Lots of people have asked me, "Michael how did you become this good in Excel? What books did you read?"

In this post I'll share the details of the books and the online resources that helped turn me to an Excel Guru.

1. Slaying Excel Dragons: A Beginners Guide to Conquering Excel's Frustrations and Making Excel Fun by Mike Girvin & Bill Jelen

This book is the most helpful of all the books I bought. Here's the book's profile -

This is copied from Etisalat Nigeria official site.

Mobile Assistant is another innovative service from Etisalat Nigeria. It provides valuable benefits to Executives, SMEs, HNIs, etc, so their mobile handset now offers greater utility.

This service enables a user - in this case referred to as an Executive - to pair another number (referred to as the Assistant) such that when the Executive number is called it rings on both the Executive and the Assistant MSISDN. In the simplest scenario, when the executive’s phone rings, so does the assistant’s.

When either the Executive or the Assistant receives a call using Mobile Assistant, they are able to speak to each other and transfer the call simply by pressing the star key.

The Mobile Assistant is a network service and works regardless of mobile phone sophistication. If the executive has the phone switched off or out of coverage, the assistant’s will still ring.

Occasionally, when I make reports, I do my calculations in a dedicated sheet, a sheet I don't want anyone tampering with. So what I always do is to hide that sheet before sending the report out.

In this post I will show you how to hide and unhide sheets in Excel.

Let's go!

This is one of my community service posts, to help spread useful information.
This information is copied from MTN official site.

What is MTN SmoothTalk Plus?

MTN SmoothTalk Plus is a special tariff plan that now allows you enjoy a FLAT rate of 15 kobo per second for calls ACROSS ALL local Networks after the first minute of the day at 40 kobo per second.

The new MTN SmoothTalk Plus tariff plan does not feature a daily or monthly subscription fee.

To Migrate to MTN SmoothTalk Plus, dial *401# or send 401 to 131. 
"Welcome to a NEW world of unrestrained, unlimited access to every GSM user in Nigeria"

Why MTN SmoothTalk Plus?

In this post, I'll show you how to hide and unhide rows and columns in Excel.

Why is this useful?
Every Excel user someday will get a worksheet that has some rows or columns hidden, and just wait till you get one without being told that there are hidden rows or columns in it. Using one of my friends' favorite quote - You will sweat like Christmas goat!

A working knowledge of how to hide and unhide rows and columns with save you a lot of hassle someday. It will help you troubleshoot better when formulas don't work as expected (especially lookup formulas) and when copy and paste goes bizarre.

Well, so much for the preamble, now to the main content.

Today's post is a very special one.
I'll teach you the foolproof way to avoid scams.

image: lassenpc.com

What is a scam?
A scam is a fraud, a scheme that takes the little you have and gives you only empty promises.
And it's not only strange looking people that attempt to scam us. Our friends and families sometimes scam us. They use empty promises and sweet words to take from us, without the intention of paying back.

How do you identify a scam?
This is the trickiest part. Trickier than avoiding the scam. Now you might say, isn't identifying scam same as avoiding scam? Who would know something is a scam and still commit to it? I'm afraid you're wrong. On several occasions, I have known a thing is a scam and I still committed to it. And they were all scams from close family members. They ask you for a thing you know they won't give back, they swear by heaven and earth that they'll give it back, but you know they won't. Yet you'll give them. The trouble you get for not giving will be way more than the one you get for not getting it back.

Back to - How do you identify a scam?
There is a sandwich approach to identifying scams. A sandwich is made up of two pieces of bread with a delicious filling in between them.
All opportunities and transactions are like a sandwich. There is always the unattractive and boring pieces of bread and a thin slice of attractive filling. What gives away a scammer is that he hardly talks about the pieces of bread, he keeps yammering about the filling as if that's all to it. That's the big red alert signal. If a person keeps focusing on what I'll gain by giving, I try to end the discussion. If I could gain so much and he is that cocksure, he should do the giving. There are several micro-finance banks that will be willing to listen to him.

The less subtle one is if the scammer is playing the big guy, like he could do without my resources and that he is the one doing me a favour. This is the real tricky one. And you can't always successfully detect it, but I'll show you the trick that will make you almost never encounter it.
The trick is for you to have your own life goals, plans you're working towards. Stick to your area of competence when it comes to money matters. Use your comparative advantage always, or get a trusted friend who has to act on your behalf. It will reduce the risk of you becoming interested in stuffs you are not too knowledgeable about. These subtle scams feed on your ignorance. It's just like going shopping at Idumota, no matter how great your analysis and negotiation skills, if you don't have any prior knowledge of the price, you'll definitely be scammed. 

