image: git-tower.com

It is a lot of tough work to be a programmer, the type that can earn money from his programming skills. It is not just about typing out codes but about being in the mood, being patient, avoiding distractions, getting comfortable with rewriting everything, meeting the client's expectation and being actually very good at coding.

I have been on a programming project for two weeks now. It is like building a complete application from ground up, but in Excel. Been having to use commands I didn't know exist in Excel. I had done the first phase for the client last year, then the second phase at the start of the year and now they are ready for phase three (which should be the last phase). Then I will transition to another project for them.

We communicate via Skype, email and Whatsapp messages.

I spend whole days thinking out how I will execute the project, how I will code the mammoth program. I break the application into steps that I can code out in one go. Unfortunately, I don't bill the client for those hours thinking out the solution and program flow. I got the project via one of the freelance site I am registered on and the terms of the project involved a per hour billing. And been a very nice person, in addition to the fact that it is the very type of projects I enjoy and I love programming, I decided to not bill them for a significant portion of the actual time I spend on it. In the hourly consulting world, it is common to have billed and non-billed hours. Some people restrict those non-billed hours to the time spent discussing the specs with the client. Others exclude time spent researching/thinking the best way to structure the project flow. I take it further by excluding some of the time I spent on the project.

I still make good money as I bill the client in dollars.

And I am not the only one like that. I once hired a couple of Asian programmers and one of them, an Indian, actually works this way. Bills you way less than the actual time he spend on the project.

Those are some of the pleasant sacrifices you make when you love programming. You've got someone paying you for something you would have done for free if you weren't too busy. You won't have any issue with undercharging for it as long as it gets the client sending more such exciting projects your way.

To be a better programmer you need to be always programming and better if you are working on a real world project someone is paying well for.

It is a bestowed attribute and not an intrinsic one.

Have you ever looked at an ant and thought, "Wow, it's so beautiful!" But you have said that about a butterfly numbers without count.

Have you ever looked at a goat and muttered, "It's so cute.". But you keep saying that about puppies and chihuahuas. 

Is it that there are no beautiful ants or that all goats look alike? 

In 2005, I read The Republic by Plato covering the dialogues of Socrates. It, alongside Shakespeare's books, made it clear to me that wisdom is not a product of education or modernization. It is stupidity that education and modernization truly affect -- the less educated ones do the less sophisticated stupid things and the stupid ones among our ancestors couldn't show off on (social) media. If you can't think clearly and deeply, all the education in this world and travelling around the world will only further muddle your mind.

Socrates said it is what we desire and lack that makes someone or something else beautiful. That is why men will always find women beautiful. And most men will find some women extremely beautiful. And that is why women always talk of tall, dark and handsome. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and a reflection of his/her depravity. The short one is obsessed with marrying a tall person. The not so handsome one with marrying sleeping beauty. The charcoal black one with marrying the almost white one. Everyone is seeking what they've been most deprived off -- either by nature or nurture. Even the dull ones want someone less dumb.

When you look at what a person go insanely after and hold extremely beautiful, you will at the same time see what he has been most deprived of. If everyone marries their true lust -- person or career -- the world will be a perfect procession of beauty and the beast holding hands. A beastly career holding tightly to a beautiful mind. A bimbo and a politician. 

Extreme beauty is when you see what you most desire in someone or something else.

Wanna know who/what I find extremely beautiful?

image: finance.yahoo,com
One big lesson I have learned from other entrepreneurs and my own entrepreneurship journey is that one should be comfortable with taking bold steps. Make bold bets. Rather than always playing safe, learn to quantify your risks -- the downsides. Take actions that will pay handsomely well if your plan succeeds but won't damage you too much if all goes bad.

And that is what I am attempting to do next with my financial investments. I am going to get at least one credit card -- either from Standard Chartered bank, Stanbic IBTC, Diamond Bank or First Bank -- and will take monthly interest-free loans from it to put in the money market for annualized 18% (or whatever it changes to) return rate. The Naira credit card issuing banks all offer 40 to 55 days interest free personal loans on the card. 

