Guess what?
This Sunday, November 3 2013, there will be a solar eclipse, a rare one called Hybrid Solar Eclipse.

image: simple.wikipedia.org





Here is the main text of Wikipedia's page on Solar eclipse of November 3, 2013

A total solar eclipse will occur on November 3, 2013. It is a hybrid eclipse of the Sun with a magnitude of 1.0159. Totality will be visible from the northern Atlantic Ocean (east of Florida) to Africa (Gabon (landfall), R. Congo, DR Congo, Uganda), with maximum of 1 minute and 39 seconds visible from the Atlantic Ocean south of Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Here's my informed commentary:

A hybrid eclipse is a very rare type of eclipse, less than 5% of solar eclipses (on record) are hybrid. There are four types of solar eclipses:

Total Eclipse
A total eclipse occurs when the dark silhouette of the Moon completely obscures the intensely bright light of the Sun, allowing the much fainter solar corona to be visible. During any one eclipse, totality occurs at best only in a narrow track on the surface of Earth.

Annular Eclipse
An annular eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun. Hence the Sun appears as a very bright ring, or annulus, surrounding the dark disk of the Moon

Hybrid Eclipse
A hybrid eclipse (also called annular/total eclipse) shifts between a total and annular eclipse. At certain points on the surface of Earth it appears as a total eclipse, whereas at other points it appears as annular. Hybrid eclipses are comparatively rare.

Partial Eclipse
A partial eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are not exactly in line and the Moon only partially obscures the Sun. This phenomenon can usually be seen from a large part of Earth outside of the track of an annular or total eclipse. However, some eclipses can only be seen as a partial eclipse, because the umbra passes above the Earth's polar regions and never intersects Earth's surface.

According to UniverseToday --

Nearly all of Africa and the southern Mediterranean region including Spain will see partial phases of the eclipse, while greatest totality occurs just off of the coast of Liberia and heads for first landfall on the African continent over Wonga Wongue Reserve in Gabon. At this point, the duration of totality will already have shrunk back down to 1 minute and 7 seconds. The shadow of the Moon will then cross central Africa, headed for a short but brilliant sunset total eclipse over Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

And according to Space.com --

The moon will blot out the sun Sunday (Nov. 3) in an eclipse that will be visible from eastern North America to the Middle East.

Sunday's celestial event is a relatively rare occurrence known as a hybrid solar eclipse. It will begin as an annular or "ring of fire" eclipse along the path of totality, then shift to a total eclipse as the moon's shadow sweeps across our planet.

What you'll observe depends on where you live. Skywatchers in the eastern United States, northeastern South America, southern Europe, the Middle East and most of Africa will be treated to a partial solar eclipse, while people along the path of totality in central Africa will see the sun totally obscured by Earth's nearest neighbor for a few dramatic moments. 


Taking an informed guess, it seems Nigerians will be able to see a total eclipse, perhaps for some seconds. Anyway go get a No. 14 Welders' Goggle. It's gonna happen around noon, so I read.



Surprisingly, next to my Family Budget Worksheet, my Birthday Reminder application has been the most popular. In fact, if not for the publicity I gave the budget worksheet, the birthday reminder excel application would have been my most popular.



And today, I'll be sharing the generic version of that application with you.

Here's how it works.

  • You'll fill in the name, phone number, email and birthday of your contacts
  • Save the Excel file and close it.
  • And that's all!

I want to say a BIG thanks to everyone of you that read my family budgeting post on BellaNaija and sent me a mail. You gave me just the push I needed to see that there is immense joy in sharing. And till today I keep getting mails.

Unfortunately, I was more concerned with making a Budget sheet that will capture any expense type you make and give it a descriptive category. For the very Excel savvy ones, you would have noticed that I edited a very generic Excel template to make this budget sheet. So, it's more like an output of several people's efforts.

Back to the unfortunate part. Some of you were immediately overwhelmed by the amount of information (expense categories and items) and didn't know how/where to start. I considered making a simpler version, but I realized that it would only look simpler than this, but in the long run, this one would be more beneficial and intelligent.

The truth is most useful things take a little effort to get used to. Some of you will remember how you were frustrated while typing your first document in Microsoft Word. Then how you avoided using Microsoft Office 2007, as you found it a pain to use compared to the Office 2003. Well, that's how most things in life are. And I am better off making a useful tool than just a fancy tool. 

image: storegames.com


In reality, nothing is free. There is a price for free. And every gain has got its pain.