How to avoid scam?
Now it's time for you to share. This is the section where options/means are endless.
My favorite method is to tell the scammer than I'll think about it. And I then cut off communication with him.

Hello there.

Today I will share with you the trick I have been using for years now to acquire habits I want, good habits that I desire.
I has never failed me once. 

So what's the trick?

I break the habit into actions and do them regularly for 90 days.
And that's the trick! 
But when I say regularly, it might be daily or thrice a week or once a week. But never less frequent than once a week. Regardless of the schedule I pick, it always works.

What skills have I used it to acquire?

1. Regular Exercise.
In 2011, I decided to form the habit of regular exercise. I broke it down to actions I could take daily. Now, here's where many people make the first mistake. Most people will immediately start thinking of a Fitness club to join. Wrong! When acquiring a habit, focus on the core actions that define that habit.
Exercise, for instance, is composed of actions that exert your muscles in unusual ways and make you expend lots of energy. And the actions can be lifting weights, doing push-ups, running, swimming or cycling. Tying them to going to a Gym will only give you more trouble.
So what I did was to choose the actions that presented the least path of resistance, one that requires no more than an instant determination to do it. After researching online, I picked push-ups. Push-ups are great and exercise nearly all the muscles in the body. It builds up the core muscles in ways no one single other exercise can.
I started doing push-ups daily. For the first week, I was enjoying it. I quickly progressed from doing 10 per day to 15 per day. By the third week, it became a chore. Once in a while I skipped it. Then I started bribing myself to do it. Whenever I kept to my regimen for some days without break, I'll celebrate it. After 3 months, it became as easy and regular as taking my bath. Even when I traveled round Nigeria for over two months and was waking in one town only to sleep in another town, I hardly skipped my push-ups. And while I was on my French immersion program in Cotonou, my room-mate couldn't hide his admiration for my consistency. Now I do 30 push-ups at a go, the slow and intense version.
I tried the same for my swimming, but I couldn't keep at weekly for 3 months straight.

2. Reading my bible daily.
One day in 2005, I decided to begin reading my bible daily. It thought it was going to be easy. I didn't give myself any target beyond just reading a portion of the bible daily. Well, a month later it became the toughest thing I was trying to do. I couldn't believe it. I thought I was under a spiritual attack. I prayed and fasted about reading my bible daily. I never expected that I was going to find it extremely hard. I still ended up skipping days in a row. And there were days I only read a verse of the bible or one of the very short chapters.
After some time, I became very consistent at it. It had become a habit. Then I went on to set the target of a chapter a day. Now I read 3 chapters a day, and though I wake up 4:00am every week day and get home between 10pm and 12 midnight, I never miss reading 3 chapters a day. And I do it effortlessly.

3. Brushing with my left hand
In 2010, I began brushing my teeth with my left hand. I read online that it's one of the ways I can use my right brain more and develop new abilities, especially music talents as I am tone deaf. At first, it was very awkward to do. I had to hold my left hand with my right hand to brush my teeth. Some days, I'll forget and will have to do it at night. And to prevent my teeth from decaying, after brushing with my left hand, I brush with my right hand. 
Well now, I never make the mistake of holding the toothbrush in my right hand. I brush so well daily and exclusively with my left hand. And my teeth is white.
I also tried writing with my left hand, but couldn't keep it up regularly for 3 months.

Those are the most spectacular. 
I'm currently working on writing an article a day. I have begun and I'm still in my first month. If I keep it up till December, it will become a habit for life.

Wanna share your own trick? Feel free!

Year 2020 Update:
I now run a business data analysis company and have done consulting/training for clients across the world (Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, South Africa, Australia, Dubai, UK, USA, Canada etc). Our clients include Vodacom, Promasidor, MainOne, Arik Air, Enyo Retails, EatN'Go (owners of Domino's Pizza and ColdStone Creamery), Christian Aid UK, HSDF, Beiersdorf (makers of Nivea product line), Green Energy International Limited and many other companies. And participants of our training classes have come from Total E&P, Chevron, Mobil, NLNG, Schlumberger, Ministry of Finance, NNPC, Citi Bank, Access Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Afrexim Bank and many other companies.

