Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Happy Birthday, Koye

Mrs. Ko and the gang. No bonus points for spotting me.
I did not feel like writing a post for this birthday, but I have written one every year for six years and I really like tradition, so I had to.

I don’t take it for granted that I am marking another birthday today. I am grateful for life and the many opportunities I have had to learn and grow in the past year. I am also grateful that I am blessed with Busola, loving friends, and family. The past year has been incredible! I am grateful to be living many of my long-held dreams and excited to be charging ahead with new ambitions.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Thoughts On Silicon Valley: Build The Future

The receptionist at Upwork was working from home
Upwork did not have a receptionist. Or, they had one, but she was working from home. She always works from home. Think about that for a bit. A “front desk officer” who works from home. Oh, and she was freelancing.

Is that the future of work, or at least some part of it? I don’t know, but Upwork is betting it is, and they have built the world’s largest freelancing marketplace in preparation for that future. Freelancers on Upwork billed over $1bn annually as of last year. This encapsulates my view of Silicon Valley: a place where people imagine a different version of the future and then build it.

There are many good courses at INSEAD taught by great Professors. It is hard to pick a favorite, so I’ll say Building Business in Silicon Valley is one of my favorites. As part of the course, we spent last week meeting people at a variety of companies in Silicon Valley. I wrote furiously throughout the week, filling up my notebook. I decided to share some of my thoughts here and answer a few questions.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Thoughts From Silicon Valley: So Good They Can't Ignore You

INSEAD 18Ds take Silicon Valley

Katie Dill is an incredible person! For about an hour yesterday, she held me and a group of other INSEAD MBA candidates spellbound as she talked about her career journey, her thoughts on design, and her passion for the future Lyft is helping to create.

As Vice President of Design at Lyft, Katie oversees design in a broad sense across the company. This includes user experience, product, and other areas. Prior to joining Lyft, she was Director of Experience Design at AirBnB for about four years. She oversaw Airbnb's service experience and trust and payments platform, and grew the design team there from ten people to a hundred. She was recognized as one of Fast Co’s Most Creative People in Business in 2017.

As I sat there and listened to her, my mind kept returning to one of the more important books I have read recently: So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport. Cal’s thesis in the book is simple: ability is important.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Thoughts From Above The Oregon Mountains

A grossly inadequate picture of the grand mountains of Oregon

Looking out the window of the plane at the rocky mountains of Oregon this afternoon, two things strike me. First, the vast, diverse, and proud terrain of this planet we call home. Second, the adaptability and indomitability of our species.

From above, I can make out the telltale signs of human presence: roads snaking across the foot of this mountain, a perfectly rounded field here, a quarry there. It is incredible that what started as a band of hunter-gatherers moving a few kilometers northward in search of food, to escape conflict, or for whatever reason propelled early men out of Africa, has resulted in our spread over the entire place.

A third thing - or set of things - comes to mind now. How beautiful our planet is; how small one man is in the grand scheme of things; how little one lifespan is compared to the eternity of time.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

How to make something of your life? A simple and practical guide

I don’t like motivational writing and I had second thoughts about writing this. The more I thought about it however, the more I felt I should. If it gets just one person to act differently, then it is worth it.

My friend from university, Tobi Ogunsina, will be 30 in a few days. She started a countdown on Instagram and I found myself looking forward to her daily posts. We spoke recently, and our conversation got me thinking about the passing of time and how one makes something of their life. Writing this followed from there.

My friend from university, Tobi (Akinbo) Ogunsina, will be 30 in a few days.
How does one make something of their life? Is there a road map for making the most of your talents and skills? I will present a simple and actionable framework based on my limited experience and learning from books and people. It is so simple that there is nothing here you didn’t already know.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

How did the first half pass by so quickly? Where did all that time go?


