Last weekend, NCC fined MTN Nigeria a huge sum of N1.04 trillion. The entire MTN Group (operating in 22 countries) is worth N4.19 trillion. That fine is like 25% of the entire MTN Group's worth. From the Shareholders value standpoint, MTN is better off selling its assets in Nigeria and pull out of Nigeria than pay the fine.


What was the fine for?

Well, it was about the deactivation of unregistered SIMs. NCC said MTN failed to deactivate 5.1 subscribers before the deadline passed. And according to the NCC 2011 Act there is a fine of N200,000 per subscriber line that should be deactivated that wasn't.

So legally, the fine wasn't arbitrary and the rules had been made clear long ago.

So what is MTN saying?

MTN said it deactivated the lines but couldn't get it done within the short time window NCC gave and that it had explained to NCC before the deadline passed that it can only do a staggered deactivation over a month and not the 7 days NCC required.

So what do I think?

My thoughts are based on the following:

  1. MTN definitely can't afford to pay that huge fine. Our entire national budget is N4.493 trillion and we want to get one company to squeeze out N1.04 trillion. That's almost a quarter of our national budget. And as usual if we get it, we'll be sure to squander it rather than create economic value which the unwilling donor had been doing.
  2. Our international risk rate has just gone up. Our companies will find it hard accessing global investor funds and our big companies will now be faced with a higher rate international loans/bonds. We are slowly going back to how our economy was perceived during the military era. 
  3. The simultaneous hammering of Stanbic IBTC (another South African company) isn't helping matters too. Multichoice is probably expecting it would soon be accused of some random offence and hammered too. As much as we would like to see companies acting too big to be brought low, we might be doing more economic harm if we have one standard for the private sector and another for the public sector. If we can't prosecute the ones looting our treasury and are unsympathetic in killing the ones creating jobs for the masses, then we are doing ourselves more harm. The countries that levy this type of fine would have put many people in jail for the running to ground of NITEL. 

Back to what do I think. And it is a simple question -- What are we going to do with the money?

QuickBooks Online

I use QuickBooks for all our accounting and tax needs. It also has a very neat and lovely way of sending my clients an invoice. Since I moved to using QuickBooks people pay faster as they get a good feel of how well structured we are.

I spend $15/month on it and have been using it for over a year.


If you are reading this blog post from your email, it's MailChimp that made that possible.

I use MailChimp for my email marketing. I have a list of prospects who have contacted us about our training services and I keep in touch with them once a week to put us on their mind via MailChimp. I use it for our online Excel training class, but I am now moving that one completely to Udemy as I am getting way more positive responses there. I also use it for our occasional keep in touch mails with past participants of our trainings. And you know the best part? I automated most of these. Saves me a lot of time and help me to keep marketing even when I'm buried under work.

I currently spend $45/month on Mailchimp and have been using it for over 2 years now.


I currently schedule tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn posts to both my personal and company accounts using Buffer. That way I get some attention grabbing activity going on while I am busy offline.

Most of my clients find me online and LinkedIn has been the most generous social media site to us. It is constantly sending us clients and getting us in front of the kind of audience we want. So I am happy to spend on looking active online.

I spend $10/month on Buffer.


My online pride is my Twitter account that currently has over 46,000 followers. I never believed that I could open a Twitter account and watch it grow from zero followers to over 46,000 followers, and an account I almost closed out of frustration.

Since I realise the growth potential in that account, I have since taken special care of it. I bought FollowLiker to automate all my activities on it -- including tweeting and following interesting people. It is the main source of growth for my blog email subscription.

I bought it for $57.99 but pay no monthly subscription charge.

Join Me

I use for our webinars, online/remote customer support and demo. I haven't been using it much lately as I have been swallowed up in too much work I haven't done any webinar in the last three months.

I spend $25/month on it.

LinkedIn Ads

I currently have over $50 credits in my LinkedIn advert account. I use LinkedIn to promote our training services and company page.

I have spent over $200 on LinkedIn ads (including free credits from LinkedIn).

Google Ads

I occasionally use Google Ads to promote our services but it hasn't been very productive compared to LinkedIn and Facebook.

I have spent (I think) over $100 on Google Ads.

Facebook Ads

I also use Facebook ads. It's how I grew our official Facebook page to over 400 likes and marketed some of our training classes.

All my spend on Facebook ads is well over $150 (mostly free credits from Facebook).

Amazon Ads

I use Amazon Ads to push my book sales.

I am currently running a $100 advert campaign.

And those are the services I pay to use for pushing my business and marketing forward. I also use some other services that are free.