I have done a lot more exciting projects than what you will find in the original year 2013 post below -- from building financial models for a UK private equity firm, investment return driver model for a Canadian hedge fund, financial reports automation for Promasidor, business process automation tools for Vodacom, inventory and maintenance automated report VBA/macro for an upstream oil company etc. You can easily reach me via 0700ANALYTICS. The numbers on the old business card below still works.


Today is Monday, and to help put you in the work mode I'll be sharing with you all the amazing stuffs I have done using Microsoft Excel.

So here we go -
  1. Helped a US stock analyst edit his Excel based stock analysis tool. More like I added an extra functionality to it. The cool thing about this work was that when I tested it, it was pulling stock data from Yahoo Finance and for once I felt like an accomplished stock analyst.
  2. I did a Data Visualization chart for a US client. I made it very dynamic and colorful. He was so impressed he got my contact details and promised to send more jobs my way. It's one of my best visualization jobs. Visualization is using charts and graphics to show data trends and insights.
  3. This is one of the jobs I won't forget. The client kept adding to the requirements. It was for some UK guy who works in an HR firm. He sent me a database of candidates, they were over 2 million entries, and he wanted me to sift out candidates who have some particular keywords in their profile. He added to the keywords twice and I ended up doing like 3 jobs for the price of one. He paid me extra but it wasn't worth the trouble I went through. The good thing was I got it done to his satisfaction. 
  4. This is my toughest so far. In the company I work, we once had an issue with our billing software. Customers were requesting for their bills. It was way past month end. Then my boss came up with this great idea, he said, "Michael, you can do this. Just write a macro that will do exactly what the software was doing. Here's the output for last month, you can get the input data from our system." For 1 week I was writing VBA codes non-stop. When I was finally done, the macro was a system resource hog. It takes about 30 minutes to run in Microsoft Excel 2007 and about 2 minutes in Microsoft Excel 2010. It was that day I knew there is a huge difference between Office 2007 and Office 2010.
  5. This was my first tough one. I had just resumed work at my current company. My boss wanted me to automate several analysis reports. I was given a system dump that is cryptic and has hundreds of thousands of rows of relevant data. I had to generate a KPI tracker with tables and charts from this text file. Notepad couldn't open the raw file, it was too large. I spent over 2 weeks trying to understand the raw file. When I was done with the macro, I felt like taking a week off.
  6. Ever since my guest post on BellaNaija, I have been sending custom made Family Budget worksheet to people.
  7. I made a very intelligent year planner for a professional club. It was too good to describe. I smile every time I look at it.
  8. This one is funny. A client wanted a macro to randomly generates unique full names from a set of First Name and Last Name. I did a buggy sample and sent to him. He didn't get back to me.
  9. I once made a macro for a client, it fills empty data rows with the content of the next non-empty row. It worked perfectly with few line of codes.
  10. I once made a macro for a client to help with pension tracking.
These are the most outstanding of the stuffs I have done in Excel. There are some other ones, but the details are so confidential I might end my career my by posting them.

image: androidcentral.com
Update: You can now download BBM for your iPhone and iPad via BBM for iPhone & iPad
If you live outside Africa, you can download the BBM for Andoid via the Google Play
But if you live in Africa, you'll have to download it via Samsung Apps, BBM for Android via Samsung apps or wait till October 25 to download it from Google Play

Update: I originally typed this post out on Friday (a day before the announced date for the launch on Android) and automated it to post on Sunday. BBM for Android is yet to be officially released, and according to official gist from Blackberry, it was paused because of an unofficial release that works so well it has brought over 1million Android users on BBM. But the iOS version has been released in some countries (India, Malaysia, New Zealand...).
But the details in this post are still valid. You'll need iOS 6 or 7 on your iPhone. And you'll need Android 4.0 and above on your Android.
For those of you who downloaded and installed the real (unofficial) BBM app and are using it, BB says it's working on flushing you out of it's BBM network.

Now I can ping from my Samsung Galaxy phone. 

It's time for you to get the best of the two worlds, download the BBM app from the app market/store and enjoy the best of the Blackberry world, the BB messenger.

How Does it Work?
It just works! You'll get a PIN you can share with other users, especially your friends with Blackberry phones. 

Why Can't I see the app in the store?
Go get a new phone. You need to have Android 4.0 or higher running on your phone to see the app. And you need iOS 6 or iOS 7 to be able to install it on your iPhone.

source: www.thesmallbusinessdr.com 

So you've read my post on budgeting on BellaNaija and my ultimate Personal Finance guide. You've begun working on your finances, you now have a substantial amount every month that you want to invest. Your BIG question is now - Where to invest safely and profitably?

