I definitely have got a problem. I easily lose control over the things I start doing. As much as I hate to admit it, I am helpless about two third of the things I do. I often have great ways of explaining the logic behind the things I do that make me look like I am in control of my actions, but the truth is that I just do them and find a reason for doing them latter. 

I easily take things to the level of obsession. And not deliberately. The only thing I do in moderation is overdoing things.

Yesterday, French resurrected in my life. Earlier this year, I gave up learning French and made a resolution to move on. I wasn't making good enough headway to justify the time and resources I was continuously offering it. I was making good progress on my resolution. Once in a while, the temptation comes but I have always managed to overcome. Well, until yesterday. The temptation overcame me. And, again, I am not in control of what I commit to doing.

It is like writing this daily posts, a project I embarked on in July of 2013. It is like brushing with my left hand, a fun activity I started in 2010. It is like many other things I now daily do but too ashamed to state on this blog. You would be very wrong to think I find it hard to write daily than not to write daily. You would be very wrong to think that brushing daily for the past 6 years with my left hand must require a lot of dedication. The truth is I am helpless against them. Not doing those tasks is, now, extremely hard. 

Yesterday, I changed my PC language setting to French. I changed my phone language to French. I restarted my French learning. And this time, I have no choice. French learning has now become part of my daily compulsive activities. I am no longer learning it just to know it, now my learning is because I can't not learn it.
First, read this: MMM (Ponzi scheme company)

Is MMM legal? I don't know for sure.

Is MMM good? It's not for me to say.

But should you put your money in MMM? I'll say a big NO.


No investment or help scheme that promises you 30% return a month, equal to 360% annual return, same as your money almost quadrupling in one year should be taken seriously. Especially when they make it clear that your money is not going to be put to any productive (commercial production) use and you will get your money + interest back from new members' money.

I deal with numbers almost everyday. For every one person that puts in 1 million in a year, you need about 4 people's money just to pay him back his original N1 million and the promised interest of N3.6 million. And those 4 people will need 16 people for them to get back their money with promised interest. And the 16 will need 64. The 64 will need 256. The 256 will need 1024. The 1024 will need 4096. Then it gets crazy when the original one person puts back N1 million from his N4.6 million. The calculation goes from geometric to exponential. And that is just in one year.

But the original one person got back his money, even with more returns than a typical savings account with a bank will give him in 10 years. Isn't that good? 

For that guy, it is good.

Then shouldn't you try it? Again, a capital NO.

If you followed my earlier description of how the scheme requires 4 people to get you back your money with interest, then it should be clear to you that one day more people will be due for their money and there won't be enough people joining to generate that required payment. And everything will come crashing down. And like in Russia, where it all originated, some people would have put their entire savings + borrowed money in and upon losing it all will commit suicide. More people will lose their money than those who get their money out.

If people put in N1 billion, you can be sure that over N750 million will be lost. Actually, will be used to pay the first N250 million their returns.

The question I want you to consider is: what are my chances of being among the first N250 million?

Maybe you've already tried it and gotten your money back. Lucky you. If you feel tempted to go back in, then should ask yourself: am I not pushing my luck too far?

And if you find it too tempting to ignore, then please don't put your life savings in it. Put just what you can afford to lose. 

If you want my sincere advice. It is this: don't cultivate a bad habit of trying things that are not sound or ethical just for sake of profit, addiction is real and surfaces when you've forgotten about the seeds, like this, that birth it. Think of those CEOs that get disgraced/jailed for shady deals and unethical business activities. It was little unethical gain seeking habits they cultivated when in the university, as young graduates and when little was at stake, and no one noticed, that pushed them to those damning end. So please stay far away from MMM.

Thank you!
That was the state of my iPhone until yesterday when I permanently fixed it.

The issue started after I upgraded the OS to iOS 9 (last year). The performance took a dive. I would tap on Mail app and it would take seconds before it would respond. Sometimes picking phone calls became a hit or miss, as I would tap the green answer icon and nothing would happen. 

I tried many things -- reducing the level of animation, removing some apps and fiddling with a lot of settings. Nothing worked permanently.

