image: howng.com
😟 So I came across this article from Mobility Arena about Airtel selling its Nigerian operations. The actual source of the news is Bloomberg.

I hope it is not true. Airtel is the coolest of the names that network has been called. 

On another note, it shows how quick tables can turn. Who ten years ago would have thought that telecommunications network operators will be struggling to turn a profit so soon? It was a fast paced world for them. Lots of money in the beginning and now it's like the tap is faulty -- more money going out than coming in.

I try to ask what really is the problem?

NITEL was never really alive till it died. Starcomms, Multilinks and Visafone are all gone. Airtel can't take it any more. I hear Etisalat is not happy at all.

Any clue?


Gone are the days I used to doubt the power of knowledge. More specifically, the ability to profit from the knowledge I have. All it took for you to make me abandon my knowledge was a comment about my age and/or experience, I would sport a downcast face and let you have your way. But now. Now! I have tasted the raw power of knowledge.

I work in a knowledge field. I have, on numerous occasions, been well paid to train people on what I don't yet know and have to read up to know. So imagine if I have profited from knowledge I haven't yet acquired, how much more the knowledge I have acquired and sharpen through rigorous use.

On that premise, I want you to take me seriously as what I want to tell you is built on a knowledge as strong as my Excel skills. The same way you would trust me if I told you a tip about Excel is the same way I request you trust me on what I am about to tell you now.

If you are young (like me) and want to build wealth, then there is a trap you must avoid. And that trap is luxury. Avoid luxury.

Avoid buying the latest smartphones. Buy a very good one and use it, without buying it siblings, till it dies and you are sure it is irressurrectibly dead. If you must buy a car, buy one that is not too expensive and is cheap to maintain, and plan to use it forever. That way you won't be tempted to do those vain comparisons most young people engage in about cars. Stay somewhere very cheap. Buy good everlasting clothes. Emphasis on "everlasting". Same with shoes. Don't have any weakness that involves you spending money. Hence, a total ban on "I have a weakness for Coldstone Ice Cream", "I just must have one amazing Debonairs Pizza a week", "I can't go past Sharwarma & co without entering", "I have a soft spot for cinemas", "I love partying hard", etc.

Let your expenses be crazy low. Even, try delaying marriage. Na joke o :)

And what should you do with your surplus cash? Invest, invest and invest!

When you are young you've got time and the magic of compound interest on your side. Your chicken change is worth more than an old man's lion change. And you definitely should trust me on this. The math is impeccable and the evidences are irrefutable.

How come the wealthy people you know didn't get wealthy by being an investment obsessed miser? Well, just give me a few more years and you will know one: me. 😀 But seriously, it works. You don't know one because they don't get featured on newspapers or have a very public life. Also, maybe they are few in Nigeria as investing has been left to the super rich here.

Also, it doesn't matter how little you have. Investing profitably is a habit, one you also get better at. And when you throw time and compound interest in the mix, everyone is a winner. Whether you started with N100,000 or you started with N10 million. As long as you made a habit of consistently investing, wealth is just a matter of time.

If I sound too high this night, do forgive me, I think the Eba I ate is from an over-fermented garri. My eyes are turning me sef.


I got to join this amazing community of Data Scientists in Nigeria. We are a mix of experts and beginners. Today, I created a tutorial for the beginners to see how to do a common task like frequency distribution plot in both Python and R, also decided to include my dearest Microsoft Excel as a control.

The sample data is a fictionalized data for Dominos Pizza Nigeria. One day sales data for their Lekki branch. You can download the practice along raw data file here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/28140414/Dominos%20Pizza.csv 


So the business question we want to tackle is: Is there a pattern in the quantities each customer buys? To be more specific, we want to examine the frequency distribution of the quantities purchased per sales transaction.

In Excel, it is extremely straightforward. Just plot a histogram on the quantity field.


Now let's head to doing same with R

I use R 3.3.2 and RStudio.

First, I import the csv file into RStudio.




Though not necessary for what we want to do, but I like doing it for any data I bring into R, I run the summary command on the dataframe/table. > summary(Dominos_Pizza)


Again, not a required step. I check out the standard plot graph on the Quantity field. > plot(Dominos_Pizza$Quantity)


Finally, I do the histogram chart on the Quantity field. > hist(Dominos_Pizza$Quantity)



For now I don't bother customizing the graph elements (labels, color, title, etc.)