You are in luck!

Today I will be doing another ultimate guide. A guide on choosing the right investment vehicle in Nigeria. I will be looking at the most popular investment vehicles in Nigeria - a High Yield Savings account, an Equity Mutual Fund account, a Money Market Fund account, a Bond Fund account, a Fixed Income account, a Real Estate Investment Trust fund and running your own Stock account.

So let's get down to the crux of this post. I will take each investment vehicle and give you all the actionable details you need.

A High Yield Savings Account is a special savings account that offers higher interest rate than regular savings accounts. It might come with restrictions on number of withdrawals per month or minimum deposit to enjoy the high interest rate. Mine with Diamond bank doesn't place a withdrawal limit but doesn't provide you with ATM; withdrawal is over the counter.

A High Yield Savings Account provides the easiest and fastest access to your money among all the investment vehicles listed here. All I do to access my fund is to show up at the bank and fill a withdrawal slip. I can even use the online banking service too.
It provides a near risk-free return on your investment, a predictable interest rate too.

It provides a very low rate of return on investment. Too low for any long-term financial goal.
It's return rate is way less than the inflation rate, hence your money is actually losing value (purchasing power)

Best used as your Emergency fund account.

The most popular ones in Nigeria are Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund, ARM Discovery Fund and ARM Aggressive Fund.
They pull money from different investors and invest on their behalf (mostly in Stocks).
I have one with ARM, and since April 2011, I have been transferring a portion of my salary into the fund monthly (via Direct Debit). I once opened the Stanbic IBTC NEF too, but I closed it when I was reviewing my portfolio in 2012.
Equity Mutual Funds are very easy to open, the requirements are same with opening a bank account, and the minimum opening amount ranges from N10,000 to N100,000. And you'll get an online account to monitor your investment performance.

Equity Mutual Funds are managed by professional investment managers. And that is a huge relief for most people who want to invest in the stocks market without the fear of losing all their money.
They allow you to automate investments monthly or quarterly, so you end up cultivating a savings habit. Helped me a lot. 
Some (like ARM) will provide you an Investment Account Officer who can provide expert financial/investment advice to you.
Your return on investment can be huge. 


In today's special post, I will show you how to record a macro and use it to repeat a conditional formatting for over 800 rows of data. It's so easy you will find many other innovative ways to use a recorded Macro. You'll be able to do the impossible without really writing codes.

Here we go.

I have created a sample data, it's a list of products and the prices from two suppliers. I want a conditional formatting that will indicate the supplier with the least price for each product.

And as you can see above, there are 896 products.

Here's how to do the conditional formatting. Select the prices of the two Suppliers for a particular product, in this case, the first product. 

Goto Conditional Formatting > Icon Sets > Indicators
image from mylifescoop.net

(Please note that this was written in 2013. A lot has changed in my life since then but the core still remains the same and is well conveyed in this article).

Hi there.

Today, I'm going to share with you all the weird things I do. They aren't really weird like the things you see people do in horror movies, they are just unusual.

