Today is the last day of the year and to appreciate you all for your comments and mails, I'll be sharing with you a Goal tracker. It's a modified edition of my Exercise tracker and it has all the calendar dates in year 2014. It's a very cool way to keep track of your success regarding a new year resolution or a daily goal you want to achieve. It has a very beautiful design and will work excellently for those of you that want to print it out and stick to the front of your bedside fridge or the wall beside your bed or put inside your dairy/wallet. 

Here's the download link of the Daily Goal Tracker.

For me, starting from tomorrow, my daily goals are --

  1. To post one article on my blog (daily blog post)
  2. To make the most of each day
  3. To smile a lot
  4. To eat well
  5. To think only positive thoughts
  6. To not care about what people (will) think or say
  7. To be me always
And those are my daily goals for 2014. 

What are yours?

P.S. I've got other goals too. Family related. Work related. Finance related. Just that they are not tied to any daily activity.

See you next year!

"The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them." George Bernard Shaw.


Most people do not see beyond the present. All they see when they look at a baby is a helpless child. They do not see the future. Once they form an opinion about you, they hold on to it forever. They've somehow, by their words and actions, forgotten that people change: that people grow. That the people they are dying to meet were all once helpless babies. They do not know the right way to treat people.

When I got my second job I almost died of frustration. I was employed as an MIS (Management Information System) and Business Analyst. My job role involved making lots of Excel reports and PowerPoint presentations. All my life till that point, I had avoided having anything to do on MS Excel and I wasn't good with PowerPoint. And now my salary and job safety were dependent on MS Excel and PowerPoint. My first months were like hell; I was shown what to do and given the report templates. But every time I sat in front of my PC to make the reports, it was a struggle. For every step I took forward, I would have taken 3 backwards. Everything I did was very clumsy and unprofessional. But I had a senior colleague who treated me right. Even though he would occasionally help me with a report I have spent 6 hours trying to make, and do it in 20mins. And it always looked like magic to me. He kept encouraging me and telling me that in a matter of time I would be even better than him, which I never believed. He didn't see me as a helpless fellow. He saw a bright future for me. And he gave me a gentle push towards that future. He treated me as his equal, and not a weakling who was always screwing up the reports and giving the client weapons to use against the company. I won't forget the day I sent a confidential internal report to the Africa HQ team of the client. "Michael, what have you done? You've just put us on fire."
But I grew. And became as good as my Godsent senior colleague; he frequently says I'm better than him. He taught me the right way to treat people. 

Andrew Carnegie said, "See the best in others; give them a reputation to live up to." And that's the right way to treat people. Be super nice to everyone. See the Roman Abramovic in every orphan. The Oprah Winfrey in every street girl. Not because you want to make them feel good, but because it's the only right way to treat people. No matter how helpless a person may look, the potential they have is always enormous. What they can do and achieve will always be beyond anyone's imagination. And you have no right to treat them like dirt. You don't have to help them or pity them; just be nice to them. And if you can, give them a reputation to live up to: like my senior colleague did to me.

"Are you sure this is Coconut Rice? I can't see any coconut in it."


Yeah. Mistakes are the stepping stones to learning. 

Everyday, I see people who are trying hard to not make a blunder. I see them at The Palms, extremely self-conscious. I see them in professional training classes, never volunteering to do anything or even ask a question. I see them at exquisite restaurants, struggling with the fork and knife. I see them at work, won't do anything without authorization or use their own initiative. They don't want to make mistakes, because they hate the embarrassment. Unfortunately, mistakes are the stepping stones to learning. So they keep passing up great opportunities to learn.

Mistakes are good.
Don't be too self-conscious to make a mistake, because someday you might end up paying heavily for not having the skill/knowledge that comes with making that mistake. 

I've forced myself to no longer be ashamed of my mistakes. Because of the not-so regular way I grew up, I ended up with almost perfect knowledge/skill in some things and almost no knowledge/skill in some very common things. And on the few occasions I went out with friends or relatives, I was always out of place. My comments kept making me look like an idiot, exposing my alarming ignorance of very common things. But the people that were close to me knew why and hardly made fun of me. The knew that there were some other things they could not dream of doing that I do effortlessly, and that they were some cool things I have almost impeccable knowledge of. One day, I thought about it all and I decided that I wouldn't bother about what some stranger I probably will never meet again thinks of me. I will go from one mistake to another as long as the people I care about aren't offended. And luckily, maybe because I care about very few people, I ended up not offending any of them and I learned all the things I should have learned as a kid. Now I'm almost becoming the guy that knows too much. And that's how powerful making mistakes are. The benefits greatly outweigh the cost. And I love the effect it has on people who compliments me on a skill, I just recently acquired, when I tell them all the embarrassing mistakes I've made before becoming that good.

And the best part is they help you connect deeply with people: a new friend, a date, your spouse, your children, and your employees.

The greatest tragedy in life is not being without a dream. 
I repeat: the greatest tragedy in life is not being without a dream.

The greatest tragedy in life is leaving like a robot, not stretching your creative capability. And that is very different from not having a dream. 

