When you launch the Power BI Desktop, the start up screen you get has Get Data on the top left side.




The Get Data is the your first window into the Query Editor. If you are familiar with Excel, the Query Editor is the exact replica of PowerQuery. 




In Power BI, it is your main data manipulation and data cleaning tool. Once you connect to the data you want to analyse, it is good to go to the Query Editor to examine the data and, if the data needs some cleaning or transformation, do all that transformation in the Query Editor.






Clicking on Edit, when done connecting to the data, takes you to the Query Editor, and I recommend you always use Edit rather than Load which brings in the entire data without allowing for preview and modification/transformation.

Below is what the Query Editor looks like and it always opens as a separate window from the main Power BI window.


The Query Editor can be divided into four functional sections.


1. Menu section
2. Queries section
3. Data Preview section, and
4. Query Settings section.

The Menu section is more like the control panel housing all the tools you will need for most of your data cleaning and data transformation processes. In the end, it is a section you will have to be very proficient at and we will do a lot of practical demonstration of real world analysis that involves using this section.

The Queries section mainly lists all the data sources you are connected to. Right-clicking on any of the data source gives you some very useful set of options.


The Data Preview section shows a preview of the data selected in the Queries section. This gives the Query Editor some advantages over loading the data directly into the Data model, especially in a case of a large data set that would take too many system resources and time to load. By loading just a preview, one can get working immediately on the data and even set filters and formulas to pull in just the segment of the data set that is needed rather than pulling in the entire data set. It also has some useful features — like filter, rename, delete, replace errors and others.




The Query Settings serves as a very interactive and feature-rich audit trail. It allows you to see all the transformation steps carried out in applied order. You can modify any step and re-order the steps if you want.


In future chapters we will do some real world analysis that will help us further dive into the Query Editor and see its practical usefulness.

In our training classes, whenever I hear a participant say he can't find a particular menu item exactly where I pointed out then I suspect he is using Mac. And I am usually correct.


If you use the Mac version of Microsoft office, a lot of things are not the same as with the Windows version. In today's post I am going to show you the practical differences you should be aware of between the two common editions of the Mac version and the Windows version of Excel.

First of all, the verdict. My recommendations. 
  1. If you want to be a superb user of Excel for data analysis and master the new advanced tools in Excel, you will have to put aside the Mac versions of Excel. Either you get a Windows PC/laptop or create a Windows OS powered Virtual Machine on your Mac and install Excel on it. 
  2. If you already use Excel on Mac and are okay with not being able to do PowerQuery/PowerPivot, then go for Excel 2016 Mac edition. It is better designed and has more features than the Excel 2011 Mac edition (the edition before the 2016 one as Mac has no Excel 2013 edition). Microsoft has re-added the missing Macro/VBA features people complained about when migrating from Excel 2011 Mac to Excel 2016 Mac, so no reason to stay with the Excel 2011 anymore.

Excel 2011 for Mac


When Microsoft did Excel 2010 for Windows, they also made Excel 2011 for Mac. Unfortunately, their capabilities are not equal. Microsoft tried to give them both the same base features but when you want to do more, like work with Macros/VBA, enable add-ins like Analysis Toolpak or Solver, work with external data sources or do more with your PivotTable then you'll see that the Mac version is somewhat limited compared to the Windows one.

One main thing to note if you are already familiar with the Windows version of Excel is that the File>>Options menu is Excel>>Preferences in the Mac versions.



And if you want to enable the Developer menu, you'll click on Ribbon (last item in the last row) in Excel Preferences window.




Lastly, the menu on the Excel 2011 for Mac can be very confusing. They are two menu layers that you'll find yourself cycling between to locate commands/features you want to use. And it is much worse if you are already used to where things are placed in the Windows version.



Excel 2016 for Mac


Microsoft must have heard the complaints about the Excel 2011 for mac and how much people wanted similar experience and UI to the Windows version. They really did well with the Excel 2016 for Mac one. The menu items are arranged in the same way as in the Windows version. There is still the two menu layers confusion but less confusing than in the Excel 2011. The look is also very cool and mirrors the Windows one.