So here I go -- 

  1. I brush daily with my left hand. Started doing this in 2010 during my NYSC year in Bayelsa. I can't forget that night Mfon, Rasheedat and I, at about 11pm were brushing our teeth with our left hands outside in Elebele corpers' lodge. I kept doing it daily and, now, I brush better with my left hand. And my teeth is white, creamy white.
  2. I don't have a single pirated software, movie, ebook or music on my laptop, phones and iPod. I buy the movies I love on iTunes, buy the original audio CD of music I want, I buy the software I really must have (only Microsoft Office, I use the pre-release versions of Windows 7 & 8). I also buy the books I read, ebook or print version.
  3. I don't snore. If not that I can count the people who I know who do not snore twice on the same hand, I won't include this.
  4. I read (nearly) only classics - books written in 1700s, 1800s and 1900s. It's less difficult to find a great read among them. Only the best made it to 21st century.
  5. I don't watch Nollywood. I don't even pretend to watch it.
  6. I don't listen to radio, the presenters are always interrupting at the wrong moments.
  7. I don't watch TV. No time.
  8. I eat Jollof + Spag/Plantain + Fish/Beef for lunch every weekday.
  9. I drink a bottle of Pepsi nearly everyday. Sometimes, just because I haven't had one that day.
  10. I sleep more in traffic than on my bed every weekday
  11. Nearly everyday, I think of Microsoft Excel
  12. I do push-ups 3 to 4 times weekly.
  13. I don't go to work with anything - no bag, no laptop, no anything I can't put in my pockets.
  14. I have a record of every single thing I have bought since last year. The chewing gum, the roast corn, the Biro and even the N50 I gave a beggar.
  15. I don't buy things on impulse. I don't do anything on impulse. My friends say I've got a slow processor, takes time to respond to impulse.
  16. I don't have Jean trousers, not even one. 
  17. The only time I remove my specs is when I'm bathing, swimming or sleeping. And I buy like four of the same frames at once.
  18. I'm always thinking. It's the default mode of my mind.
  19. I don't telephone people. Sometimes I wish mobile phones weren't so mobile, so I can give a more plausible excuse. 
  20. I write nearly everyday. It's the only way I can become an accomplished writer.
  21. I've stopped worrying about my accent, outside Nigeria it's an international accent.
  22. I find it extremely easy to bypass firewalls and e-restrictions. Most times without trying or even noticing there was a restriction.
  23. I read 3 chapters of the bible daily.
  24. I pray daily. Nowadays, it's become a very unusual thing.
  25. I use Vaseline Total Moisture. Been using it daily for 2 years now.
  26. I have 4 operating systems running side by side on my laptop. I once had 5.
  27. I walk a lot. It's the first thing my colleagues at work complain about.
  28. I can predict people, most people. Truth is you too can, just read all the Psychology books you can lay your hands on and practice hard. Soon, people will think you can read minds.
  29. I don't know where/what I'd be in 5 years time.
Well that's all for now.

Occasionally I come across a company I never thought would be in Nigeria - J. P. Morgan, AC Nielsen, British Gas and many more.

image: solisconsulting.co.uk

In this post I will be listing the companies I have come across and give a small description of what they are into.

Here we go.

Nielsen, a leading global information and measurement company, provides market research, insights & data about what people watch & what people buy

Nigeria Office 
146C Ligali Ayorinde Str.
Victoria Island Lagos 
tel  +234 1 - 2702085 
fax  +234 1 - 2702083  
Email: Georgia.Constantinidou@nielsen.com

A lot of times we are confronted with the decisions to spend or save.
We are almost always carrying out Cost to Benefit Analysis. Is this thing what the money?

But in this post I'll be sharing my intensive-thought based approach to making rational money decisions.

I will list them in bullets -

  • I always go about with more money than I need in a day. I'm fortunate to not suffer from the common syndrome of spending more when I have more in my wallet.The only syndrome I suffer from is making sure I spend all in my bank account, that's why I budget what I leave in the bank, I avoid having too much in my bank accounts. Read here for full understanding.
  • I buy either 1 shirt or 1 trouser or 1 shoe every month.
  • I never cut down on my feeding expense. Remember the quote, "It's what a bird eats that will sustain it in its flight" (paraphrased). I make sure I eat expensive, because quality food is very expensive.
  • I cut down on my transportation expenses.
  • I exercise daily and eat well (here again) to reduce my frequency of illness. Been seeing remarkable results.
  • I use Airtel Postpaid line. Reduces my monthly phone call expense.
  • I don't go out often. My friends have given up inviting me to events, even their weddings. Not originally a cost saving scheme, it's more of a habit that's beyond me to correct. Coincidentally, it's saving me money.
  • I buy books and read a lot. I'm always willing to exchange money for knowledge/skill.
  • I have 3 paid online sites. I speculate on opportunities with a part of my salary.
  • My wardrobe amazes my sister. "What are you doing with all these body sprays, deodorants...? and this, what is it?" More gist here.
  • I spend my spare time thinking, reading and writing. Saves me a lot of cash. I can't remember the last time I spent on impulse. Ok, I think I do. When I bought my Microsoft Surface RT
  • I don't read the daily mails from Jumia.com.ng and Dealdey.com I like to need a thing before I buy it. I enjoy the delight of searching for what I need and not the other way round.
  • I don't have an ego. And I'm not kidding. There is nothing you'll say or do that will make me feel little. Saves me from spending to prove a point or save my ego.
  • I don't promise what I don't want to do. And it's really tough to do.
  • I don't care what people think or say. Even they don't care. So I don't follow fashion or some new trend.
  • I'm trying to position myself for the financial revolution that will soon happen in Nigeria. I've been reading a lot on finance and accounting. Result: I've been finding it hard to exchange my money for something of less value. And I always consider the Time Value of Money.
  • I close late at work. I go home too tired to notice the merchants on the road. Result: I spend less in traffic.
That's all I can remember for now. 

