I did an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Twitter. Here’s the transcript.
Q: What’s the most important advice you’d give to a young entrepreneur starting his/her first business?
A: Start early. Build your seed investment from your first job or from parents/friends and start early.
Q: What are the things you wish you had known in your 20s that can help someone else in life, career and relationships?
A: Start investing at a young age. If I had, I would have become financially independent in the first 5 to 10 years of my career. This would have opened up so many other opportunities to me.
Q: How can I get someone to invest in an idea?
A: Serious investors don’t turn down great ideas backed by great teams. The challenge is putting your idea in a format that can be evaluated in minutes, so you can get your first meeting with those investors. An alternative route is finding someone who can vouch for you, to introduce you. Sometimes building a brand on social media and being known as an expert on a specific topic also helps. It pushes you to the top of the pile for consideration. This is because, “everyone” has already heard of you.
Q: What’s your career story?
A: I wrote about it here.
Q: What’s a strategy to position myself and attain influence?
A: Become extremely good at one thing and promote that thing. The world will come looking for you.
Q: Where can I invest my money?
A: You should read this.
Q: How can I maintain integrity in Nigeria?
A: Sigh…you really need God and a core group of friends who validate your values. You also need like minds you can do business with. You literally have to create a parallel world within Nigeria.
Q: What’s your take on (and solutions to) the power issue in Nigeria? Will there be a time when people enjoy power 24 / 7 and get value for the bills being paid for monthly?
A: Policy decisions are driven by people and enabled by structure. There are many sound power policies that have already been put forward by better minds than mine. But, our abysmal level of education, diminished skills set, lack of values and cosmetic “federal” structure all limit implementation. I would tackle root issues first. Ultimately, political will and effective implementation of policies are driven by humans. Without fixing the mindset, capacity and skills set of those humans, nothing sustainable will get executed.
Q: How did you find purpose and embrace a lifestyle of learning & applying life principles?
A: I describe my catalyst here. You should also read the related article suggestions and search for the key word, “purpose” on my blog.
Q: How do I get your book “Unscripted”.
A: You can find it here.
Q: In what way do you feel most compelled to contribute to the transformation of Nigeria?
A: Knowledge, Knowledge, Knowledge.
Q: How did you break through your top 3 outlier moments/encounters?
A: Stubbornness, blind faith and cultural exposure. Those 3 things will get you anywhere. Oh, and the capacity to forgive yourself when you make mistakes.
Q: Could you tell me more about exposure, and how it fueled your mindset change?
A: My primary exposure came from reading, music and movies. Traveling came much later. The trick is to avoid being unidirectional e.g. some people listen to Naija hip hop but not jazz or classical or bluegrass. Diversity is what really exposes you.
Q: When someone consistently puts you at risk, how do you break your relationship with them?
A: When you are tired, you will break it.
Q: Share 5 mistakes you have made in life.
A: I once betrayed my company by putting my ambition first; I did a few rebound relationships that really hurt people; I once made a passive-aggressive person a close friend. Never again; I made a high-risk investment bet on behalf of friends. I should’ve hedged the risk better; I kept God waiting for too long. I should have gotten to know him sooner.
Q: What is your most important life assignment? And at what point did it become clear to you?
A: It revolves around knowledge. Sharing it and making it accessible. Also modeling what it means to be different, introverted and happy. I realized some of these in my teens. Others in my 30s.
Q: What would you advise a protégé who is a multipotentialite?
A: I would advise them to focus on what brings in money first. After making some money to live on, they should dump whatever they don’t like and explore everything they really want to do, without seeking permission from any gadamn body.
Q: What does a creative need to know when they desire to be mentored by you, whether offline or online?
A: That direct questions always bring out the best answers from me.
Q: What are your best books on investment? How do you deal with investments that go wrong? How do you develop a gut feeling about investments before taking the leap?
A: George S. Clason’s The Richest Man in Babylon is the gold standard for me. It contains so many basic principles of investment. I’m a high-risk investor, so I try a lot of new things. I also learn from experience – that’s how my gut feeling was developed.
Q: For a Youth Corps Member, what are the best ways to work towards a successful future after the scheme?
A: Make a damn good impression where you are now. The recommendations and referrals you receive will be priceless.
Q: What’s the hack for thinking the way you do? How did you become so solutions driven?
A: Growing up in a very independent family helped. I could forge my own path. My work (strategy) has also shaped my mind, as well as my reading habits.
Q: If you were to advise someone on changing the way they think, who did not grow up in a family like yours or who doesn’t have a strategy background, what would you say?
A: I would ask them to double down on reading a diverse range of things and to also travel. I read business, science, poetry etc. It’s the diversity that shapes my thinking. I see the world through multiple lenses.
Q: How do I develop a daily routine for my professional growth?
A: I use task lists a lot. I wake up to review my list and then tick items off before I go to bed. I arrange items in order of priority and then try to achieve at least one important item each day. To achieve a big goal, break it into little steps. I procrastinate a lot though. Sometimes, when I don’t have the energy to deal with something, or when it overwhelms me, I leave it for another day.
Q: What’s the source of your internal energy?
A: Coffee. Conversations with God. Soul enriching breakfast with friends.
Q: How are you able to combine making money with staying relevant?
A: Those who make money will always be relevant. 😁😁
Q: I am overwhelmed with my businesses and charity foundation. It almost feels like I’ve taken on more than I can chew. How can I divide my time effectively, so I’m more productive please?
A: I once wrote an article about Giving Up. When I’m overwhelmed, I dare the world to do its worst. Then, I switch off my phone and go to bed. In the morning I start over again. When I need to be more productive, I also sleep and socialise less. Because time is limited, something has to give way to the other. I also seek out competent help. If you delegate something to an incompetent person, you’ll still end up doing it yourself.
Q: How do I get the necessary experiences for my dream job, which is very different from my current job? All I have are academic qualifications and that doesn’t seem to be enough for recruiters.
A: Internships and volunteering will help. Do what you love to do for free and then put it on your CV as work experience.