This month I upgraded to iOS 10 and things got worse again. Now the phone will suddenly freeze and restart. Typing has now become a hard labor as the keys respond very late and generate more errors. It was pushing me towards getting another phone, if not for the new exchange rate. But yesterday I fixed it permanently.

I reset the phone. Actually, erased the iPhone. It was a bold step and it worked beautifully. I lost all my photos and movies and messages and many other things. No problem. I like new beginnings. The phone now feels like new. And works very fast and smooth. All problems gone.

Is your iPhone also giving similar problems? Well, you should try a reset. Worked great for me.

That is the entrepreneur's number one skill. His ability to take risk. And like all skills, he gets better at it over time.

Looking back, over the two years I have been on my own business-wise, I have become used to the life of uncertainty that comes with entrepreneurship. I am only sure of the money I have in my hands, I don't know where the next one will come from. In the beginning that was pressure in itself. It was like learning to swim, your first attempts will almost drown you before you finally start floating in the water rather than fighting with the water.

Gradually, you begin to feel comfortable with risks and seek more uncertainties. You rely on previous experience, book knowledge and opportunities you see around to make plans/decisions. And finally, you loathe anything that ties you down, that limits your options -- ultimately, waving bye to the employee world.

In this last two years, I have made money from every idea that popped into my head that I pursued -- from online training to selling books online to selling iTunes card to academic research to programming to teaching Excel. Though I have stopped a lot of them but they have embedded in me the ability to turn ideas and skills into money. They give me a sort of a safety net as I take on more risky ideas -- if they fail I can also go back to what I have done in the past that worked.

And I see this same skill in other entrepreneurs. They take more risks that non-entrepreneurs. In fact, it is their most obvious skill.

We attribute too much of our current circumstance to politics -- from the days of colonial masters to Buhari's government of change. It is the government's fault that we are dependent on oil for foreign exchange earning. It is the government's fault that our educational system is substandard. It is the government's fault that we don't manufacture much. It is the government's fault that the agricultural sector is operating far below its potential. It is the government's fault that people are taking to crime. It is the government's fault that we import almost everything we consume. It is, probably, the government's fault that we are not born as citizens of a developed country like USA.

We blame the government rightly for the huge misdeeds they do, but we usually don't stop there. We also blame the government for the things that are our own faults.

Everyone -- citizens, civil servants and political office holders -- have distinct roles to play in making Nigeria great. 

Nigerians, not the government, are the ones who have to be innovative and apply their academic knowledge to build high performing manufacturing companies. We should be producing our own fertilizers. We should be producing our own toothpicks. We should be producing our own exportable technology. We should form proper pressure groups that police the government. We should take charge of our own small communities and not wait indefinitely for government to build drainage in front of our houses. We should live like modern humans with dignity and not like jungle folks.

It is said that a country gets the leaders it creates, as leaders are from among the people. If we become better Nigerians, then the bottom of the barrel folks will not rise to the top. If we set the standard of living and behavior, morally bankrupt people will hide for shame. 

The type of Nigerians we need, and should be, are genuinely creative hardworking Nigerians who will create the solution to the problems they see around rather than just blame it on the government. We need Nigerians who will genuinely care for the coming generation and seek to leave a better Nigeria behind. We need Nigerians who do more with the education they have and put in place the things we go looking for in the other countries.

The type of Nigerians we need begin with you and me.

"Take me to all the affordable hotels in Wuse 2" -- Me
"No problem. There is 1st Forty at Aminu Kano Crescent. I used to take some people there. It is cheap. There is also National Hospital Guest house close to Banex Plaza, that one definitely will be affordable. If no luck there, then I will take you to one cheap one opposite Rockview Hotel" -- The taxi driver

This was on Thursday. I had just gotten to Abuja at 1:30pm to make arrangements for our Abuja Business Data Analysis, Executive Dashboard and In-depth Excel Training. We use Rosebud Hotel at Garki Area 11 as the training venue. They give me excellent discounts, so I stay in the hotel.


But this time I couldn't afford to stay in the hotel, even despite the discounts. Buhari has turned us all to economists. That was why I got a taxi and told the driver to take me round Wuse 2.