While growing up my dream was to become a geek, someone with supercool computer skills. The 4:00pm cartoons on NTA 2 channel 5 played a huge role in forming that dream. The small guys with amazing computer skills kept thrashing the big guys. And somehow, my dream came true. I have once been in a place, for official work, and the network they let me connect to had no internet access. But there was another one, a wireless one, with internet access. One day I was so pissed off seeing others surf the net while I was surfing my computer folders, I decided to get the wireless password for myself. I restarted my laptop and booted into one of the 3 Linux OS I had on it. I then went straight to the command terminal and typed a bunch of commands; 30 minutes later I had the password. Unfortunately, the Linux didn't boot normally again till I was able to fix it one year after.
I still have a mail in my box; a US-based online Linux training institute wants me be a part-time instructor (I'll go reply the mail now). I don't really use antivirus software, I fix my virus issues myself. I get all sorts of technical invites. Dream accomplished. 

But I lived like a robot. You could build a robot to replicate me: just make it very good at fixing computer issues and you're almost done. Then get it a specs, a thick tiny one (the bottom of a coca-cola bottle would be perfect). Don't give it any social skills and make it dislike all social events. And you're done. You could just name it Robo-Mike. 


That's the tragedy I'm talking about. We are made in the image of God -- to be widely unpredictable and extremely creative. The moment we start making strict rules about every aspect of lives, we begin to live like a robot, programmed to act in a predictable manner. And that is what I call the greatest tragedy in life. 

Being creative isn't about solving the problems you encounter. It isn't about doing your job with perfection. It isn't about being an expert in your field. Being creative is about expressing your unique being in all you do. It's about being human, and not a robot. Letting your work flow through you: through your weaknesses and your strengths. Not restricting yourself. Being creative is all about being you -- the complete you. If I could change from a Robo-Mike to the one writing this post, then anyone can become unrigid. 

As this year rolls to an end, these last 4 days present us with a great opportunity to reflect on the entire year: expectations met and expectations left dangling, promises made and promises received, gifts taken and gifts given, pleasant surprises and unpleasant ones, successes and failures, and best of all -- the memories.
Yeah. The memories. 


See the quote in the image above? It says -- Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.

And it's very true. Though this year has been a very short one; I remember Jan 1st 2013 like it was a month ago. Yet, it has been filled with lots of memories for me. Lots of events. Lots of weddings. But the things I remember vividly are the special moments I had, and they are all the little things. My boss telling me he doesn't know what it would have been like without me, that I do what no one else in the company can do and that I give life to his ideas. I felt like Superman and Batman combined. Even remembering it makes me feel extremely special. That day, I had helped out with building from scratch an application that saved us money and headaches, and he took me out for lunch to celebrate. And he said it without the slightest intent of making me feel good about it; he said while thinking back, loudly, on the turn of events. He didn't event notice the effect on me. It was a little thing.

I helped a US analyst on a small job. It was a very small job; took me about 10 minutes to complete. But he was so impressed with the job and paid me more than what we agreed. It was a little thing. But it changed my life. It gave me the courage to take up jobs I wasn't sure I could do. And spurred me on to starting a registered Business Consulting firm.

A friend, Imisi, invited me to collaborate on a fiction series. He is a much better writer. Every time I read his blog posts, I see what I want my writings to be like someday -- strong and perfect. I had a tough time convincing myself that I could write anything worthy of being put up on his blog, but he kept encouraging me and telling it wasn't a big deal, that I could do it. He helped me all the way, and the result was beyond me. But the part that touched me was his introduction of me (you can read it here, Terminal 8: Crime Pays). It was like Albert Einstein calling someone else a genius. I had to read it twice to be sure that I was seeing right. Then I read it a third time. I thanked him for it, but to him, he was just saying his mind. It was a little thing. But it gave me one of the best memory of the year.

The other ones are very personal. But they are all little things too.

And you? Has it been the same for you?

Willy Loman was right, "being liked" is a key to success and the all you need is "a smile and a shoeshine." 
For me, always having a smile on my face has turned me to the most liked guy at my workplace, both at my current job and previous job. It has turned me into a favorite customer at most of the restaurants I frequent. It has turned me to the happy-face guy at most social events I attend. And best of all, it's constantly getting extra benefits -- bigger sized meals at restaurants, special greetings, gifts, special offers, and lots of smiles back. And now my face is turning into a permanent smile; I've got smile lines.


Yeah. Smile and the world smiles with you.

If there's one thing I'll like you to do from now on, and even tie to a new year resolution, it is to smile, and almost always. 

Ladies have asked for my phone numbers way more than I have asked for theirs, though it's mainly due to the fact that I very rarely ask for people's phone numbers, it's also due to the fact that I've got a pleasant smile almost always on my face and I say things that make people smile. Smiling works pleasant wonders. It makes people want to be around you, call you a lot too (which is the only disadvantage), and think of you in a bright pleasant light. 

In fact, people say I smile in my sleep. It's that addictive. Once you make the initial effort to turn smiling into a habit, you won't be able to stop smiling. And the coolest part is it makes you a magnet to children. You could put me + 20 other adults + 10 children in a conference room, and 20 mins later you'll find all the 10 children gathered around me. I can't fully explain why, but from experience it's always been like that. During my NYSC, the students wrote about me as their favorite teacher and I was always having a tough time keeping them from laughing too loud in my class (which greatly annoyed the permanent teachers). And I always connect with children, without really trying. And I think it's because I've got a smiley face. And nothing gets you more special consideration that when a child tells his parents about you, and in a happy pleasant way. It could get you a cool project or make you a big sale.