Yesterday, I stumbled on a news article about what Donald Trump said about Africans and African-Americans. I couldn't find an authoritative enough news agency to confirm the news on; it seemed only Kenyan and Nigerian news websites carried it. But who ever has been lightly following the Donald Trump's presidential campaign news will know that it is something he can say and most probably said.

A lot of people have said if you rank the entire human population by any important metric, from high to low, the bottom low will be mostly Africans (whether Africans at home or Africans abroad). That racism is not the problem. Afterall it was hatred for Jews that fueled the World War 2 and caused numerous wars in the Middle East. Yet the Jews are arguably the most prosperous in the world. Even the Chinese used to have it tougher for them: their height, their fake products, their repressive leaders and extreme poverty. A few decades ago they were the ones ranking bottom across most metrics. So we all know that it's not racism that is keeping us down, we are the one keeping ourselves down.

And I think where we are getting it wrong is our choice of tools. We keep silent when we ought to talk. If you watch that documentary on how we got our independence, it looked more like we got the independence on the colonial master's terms and not on our own terms. Our independence speech by Tafawa Balewa was basically a thank you speech to the Queen. 

Then we talk when we ought to act. Look around us, it's always one symposium after another, one conference after another, endless Africa rising speeches. The world is not a speech contest. No country rises to significance by talking and doing seminars. The time when talking was effective was when people used to get killed for talking -- the time of Church Supremacy (1500s and 1600s), the time of Martin Luther King Jr., the time of Ken Saro-Wiwa and Fela. Now people get awards for talking and that's why everyone is talking. They want twitter followers, UN awards, US sponsored fellowships and public attention. 

We should at least learn from the Jews and the Chinese and the Singaporeans and the Japanese. No nation rises by activism and talk. Think about the unfortunate Chibok kidnapping, our talk has achieved nothing beyond making a few people popular on social media. Only the actions of our Soldiers are our hope. You can't talk your way to any significant progress. If we don't start watering our land here, stop talking and start acting we won't get ahead in life. We will always rank bottom of every important global index. 

We need more people to start making the real sacrifices nations are built on. People who will think of what they can do for their nation and not what the nation can do for them.  People who won't equate talking to action. People who won't run away to greener pasture and come give talk back home. That's not how the Jews rose nor how the Chinese are rising. We have to get our values right, our ambitions set beyond "I better pass my neighbour" and focus more on building our land. Afterall, the land is green where it is watered. The people moving US forward are not their government or the people on TV, it's the people in Silicon Valley, the people working their lives off building the future the rest of the world will pay for. Think of the big internet companies, the multinational companies and foreign companies we all dream of working for; if the rest of the world were like us will those companies exist? 

As long as we keep avoiding to make the real nation building sacrifices and work on our own rather than on someone else's own; we will keep working hard and building another man's land. It is not corruption that is keeping us down -- US in the 1800s was more corrupt, UK & France in the 1600s were way more corrupt, the rich countries in the Middle East are more corrupt (they legalized the sending of the national wealth to one man's account) and the rising China is also corrupt. We need to use the right tool -- action that matters and not useless talks.


I am currently facilitating a 4 day intensive Business Analytics class. It's split into two weekends -- two Saturdays and two Sundays. But it feels like a two full weeks training. The amount of preparation I am having to put into it is a lot. I have to come up with business relevant practice examples for the participants. I get paid per day, hourly actually. On the surface, it looks like a terrible deal. For each hour of training I get paid for, there are 3 hours I spent in getting ready that I wasn't paid for. That's how the start always is. It's always the toughest.

I remember a quote one of my mentors and bible teacher used to say, "It takes all the years you've been alive to give a 30 minutes sermon." Another one I see often online but will tweak a little for effect is, "It takes at least ten years to get an overnight success."

When you set your mind on doing something and it looks extremely tough and you begin to think it's not going to be worth it, I want you to remember that the start is always like that. I can't guarantee you that it will be worth it or not, but I can guarantee you that starting any worthwhile project/task is always tough. You will be putting more time and resources than you originally planned, then on top of that you won't see the results you are expecting. 

Last week, my sister was helping to type in an Excel sheet all the feedback and rating we got from our training participants. It brought back the memory of how we started the monthly Excel training. I postponed it twice last year and finally started in January this year. Then missed a month as only one person showed interest and I had a more lucrative training offer than week from a corporate client, so I smuggled the guy into the corporate one. The week of the training is always my toughest week of the month. I feel sick at first and panicky. Then I feel weak and exhausted. And when the training is over, I feel extremely happy and wanting to do it all over again. The start wasn't easy at all. But with time I got better and the entire thing got way easier. Now I am so used to those feelings that I don't notice them anymore.