Some people say, that a thing is free means someone else is paying. And I agree. But beyond that, you also pay.

But don't get me wrong; I don't mean to say you should avoid anything with an FOC tag (Free of Charge tag). In most cases, what you'll pay will be way less than in your next best alternative. Just that you'll pay - in cash, time or kind; now or later. So just make sure it's worth it.

I'll give you a complicated example from my life.

I'm exactly what PayPal co-founder, Max Levchin, calls a loner and extremely introverted. If I'm to choose between making a 5 mins phone call to a friend and to spend an entire day programming, I will go for the programming option. 


In the investment world, one factor rules supreme - GROWTH 

Tell me what is common in the following:

  • Emerging Markets
  • Price/Earnings to Growth (PEG) ratio
  • Start-ups
  • Venture Capitals
  • Growth Equity Funds
  • IPOs
  • Junk Bonds
  • Growth Stocks
  • BRICS
  • Next Eleven
  • Asian Tigers
  • Growth Mutual Fund
  • Hedge Funds
  • Growth Premium
The main factor in every single one of the terms above is GROWTH.

Growth is the most influential factor in the investment world. And it's backed with lots of research papers and Nobel award winning theories. 


I know most of you are busy professionals and haven't got the time to read up on all the buzz about Apple's new iPad - iPad Air. And that's why I'm here, to let you know all the things I think you want to know.

iPad Air?

We all know iPad, the tablet a Chinese boy sold his kidney for. Well, the latest iPad is known as iPad Air. It's extremely thin and very light. And lasts for 10 hours too. I wish I can find a more practical way to describe how amazingly thin and light it is. My mind can't come up with a common item to compare it's weight to, and another to compare it's thinnest to. But in absolute terms, it weighs 1 pound (less than half a kilogram) and is 7.5mm thick (less than a centimeter).



This is the latest in Tim Cook's innovations. He started by creating a colourful version of the iPhone, one that will appeal to teens and young adults. And now, iPad Air.

Since Steve Jobs died, Tim Cook has been having a tough time. People, influential people, having been saying Apple will no longer be innovative. Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO and close pal of Steve Jobs, put it this way - 

"Well, we already know... We saw Apple with Steve jobs, we saw Apple without Steve Jobs. We saw Apple with Steve Jobs, now we're gonna see Apple without Steve Jobs."


Stanbic IBTC Asset Management is the leading wealth management firm in Nigeria.

It provides mutual funds nearly everyone can invest in/through; asset/portfolio management for high net worth individuals, and other wealth management services.

But in today's post, I'll share only the mutual fund services.

Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund (SINEF)

This is Stanbic IBTC's Equity Mutual Fund, and is the biggest in Nigeria. An Equity Mutual Fund is a pool of fund from several individual and corporate investors, invested majorly in the stock market.

Here are the details of the Fund --

  • The Fund was started in 1997.
  • Initial Price: N1,000 (Nominal Value)
  • Portfolio Allocation : Maximum 25% Fixed Income Securities, Minimum 75% Capital Market
  • Minimum Investment: N50,000 and subsequent investment of N20,000.00
  • For investment account opening details visit Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund
Stanbic IBTC Ethical Fund (SIEF)

This is structurally same as the SINEF; only difference is that SIEF doesn't invest in Breweries and Tobacco companies.


Here are the details of the Fund --

  • The first Ethical fund to be launched in the history of the Nigerian capital market (started in 2005)
  • Allows subscribers to invest in the capital market without compromising their religious beliefs and principles
  • Initial Price: N1 (Nominal Value)
  • Invests at least 75% of its assets in selected equities of Nigerian quoted companies, while retaining a maximum of 25% in quality fixed income securities
  • Minimum Investment: N50,000 and subsequent investment of N20,000.00
  • For investment account opening details visit Stanbic IBTC Ethical Fund
image: ei.mhs.com

I have Oracle Database 10g Administrator Certified Associate (OCA 10g). I have Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). I also have Cisco Certified Network Associate Voice.

The OCA does not expire, but my CCNA and CCNA Voice will be expiring in less than a year. I got both the OCA and CCNA 5 years ago. I did the CCNA Voice 2 years ago, to prevent my CCNA from expiring and to focus on the Telephony side of ICT. 

The interesting part is how I got into the certification maze.

