My favorite movies are ones where someone turns an adversity or a weakness or a disability or being an outcast into a source of strength. My favorite heroes are the zero to hero ones, the grass to grace ones and the ones who made it in spite of the odds/environment.

One question I didn't ponder about these heroes is - couldn't they have run away from the adversity or the demeaning environment? 

Today I am going to share the other side of my Nigerian coin. The other side of the gloom and doom that's eerily visible in the country.

I think being in this country gives us all the conditions and ingredients needed to be a hero. Whether one is successful or not is a different matter. 

We have all read about how the current most powerful country got that status a grace de World War 2. One of the lowest points for humans on earth, if there was life on Mars, moon and Venus, I think many of the people who put all their energy into making the most of the gloom would have shifted their focus to emigrating to Mars, moon and Venus.

Again, many of us have heard of Carlos Slim and many of the world richest men who got their big lift in life from staying + investing when others couldn't wait to get out. That was how Carlos Slim hit it big, he simply bought at very low prices from those hurrying to get out of Mexico during the lows of 1980s. Just like we are having our own lows right now.

Sometimes, like now, I tell myself that I have more to gain from staying than leaving. Yes, I can't argue away the risks that mount with the insecurity and poor leadership. If the other times don't overwhelm the sometimes, I hope to write novels that will capture life and our daily struggles so that the generations after us will read them to know what life was like for us (same way we read Charles Dickens to know what 19th century England was like, how Mark Twain captured 19th century America and how Molière captured 17th century France). I hope to also find many underpriced assets and investments to own and I hope to be very contented with the Nigeria I am served.

As for the topic of this post, it sure does take a good level of contentment to stay back to tap into the creativity that comes from dancing in the rain, calmly thinking while surrounded by a large conflagration and wealth often comes from tapping into opportunities people are too busy focused on something else to see. Most importantly, happiness comes from within. If you are not happy in the current Nigeria, you most likely won't be happy anywhere. There is always something to complain about in even the heaven to our Nigerian hell - tax, racism, cold, food, neighbours, strict laws and language. You are either a happy person or an unhappy person. Yes, an unhappy person can be temporarily happy -- it's his birthday, he won a lottery, something pleasant just happened to him. Events are always temporary happenings, and if they are the source of one's happiness then that happiness is a short lived one. True happiness comes from within. And I know that I am a happy person.

Are you?

Last month I installed the new Windows 11 on my Dell XPS 15 and it's been all wow. The look and features of Windows 11 are very impressive.

It brings the same beautiful look and slick appearance people always say make Mac a more lovely OS than Windows. 


The taskbar is now different looking in a beautiful way. If you ask me to describe how everything looks like on Windows 11, I can give you a one word answer: Amazing!





You can read up on the Windows 11 and its cool features: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2021/06/24/introducing-windows-11/

The one I am most thrilled about is the ability to run Android apps on Windows 11.


 

We are thrilled to announce the launch of UrBizEdge’s Personalized for me, this special pack allows you to pick the topics/areas you want to master in Excel and Power BI to achieve your objectives and aspirations. You will also have a trainer take you through applying these to your reports. Our goal is to help you further develop your skills through a personalized learning experience.

With over 7 years of experience, UrBizEdge thus has a unique perspective on the evolution of jobs, industries, organizations, and skills over time. Today we are expanding our current programs by delivering a personalized, comprehensive, course designed just to fit your evolving business needs. Another key advantage of this special pack is having both consulting and training at the cost of just training. 

How to Get Started?

If interested, take a look through these topics listed below and let us know which ones you want to set up a customized one-on-one class around. 

Based on your selection we will then have the class structured into an appropriate number of days. The price for this premium offering is N50,000/day. For most people, 1 or 2 days cover their unique focus areas. We have had huge success delivering this model for many managers and super busy executives who would rather just have a class structured around their needs and usage scenarios with a very personalized touch.