I intend to take out the max amount and put in my ARM or Stanbic Money Market fund. Then withdraw the money out from the fund after 38 to 53 days to make the repayment on the loan while enjoying a nice 1.5% to 1.8% on the original sum. It will be about N36,000 on a N2,000,000. And in a year, just slightly less than N360,000 (accounting for the no interest two to five days to repay and re-invest per cycle). But after a while the compound interest part will more than compensate for that.

It is currently an experiment I want to try out. On Wednesday I am going to call the banks for the procedure and verify that I won't be breaking any terms. I will also make sure to update you with the outcome.
image: fineartamerica.com

Been working everyday for 10 days straight now. And no idea how soon I will get the rest I greatly need.

So today, like Jack, I am dull and you will have to pardon me as today's post is dull.

On the unflip side, I will be taking my girlfriend, her sister and her brother out. Hoping that will help spice up my long boring days. Or I might infect then with boredom. 

This month has been a very tough one. Reminds me of when I just started, all work and little to show for it. It is that bad. I am hoping next month will be a much much better one.

To all my Muslim friends, Eid Mubarak! Happy Ramadan!

It's called TIA meetup and you can register for the event at http://tiameetup.com/

Below are the details copied directly from their official page.

TIA Meet-Up provides a global platform that brings together investors and market players to learn, share, engage and network with the goals of acquiring the required markets knowledge, unravel investment opportunities, insight into profit generating strategies, understanding platforms and tools needed in achieving desired investment goals.

At TIA Meet-Up you would gain insights into the sophisticated strategies necessary in today’s markets to achieve your investment goal.

The TIA Meet-Up workshop on Friday 30th June, 2017 provides a chance to take a productive step back and look at the overall markets from a broader perspective. There is no better time or place to see what the best traders are doing, assess your methods, regain your focus and project for the next half year.

Strictly By Invitation. Limited Seats Available

WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND

LEARN
Learn what the pros are doing in the financial markets and how they are making the consistent and secured returns you so desire.

ENGAGE
Engage pros and investors in interactive driven sessions on sophisticated strategies, tools and platforms necessary in today’s markets

ASK
Ask experts questions and exchange ideas with like-minded investors, analysts and traders.

DISCOVER
Discover where the next investment opportunities are and how you can position yourself for maximum returns.

NETWORK
Network with top players in the industry and talk-shop your next big investor and clients

FEATURED SPEAKERS

SULAIMAN ADEDOKUN, CFA
Managing Director, Meristem Wealth Management Limited

ADE BURAIMO
Managing Director, Alpha Morgan Capital Managers Limited

OLUMIDE SOYELE, FCA
Group CFO of Secure Electronic Technology Plc/President, TASN

ABDULRASHEED MOMOH
Chief Trader/Technical Strategist at TRW Stockbrokers Ltd.

ROBERT OMOTUNDE
Head, Investment Research at Afrinvest (West) Africa Limited

TOPE OJO
Founder/CEO of Iwet International

ADESHINA ADETUNJI, CFTE
Managing Partner, Trendonomics Resources


Don't forget to register for the event at http://tiameetup.com/
image: venturesafrica.com

Etisalat Nigeria is in a very messy situation. They took a loan of $1.2 billion four years ago to refinance a $650 million loan and expand/upgrade their network, when the Naira to dollar rate was in the N100 and something range to one dollar. They have to repay the loan, both interest and principal, in the original loan currency, dollars. 

It must have made sense when they took it. They enjoy a much lower interest rate than if it was a naira denominated loan. And the naira to dollar exchange rate had been fairly stable for up to a decade, making the maths behind the idea a very case-worthy one. Maybe they even ran through a few stress tests, scenarios, simulating historical-like changes in the FX rate and all still looked well. No one who is not God or extremely pessimistic would have guessed something of the magnitude of what is happening now four years ago.