It is Python time.

I use Rodeo IDE and Anaconda. 


I import Pandas and use it to read in the csv file. 




And here is the plot graph, like we did in R.


Finally, I create the histogram.



I will try to follow up with more tutorials of complex tasks, and some that are best suited to R and others that are best suited to Python. As per Excel, it is in a completely different class. It is a spreadsheet application. 

Got any particular task you will like me to create a tutorial around? Ask away!
image: pcworld.com

I get investment research reports and stocks daily activity reports from ARM Research but they are always landing in my gmail spam folder. And it is very annoying.

I have tried marking them as not spam for months now and they still keep getting sent to the spam folder. 

Today, I decided to solve the issue permanently. I googled how to fix the issue and surprisingly, the fix is a very simple straightforward one.


All I needed to do was add ARM to my contacts. I thought replying someone automatically adds them to my contact but somehow that never fixed the issue for me. It seems I had to do the proper steps of adding them to my contacts.

And can be achieved by opening the email in gmail itself (not in Outlook or any email client) and adding the email address to my contacts.



It's gotten so bad lately that after leaving home or coming back from a client meeting, it is not a matter of "did I forget anything?" but of "what did I forget this time?"

And I think is not unconnected to the too much work I do. My lifestyle has fully changed to work-sleep-work-eat-work. Work has taken over my life.

Sadly, I think I know what to do and already doing the what to do. But my situation isn't improving. It's plain deteriorating. 

I have stopped trying to attend to all the requests I get daily. In the beginning, I was deliberately postponing attending to continuous trickle of requests I get almost daily -- from Excel related, to an independent expert opinion and to very kind words of encouragement with a small question at the end. Now I just plain don't remember them. 

People will SMS me and then still have to call me that they've SMS'ed me before I will even take notice. People will call me and will have to Whatsapp me that they called me before I will remember to return their call. People will email me and then have to resend the email after a few days before I get to remember to fully read the email.

Worse of all. I constantly forget to eat. And when I sleep, I can't get rid of the thoughts of unfinished work and deadlines almost past. And nothing I do is helping. 

I have even stopped apologising for acting like a piece of sh*t. Or what would you call someone who doesn't call his friends and cousins, doesn't honour their wedding invites and naming ceremony invites, doesn't reply calls or even send an SMS. Before, I would pick a day and call them all with a rehearsed apology. Now, I don't even call anymore or even apologize. I just tell them I am good gone bad, and run out of excuses. Some have learned to deal me back the cards I deal them. Others are still hopeful for my redemption.

Though it is not work that is making me anti-social. I have naturally been that way. What it has done is amplify it. And now it's making me super forgetful. I now even lose trail of my thoughts and stopping midway through an action is common as I often suddenly forget what I was about to do.

On the flip side, I have gotten extremely good at the few things I do often (unfortunately, mostly work and business admin activities). I guess my brain is specialising. 
image: emprie-empire.com

Having a sound financial plan is simply been prepared for today, the future and the financial emergencies in between.

There are many people who have squeezed themselves into a financial tight corner. They leave no room for unplanned expenses. My dad's financial management style is like that. All the money that comes in must go out-- into projects, investments and expenses. Whenever an emergency occured he always had to borrow money because his monies were already tied somewhere else. And recently he had to get a microfinance loan for a ridiculously small amount because an unplanned expense showed up. I have now taken it on myself to be a financial adviser to him. 

Emergencies will always come but they necessarily don't mean you always have to run up and down for financial aid. Have an emergency fund/account. And the more people you cater for the more money you have to set aside in it. It is an account you should never touch except there is an emergency and must be replenished as quick as possible.

And that's it for the emergencies part.

Many of us already take good care of today. We go after well paying jobs, we do some side hustling, we try to get as much money today as we can. Where we often have problem is with preparing for the future. Deliberate plan for 10, 20 years from now. Life after retirement. And how to set aside money got today for the very faraway future.

I see too many people using the wrong strategies to prepare for the faraway future. Like keeping money in a savings account, considering pension as the main/only way of planning for the distant future (not considering the years between now and retirement) and blindly handing over their money to other people.

