image: quora.com

Every month I get emails from either FCMB or Diamond bank or Stanbic or GTBank about avoiding scammers sending fake emails, fake SMS and fake calls to get my account details. Not once have I come across a news of the banks or authorities making genuine efforts to go after those scammers and make an example for others to learn from. What reason then will the scammers have to stop doing their fraudulent activities if no one is trying to catch/prosecute them?

And it's the same attitude that is fueling corruption in the country. You will see the very authorities instituted to ensure that the rule of law is adhered to making billboards and wasting tax payers money on radio adverts that people should castigate their neighbours or family members who are making a lot of money in ways they do not understand. What logic is in that? They are basically telling you to make yourself an enemy of anyone making progress as long as you don't like the way they are progressing. They, themselves, let go the hardened criminals and give them no reason to quit their lives of crime. In fact, they help them with ideas of how to bypass the authorities and do a revenue share with very authorities that are meant to prosecute them.

And there are those who come on TV and radio to say if all Nigerians obey traffic rules, drive safely on the road and act in a law abiding way, all our problems will vanish. Those very people will be the first to break a queue if they find that a few people are jumping the queue. No one likes to be trodden on. If a danfo driver is trying to be law abiding and parking correctly at bus-stops, he ends up losing passengers to the less law abiding ones. Then why in God's universe will he keep doing that if he has a family to feed and will be extorted equally as others by the touts/police? If you lose more by following the laws while you watch others gaining disproportionately by unfollowing the laws, you must either be a university professor or be a 100% morally upright person to continue in your losing ways.

How many of us try to not lose our morality is by choosing an environment that rewards/encourages doing the right thing. We work for non-shady companies. We avoid dishonest people and systems. We chose our friends and colleagues. But not everyone of us is fortunate to have that much freedom of choice. Not every danfo driver happily chose to be a danfo driver, but once he is, he has to follow their unwritten rules (modus operandi and modus vivendi) to survive. Not everyone embroiled in the Arms fund and oil money embezzlement are intentionally corrupt; if you work in a system where it is extremely harder to be clean than corrupt, you stand little chance of being different for long.

If we don't start making it more expensive to do wrong than right we will keep having people addicted to doing wrong. And going by the prisoners' dilemma, you lose most when the other guy is gaming the system than you do when you both game the system or both decide to stay clean. There is a bigger incentive to game the system than to be the clean guy. So we have to focus more on making the system harder to game and punish severely those caught trying to game the system.

When I read in the newspapers about the Senate prodding the Attorney General of the Federation because of the case against the Senate President and his deputy, and I also see the drama around the Saraki cases, I get the sense that we are not ready to change for good. They are trying to make laws to protect themselves. When a criminally inclined Nigerian sees this he is encouraged to have higher aspirations, and gain immunity from prosecution.


Last week, I came across a picture of a nurse and a doctor, shared by one of my LinkedIn contacts. The interesting bit about the picture is that the nurse was the very nurse who took delivery of the doctor some 4 decades ago. What my LinkedIn contact  saw was an inspiring story of how a little baby grew impressively well, caught up and zoomed past people present during his birth. But what I saw is what can happen when, either by necessity or choice, one stops or slows down his/her growth. The nurse was probably happy with the positive impactful job she does or the nature of nursing makes one hit a ceiling quick or she's already fulfilling her life dream. None of these is bad. There's more to life than job level or pay grade.

But what I want to drill more on in today's post is that you shouldn't stop or slow down your growth. Be always growing. At least in the aspects of life that are dear to you.

I care about very few things: my relationship with God, my immediate family, my life and my business. I don't have many friends and I try to not have more friends. I'm not a friend material. I don't think straight when there are opinions from friends to consider. They say two heads are better than one, both for me joining my head with someone else's works only when it's all pure business. No social pull or emotions involved. The result is that I am one of the most self-centered persons on planet earth. I try to stay by myself and generate as much content/value as I can. I've got creative ideas I want to implement -- write more novels, build solutions, master building a business and create more video tutorials. So I keep trying to grow in the aspects I care about.