It all began while in my 4th year in the University. 
In the university calendar, every student is scheduled to go for a six months internship (popularly referred to as Industrial Training). So, at the start of that year, I got a long list of companies in Nigeria and their contact details. I applied to everyone: Mobil, Chevron, Shell, Motorola, Telnet, Siemens... And a few called me for interview/test.



Surprised?


Unfortunately, it’s the truth. I’m not ambitious.
I know that those of you who have read my life goal will find it hard to believe.

But here is the bigger surprise: If the world ends today, I will die as a fulfilled man. I have accomplished all I want in life. I have one life goal, and I have made it my life purpose to pursue the goal. I took extra care to make the goal a journey and not a destination. So all I need to accomplish it is simply to pursue it.

My life goal is not tied to any milestone event (becoming a President or a billionaire). The goal is simply a journey I can’t get to the end of. My English is not perfect, and my posts testify to this. I don’t think it ever will. So how can I become perfect (fluent = perfect) in French, German and Spanish? And more importantly, I don’t care. All I want is to keep trying.  It’s like a roller-coaster, you don’t ride it because you've got a destination in mind. You ride it to enjoy the journey. Same with my goal. And I’m already enjoying the journey, mission accomplished.

How did I end up like this?

If you've read books written every century since 2000 BC (omitting the centuries with no surviving books), then you’ll probably end up like me. Only very little things matter in life. And they all are simple things. Things you can find in every generation since God created man.

What about the other impressive stuffs: helping the less privileged, fighting for justice and equality, and influencing one's family & the world for good?

Throughout history, the people who have successfully done these all lived simple lives. They were true to themselves. They found their true passion and pursued it. They filled each day with purposeful activities.

They were not spectators, observing and adjusting their lives to suit everyone.
They were not critics, making a name from judging others.
They were not high minded, never wanting to fail at anything.
They were simple-minded, true to themselves and went after their true passions. 

If you are true to yourself, and go after the life you truly want, you’ll always be someone’s hero. God has made us justice loving people, kind-hearted and potential heroes. It’s the system/society that forces us to be otherwise. But if you search deep within yourself, you’ll discover that what you really want is in agreement with who God has originally designed you to be. So tell me, how can you not influence lives for good if you follow your true passion?

The world doesn't need extra-ordinary men and women; it needs ordinary men and women who will be true to themselves and follow their true passions. I found out that my true passion is to be feverishly creative. I don’t want to be the best at anything, just good at a lot of things. So, I made a matching life goal.

What's your own true passion?




You can now download and install BBM on your Android phone, iPhone and iPad! Just go to BBM.com on your phone or tablet browser. Or use the following links -- 

BBM for Android

BBM for iPhone

BBM for iPad

But if you live in Nigeria (or sub-Saharan Africa) and want the BBM on your android phone, you'll have to get it via Samsung Apps store or wait till October 25.  Thanks to Emmanuel Chenze of TechWeez, you can download BBM for your non Samsung android phones via this link


image: phandroid.com

Here is the screenshot from my Samsung Galaxy Android phone


I'm just a spot away!

I'm finally in!

Aww! Looks like a desert

Let's connect! My PIN is 7B58BE89



Here's the official gist from Blackberry Official Blog yesterday

This is the news you’ve been waiting for! I am thrilled to tell you that we are about to officially resume our rollout of BBM for Android and iPhone customers around the globe!* In the next few hours, people will start seeing BBM in Google Play, the App Store and in select Samsung App Stores – where it will be free to download.
The demand for BBM on Android and BBM on iPhone continues to be amazing. About six million people signed up for information about BBM at BBM.com. As you know, in just seven hours, about one million Android users were using the unreleased version of BBM for Android. What you don’t know is that more than one million people have found creative ways to “side load” BBM on their iPhone. This is incredible.
To help manage this unprecedented pent up demand for BBM, we are implementing a simple line-up system to ensure a smooth roll out. Here’s how it is going to work…

BBM Roll Out Details:

  1. Download BBM – the easiest way is to visit BBM.com from your Android or iPhone browser*
  2. Once you install the app, open it, and enter your email address to hold your spot in line
  3. We will email you as soon as you reach the front of the line and can start using BBM
If you are among the millions that took the time to sign up at BBM.com, you can start using BBM immediately without waiting in line.* If you didn’t sign up in advance, don’t worry – we are focused on moving millions of customers through the line as fast as possible.
Our team of developers and engineers has been working around the clock to bring you BBM – and make some upgrades while we’re at it – and some incredible work has been done. I look forward to sharing more of this with you here, on Inside BlackBerry, soon.
For updates on how quickly the line is moving you can follow @BBM on Twitter. I will be back tomorrow with another post to provide you with an update on the line-up and to share more detail about the work the team has done over the last several weeks.
Lastly, thank you for your patience. We know you’re excited (we are too!) and we look forward to having you join us on BBM.
*Samsung customers in Sub-Sahara Africa can download BBM today from the Samsung Apps store. iPhone and other Android users in Africa will be able to download the app in three days’ time.