So how do you plan for the future?

First there is no straightforward answer. That is why there is an entire multi-billion naira industry on investment and wealth management. I do get asked a lot  "Which investments should I make?", "What is the investment return?" etc.

The first thing you have to know is that with long-term investment vehicles there are no guaranteed return on investment. And except you are a seer (with ability to see the future in the investment world) you can never know which ones will get you the best return or which will even fail. They is no shortcut to long-term investment and you have to keep working to make sure your investments are still sound (portfolio review). It is a lot of work even when you have all the foundational knowledge. So I often don't know what to tell people when they ask me those questions because they are expecting a sure-fire one time approach to use and expect excellent results forever. 

Planning for the future is indeed a continuous work and involves a lot of emotional maturity. You have to close your eyes to short term strategies. You need to have the right mindset that distinguishes between what will be a long-term winner and what will be a short-term winner.

If all of this is too much hard work. Well, it is the reality. If you are rich enough you can have a private investment manager, otherwise you just have to pay for the knowledge and effort price. The good thing about it all is that you will be better for it. Your future self will never stop thanking your present self.
We got a request from a big company to show them how to integrate Power BI with Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017. 

In other to prepare demo content for the training, I had to install Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 and set it up with Power BI. NAV 2017 can integrate with Power BI via four doors -- Power BI Embedded, Power BI service NAV content pack, Power BI Desktop OData and SQL connection to the NAV database. The Power BI Embedded one is more of you bringing in your Power BI dashboard (any one, not necessarily one built from NAV datasets) into NAV reports.

I made sure to take a lot of screenshots along the way. I know this won't be interesting to a lot of us, but for the few who some day will stumble on this when they are stuck getting to make all the frustratingly many moving parts work in sync, this can be a time/life saver.

First, what is Power BI Embedded?

It is when you make your Power BI reports show in another application. Like I did to make my stock analysis dashboard show up on my Nigerian Elite web app. So I embedded it there. And the new NAV 2017 also comes with that ability for you to embed your Power BI dashboards in its reports page.



So below are the visual steps to setting Power BI embedded up in NAV 2017.

In the beginning, there was no Power BI Reports, just a link to setting it up.



Then I followed the setup instructions.



At this stage, I had to go to Microsoft Azure on the account that is the O365 administrator and has Power BI pro enabled. Under Azure Active Directory, I created a new App Registration.






Copied the sign-on URL from the NAV reply URL (in the setup dialog box). Ignore the 8080 showing up in mine, it was the result of following a wrong instruction online, I had to verbatim copy the Reply URL value here before I could get it to work.



Got the App Id and Key.




Set the Permissions and add Power BI service (enabled all the delegate permissions for Power BI service).





Continued the setup on NAV 2017.




Now it was half time.  I was half done.

Then continued.

I got a new dialogbox asking me to authorize azure services to connect to Power BI services.




On clicking on the link, I had to login again.





All set! I can now embed any of my many Power BI reports.

:)

image: youtube.com

There is one common mistake you'll make when thinking about business development and strategies if you don't actively run a business. I am yet to come across any non-entrepreneur who isn't making that mistake. Heck, I used to make that mistake even until my second year in business. And worse, you won't recognize it till its consequences hit you.

What is that mistake?

Over the three years I've been in business for myself, there are two categories of answers I get whenever I ask for advice. No matter the type of business advice I ask for. One category is filled with suggestions of what more to do, excellent ideas on how to do more and get more results. The other category is filled with life experiences, what they did or their close friends did while in a similar situation. On the surface, nothing is wrong with either category and sometimes the fundamentals behind the practical takeaways from them are the same. So why then do I separate them?

One category is usually from non-entrepreneurs loading me with concepts and theories they've gained from reading and thinking about how businesses successfully run. The problem with the answer is that they have no context or should I say they merge multiple contexts. They sound nice and sure to give desired results but applying them is often downright impossible or unreasonable. The suggestions of what more to do ignore real limitations you'll have in business. Most notable of which are you don't have unlimited time, you don't have unlimited energy, you don't have unlimited money to pay all the staff you are going to offload some work to and you can't, without running mad, manage too many activities. 