The main issues are still the advanced tools. And now, with the advent of PowerQuery, PowerPivot, PowerView and many more advanced features in the Excel 2016 for Windows (Office 365 one, especially), the Mac version is looking a lot more like a watered down version. 

Also, just like the Excel 2011 for Mac, the File>>Options menu is accessible as Excel>>Preferences in the Excel 2016 for Mac version.





And those are the practical differences I find between the Mac versions and the Windows version. 

If you would like to read something more official from Microsoft, then head over to https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Compare-Excel-for-Mac-2011-with-Excel-2016-for-Mac-602a6c30-e6a6-47c5-9e0d-b16af397427a (for comparison between the 2011 and 2016 editions of the Mac versions) and https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Compare-Excel-2016-for-Mac-with-Excel-2013-for-Windows-1b24f293-739c-4120-b884-893b6687e0d0 (for the comparison between Mac and Windows version of Excel).




What are your thoughts?


Happy birthday to me!

Let me try to look for a recent photo of me to share. One with my new specs/glasses. Hmm. I can't find one to share. Will share later. 

[To insert nice photo here someday]

This year has been a great one for me -- made more money than I have ever made before, finally broke free from the employee mindset (will elaborate in another paragraph) and started seriously building solutions that will sell themselves without my active involvement (mass-market products). I know it is not advisable to be very proud of one's achievements because of the common saying that pride is the beginning of downfall. So I try everyday to forget where I am coming from and how far I have come in order to avoid feeling successful and begin to invite my downfall. But if I am being objective and saying things as they really are -- three years ago I never would have believed that I would be where I am today. Not that I have an absolute much now but compared to what and who I was in 2014, now is like I hit a jackpot. And for that I am very grateful to God and all of you who have in little and big ways contributed to my progress in life.

And as a way of paying forward that gratitude, at least for those who are not happy with their current life/job and want a radical change, today I will be sharing the lessons I learned since I took the bold bet of changing my life course and followed the entrepreneurship path.

1. Employee Mindset vs Entrepreneur Mindset
My biggest obstacle was my employee mindset. The very things and skills and habits that made me a great asset to my bosses and the companies I worked for, surprisingly, were hindering my business from growing. 

You know how you used to feel when you see a junior colleague get a new job that is higher than yours in both status and pay, and then you try to pin it to some professional certification or MSc/PhD that he has and you don't? And how you always try to match or outdo your peers in your physical presentation/appearance, in being-in-charge attitude and work skills? 

The unfortunate result is that you take too many things personal. You can't afford to say no to a request from your bosses' bosses' boss. You can't afford to see other people get promotion or better new jobs without thinking they're leaving you behind. You can't think of paying someone else to do your job, the company mustn't find out or you might be sacked. You are always trying to improve your hard-skills and learning new ones.

So what's wrong with all that? Nothing, if you have a career to grow. But a lot is wrong with all that if you are building your own company. First, is that the competition mindset that helped you best other job prospects and guaranteed you promotion in your paid employment is going to ruin you in entrepreneurship. Also, if you swap pleasing your bosses with pleasing your clients no matter what, life in business is going to be brutally hard for you. Lastly, it is better to spend more time on strategy and product formulation than on the treadmill of hard-skills development. And I learned all these the hard and painful way.

In entrepreneurship, having a strategy and prudently implementing it is the key to long lasting growth. Forget about what other people are doing. In fact, forget about gaining more qualifications and certificates. Ignore what your friends in paid jobs are doing and saying, even if they earn more than your company makes as revenue. Stop trying to bend to every potential client's needs/requests. Be very structured in your services and products. Remove yourself from the operational (day-to-day) aspects of the business. Have products that sell themselves without too much custom work from you. Pay people to do what you already do extremely well (and this can be very hard in the beginning). Let all the aspects of you that don't matter to the bottomline not be a priority -- forget about your looks, your phonetics and every other thing that would have mattered in pursuit of the CEO/MD role in another man's company but don't contribute to your sales in your own company that can't fire you. 