Then they missed the latest repayment due in February 2017. They have paid back over half of the loan and had just about $500 million left to repay over the next three to four years as the loan was a seven year one. They felt they could ease the burden of the loan and make the banks restructure the loan to more favourable terms, like allow them to complete the remaining payment in Naira or allow a more flexible repayment structure. Unfortunately, the restructuring negotiation with the banks did not go well.

Then they tried to get the parent company in UAE to step in and maybe inject new funds into the Nigerian subsidiary to help fix its immediate cash problems. But the parent company is not interested in helping out, in fact, they no longer see the Nigerian subsidiary as a worthy investment and are willing to give up their stake in the company. Which is what they did this week. They gave up their ownership stake/equity in the company to the banks. 

Unfortunately, the banks are not investment banks nor interested in running a telecoms business. So they are going to want to get their owed cash as soon as possible. Either they get paid the cash (which seems not to be happening) or they sell something (which is where the whole situation seems to be heading). The trouble is that Etisalat UAE told their own shareholders that the ownership stake they are giving up is actually worthless, making it seem like the banks got something that will be very difficult to sell. Now they are dragging Etisalat Nigeria to EFCC, according to Sahara Reporters, that the company most likely didn't use the loan for network expansion/upgrade. That they can't see any significant assets acquired with the loan and that the company management must have embezzled the loan money. 

What do I know for sure?

For one, Etisalat has deep money problems. It is not just the loan repayment they defaulted on, they are owing some of their key vendors. They owe IHS, their tower and base stations facility provider, millions of dollars (I hear) which is almost ruining IHS' financial situation. So it is obvious that they do not have the money to service the loan for now.

Secondly, there is no strong hope of things improving. In 2015, I heard from an insider that Etisalat Nigeria is not turning profit. And I doubt if that situation has changed now. I even believe it must have become worse now. That is probably what is making the banks less open to any long range/term options. So the banks are going to want to squeeze out that cash from Etisalat anyway possible without much care about whether it dies or lives.

Thirdly, NCC and CBN cannot do anything. Are they going to pay the banks the money owed? As long as they won't do that, the only people giving them serious attention are the newspapers so they can spin new sides to the story. 

Fourth, will MTN or Glo or Airtel buy Etisalat? Airtel won't, they are even considering selling off the Africa operations. There are rumors that Glo is considering it, at least some people are trying to make Glo consider it. MTN too might be considering it. Honestly, I don't know. And I think no one knows for now until it probably happens.

Fifth, will Etisalat Nigeria no longer be Etisalat? It's possible. But the parent company says it is open to allowing them pay for continuing to use the Etisalat brand.

Sixth, will Etisalat die? I hope not! But when it comes to money matters, emotions have no place with the banks. And if getting their money out means killing the company, they will.



I work primarily with Excel and do projects for different companies across different industries and different countries/continents. To make my work and life easier I often use some add-ins in Excel.

Some of those add-ins are enhancers, enabling me achieve faster what I could still have done without the add-ins. And some are indispensable, without them I couldn't have gotten the work done.

During this month's webinar I will be taking you through those add-ins. From the one that lets you match inconsistently spelled names/items (Fuzzy Lookup) to the one that helps you manage named range (Name Manager +) to the one that enable you calculate the best way to achieve a business goal (solver) and to the one that supercharges your reporting/analysis skills (PowerPivot).

The webinar will be on Wednesday, 28 June 2017. 

Time: 3:00pm to 4:00pm Nigerian time (GMT +1).
Venue: YouTube live (joining link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbKf76RqIp4 )

Don't miss it! Better to set up a calendar event for it to help with timely reminders.

image: ichemepresident.files.wordpress.com

It is marketing.

image: playpromedia.com


You must constantly be in the face of potential customers. Prospects. 
You must constantly sell yourself (first, as a dependable expert) and then your solutions. So just as much as your practical technical skills are important are also important your selling skills.