And that's how powerful a constant smile is.

I was once at Oshodi, late at night, and an Omoota (a ruffian that lives off the street) was trying to rob me. In the end, he gave me back my phone and said, "Sha take your phone. We be the same." I couldn't believe my ears. You could have taken us for two different human species -- me, in my professor-like specs and dressed like I work in a bank; and him, well he was just like the other men of his trade that live under the bridge at Oshodi. 


In September 2011, I went to Cotonou to practice my French for 1 month. I was robbed and had to come back just to use my ATM, and went back. I was constantly being swindled by the commercial motorists. In all my life the only loss I have made that almost equals the money I was robbed and swindled off in that one month stay at Cotonou was in the stock market. 

I remember while discussing how dangerous Lagos could be with my room mates, a friend who has lived almost all his life outside Lagos said, "If this Michael can live in Lagos, then I can't have any problem in Lagos." I had the looks of a weak buttie who grew up under strict parental control and couldn't survive the Lagos we were painting to him.

I have lived almost all my life in Lagos. I grew up in an area where street fights were common and bottles were the preferred weapon. I had fun rolling small wheels' rim and paint bucket covers using my dad's metal cloth hanger, up and down the streets. I would also throw rubber bands, winning more whenever I'm lucky. I played table tennis with all sorts of rackets and on all sorts of tables. I spent more Christmas nights doing inter-street banger challenge than I remember at church. I once schooled in a public school where a student came to school with a gun and tried to kill one of the teachers; the school scattered that day. But somehow, I turned out different -- both in look and attitude. Even my parents were surprised. I look and act like I grew up in a Seminary and has never witnessed any violent scene. And the most shocking part is I'm completely like that -- ice cold calm, truthful and extremely hard to annoy. 

So I was very surprised when the ruffian said I we are the same. And then I noticed an interesting trend. All throughout my childhood, I never got into single fight with any other kid on the street. I was always treated special. I got reserved slots at almost all games and I was everybody's friend. It was only at school that things were different, where I got bullied. Then at University, the only time I was cornered by some bad boys on my way home they gave me back my stuffs and even apologized. Then it occurred to me that despite my buttie look and attitude, I am street smart.

Street smart is being able to get around without a hitch in a city like Lagos. I have slept over at a filling station while travelling to Bayelsa from Lagos at 5:00pm.

After thinking hard about how it was that I could flourish in Lagos and get robbed almost everyday in Cotonou, I found out that it was because I lived most of my life in Lagos, and lived a very active life -- always here and there. And that's the only way to be street smart -- you've got to be on the streets and live a very active life.

Merry Christmas!

I have friends who are always getting confused by the myriad of options they have to pick from when all they want to buy is just a good smartphone. They look at the sea of smartphones available and become overwhelmed. Then they call me and ask for my opinion. 

So today, I will be sharing the simple trick I use when making an electronic gadget purchase.

They are based on these solid principles --

  • Tech gadgets are always getting cheaper and slightly better. Notice the "slightly". In day-to-day use, Samsung S4 is almost not noticeably better than Samsung S3. Trust me; I use Samsung S2 and I'm a tech freak. I am yet to see a very useful feature S4 has that S2 doesn't have. Never buy the latest release. Remember when Blackberry Z10 and Q10 were selling for over N100k. Now you can get that same Z10 for N48k. And it's still 2013.
  • Tecno is not cheaper than the iPhone. Surprised? But that's the truth. In the tech world, cheap is very expensive. You'll pay everyday for lack of ergonomics (ease-of-use) and it will always be a lousy partner in your life. It's just like comparing a NAPEP (Tricycle) to Toyota Camry. You are better off not having a car at all than having a Tricycle. Price is what you pay; value is what you get. Buy only devices from a quality brand -- Samsung, Apple, Sony and LG --- they have research centers that cost billions of dollar to run yearly. They give you the best, in value and user experience. If I'm on a budget, I'll buy a N10k Samsung phone and not a N10k Tecno phone that has everything.
  • You don't need everything. I love the iPad. I like Samsung tablets. But I don't need them. I have never been in a situation where I was frustrated for not having an iPad. And that's how I know if I need a thing. My laptop is almost a carcass, since the motherboard died and I couldn't get another board in Computer Village, I bought a dead similar laptop with a working motherboard then I proceeded to do the biggest surgery I've ever done (actually, it was done by a great guy at Computer Village). I implanted my laptop screen, keyboard, hard-drive and RAM into the dead battered laptop. The screws weren't even complete. Once in a while, my hard-disk shakes and disconnects from its connection slot. I have a screwdriver in my laptop bag, to take the laptop apart and reconnect the hard-disk when this happens. Unfortunately, to reach the hard-disk one needs to remove the entire back of the laptop. And why do I keep doing this instead of buying a new laptop? It's partly because I'm in love with the laptop; it's a solid Sony VAIO that has been extremely faithful till the motherboard issue that was my fault. And secondly, I have a wonderful Microsoft Surface RT tablet with 10 hours battery life and does everything I do on my laptop, except writing macros and doing heavy graphics design. 
  • Smartphones have uninstall buttons too. Uninstall applications you don't use, no matter how cool they are. This will ensure that you keep enjoying the sleek performance it had when you newly bought. Then you won't be tempted to buy another smartphone after watching an advert of how the new one is super sleek. This was what I did on my Blackberry Curve 2 and I still use it. Once in a while I feel tempted to buy the Z10, now that it's N48k. But the fact that my Curve 2 works like new helps me overcome the temptation. 
  • Read online about the creative ways you can use the gadget. One reason I find it hard to change my gadgets by buying a new and better one is that I use them creatively. I make them an active partner in running my day-to-day life. If I list the things I do (and have done) with my laptop you will be amazed. I owe the cool N150k for a 5 days UNIX training deal I got in the middle of this year to the laptop. And my phone: it's not like any other phone. Everything about it is different, besides the casing and hardware. I can't survive a day without it (well, I mean my day will be ruined without it). Creatively using your tech devices make life easier and also makes you immune to adverts of new devices.
  • Don't buy gadgets for show-off. It's very immature. You could choose a particular phone brand because it looks extremely cool and will attract eyeballs when you pull it out. It's ok. No one wants a phone that looks like Nokia 3310. But if that's only reason you're buying the phone, then you need to contact me for a one-on-one discussion on life and it's purpose.