The other category of advice are much more practical even when they lack the theoretical depth of the first category. Because they are built on real experiences, they end up being more reasonable to implement. Usually, they won't just point you to what more to do (which is often the main message in the other category), they point you to what to stop doing, what to do differently and what to expect.

And on top of these practical differences is the disturbing fact that non-entrepreneurs take more offence when you don't follow their advice. They talk like they are never wrong and that even if not all of their advice work, some will work and whatever value they add to your business is extra value you wouldn't have gotten otherwise. And yes, they are right. The only problem is at what cost? It doesn't do me any good, in fact, does me many harm, to put in energy and resources worth of N500 for a value add of N100. 

And that is why I no longer ask business advice from non-entrepreneurs. There are exceptions, though. :)


If you are learning Python or interested in learning Python, either for data analysis use or general programming use, you should join Python Nigeria Community.


Make sure you click on the "Join us on SLACK".

It is the biggest community of Python enthusiasts and veterans in Nigeria. They also organise events you can be a part of. Lots of valuable discussions. And they share opportunities you can take advantage of.

I got to meet the President of Python Nigeria at the Data Science Nigeria bootcamp and got a feel of how deeply integrated the community is with both the outside Python expert world and the professional/corporate space in Nigeria.

I have joined and even downloaded the Slack app on my phone so I can easily keep tab on happenings and participate in the discussions that interest me

So don't delay, join now (if you are into Python). The joining URL is http://pythonnigeria.org/ 
image: beautifulinspiringgoddess.com

With just the right amount of self-motivation you can achieve a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean way more than 20 people without motivation will achieve. Sounds ridiculous?

Can you count the number of people who are constantly saying if only I had more time, if only my job was more flexible, if only I had the type of opportunity J has, if only I had money to spare, if only things weren't so difficult; I would exercise more, I would do my masters, I would learn French, I would work on my public speaking skills, I would lose some lbs/kg, I would learn XYZ?

Yet there is always that amazing person you know who has just as much excuse and time constraints as those other people and yet achieves all those goals. How is she able to do what 20 other people in her shoes aren't doing?

If you generate your own motivation from within, you will always create the time and resources for what you direct that motivation towards.

Using my narcissistic self as example. I know plenty people who wish they had time to write. They talk about writing ideas they have -- from poems to captivating novels to non-fiction. They talk of the awards they won when they were younger and had all the time. They talk of the huge need in the society that their writing will address. Yet days, months and years roll by and they have not written anything or much. And there is the less ambitious me, with no lofty goals or even grand strategy, able to write over 365 pages a year. In just two years I have produced a lot more content than 20 of those people who don't motivate themselves. Even if you are very harsh and rate 80% of my articles as useless trash, the remaining 20% is still more than what those unmotivated 20 people do.

So now you see that my earlier statement is not that ridiculous. One self-motivated person can achieve way more than 20 unmotivated people.

And I see this in everything. I see people who only talk about what they are going to do but don't do it as months pass by. And I see people who just do it. And the difference is that of self-motivation.

Yesterday (Friday), I landed in Lekki Peninsula Resort for the Data Science Nigeria 3 days bootcamp. And it has been awesome so far. Couldn't even find time to make my daily post easily.

I have been learning an awesome lot from industry experts. It has also been a great opportunity to meet amazing people. People who just plain blow my mind away.

We've had insightful classes on R and Python for Data Science. Had experts video skype to teach us from Canada, Australia, UK and South Africa. Had practitioners in Nigeria come physically train us, from renowned professors to the president of Python Nigeria. I also had the privilege to take two sessions on Microsoft Excel for Data Analysis.

It has been a value packed two days for me, and already expectant for tomorrow (Sunday), 

I got to find out what the community is like in Nigeria both from the hobbyist side and the professional side. I made very useful contacts and got huge encouragement on pursuing my data science adventures. 

I also managed to get myself and my company noticed. Hoping some of the connections I made turn into some business down the road,

image: quotescover.com

Yesterday, I experienced a lesson I've heard many people quote, though in varying versions from "seest though a man diligent in his works ..." to the entrepreneurial "the harder I work, the luckier I become" and "opportunities are often dressed in overalls and that's why many people miss them".

Diligent work opens doors.

There are some opportunities that only come through consistent actual work. Not by being smart, networking or even training.