Modern Excel:

  • New Formulas in Excel
    • XLOOKUP which is the replacement for VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, and INDEX + MATCH combo
    • UNIQUE to remove duplicates and create dynamic dashboards/reports
    • FILTER to have a dynamic filter and create dependent dropdowns
    • SEQUENCE
    • SORT, SORTBY
    • RANDARRAY
    • LAMBDA
  • Power Query – the ultimate data transformation and cleaning tool in Excel
    • Combining data/reports from multiple sheets super easily
    • Combining data/reports from multiple files super easily
    • Pulling data from multiple sources and cleaning/transforming them
    • Unpivot (a magical data transformation tool)
    • Unrivaled column splitting
      • Split to rows
      • Separate numbers from texts
      • Split by case change
      • Split on every x number of characters
    • AI Insights
      • Text Analytics
      • Vision
      • Azure Machine Learning
    • Groupby (SQL type action)
    • Append Queries
    • Merge Queries
      • Standard Merge
      • Fuzzy Match to handle inconsistent spellings
  • Power Pivot
    • Handling data of more than 1.05 million rows
    • Data Modeling (creating relationships between datasets and more)
    • DAX formulas
    • Integrating with Pivot Table
  • Deep Dive into Pivot Table and Pivot Charts
    • Using Pivot Table to create very interactive dashboards
    • Slicers and Timelines
  • Data visualization and Charts
    • Understanding all the new 18 charts in Microsoft Excel
    • Combo chart
    • Sparklines
    • Conditional formatting as a visual
    • Icons and smart arts (infographics)
  • Formulas Deep Dive
    • IF, AND, OR, IFS, SWITCH, XOR
    • SUMIFS, COUNTIFS with wildcards (especially * and ?)
    • ISNA, ISERROR, ISBLANK, ISLOGICAL, ISFORMULA, ISREF, ISTEXT, ISNUMBER
    • VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, INDEX + MATCH combo
    • EDATE, EOMONTH, TODAY, NOW, DATE, TEXT, YEAR, MONTH, DAY, DATEDIF, NETWORKDAYS, 
    • CONCATENATE, CONCAT, TEXTJOIN, FIND, SEARCH, MID, LEFT, RIGHT
    • SUMPRODUCT to replace VLOOKUP, SUMIFS etc (a must know for anyone claiming Excel expert level)
    • INDEX (one of the most versatile formulas in Excel)
  • Creating Dashboards in Excel
  • Planning and Strategy Tools in Excel
    • Goal Seek
    • Scenario Manager
    • Data Table
    • Solver
  • Integrating Excel with Data Science tools
    • R (using BERT)
    • Python (using xlwings)
    • JavaScript Office APIs
  • Power Automate in Excel
  • Excel VBA
    • Recording macro
    • Coding from Scratch
      • Userforms
      • Modules
      • User-Defined Functions  VBA

Power BI: 

  • Mastering Power Query in Power BI
    • Power Query handbook with M codes
    • Advanced Editor use
    • Column profiling
    • Diving into the deep end of Merge and Append
    • Magic of Right Click
    • Mastering the Power Query interface
      • Enabling the Formula bar
      • Query Settings
      • Query Dependencies
  • DAX deep dive
    • Must know DAX formulas (CALCULATE, FILTER, SUMMARIZE etc)
    • DAX Studio
    • Debugging incorrectly working DAX formulas
    • Optimising your DAX
  • Data Modeling
    • Relationships
    • Cardinality
    • Direction
    • Synonyms
    • Date Table
  • Visuals and Report Creation
    • Native visuals
    • Imported/marketplace visuals
    • Symbols and Unicode icons
    • Report layouting
    • Row-level security
  • Report Publishing, Dashboards, and Power BI Service
  • AI in Power BI
  • Power BI Settings

In summary,

  1. You get to choose the topics you want to master.
  2. You get to choose the date to have the class.
  3. You get more options of venue (our place or your place).
  4. You get to have the trainer work on your report for you during the training.
  5. You get to improve on the new areas of data analysis you are weak at without being forced to go through areas not important to you as is often the case in general training classes.
  6. The best part is that we are setting the fees at a very affordable rate that’s the same as the general classes while you get a personalized training.