I avoid people and events as much as I can. I spend as much time as possible around my cares and improving that aspect of my life. I am always learning more almost daily in the field I care about. I grow almost everyday. I spend a large chunk of my waking hours improving my myself through hands-on experience and self-study in my chosen field. I have very little trouble letting go of things. I don't get too emotionally tied to things (and, sadly, people). And it's more because I have an artist mind -- care more about the art than the tools or external world. I am infinitely looped to keep improving my art regardless of the cost.

My case is an extreme, probably. Not what anyone else should do. But I strongly believe that when you are true to yourself and have found what you are most passionate about, you will never allow yourself to stop growing. You will do things more from genuine interest and have a lifelong motivation for the very path you've chosen in life.

Have an open mind; clear out every dogma, and see yourself as you really are and not as what people/society wants you to be. Embrace your peculiarities and live the life best suited for you. Fill your life with only the things that matter to you. Fill your time with the things/activities you are passionate about. Be always growing.
Yesterday was demo day for me. I did a demo of Power BI for a client for another client. It was the third time I am officially demo-ing Power BI to a large company, and increasingly companies are beginning to give Power BI serious considerations.






In today's post I will be focusing on custom visuals for Power BI -- new chart types you can add to Power BI.

Power BI comes with 27 visualizations (charts), you can easily increase them to over 70 by installing custom visuals, like I have done.



And they are very easy to install. Just head to https://app.powerbi.com/visuals/ and download the ones you like (I recommended at least the Word Count visual).






Next is to import to Power BI Desktop.




And that's it! Now you can add as many custom visuals as you want and create very beautiful dashboards to stay on top of your business data.



The thing in business is you've got to do everything that you can to not just survive but flourish. And last year, I came up with the cool idea of running a monthly webinar on BI, business data analysis and Microsoft Excel. The main idea was to show people what's new and useful, with more focus on the Nigerian environment.

In total, we had two webinars though I had paid for almost a year on the webinar platform. Why? It wasn't easy juggling all. Around February this year, I got buried in so much work that I often forgot to eat. And I kept missing the webinars I had scheduled to host. People would email me and ask about the webinar I announced was holding, and I would have no reasonable reply. So, I suspended the webinar altogether and cancelled the webinar platform subscription.

Midnight today, I was watching a Microsoft Conference video on Power BI and all the new cool things it can do. It brought back the pleasant memories of the first webinar we held -- which was on Power BI. I felt sad about having to shut down the webinar and decided it's worth restarting even though the price is now close to double due to the exchange rate.

This morning I renewed the webinar platform subscription and has promised myself to do at least one webinar per month on what's new and useful in the business intelligence and business data analysis world.

You can join the webinar directory list here so you will always be notified of the coming webinars. You can also share ideas of what you will like me to cover in one of the webinars, relating to business intelligence, business data analysis and Microsoft Excel.

Thanks!


Sorry for the clumsy title to this post, I just wanted to make sure that you see a good use case of custom list. If you are an average or above average Excel user, you will be very familiar with Excel autofill. A common example is you typing numbers 1 and 2, then dragging to have Excel do to 10 for you. Or having January and February, then dragging to have Excel do the other months of the year for you.

What if I tell you that you can create your own list. A list of states in Nigeria which you can autofill whenever you need to recreate them. Or a list of your products; you simply type the first two and drag to create the rest (autofill). It even helps you with sorting in the order you've created the list. This can be super useful for companies that use codes for aspects of their operations -- base station address code, branch code, product code and so on. Caution: The custom list has a quite limiting size limit. 

So here is the example of how I created a custom list of states in Nigeria, arranged alphabetical order.

First, I have the states typed out in Excel, in the order I want it (alphabetical order).


And we are half-way done to having it permanently in Excel as an autofill-able list.

Go to File, Options, Advanced, and Edit Custom Lists.







In the Custom List Dialog box that comes up, import the list of states you already have typed into Excel.






And you are done.

Now in a new Excel file or Sheet, type in the first two states, select them and drag down. Excel will start autofilling the other states.




Congrats! Now you've created a custom list. No more typing out states in Nigeria, just type the first (or first two) and have Excel autofill the rest for you.

image: openeurope.org.uk

Increasingly, everything is getting interconnected. Just the same way the activities of Niger Delta Avengers are impacting the global oil supply and price, and the monetary policies of the CBN is closely watched by major foreign investment houses, so also is the recent decision by Britain to breakaway from the European Union sending waves across the entire globe.