And those summarize my approach to buying tech gadgets.

Update (6-Jan-2014): I have done for Julius Berger, Dangote Cement, Nestle, GSK, Total Nigeria, PZ, Unilever, Dangote Sugar, Dangote Salt (NASCON) and Oando. Next will be Japaul, Okomu Oil and the banks.
I have also added new ratio analysis: ROIC, Operating Profit Margin, New Cash Flow as a % of Rev, ROA, ROE, Interest Income as a % of Rev and Income tax as a % of Rev.

Today I'll be sharing with you my Stocks Analysis sheet. I'm still working on it, but you will find it useful. I have it in my Dropbox public folder and here is the shared link, My Stock Analysis Sheet, any new data and improvement I make to it is immediately available to you. All you have to do is click on the download link, My Stock Analysis Sheet, once in a month or whenever you feel I must have updated it.

And why am I sharing for free what has taken me great effort to make and that holds all the quantitative data I consider in stock purchase? It's because it's me. I always share. There's joy in sharing. Besides, I'll get the opportunity to be positively criticized and I'll be forced to make it error-free and almost perfect, which will benefit me immensely in the long run.

So here are the snapshots of the analysis sheet. I have done some analysis on Julius Berger Nigeria and Nestle. I'm yet to complete for Dangote Cement and GSK.

It's got the Income Statement part

The Balance Sheet part

The Statement of Cash Flow part

And the Ratios and Projection part (I'm still working on adding some useful Ratios like the Current Ratio, Quick Ratio, Debt to Equity, Intrinsic Value, Margin of Safety, Dividend Yield e.t.c.)

I will also like to issue a disclaimer. I'm not liable for any financial decision (or any decision) you make based on My Stocks Analysis Sheet

I wanted to put the title as,"How I quit my bad habits." But I couldn't because I have been unable to quit my bad habits. In fact, I believe that my bad habits and good habits chose me. I didn't choose them. And sadly, I have been unable to let go of my big bad habits. Especially keeping in touch with friends and family, which I consider as my biggest bad habit. The only luck I have is that I don't have many bad habits. Or the regular bad habits. So I'll be talking about the only habits I have been able to quit, habits that I don't like and that responded to my treatment.

Here's how I take down the habits I want to quit (the ones that cooperate) --

  1. I study the habits: I try to understand why I do it and when I do it.
  2. I think of something weak -- a placebo -- to replace the habit with.
  3. I give my self a goal, e.g. not to do the habit for the next 7 days. Then as the deadline is almost arrived, I extend it and extend. And extend it.
  4. I sometimes break the habit into actions that I break free from one at a time.
  5. Whenever I flop, I simply start all over. I never blame myself or feel sad. I simply tell myself that it's ok and I should try again. 
  6. I only give up after lots of trials and I feel the pain is not worth the gain.
  7. I often celebrate my success.
And that's how I quit the habits that allow me to quit them.

Nowadays, the question I get asked most is, "What did you study at the University?"

If you look through my PC, you'll see financial statements (annual reports) of Nigerian companies, stock analysis templates, and lots of Excel documents. I have all sorts of Investment and Finance books in my library. I even have Finance college books; books written mainly to teach 3rd year Finance undergraduate students and 2nd year MBA students Corporate Finance and Valuation. I'm currently reading a big expensive college book on Financial Modelling using Excel. I'm subscribed to investment and stock analysis blogs online. And I have read more books on Finance and Investment than on any other topic. This year alone I have bought 41 books and 17 audiobooks, and more than half of them are on Finance and Investment. Oh, I also need to let you know that I didn't read all the 41 books and 17 audiobooks;, I opened everyone of them, read about half completely, and read a few more than once. I read at my own pace; I don't have any exam to write or deadline (like 2 books per month) to meet. 

So back to the main focus of this post -- How I got into the investment world.