2. Prioritize Learning What You Need Now For Your Next Business Growth Phase
Today, in church, Pastor Poju Oyemade was preaching on the right strategies for starting, running and growing your business. That rather than first getting a well furnished expensive office before getting clients, you should first learn the trading part (sell to clients first) and build the business on that learning. And many other things that are very correct and valuable. But guess what? I didn't really enjoy it. Why? Now my brain is configured to seek just what I need now for the next phase in my business. 

You won't see me attending conferences, business events and taking business courses just because they are advertised as helpful to entrepreneurs or I could find something of value there. I am not looking for something that can help me by using the scatter approach -- going everywhere and learning everything. I know what the pain points in my business are and I focus more on learning that will help me overcome those issues. I practice what is called energy management rather than time management. Time management is focused on doing more with your 24 hours a day; energy management focuses on doing the right things only. 

You won't find me learning some new hardskills if I don't know how to monetize it and have well laid out plans of fitting it into my company's big strategy. I won't even attend conferences just because some bigshots worth knowing are there. I am not looking for a job or one big contract. I know my customers and where to get them, big man your pocket. I would rather go where my conventional customers are than where some celebrated people are.

3. Long Term
I focus more on direction than speed. I don't ask myself how much I have done (anymore) but where am I heading. That is why I have stopped writing blog posts daily. I am de-emphasising activities in my life. I am a naturally hardworking person, I can't sit still without doing something. Even when I am sick, I work. I don't know how to take a vacation, the thought of not doing any serious work is not one I find appealing at all (made worse by the fact that I will be paying for the vacation). 

Now I focus more on weeding. Weeding out unnecessary activities in my life. I pick a long term goal and head in its direction. I don't bother too much about my speed of progress, I only make sure I don't do anything that isn't in the direction of my big long term goal.

That is the main reason I have not fully started the R and Python training courses. The when is not a big issue, the doing it right and properly is the priority.


And those are my birthday gifts to you all. I think they are the most valuable things I can offer. If they are useful to you, do let me know.

Cheers. And wish me long life and prosperity. 😀
First, I joined Institute of Directors and attended the compulsory training for all intending members. In the training class, I had as colleagues MD/CEO of big companies -- Nigerians, Indians, Swedish, British and other nationals. It was a very enriching experience for me, apart from the deep learning I got on how company directors are to carry out their duties. And as excepted, I was the worst dressed. My car was with the mechanic because LASTMA refused me Road Worthiness (the new way to renew the road worthiness certificate is to go for their computerised test which will almost always find something wrong). So I took public transport the first day, then remembered there is Uber. So I took Uber from the venue home the first day, and for the entire second day.

Now you have to take your car here for inspection

That's my car. Was told the brake lights are faulty, one tiny rod under the car is missing and hand-brake needs adjusting as the major faults that caused the road worthiness denial

Here is the verdict room. Excellent people, they called me back that I forgot my phone.

Iod Class. That's me on the ___ (take a guess)


I also continued my back and forth to Republique du Benin. In fact, I am currently there. And I have become a small celebrity. The people at the company I am volunteering for think I know everything. They ask me all types of questions and they always feel amazed by everything I show them. This week I showed them how to extract data from a damaged hard disk using Linux live boot and Linux commands. I also showed them how to connect two computers together using a RJ45 cable, configure the IP address and share files/folders/printers between the computers. They were singing my praises. They are more experienced on hardware and computer repair than networking and programming. So I am more like their God-send. Then today, I decided to gain from them. I asked that they help me clean off the dust I am very sure has greatly settled inside my laptop. And with small fear I watched as they dismantled my laptop. I am glad I asked for the favour because it was no small dust they found inside. Even the fan was full of dust. They gave me special treatment, cleaned every part of my laptop and used a special foam sprayer to clean the exterior making it look new.











Now the laptop looks new and is not always hot like before. I guess the dust was blocking the fan. Happy me.