First, on a selfish level, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw how much my US stocks investment dropped yesterday. I logged out and logged in repeatedly to be sure I was seeing right. I even thought that maybe the stock investment app had a glitch. Then I saw headline news about how stocks across the globe are tumbling because of Brexit. So I stopped blaming the app and did what any real investor would do: buy more stocks when the prices are down. And that is the most personal effect the Brexit has had on me.

On a less selfish note, one of our Abuja Excel training participants works for DFID. Well, during break yesterday he called someone up there in his organization and asked how Brexit will impact funding. That is another dimension of effect it will have on Nigeria. Everyone with a business link to UK is now being very cautious, evaluating how this new circumstance will impact their livelihood.

Next -- exchange rate. I heard a Pound is exchanging for about 460 naira. That is good news for those still paying for their UK masters (especially the online ones billed in Pounds). Also ordering stuffs from UK Amazon and Asos.com just got a whole lot cheaper. (Any chance USA be breaking away from something, anything?)

How about Nigerians living in the UK? How does this affect them? I think not very much, except no more easily visiting the entire Europe from UK. Nigerians already are subjected to strict immigration rules -- Visa requirement and work permits. It is the other EU country folks in UK who are bothered most -- the health insurance, public pension, work permit etc. And also British folks in other EU countries are bothered about same things. In fact, Google says a lot of people in UK are now searching for how to get an Irish passport (most likely British folks wanting to keep the benefits EU countries citizens enjoy). Even the breakdown of the vote by age brackets show that the youths overwhelmingly voted against breaking away from EU. They love the mobility it provides them. 

How does this affect Buhari? Compared to the things currently affecting him -- insignificantly. The only part he's shown concern about is the resignation of David Cameron. But it is difficult to say he likes it or not considering David Cameron called us fantastically corrupt last month.

How does this affect the average Nigerian (the masses)? Compared to our own stronger brewed homegrown "change" -- insignificantly. Except that businesses into selling UK education in Nigeria will now start advertising that there is now a promo price and UK schools have suddenly gotten cheaper.

When is UK's last day in EU? Most likely sometime in 2018. The breakaway is not instant. David Cameron is going to start the breakaway negotiation before leaving office in October (as stated in his resignation speech). There is a constitutional timeline of about two years to effect the breakaway. This is the first major exit of a country from the EU and no one really knows all the dynamics involved. Greenland has once done it but it was under a different complicated situation. The general belief is that UK won't try to change too much of their relationship with the other EU countries, it will replace the EU conditions with similar ones to maintain a lot of things. Its main issue is with uncheckable immigration and the billions it contributes to EU without getting a comparable value.

So how really does Brexit affect Nigeria? I would say more as a cascade effect from its effect on the global community. What we will mostly feel is the aftershock or ripples deflected from the international business and NGO community.

In conclusion, I am loving the dramatic changes happening in the world recently. I can't wait to see the change that will pop-out of the USA presidential election this year. May the most dramatic win!


"So it's you!"
"You, I know you!"
"Glad to finally put a face to the name!"

Some coincidences are good. And if you are kind easy going person, most coincidences will be great. Like the one that happened to me yesterday. In 2014, GTBank disabled (though they called it "flagged") our company account. Reason: on one of the numerous forms they told us to submit, my surname was spelt as OLAFUS instead of OLAFUSI. So their legal department flagged the account and froze our money in it. I was expecting payment for a job and was also trying to register as a vendor to Vodacom Business Nigeria. That period, GTBank was the devil in corporate flesh. Luckily, FCMB came to our rescue and I will always be grateful to them. Best bank I have ever banked with, FCMB. However, due to my knowledge of decision analysis (thanks to MBA) I knew that it is better to have two suppliers/banks, even if one is the devil, than to put yourself at the mercy of one. So I still went ahead to fix the error GTBank complained about. They wouldn't accept an affidavit from the High Court Ikeja. They wanted me to go fix it at Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). And of all the government agencies, I think CAC is the worst run. The Yaba office I went to opens 10:00am and closes 3:00pm. They use paper for pretty much everything. If you come too late to check for your documents, the record book might have torn and your struggle given a longer life. They frustrated me so much that I gave up about three different times. It was an easy straightforward task I was to do -- submit an affidavit backed request from the board of directors of the company to correct the spelling error in my name on the form CAC 7. The last time I gave up, I met a friend by coincidence at the Yaba CAC office. She is a lawyer and now runs her own law firm. I happily handed my matter to her.