Don’t delay. Take advantage of this offer before the price is raised. Reply to us now or call Hope on 0703-990-2445 or Faith on 0913-137-0701.

 "Mike, don't look at the wall or the traffic cones, rather look where you want to go. That is the trick to riding a motorcycle. Don't look at the obstacle you want to avoid but at the clear path you want to take."

That is what my riding instructor said all throughout my learning to ride a motorcycle.

Today, I think it is true for riding through life itself. 

Everyday we are flooded with images and news of what is not going well for us or around us. There are too many things we want to avoid and steer clear off, but not everyone puts in the conscious effort to focus on where they want to go and not what they want to avoid.

As a friend, I want to share with you that important lesson I got from my instructor. At first, it sounded like a childish way of forcing me to act differently. I thought that no expert rider sees a pothole right on his path and takes his gaze away from it. That is not how we drive cars and I was sure that to avoid a pothole one needed to keep his eyes on it rather than away from it. But the more I ride, the more I find out that as unconventional as it sounds, it is actually the only way to ride a motorcycle.

You see a corner you want to take, you look beyond the corner. You see a path you want to take, you don't look at the cars you want to avoid but at that path between that truck on the right and the bus on the left as that is the way to ride between them.

I strongly believe that we should go through life with the same approach. If you want to go to Canada, don't look at all the roadblocks in front of you but have your gaze on the path you hope to take. If you want to enjoy Nigeria, then don't feast on the bad news streaming out daily rather set your face on the goodness you desire. If you want to marry a great person, then don't come up with why they don't exist, but set your mind at ease and open to finding him/her. If you want to have a great career don't let the stories of how hard it is be your daily meal rather let the inspiration from those already living that dream work life be your constant meal. 

If you love comparing, there will always be people doing more with less than you have and people doing less with more than you have. You can choose to beat yourself up and kill all joy on your way to getting to where you want to go, or you can choose to ignore the pressures and focus solely on where you want to go. Soak in the beauty around you, enjoy the journey, feel the breeze, let the gyrations flow through your body and open your senses. Sometimes the journey is just as important as the destination, don't let the obstacles ruin your ride.

This past two weeks I hooked up my Razer Blade Pro 17 model 2020 to Nicehash and have been mining crypto at the rate of about $2.5/day

So far I have made $15.49 from about 8 days of leaving my laptop to mine overnight when I am done with work for the day. My laptop's GPU is Nvidia RTX 2080 Super Max-Q and has a total power limit of 100W.

I get about 33 MH/s (mega hash per second) which is the way the crypto mining performance is measured. The more hash you can do, the more money you are basically printing.

Originally, I was doing about 28 MH/s then I read on Reddit that I can bring down my computer temperature and boost the MH/s if I overclock the GPU's memory and underclock the GPU's core clock. So I overclocked the memory by +895 and underclocked the core by - 502. And it worked as described - the laptop ran slightly cooler at 70 degrees Celsius and the hash rate jumped to 33 MH/s


I am feeling excited about the possibility of doing it on 24/7 scale but it would require getting a dedicated device (either GPU based setup or an ASIC miner).

After scouring the net, I found that one can buy an affordable and profitable dedicated miner, hook it to the internet and have it permanently on. For 3 days I was drawn to Goldshell Mini-DOGE miner that sells for $699 and makes you about $2.50/day. And it consumes a meagre 235W which is super impressive for a miner.


Sadly, it has been out of stock for weeks and no information on when one can grab one from the manufacturer's sales store. When I searched for other sellers, they have theirs listed at twice the official retail price. I settled on buying from a seller on Aliexpress who was selling his for $960 with a power supply unit (PSU) so he is not marking up his own very much as Goldshell sells at $750 (I heard) if its coming with a PSU but I am check to go click checkout for the past one week.

Now I am considering getting a GPU based miner. Maybe buy a gaming desktop with a Nvidia 30xx series GPU card. Saw one today that will mine me $4.70/day but is priced at N980,000. It's a great PC and can do more than just mining. 


I am sure the allure will wear off before I can sell my stocks to raise the money. But for sure, the mining bug has bite me.