I specified Wuse 2 because it was where I stayed in 2011 when I was attached to an Etisalat project and transferred to the Etisalat NOC (network operations center) in Wuse 2, Abuja. It was then I got myself a lady swimming instructor and was taking swimming classes at Rockview Hotel. The 8 weeks, thereabout, I spent in Abuja then, I stayed in about 6 different hotels and spent the first days touring the hotels in Wuse 2 looking for one within my N12,000/night budget. Then I was amazed by how many hotels you could find on one street. They were like bars in Bayelsa and lotto house (baba ijebu) in Lagos. Every major street had many.

Going round on Thursday brought back those memories. And this time I decided to give it more thoughts -- "Why are there too many hotels in Abuja?"

The hotel I finally settled for is barely selling up to 1/5th of the available rooms. Too many empty rooms. I stay on the second floor and I haven't run into any other person besides the cleaners and receptionists for the past three days.

An answer I have heard people give is that when politicians and civil servants hit money big time, they build hotels with it. And that almost all the past governors (of even states in the extreme south of Nigeria) have hotels in Abuja. And that it is the reason there are too many hotels in Abuja.

What do you think?

Are you an Excel champ and would like to win something tangible for your competence in Excel? Then Microsoft has got something to give you the recognition you deserve. It is a global competition to find the world's Excel champs.

Below are the details directly from Microsoft:

Do you think you have what it takes to be the Excel World Champ?
We want to test your skills and creativity!

From October 2016 to November 2016, Microsoft will run four rounds of Excel tests for residents of select countries. Only the top competitors in each round will make it through to the next, until ultimately there is one Excel Champ for each country! Residents of countries not listed below can compete in our international "All Other Countries" competition listed at the bottom of this post.

In Early 2017, the country champions and our International winner will compete against one another for the title of Excel World Champ and our Grand Prize: a trip to Seattle, USA and a meeting with Excel Product Leads to provide feedback on the next features added to Excel.

Fellow Nigerians can register here.

Good luck!

As a recent alumni, I have been given the privilege to nominate a few people who will immensely benefit from the program.

You can read about what the program is about here, Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, and Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa Executive Training.

If you feel like its a good fit for you, send me your name, email, job role and company. I will forward about five to them as my nominations for the next batch/intake starting January 2017 and ending July 2017. 

You can also directly apply on the application page for the BMIA intake 4.

I was part of the BMIA intake 3 and it was a wonderful experience for me. Networked with lots of people across the media industry and other industries, learned many new useful things that will help build my career/business and got a lot of freebies from Bloomberg (especially the Bloomberg Terminal access).

The biggest problem you'll face when trying to start a business in Nigeria what I call wrong assumptions. Things you are very sure of but aren't correct.  And if you intend to start a business part-time, they often go undetected and kill the business.

I started my business part-time in 2012. I was 100% certain that the money is in catering for SMEs and consulting. It took just months of starting full time to find that the SME focus is a deadend. And two years to find that consulting involves too much resource waste and doesn't scale well. It's the training as a service/product that I was doing on the side while working on growing the consulting arm that is now my main income generator. Getting us more money per resource/energy than the best consulting job we've ever got. Plus it scales better.

Also at the start, I never considered building a mass market product. Now that is the big focus for us. It's where our future and eventual success lies.

All these are things I could never figure out at the start or while doing the business part-time. It's obvious to most of us why errors abound at the start of a business but it might not be obvious why running the business part-time still puts one at a disadvantage. The reason is as long as your entire income is not coming from the business and you have a primary income source you already devote time to, you can never take the type of big risks and devote the insane amount of time it requires to fully understand the business you're getting into -- not just from the service/product offering side but also from the customer relationship side, human resource side and industry evolution side. If you've not had to put your entire life on hold trying to make the business work, you will always be working at the periphery of the deep potentials the business has. Even if you are doing well running it part-time, you will do 10 times better and more future prepared if you are full-time in it.

The Nigerian business environment is full of unknowns, traps, potholes and risks that you can never plan for passively. Imagine driving on a Nigerian road on autopilot. Then don't drive your business that way. Processes and structure should not replace active management. Delegation sounds nice if it's one of your five prospering businesses or just a source of side income. If it's your only source of income and you've given up almost everything to set it up, and it's based in Nigeria, you have to roll your sleeves up and be involved in all aspects of the business. Not doing that is increasing the risk of business failure.