Right now I am happy working from morning to night, everyday. My business is in the start phase. Almost everything I am doing, I am doing for the first time. Every major job is like my first. Every obstacle is new to me. Every day I am matching into unknown territories. Every day is a tough day. But I know it won't be like this for too long. Someday, hopefully soon, I will look back and be surprised at how easy it has all become. It's like building a house, you first dig below the ground level, surrounded by dirt. And start building from under the ground up. Whoever was looking at you digging yourself into a hole won't envy you at all and those who care about you will try to get you out of the hole. No one will understand that it is the only way to build the mansion you want, that they will someday envy.

So my friend, the start is always the toughest. Give it your best and look beyond it because someday you'll be very glad you didn't quit.

First, if you got a spam email from me yesterday, I am very sorry. I used to think I am too techy to have my email account hacked. Yesterday, I learned a new lesson -- never to use the same password on more than one website.


One of the websites I had registered with my email and password got compromised and in turn the hacker got hold of my account details and was able in less than 2 hours to flood my entire contact list with spam mail. Somehow, I am glad it happened as it has made me wiser and more importantly I am grateful to God that it was not my work email. 

So without further delay here is the very interesting article by the renowned Tai Solarin. (I got it from EchoVC)


By Tai Solarin, Jan. 1, 1964  

I am not cursing you; I am wishing you what I wish myself every year. I therefore repeat, may you have a hard time this year, may there be plenty of troubles for you this year! If you are not so sure what you should say back, why not just say, ‘Same to you’? I ask for no more.

Our successes are conditioned by the amount of risk we are ready to take. Earlier on today I visited a local farmer about three miles from where I live. He could not have been more than fifty-five, but he said he was already too old to farm vigorously. He still suffered, he said, from the physical energy he displayed as a farmer in his younger days. Around his hut were two pepper bushes. There were kokoyams growing round him. There were snail shells which had given him meat. There must have been more around the banana trees I saw. He hardly ever went to town to buy things. He was self-sufficient. The car or the bus, the television or the telephone, the newspaper, Vietnam or Red China were nothing to him. He had no ambitions whatsoever, he told me. I am not sure if you are already envious of him, but were we all to revert to such a life, we would be practically driven back to cave dwelling. On the other hand, try to put yourself into the position of the Russian or the America astronaut. Any moment now the count, 3, 2, 1, is going to go, and you are going to be shot into the atmosphere and soon you will be whirling round our earth at the speed of six miles per second. If you get so fired into the atmosphere and you forget what to do to ensure return to earth, one of the things that might happen to you is that you could become forever satellite, going round the earth until you die of starvation and even then your body would continue the gyration!

When, therefore, you are being dressed up and padded to be shot into the sky, you know only too well that you are going on the roughest road man had ever trodden. The Americans and Russians who have gone were armed with the great belief that they would come back. But I cannot believe that they did not have some slight foreboding on the contingency of their non-return. It is their courage for going in spite of these apprehensions that makes the world hail them so loudly today.

The big fish is never caught in shallow waters. You have to go into the open sea for it. The biggest businessmen make decisions with lighting speed and carry them out with equal celerity. They do not dare delay or dally. Time would pass them by if they did. The biggest successes are preceded by the greatest of heart-burnings. You should read the stories of the bomber pilots of World War II. The Russian pilot, the German pilot, the American or the British pilot suffered exactly the same physical and mental tension the night before a raid on enemy territory. There were no alternative routes for those who most genuinely believed in victory for their side.

You cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs, throughout the world, there is no paean without pain. Jawaharlal Nehru has put it so well. I am paraphrasing him. He wants to meet his troubles in a frontal attack. He wants to see himself tossed into the aperture between the two horns of the bull. Being there, he determines he is going to win and, therefore, such a fight requires all his faculties.

When my sisters and I were young and we slept on our small mats round our mother, she always woke up at 6a.m. for morning prayers. She always said prayers on our behalf but always ended with something like this: ‘May we not enter into any dangers or get into any difficulties this day.’ It took me almost thirty years to dislodge the canker-worm in our mother’s sentiments. I found, by hard experience, that all that is noble and laudable was to be achieved only through difficulties and trials and tears and dangers. There are no other roads.