That was coincidence number one, and not the yesterday coincidence I initially hinted.

After another lengthy battle, involving Abuja CAC HQ, we finally got the error fixed. Took an entire 18 months. And I keep hearing the government saying it is doing everything to encourage small businesses and stimulate the economy. So I had to go back to battling the devil -- GTBank. And they always exceed my expectations. First, the branch has closed down and our account transferred to another branch without any notice. Then the problem is now not only the CAC 7 missing "I" in the last name but, in addition, a dormant account. The account is now dormant. To reactivate the account, customer care said I should go with a utility bill and valid ID card. I got to the branch and it was not there, called customer care to find where it has moved to. I then drove to the new branch. They told me I have come with the wrong documents, that what is needed is a letter/instruction from the board for account reactivation and that I can submit it at any branch. I got to the other director and made the required board of directors letter. I went to a branch near my house, and, as usual, I got another story. "You didn't come with a recent utility bill and a passport photograph? Sorry, there's no way we can handle your request." So I went back home and watched Pirates of the Caribbean. Then got all the documents everyone of them from customer care to the last bank officer told me to get. And yesterday, while sorting things out for our Abuja training (in Abuja), I went boldly to a GTBank in Garki area 11. Guess what? The devil happened again, "Hmm, it seems there is a flag on your account. We can't handle the request until the flag is lifted."

Well, I had had it (for the umpeenth time). So I called to find who our new account officer is as it's changed with no notice to us. We have been given three different account officers and we find out only after we try unsuccessfully to reach the last known account officer. The last I was given was a ghost. No replies to email and no contact number. I finally got through yesterday and got the contact of the account officer's manager. Guess what, he is someone I know. In fact, someone I have helped with an Excel issue. A friend. What a pleasant coincidence. Now I got renewed hope. But I still hate GTBank.
image: themedianet.org

Nigerians are always in a rush. We are extremely hardworking. We are everywhere. We are very intelligent. We are many many things but ambitious. Nigerians aren't very ambitious. All our ambition can be sum in one short sentence, "I better pass my neighbour."

We have got all the resources to do more than Dubai and Abu Dhabi are doing. We have got more human capital than a lot of the developed countries. Yet we don't have a booming manufacturing industry; we import almost everything and we don't put effort into anything that will take 10 or more years to bear fruit except it is schooling. And this is what is stunting our growth.

Everyone is divided into two broad categories: those who want to work hard to be better than their neighbours, and those whose heroes are the politicians and just want to outsmart their neighbours. Almost no one thinks beyond beating his neighbour. Very few original thinking. The result is everyone flocks to the same industry and type of business while some industries have been dying since 1984.

To most Nigerians, success is about working for a multinational company and rising to the top. To most Nigerians, success is about being famous and earning millions. To most Nigerians, success is about being better than your neighbours. To some Nigerians, success is about instant reward. We don't create work of arts -- done out of pure passion and drive for perfection. We don't build world first or largest -- anything that will take many many years to complete. We don't work on the things we most need, only the things that make us look marginally better.

We have some of the best professors in some of the best universities in the world. We have some of the best brains smashing academic records across the world. We have the most hardworking people in the world. Our missing piece is ambition. We seldom see beyond our neighbour.

image: winaero.com

Last year August (or so), my gmail account was hacked. The hacker sends spam every week (since then) to all my email contacts. I changed my password. Then I signed up to a password security manager, LastPass. I let it generate 16 character mix of alphabets, numbers and symbols passwords for my accounts. Changed the passwords of my email accounts, social media accounts and Microsoft account. And since then I hardly shut down my laptop. Why? My login password is too long and have to be accessed from LastPass on my phone to see and type into my computer.

