I recently read this article titled “Why 1 million Chinese migrants are building a new empire in Africa“, it follows a Chinese man who came over to Mozambique to build a farm. You read that article and you see all sort of shrewd acts on the part of the Chinese farmer, but that is not my focus today.
My focus is on the fact that if YOU do not rise up to develop your country, the Chinese, Lebanese and Indians will not hesitate to move in, get it done and just rape your country. I am not really convinced that foreigners who come to invest in your country have totally good intentions.
In case you missed it, a while ago Lagos State Government had to close the factory of Linda Manufacturing Company over allegations that poor working conditions made a worker to die on duty and that the poor fellow was simply dumped into the drainage to rot away while work continued!
When I watched the news on TV, I burst into tears. I could not believe my eyes, how can natives of the country be treated so inhumanly?
But really, it is not their fault, it is our own fault.
If more Nigerians were creating jobs at large scale, we would not need their factories. If a Nigerian was the owner of the factory, perhaps she would not treat her staff so badly.
Here lies the warning for us then, if we do not build Nigerian companies that will create enough jobs for the jobless masses, who will? And on what conditions?
If you fail to build that company or school in your mind, the idea you have carried around you for ages. If you fail to build it, an American or Chinese will come down here to build it and hire you to run it. You will still use the same energy but this time, the profits will not be beneficial to our Fatherland.
If I fail to build a serious tech company, Google will create a Nigerian engineering office sooner or later and I am sure I will be hunted down to work for them or even head their operations here. The ball is in my court!
I would also love to point out that I would love Entrepreneurs of the future (that’s you) to think in terms of the number of jobs your business ideas can generate. It is not enough to create a business to feed you and your family; any job can do that!
What I really would love us to do is think about how you can create jobs for people willing to work but just do not seem to have ideas.
A leading online Nigerian bookstore must emerge, you can build it or wait for Amazon to move in and you can then work for them.
We need better search tools for finding information, and places around us. You can start building it today or wait for Google to create their Nigerian engineering operations.
We need mobile money operators that actually work in real life, you can start building it today or wait… mPesa or PayPal will move in and hire us to work for them.
I could go on and on, but I am sure the message has sank in.
Watching The World
Yesterday is gone. Forget about it, move on!
Only foolish people religiously cling onto ideas and customs of yesterday.
I want to open your eyes to a truth: everything we can see today was created at one point of the other. By everything, I mean everything: schools, politics, houses, roads and anything you can see, touch or feel.
So also, as the world evolves it becomes obvious that these things need to change. When these changes are imminent, narrow minded folks always fight it. Hanging on to yesterday’s ideas.
Crude lanterns of yesterday have given way to brilliant rechargeable lanterns of today. The earliest computers were so big they occupied large buildings all by themselves, today they are so small that they can share your pocket with your keys and wallet.
Yesterday is gone. Let us forget about it.
People who are out to make a dent on the world do not live today using yesterday’s ideas. They seek to advance the world in the best interest of the masses.
Everything you can see today was the best work possible yesterday, however as today dawns, what new works can be built as our technology improves? What do we have that we can make better?
Currently, the way we get educated is by going to school. The average university graduate would have spent about 16 years in the confines of a school, that is a lot of time! That also gups a lot of money! Money that is not really available.
I interacted briefly with a secondary school (JSS 2) drop out yesterday, he could neither read in English nor Yoruba. He understood me if I spoke in English, but he could not read the written language.
Which schools has he been attending??
I think the truth is just that the richer your parents are, the better the education you can get.
And from my own little sense of justice, that is not right!
A child should not be punished for the mistakes their parents made and hence fail to get access to real education. The parents cannot be blamed, you cannot give what you do not have! It not wisdom to enroll kids in schools you do not have the financial might to cover.
University education, the basic height anyone should aspire to get to is not so helpful these days. The cram, pass and forget syndrome has eaten deep into the very fabric of the nation. Every year, thousands of graduates join the labour market dead on delivery. The industry essentially has to re-train the graduates. This makes you ask yourself, what was the point of spending 4 – 7 years to get a degree when you will still need to be trained all over?
