I have worked all my salaried jobs in the telecoms industry and until the last four weeks, I wouldn't have thought getting my company a landline would be a very tedious task.

The frustration started with identifying which landline companies are still in business. Almost all the ones I used to know have gone out of business or switched completely to another business line. I had to go to NCC's website to pull records of licensed landline providers in Nigeria. Still many of them are no longer existing.

I tried contacting the few still in business and most of them did not pick their inquiry/support lines. Some's didn't even connect/ring. And many had GSM lines as their support lines. Quite an irony for a landline company.

In the end, I was only able to reach ipNX. 

They provided us with a SIP line that has the following pattern 01-631XXXX. It requires you have a good/fast and always-on internet connection. And since we use wireless internet providers, I decided to go for a wireless SIP phone. Little did I know what trouble I would face getting a wireless SIP phone. 

I walked round computer village. The sellers all had just the wired SIP phones. They said that's what people mostly bought. I even bought something else I did not originally plan to buy but as it is with computer village, if you walk around too much you are certain to see something you'll suddenly need. Bought a N63,000 scanner (used HP Scanjet N6310) with automatic document feeder to make scanning our training participants feedback forms faster than using the scanner on our Cannon all-in-one printer. At a point I was exhausted and began considering buying the wired SIP phone and a means of connecting it to a wireless network. 

I ended up, via chain of referrals, buying one at Allen Avenue area from a vendor who was not nice with the price. Kept telling me to take it or leave it, no price negotiation.

It was worth the trouble. The ipNX line is impressively dependable and very clear (excellent voice call clarity). It doesn't receive SMS. At first, it was a trouble reconnecting after a disconnection (due to internet outage or power outage to the phone box) giving SIP 500 error for hours. I contacted the ipNX support and they reduced the reconnection retry seconds which solved the issue.

The SIP line only allows one connection instance. Meaning that you cannot connect more than one SIP phone to the line. You'll pay a one-time set up fee and an annual connection fee. The calls are billed at a per-minute rates. You recharge the line via Quickteller and it is a prepaid line.

I am now married. I have stopped writing daily. I now have employees. I now do more business management and admin activities than technical activities.

Everything I have said in my previous posts that I would not do, it seems I have done.

It is not that I am married that made me stop writing daily. I have stopped writing daily months before I got married last December. The reason is because I now see how easily people misread things (in general, and not particular to things said/authored by me) and I am trying to optimize (focus more on very few deliberate things especially now that I am responsible for the success of the people who work with me).

One of the steps I am taking this year to live a more focused and balanced life is getting a vision board conspicuously displayed in our bedroom and filled with photos + contents that will inspire us (my wife and me) to creating the future we want.

The car and the house (with a swimming pool) are my wife's. 

I use it to daily bring to my consciousness my long term goals of building Nigeria's first truly online stocks brokerage firm and building Nigeria's most dependable robust investment analysis platform. 

I sneaked in a lot of motivational quotes to keep me daily positively energized. I also put in some short term goals -- passing my March CIS level 2 exams, passing my Microsoft Power BI 77-778 exam, building a training curriculum for the AFM certification exam, making training videos, restarting our monthly webinars etc.

I am also discontinuing consulting (focusing solely on training and mass market solutions) as it is the least productive use of our company resources -- time and talents. I wrote it there on our vision board.

My wife says I have used up the space on the vision board with barely any space left for her to put her vision guides. I couldn't resist leaving unused spaces on it. Will gladly rearrange and take down some of mine to make space for any she wants to add.

We also bought goal oriented daily planners, mainly to help my wife with her personal and professional development. We found out that unlike me, who follows no well laid out strategy and milestones in setting and attaining my goals, she needs a well illustrated plan with weekly micro goals that builds up to achieving the big long-term and medium-term goals she has.

I try to religiously fill my planner daily. It is a pleasant new experience. Never used a planner before, and the Simple Elephant Planner we bought, after reading a lot of online reviews and comparing popular options, is an amazing well-designed practical planner.

BTW, what do you guys think about the election postponement? 

It's a very saddening news I woke up to this morning. And it has affected our training classes scheduled for Feb 22-23 and March 8-9, 2019. 
A friend, who is a car dealer, is helping me get a car. My current 1999 Camry is making my life difficult, throwing up one fault after the other. He would be bidding for a car on copart.com and shipping it from USA to Lagos. So I decided to have some extensive clear-all-doubts meeting with him. 

After we discussed about the car, the number of weeks it would take to reach me, the total amount and if this direct buying is truly better/safer than buying already-in-Lagos tokunbo car, we got talking about vacation and traveling outside the country. 

He asked me where we went for our honeymoon -- Senegal -- and how much it costed. It costed us N182,000/person for a return flight to Dakar and the hotel was about N24,000/night. I thought it was a good deal as all the destinations outside West Africa cost more than double. And then came the shocker from him.