If I was born into a royal family and should one day become a constitutional king, I am inclined to think I should go crazy. How could I, from day to day, go on smiling and nodding approval at somebody else’s successes for an entire lifetime? When Edward the Eighth (now Duke of Windsor) was a young, sprightly Prince of Wales, he went to Canada and shook so many hands that his right arm nearly got pulled out of its socket. It went into a sling and he shook hands thenceforth with his left hand. It would appear he was trying his utmost to make a serious job out of downright sinecurism.

Life, if it is going to be abundant, must have plenty of hills and vales. It must have plenty of sunshine and rough weather. It must be rich in obfuscation and perspicacity. It must be packed with days of danger and of apprehension.

When I walk into the dry but certainly cool morning air of every January 1st, I wish myself plenty of tears and of laughter, plenty of happiness and unhappiness, plenty of failures and successes. Plenty of abuse and praise. It is impossible to win ultimately without a rich measure of intermixture in such a menu. Life would be worthless without the lot. We do not achieve much in this country because we are all so scared of taking risks. We all want the smooth and well-paved roads. While the reason the Americans and others succeeded so well is that they took such great risks.

If, therefore, you are out in this New Year 1964, to win any target you have set for yourself, please accept my prayers and your elixir. May your road be rough!

Your own wisdom, talent and hardwork can only make you stand out where you already are. They will make you noticed and maybe praised. But if you are trying to go far beyond where you are then you need to join a community of people who are already far beyond where you are. People who are already where you want to go. That is the only way to be sure of getting there.

I see a lot of people cultivating deserts. They want to do what the system/place they are in is not suited for. Like a government primary school teacher wanting to introduce e-learning to her pupils and move the entire teaching process to an electronic platform. She will more likely get herself newspaper attention and praises from people than see results commensurate with her efforts. If she was doing same at an IT training school, she won't be getting any newspaper attention and praises but she will be getting results.

If results are what is most important to you and not praises, then you should stop cultivating deserts and struggling with a system not suited for what you want to achieve. You should seek out a community of people already where you want to be. Go where you won't be the smartest. Go where you won't be standing out. Go where others will help you grow and achieve your goals rather than add to the difficulty. Be part of a vibrant community that will support you and make what you want to do look common and achievable.

Thankfully now, it doesn't require a physical change in environment. You don't need to emigrate to USA to be part of a forward thinking high-tech community. You don't need to be move to France to be part of a native french speaking community. You don't need to relocate to China to be part of a martial arts community. There will always be a community nearby or online. 

For my professional programming career goal, I joined a very vibrant online community. I stopped complaining about the lack of great programmers to learn from in Nigeria or a community to mentor me. Now I learn from the best in the world. I joined the community of people already making it big time from programming and are generously sharing their experience and knowledge. 

When I was learning French actively, I joined others who were already on that path too. I joined local communities at Alliance Francaise and the other learning institutes I went to. When I started writing daily, I looked for an online community of people already writing daily; people who made it look easy and common. When I wanted to start my own business, I began moving more with people already running their own businesses. They helped me change my mentality and look beyond the hardships to the opportunities. Even when I was learning to swim, I searched online for a swimming club and that was how I met the amazing lady who taught me how to swim.

In every thing I want to achieve, I try to be part of a community of people already achieving it. It has helped me a lot and reduced my struggle. It's not fun cultivating a desert. Relocate to where there's plenty of rain, nutrients and friendly sunshine; where you will get all the help you need. Join the community of people already where you want to be.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is conducted as a merit-based open competition. After the deadline, all eligible applications will be reviewed by a selection panel. Chosen semifinalists will be interviewed by the U.S. embassies or consulates in their home countries. If selected for an interview, applicants must provide a copy of their passport (if available) or other government-issued photo identification to verify eligibility.

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is open to young African leaders who meet the following criteria:
  • Are between the ages of 25 and 35 at the time of application submission, although exceptional applicants younger than 25 will be considered.
  • Are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.
  • Are eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa.
  • Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English.
  • Are citizens and residents of one of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Individuals residing in Eritrea and Zimbabwe may not apply to the Public Management track. Residents of Sudan may only apply for the Civic Leadership track.
The U.S. Department of State and IREX reserve the right to verify all of the information included in the application. In the event that there is a discrepancy, or information is found to be false, the application will immediately be declared invalid and the applicant ineligible.
Applications not meeting the above technical eligibility requirements will not be forwarded to the selection committee. If you do not meet the technical eligibility requirements for this program, we invite you to visit for information on other U.S. Department of State exchange opportunities.

What are the criteria for selection?

Selection panels will use the following criteria to evaluate applications (not in order of importance):
  • A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement.
  • A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship.
  • The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of others.
  • Strong social and communication skills.
  • An energetic, positive attitude.
  • Demonstrated knowledge, interest and professional experience in the sector/track selected.
  • A commitment to return to Africa and apply leadership skills and training to benefit the applicant’s country and/or community after they return home.