See the image above? It's no photoshop. Einstein believed that compound interest is man's greatest invention.

And I love the way Wikipedia explains it - Compound interest arises when interest is added to the principal of a deposit or loan, so that, from that moment on, the interest that has been added also earns interest. 

But what is so special about compound interest, that made Albert Einstein call it the 8th wonder of the world? 

I'm sure you remember the interest formula we all learned in primary school, that Interest (I) is equal to Principal (P) x Rate (R) x Time (T). 
Rate in percentage. 

But if you've been applying that in the real world, you are making a BIG mistake. The formula above is for Simple Interest, and the one thing that doesn't exist in the Finance world is the word - simple

The interest rates you see in the finance world are all compound interest. Your savings account interest rate is compound interest. The loan you get from a bank is at a compound interest rate. Even your share bonuses are compounded.

Here is the very quote by Einstein - “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it.”

And we all know that Albert Einstein does not exaggerate. What he said is as true as his Theory of Relativity.

image: talentegg.ca 

This is a very special post. I’ll be sharing with you secrets it cost me some regrets, lots of reading, and some money to learn.

I’ll be showing you the foolproof way to creating a good impression always. 
No beating about the bush.

1.     Use a body lotion daily
You’re probably laughing, but I’m very serious.
People’s first impression of you is 80% built on how you look. Even if you are dressed like a king but have the body of an auto-mechanic: greasy, deep wrinkles, and unevenly toned skin, you only create an impression of a jerk who has suddenly come into wealth.

And nowadays, no one wants to be seen with a human mosaic at the beach.

Get a good body lotion, one that is perfect for your skin type and use it daily. Soon, you’ll begin to look like a million dollar and among the top of the elite. You’ll have a healthy skin that glows and never stops attracting eyeballs.

I use Unilever’s Vaseline Total Moisture (it’s got vitamins A, B5 & E), and I have been using it for years now.

Don’t get a skin toning cream. Don’t buy into that marketing crap about your real complexion being what it used to be when you were a teenager. As you grow older, your skin darkens to protect itself against the sun. And the only way to prevent that is to stay indoor all your life.

2.       Dress Conservatively
Yes, except you make a living by being controversial and unconventional, like most musicians.
image: politics365.com

The Nigerian Stock Exchange crash of year 2008 is like a pond wave when compared with the Japanese Nikkei tsunami and many other stock market crashes.

To make this easy and entertaining to read, I'll use a bulleted list.

So here we go -

  • In the year 1637 in Holland, many people went bankrupt and the economy went into a depression when the booming market for tulip bulbs went bust. Like in Nigeria, people sold their lands, family inheritance and valuables to speculate in the booming tulip bulb market. At a time one tulip bulb (a small flower) exchanged for 4 fat oxen, 80 suits of clothes, 12 fat sheep, a pure silver drinking cup, or a complete bed. You can read more about it on Wikipedia
  • There was a time in Britain when barbing salons, hairdressing salons, pure water companies and association of gardeners were selling shares to the public. And when everything went bust, even the renowned scientist and analysis guru, Sir Isaac Newton, lost an equivalent of over $300,000,000. People went from rag to riches, and the lucky ones went back to rags while the others went to their graves.
  • We've all heard about the Great Depression, the stock market crash of 1929 in America. What you've probably not heard is that several people people committed suicide, and some chose to do this by jumping down from tall buildings.
  • In August 1982 in Kuwait, the stock exchange crashed and lost an equivalent of $90,000 per citizen. It's perhaps the greatest bubble in human history. Over $91,000,000,000 was wiped out in hours. The entire gulf region went into a recession.
  • In 1989 in Japan, the land on which Tokyo's Imperial Palace stands was valued at a price that could buy all the land in California and still leave enough to buy some choice properties in Las Vegas. By the year 1992, the Japanese stock market had lost over 60% of it's value. And there was a 20 years long recession, popularly referred to as the lost decades.
And those are the world's greatest stock market crashes.

