Progress is never uniform. There is always a part that catches on well and a part that is being dragged along. When you are making progress it's very rare that it will be on all fronts. In your good mood you will see all the parts you are making great strides and when unhappy you will notice more the parts that just seem not to notice/reflect your efforts.

It's like learning to swim. First, you know in your head the right thing to do, the right form to maintain and the movements to make, but your body just seem never to get it right. Then when you finally cross that barrier and your body is beginning to get the strokes right you still struggle with your breath. You are always soon out of breath no matter what you do or how you feel you are already imitating those going tens of laps at once at the same pool. So on some days you feel happy for the progress your leading parts make. Then on some days you feel sad for the lack of progress on the lagging parts. 

I can also liken it to learning to drive. No matter the progress you are making on the expressway and how straight and well coordinated you drive on the main roads, parking and making a reverse will be your lagging part for an annoyingly long time. 

So what are we to do? Is there any way to reduce the progress gap between our leading and lagging parts?


image: christologic.com


Think of Progress in Terms of the Leading Part
The number one thing to do when on a journey of progress is to appreciate your successes. When you are thinking about how far you have come and how well you are progressing, think in terms of the leading part. Don't think too much about the lagging parts, the part that seem not to respond to your efforts. This will help keep you from being too discouraged and give up.

Do More Work On The Lagging Part
Even though you may not see the immediate results of your efforts, you must put more efforts into bettering the lagging part. Do more things targeted at improving it. Note that this is different from thinking about it (as I advised against in the previous paragraph). In this case, you are not thinking but doing. 

Finally, Know That The Lagging Part Will Catch Up Someday
Yes. The part you seem awkward at now may even turn out to be that part you will be most good at in a near future, if you don't give up on it. Think back on past similar experiences where you suddenly became extremely good at something you had been terribly bad at.

So keep on working towards whatever goal you've set yourself. Don't think about the lack of progress in some areas and don't give up on fixing those areas too. Be encouraged by every progress you make, even if not uniform. Manage well the leading part and the lagging part.



image: thisisreup.com

If you take an unbiased look at all the successful men, you will find out that those who are the most successful among them are extremely hard workers. It's just unfortunate that most of us in Nigeria fix our attention on those who claim to work for 4 hours a week or preach retirement at age 40 or make all their money from book sales and seminars. The people who are most popular to us are not that that much popular in their home country. We are obsessed with the "work smart not hard" mantra.

There are a lot of things wrong with that mantra, especially for us in Nigeria. We live in a country where we produce almost none of the things we consume. We are already a not very hardworking bunch of people when compared to other non African countries. We are mostly spiritual and would rather seek a spiritual solution to our problems than work tirelessly at fixing them manually. Almost everyone is looking for an easier way to make the same money and then make some more. We have a culture that praises a man getting more for less (we call him favoured) than getting the worth of his efforts. So we are already tuned, by culture and nuture, to not kill ourselves over work unlike the American industrialists and the Japanese Executives. Or even the Chinese workers. And that is why we would rather seek easy opportunities than going after tough opportunities or being innovative.

When we value getting more for less than getting our effort's worth we would avoid taking the kind of risks that helped build the other countries we are all trying to spend vacation in. If no one was working tirelessly and all day at an unknown technology we wouldn't have the airplanes, the car, the iPhones we cling to and those modern convenience that we would rather spend time with than with our work. If we are not willing to have a high goal and give it all the effort and failures it requires but would rather choose a principle of "work smart not hard" then we will keep getting the abysmal results we have, just with less effort. We won't innovate anything useful for the world. We won't build the entrepreneurially thriving economy we admire in the other countries and we will keep buying more soft skills books than the hard skills ones we most need.

I believe that what we most need in Nigeria is an attitude that gives dignity to labour. We need to value hard work and not just an easy life. We need to have a system to that help the hard worker. A system to exposes the already hard working farmer to new sophisticated modern ways of farming and tools. We need a system that teaches the artisans how to use the new technologies to get greater work done. We need a system that praises the rich worker more than the rich preacher. We need a system that cares more about the working men and not the talking men. We need people who work hard and work smart. Not men who just want to tune down their work efforts. And not a system that gives no dignity to the farmers, the artisans, the very hard workers and would rather have them hope for an easier life outside their work or a favour from somewhere in form of employment as a driver to a billionaire. 