Application Information:

The application will collect basic information and will include questions regarding the applicant’s professional and academic experience, including educational background; honors and awards received; extracurricular and volunteer activities; and English language proficiency. We will also request a résumé (with dated educational and professional background), and personal information (name, address, phone, email, country of citizenship). Additional elements, such as letters of recommendation or university transcripts, are OPTIONAL and may supplement your application.
Start your application here: 

Application Timeline:

   October 1, 2015:   Application opens
   November 11, 2015:   Application closes
 January-February 2016:   Semifinalists interviewed by local U.S. Embassies and Consulates
   March 2016:   Applicants are notified of their status
   April-May 2016:   Visa processing for finalists
   Mid-June 2016:   Fellowship starts in the United States
Toyota Camry 2012 (XV50

Recently Tunde decided to buy a car. He spent a lot of time finding out about characteristics and specifications of different models. His choice fell on Toyota Camry, but buying a new car was too expensive. He didn't like buying pre-owned stuff and he's not a great fan of classifieds websites, so he was going to consider another option.
Ahmed, his friend, asked him about how everything was going, and he told him the sad story. Ahmed laughed and said he was making things too complicated and then showed him this website It turned out to be a pretty nice service. It is very simple to use and the number of offers is just enormous. While Tunde was looking for a car there, he found a new cheap Smartphone.

All cars adverts on Jiji are gathered in the proper category. You can find it on the left side of the page. Every advert consists of a description, a photo, and seller's contacts. Tunde realized scanning all the offers would take too much time so he just typed the name on search line. There were several people offering to sell Toyota Camry. He chose the car in better condition, and luckily it was sold in a city not far from where he lives. He called the seller and after specifying some details they agreed upon a meeting.
He never bought things at classifieds before, but now he would.
Check out the prices for Toyota Camry at today!

Picasso had a very memorable quote about this -- "To know what you are going to draw, you have to begin drawing."


The bridge that takes you from knowledge to skill is practice. Lots of practice. It is what makes the difference between having a degree in English and being a writer. It is what makes the difference between being an amateur and being a professional. The moment you commit yourself to a regular practice session you start climbing the bridge from knowledge to skill.

The mistake most of us make is we want perfect knowledge before we practice. Most of us don't know that to every field/skill, some portion of the knowledge required come only from doing. You can't be a painter if you don't paint. You can't be a writer if you don't write. You can't be a musician if you don't sing/play. There is always a knowledge ceiling you will reach if you don't practice what you're learning. Learning by doing is not optional, it is a requirement if you want to be skilled.

When I started writing daily two and half years ago, my grammar wasn't great and coming up with what to write consumed all my non-work hours. I would spend hours online searching for a blog post idea and spend another set of hours writing and editing. It was like I was punishing myself for nothing. I started buying books on grammar, style and creative writing. But because I had a daily practice session, I was able to convert the knowledge the books gave me to a skill. Today, my grammar still isn't great but I am a writer. I write daily and I write like I was born with the skill. Writing is no longer a difficult task or a daily burden as I found it the first year of daily writing. Just because I decided to practice, I was able to cross from knowledge (imperfect knowledge) to skill.

Last year, when I quit my job to become a full-time Microsoft Excel consultant I didn't know many aspects of Excel. And I didn't have the MVP award before putting in my resignation at work. I was just determined to dive head first into the Excel consulting business. My plan was to learn all I need along the way while maxing out the knowledge I already had. I was bent on crossing that bridge that takes one from knowledge to skill even though I planned getting some of the knowledge while on that bridge. Fast forward one year and it has paid off very well. I now know things I never knew existed and I am now making more money than I was while in my salaried job. The best part is I am now very good at learning fast and making money from what I learn.

I also have a failure story. Since 2009 I have been trying to learn French. I have had private tutors, attended Alliance Francaise at Ikeja, Centre Culturel Francais at Abuja, Bon Berger at Cotonou and online French classes. I have bought many French books and learning tools. But because I never practiced regularly and especially had trouble with practicing my imperfect embarrassing French with my French speaking friends, I didn't make significant progress. I know a lot of French words but can't do anything useful with the knowledge because I didn't practice. I am not the very conversational type, even in the English language I am fluent in I still avoid chatting with people. That bad habit has been limiting my French learning. I find it as double hard work to dedicate time to chat with people and then in a language I am not good at. So I never walked far on that bridge from knowledge to skill.