We had a training class in Asaba last week and my laptop crashed on the night of the day one. It was a terrible thing. I was to continue the class the next day. Luckily, I had a colleague with me and we ended up using one of the participants' laptop. Unfortunately, the problem was a hardware one and not a simple software repair/reinstallation. I had to buy another hard disk. So I bought a 1 Terabyte SSD hard disk for N75,000. 

And that's all that's been going on in my life the last couple of days. Also, I intend to be more strategic with my blog posts since I am no longer following the one post per day rule. I will be making a lot more educational posts.

A bientot!


In september, we had a webinar on Using Microsoft Excel for Investment Planning, Personal Finance & Financial Analysis. Many people loved it and the practical application in their own personal finance and family finances/investment planning. You can still watch the recorded video on YouTube.

Today, however, I have decided to do the written version of it so many more people can benefit from it. You can download the practice along Excel file here.



There are five major formulas you need to have a good grasp of if you want to put some structure and calculations around your financial goals and investment strategy. And they are:

  1. PMT
  2. PV
  3. FV
  4. RATE, and
  5. NPER
PMT
PMT is the Excel formula you use to determine how much you need to save regularly (weekly, monthly, yearly) in an interest bearing account to achieve a particular set financial goal (education fund for your children, buy a house, buy a car or be a multi-millionaire). It is also the formula you use to calculate how much you pay back monthly or yearly for a loan that requires you to pay back the same amount (to cover both interest and principal) over the lifetime of the loan.

How it works is very easy. And below are the transcripts of the demonstration in the video and practice file.

a. Want to have N20 million saved in an education fund for your children by 2030 (13 years time).
Question: How much should you contribute in a 15% annual interest bearing savings/investment account?


PMT has five parameters:
  • Rate: The interest rate. And in this sample case, it is the 15% annual interest rate.
  • Nper: The number of periods. In this case, it is the number of years you plan to save for, 13 years.
  • Pv: Present Value. How much you currently have saved in the investment account. In this case, since we are starting from scratch, that would be zero.
  • Fv: Future Value. The final amount you want in the investment account by the end of the specified period. In this case, 20 million Naira. Notice the minus I put in the formula, it's just a technical way of getting Excel to show the answer in a positive value. That's all.
  • Type: Will you be saving at the end of the year or at the start of the year. For end of year, you put 0 or leave it empty, and for at the start of the year, you put 1. The logic applies for other types of period -- weekly, monthly etc.
One very important thing to note is that the rate and number of periods must agree. You can't use annual rate to calculate monthly contributions without first converting that annual rate to monthly rate. You should check out the part in the practice file on monthly contribution for the same goal to get a good grasp of how to convert from annual rate and annual period to monthly rate and monthly period.

b. You bought a 3 bedroom flat for N100 million and were allowed to do 25% down payment while flexible spreading the remainder in a monthly repayment at a 2% monthly rate.
Question: How much will you pay if you spread the payment over 5 years (60 months)?


Try figure this one out and compare your answer with mine. 

In this sample case, PV is the loan amount outstanding. NPER is the duration. Rate is the repayment interest rate. FV is zero since you mustn't owe them anymore at the end of the duration nor pay them excess. And TYPE is at month end repayment (hence, the leaving empty).

PV
PV is for calculating the worth of an investment project after factoring the cost of the capital (loan interest rate, if you borrowed the money from the bank). 

c. You are part of board of directors for a manufacturing company. They are considering a business idea that will cost N300 million and generate N50 million every year into the 9th year.
Question: If the company's cost of capital (discount rate) is 15% what will be the present value of the business idea if executed and is it a profitable one?


Notice how there is all those components of PMT formula in there -- Rate, Nper, Fv and Type. They still mean the same as previously explained. This time, though, we have the periodic inflow/payment from the business project (same as PMT) and want to calculate the present value/worth (PV). If we can be able to service the cost of the capital deployed and still turn a profit (pay back both the interest and capital of the borrowed money to finance the business idea, and still have something left as profit/compensation for all our stress).

Again the minus in the PMT box is to get Excel to display the final answer in a positive figure. Nothing more.