Smart undergraduates are now working hard to gain additional skills and certification while still enrolled in schools. Smart computer science students are learning real programming and hacking together apps. The seeds for the app industry itself were invented in 2007 when Steve Jobs and Apple unveiled the first iPhone, why it is not yet offered as a course in standard Nigerian Universities is still beyond me. Other students are buying business books and teaching themselves Entrepreneurship 101 with a view to start their own businesses after they graduate.
I think we can see what this is all pointing towards: education needs a serious makeover. The current model is simple broken! People are enrolling and graduating from schools every year, but very few knowledge is actually imparted via classrooms.
To me, the solution seems obvious; some smart folks like YOU need to sit down and ask yourself: With our current technology and resources, how can we re-create education in such a way that every child regardless of their background can gain access quality education?
Yesterday is gone, we need to face today. The era of self education without need for physical teachers might be upon us.
Remember, the future of more than 60 million children depends on it.
This article had to be written after my elder sister, a teacher by heart criticized the idea behind digitizing schools. I hope this Post changes her mind.
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It is only normal to want to look around and see what others are doing and then do likewise or make an incremental advancement.
We do extensive research and after careful examination of numerous case studies, we then decide who we want to copy and then we get started, adding a little innovation of ours as possible.
This is entirely normal, but this picture is flawed.
I believe that one of the things God is out to do these days fall under uncharted territory, as the scriptures say:
“But as it is written [Isa. 64:4], “The things which no eye saw or ear heard, and which did not [even] enter the mind of men, is what God has prepared for those who love Him.”” – 1 Corinthians 2:9 (AUV – An Understandable Version)
Therefore, if God was not joking when he wrote those verses, we can conclude that if eyes have not seen it before and indeed ears have not heard it before and in fact, it is not even inside the mind of men, then it is totally unlikely that it will be inside the library, we will not have case studies to consult.
This is why we must learn to trust God completely and allow him to lead us freely without bothering yourself whether you have seen it before anywhere. You are special, you are different from anyone else, stop trying to be normal and ordinary like everybody else you see on the streets.
For my female readers; just because all your friends have gotten into “stable” relationships and you are yet to find him does not mean something is wrong with you. God might be busy at the quarry, crafting someone really awesome for you and it takes a while to get it done. Do you realise how much time and effort that goes into making a great man that can truly take care of you? (Oh… how did I get on this subject? I am digressing…. 😀 )
Similarly, what is out there should not seriously limit the ideas inside your mind, do not box yourself because of the research you did. Just because you have no evidence that what you thinking of doing has been done before does not mean it will not work.
Remember, you are unique and you need to find expressions for your own uniqueness. What can you teach us that no one else can? What kind of business can you start that no one else can start? What kind of apps can you build that no one else can even imagine doing?
If you start your businesses and it lacks any original thought of its own, how exactly will you stand out in an increasingly crowded market?
Do not look around, look within.
In life, you cannot afford to look around all the time and do as the others. We all have different question papers!
What you really should do is to keep your eyes upon Jesus, the Author and Finisher of this race. You have to trust that somehow He’s got your back and things will work out fine.
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The future you were talking about is here today.
Many people have grand visions of what they would love to do when they grow up, they have all these great ideas of what a successful life would mean for them. After drawing up or thinking about all these, they start waiting for the future so that they can start.
The future is not a magical moment, it creeps up towards you slowly, one day at the time. Now seems a good time to start doing the things you said you were going to do when you “grow up”.
So, if you want to be an Entrepreneur in the future, go and start a business. Take N1,000 TODAY and multiply it into N100,000. If you want to start a school in the future, go out TODAY and act on it! if you want to be an app developer in the future, start building the apps now!
The future is here already, can you not see that?
Watching The World
There is something unique about everybody.
There is something only you can do, ideas that can only pop up inside your own head and no other. Things only you can build.
Unlike soul-less machines and softwares, two people can never be the same. Not even identical twins can be.
Everybody is a distinct product of their life experiences, the way we react to today is a result of what we passed through yesterday. A human being is always learning forever and (hopefully) becoming better because of this.
The onus therefore is on you to find what makes you unique and embrace it.
What can YOU show/teach the world that no one else can?
Think about this things
Watching The World
In 2006, CNN Writers made a list of 10 business people who did not matter, Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook made the list.