The are two things I am betting my future (and business) on.


1. That C# will still be a dominant programming language for the next 10 years

I strongly believe that the greatest opportunities in the Nigerian tech space (and even non-tech space) are for creators. People who create what others will use, resell and embed into their own products. There are very few creators in Nigeria, everyone is into services and offering their skills for sale. Only very few people are going the hard path of using their skills or acquiring new skills in order to create something remarkable that they can sell rather than put up on their CV. 

In addition to the amazing opportunities that exist for creators (be it writers, producers, indie programmers, ...) the future is brightest for programmers. In all the developed countries, programmers are the ones earning armed robber salaries. They are the equivalent of offshore petroleum engineers working for the biggest oil companies in Nigeria. And as usual, trends like this, that are not music or iPhones or cars or designer bags, take a long time before reaching Nigeria. We are extremely slow to catch up with the high value trends, it is the low value consumption based trends we catch immediately.

So I am forcing myself to become a very good programmer and choosing C# because I can build all kinds of applications with it -- web apps, phone apps, IoT programs, computer programs. office apps, ... That way I get to focus on one major language rather than learn several languages for each platform I want to develop program for. The only other language I will be spending almost same amount of resources learning is JavaScript. With those two languages I am betting that my programming future will be very bright. Luckily, as I am not aiming to use the skills for getting a job I don't have to compete with guys who know 5 to 10 programming languages. And I don't have to worry about companies looking for programmers who know too much. My goal is simple -- to build programs I can sell or embed my other services in.

2. That Data Analysis, BI and Big Data analytics will be huge in Nigeria
Now I am currently making my living of data analysis and Microsoft Excel, but I am already slowly moving into the BI world and keeping an eye on big data analytics. My ultimate goal is to be one of the few companies in Nigeria that will operate in the BI and Big Data analytics world. And it's no small feat to aim for. The BI and especially Big Data Analytics require programming skills and deep technical skills. It's not the Excel based analysis I currently do. Big Data analytics will require learning cloud computing, a program like Python and several deep back-end processes. I don't think there is anyone in Nigeria along that path or any company in Nigeria with a role for such a person. It's very new and most companies are not yet using the technology in their production environment.

Again, I am betting my future on its uptick in Nigeria. And I believe I will be right. It's a lot easier to play in technically advanced field that is not crowded and is growing. 

The truth is they juggle me. 


I have to write every morning and have it posted before 8:00am. On some days, it is easy. On other days, it is very hard. I also have to do clients' jobs -- mostly programming. Luckily, I am now good at programming and it's usually fun for me. The trouble is programming has a high switching cost. It requires a mood or specific frame of mind. I can't just switch from something else into programming and get the flow immediately. And it is not distraction friendly. Whenever I am programming I avoid doing anything else or I might muddle up the logic in my program and have to spend 1 hour to get back on track. So now add on top of those (writing and programming), the other numerous things I have to get done -- admin work, meetings with clients, marketing, preparing for and facilitating training, getting paid and keeping up with my online MBA studies. It's almost a miracle how I haven't broken down physically and mentally,

There is no allowance for illness or feeling down (depressed). I can't afford to wake up on the wrong side of my bed. I have to be high all day to get any significant work done and not feel overwhelmed by the different tasks and people pulling me from all sides. And it is crazy difficult to manage because I no longer get a fixed monthly income. My income comes from those overwhelming jobs and they are not all the same. Training gets me fast and easy cash, so I can't turn them down as most of the programming jobs and big client jobs take months to turn to cash. So it is not a case of let go of low paying work to have more time for high paying work and an easier life. High paying work will first starve you before it overfeeds you. Low paying work keeps the lights on while you pursue delivery and payment of the high paying work.

"So why don't you build a team?"
Yes. And I am already building a team. The cash outflow to maintain a team is real and consistent; the work overload I face is also real but not that consistent. So in solving one problem I am creating another. But I have no choice, I can't do everything by myself and if I want the company to grow I need to have a team. It's part of the entrepreneurial cost.

The whole entrepreneurial journey is a strange one for me. I have to think of today and the very far future only. I try not to think of the very near future -- next week, next month -- because I get cash flow fears. Where will the next money come from? I start feeling like I need to do more which isn't good because I am already running at close to my break point. I work from morning to night and still dream about work in my sleep. Now I know why everyone can't be an entrepreneur. The good part of it all is that I am getting used to it. Every passing day, I get less sensitive to the pressures that surround me. I am getting used to having lots of money now and having nothing the next week. I am getting used to spending on ideas and marketing strategies that I am not sure will work, and not feel like I  threw money away when they flop. I am now getting used to spending without saving or considering where the next money will come from. I know that as long as I stay in the game and don't give up, it will all pay off someday. One day I will be able to go on a 6 months vacation and not worry about how the business will survive. The start of every business is always tough and that is my biggest consolation. I know it won't be like this for long. I won't have to juggle these many tasks forever.