And it is a big pain when I am in a hurry, then I tend to mistype the long password. So this week I decided to find a lasting solution -- permanently switch off the login prompt on my laptop and windows tablet.

Interestingly, it is very easy to do. All you have to do is press the windows key on your laptop and search for netplwiz 


Click on it. It will bring up a dialogue box. Uncheck the "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer"




And that is all!
From now on you no longer get the login prompts when you boot up your computer. And for me that is a big time and mood saver!

Disclaimer: Not good, security-wise.
image: pinterest.com

Maybe I'm getting old or becoming getting dull, too many things are taking me too long to learn. I have spent a large chunk of this year trying to acquire web programming skill. It's been pretty darn hard. I can't see an end to my learning. None of my university courses come close to this in difficulty.

I constantly find myself asking the question, "How am I going to learn this very hard skill?"

Recently, I came upon an answer. Not a very inspiring answer, yet a valid answer. It is the same answer that was given the man who asked, "How does one get to Carnegie Hall?"

Practice, practice, practice.

When it comes to very hard skills, you will need to rely more on your muscle memory than your conscious memory. You will need to immerse yourself into what your are learning such that you will pick up a large part of the skill before even acquiring the fundamental knowledge behind it. Like a seven year old learning to swim, ride a bicycle and drive a toy car. It requires some degree of unreasonable obsession and hard practice. You should get Bruce Li's quote framed on your bedroom wall: "The successful warrior is an average man, with a laser-like focus."

image: pinterest.com
You might have to make too much sacrifice in the beginning because you will be giving an unhealthy attention to the skill you are learning to the detriment of your health and relationships. 

Luckily, whatever is hard for you is hard for many other people and your putting in more effort to learn it than most of the many other people will set you profitably aside. You will even learn it on a more valuable level than those who took to it naturally. 

Everyday, I know that I am going to do great things with the web programming skill. I have been filling my ideas note. Once I get to learn it well enough, you would think there are 10 of me by the speed at which I will churn out web apps. 

For now, I just have to keep practicing. Whether my conscious memory grabs it or not. I have to immerse myself in it until it becomes instinct.


Every time you apply filter to a dataset in Excel and then copy out the filtered data, you could have saved yourself time and some mouse-strokes by using advanced filter. And despite the name, advanced filter, it is surprisingly easy to use.

As an example, I have the fictitious sales record for Dhormino's Pizza for June 5, 2016. They sell 16 Pizza types: Meatzaa, Extravaganza , BBQ Chicken, Hot Veggie, BBQ Philly Steak, Chicken Feast, Chicken Suya, Chicken Legend, Beef Suya, Margarita, Italiano, Pepperoni Suya, Veggie Supreme, Hot Pepperoni Feast, Chicken Bali and Pepperoni Feast.



They got a new country manager this March, and one of his strategies is to have four brand managers owning 4 different baskets of the pizza types, like the FMCG companies do. Two of those managers are Michael and Mary. They are to ensure that the brands (pizza types) they own are performing well. They are given the latitude and resources to promote them using whatever promotional mix they want. 

As the company's main business data analyst, you pull out daily sales records and extract the ones for each brand manager. With advanced filter, it will be a piece of cake. You might even hook it to a recorded macro and at a click of button all is done.

Continuing with the example, let's see how to extract for Michael and Mary.


Step 1 is to write out the pizza types Michael and Mary manage, separately. And to help advanced filter know where to look for those pizza names, give them a header that matches that in the sales table. See the screenshot above for what I mean.

Step 2 is to go to Michael's sheet (another Excel sheet where you want to put Michael's). Launch advanced filter from there. It is under Data menu, about the middle of the menu tools.


Set it to "Copy to another location"


Provide the sales data range as the "list range", and Michael's pizza types with the header as the "Criteria range".



Finally, for the "Copy to", go to Michael's sheet and select where the result should be displayed. In this example, I select cell A1.


And voila! We get the results.


Very easy and cool.

And there is more to advanced filter. How about if we have a more detailed sales transaction data that captures sales value for each sales transaction, and we would like to extract sales transactions that generated more that 15,000 naira. That too is very easy with advanced filter.

Just follow me. Below is the snapshot of the detailed sales transaction data.


We have specified that we want greater than 15,000 naira transactions only.