Fast forward to 2014, Forbes cited Zuckerberg’s net worth as $34 billion in September. He is now richer than the Google co-founders (Larry Page and Sergey Brin)… And by the way, didnt Mark end up been named Man of the Year a few years ago?
So, you see? You do not matter. You do not matter at all!
Nobody knows you, nobody needs you until you prove otherwise by clearly demonstrating the why you are needed. Everyone has to pass through a phase of life in which you have to speak on behalf of your vision.
You have to convince people you are for real, that you are actually here for the long haul. You have to work really hard, putting in the hours every night and day, trying to get things off ground.
If you somehow survive that first stage and emerge on the other side, suddenly you become everyone’s darling. You begin to matter! The very same posts you made on Facebook and got no likes or comments will now suddenly start getting 23, 000 likes and 18, 000 comments. Infact, by then you are probably so busy that your posts are no longer as detailed and useful as they used to, but no matter… Seemingly overnight, your words and every action are now important.
Millions of people are waiting to hear you speak.
That is why the next time someone tells you do not matter, or you have to introduce yourself, or “lobby” to be heard or speak at conferences, do whatever you need to do, so that you can do what really needs to get done.
Which is to prove them wrong.
You do not matter and you will never matter until you prove them otherwise.
Watching The World
Deciding on exactly how much to charge for your services is a serious task.
Charging too high may take your business out of reach of those you really want to serve, and charging too low means you will barely break even. Failure to break even means you will have to put those grand expansion plans on hold or if you are really dogged; you have to go real slowly.
The very nature of the modern world demands that we cannot really set high prices. This is 2014 and not 1814; these people have choices, loads of choices. The alternatives may not be as good as your business offerings, true, but your audience might not even care enough to stick around you long enough to find out exactly what makes you special if you charge high prices.
So, What can we do? How best to approach pricing?
There is really no final answer or even a set of best practices when it comes to pricing. It is a journey every new business owner has to go through. If well done, pricing could also be an innovation that can lure new customers to you.
Some game changing pricing that has changed the face of business recently includes things like pay per second for phone calls. Paying only for how much you enjoyed a comedy show (pay per laugh), Amazon has also started a new service to allow you read as many books as you can after paying a low fee monthly.
A careful analysis of these seemingly different cases tells us that in each case, these new pricings gave the customers more power, it allows them have the feeling that they are getting more value for their money and this is always a good thing.
On the other end of the spectrum, it is not really wise to build a business whose only UNIQUE FEATURE is that you charge low prices. The reason is not far fetched either; no matter how low you charge, someone else will always come along who will be willing to charge lower than you ever could.
When that happens, what do you do? Go lower? This is what we call race to the bottom, how low can prices in a market segment get as it all gets crowed.
And then, there are some funny scenarios, certain market sectors where charging HIGH is a sign of quality and your customers believe paying high fees is somehow a guarantee that you will do a good job.
I think the first key to all these is choices, you have to sit down and make some choices.
The first obvious choice is to ask yourself whether you would love to make $1 million from 100 customers or $1 million from 1,000 customers. This is what determines whether you are going into the high end of the market or the often crowded lower end of the market.
You also need to make a decision about the role pricing will play in your business, will it be part of your unique service proposition or not?
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Watching The World
As I walked into the kitchen to pick up a bottle of water, I heard her call out to me: “I am making coconut Indomie”
I was stunned, “What?? Have you done that before?”
“No, but I want to try it out” she replied confidently.
I had to instantly revoke a promise I made to myself in 2012 that I would never eat Indomie again and request for a sample of the experiment. I mean, this is no ordinary Indomie afterall; this is coconut Indomie!
I usually consider myself to be the most innovative mind anywhere I am, but this time I had to pass her the crown. There was no way I could have thought of that.
Yes, I know its just Indomie and anyone could have thought of it, my major interest and reason I am talking about Indomie this morning is not because I am hungry, but because I want us to take a step back and analyse the THINKING and THOUGHTS behind cooking the coconut Indomie.
One of the most backward quotes I have ever heard is roughly translatable into English as:
“Let us do things the way they ought to be done so that they will turn out the way they are supposed to turn out”
People who live by this mantra never live at all! All their lives, they live by the assumptions and conclusions of what other people that lived before them propounded. They die without allowing any of their own thoughts to ever surface.