A few months ago, I stood before a roomful of my classmates to tell my story. I talked about growing up in Nigeria, influences that shaped my choices, and what I hoped to achieve. Preparing the talk was difficult, but I had help from friends who were skilled at telling stories. I was exhausted but thrilled at the end of the session. Telling that story was so far out of my comfort zone that I could barely believe I had done it.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Which of these Harpic 'adverts' do you think is more effective?

Image source: https://ogefash.reviews/2018/01/19/avert-review-harpic-toilet-cleaner-just-too-terrific-but/
**1**

Imagine a young woman in her early thirties. It is a Saturday morning and she is home with her family. Her husband is making breakfast and she is roughhousing with her child. Her phone rings, and it is her mother-in-law (MIL) on the other end. MIL is sorry for the short notice, but she has missed them and is visiting today.

She gets off the phone and springs into action. She and her husband dash around the house straightening out the rug and putting toys away. And then she remembers the ghastly stains in the guest toilet. Damn!

She dashes into the toilet with a box of detergent and half-empties it into the toilet bowl. She flushes after minutes of scrubbing but the stains remain, seeming to mock her. Her husband pokes his head into the toilet long enough to hand her a bottle of Harpic. She repeats the same motions as before, with a different result this time. Her toilet is sparkling white!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

On Konga’s Queer Dual-CEO Structure


“Effective from May 1st, Yudala will now operate under the name KONGA, with dual CEOs in the persons of Nick Imudia who will be in charge of online among others and Prince Nnamdi Ekeh who will be responsible for offline.” Nairametrics.

According to that Nairametrics article, Konga and Yudala have been merged into a single entity effective May 1 and will operate with dual CEOs. Mr. Imudia will lead “online” and Prince Ekeh will lead “offline”.

I understand why Konga might prefer the dual-CEO structure. Prince Ekeh built Yudala and established offline coverage that remains critical in Nigeria. Surely it must be difficult to envision a scenario in the merged company where he is not in charge or running a significant portion of the business.

On the other hand, the opportunity to generate more value by combining Konga’s online brand and know-how with Yudala’s offline coverage was one of the biggest reasons for this merger. I believe those synergies will be best realized if both entities are fully integrated into one company and with one person responsible for setting and executing strategy. The company needs to have one set of objectives and integrated systems, and I think having two CEOs for “online” and “offline” makes this less likely to work smoothly.

For clarity, I am not saying the dual-CEO structure will fail. Many companies have pulled it off successfully and Mr. Imudia and Prince Ekeh may be able to. I am a big fan of business and e-commerce in Nigeria, and I hope they can make this work.

Cheers, to Konga!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Life Lately: On Dangote, P1 Updates, and A Blast from the Past


I have made peace with a few things. One is that I will not write frequently this year. Another is that many of my posts - when I manage to write - will be about INSEAD. One way to put a positive spin on this is that most people who know me want to read about how I am engaging with this year...

I tried really hard two days ago to write about Dangote Cement, and how interesting it is that their revenue went up 30% in Nigeria despite selling 16% less cement in 2017 (at some of the highest profit margins in the world). But - as is so often the case, I could not rationalize spending all that time writing about Dangote given all the other things I had to do: cases to read, cover letters to write, assignments to turn in, CVs to update for the umpteenth time, career next steps to think about, alumni to reach out to, etc etc. It is an endless list, to be honest...

All hail the king!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Life Lately - What I've Been Up To...

Perpetual state of mind - LOOOOL
I made sixteen posts on this blog last year. That was the lowest number in the nine years since I started the blog. I did a lot of writing last year though, especially essays applying to b-school and to multiple scholarships…

I thought I would write more this year, but I now know that will not happen. For one, the reality of a one-year MBA is proving to be very different from the idea of one. All the blogs I read and the many alumni I spoke to told me this would be an intense year, but I still managed to underestimate the intensity. Between classes, tutorials, pre-read, cases, and group work from Monday to Saturday – your life outside INSEAD starts to disappear.