If you ask for my opinion, I'll say we are very lucky in Nigeria. And I'm gearing up for the next bubble.


image: editieffiong.wordpress.com 

“Hey! The list is out and pasted on the notice board at Student Affairs building.”

My hunger vanished. I ran to the Students Affairs Building.

“Excuse me!”
“Sorry.”
I kept bumping into people.

I wriggled through the crowd and was now in front of the notice board. There were thousands of names, arranged alphabetically.

“Mike, your name is here!”, a friend shouted.

I looked through the line that had my name. I saw my full name, my matriculation number, my state of origin, my date of birth, my NYSC call-up number, and the 2 letter code of the state I was posted to. I looked at the code for a while.

“Which state does this stand for?” I finally asked.

image: nytimes.com
You're going to enjoy today's post. I'll be sharing some eye-opening truths, just make sure read till the end.

A Private Equity Firm is a company that pulls money from other investment bodies like trust funds and pension funds; some institutional bodies like Universities and Foundations; and high net worth individuals: and invests all these money in the private equity of other companies.

Private Equity means non-publicly traded equity of companies; though it often refers to privately operated companies, it sometimes applies to publicly traded companies too. 
If you're the news junkie type, you would have come across the delisting of Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) from NSE. In June 2011, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, via a private arrangement, acquired all of NBC. Though Coca-Cola HBC is not a Private Equity firm, but that's how Private Equity firms buy out publicly traded companies they are interested in. 

And here's how most Private Equity firms operate:

  • They pull money from limited investment partners (some only admit members willing to contribute $1,000,000,000 and above)
  • They buy into private companies they are interested in. Actis invested in Palms Shopping Mall. 
  • They privately buy into public companies they are interested in. Actis invested in Diamond Bank. ECP invested in Intercontinental bank.
  • They buy out a public company and make it a privately own company. Not yet happened in Nigeria.
  • They cash out in good times by selling to another investor or taking the company public.

Chapter 2, Part 3 here

The beginning here

"Where are you going?", my dad asks.
I freeze in shock. I look at the school uniform I'm wearing; it's clean and pressed. I look around the living room; no one else besides us.
"I say where are you going?!"
"To school, sir."

He looks ar me, then at the cabinet in front of him, then at the window behind me, and finally back at me. He frowns.
"Today is June 12. Go back inside and take off your school uniform. Get a rag and fill a small bucket with soapy water. Today you will clean those louvres and the cabinet over there."

June 12 is a public holiday.
My hope of becoming the newest celebrity at school has been dashed. By tomorrow, no one will remember the goal I saved. No one will even remember the football match.

But I am not sad. Today reminds me of last year's June 12, a day I will never forget. The memory of it brings a big smile to my face. It was a day I became a superhero; I saved a damsel in distress (DID) and two lost boys. That day, all my superheroes became human; Superman, Robin hood, Batman..., and becoming like them suddenly seemed possible. 
In fact, I became one.

That day, dad went to work as usual and mum traveled for the burial of her friend's dad. Both won't be back till late in the night, and I knew that. I made up my mind to make the most of that day, to do the most daring thing I could think of.

I paced round the house, thinking of what to do. Then an idea struck me; I ran to Saheed's house, the next house on the left. I bumped into Mariam at the entrance; I asked her about Saheed, and just as she was about to give me a lengthy reply, I saw Saheed. I ran to him, screaming his name. He was amazed. When I finally caught my breath, I asked him if I could follow him today, when he goes to hawk his mother's home made fish pies. He was happy too and said yes.

Hi. 
Today's post is going to be a community service one, I will be sharing useful information about GTBank's financial products.

As it will be a lengthy post, I'll go straight to the crux. I carefully gathered the details word for word from GTB's website. I made sure I didn't edit it, so you can be sure you're reading from the horse's mouth.



GTSave - Savings Account
We recognize your need to save now in order to make future investments. This is why we are offering you a savings account that gives you the opportunity to save and earn attractive interest on your daily balance.