How would you like to learn from industry experts from around the globe every week, investing just 1 hour each Sunday afternoon/evening?

Is it free? 

Yes and you get to win prizes from our sponsors. Prizes that range from $100 cash/coupon, mentorship, training resources, training coupons and physical gift items.

What do you have to do?

All you have to do is join the meetup community and attend the weekly 1 hour sessions. 

Join the Financial Modeling and Valuation Learning Community at https://www.meetup.com/Financial-Modeling-Valuation-Learning-Community and participate in the 1 hour interactive sessions that hold every Sunday at 2:00pm to 3:00pm UTC+1

Join the Microsoft Excel and Data Analysis Learning Community at https://www.meetup.com/Microsoft-Excel-and-Data-Analysis-Learning-Community and participate in the 1 hour interactive sessions that hold every Sunday at 4:00pm to 5:00pm UTC+1

Join the Power BI Learning Community at https://www.meetup.com/Power-BI-Learning-Community and and participate in the 1 hour interactive sessions that hold every Sunday at 6:00pm to 7:00pm UTC+1

Where can you see what the previous sessions have been like?

To see what you have been missing so far, you can check out the YouTube playlist, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCidg3bIqr7TQHz6MEWWbLng , for all the past sessions. We have had speakers from all over the world: Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, Pakistan, Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand and other countries. And big names like Bill Jelen, Marco Russo, Matt Allington, Reid Havens, Celia Alves, Chandoo, Danielle Fairhurst, Alan Murray, Liam Bastick, Ken Puls, Victor Momoh, George Lungu, Ahmed Oyelowo, Charles Otoghile, Evans Otalor, Microsoft internal team, Ramon Bello, Leon Gordon, Bernard Obeng and many others.

What do you stand to gain?


You get to learn new ways of doing things better, get to know what’s new, see how the experts use the tool you love, get new insights and be at the forefront of trends in this analytics space. And your productivity, career, exposure and skills will be better week on week.


Any extras for you?


Yes, we have onboarded many generous sponsors who are offering exam discount vouchers, training coupons, gift items, cash awards and many goodies to our community members. So don’t delay, join as many of the communities that interest you and be part of this sweepstakes weekly.


Can you have the joining details again?


Yes.

Join the Financial Modeling and Valuation Learning Community at https://www.meetup.com/Financial-Modeling-Valuation-Learning-Community and participate in the 1 hour interactive sessions that hold every Sunday at 2:00pm to 3:00pm UTC+1

Join the Microsoft Excel and Data Analysis Learning Community at https://www.meetup.com/Microsoft-Excel-and-Data-Analysis-Learning-Community and participate in the 1 hour interactive sessions that hold every Sunday at 4:00pm to 5:00pm UTC+1

Join the Power BI Learning Community at https://www.meetup.com/Power-BI-Learning-Community and and participate in the 1 hour interactive sessions that hold every Sunday at 6:00pm to 7:00pm UTC+1


We look forward to seeing you this Sunday!

How do you genuinely feel happy for friends, family and peers who just zoomed past you (success-wise) without feeling sad or that you need to overtake them (catch up)?

Some people try to talk down the success - oh, it's going to be temporal, they'll be back to their previous level; he's paying a much greater unsustainable price for it; and so on.

Other people try to find a balance by finding and focusing on three people who are currently struggling for every one person who has zoomed past them success-wise. They ease the pressure on themselves by saying - afterall, I am doing better than A, B & C.

A few people genuinely just don't care. 

Wanna guess which category I am in?

I used to be in the "just don't care" category. You could win a billion dollar from the lottery number I picked for you and I wouldn't care much. I would simply tell myself that it was not my time to come into such type of money or that destiny has something else in store for me or God knows best. I had a store of those type of sentences to break me from feeling envious of another person's success.

Then I went from age 20 to past age 30. My time would come no longer sounded as good as it used to.

