Hi…

I haven’t blogged in months now, partly due to the fact that I have been busy trying to live life whilst maintaining my sanity and maybe I felt I didn’t have something worthy to tell or show the world yet. I think it might have been the later.

I’m bringing this blog back and dedicating my time to getting my thoughts and ideas out into the world, no matter loosely tied together they may be. During my time in the dark, an idea stuck with me. It consumed me, drove me to think very hard about the human condition, the part related to money. Funny thing is this, everyone I know has in this world has or has experienced this problem including I. I became my own guinea pig.

Why do we have such a hard time managing our finances? Why do we procrastinate about saving money and yet don’t even think twice about spending ? Even when we know that we shouldn’t be spending. Are we really rational as they say? and why do the banks and other financial bodies pretend we are whilst planing for this perfection?

For the record,  I think we badly want people to be uniform in their actions or their thoughts. To do things in a way that is easier for those in the system or we in the business of helping people solving their problems. For example, we prefer that people spend money like this or that or save cash like this or that, as though things in the world are binary. If they have to save money, we prefer to just remove this certain amount every month pretending that needs remain the same or emergences don’t happen. But people are not in any way like that. We do irrational things and we do them all the time. You know what I’m talking about, yes , you reading this. You buy a new pair of shoe even when you already have four lookalikes. You spend without thought because the product gave you a good experience. These are things that people do, regular people.

Am starting a new journey, one where I would talk about money, about saving money and about living a great life. I’m have also been hard at work on an app that would help you save money without you thinking about it.

Why am I doing this? I think fundamentally a lot of people have this problem and the banks are not going to do shit about it. Someone has to. Plus I have always believed in the power of technology. Technology has gotten to a level where it can be deployed to solve very basic problems like savings, like how we manage our money. Like what we should spend our cash on based on the kind of life we want to live. These things I intend to solve little by little and I do welcome you to join me on this journey. We are going to change the way people think about money, while helping them save as much as we can using the smartest tech available.

Thank you as you tag along and may the odds always remain in our favour!

Go Analog

I have spent a good number of hours year in, year out, reading foreign press and blogs covering the tech space in the U.S and in Europe with a focus on companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Uber, Twitter and Samsung and on stories of acquisitions and of billion dollar valuations of startups who seem to be doing the same things and the feeling that you can change the world. There is a lot of money pumped into the U.S tech space yearly that only seems to reinforce the fact that investors and VCs are crazily looking for the next big thing.

The tech space has shown that anything is possible and that with hard work and the right amounts of luck, you can certainly strike it rich but thats in the ideal environment. Then have your face printed on the covers of popular magazines as the Future of Tech, we all dream these things. But this isn’t an ideal environment, I’m Nigerian and in essence that means; I am black and automatically disadvantaged [1] and I also live in a country where corruption and crime are on the high, life expectancy and the standard of living are quite low. Young people (70%) either take to Scamming [2] or Prostitution popularly known here as runs [3] because there are no jobs or because the jobs available can’t pay for the dream sold to them by the television culture.[4] So the question here is have I done myself harm reading these blogs and all ? A good portion of my friends think I have but that doesn’t quite matter. What matters is that the Nigerian tech space needs a fundamentally different approach to producing companies that might solve some of our very basic problems without the pomp of massive evaluations.

That approach, I would like to call the Naija Telecoms Approach. Call it whatever you like, what I am trying infer is the method which Telecoms companies like MTN, ECONET, GLO and co used in getting into that space and the way mobile phones did spread in the country. The idea was to come into the market with a technology that was 20x better than the existing Nitel but without necessarily needing the existing infrastructure and was really a problem that needed to be solved. Developers here can go around trying to build apps that do almost the same things as their foreign counterparts ( an instagram for this or an Uber for that) but none of these apps will ever make a breakthrough in this society because this are not exactly problems, it is more like solutions begging for problems. The real problems begging to be solved are not what developers can necessarily solve at the moment and if they can solve it, they would need a different approach.

What Problems are begging for solutions?

1. Electricity. This is singularly the biggest problem i can think of. Solar is expensive and might not make business sense in it. It makes me hate politicians even more any time I think of this.

2. Transport. Anytime I hear of Uber, I so want the idea working here. \[5]The only problem is that it’s going to be expensive considering the fact that more than half the population live below the dollar. #1500k is a lot of money not too talk of #4000k or more. We need trains and other cheaper & more reliable forms of transport. Air travel is still expensive and I’m sure they are losing money daily because they don’t have that critical masses to drive a profit. This is something you necessarily cannot pull off right now.

3. Employment. There are no jobs! Even if they were jobs, Most people aren’t qualified. Jobberman is doing a fair job connecting people to jobs but the problem here is that not many Nigerians are skilled enough for these jobs. The kind of jobs that can get them off the poverty zone.

4. Healthcare. I spent some time in an emergence ward of a general hospital looking around and couldn’t help thinking of the kind of technology that would be of value them. The wards are crowded, under-staffed etc. Access to quality service that’s affordable is really hard and more and more women for example die yearly from complications in childbirth and old world diseases still plague these parts.