Features & Benefits
24/7 Banking services via our various e-channels
A Personalized Naira MasterCard will be issued for you. Our Naira MasterCard can be used for online payments at POS terminals and cash withdrawals at ATMs that bear the MasterCard logo anywhere in the world.
You will be profiled for Internet banking, GTConnect (telephone banking) and GTBank Electronic Notification Service

Requirements
A duly completed application form
Copies of acceptable means of identification (Driver's License, International passport, National I.D Card, and any other acceptable identification document deemed fit by the bank)
One passport photograph.
Utility bill issued within the last 3 months

GT Target
GT-Target is a high interest bearing account that encourages financial discipline through savings. This product is designed to enable you save towards a specific target - whether it’s a wedding, holiday, new car or higher education.  Whatever your financial goal is, the GT Target account can help you achieve it.

Features & Benefits
Zero account opening balance
Mandatory standing order of N5,000 (minimum) - standing order frequency can be monthly, quarterly, semi-annually
Interest rate is pegged at savings rate + 1%
Minimum savings period of six months (partial/full withdrawal prior to six months attracts interest forfeiture)
1% bonus interest is awarded when customers commit to the agreed standing order deposit for 1 year
Interest accrues on the account daily but the interest is only capitalized after every six months
Maximum of 3 sub accounts can be opened for different financial goals and targets
Can be opened on our internet banking platform or by walking into any GTBank branch
GT Target is non-transactional account

Documentation Required
Duly signed and completed GT-Target account opening form
Log on to Internet banking and select GT Target from the request menu to open an account, select a suitable standing order amount and select the most preferred savings option (i.e. monthly, quarterly or semi-annually)
To own and operate a GT Target Account you must have an existing GTBank Account.

image: naset.org

Ever wondered why most Nigerians buy Toyota? 
We all know that Toyota is not the best car brand. I'm yet to read in any Celebrity Magazine that a celebrity has just bought a Toyota. The one that makes the news is a Bentley, or a Porsche, or a Land Rover, or a Maserati. Never a Toyota.

We seldom marry the most beautiful girl.
We seldom marry the most handsome guy.
We marry the one we are most comfortable with.

A shoe shop aptly depicts this. We go in and try on the finest shoes but end up buying the one we feel comfortable wearing.
And that's how we act through life. We know the best, we love the best, we even want the best; but when we have to make a choice, we always go with the most convenient.

I'm a psychology enthusiast. All throughout university, I borrowed more Psychology books that Electrical/Electronics Engineering books. I read more research papers on Psychology than on all the other fields combined. I enjoy predicting people, trying to put to use my brimming book knowledge. I pay more attention to people's body language - facial expressions and body gestures, than what they say. Occasionally, they notice that I'm not paying attention to what they're saying, that I'm just looking and smiling.

Once you begin working with a database of some sort in Excel, be it employee records from an ERP, Expense records from SAP or Sales records from a CRM; you will need to do some sort and filter operations.

And in this post, I will show you the trick to knowing when to use sort and when to use filter.

When to Use Sort
You use sort when you want to see a trend across all the entire database. 
Maybe you want to see the sales trend day-wise for all the records. Or you want to see the sales trend by business unit, or you want to see the sales trend by value (biggest sale to smallest sale).

The best way to sort is to select the entire table/database, right click, select Sort, Custom Sort.



Selecting the entire table first, ensures that no field is left out. Better than assuming no field will be left out.
And using Custom Sort gives you more control. It allows you to set sorting hierarchy. You could decide to sort by Year, followed by Month and then by Day (it they are on separate fields). Or sort by Sales region, and then Date. 

I'll recommend that you always use custom sort, even if you want to sort by just a single field.


When to use Filter
Filter lets you hide the entries you don't want to see. And it's mostly used when you want to copy out just a section of the entire database. And when you want to do some analytical check using just a small subset of the database. With filter, you not only see the segment you are interested in, you can run formulas on it without having to copy out the segment. You can decide to see counts of sales in a particular region, or even sum them.

And when used creatively, especially with charts, you can make a dynamic report (sort of a dashboard) with Filter alone.


We have come to the end of today's Excel tip. Don't forget to subscribe to my blog to receive the next tip as soon as I post it.

Occasionally, I work on very confidential Excel files, ones that I don't want anyone accessing at all.

And in this post I will show you how I password protect those files, so no one can see the content without my very long password.

This will be short and straight to the point.

Also note that I use Excel 2010.

Open the file you want to password. Go to File.
Hi. 
Welcome to the second post in my Finance series. And in this post, I'll be introducing you to Financial Statements. Helping you to make sense of them.