The steps are just like previous ones. Launch the advanced filter and provide both the "List range" and "Criteria range"


Specify where the results should be displayed.


And voila, again! It's done!


Now you should be an expert, like me, at using advanced filter. 


This Friday and Saturday we will be holding our next Business Data Analysis and In-depth Excel Training in Abuja. If you know anyone based in Abuja who might benefit, please do forward this details to them.

The training is aimed at making the participants extremely good at Microsoft Excel, dashboard making and business data analysis; teaching them with live business scenarios. It's intended for Sales Managers, Financial Analysts, Business Analysts, Data Analysts, MIS Analysts, HR Executives and power Excel users.

There are just 10 slots open for this month. You will get lunch, a branded DVD with over 23 training videos and practice files, training notepad with pen and a training certificate from us (a registered Microsoft Partner). The training will be facilitated by a Microsoft recognized Excel Expert and the only Microsoft Excel MVP in Africa (there are just about 125 in the world). We have had participants of our trainings from Citi Bank, Dalberg, SaveTheChildren, Mobil, Total, Vodacom, Nestle, Nigerian Breweries, Delta Afrik, LATC Marine, Broll, Habanera (JTI), SABMiller, IBM, Airtel and DDB.

Reach Michael on 0700ANALYTICS, 08089382423, 08063125227 and mike@urbizedge.com or Hannah on 08021180874 and hannah@urbizedge.com to register. 

Date: 24 & 25 June, 2016.

Venue: Rosebud Hotel, 33 Port Harcourt crescent, off Ahmadu Bello way, Garki 11, Abuja

The training outline is:

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. Multi-level 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)

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
j. Goal Seek, Scenario Manager and Solver
k. Excel Web Query
l. Most useful Excel keyboard shortcuts

5) Executive Dashboards and Reporting
a. Best Practices
b. Executive Dashboards
i. Executive Dasboards
ii. Dynamic Reports
iii. Determining the KPIs and tracking them
iv. Strategic Insights & Analysis
c. Data Visualization
d. Having the audience/recipient in mind
e. E-mails and Excel reports

6) Excel to PowerPoint and Word
a. Linking PowerPoint/Word Charts to Excel
b. Embedding Excel sheets in PowerPoint/Word
c. Making a Powerful PowerPoint Presentation

7) Excel VBA
a. Recording Excel macros


Reach Michael on 0700ANALYTICS, 08089382423, 08063125227 and mike@urbizedge.com or Hannah on 08021180874 and hannah@urbizedge.com to register. 
image: smart.com.au

I avoid reading my own blog sometimes. Why? I think I share too much (personal) information. I also avoid going to Facebook. Why? Some of my Facebook friends share way too much information.

TMI is the new social infection. People sharing information that causal friends and strangers shouldn't know. And it is prevalent on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and personal blogs.

image: wersm.com
There are those who try to fix all their problems by sharing it on Facebook. They'll share the details of every significant thing that happened in their lives on Facebook. What happened at work; who is getting on their nerves, what happened on the way to work, etc.

image: recruitingblogs.com

So how much information is too much?

That's the very question I will also like to get an answer to. On some days, I feel like I am guilty of TMI and on some other days I feel innocent. If you know the answer, please, kindly share. Thanks!
I guess the very things I take for granted are big value to others. On Wednesday, I was at Protea Leadway hotel for the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa training 3 days June class (Tuesday to Thursday). My knowledge of Excel, data analysis and financial modelling has been getting me unfair share of attention. I got talking with a few other participants working for Ernst & Young, FITC and IITA about the possibility of holding a training for their companies. The E&Y guy gave me little hope of any training proposal on Excel getting any serious attention at his company but the others from FITC and IITA were interested in something else -- Infographics.

In fact, I am thinking of restructuring a PowerPoint training I manage to include infographics. In the last session I had, I covered infographics but just as a value add to the participant -- not as a key unit in the training outline. Well, now I am thinking of making it a full module in the training. 

How do you use infographics?



You use infographics to present results of a research or analysis in a very visually engaging way.

How do you create infographics?

There are three general ways to create an infographic.