You've just received an Excel report and you want to see all the formula calculations in the report.
There is a template your company uses and you've been thinking of recreating the template.

In this post I will show you the magic keyboard shortcut that allows you to see all the formulas in an Excel sheet.

That turns this 
to this -

The magic key combo is CTRL + ` 
( ` is known as back-tick and is found above the tab key & before the 1 on most keyboards)
Press the keyboard combo to return to normal view.

Have you ever tried copying all the data on an Excel sheet to a new Excel Sheet and you found out that the color, formatting or some values have changed?

That's the trouble with using CTRL + C and CTRL + V (copy and paste). 
But there is a very reliable means I use to duplicate Excel sheets, it makes the exact copy of the sheet - no color difference, row and column widths are same, and values won't change. 

It is my preferred means of making copies of a sheet I want to analyse or extracting a sheet I want to send to client/colleague.

So let's go.

Want to compare the fixed deposit interest rates of Nigerian banks? Or you want to get a particular info from as many banks as possible? This post is for you.

I will be sharing with you the contact details of all the major banks in Nigeria.

Skye Bank HQ
3, Akin Adesola street,
Victoria Island,
yescenter@skyebankng.com or info@skyebankng.com
08069880000 or 01-4482100 or 01-2701600

635, Akin Adesola street,
Victoria Island,
0700482666328 or 01-4480000

Airtel Nigeria allows you to access Whatsapp for a whole month for just N100. And all you have to do is dial *948# from your Airtel line.

And that's all! 
I hope you've read my post on how my blog traffic suddenly jumped from 200 daily page views to 6,500 daily page views.
Well, my adsense daily earnings followed suit. There were years I didn't make up to $20. And now I making that in a week! I wouldn't have imagined that 4 months ago. And the best part of this whole surprise is that I didn't do anything differently. In fact, I do not think I did anything at all.

But I like the effect it's having on me. I now blog more and daily too. I no longer have a frown across my face when I check by blog statistics or adsense earning. I only hope it lasts.

It's 4 years and 4 months now that I started this blog. And for the most part of these 4 years my daily page views have never gone past 200. I tried hard to move it permanently up and failed repeatedly. Last year, I gave up ever making money from my blog or garnering traffic. I only kept blogging because I enjoyed sharing my personal stories and tech knowledge.

I read several great guides on how to grow my blog and one of my favorite is How To Make Money With a Blog by Christianpf.com
I knew that if I followed diligently his recommendations, my blog will grow. But the problem is I don't enjoy doing some of them. They are hard work and the type that I don't like. And I believed there are bloggers who don't work harder than I do and are doing sort of fine. It's not that I want to my blog to rank next to mashable.com or bellanaija.com. All I want is just some result for my efforts, a little growth perhaps. 

But suddenly, in June I noticed something happen. In a day I got over 200 page views, in fact, I got over 1000 page views. I thought it was one of those one-off incidents that won't last. But 3 months now, it seems it's a permanent one. My page views have been steadily going up since June to 6,556 (six thousand five hundred and fifty-six!) page views for just yesterday. And my adsense earnings too have skyrocketed!

What did I do that I haven't been doing? Nothing, really.
Google suddenly started sending more traffic.

As a Telecoms guy, I will be sharing with you the lowdown of getting a Landline in Nigeria.
We all know that there are some needs, especially business ones, that only Landlines are ideal for. Your GSM phone can even put you at a (business) disadvantage if used to meet such needs. 
Just imagine a company with no Landline, that in itself will mar the image of the company.

So how do you go about getting a Landline in Nigeria?
How are the fixed line telephone service providers in Nigeria?

I will list out the fixed line telephone service companies and then give you my intelligent review.