1. No Query, No Office Politics & No Undue Pressure
You can't overestimate the amount of positive energy that frees up. When the only person you have to please is the customer and all it takes to get your idea approved is your own willingness to implement it; you get a lot done. 

Also when you make mistakes, there is no one keeping note or judging you based on your shortcomings. You are allowed to grow at your own pace. Also there is no pressure to do those expensive certifications. There is no one to convince of your expertise by your certifications. All you need is just the knowledge and confidence to manage projects (not PMP), to manage clients (not ITIL), to improve your processes (not Lean Sigma or SSGB), to manage your team (not HRBP) and to do your business analysis (not CBAP),

2. Fast Career Growth
Running your own business is more than being the CEO of a company. You are both the CEO and the investor. It is the peak of any career. There is nothing higher. All you have to do is to grow the company into a big brand to set yourself apart. 

Before starting my business, I had worked in three telecoms companies (two multinationals and one local) and I never held a people management position. The closest to being a manager role I had was when I became the service delivery manager for the third company, but it was a process management role not people management role. No one reported to me. And if I were still in those jobs I don't think I will have direct reports till the next few years. But the moment I started my business and set up a team, I became a manager instantly. In fact, I became the management.

I have played the role of marketing manager, sales manager, PR manager, IT manager, project manager, customer service manager and even the managing director all in one year of starting my business. No company will give you such a growth potential.

3. Big League
The moment you have a registered limited liability company, you have joined the big league. You can become as big as any company. But the instant perk you enjoy even while you are still small and almost insignificant is that you get treated the same way the big companies are. 

I have bidded for the same jobs the big companies I would have gladly worked for bidded for too. And occasionally, I win. 

Even when you register as a vendor you get the same terms and treatment as a foreign global firm would get. It's just a matter of time you get used to thinking big because now you're swimming with the big guys. You now play in the big league.

4. Partnership Offers
I am constantly getting business partnership offers. 


1. Soft Skills
As much as I say that I am unsocial, it's my soft skills that get me most of the projects I get. Surprised that I have soft skills?

The truth is if you write out all the soft skills required for corporate success, I have them all except one -- delegation. I am a great team player; I listen and empathise a lot which makes people tell me more than they should; I have good selling skills (that's how I get so much work) and I can read people (learned that from books & practice for over 10 years). I also have good communications skills; it is pointless chit-chat I suck at. In all the places I have worked I have always had a smooth and friendly relationship with my colleagues and boss. Sometimes, I am everyone's favourite. And it's because I always make them feel better and get better. Every training I hold, the feedback at the end from participants always include, "Michael made it fun and easy to understand all the complex things in Excel and he used a lot of memorable funny stories too."

No matter your chosen career or path in life, you will need soft skills. They are the like the engine oil that prevents you from wearing out and always at friction with others. 

2. Hard Skills
If you want to be a person of value, then you need a hard skill. If you are tearing the scales on the soft skills meter but have no obvious hard skill, you are just going to be a fun person to waste time with and not someone to get work done with.

It is hard skills that open opportunities. And in this present hypercompetitive and fast paced world, you need to have one outstanding hard skill. Be extremely good at something that requires hard learning. And don't confuse exposure with expertise. Reading and taking certification courses will not make you an expert, they will only expose you to that field and make you look better than someone with no certification. But if you want a genuine advantage and be able to get top dollar for your skill, then you must practice, practice and practice with real life/business scenarios. Expertise comes with experience and lots of learning from mistakes rather than just learning from books/instructors. So you should consider volunteering in order to get on the expert path for any hard skill you genuinely seek to acquire.

I have chosen Excel and I am able to charge as high as a million naira for an Excel job because I know it to an expert level. Not everybody will need my service but those who do have very few options and most times, I am their best option. That is why you should have a hard skill that you want to build an extreme expertise in.

3. Ability To See The Big Picture
If you want to attempt great things and set yourself up for great opportunities, you need to do a lot of things that won't pay off in the beginning. You will need to make a lot of sacrifice. You might even need to incur losses upon losses and still put your entire mind into what is incurring the loss. And this is only possible if you have a big picture in mind. Something big that you are working towards.