It all began in my 4th year at the university. I got into the stock market craze. I spent my Mobil scholarship pay that year on stocks. And I saw it grow and disappear. It was my second stock purchase. The first one was a 10-bagger. I saw my investment grow ten fold. And even the dividend pay was like magic money. Then I went on to do the one that did me. It took me 3 years to accept that the money was gone. Once in a while I keep thinking it would come back.

It was that misfortune that gave me the push I needed. I began reading all I could about the stock market. I opened a mutual fund with ARM, and then another with Stanbic IBTC. I read like my salary depended on it. I then went on to open my own stock brokerage account, and began buying stocks myself with my hard earned salary. And I lost money again. But I didn't give up; I kept on reading and reading. I kept fine tuning my investment strategy. 

I'm still a long way off being referred to as an Investment guru, it takes years of verifiable excellent results, but I'm taking a "Nothing or Best" approach to it. It's either the stock market wreaks me or I come out super victorious. But the good thing is finance is very interesting and I don't think I can lose all again, as I don't intending betting or taking big risk. I'm going the Buffett way -- slow and steady. It's just that it requires a lot of studying and computation. One will need to do his own math. It requires a profound knowledge of Finance and Financial accounting. It requires a basic knowledge of financial modelling. It requires proficiency in using Microsoft Excel. It requires in-depth reading of financial statements. It requires an excellent knowledge of the nation's economy and consumer habits. And most importantly, it requires experience in making both the right and wrong decisions.

Don't be deceived by the talk about a monkey doing better than professional investors. Some of the brightest people in the world are in the finance world. Doctors and Engineers goto school and are almost drilled to death. But after school, life becomes very easy for them. They don't have to study half as hard as they did throughout school. But for the Finance guys, it's death at school and death after school. I mean the finance guys at the core of the investment world, the ones we regard as professional investors. They study more and for more hours throughout their career. Even a roadside mechanic will become super-good if subjected to same study+work that these guys go through.
The truth is that what they are up against is something much bigger than what an outsider can understand. It's like being stuck in a traffic at the middle of the third mainland bridge on a Monday evening, and then you're told outsmart everyone. The reality is that you won't end up much better than the learner on the other lane and if you do too much, you would only hit someone else's car and delay yourself further. And that's what the finance world is like from within. You'll only know the best driver at the Oworonsoki end of the bridge, and not at the middle of the bridge. It's the one who avoided being bashed and made the most of every clean opportunity that ends up being the smartest/best. The problem is that it requires expert driving skill (core finance) and a great deal of common sense. Common sense will keep you out of misfortunes and a great driving skill will help you enjoy an otherwise frustrating ride. 

Most books teach you the common sense part, and make the professional investors look stupid. The same way a Traffic warden will make an expert driver look stupid for breaking a traffic rule. But no matter how many of those books you read, you can never become as good as the expert. You'll be only an expert at judging them. You'll need to get the same core knowledge they have and be able to make your own independent decisions without external help, using the basics of all analysis -- financial reports and economics -- before you can claim equality with the experts. And that's the stage I'm currently in. It's more of an art than a knowledge. Just like driving, it takes lots of time behind all sorts of wheels and across all sorts of roads and during all sorts of time. 

And that's been both how I got into the investment world and how I'm doing.

Remember my post on Black Swan? Where I mentioned that I have had three different jobs at three different companies (2 multinationals) and none of them came through normal job applications (and I have applied for over a thousand jobs the normal way).

Well, in today's post, I'll share the biggest value I have gained from applying to over 1,000 jobs unsuccessfully. Though I don't know why I didn't get a job among the over 1,000 jobs I applied for normally, I gained an unlikely edge. Last year I took the whole job application game to a new level. I stopped applying for advertised jobs, I remade my CV and started pitching companies I love. I bought LinkedIn adverts to put my CV in front of big managers. I set up Google Ads to pitch myself at the CEO of some cool companies; I sort of bought their names on Google. If you searched for MTN Benin CEO, Eric Tronel, you'd see my pitch of how I was going to grow his VAS revenue by 100% in just months. The aim was if Eric Tronel searched for his name (like most people do) he would see my pitch and contact me. Great plan; no result (except loss of money on my part). I put up Facebook ads targeting people aged 40 and above working for some specific companies in the Middle East and Africa. I kept tuning my CV and making it world-class.

In the end, I landed some interviews, even outside the country. None resulted in a job, but 1 good thing happened at all the interviews -- they were all extremely impressed by my CV. And my CV put me in charge of the whole interview discussion, they kept asking me to talk about each part they found interesting. And they found lots of interesting stuffs in my CV. And the super cool part is -- I didn't include some regular details, like date of birth, and no one even noticed or asked. And some of my LinkedIn adverts got me friends from Kenya and other countries.

And that's how valuable a well made CV can be. It makes a company that's not looking for candidates call you for interview, and it puts you in charge of the interview discussion. They want to know how you did this and that, how you could replicate such in their company. And even when they won't take you, they still tell you that you've got a great and compelling CV. 

Now I've stopped applying for jobs. The one thing the HRs have against me is that I change jobs too often. It's a sad thing; you change jobs and your salary doesn't feel it. And now it's scaring away future jobs. But I have always enjoyed my jobs. So I'm focusing on secondary income sources and not a new high paying job.

We all know that popular statement: Your network determines your net worth.
I wish the statement is not true. It will greatly reduce the chance of people like me having a high net worth. 

