When Amazon took the leap of faith to release a device that had no screen and designed it to be operated entirely through voice commands, they were going a route that was not so popular.
It definitely took greater courage to release a device in this era without a screen than to release a device without the normal 3.5mm headphone jack.
When Amazon released the Echo device initially, the Alexa software could barely do a dozen things well. But step-by-step, by quickly iterating upon the product, see how far they have come. They now boast of having over 3,000 built in functions, all voice activated.
Once you are clear on what you want to do. Once you know enough to start it, get started right away, start crappy but iterate often and move fast, that is how you will arrive at your destination.
Watching The World
The most important skill you need to cultivate is creativity.
As technology continues its ruthless march forward, a lot of jobs will be lost to the forthcoming robots. Businesses are mainly setup for profit and they are continuously optimised to produce profit.
This means that no business will think twice before laying off thousands of ground workers and acquire 1 or 2 robots to do the job instead. A robot is never sick, doesn’t have emotional issues to deal with and can work for nearly 24 hours everyday.
If what you do can be written out step by step, I can assure you that it is only a matter of time before a robot is built to take on the job.
Every form of manual labour will be handed effectively by the forth coming robots.
You should be scared. Really.
Unless you are a creative.
Creativity is something machines are not good at. Machines can only perform routine tasks very well, they are terrible at novel tasks or coming up with something new.
This is why I do not expect machines to write a best-selling novel or produce a fantastic movie or invent a new software or design a powerful website.
If your current job is to sit down and wait for the boss to tell you exactly what to do, over time the boss will find someone cheaper to do it. And in the near future, the boss will acquire a machine that will do it much better.
At whatsoever you spend your time doing, be creative about it!
The future belongs to people who are creative. They are the ones no machine can replace.
When you are young or a novice in any area, you should cultivate listening over talking.
Even if you are old or an expert in any area, do not automatically think that makes you an expert in all fields! You can be an expert on fishing and yet be a novice when it comes to website designing. Therefore if the discussion is on fishing, do all the talking, but if we switch to something else, please listen.
The younger you are, the more you should listen.
You will acquire wisdom and make much better progress this way.
Move as fast as your infrastructure allows you to.
When no one else sees what you see and they want to slow you down, don’t bulge. Keep going at full speed.
Getting to the final destination is what really matters. You don’t get to blame anybody if you fail to make it to where you are headed in good time.
You’ve probably heard the saying that “some people are so poor that all they have is money”. I think it was Henry Ford that said that “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business”
So, a business should not primarily be in it for only the money.
I believe we should also consider the values our businesses promote. The question every business owner should consider often is this: “What is the impact of my business on the society?”
There are some moral codes, some basic ethics that we should uphold with our businesses.
What you might not notice is that every single day, we are changing the world… Making it better or worse through our actions and inaction.
Don’t turn a blind eye to negative effects of your business on the society. You can do something about it.
This is why I don’t see myself running things like gambling/betting companies or stripper clubs or prostitution or ponzi schemes. My thought process is simple: out of the thousands of ways I can make money, why go this shady route?
Let’s commit to building rich businesses by focusing on providing real value to people, businesses that will have more positive contributions to our society than its negatives (if any)
Watching The World
A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon Vconnect’s homepage and was pleasantly surprised to see that they had reverted the homepage (and probably their strategy) back to their business listing roots.
I earlier wrote about Vconnect’s decision to pivot fully into a marketplace. I felt it was not a smart move at that time, why would they give up their clear lead in local search and descend into the crowded ecommerce space?
There are some business ideas that come and go…. just like trends. You do not want to be trending, you want to be evergreen, olden and golden.
I do not expect Nairaland to pivot into a social network overnight or pivot into a Question and Answer platform. They are a forum and we all love them for that. True, they may not be in the media, but they are where we need them to be.
Serious businesses define their mission and vision early enough and then stick to it. Not moving with every wave of business that are trending.
Different businesses trend at different times, I have personally observed the wave from social networking to music/entertainment and then on to business listing (Vconnect was part of the pioneers of this wave) and then on to ecommerce.
Vconnect needs to stubbornly stick to its initial concept of business listings, they have the data on Nigerian businesses that no one else cared enough to build, not even the Nigerian government has the kind of data Vconnect has on businesses. Why would they toss that away and enter the trendy ecommerce market?
We all need to evaluate our strengths and increase it. Become stronger and win over time, and in case you have made a mis-step or two already, you are always free to retrace your steps…. Just like Vconnect.
Watching The World
This is to address a question I received in response to the #TMP edition titled: No boss! There is more than one way to get the job done.
How do you think one can get their way around bosses like these?
Well, I think the first think you need to do is to please the boss by reducing friction between both of you. Stop arguments and stop appearing to second guess the boss. This lowers their guard and increases their acceptance of you.
With the lowered guard, you may now move to phase 2.
The next phase is to clearly demonstrate that you have a better idea. DEMONSTRATE, not discussing it, but SHOWING. At this stage, you are not really asking for permission again, but taking a risk by doing it first before showing it to the boss.
Remember, this is after you have gained trust by shutting up and following orders for a while so that the boss doesn’t consider you a rebel trying to usurp authority, (some bosses think like that).
The key is to win trust. You will be able to win this trust over time and much faster if you reduce the friction.
Yesterday, I took to social media to cry wolf with regards to the 100s of multi-level marketing schemes that are now popping up every left, right and center.
I then specifically mentioned that MMM-Nigeria was also a scam. Several people countered back that MMM was the real deal.
What I find interesting about the whole MMM business is that the founder never LIED about it. He boldly told people its a ponzi scheme, yet people still signed-on! He had a warning message on the website, yet people either didnt read it or the offer of 30% profit was just too good to be ignored.
The guy, a trained mathematician who has obviously also gained skills in psychology has built a system that perfectly entices people who want miracles without paying any price for it.
It is obvious to me that the system will crash under its own weight over time. Folks want to do the first in, cash out thing and I think that is terrible.
If you want to make money, look for how you can ADD REAL VALUE to people’s lives. That is all there is to making money.
Money is a reward for solving problems. Don’t join people to swindle others of their money. Even if you don’t believe in God or the karma thing, at least you have a conscience somewhere.
Multi-Level Marketing schemes are back in full force. Please, shine your eye, do not give them your money. If there is no product or service that is CLEARLY been bought and sold, run away! Even if its your pastor that is inviting you, he could be sincerely wrong and hence both of you will be sincerely scammed…
Watching The World
The boss does not know it all.
The boss might be brilliant, completely full of insights and ideas at every turn, yet it does not mean they know everything.
People with the mindset of “there is only one way to do the job; my way” often run into trouble. The most obvious ones been that when they are not around, nobody is sure of what to do.
The less obvious one (and actually, the most painful) is that by the boss insisting that things be only done their way, over time, they will kill the ideas of their followers. Their subordinates will not be able to give expression to any original thought they may have.
It is the job of the boss to groom and nurture the people working under them. This is probably even the most important thing a boss should do.
Watching The World