He has been flying to Dubai and South Africa way cheaper than we paid to Dakar. In fact, not too long ago, he took his family -- he + wife + little son -- to Jo'burg for N360,000 return flight. All three of them! I think it was Ethiopian Airline. And Dubai. He goes there cheaper than one typical pays to go to Ghana. He then explained to me how he does the bargain hunting.

He starts first with using TravelStart to get details of cheapest airline for the date and destination he has in mind. Also, he explained which months of the year are typically cheaper for most vacationing destinations.

You then note the cheapest airlines for that route and date. In the example screenshot above for a Lagos to Dubai return trip for March 2019: Egyptair is the cheapest followed by Rwandair and Ethiopian Airline. 

You go to their websites and make the search there. This will show you if there are cheaper flights around that period so instead of going on March 5 at $300 you can switch to March 4 at $230. Then most foreign airlines do special price drop promos.

He says he typically spend days and weeks hunting for airline promos and noting which airlines fly cheap to his preferred destinations. Still, if you are okay with flying to London at the same price you would have gone to Accra then you might not need to hunt for days or weeks. But if you are looking for crazy irresistible deals that make flying out of the country cheaper than some local flights, then you should start monitoring popular foreign airlines weekly to get in when they do special price promos.

For me though, vacationing just got cheaper and more doable factoring that I am now we. We can now have a special fund/account for promo vacation. When it reaches a good amount, we start hunting for deals.

Also, he showed me how to use booking.com to pick excellent and very affordable hotels. Plus tips on how to make the most of my vacation without paying for any expensive tour or package.

We bought exactly this model:

Package looks like this:

My wife (code name, H) heard about it in one of the pre-marital counseling course classes we had last year. A guest presenter in the class mentioned how much better and more functional a Halogen oven is compared to Microwave Oven.

I decided to do my own reading too. Went online and read about Halogen Ovens. Are they truly amazing or just a shiny new tool that does nothing significantly more than a microwave? Well, after hours and days of poring over dozens of articles online I came to the following conclusions:

  1. They have no health benefits over Microwave oven (so no luck if you are one of those who feel Microwave is radioactively killing us). More sincerely, both Halogen Oven and Microwave Oven have no health hazard. Yes, the way Microwave Oven heats food might make some meats taste like rubber but that's purely the meats' fault.
  2. Microwave is awesome for reheating cooked food. Does it more (energy) efficiently than a Halogen Oven. But it can't cook rice, roast chicken, fry chips (in a little oil, healthy way), bake or even cook beans. Halogen oven does these and more.
  3. Just like how people who use iPhone feel their lives are intertwined with their iPhones in a way that makes them treat it specially above how other phone owners treat their phones, so also do the many people who posted online about their Halogen Oven. Many say they no longer touch their Microwave and traditional ovens, that its easily their most beloved kitchen appliance.
  4. We definitely need one.
And so we went on Jumia and bought one. We went for the brand consistently ranked high on foreign review sites.

We made the order on 25 December, 2018 (Christmas day) and got the delivery today (7 January 2019). 

I have already used it to roast the New Year full chicken I got from my parents. It tastes great. Even H says I have got a knack for all things food making. 😀

UrBizEdge Limited is a leading business data analysis training and consulting company in Nigeria. We are looking at hiring a Social Media Marketing intern.

Job role:
  1. Managing our social media platforms -- Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Blog. We have paid professional social media management platforms (Mailchimp, Hootsuite, Buffer, Upflow etc) which we will teach the intern to use.
  2. Manage the onsite chat tool on our website to engage prospective clients and guide them. Again, we will teach the intern how to do this.
  3. Create engaging and informative tweets and articles for posting across our social media platforms. We will teach the intern how to use professional content creation software and how to analyse performance/engagements.
  4. Follow-up on generated leads and earn conversion bonus. We will teach the intern to use the pipeline tracking and activity log software (CRM).
  5. Undergo our data analysis, financial modelling, business intelligence and other training we sell clients so as to be able to better communicate with leads and be more knowledgeable in data analysis.
  6. Manage our online presence and engagement tools. We will train the intern.

  1. First degree in any course
  2. Must be social media savvy and willing to learn to do proper digital marketing
  3. Must be very teachable, goal oriented and diligent
  4. Must be based in Lagos. Proximity to Anthony/Maryland is a plus, to avoid traffic stress that might impact work productivity.
  5. Good writing skills and grammar very important.
  6. Excellent team skills

  1. Base salary of N40,000 for the internship period of 6 months. 
  2. Health Insurance
  3. Internet and phone call allowance (monthly)
  4. Pension
  5. Performance bonus for every lead conversion

The internship is for a period of 6 months. After the internship, depending on performance, we convert the intern to permanent staff and higher remuneration (a mix of base and performance bonus).

Application Process:
Email your CV and cover letter to hannah@urbizedge.com and copy hr@urbizedge.com