I know all the rules, I just find some of them extremely difficult to do --

  • When you meet a person for the first time, make sure you memorize his name. (I've been successful with this part, I even find it fun.)
  • Be very pleasant, smile and try to connect. (Though I occasionally fail to connect, I am always pleasant and smiling).
  • Exchange contacts, particularly business cards. (I'll score myself an A in this. I have always had a business card since my first job; all depicting me as some professional in something. I'm sure my boss won't even know the card is mine if he sees it, he'll think it's for another Michael Olafusi).
  • Be memorable, make it easy for the other guy to remember you. (Another A for me. Even on the occasions I didn't connect, I ended being memorable in an unpleasant way. They always remember me.)
  • Do a follow-up call, send a follow-up mail or SMS to tell the other guy that it was a pleasure meeting him. (Even though I know this, I hardly do it. The sad part is even when the other guy calls me back, I hardly pick up or call back.)
  • Keep in touch via emails, LinkedIn or even Facebook. Always send a birthday message, Easter message, Christmas message or New Year message. (I score myself F in this. I even wiped off my birthday from Facebook because I avoid sending or receiving birthday messages.)
  • Always reply to messages and call back when you missed your new contact's call. (I don't call back. I sometimes don't reply to messages.)
  • Keep the details of your contacts, have a sort of a Rolodex. Never lose anyone's contact. (Now that's the one thing I'm perfect at. I don't lose people's contacts. I have the contacts of everybody that I've met since 2005. In fact, I keep multiple copies of people's contacts. There are some of my friends that I have all the phone numbers they have ever used. The only issue is I don't call them.)
  • Meet-up once in a while, in person. (I avoid this. And for no reasonable reason.)
And you? Do you find following up after meeting a new person fun?

Today's post is a special one. I'll be sharing my thoughts on the future, what I see happening in Nigeria some years from now.


Here they are:

  1. We are going to be Nigeria's edition of the baby boomers; I mean those of us between the ages 20 and 40. The middle class is expanding aggressively. Nigerians are now coming back home. Every major international company has an eye on Nigeria. The financial reports of banks have never been better, showing the huge rise in income level. People are becoming more entrepreneurial. Everyone sees a bright future ahead. The economy is booming. Pension funds now do adverts.
  2. Nigeria is fast becoming a services and consumer goods powered economy. The manufacturing sector is dying, no thanks to better and cheaper imported products. The only part of the economy that is seeing fast growth are the financial services sector, IT services sector and the FMCG sector. We have no industrial equipment manufacturing companies. Industrial farming is dying. Oil sector is stagnating. But the Energy sector is reviving and should be the next big thing in Nigeria (like Telecoms was).
  3. Nigerians are becoming more luxurious. People now go for yearly vacation outside the country. KFC, Chicken Republic and Mama Cass are the new mama put, people now go there daily. I think it's time they begin loyalty campaigns and monthly food packs. Going to Silverbird cinemas and GetArena have become the new strolling out. Everybody's telling me to rent a house at Lekki, close to work, because it's the in thing.
  4. Nigerians are now more comfortable with shopping at big malls -- Shoprite and PacknShop -- and also online. We are becoming a less cash based economy. Even the Sharwama guys have POS. Soon having an ATM card will rank as high a necessity as having a phone, only the extreme Luddites will not have one.
  5. People still consider having physical properties as the only evidence of wealth. A big real estate company is going to popularize the idea of people buying flats permanently in 20 storey buildings in VI, Lekki and Ikoyi. Then some creative companies with offer loans targeted at intending home owners. And then you'll see the unimaginable; house adverts will be everywhere, on TV, radio and billboards.
  6. In a few years from now, foreign companies will begin acquiring indigenous online companies like, and Then there will be a boom in the online services business, and every rich guy will want to start an online business.

And those are the ones I can remember for now.

“Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.” 
-- Warren Buffett (the world's richest investor, and once the richest man in the world).


Warren Buffett started out like most of us. He had middle class parents. He went to a secondary school, then a university. He also went for a masters immediately after his degree. Then he began is corporate career working for his former lecturer, Benjamin Graham. At the age of 26 he started his own company with money from his life savings, friends and family. And in the year 2008 he was named the world's richest man, topping Bill Gates and Carlos Slim, and having a net worth of $62 billion (about N9.3 trillion). That was enough money to buy almost all the biggest companies in Nigeria -- Guinness, Nigerian Breweries, Nestle, Dangote, GTBank, First Bank, Zenith Bank...

Here is a man who has turned almost all his friends and family into millionaires. He owns lots of companies and manages lots of people. He knows the value of working with the right set of people, and how to identify them. And he has been generous enough to share his secret of picking the best people to work with -- the best virtues he thinks everyone should have.

And the virtues are -- Integrity, Intelligence and Energy.

Whenever he's making a hiring or buying decision, he likes dealing with people with great integrity, intelligence and are hardworking. And they mustn't have just one or two, but all the three virtues. He says, if you've got integrity and intelligence but not hardworking, the intelligence and integrity will waste. And if you've got intelligence and are hardworking but no integrity, you'll end up ruining everything. And if you've got integrity and are hardworking but no intelligence, it's a sorry case, you'll end up being an extra load, a liability.

