply shift my gaze to things to be thankful for.

I try to not grow up anymore. It is very hard. I try to dream again. I try to see the opportunities beckoning me.

I still want to write novels, write books that have nothing to do with work or data analysis or computers.

I still want to see events with no sense of conclusion. To not have an explanation for what is happening. To journey through each day with a creative mind and naivety.

I try to tell myself that I still have more years than I have spent already and can do all what I once dreamed of doing. That I can become fluent in French. That I can be an accomplished artist. That I can be child I once was.

I want to talk without having an agenda. I want to teach what I do not know. I want to write my deep thoughts, the ones beneath the thoughts about money and responsibilities. I want to have a clear mind, a dreamy mind that is more interested in what can be rather than what has been.

I want to try out new things regularly. To be able to pour myself into an interesting task for a year or two and then completely switch to something else.

I want to be able to look in the mirror and see the 12 year old me.

I want to ungrow.
https://class.urbizedge.com


We have had 6 Office Hour sessions around Business Intelligence, Financial Modeling and Business Data Analysis with Excel.

You can watch the previous sessions at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0kdLm6FekrMWYBcervKPF_eAZk9dnoSI

These are the resources mentioned/shared during the sessions.

Power BI Value Proposition slides: https://urbizedge.blob.core.windows.net/urbizedge/Power%20BI%20Value%20Proposition.pdf

Victor Momoh's Excel Journey Slides: https://urbizedge.blob.core.windows.net/urbizedge/My%20Excel%20Journey_Victor%20Momoh.pptx

Kehinde Omisile's Excel Journey Slides: https://urbizedge.blob.core.windows.net/urbizedge/Kehinde%20Omisile%20-%20Microsoft%20Excel%20and%20Data%20Analysis%20Office%20Hour%205.pptx

Manufacturing Company Startup Financial Model Input template: https://urbizedge.blob.core.windows.net/urbizedge/CK%20Healthcare%20Limited%20-%20Financial%20Model_Model%20Input.xlsx

SaaS (software as a service) company startup financial model input:
https://urbizedge.blob.core.windows.net/urbizedge/SaaS%20Model%20Input.xlsx

You can join the communities via
https://www.meetup.com/Financial-Modeling-Valuation-Learning-Community/
https://www.meetup.com/Power-BI-Learning-Community/ and
https://www.meetup.com/Microsoft-Excel-and-Data-Analysis-Learning-Community/


Looking forward to seeing you in the coming Sunday edition!

P.S.> You can also try out our free courses https://class.urbizedge.com/p/free-teaser-power-bi-and-dashboards-for-the-busy-professional and https://class.urbizedge.com/p/free-teaser-financial-modelling-financial-planning-and-dcf-valuation