So what am I saying it takes to successfully start a business in Nigeria?

It doesn't take great intelligence, there are many dumb businesses and uneducated entrepreneurs doing well in Nigeria. It doesn't take a great business idea, an idea, no matter the adjective used to qualify it, is just an idea. The work is in the implementation. It doesn't take capital, that is just an escuse from someone who is not willing to make his business idea work. All it takes is all of you. You have to be there fully and always at the start.

First, the answer: technically, NO.


Now let's talk the technical part of what is currently happening to us in Nigeria. About this time in 2014, I bought my iPhone 5 64GB on Amazon for $409.95 and in Naira it was N68,553.85

With shipping it came to $414.94, and in Naira, N69,388.30

Yesterday, I tried buying the iPhone 6 64GB on same Amazon. Interestingly, it is cheaper in dollar value than the iPhone 5 I bought in 2014.

More than $20 cheaper and I should be happy. Well, that was looking at it dollar-wise. The moment I got out my calculator and converted it to Naira, I gave up. Using the exchange rate GTBank used for last purchase I made two days ago (N395/$), the price came to N152,055.25

I remember in 2011, when I joined a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel and my salary was in dollars. $700/month and I used to complain bitterly as it was less than what I used to get at my previous job (I fell victim to mass retrenchment). At today's exchange rate that would be a good N276,500. Not bad if you've got just 6 months work experience and finished NYSC that same year.

So back to the original question: are we individually worse off?

Here is the hard truth: NO. It might be hard to accept and even my previous illustration of reality seem to point otherwise but it's the plain truth.

When a country devalues its currency, imports become expensive (e.g. iPhone) and people are forced to look inward for cost saving and entrepreneurial opportunities. The initial period of adjustment will be, no doubt, tough. You first get burned before adjusting in most cases. And it is like that with all economic decisions, there is always a time lag. A period of stickiness. Everyone gets caught unaware and then slowly adjust.

Price of goods rise, especially those that are fully or partly imported. Salaries don't initially rise. And in our depressed economy people are actually taking pay-cut, either with consent or by force (salary delay/cut). But if you look at history, all the while Naira has been falling against the dollar since we got independence. First it was due to the civil war, then, succession of coups, then, Buhari and Oil, then Abacha, then, some unknowns, then Buhari and Oil again. But are people still collecting salaries of N60/month like my mum did at her first job? Even in the recent past, there was a time N50,000/month was a good starting salary for recent graduates. Now they are all expecting N150,000/month. In fact, my friend in far back 2010 got N250,000/month as his first salary. Imagine someone getting that in 1995, fresh out of school and NYSC.

So how did salary and our living standards increase over the years that dollar has been rising? The answer lies in our GDP. As long as our GDP is rising (over time) it means there is higher consumption (money in circulation for all) and production (more companies and businesses) and gains are passed to individuals (households) as higher income (salaries and all).

So the dollar-naira exchange rate is not what we should bother about but the economy. The GDP. Once that keeps rising, we will keep prospering.

In 2011 I opened two investment accounts: ARM Discovery Fund and Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund accounts. They are both mutual funds -- meaning they pool money from different individual and institutional investors and invest on their behalves charging management fee and, what is called, front-end load fee. If you are just starting your investment journey or don't have time to manage your investments yourself, mutual funds could be great for you. Since I became very busy building my career and business, I have gradually moved all my investments from being partly personally managed to mutual funds.

Today, I will be sharing with you an in-depth analysis of Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund (SINEF).

The fund started on 28th February 1997 and is the largest of its kind in Nigeria. It invests a minimum of 75% of its assets in stocks of companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and a maximum of 25% in fixed income (bonds and money market). This means it can have as high as 100% (which is all of its assets) invested in the stock markets if it deems it right, and when it's trying to avoid the stock market it cannot go below 75%.

According to today's data from Bloomberg, its top stock holdings as percentage of total assets are Dangote Cement (8.98%), Nestle (8.78%), UACN (8.09%), Nigerian Breweries (6.73%) and Zenith Bank (5.84%).