If we do not try something different, we will not see anything different.
It was Albert Einstein that said it is insanity to do the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results.
World changers have to be willing to do something different, not holding on religiously to yesterday’s ideas and practices. A willingness to face today and think of how best to approach the situation, rather than consulting manuals that have been written since the 1900s.
The purpose of reading books is not for you to go about quoting it everywhere. The reason we read books is to enhance our mind with their own views and understanding. Armed with their own knowledge, we can now take it all a step further. Advancing mankind’s body of knowledge ought to be the goal of everybody.
The more knowledge we mine from the universe, the better the life we can enjoy.
Mr Morebise, it is just Indomie!
Yes! Today it is just Indomie, but every great innovator started somewhere. They started their life of innovation from a small corner and gradually as confidence increases they can then think up and execute big ideas.
Starting from coconut Indomie is good enough, the crime is if it stays as coconut Indomie and no new experiment in another 3 years.
If you are not prepared to be wrong or for things to turn out badly, you can NEVER come up with anything original. Even though nowadays, people seem to like every crazy idea I think up, I know it was not always like this.
I used to have wack ideas, really wack ideas. But the boldness to speak up regardless of what others thought about my idea was a key.
I once tried to make “sweetened rice” by boiling rice in honey, it turned out to be a disaster. But I tried it out, it left the confines of my mind. That is innovation! It was not a success story, but that does not make it less of an innovation than my SMS newsletter experiments that fetched me an award nomination.
She was willing to try the coconut Indomie even though she had not seen anyone try it before and even though she was not really sure how it would turn out.
And so, the coconut Indomie turned out to be very interesting. If you would like to get a copy of the recipe, she can make it available for just $100 (That is about N17, 000).
Some readers are wondering, why would I buy a recipe for $100? Well, that is how the world runs.
KFC’s whole business operation is running because of a secret recipe Colonel Sanders invented many years ago. Coca-cola has not been really pirated much because of the well guarded secret recipe they use to make the drink.
My question is this: in all this years, why has no employee of these companies brainstorm and invent a new recipe?? Did the original recipe creators come with 2 heads?
Anybody that finds a valuable idea, food or software should package it and not hesitate to sell it. Selling your ideas is what completes the chain. It is completely useless to do the hard work of thinking up new ideas if you do not have a way to sell it.
In fact, selling your idea to others is more important than finding the idea in the first place.
I always say innovation is not hard, it simply means trying to improve what you did yesterday, a willingness to experiment. This coconut Indomie serves as a very simple illustration.
So, incase she is reading this, I want to publicly say thanks for the coconut Indomie, it was “very interesting” and please do not stop allowing expressions for even the most crazy ideas that pops up into your mind.
Watching The World
Solve hard problems, do not run away from them.
Solving a hard problem increases your problem solving capacity, allowing you to tackle new problems faster and better.
The more you solve problems, the better you become. Problem solving is a skill, and with all skills whether it be cooking, programming, teaching or washing, you get better with practise.
This is why it is a great thing to always seek new challenges, without new challenges, your tasks become mundane. No surprises, no learning.
Step out of your box
Try a new challenge, look for a new problem to attempt, its all for greater good.
The art of meditation is an important exercise everyone needs to get involved in. Meditation means thinking deeply, focusing the mind for a period of time.
If all you do is just read the bible and move along, you can never really understand the contents. Proper understanding starts from reading and re-reading the contents, carefully meditating upon it until it clicks.
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” – Joshua 1:8 (NLT)
“Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long.” – Psalms 119: 97 (NLT)
You have to stop reading the bible because you have to, you need to read the bible with a sincere motive of “I want to experience God for myself”.
The reason you seem to not have enough of God on the inside of yourself is because you do not have enough understanding of the scriptures and these deep understanding will only come when you meditate upon what the scriptures is really saying and how you might apply it into your life.
It is the application of these principles into your life that brings good success. That is what the bible says in Joshua 1:8; it says YOU will make your own way prosperous. That is a personal responsibility for you to do.
The more you meditate upon the scriptures, the more of it that will be inside your consciousness.