1. Use an online infographic template site
Popular ones are Piktochart (I have used it), Infogr.am (I have used it also), Venngage, Canva and Easel.ly

They make it super easy for you to create infographics that are stunning without having to be a graphic artist or use any software. It's where you'll want to start from to broaden your mind on different infographic designs possible. The major drawbacks with them is that they offer a limited free version, full feature access requires paid subscription, and you are also limited to the infographic icons/tools in the provider you choose.

2. Use Downloadable Templates
They will usually be PowerPoint or Photoshop templates, and contain vector graphics. You can get a great pack of 10 templates for free from Hubspot and some other great free templates from Freepik . I bought some templates on GraphicRiver 

This option gives you freedom as to how your final infographic will look like. You can mix and match vector icons, with smartart, images and charts to achieve your desired infographic.

This is the method I use for my serious jobs. Just get/buy the templates and vector graphics once; reuse as you desire.

3. Design from scratch
Maybe using Photoshop. This option I believe should be explored only by expert graphic designers. It will require a level of creativity and graphic designing experience than an average person like me have.

If you want to hire someone for your infographic design, you should be looking for someone who can do this third option or, at least, mix it with the second option.
In my training, as you can guess, I will limit myself to options 1 and 2.



image: deseretnews.com

I am now very good at writing; well on my way to mastering creative writing. All because I write daily. I am now very excellent at brushing my teeth with my left hand, because I have been doing that everyday for the past 5 years. I know Microsoft Excel better than I know the back of my hand, because I work in and for all types of projects almost everyday. I am more of a philosopher than engineer, though I studied engineering and worked my paid jobs in telecoms companies, and it is because I have been an active fan of philosophy reading Aristotle at age 10.

I have made little progress with my French learning despite the sacrifice and large desire to master the language. I am yet to walk my talk about web app development. I still struggle with a lot of things I want to be a master at.

Know the difference between what we master and what we want to master?
It is practice.

You master what you practice. Not what you think about nor what you talk about nor what you have a large interest in. If you want to be a master at something, you just have to consistently keep practicing it. Fancy talk or thoughts can take the place of actual work.

I am now trying to follow my own advice. Now creating more practice time for the things I want to master.

See a need, fill the need. What better way to notice a need than when you chronically have it. And that is what "scratching your own itch" business philosophy is about. Feel the bite of a need, then build a business around it.

Many of the biggest businesses in the world started that way. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak wanted a personal computer and not a time shared access to an expensive public computer. That need made them create Apple Computers (now Apple Inc.). AirBnB started same way, the founders were trying to fix a personal problem they had and ended up creating a new business that disrupted an entire industry. 

The best business ideas come from needs you have experienced first hand. You become your own business' first customer and evaluator. You can easily know when you've built a good solution/product since you are your own business client. 

My refocusing of my business to web based product/solution is a result of my scratching my own itch. There are many web-based solutions I would like to see -- stock analysis apps, fraud reporting app, celebrity (both persons and businesses) rating apps, simple for-Nigerians only apps, etc. And rather than find someone else to build them, I plan to build them myself. I also have bought a lot of IoT devices/components; planning to use them to build Nigerian centric smart products. Home automation devices, single function cheap devices, children tracking devices to help parents when to go to crowded malls and other public places. I have lots of ideas borne out of needs I have a first hand experience with, and I intend to build solutions for them.

If I were interested in microfinance banking services, I would structure a product that is an exact replica of "ajo". You can pick how many "owo" you want (cycle of payment). So there can be 3, 6 and 12 cycles. It is going to be exactly like the one the market women do and come with interest. It will sell like pure water: familiar and plain.

Yesterday, we acquired the 0700ANALYTICS smart number. So you can reach us on that smart number for business.

Our services:

1. Excel Training
Our Corporate/Professional Excel training is unlike other trainers’. We don’t do fixed outlines and force you (or your team) to learn things they won’t need. We work with you (or your team) to develop an outline that will immediately improve productivity and focus exclusively on your business needs. Register for our next Excel Training. Limited slots.