FV
FV is a very interesting and useful financial planning formula. It allows you estimate how much you will have in an interest bearing account if you do consistent periodic (weekly, monthly or yearly) contribution/saving. 

d. You invest/save N40,000 monthly in a 15% interest rate investment account. 
       Question: In 10 years, how much will you have? What about in 30 years?

 
I don't think I need to explain how this work, based on all my previously explanations you should be able to figure out how it works.

Also notice how the future value stratospherically increase when you save for 30 years as against the 10 years? That is the power of compound interest.

RATE
This is useful for those who take microfinance loans or co-operative loans or buy land on installment payment or any loan that you are required to pay specific constant amounts regularly. It would make a lot of sense to calculate what the actual rate of the loan is, since most times they don't provide you the rate.

e. My dad took a 6 months loan of N400,000 from LAPO Microfinance bank. He would be paying back N479,000 split into equal monthly payments.
Question: What is the rate he was given the loan at?


No comment. You go figure out.

NPER
This is useful for calculating how long it would take you to finish paying for a car or home if you opt for an installmental payment amount you choose. 

f. Your company has a car loan scheme. You took N4 million loan to buy a car and you are allowed to make monthly repayment at a 2% monthly rate.
Question: How long will it take you to pay off the car loan if you make a monthly payment of N200,000?


No comment. You go figure out.

Don't forget to watch the demonstration video and work along with the practice file.

image: dribbble.com
First, now I realise how much of me is consumed in the daily blog post writing ritual. The absence of the self-imposed obligation has made me free enough to go, unintentionally, several days without writing a single post.

Second, I have a good excuse for not writing for the last six days. I have been practicing French in Republic of Benin just right beside us. I got into an exchange programme courtesy AIESEC to volunteer my IT skills for an small Computer Training school in Porto-Novo. I was also given a host family to help me thoroughly practice/improve my French and make my stay less expensive. It has been a wonderful experience. Both the computer training school and the family hosting me are okay with my impromptu going and coming. Every month, I try to block out some days for the exchange programme without having to close down my business here in Nigeria.

The AIESEC Porto-Novo team welcoming me

Teacher Michael (not easing teaching them in French)

Practical Sessions On Computer Networking
I told you all that the camera was going to be very useful to me.

My post today is on a lifestyle habit I want you to have. One that I use to counter my biggest fear. And what is that fear? 

Interestingly, it is not money related. Somehow, I have always had this inexplicable assurance in my mind that I will be very rich or at least not have money problems. Even when I had no logical proof and the current situation wasn't helping matters. Maybe it is because I have been through deep poverty and significant abundance growing up, and it has made me realise first hand that much more than the money itself is one's ability to be resourceful and contented. And also that if you work hard and smart, you'll have more than enough (God sparing you any expensive accidents/sickness). 

So what is that fear I consider my biggest?

It is the fear of being like many old people I see daily who can't even operate their own phones maximally. They have problems with using the internet and computers on a very serious level. I dread being like that in the future. It is like dying before actually dying. Being out of touch with modern technologies and new important skills. I want to be as mentally active as I am today, even much more if possible, in my old age. I want to stay sharp, hard skills-wise, and well tuned to whatever the modern technology of those days will be.

To ensure this, I have made a habit of always learning something very difficult. At every point since my graduating university, I am always having some difficult thing or skill I am working on. Every year that passes, I can always point at one very difficult thing I progressed at and I try to move to a new difficult thing every few years.

This habit forces me to have a very open and absorbent mind. Rather than become the always judging guy whose favorite pastime is contrasting today with the not so long ago past and loves saying "how things have changed", I try to be the guy with more memories of today than yesterday. I want to live fully in today's opportunities and potentials. I want to keep learning everything, though one after the other, that I have always wished I knew. From French language to Programming and Magic. Yes, magic. I have a book on magic tricks and I read it. It teaches the tricks you see people do with coins and cards and other common stuff on TV.

I also embrace the fact that my learning speed might be slower due to my age and the numerous distractions. I am conscious to not let my slow progress discourage me or make me totally belittle what I am learning to the extent of quitting.

And you? Are you always learning something very difficult?