The best part of it all is that anyone can build up to having all the three virtues. And I've been working hard at them.

There's a subscription box at the top right corner and another one below this post, if you subscribe to my blog you'll get a daily inspirational/educational article. I keep getting wonderful feedback from people who have subscribed already. And that feedback has been one of the reasons I still write an article per day. 


Here are the other reasons:

1. Part of my Life Goal
Becoming an author is part of my life goal.
The authors I admire are Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens), Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and Arthur Conan Doyle. I love their style of writing. But they all started as struggling artists. Bernard Shaw's first 5 novels were rejected. Mark Twain didn't make any significant money from his writings till he was about 38. It was the article he least expected to intrigue people that made him a national sensation. Oscar Wilde is the clearest thinker I've encountered. Doctor Arthur Conan Doyle spent more hours writing short stories than working on patients. His private practice failed because of that and even though he wasn't making any money from his writings, he kept on writing. In the end, his short stories on Sherlock Holmes made him a national hero. People begged him to continue when he stopped the series.
The one thing they all have in common, and that I'm trying to acquire, is writing almost daily. I don't want to be popular or make a killing from my writings; I only want become a prolific writer.

2. To improve my grammar
Just for the few months I have been writing daily, I have noticed considerable improvement in my grammar. And I know that if I keep writing daily, in a few years, my grammar will be almost perfect and I would have become a compelling writer.

3. It gives me inner peace
Because I write about everything that interests me, I'm able to free my mind. It helps me be at peace with myself. I've got a powerful avenue to express myself and daily too. I don't have anything bottled up in me. I sleep lighthearted every night. I wake up with ideas. And I have a sort of an inner peace.

4. It helps me examine my life frequently
Knowing that I'll have to write about every life decision I make helps me be more deliberate in my choices. I not just do things because everyone is doing them; I have to think about what I'll have to say on my blog to justify my decisions since one day I won't be able to (further) resist the temptation of writing about them. Also, writing everyday forces me to evaluate my life every couple of days for interesting things to write about.

5. It gives me the feeling of "Nothing is Impossible"
When I took the decision to begin writing daily, a part of me believed I would burn out in days. In fact, I was expecting days I wouldn't be able to meet the goal. But now, about 3 months after, I'm almost 100% sure that I can keep doing this. And it has encouraged me to go after other goals in my life. I now strongly believe that popular quote, "You never know what you can do till you try."

And those are the reasons I write at least an article a day.


Yeah, you don't need to be smart to be rich. 
Not convinced? Then look around you; notice the rich people you know. And give me an honest answer -- are they all smart?

Even if you use all sorts of definition for smart, they will always be those rich folks who wouldn't meet up. And you know what the say about results? You can't argue with results. If the law of aerodynamics is not able to account for the flight of a bumblebee, then the law needs obvious revision. Explanations and laws are meant to explain what has happened perfectly, in order to be useful for predicting or building the future.
And I can give you a list of a thousand rich and dumb guys. They are all around us -- on the TV, in the newspaper and on billboards.

I consider it settled that not all rich guys are smart, as we have dumb guys that are rich. If you differ, you can skip the rest of this post.

Now to the interesting part. Why you don't need to be smart to be rich.

I'll like to start with some interesting cases.

Jide read Minning Engineering and graduated with a good 2-1. And like everyone, he applied to Shell, Chevron, Mobil and Total. He was called for interview at Shell, Mobil and Chevron. He was picked for the Shell Intensive Training Programme (SITP). He began earning other people's one year salary in one month. 20 years later, he has risen to the level of a senior manager. He is now extremely rich.
How did he become rich? He went to school like you and me, he didn't even do a masters. He got an offer with Shell. And that was all he did to become rich. 

Tayo was Jide's class mate. Tayo graduated as the best in his class (topping Jide). Tayo also applied to Shell, Chevron, Mobil and Total. He was called for interview at all the four companies. None picked him. He got a job at First bank. He saved his first 2 years salary and went for a masters in France. He got a job with Lafarge France and got transferred to Lafarge Nigeria. 20 years later, his entire monthly salary is not up to Jide's monthly allowance (benefits besides basic salary). Tayo is just well off, he is not rich.
Why? He was not lucky to be employed by a very high paying company. Yet he's got more qualifications than Jide.

Kunle was both Tayo and Jide's class mate. Kunle graduated bottom of the class. His uncle is a politician and, as at Kunle's graduation, was the minister of aviation. The uncle made Kunle a special adviser, straight out of the university. He got Kunle several political appointments. 20 years later, Kunle is richer than both Tayo and Jide combined and doubled. And doubled again.

Seun was also in the same class. His grandpa owned Velvet group of companies. His dad was the CEO when he graduated. He simply joined the company after graduation. 20 years later, he is the CEO of the company. He's almost as rich as Jide.

Tinu was also in the same class. She has a flair for interior designs. While trying to get a job after university, she worked as an interior design freelancer. After 2 years, she stopped looking for a job and went full-time into interior designing, setting up her own company. 20 years later, she has grown the company into a cash cow. She's now rich.

Bayo was in the same class too. He's a gifted singer. He was always going from one event to another, singing. In his third year at University, he got lucky. A lady connected him with a very popular musician. Things got so good for him that he quit school. He became so popular and adopted the stage name, Whiz-B. 20 years later, he's still rich.