2. Custom Applications
In business, speed and accuracy makes all the difference. And that’s what we get you by automating as many processes as possible for you. We eliminate human errors, and get you a powerful tool that is just a mouse click away. You never have to wait for what you need to make great business decisions and plan ahead. We provide you tools that put your business strategy skills on steroids. View our detailed brochure

3. Data Analysis Outsourcing
If your business depends on things done right always and on time. And as many as 10 ad-hoc reports are required in a day; professionally made reports that are easy to read and act upon. We are who you need. Reliable and professional business data analysis experts. Always on 24/7. View our detailed brochure

Clients and Projects Portfolio:

Having data is not enough but being able to bring it to life and let it guide you in making strategic business plans is what matters. And that is what we enable you to do. 

We provide experience and business context rich Microsoft Excel training. We help automate some of your data driven business analysis, enabling you to focus more on improving your business operations rather than struggling with data/reports. And if you would rather have an expert build your reporting templates and empower your staff to look beyond the statistics to the business story behind the numbers, we are who you need. 

We help your company make the most of its operations data. We give your business the very edge it needs. We are UrBizEdge. We have the only official Microsoft Excel Most Valuable Professional in Nigeria and we have been recognized as one of the top 2% in the industry in Nigeria by The Top Executives (http://thetopexecutives.com) business publication for 2015. 

We have consulted for companies and multinationals in all the major industries in Nigeria. With us you get the best and most focused experts working on what is most important to you -- your business success. 

As a direct contractor/vendor, we have done projects and/or Excel training for Vodacom Nigeria, Helios Towers Nigeria Limited, GEISE, Inlaks Computers, Laplace Technologies, Japan Tobacco International (Habanera Limited), Coretronic Global Services Limited, Oak Interlink Limited, Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI), Supermart.ng and Kentucky YMCA, USA 

And as an indirect contractor (sub-contractor) we have done projects for MTN Nigeria, Total E&P, Nigerian Breweries, Guinness Nigeria, Globacom, Nigerian Railway and International Energy Services Limited (IESL). 

In our monthly Excel and business data analysis training sessions, we have had participants from SABMiller, Nestle, Airtel, Ministry of Finance, MTN, Diamond Bank, Shell Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries, Lafarge, IBM, Avensat, Nahco Aviance, University of Benin, DDB Lagos and SaveTheChildren. 

We are a leading Microsoft Excel and Business Data Analysis firm in Nigeria. 

You can register for our next special training session at Next Excel Training Class

1. Sales and Inventory Manager Software development for Coretronic Global Services Limited

Coretronic Global Services Limited is the sole distributor of Celkon mobile phones in Nigeria. The Excel based sales and inventory manager automates a lot of their business processes.
Dashboards and Business Process Automation MS Excel programs for Vodacom Nigeria

2. Vodacom Nigeria is a leading B2B telecommunications and IT services provider in Nigeria. We have done several business process automation programs for them, helping them focus more on creating value for their customers.

3.Custom Excel Training for Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Nigeria

Japan Tobacco International is the second largest in its industry in Nigeria, a major competitor to British American Tobacco. We were chosen over Philip's Consulting and other vendors to provide a custom Excel training.

4. In-depth Excel and Business Data Analysis Training for Vodacom, Nigeria

We were the vendor of choice to provide key staff with this in-depth training.

5. Data Science Consultant, Neo-2 Limited -- MTN Market Research project

We provided data analytics consulting for Neo-2 Limited on an MTN market research project. It involved sentiment analysis, big data, dashboards and analytics.

6. Balanced Scorecard Dashboard for Inlaks Computers

Balanced Scorecard is a strategic planning and management tool to align the company’s day-to-day activities with the long-term vision and goal of the company. It touches on every aspect of the company from the financial performance, organizational culture, internal business processes, customer service, to employee fit and growth. We are one of the very few companies in Nigeria with the expertise.

7. Financial Modelling for Laplace Technologies

The backbone of every company is their financial standing. Every company exists to grow shareholder (owners) value. A financial model is the globally accepted way of presenting a company and its value. We don't just build a financial model that meets IFRS specifications, we build one you will be willing to use and not struggle to use. We make it as easy to use and error-proof as possible for management staff that don't want a 20 page manual/documentation of how it works.

8. Custom Excel Training for GfK Nigeria

GfK is a leading market research company globally. We were chosen as vendor of choice to provide their Retail Department team from across the country an in-house Excel training.