  1. 21st Century Technologies: They are arguably the best and most popular in Lagos. They provide fixed telephone line service over fibre for PABX lines or copper for single analog lines. They've got one of the best core infrastructure, same as VGCcom.
  2. VGC Communications (owned by MTN): They also provide quality service and use one of the best core infrastructure. If you are a business, I'll advise you get both 21st Century lines and VGC comm lines. That's what nearly all the big companies in Nigeria do. But MTN isn't aiming at growing this part of their biz, you will have to search through vconnect to reach them.
  3. Glo Landline: Yeah, Glo provides Landline services. And they're popular in the corporate Nigeria. But if you're a home user, I wouldn't recommend Glo.
  4. Swift Voice: Swift provides Landlines via VoIP (voice over IP). They are becoming very popular, their pricing is probably the most competitive. I hear they've got good support too.
  5. Monarch Communications: They are also popular and reputable.
Those are the ones I would recommend.
You'll noticed that I omitted Multilinks, Starcomms, Visafone and Zoom mobile. They provide fixed wireless via CDMA, and this is not true landline.

I am at a job interview, a one-on-one interview. I have passed the first stage in flying colors. Inside sources say I have the highest score. My morale is all-time high. Nothing can go wrong. 
It's my turn with the interviewer, a foreigner. He begins asking me technical questions. He seems satisfied with my answers. He does not question me for long. He tells me I will get a response in a week's time. I stand to leave. Then he says  - "Michael, you're very brilliant. I'm not supposed to tell you this, but you're number one on the list. If nothing unusual happens you will be hired. But I want you to take care of your personal hygiene. Get a deodorant. You'll be interacting with clients once in a while. I hope you're not offended. But you're still young and I thought it's best I tell you." 

Chapter 2, Part 2 here

The Beginning here

After school today, there is going to be an inter-class football match. A match between my class and another class. Today's match is going to be special. I am on my class team list. And that's because 3 of the original team members won't be available. Bola's birthday is today and she has invited everyone in the class to the evening party at her house. Half of the team wanted to skip the match for the party. But Jide, the team captain, tried to make them all stay for the match. Only after he reminded them that they will end up getting home very late, did he convince most to stay back. Only three remained obstinate: Tunde, the teams best striker; John, the team's best defender; and Tolu, the team's only goalkeeper. I will most likely fill in for John. I have the reputation of kicking more legs than ball. Even Jide says I'll make a good defender if only I keep my eye on the ball and not the striker's dancing feet. But Tunde says the only football I should be allowed to play is American Football, that my bones are too strong for this football and that whether I kicked or was kicked, it's always the other fellow who gets injured.

It's 4:00pm. End of school for today. I can't wait to get my jersey. There are no boots, you have to come with yours or play barefoot or with your school footwear. Since I hope to be a defender, I have to play with my school footwear. It will help in kicking the ball hard.

Finally, Jide walks over to me and hands me a jersey. But it's not like the other jerseys. It's different from the ones he gave the other guys and the one he is wearing. Am I no longer in the team? He notices my confusion. 
"Akin, you are the goalkeeper for this match". He pats me on the back and walks away.
I have never been one before. Well, better to be a goalkeeper in the team than catching stray balls as a spectator.
The match is about to start. The teams are on the field. The referee is tossing a coin. My heart is pounding. I move back and forth between the side bars of the goalpost. I jump up and stretch like I see other goalkeepers do. I am somewhat calm. No one is going to blame me for the outcome of the match. 
The match begins.
It's now 24 minutes into the match. Suddenly, I see a striker running, with the ball, towards me. he dribbles all the defenders. He is now very close to me. I can feel the energy oozing from him. He looks at me, smiles and eyes the corner of the post farther from me. I freeze. Then he kicks the ball high up and aimed at the corner he eyed. I see Jide placing his hands on his head. Then something strange happens. I can feel myself flying. My hands hit something hard. My head hits the goalpost. I fall to the ground. There is an uproar. I look up and see Jide running towards me. I look around and realize that I have just saved a goal and did it in a spectacular way. Jide is trying to lift me up, others join him. There is wild jubilation. All my classmates are on the field. The referee is blowing the whistle with all his might, and gesturing furiously. No one pays him attention. 
It's a cornerkick.
After a minute or two, the noise subsides. The referee is back in charge. Order is restored. The cornerkick is taken, or more apppropraitely, wasted.
It's now the 60th minute. We had a half-time break at the 30th minute. The referee is now blowing the final whistle. There is another uproar. The scoreline is 0 - 0. The match has ended! I see people running towards me. 
Today I have become a hero. I will be the talk of the entire class tomorrow. In fact, I will be the talk of the entire school. Everyone present during the match is going to become a journalist tomorrow, making sure that everyone knows that he saw it happen.
For once, I am the happiest person in the world. And not even the scolding I am sure to get for coming home late will change that.
Throughout the night, I dream of me saving goals for my class team, then for my school team, and finally for Nigeria in a world cup final. I wake up smiling.
Clouds are no longer what you see in the sky. Try googling it. Type Cloud in google searchbox.
I'm no slacker. I'm already going cloud-based, starting with my intellectual properties (big grammar). Soon, my house address will read - Michael Olafusi, IP, Planet Earth.