I got fortunate because of the internet. Somehow, without noticing or intending, I have put myself out their as an expert and made myself accessible to prospects worldwide who type into google search.

The jobs/projects we get are because of marketing and the ones we were not awarded were because someone out-marketed us (either using personal connections or some other soft skill but never via hard/technical skills).

Before now I used to think some of us are not capable of marketing or naturally terrible at marketing. But since looking at my own marketing success (which is much understated by my capacity issue), I am now sure that everyone is equally talented for marketing just differently styled. Some people are talkers and will talk their way into getting sales. Another set of some are like me, technical sales inclined, who will use superior product knowledge and implementation expertise to dwarf and gain the confidence of the prospect leading to sales. And I believe that there are still other sets not represented by these two. So if you feel you suck at marketing just know that you are just yet to find your style.

In conclusion, if you want to be a successful consultant in Nigeria you have to find and horn your marketing style.

Culled from: http://leapafrica.org/home/call-for-application-2017/

Apply at: https://docs.google.com/a/leapafrica.org/forms/d/1QR8gtBv9X-JA_zG2P1AwLxRGHqGXakLUvU_48BD-wjo/viewform?c=0&w=1&edit_requested=true

LEAP Africa and Union Bank has partnered to develop the SIP 2017 to strengthen and advance youth-led change initiatives and entrepreneurship in Nigeria through training and collaborative partnerships that enhance the sustainability and overall impact of these change initiatives.

LEAP’s Social Innovators Programme (SIP) supports creative young Nigerians (Ages 18 – 35) with ideas and initiatives that proffer effective solutions to identified challenges in local communities across the country. These social innovators are highly innovative young Nigerians who are championing social enterprises and improving the lives of community members across Nigeria. Their initiatives range from inventing of safe water recycling machines, Use of ICT to curb maternal mortality, Innovative use of technology to improve food storage for rural farmers and rural economic empowerment through waste recycling among others.

The Social Innovators Programme (SIP) is a one-year fellowship which supports talented young social innovators – youth change-makers – whose ideas and initiatives offer effective and creative solutions to the challenges in local communities across Nigeria. Their initiatives cover many aspects of society, such as Agriculture, Business and Economic Development, Education, Science and Technology, Health, Law and Human Rights, among others.

During the fellowship period, selected young leaders are equipped with the personal and organizational leadership skills, networking support, and advocacy needed to strengthen and expand the reach and depth of their projects within their target communities. These fellows also join IYF’s global YouthActionNet® community of over 1,100 young social innovators being supported by 21 national and regional institutes like the Social Innovators Programme (SIP).

Why You Should Apply

  1. Access to professional level advisory from A-list consultants, investors and professionals that will help you create a profitable and sustainable structure for your business.
  2. Transform your business into an impact driven solution following a one-year Fellowship.
  3. Access to LEAP partners, funders and life long support for growth and sustainability. 
  4. Get a chance to win #1,000,000 for your enterprise at the Social Innovators Programme and Awards in 2018.
What do you think?

image: tvcnews.tv

Anyway, I've made up my mind. I don't want to be like those sending broadcast messages of President of France is 39, President of Belgium is 41 and President of Canada is 44. I don't want be in the camp of the wailers. Even if we don't take action, the old generation politicians trying to cling to power forever will die. Do we want a gap that will let in worse people -- NURTW leaders? 

The leaders we all are talking about have to be in the competition. Nobody will send you an appointment letter in your corner. The youths we are all talking about are us and we have to put ourselves out there. We have to be in a political party and be ready to take opportunities that come our way. We have to be in the race if we don't want the old same same grabbing it all.

Someone advised I join one of the leading parties as there is a better chance of getting real opportunities there. I am looking to join APC.

What do you think/suggest? And if you are an active political party member, kindly guide your brother.

Thanks!