Though I am lucky to have a business that is not cash intensive. All I need to get my job done is my head. And hands. And my laptop. Even to get customers I just have to make some noise online. I am currently running an advert on LinkedIn and I set it to target companies that have over 10,000 employees (that would be multinationals) and with just $35 spent so far I have gotten a training request from a very big company; I have also gotten many requests from individuals working in those big companies, mostly sales managers. And all the infrastructure I built are mostly online: a very professional simple straight to the point website (learned from making landing pages), a very excellent LinkedIn presence (both as a company and as an individual) and putting up very good free content online that give people a taste of the value they will get from us. So even when my business wasn't making me enough money in the beginning I still was able to avoid debts; it only wiped out my life savings. Now things are much better, I am making more than my salary in the job I quit last year. Only that I am spending almost everything back into the business. I never thought that branding and marketing can be very expensive, and now I am having to see it eat away a lot of my revenue. But still I have no financial debts and hope to have no one. The debts I have are of a different type and equally worrying as having a financial one.

image: fearlesshomebuyer.com

The debts I have are promises I earlier made. I still haven't begun the online Excel class I had people sign up for as my Valentine gift to them. I have so many other work related promises to clients, to business partners and to friends. I think part of the reason I have not been able to fulfill all these promises is that I feel overwhelmed when I think about them all. It would take me a dedicated full month of doing nothing else and I still might not clear them all.

But I am already taking a cue from one of my blog posts, How to eat an Elephant, and clearing my debts one tiny bit at a time. I have already begun. I have started delivering on the promises I made last year and January. I am already in the first week of February promise list. But I still have some promises are that are like GCE Maths questions, they have 1a, 1b and then 1ai, 1aii, 1aiii, 1aiv ... Now I am less eager to oblige any request. They quickly build up and get me working reactively instead of strategically. I keep moving from one task to another instead of strategically directing my business. I become unable to do more strategic activities that require dedicated thinking and planning. Then most of the promises are towards doing tasks that won't bring me any money and still deduct from the time I have to spend on the jobs that will give me money and, worse, deny me of any rest time. I don't get get paid a fixed salary so I have to work for any money I make and it makes it less easy to do too many free favours as there is no salary to expect at month end.

It's, no doubt, a learning phase for me. I am now more careful in being to sympathetic to a client as to try to fix all their problems for almost free. Or give free extra services. I am also now less accessible to friends for free jobs -- they cost me the non-free jobs. I try to stick to my chosen area of specialization - Excel - and stop making promises to business partners who know my varied skills and want me in on a project that does not align with my chosen niche.

Anyway, I have to fulfill the promises I already made. I have to pay the debts I already owe. And I have begun, hopefully before year end, I will clear them all.

Today is going to be one of the greatest days of our life as a nation. For once we would be having an election since 1999 that we are not certain who would win the Presidency. It will be a very close one and everyone's vote is going to matter a lot.

Also for the first time in a long time, educated youths are being at the forefront of the election campaign and taking huge interest in the political state of our nation. The days of indifference among the youths are over. Everyone has a strong opinion about who should be elected today. And more than I have ever seen before, more people are actively sharing their political views. I read the heated debates that occasionally dominate my Facebook timeline. I see the strong worded tweets people send. I receive Whatsapp and BBM messages from people genuinely convinced about their idea of who we should vote into Aso Rock. And I am, for the first time in my life, sharing publicly my political thoughts. I have also met more youths who are beginning to go into politics. 

image: pakistankakhudahafiz.com

I believe we are already on the path to fixing our political system in Nigeria. We are no longer wanting to leave things to chance and a few people. For once, the politicians are beginning to feel that results do matter. The journey ahead may be a long tortuous one out of the political conundrum we currently are in. But I believe we have already started. There is hope. Things are not going to get worse. Everyone is now demanding real progress.

Today, as we vote, I strongly believe that our vote counts. We are going to set a new record this year, just like we did in 2011 when people voted without religious and tribal sentiment. The two main candidates have die-hard believers and people are less influenced by empty words and rice. More Nigerians abroad are becoming more concerned about the political state of the country. And we are taking the power away from political thugs and money splashing politicians in deciding the future of our great nation. So today as you vote, know that you are helping to put Nigeria on the right path to progress. You are helping to establish the truth that the real power lies with the electorate; everyone of voting age in Nigeria. You are helping to set us on a new political course; a course that moves us closer to true democracy.

And above all, today, please be safe. God bless Nigeria.