I began seeing plenty people doing not as well as I was at a point, some even openly expressed how much they envy my state in life, zoom ahead of me. I found a convenient sentence for the first. Found another good enough sentence to dismiss the second. Can't remember on what count my sentences started failing me but I sure can tell you that I am now in the two other categories at the same time. When someone zoom ahead of me now, I first check if I can pin it to an unsustainable high price they are paying or a transient occurrence. If I can't pick a hole in the way they zoomed past me, then I switch to finding a balance in focusing on others I had zoomed past.

So how should you handle other people's successes without putting undue pressure on yourself?

That's a question I am trying to work out a refined answer for. I have an approach I am taking now and I hope that by sharing that approach with you all, I can get some feedback from you all and come into the refined answer I am seeking.

Personally, I am not a fan of "the end justifies the means". I think that regardless of the easing of the pressure that talking down another person's success achieves, it is inherently not a good thing to make a habit of. 

Finding a balance in focusing on other people who are facing some tough times is also a bad activity and sets you up for a much worse situation when one of those people zoom ahead of you in the future. 

So I am trying to modify the "just don't care" option. Now that I can't say my time will come with the confidence I used to when I was much younger, any sentence with "my destiny" in it sounds lame, and "God knows best" gives a feeling of tragedy. How then do I genuinely not care?

I found another sentence - enjoy your journey. Enjoy your own unique journey through life.

What do you think?

 


Running a consulting business in Nigeria is nothing like what you read in the books or hear from other consultants in developed countries. I think the only right way to successfully run a consulting business in Nigeria is to use the KPMG/PwC approach.

What is the KPMG/PwC approach?

  1. As the owner/manager, don't get involved at all in the project execution.
  2. Play golf, go clubbing/partying, socialize and do lots of grand impression creation to win big clients/projects
  3. Have a very active and assertive legal team to handle both clients and staff
  4. Have more project managers and supervisors than the number of people doing the actual work
  5. Institute a lot of red tapes and processes to ensure clients do not talk directly to the people doing the real work and every request is checked with a supervising manager to be sure it is within scope
  6. No emotions. If CBN or FGN suddenly issue a policy that makes the project useless, not your headache. Client must pay up.
  7. Ultimately, let your love for money/revenue be way more than your love for the field you are consulting in. In choosing between an exciting project and a higher paying zombie project, there shouldn't be any hesitation in picking the zombie project over the exciting one. It is only for the sake of PR or ethics, that you choose a less paying project over a higher paying project
  8. Have very strong internal policies that prohibit employees from deviating from the documented deliverables. No going an extra mile for the clients.
Is anything wrong with this approach? NO.

They why my negative title to this post? Well, for people like me who went into consulting because of the love for the field (data analysis), it is an almost impossible approach. I find it almost impossible to pick socializing over getting involved in the project execution/implementation. I absolutely will pick low paying highly exciting project over a zombie project. And I hate red tapes, having the client pass through numerous gatekeepers to get any message to the guys doing the actual work. So it is either I let go of the business side of consulting and act as a technical staff in my company while letting someone else manage the business side using the effective approach already mentioned, or I get out completely from the consulting business in Nigeria.

Guess which option I picked? Correct! Only a first time reader of my blog would need help with the answer.

I have done many consulting projects for clients in Nigeria and outside Nigeria, and the experiences have been consistently worlds apart. Even when I was inexperienced and had no skills in managing projects, I still found the foreign projects more enjoyable than even a higher paying local project. 

Why?
  1. Somehow, the foreign clients stick more to the project scope. They are usually very honest with admitting upfront that an out of scope need/request has come up and ask if I am willing to take it up as a separate project with separate timeline and additional costs. A Nigerian client usually begs you to add this "small change", often chaining the "small changes" in a long link of spaced out requests; makes no mention of new timeline or additional payment.
  2. Many foreign clients allow a hourly billing setup. I am yet to meet a Nigerian client (company or individual) that allows me do a hourly billing setup for their project.
  3. Nigerians have two buckets for consultants: the artisans bucket and the draconian bucket. If you are not making life difficult for them (red tapes, lengthy processes, many auxiliary staff to deal with, approval processes, lots of request declines), they treat you like their carpenter, mechanic, tailor and hairdresser. They pay no respect for your time, call you at odd hours of the day, have non ending urgent but small requests and just plain remind you of how you treat your mechanic.
  4. Project procurement process in Nigeria has a disproportionately high "messed up" ratio. There are too many projects where the internal staff are using it for their own personal gain and not for any corporate benefits. Either a government ministry or agency is using it to unlock some budgeted money, so they come up with easy to approve but unneeded projects; or a non-profit needs to meet an empowerment KPI and sets up a poorly structured project hurriedly. I don't want to mention the absurdities I have seen in the for-profit companies. 
So what am I rambling about?