Why am I saying all these? What happened yesterday?

I had an interview. A one hour stage 3 out of 4 stages interview. I had passed two stages. The success rate for the stage one was about 25% and only 7.6% get past the stage 2. For the stage 3 none of my preparations prepared me for what was thrown at me. I was given a live project to work on. Ironically, it's the very projects I helped people with, some for free, that gave me the practical knowledge to tackle that interview project. Not my book knowledge nor my smartness. I remember how I battled a similar project for a friend for days without pay, giving me the deep knowledge and comfort to deliver in the interview. I never knew I would get the pay in a big way. That work helped me pass the interview.

I'm now waiting for the stage 4 which is the final stage, hoping they've not changed their minds. Records show that those who pass the stage 3 usually pass the last stage.

And that's why I believe work has a value beyond what we normally ascribe to it. Beyond even the benefits we negotiate for while taking up the work. I believe that the value of work is in that it expands our individual world. It is like playing your favourite game, every level you go pass open you up to more features and benefits beyond even the score you get.

So I want to use this opportunity to tell everyone who is getting discouraged for working hard with little to show for it. Please don't be discouraged. The value you will get in the end will always be more than the work itself. It might tarry but it will surely come. Just keep on working and have an expectant mind. The doors your work will open for you will keep growing in numbers.

Don't give up on hard work.

image: philanthropyu.org
All details culled from: http://philanthropyu.org/certification/

If you are interested then you should register before the door closes: http://philanthropyu.org/certification/ 


Certificate in Social Sector Leadership
Participants who complete all seven of the core curriculum courses will earn a Certificate in Social Sector Leadership from Berkeley-Haas, helping them build recognition among their colleagues as an accomplished global impact leader.
In addition to the certificate, recipients also receive a variety of benefits, including but not limited to:
  • A certificate badge that they can proudly place on their preferred professional networking site to publicly demonstrate their achievement and commitment
  • An invitation to join the invite-only Philanthropy University/Haas Alumni Group, providing further opportunities to meet and network with other certificate recipients from around the world
  • Access to Berkeley-Haas Magazine’s three annual digital editions
  • Invitations to participate in exclusive Berkeley networking and educational events, including the Berkeley-Haas Annual Alumni Conference and Chapter events in cities around the globe, in addition to the San Francisco Bay Area
However, participants who complete just one course earn a Statement of Accomplishment from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, the world’s top public university, demonstrating their newly acquired skills and commitment to creating a deeper impact.

The courses are:
Cheers!


Tomorrow, I will be taking you through how to mash up your data in Power BI, connect to different data sources and build beautiful dashboards.

I will also be taking you through how to share your dashboards.

Don't miss it! Create a calendar event for it or set a reminder. The details are below

Date: Thursday 19, January 2017.
Time: 3:00pm -- 4:00pm (Nigerian time, GMT+1)

We run webinars monthly on how to improve your business data analysis skills. To be among the first informed monthly about the webinars and get timely reminders, please sign up here: Webinar Directory.
image: womenonbusiness.com
In 2011 my main personal development plan for the year was to be fluent in French and learn about personal finance/investment.

In 2012 my main personal development plan was to cut down my expenses and get extra sources of income.

In 2013 my main personal development plan was to grow both my soft skills and hard skills. It was the year I read, probably, the most. 

In 2014 my main personal development plan was to not starve. I started UrBizEdge that year.

In 2015 my main personal development plan was learning web app development.

In 2016 my main personal development plan was, was, was, hmm, I don't think I remember. Quite funny, I remember 6, 5 years back and can't remember last year's one.

Anyway, this year is today's post's main focus. What is my main personal development plan for the year. In fact, I call it my simple personal development plan for the year. And it is.

It is to go with the flow. Not any flow, mind you. But the current flow I have set myself on for the past three years. To keep heading the direction I am facing. To not deviate to the left or to the right. To not be fall prey to distractions. To do only the things that agree with my chosen path.