Samsung has finally released the latest in its Galaxy series family -- the Galaxy S6. And as usual the spec is very impressive, the only area Samsung Galaxy phones consistently beat the iPhone.

image: samsung.com

It also comes with a wireless charging technology.

image: samsung.com

Then there are two variants: Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 edge. The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is the more sophisticated one. It has a very beautiful curved screen.

image: samsung.com

image: samsung.com

And as for the computing specification, you can be sure of the best in the industry. It has up to 128GB internal memory, a 3GB RAM, It has a 13MP back camera and 5MP front camera (highest front camera resolution phone I know of!). The screen resolution is the highest in the industry, an amazing 2560 x 1440 pixels on a 5.1 inches screen. And a mind-blowing 2.1GHz 8 core processor (octa-core). I don't know of any laptop with 8 cores, its servers that come with that many cores.

And like I said in the beginning, it has got wireless charging too. You can charge it without plugging a cable to it.

Will you be getting one?



I have a 9:00am training to take this morning and in order to prevent me from getting there late I wrote this post at 12:17am to 1:03am. The hardest part of writing is finding what to write about. It sometimes take me an entire day to come up with something to write about, but usually it takes between 1 hour and 6 hours. And it's almost impossible to rush the task. I can only rush after I have gotten the idea of what to write about.

image: theminimalists.com

Everyday I have to come up with an idea that I find interesting enough to write about. It's difficult to come up with a blog post idea daily and much more difficult when you have a mood-dependent mechanism of determining what is interesting enough to write about. Then I have to write. It is very easy to underestimate the amount of work required to put my thoughts into written words, ensure there is a PC to type them out on, ensure there is internet connection even if I traveled for an event or at a friend's weekend long wedding ceremony, and know that I will have to do it again tomorrow.

Regardless of how I feel. Regardless of how busy I am. Regardless of how much work I'm drowning in. And regardless of what feedback I get (I get lots of encouraging comments but I also get comments that suck the life out of my day). I have to write another article the next day and post it.

It is now over 18 months I have been writing daily. That is over 548 days and articles. Same as over one and half year. If I was swimming everyday for the same amount of hours and dedication for 18 months I would be a great swimmer. If I had been running for 2 hours daily for 18 months I would be thinking of representing Nigeria in the coming Olympics. If I had been practicing French for the same amount of hours daily and for that same 18 months, I would be fluent in French. Rather I have been spending hours daily thinking and writing for the past 18 months. I think it's fair that I consider myself an above average writer. And everyday I feel it is the one part of my life that is going amazingly great. The one thing I am not struggling to keep doing.

Though it's very time consuming to come up with a blog post and it can't be well scheduled as it requires huge internal motivation and some inspiration. Yet I have found it the easiest of my hard tasks. I somehow have always lived up to the responsibilities of writing daily. And I am able to do comfortably the hardest part of writing -- coming up with a daily blog post idea.


Of all accidents, a plane crash is the worst. The victims burn to death. And yesterday there was a plane crash, in France. The airplane, Airbus A320, was going from Spain to Germany when it suddenly started descending after reaching its cruising altitude and crashed into a mountainous area in France. The image of the crash site shows a burning wreckage. It is believed that all the 150 people on board the plane are dead: children, women and men.

Whenever terrible events like this happen, the question I hear a lot of people ask is, "Why do such terrible things happen?" And today I want to share my answer to that question.


image:redeemchristianity.org

My answer is into three parts.

1. Actions -- Consequence
The reason for most of the bad things that happen around us is because someone or group of people took actions that brought about terrible consequences. Take our economic situation in Nigeria as an example. The dollar is rising against the naira, the oil price slump is having a plane crash effect on our economy and we have just be rated as one of the worst place on earth for anyone to be born in. All these are terrible things but they are all results of our collective actions, with more weight to the actions of our leaders.

There are some terrible things that are purely the consequence of an action. And like it's been said. "You can ignore reality but you can't ignore the consequence of ignoring reality." Every action or inaction on our part as a people or individual comes with consequences -- good consequences or terrible consequences. 

2. Natural Balance
We all know that the characteristics of a living thing include death. I still remember the primary school Mnemonic -- MR NIGER D. Well, nature has its way of enforcing the D one. To prevent the world from getting over populated or just to ensure that enough people die, nature itself comes up with terrible things like earthquakes and hurricanes. And I think in places like Nigeria, rather than giving us natural disasters it gave us political disasters.

3. God Is In Charge
If you are all powerful and all knowing like God, then you definitely would put in place happenings that will look like disasters to those who can't see beyond a few years. And I believe that for Christians that is the most reason for the terrible things that happen to us. The all knowing Almighty God allowed it to happen.