Unlike in the US where the Annual Reports and Financial Statements (10K) are separate documents, in Nigeria the Financial Statements are embedded in the Annual Reports. So, you're better of googling for Annual Reports rather than Financial Statements of companies listed on the NSE.

The difference is that Annual Reports start with a colorful introduction to the company, the list of the BoDs, BoD Chairman's report and CEO's report. While the Financial Statements go straight to the numbers.

And in this post, we'll also go straight to the numbers.

A Financial Statement comprises 5 major parts:

Income Statement
Balance Sheet
Cash Flow Statement
Statements of Shareholders' Equity, and
Notes

We fill each passing day with activities
We try to squeeze a year out of each week
We take up so many roles and responsibilities
We try hard to make others see us as not weak
We want to be everyone's hero
We want to change the world we live in
We dream of being the hero from zero
We want to put an end to every killing
We know the very thing we want from life
We reflect soberly on each passing year
We seek an easy life with no strife
We desire a life with very little to bear
We have lovely dreams and aspirations
We build beautiful castles in the air
We feel we deserve more and admirations
We seek companionship in those that care
We talk of the wonderful things we've done
We want an audience that will cheer
We try hard not to burn our bridges
We look for the man that will lead us up
We hope for a success packed with fudges
We know all the easy ways to the top
We try to please those we can
We let go of those we must
We believe there is a masterplan
We look for signs so we won't get lost
We think of all the people who has gone ahead
We are inspired by the stories of their lives
We consider the journey ahead
We stop keeping count of our skives
We force ourselves to believe we are doing enough
We pray for God's grace on every effort
We don't want the way that's tough
We want to inspire a noble thought
We want to be remembered for good
We want to bask in a great glory
We want to be a legend, myth's food
All we want from life is a good story


Underneath our noble dreams and aspirations, underneath our inspiring talks on changing the world and mending lives, underneath the desire to be a great leader, underneath each castle we built, lies the desire to have a great story.
All we truly want from life is a story, one that will inspire generations after us, one that will turn us to legends and feed myths.
All we want from life is a good story.

Read my other poems here.




I'm dedicating this post to a friend, Mary-Jane, and hoping it will inspire her to start that blog on Health, Food & Fitness.


image: blogforprofit.com


There are some activities in life that shouldn't be subjected to maybe-it's-not-for-me analysis. Activities like reading and exercising. Blogging is now part of those activities.

Having a blog is now like having an email account. You lose more by not having it than by having it. And just as you'll still find people whose email address reads sexymama@yahoo.com, and are always forwarding you annoying mails. You'll also find several blogs that are a complete trash. But just as you won't deactivate your email accounts and start using snail mails only, you should not neglect having a blog.

Your blog does not have to be like mine, very personal and updated daily. It doesn't have to be like Linda Ikeji's. It doesn't have to be like BellaNaija
It only has to be yours, and updated only when you've got something to share. Just like your Facebook or twitter account. 
You could decide to share lessons from your daily meditation (quiet time, as we often call it). You could decide to share advice on relationships. You could decide to share your special knowledge on your favorite hobby, your field of specialization, or places you've visited. Or you could be like, and share all there is to you.

And as is my favorite way of doing things, I will share with you benefits of having a blog, with a personal touch.


1. Readers are Leaders; Writers are Bigger
We've all heard that readers are leaders. But the other part we are not told is that writers are bigger; it's writers who write what readers read. No writer, no reader.

Blogging encourages you to write more, and about the things that interest you. I found my unique voice through blogging.

I started this blog in 2009. Then, I had a big notebook where I had compiled all my poems and articles. So, I saw blogging as having an online version of that notebook. I put up all the poems I was comfortable sharing with the world and the articles I didn't mind a cousin reading. 
There were years I didn't make a single post for months. I only updated my blog when I had something interesting to share. To me, my blog was too personal and dear to fill with junk. And I didn't bug my friends on Facebook about it, some still don't know that I have a blog.

For four years, less than 200 people visited my blog daily. Some days, less than 100. At first, I was sad about it. Then, I got used to it.

2. It made me Buy a Book on Grammar
While in the university, I was always surprised when a friend points our my grammatical errors. I was surprised because of two things: I didn't notice the error and I didn't think that the one I made was as bad as the one he was claiming I made.
Blogging revealed my common grammatical errors to me. I particularly had issues with past perfect continuous tense and all the conditional tenses. For over three years I avoided reading my previous posts. I wouldn't read through my own blog! 
That I wasn't getting enough eyeballs on my blog was discouraging enough, I wasn't ready to take on the grammar monster.