Only a smart guy can come top of a Mining Engineering class in a Nigerian University. Yet among these 6 people, he's the only one who is not rich.
There is a system that works, independent of your brilliance. Even if you're the dumbest guy in Nigeria, having Babangida as an uncle and getting political appointments will make you rich.
If you're not a jerk, taking over from your father as a CEO of a big company will get you very rich. 
Even if your songs are brain dead, if you've got a great voice, a good manager and some luck, you'll become a rich musician.
If you have skills that meet a large need, like interior designing, and you're fortunate to start early without the distraction of a regular job; then you're set.

Being smart does help, but is, nonetheless, a luxury. It's not a requirement to becoming rich.

I work in the switching department of a Telecoms company. Once in a while, the companies that provide us international gateway send us a revised price list of calls to (sometimes) over 13,000 international destinations. And I have to get busy.

Today, I'll be sharing a document some of you will find useful. It's the list of countries and their dialing codes. It took me some work to clean it and verify the content. You can download the Excel file here, Country Dialing Codes.

Country Code Country
1 United States
7 Russian Federation
20 Egypt
27 South Africa
30 Greece
31 Netherlands
32 Belgium
33 France
34 Spain
36 Hungary
39 Italy
40 Romania
41 Switzerland
43 Austria
44 United Kingdom
45 Denmark
46 Sweden
47 Norway
48 Poland
49 Germany
51 Peru
52 Mexico
53 Cuba
54 Argentina
55 Brazil
56 Chile
57 Colombia
58 Venezuela
60 Malaysia
61 Australia
62 Indonesia
63 Philippines
64 New Zealand
65 Singapore
66 Thailand
81 Japan
82 Korea- Republic of
84 Viet Nam
86 China
90 Turkey
91 India
92 Pakistan
93 Afghanistan
94 Sri Lanka
95 Myanmar
98 Iran
212 Morocco
213 Algeria
216 Tunisia
218 Libya
220 Gambia
221 Senegal
222 Mauritania
223 Mali
224 Guinea
225 Cote D'Ivoire
226 Burkina Faso
227 Niger
228 Togo
229 Benin
230 Mauritius
231 Liberia
232 Sierra Leone
233 Ghana
234 Nigeria
235 Chad
236 Central African Republic
237 Cameroon
238 Cape Verde
239 Sao Tome and Principe
240 Equatorial Guinea
241 Gabon
242 Congo
243 Congo- Democratic Republic of the
244 Angola
245 Guinea-Bissau
246 British Indian Ocean Territory
247 Ascension Island
248 Seychelles
249 Sudan
250 Rwanda
251 Ethiopia
252 Somalia
253 Djibouti
254 Kenya
255 Tanzania
256 Uganda
257 Burundi
258 Mozambique
260 Zambia
261 Madagascar
262 French Southern and Antarctic Lands
263 Zimbabwe
264 Namibia
265 Malawi
266 Lesotho
267 Botswana
268 Swaziland
269 Comoros
290 Saint Helena
291 Eritrea
297 Aruba
298 Faroe Islands
299 Greenland
350 Gibraltar
351 Portugal
352 Luxembourg
353 Ireland
354 Iceland
355 Albania
356 Malta
357 Cyprus- Republic of
358 Finland
370 Lithuania
371 Latvia
372 Estonia
373 Moldova
374 Armenia
375 Belarus
376 Andorra
377 Monaco
378 San Marino
380 Ukraine
381 Serbia
382 Montenegro
385 Croatia
386 Slovenia
387 Bosnia and Herzegovina
389 Macedonia
420 Czech Republic
421 Slovakia
423 Liechtenstein
500 Falkland Islands
501 Belize
502 Guatemala
503 El Salvador
504 Honduras
505 Nicaragua
506 Costa Rica
507 Panama
508 Saint Pierre and Miquelon
509 Haiti
590 Guadeloupe
591 Bolivia
592 Guyana
593 Ecuador
594 French Guiana
595 Paraguay
596 Martinique
597 Suriname
598 Uruguay
599 Netherlands Antilles
670 Timor-Leste
672 Norfolk Island
673 Brunei Darussalam
674 Nauru
675 Papua New Guinea
676 Tonga
677 Solomon Islands
678 Vanuatu
679 Fiji
680 Palau
681 Wallis and Futuna Islands
682 Cook Islands
683 Niue
685 Samoa
686 Kiribati
687 New Caledonia
688 Tuvalu
689 French Polynesia
690 Tokelau
691 Micronesia
692 Marshall Islands
699 United States Minor Outlying Islands
850 Korea- Democratic People's Republic of
852 Hong Kong
853 Macao
855 Cambodia
856 Laos
872 Pitcairn
880 Bangladesh
886 Taiwan
960 Maldives
961 Lebanon
962 Jordan
963 Syria
964 Iraq
965 Kuwait
966 Saudi Arabia
967 Yemen
968 Oman
970 Palestine
971 United Arab Emirates
972 Israel
973 Bahrain
974 Qatar
975 Bhutan
976 Mongolia
977 Nepal
992 Tajikistan
993 Turkmenistan
994 Azerbaijan
995 Georgia
996 Kyrgyz Republic
998 Uzbekistan