So the Boko Haram, the yesterday's plane crash, the current political killings and the current economic state that is causing businesses to sack employees, what is the reason for them? I think the reason is a mix of all the three. We brought some of all these on ourselves, it was some people's time to die and God is in control.




Whenever I think I know enough theory (and simulated practice) to have no trouble with real practice, I always get a surprise. It reminds me of Yogi Berra's quote, "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

Yesterday provided me a perfect example. For the past 5 weeks I have been trying to configure a Cisco 2911 router. I thought my CCNA certification and experience as a CCNA instructor would do. I thought there was nothing so complicated about setting up three networks and having one connect straight to the Swift internet modem.



Well, I battled the thing for weeks. I asked google for help in all the various forms I could frame my problem. I had no trouble setting up the network as planned. The problem was that the two networks not connected to the Swift internet modem weren't able to access the internet. I battled the static routing table. I swapped interface ports. I took many 15 minutes nap. I even prayed about it. And worse of all, google was clueless. I was almost getting sure that the problem was the router's and not my config's. Then yesterday I installed Cisco Configuration Professional, it enables one to configure a Cisco device without using the commandline (I had been exclusively using). I began looking through all the configuration items and then stumbled on just what I needed -- a configuration to share internet on one port with other directly connected networks. Bingo! Let's see what this would do differently. I clicked on it and found out that it was doing a NAT and ACL configuration. And it fixed my 5 week long problem. I felt a huge relief knowing that I wasn't even thinking in that direction at all.

And that wasn't the only time I had seen my theory insufficient. There is the fresh memory of the server installation. I couldn't believe I would spend 4 weeks to install an OS on a server. Then there are many other non-technical cases. Whenever I am doing something for the first time, regardless of how well prepared I am, I always get a surprise. A moment of clumsiness. A strange problem theory and preparation couldn't help with. I am constantly shown that in practice there is a difference between theory and practice.

So what use do I put this knowledge to?
Knowing this makes me avoid over strategizing and getting overburdened with too much planning. I know that no matter how prepared I am or how much planning I do, I will still face problems during the execution mode. So I give my planning a deadline and dive in to execution regardless of how much more planning I feel like doing when the deadline passes. It's like swimming, learning to drive, running a business or starting a family; you can't achieve them by getting bogged down with plans and strategies. You just have to dive in head first.



I am learning something new, and not just for fun, there is a client still waiting for my business proposal and sample job on Social Influence Analysis and Brand Optimization. I will be pulling social media messages and interactions about the client from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest to show how really influential the client is online, what people associate with the brand, who are the brand's most fervent evangelists, show network graphs that make all these information more easy to understand and give recommendations of how the client can reach a new market or be associated with the right things. I will also be doing a sentiment analysis that show how people react to the client's weekly events and the brand as a whole.

The client is heavily active in the digital business world and wants to have a holistic view of all its digital activities and a detailed influence analysis. The aim is to help the client have a standard feedback system that is both reliable and globally wide showing what it is doing right, documenting the results of every online initiative it embarks on and forming a business report that will guide the business strategy.

Weekly, I will be making a dashboard report of the online influence, new market reach, interesting patterns, top terms associated with the brand, new fans, comments cloud, business requests and a comparison with the previous week. Then monthly I will give a detailed research report with insights and recommendation that will help guide the client's new month strategy.

So to our example. As this Saturday is Presidential Election day, I decided to pull a network graph of Twitter interactions about Buhari and Jonathan (GEJ). Below is an interesting output.

For Buhari, in the last few hours the people talking about him are shown below and one particular guy was at the center of most of the twitter activities.

The Twitter Buzz Around Buhari by users identified by their profile pictures
The guy at the center of it all, @prodigy2639

And for Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in the last few hours.

The Twitter Buzz Around GEJ by users identified by their profile pictures

The guy at the center of it all, @peaceofnigeria

And that's a tiny glimpse of what insights Social Network Analsyis can show about important events/brands. I could go ahead to segment Nigerian twitter users by their candidate sentiment: those fully in support of GEJ, those fully in support of Buhari, those who are indifferent and those wanting a gentle push to tip to either side. Then I could show them by current location and twitter influence. I could also show the average daily number pro GEJ tweets versus average daily number pro Buhari tweets.

Then I can give predictions and recommendations, stating my assumptions. All data backed and verifiable.