So it's universities and their web addy this time. I made this during my NYSC for a seminar in the community school I was posted. I can't forget one question I was asked by one of the participating students, "What about students that can't afford a University education? We hawk fish and other goods after school to survive. What advice do you have for us?" I thought there was a TV screen between us and I was the one on the reality side while she was in the movie. My brain paused, I had no answer. A colleague helped to answer the question.

Here's the list -

I created a LinkedIn ad for my consulting biz about a year ago. Recently, LinkedIn gave me a free $50 coupon. I decided to edit the ad I had made and re-enable it.
To my surprise, I could not find where to edit the ad settings like countries to target, daily budget and lead collection. I googled for help; nothing. Just when I was about creating an entirely new campaign and ad, I found out the unintuitive place LinkedIn placed the ad campaign edit settings.

And to save you similar trouble, I will be sharing that knowledge with you.

How to to edit your LinkedIn ad campaign settings?

Hi, so like me, you've installed SMF for your forum and you're looking for a list of available SMF mods you can install. Though I do not recommend you installing every mod in this list, I am attempting to make the ultimate SMF mods list.

And here it is-

You can now get the MTN Fastlink for N4,999 (that's N5k) and it comes preloaded with 100MB data for 1 month. You'll also get 160% (more than double!) bonus on every data bundle you buy for the next 11 months, as long you buy 100MB or above.

You can also get the MTN Mobile WiFi for N18,500 and it comes preloaded with 1GB data for 1 month. You'll also get 160% (more than double!) bonus on every data bundle you buy for the next 11 months, as long you buy 100MB or above.

Currently, MTN is offering a data delight bonus. You get 50% on every data bundle you buy. And these are the bundle plans and corresponding bonus.

Data Plan Bundle Price Delight Bonus What you get Plan Validity Bundle Code
250MB N1,300 125MB 375MB 30 Days *109#
500MB N2,000 250MB 750MB 30 Days *110#
1GB N3,500 500MB 1.5GB 30 Days *111#
3GB N6,500 1.5GB 4.5GB 30 Days *129#
5GB N8,000 2.5GB 7.5GB 30 Days *101#

With MTN Data Share, you can now share your MTN data bundle with anyone (friend, family or enemy) as long as they have an MTN SIM.

And it's very easy to set-up.
Check the table below for the data bundles supported.

Data Plan Bundle Price Plan Validity Bundle Code
250MB N1,300 30 Days *109#
500MB N2,000 30 Days *110#
1GB N3,500 30 Days *111#
3GB N6,500 30 Days *129#
5GB N8,000 30 Days *101#

And don't forget that MTN is doing a Data Delight promo, so for every 250MB plan you buy you will get 375MB. For 500MB plan you will get 750MB. For 1GB plan you will get 1.5GB. For 3GB plan you will get 4.5GB. And for 5GB plan you will get 7.5GB. So you can collaborate with your friends and buy 3GB with the price split equally among you, in the end you'll get more value for each naira.

So back to how to do the Data sharing.

Have you ever tried googling Personal Finance in Nigeria?

Here is a screenshot of what you'll likely get -

Nothing very useful or relevant. The seemingly relevant results Involve Your Spouse In Your Personal Finance by PM News and What You Need To Know About Personal Finance by Nigeria Village Square are ramblings. Nothing wholesome.

So I decided make the ultimate Personal Finance guide for Nigerians living in Nigeria, like me.

What is Personal Finance?

Though I nearly always go with Investopedia's definitions, this time around I think Wikipedia is more on point. 
But we can always combine the two to get a more illustrative definition. And here it is -
Personal Finance is the sum total of all financial decisions and activities of an individual (or family) in managing his financial resources, with a view of both the present and the future. It will include budgeting, savings, investment and provision for emergencies.

The truth is we all do personal finance, one way or the other. We make money and we spend the money. But we are all faced with the challenge of making the most of every Naira we earn. We seek advice from friends, colleagues and strangers. We try everything we consider reasonable. And all we ever get is an improvement, not a solution.

But I have found the solution, studied it and practiced it. And in this post, I'll be sharing it with you. The sure way to make your money work for you just as hard as you did for it.