Consulting is lucrative in Nigeria but requires an approach that creates unneeded frictions and overheads. Some use the honest approach I laid out in the beginning paragraphs. Sadly, I see some other consultants use the artisans approach (since that's what the clients treat them like): they put bugs in their solutions, create problems that keep the client coming back, be untruthful and manipulative, and just plain remind you of your worst mechanic.

To everyone who called me, messaged me, emailed me and visited me to encourage me to write again: thank you!



I have found not writing daily just as difficult as writing daily. I thought about it daily. I missed the therapy it gave me. I missed the emails I get from you all. I missed taking forever to reply. I missed the mind purge. I missed the ideas bounce. I miss many of you.

Not writing daily has its surprising advantages. It removed the tendency of making conclusions in one day just because I had to write about whatever occupied my mind each day. Writing has a way of making me choose a stance, doing a hurried research so I can have an introduction + body + conclusion. Even when I write to get your ideas, it is after sharing my inclination.

Not writing daily, has also made me feel quite important. Or should I say like a billionaire. Important people do not write about their own lives daily and billionaires try to stay incognito. Imagine I get into a political race or company board tussle, all the armo my opponents need to rubbish me is readily provided by me on my website. 

There were days I wished some of my employees were not subscribed to my blog. And I wondered how far back they read. Luckily, I think I talk and act in harmony with the way I write. But still I didn't feel comfortable with my wife, my family members and my work colleagues knowing more than I tell them directly. My wife hates that she finds out on my blog first (whatever I wrote about). 

One thing I can say for sure is that: I didn't find a balance. The right frequency to write at and the right amount of sharing. I think that balance does not exist for me. So I just have to oscillate between not sharing and over sharing.

And you? How have you been? How have you been daily handling the news? 

I have stopped reading the news. The little amount that sips into my day unsought still manages to fill me with big worries. The kidnappings are no longer just somewhere far away happening to someone unknown. Currently, there is a classmate of mine whose sister was kidnapped on 4 June 2021 and we are all still praying for her safe release. The towns where massacres are happening are no longer ones I have never heard of or many states away. I am worried that it is like a storm and if it is not abating, then the difference between the person being pummeled and the person not experiencing the storm is just time, t. The best self development and preservation strategy is, perhaps, emigrating. And as a close friend says, get out first before overthinking where to go; you will have it easier to move from any saner/better country to your paradise country. 

This month I bought a gamers laptop - A high end Razer Blade pro 17 (2020 edition)




The specs are epic:
  • 10th gen Intel Core i7
  • 8 Cores/ 16 Threads that speeds up to 5.1GHz
  • 16GB RAM that I have upgraded to 40GB and will become 64GB RAM in a few days
  • 4K touchscreen at 120Hz
  • 1TB SSD that I have upgraded to 2TB (using the speediest SSD type that has a RAM shape)
  • 8GB Dedicated Graphics card
  • L3 cache of 16MB, L2 cache of 2MB and L1 cache of 512KB


My high-end Dell XPS 15 is now struggling to handle my data analysis work. It gets hot so quick that the fans go crazy and the CPU starts underperforming (thermal throttling), I just had to get a 4 fan, vapour chamber cooling gamers' laptop that is optimised for performance rather than for sleek looks and battery live.

What do you think about my comeback?

 

I am the one at the far left

Come join us and 30+ other presenters and enjoy 4 days (6-9 Feb 2021) of Excel goodness.

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