The ability to see the big picture is what sets aside the great people from the good people. I mean it is what will take you from good to great.

4. A Signature Trait

Steve Jobs was known to be eccentric and creative. Bill Gates is known to be obsessed with IQ and programming. Donald Trump is known for being rash and ambitious. 

You need to have your own signature trait. Companies have them too, and it's for a reason. Life is hard, you can't be every good thing to everyone. You need to pick what you what to be known for and worry less about the rest.

If you think too much, do little social activities, care very little about other people's opinion of you, take frequent crazy risks, read a lot of classics, follow every single one of you passions, don't know how to give up and are perfectly okay living with the consequences of your lifestyle choice; you'll always be different. 


Well, that's how I ended up being different. And as for how I got on that lifestyle path, it wasn't by choice. Growing up, while other children had to be coerced (gently or roughly) into reading I had an in-born affection for books. Unfortunately, there were not many children books in our home. My mum used to be a secondary school teacher and had many brown paper no picture 19th century novels. And my dad kept most of his medical lab science books. So I ended up reading Gulliver's Travels, African Writer Series, Black Arrow, Little Men, Little Women, Penguin's brown paper Shakespeare's books, philosophy books and medical books. The only book I can remember reading as a child that had illustrations (images inside) was the bible for children. So I got the curse of an over-analytical mind from starting my life on those books.

They formed the foundation of how my mind works and my values. I learned early in life that time changes everything. Especially, people's opinions and what they value (fashion). I wanted to focus more on the things that get better with time. And for the first 20 years of my life I didn't know what those things are but I knew what there are not. I knew fame doesn't get better with time so I never envied celebrities, even while growing up. If you had asked me who my heroes were you would have heard names of people who had died 2500 years ago (Socrates, Plato, ...) and authors of classic novels. They were the real celebrities to me. Long after they were gone, their works and lives still inspire. I also knew money for the sake of money never makes a happy old man.

Then not too long ago, I discovered the things that get better with time. I suck at one of them -- friendship. But I pursued with dedication the rest -- original writing, entrepreneurship, learning, being truthful and smart hardwork. Now I am happy to be different.

There's a new type of ignorance and Mark Twain had it well laid out in his quote -- "It isn't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; it is what you know for sure that just isn't so," And that is the new type of ignorance.

It might look confusing and illogical. But I'll give you examples to make it clear. 

Once upon a time, many years ago, a very rich man died but before his death he had a special fund that had millions of Naira and he willed that the money in it be split equally between his two sons and transferred into special accounts for them. Son number 1 didn't know about the will or the money transfer to a special account for him. He simply kept living like he had no millions stashed away somewhere in his name. This is the conventional ignorance. Son number 2 knew about the special account and was sure it was billions his dad put in there for him. He began living like he was a billionaire and getting into scrapes with people he shouldn't because he now had billions he was sure he could never finish. This is the new type of ignorance.

Remember the Ebola Virus Disease and the salt water preventive procedure? Parents called up their children in schools and universities and persuaded them to bathe with salt water. Neighbourly neighbours persuaded their neighbours to bathe with salt water. Caring pastors persuaded the congregation to bathe with salt water. It was the people refusing to bathe with salt water who looked ignorant. Somehow a large number of people, like the rich man's second son, knew for sure what just wasn't so.

Another example that saddens me more and seem to go on undetected is what people say on radio, TV and in newspapers. More than half of what I read on newspapers and hear on-air-personalities say are just not correct. People making claims that aren't credible. People seeing things that aren't there. People giving unsound advice.

In my first year in the university, I became friends with electricity. Almost every week I used to get electric shock, mostly due to faulty electric stove (hot plates, as we called them). Then I stumbled on a cool trick. In an electric socket, there three cables -- live wire, neutral wire and the earth wire. In our hostel, our kitchens and rooms often had two wires and no socket, just wires sticking out from holes in the wall. The two wires were live wire and neutral wire. From experience, I found out that if I touched the neutral wire I didn't get electric shocks. And that became my new hobby. I would tell people that I could touch electric wires and not get electrocuted, as usual they wouldn't believe me. Then I would make the crowd grow by repeating myself and louder so people around would hear. Then I would touch the neutral wire and they would be surprised. And all kinds of theories would emerge -- "It's because Michael held his breath"; "It is because he is wearing a rubber sole shoe"; "It is because Michael is slim, not much water in his body." And on and on. I always made sure to not correct them. They now know something that isn't so.

That is the new type of ignorance. Being sure of what is not correct. And we all have it, just to varying degrees. The only worrisome part is that in Nigeria here the degrees are often alarming.