It charges a management fee of 0.63% and a front-end charge of 5.25%. Over the last 15 years it has cumulatively returned about 300%. It has also managed to beat the Nigeria All Share Index in the same period. 

source: Bloomberg

source: Bloomberg

To invest in the fund, you can go to any Stanbic IBTC bank branch. The minimum initial investment amount is N50,000 and subsequent investments can be as low as N20,000.


Now I am absolutely convinced that learning any skill, including programming, is like learning to drive. You make good progress when you listen to those who already have the skill and you practice with different types/models. Listening to those who already are experts goes beyond having a conversation while you are behind the wheel, that may or may not involve you being smacked at the back of your head. It also involves reading books by those who know, watching tutorial videos and watching experts work. Then you go practice as often and on as diverse platforms as possible.

So what is the best way I have figured out?

It is that you have to set no hard targets regarding outcome, let your targets be based on hours committed to learning and practice. That way you don't get frustrated or get incomplete learning out of pressure to meet your outcome based target. If you do as much learning and practice as you maximally can, the outcome part will fix itself. And no more struggling.

I just realised this this past weekend. So now I am abandoning all my outcome based targets and adopting the learning input based targets. The pressure on me has now reduced. I only need to free up hours and days to learn and practice, the outcome will naturally happen.

I am currently learning to use JavaScript, JSON and jQuery expertly. I am now absorbing more knowledge than before because I am no longer in a rush and tempted to skip what I think I already know. I am now becoming happy and learning right.


Think it's impossible? Think again.

When we think of the past, we erroneously think of 10, 20, 30 years ago. We think of the distant past. What about the immediate past? As you are reading this post, your reading the sentence before this one happened in your past. And the moment you decided to read this post you changed your immediate past. From that moment forward, till your finished reading, every second back (immediate past) was spent on the words in this post. 

What I am saying is that we change our past right now, in the present. I don't want to use the word "decide" because it gives the impression of affecting something at a later time. I don't want to say you decide your past by the actions you take now. It's right but not as right as using the word "change". Decide makes it look like the actions you take now, over time, constructs your future. But change makes it obvious that I mean the effect is instantaneous. Immediate. 

The moment you take an action, right there, in that instant, it changes your past. Maybe, like me, you've never taken a beer before. The instant you open a beer, pour its content in a glass cup and take a sip, your past changes. Now you've taken a beer before. 

Your past starts right now and as far back as you can remember. Why focus on the distant past when you can change the immediate past?

Take the actions you want to be part of your past and instantly they become part of your past. Maybe you want to be bilingual. Start now. You've always wished you had followed your entrepreneurial passion. Start now. For years you've wanted to visit a particular country. Go now (if you have the money, though). Whatever, you want to look back and tick as done, do now. And that's how you change your past.

The only constant is change. Or should I say: only change is constant. Well, they both mean the same thing. And for me the latest change is that I have revamped our monthly class training. I have improved the content to cover new things and focus more on the business application of the skills covered. Now, it is more of a two in one training -- the hard skill part of Excel and the soft skill part of business application (with business cases) sharing my deep on-the-field knowledge as a full-time business data analyst.

If you would benefit from upgrading your business data analysis skills and learn real-life application of those skills across different industries, you should sign up for our next session coming up in October. Get more details here: Executive Dashboards, Business Data Analysis and In-depth Excel Training.

Last week Tuesday, we had our monthly webinar. This month's was on Pivot Table, Power Pivot and Power BI. If you work on large data records and want to up your game, you should watch the recording of the webinar. Here is the YouTube link: Pivot Table, Power Pivot and Power BI.


When the say the best things in life are free, you can safely say they have Udacity in mind. Udacity offers courses developed by the world's leading companies and experts. And their certificate courses don't come cheap at all. As much as I love learning and won't hesitate to spend to learn every time I come to check the amazing courses Udacity have and feel tempted to enroll, the moment I see the fees the temptation and I both disappear. But the good part is that they've got many great courses they've made available for free. 

I have not wasted time in registering for the ones I have interest in, and I suggest you go check out and enroll for the ones you find of value too at

Check out the catalog (see screenshots below)