And that is my personal development plan for the year. More like to stay the same. It might sound odd, when most people are trying to do things differently I am planning of staying the same. But the one thing you can't fault is that it is a simple one. ;)
You hear other people's stories and your mind instantly goes into a comparison mode: are they doing better than me or am I doing better than them? It's the way we are naturally wired. We competed for same limited resources in our tiny caves and hamlets at the beginning of our existence. Everyone was literally a threat. Maybe you got to see just 20 females of your age throughout your life, then another guy getting one of them seriously limited your marital progress. Maybe only one person could be the leader as there were no specializations, and it was a lifetime of trying to out-compete the others. Life was just one intense race from birth to death. And our original wiring was well suited to environment. From childhood we are constantly trying to be better than our peers in everything, even at rolling tires down the street.

In this modern world, things have drastically changed. We meet thousands of eligible mates throughout our lifetime. We can be a leader without having to pull anyone down. We practically have access to inexhaustible resources. The sky is not even the limit. Everyone can achieve whatever he wants to achieve without having to kill someone. Life is no longer a race. But our configuration is yet to adjust to that new reality. So we still keep living like someone else's success hurts my success and someone else's failure aids my success.

What then should we take life as?




Life is an adventure. You don't go on an adventure to Madagascar to experience their unique collection of amazing and rare creatures, and then spend your time in front of TV watching Nat Geo Wild and envying the people you see having other types of adventures. And that's exactly what we do. Anybody who catches our attention, be it at work, on the pages of newspaper or during a conversation, we immediately switch into competition mode. It becomes a race -- who is better?

I occasionally get caught in that competition mode but I am very quick to recognize it and break away from its grasp. There are people whose success are enviable and even make me feel little. I tell myself that it's a feeling, it will wash away. I only take away any valuable lessons from their success that can help me on my own journey but never try to wish I am them. I don't start comparing myself with them.

I totally take life as an adventure. Mine shouldn't be same as yours and, more importantly, I'm going to miss out of the fun in mine if I focus too much on yours. I try hard to enjoy mine. You too should.


Are you living a values driven life? (Emphasis on the plural word: values)

Do you stand consistently by a non-changing set of values? Or your values change with circumstance? When there is money to be gained, you tweak them and when it's someone else to be judged you bring them on full force.

Sadly, the world is full of people who no longer pay attention to the golden rule. They have varying sets of values: one set they talk about and push on other people, and a much weaker version they apply to themselves. They are quick to say but my case is different and equally quick to say damn him to another person in same situation on another day.

To me they are just living a gain driven life. Not a values driven life.

How about me? Am I living a values driven life? Unfortunately, I don't know.

I am sure, though, that I am living a value driven life. (Emphasis on the singular word: value). I try to add value wherever I am. I don't do things for any other purpose than it generates identifiable value. The day I find out that something I do not longer adds value, I get this terrible feeling inside and the only way to get rid of that feeling is to stop doing that valueless task. It is the one thing I even hate in consulting business that made me shift from consulting to product building. Valueless meetings, annoying politicking and mindless back-rubbing. I can't cope with it all.

I even don't engage in conversations that have no headway. I don't make a move until the value is obvious. I am obsessed with value. Even when I don't know how to translate the value to money, I'll still go ahead to creating it. In fact, my only test for whether to do a thing or not is -- is it the type of value I will like to create? 

There are some value I am not interested in. Like teaching secondary school students Microsoft Excel. I'll rather leave that to someone else. And repeatedly trying to convince someone that I am right. Even if the value is enormous, if I tell you twice and you won't agree with me, I'll move on. But once I have found a value I an interested in, I will even spend my money and time and resources to create it. Just like I did with my Excel online tutorials. I bought the gadgets and locked myself indoors for weeks to create them. Then I gave them away for free.

Even my daily writing. I put on hold client jobs and even turn down some paying opportunities because they will interfere with my daily writing. And I don't make money from it. I get adsense earning of $20 - $30 a month and spend $45 - $50 a month on the email delivery tool. I can't count the numbers of training classes I have gotten late to because I was trying to get done with the daily post writing.

I have come across people who just can't seem to understand me. I would work crazy hard for N200,000 and reject N1,500,000 of much less work. They don't know that the crazy hard work I did for N200,000 was not just for the money but more for me. It must have been what I really want to do. Maybe would still have done it if no money was attached. 

I don't have values, like an identifiable set of values that I can consistently list out any day. But I do recognize value and know when I am creating one. More importantly, I try to create value always. So I might not be living a values driven life but I am sure living a value driven life :)