This is a special opportunity for you to be trained at a specially discounted cost by an official Microsoft Most Valuable Professional who has done Microsoft Excel consulting for Vodacom, Globacom, Guinness, Nigerian Breweries, Total E&P and many other local and international companies. He comes with a wealth of experience that is second to none in Nigeria and he is globally recognized.

You will get to learn all you need to boost your productivity at work and your career prospects. So this is an opportunity you shouldn't miss.

The training details are as follows:

Date: 17th Friday and 18th Saturday, April 2015 (9:00am to 5:00pm daily)
Venue: Kristina Jade Learning Center, 70b Olorunlogbon street, off Alade Lawal street, Idiroko b/stop, Maryland, Lagos state.
Cost: N50,000 N35,000 (special 30% discount)

The cost covers your training materials, certificate and lunch. Try to pay early to secure your spot and send us your name as you would like it to appear on your certificate.

Payment Details
Account Name: URBIZEDGE LIMITED
Bank: FCMB
Account No: 2888666014
Branch: Onipanu


Title: Business Data Analysis and In-depth Excel Training

Training Outline
1)      Data Manipulation in Excel
a.       How Excel handles different data types
b.      Data consistency, starting with the end in view
c.       Building Datasheets that can easily scale
d.      Sorting
                                                               i.      Cascaded sorting
                                                             ii.      Sorting across rows (left to right sorting, not the usual up to down sorting)
                                                            iii.      Sorting and Conditional Formatting to identify trends
e.      Filtering
f.        Data cleaning
                                                               i.      Removing duplicates
                                                             ii.      Text-to-column
                                                            iii.      Grouping
                                                           iv.      Data Validation
                                                             v.      Conditional Formatting
g.       Data formatting
                                                               i.      Using Tables (and when to convert to tables)
                                                             ii.      Formatting for printing
                                                            iii.      Formatting for email
                                                           iv.      Data Review and formatting for 3rd party use
h.      Named Ranges

2)      Charts
a.       Chart types
                                                               i.      Line chart and when to use it
                                                             ii.      Column chart and when to use it
                                                            iii.      Bar chart and when to use it
                                                           iv.      Pie chart and when to use it
b.      Combining charts; when and how.
c.       Dynamic Charts, using filter.
d.      Best practices when making charts
e.      Sparklines
f.        Power Map and Power View (Excel 2013)

3)      Pivot Table, Pivot Chart and PowerPivot
a.       Pivot Table
                                                               i.      Default Pivot Table
                                                             ii.      Tabular Pivot Table
                                                            iii.      Pivot Table Filtering
                                                           iv.      Making a very dynamic regular table from Pivot Table
                                                             v.      Calculations and Formula use with Pivot Table
                                                           vi.      Advanced Pivot Table tricks
b.      Pivot Chart
                                                               i.      Pivot Chart and its limitations
                                                             ii.      Dynamic Pivot Charts
c.       PowerPivot (for Excel 2010 and 2013) only
4)      Business Data Analysis
a.       Linking sheets
b.      Duplicating sheets (better than copy and paste)
c.       Inserting sheets, labeling and coloring the professional way
d.      Freezing Panes and splitting windows
e.      Conditional formatting
                                                               i.      To identify patterns
                                                             ii.      Using formulae
                                                            iii.      To make extremely intelligent reports
f.        Lookup functions
                                                               i.      Vlookup
                                                             ii.      Hlookup
                                                            iii.      Looking up the last data or pattern in a particular row or column
                                                           iv.      Overcoming the limitations of Vlookup and Hlookup using index and match functions
g.       Power Functions
                                                               i.      IF, IFERROR, AND, OR, ISBLANK, and others in the same family
                                                             ii.      TEXT manipulative functions to make a completely automated Dashboard
                                                            iii.      COUNTIFS, SUMIFS, AVERAGEIFS and others, to make dynamic summary tables
                                                           iv.      MATCH and INDEX to do the impossible
h.      Other Functions
                                                               i.      Math Functions
                                                             ii.      Text Functions
                                                            iii.      Logical
                                                           iv.      Others
i.         Formula Auditing
5)      Reporting
a.       Best Practices
b.      Excel Dashboards
c.       Data Visualization
d.      Having the audience/recipient in mind
e.      E-mails and Excel reports
6)      Excel to PowerPoint
a.       Linking PowerPoint Charts to Excel
b.      Embedding Excel sheets in PowerPoint
c.       Making a Powerful PowerPoint Presentation
7)      Introduction to Excel VBA

a.       Recording Excel macros
b.    Simple Practical uses