I know that all I have said is obvious and you are probably expecting the less obvious. What I see are numerous opportunities in these spaces. But the approach has to be different. Instead of internet based technologies that expect you to connect all the time or new communication tools or photo-sharing apps that expect you always burn up your bandwidth. Think Analogue! The kinds of technology needed at the moment are more analog than we think. We haven’t exactly made that leap to the digital age in my mind. We are somewhat stuck in the past. Why don’t we find quicker ways to reduce queues at General Hospitals with ingenious devices that can help a check what patients are in more critical need of help or ways to reduce the friction and queues at the bus stop because of change (money) with tools that don’t need internet connection to work but work very fine.

The idea is to simply start looking at problems without our space-age glasses on; because that seems to blind us nerds. It might be a little primitive an approach but the reality is that the hustling man doesn’t give a shit about your app or your design. He just wants to pay his bills and survive. I think VCs if there are any \[6] out there should start investing in boring analog ideas for now.

\[1]: I haven’t seen any black tech billionaire. The Stats are that blacks are less than 1% the U.S tech space.It’s crazier than you think.

\[2]: This is predominantly what many young males do in these parts. There are over four billion people in the world and certainly lots of people who get greedy and become susceptible to being duped.There is the get rich quick or die trying mentality still strong in the country.

\[3]: The western influence also helps to drive this lifestyle. These girls want to be like their role models who appear in musical videos in pants and portray sex with random men as cool.

\[4]: Blinks and Ferraris cost a fortune, you know !

\[5]: Uber is already working here at the point of this writing.

\[6]: It’s risky investing in companies or startups here. I just didn’t get it before. The odds that the startup will fail are increased by 20x. This isn’t an ideal market.

My busy social life and quiet intellectualism

Exciting read!

Tomiwa Olasiyan's Blog

Recently, I attended the birthday party of one of my classmates and I met an old friend, Collins Iheagwara, who also happens to be a friend of the celebrant. Collins himself has been my friend since my first year on campus. In fact, we stayed in the same dormitory & room in my part 1 days as student of Obafemi Awolowo University. He’s an English language student now in his final year.

My relationship with Collins goes beyond roommates or schoolmates relationship, I must point. When I graduate from campus, he’s someone I hope to be able to say was my best ever acquaintance in the higher institute. He understands me, knows so much about me, & should even be able to write a book about me when the time comes (but funnily, he’s a tech devotee and would most likely fancy making an animated film about me instead!) Meanwhile…

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iBooks Author Is the Most Interesting Apple Software You Aren’t Using

TIME

What is Apple’s iBooks platform?

The most obvious way to answer that question is to say that it’s the company’s equivalent of Amazon’s Kindle. And it is–they both offer online stores for buying digital tomes, and apps for reading them.

But merely likening iBooks to Kindle isn’t a very satisfactory way of explaining it. For all the similarities between them, their differences are at least as striking.

Kindle is about e-books anywhere and everywhere: On Amazon tablets, iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, Windows Phones, Windows PCs and, most likely, any future devices with even the slightest bit of market traction. iBooks, by contrast, can only be read on Apple hardware: iPads, iPhones and Macs.

But Apple being Apple, iBooks is visually sumptuous–especially in the case of “Made for iBooks” books, which work only on the iPad and Mac versions of iBooks, not on the iPhone one. Such titles are…

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How To Build a Web Startup – Lean LaunchPad Edition

Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Steve Blank

If you’re an experienced coder and user interface designer you think nothing is easier than diving into Ruby on Rails, Node.js and Balsamiq and throwing together a web site. (Heck, in Silicon Valley even the waiters can do it.)

But for the rest of us mortals whose eyes glaze over at the buzzwords, the questions are, “How do I get my great idea on the web? What are the steps in building a web site?”  And the most important question is, “How do I use the business model canvas and Customer Development to test whether this is a real business?”

My first attempt at helping students answer these questions was by putting together the Startup Tools Page – a compilation of available web development tools. While it was a handy reference, it still didn’t help the novice.

So today, I offer my next attempt.

How To Build a Web…

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Christensen Vs. Lepore: A Matter Of Fact

Nice Read!

TechCrunch

Editor’s note: Thomas Thurston is a Partner at WR Hambrecht + Co, a San Francisco-based investment bank and venture capital firm. He is also Fund Manager at Ironstone, a San Francisco-based private equity firm that uses algorithms to identify disruptive startups, CEO of Growth Science, a data science firm, and former Chief Investment Officer of Rottura Capital, a long-short equities hedge fund. Formerly, Thomas worked at Intel Capital where he used data science to guide growth investments. A Fellow at the Harvard Business School, Thomas holds a BA, MBA and Juris Doctor.

Nothing gets keyboards clicking like a good controversy. Recently Jill Lepore, a history professor at Harvard, published a fierce article in the New Yorker accusing another Harvard professor, Clayton Christensen, of being a quack.

Lepore didn’t use that word, but she may as well have. Christensen is a business school professor renowned for his “Disruption Theory” about…

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My first day working in Abuja

Things move really fast in the startup space. One time you running your startup, trying to get funds, having incredible amount of highs working on your product and even more incredible amount of low. It’s like you are going to die. But some ideas i have found out drain you. It is hard doing startups, especially in Nigeria. Now i have got a job and it’s crazy.