But a few months ago, with vital push from good friends, I swallowed my pride and bought grammar books. Then, I dedicated a week to editing all my blog posts. It was a very humbling experience. My grammar skills took a big leap. And I'm no longer ashamed to read my own blog posts.

Blogging helped me become a better communicator, both in spoken and written words. And though I still make grammatical error, I'm proud of myself, knowing how greatly I have improved recently.

3. It helped me to discover myself
You must have noticed that I write a lot about myself. And for someone like me, who has lived more than half his life bottled up in himself and extremely shy, it's a mighty good thing!
And it all started when I discovered that no one was really reading my blog. I had nothing to fear. I began writing about everything. I would spend days thinking hard about my life just to be able to put up a post. I liked the feeling afterwards. It was like a treasure hunt, I was mapping my own life and discovering new things about myself.

It opened a way for me to become like my heroes, the people whose lives inspire me. To be able to express my thoughts like Socrates, working at fixing all logical loopholes. To be able to write like Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens), the very way I would like to be read. Knowing that I have a blog to update with interesting posts gave me the extra push to go after the life I really wanted, to take a shot at everything like Leonardo da Vinci and to give it my all like Steve Jobs.

Blogging helped me find my creative bone. It turned me to the ever-happy fun-to-be-with guy.

4. Personal Branding
Some of you got to discover my blog via the guest posts I made on other blogs - BellaNaija, YNaija, DonCaprio, Oscarmini, OgbongeBlog etc.
On several occasions I have run into people who said they knew me via my blog. I even get business offers via the reputation I've built on-line. Most of my business clients found me online and contacted me.

I remember once sending, via an expensive courier service, an excerpt of my writings to major national newspapers (Punch, Vanguard, The Nation, Guardian) and gave wonderful reasons to have me contribute regularly on their newspapers. None responded. I had done my due diligence, researched well and got the mail addressed to the right person. But in the end, no reply. 

But blogging gave me that access they weren't interested in giving me. I dominate the search results page of all the search terms I want to show up for. Google
"Excel Consultant in Nigeria" and I'm nearly all you'll see.


5. Gave me a Side Cash
I'm expecting my first cheque from Google Adsense. And it seems I'll be getting a cheque every month.


I hope you're now convinced that you need to start a blog.

We all have data needs, a need for internet access that is very cheap and very fast. And also extremely accessible, a true plug and play type.

I think I have found the perfect solution, at least for me.


SpectraNet 

I can buy an overpriced shoe and not feel too bad about it. This year I have bought over 5 shoes (I think 8). And I still plan to get one more. It's the price you pay in corporate Lagos. You must wear good shoes, and somehow, they still don't last.


But I will feel extremely bad if I buy an overpriced IT device. I believe that I know too much (IT-wise) to be cheated. I have bought only one internet modem in my life, MTN Fastlink. I still use it. I configured it to work for all the networks - Airtel (and even while it was Zain), Etisalat and Glo. 


Hi. 
Welcome to my series on Stocks Investing, with a special focus on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

I will take you through all you need to be financially literate enough to do your own investment analyses. I will teach you finance principles that will help you even in your day-to-day life. I will breakdown the finance terms you often hear about but have no time to read up on.
I will use lots of illustrations from real events and our daily encounters. I will guide you through the beautiful world of corporate finance, and by the time you'll be reading my 100th post in this series, you'd have become a finance guy.

Finance is such an important part of our lives, and the knowledge of finance has huge benefits. Finance is all about value. Making the most of the limited financial resources you have. Whether you run a Fortune 100 company, or you run a family business, or you run only your life; your success depends largely on how you manage the money involved. 

Knowledge of finance will help solve all your money problems. And I'm not exaggerating. 

I would have loved to start with what most finance books start with: The Law of One Price. But this is not a finance book written for students hoping to get an MBA or a Finance degree. This is a guide, written to make Engineers, Doctors, Business men, busy professionals and artisans, become so good in finance that they would be able to handle their money issues professionally.

So I will be starting with the next bedrock principle, Time Value of Money. And I strongly believe that this is the most important finance principle. An understanding of this principle will radically change your life.


image: swlearning.com