By Henry Ukazu
I will like to begin this article by thanking the first founders and inventors of internet, Robert E. Kahn Internet who developed protocol suite (TCP/IP) in the 1950’s, and Vint Cerf in the 1970s. It’s also important to mention the Computer Scientist, Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web. This giant idea led to other great inventions and innovations from great minds such as Warren Buffet – the inventor of Microsoft Corporation and Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook.
Before we proceed proper, let’s have an overview or background information on digital information. There are two main areas where the nature of innovation has been changed as a result of the direct impact of the digital revolution: 1. Research and Development which is mostly used by big corporations and government agencies. R&D is one of the most important units of any organization because it helps to bring new products to the company in order to make it contemporaneous with the demands of the world. 2. Product and process innovation which is used by mainly used manufacturing companies. Digital technology made it possible for new products and services to produce quality advantages and business model innovation. This is mainly used by entrepreneurs and business oriented companies. 3. Business Model innovation which allow businesses to entirely re-imagine traditional business models by leveraging a powerful mix of emerged digital tools, advanced machinery and adjusted workforce, giving price and quality of service advantages over incumbents. The modern innovation of business models is originated by the tech professionals’ community and is taken further by business professionals that have acknowledged new opportunities
This is not really a technological and digital article per se, rather it is an article that sheds light on the effects of digital innovation. Today’s article will be a little bit controversial, but I will encourage you to think out of the box in order to appreciate the message inherent in it. It’s undisputable fact that the internet has made the world a small village. A lot of transformation has taken place between 19th century and now. The 2Ist century can literally be called the jet age. This progressive view of life has made many companies to scot for exceptional beings with ideas who will add value to their company as opposed to the theoretical knowledge (formal education) that comes with fundamental trainings and procedure. It is on this note we shall be discussing about the formal education and the informal education which we have been exposed to in contemporary times.
I strongly believe it will be right to say ideas rule the world. With the invention of technology, the world has seen and felt ingenuity of ideas which has led major innovations. This digital age of innovation has caused some controversies in some quarters because of the ingenuity of ideas that has sprang up from it. Some of this ingenuity of ideas has made many people to believe that skills, talent and ideas are the ultimate in life. No doubt to a reasonable extent, that is true because many companies are always looking for ideas on how to take their business to the next level in addition to maximizing cost, but at the same time they also know that having a form of theoretical and formal knowledge and background in the industry is also necessary.
This is a topic of interest to me because I see a lot information making rounds in the world with respect to people who have achieved success without formal education. Some of this people achieved success with their skills, network, ideas and talent. Some of them also achieved success with little or formal education. And even people who have formal education figured out that true success lies in thinking out of the box in addition to developing themselves by thinking out of the box.
As an advocate of education, I strongly believe a good education is priceless. Even though you are talented it is also good for you to attain some level of formal education if you have the opportunity because there are certain information which you may not be exposed to on the street or talent. Even the Book of life stated in Proverbs 4: 13 “Your education is your life, guard it very well”. Even though education is not the yardstick for success, but it helps to prepare the way for success. I think it’s only percent of the world who have been extremely humbled to have attained amazing success without having formal education. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gate attended one of the best schools in the world before dropping out when they discovered they had a lot to offer to the world. I recently gave a talk to the Urban Male Leadership Academy in Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York, and I remembered asking the students what does success mean to you? Most of the students gave various answers which sounded right and indeed were right based on the area their thought process. I explained to them success is indeed relative and true success is doing better than you did yesterday. I also enlightened them about skills acquisition and value creation which I call ideas for sustainable growth.
As mentioned earlier, the focus on this article is about making us to think out of the box by comparing and contrasting formal education and informal education. In as much I believe in informal education which I likened to skills, talent and ideas, I also believe formal education is the foundation of all information. Some schools of thought opine that life begins after High school and college. This is because it is what you do with the knowledge you have acquired that makes the difference and how you apply it to solve the problems in the world. In today’s labour market, employers also look for candidates who have really distinguished themselves with ideas because ideas truly rule the world. Yes, it is true, I however, think it also depends on the nature of the involved. Some jobs needed theoretical knowledge and expertise like medicine and law.
One of the major reasons some people agree that ideas are more valuable than formal education is because some of the disciples of this school of thought have been able to generate good money with their creativity. For example, the app and robot inventors. Without sounding immodest, I will like to state that formal education is still very important in today’s society. In fact, it is a plus for you if you have it and have other great ideas. Acquiring it will go a good a long way to create opportunities for you. I’m speaking from experience because I have seen and tasted it from various aspect.
I have a question of interest. Has the effects of digital age of innovation done more harm than good? I will say no because it has really made the world a better place. However, the only negative influence I can think of which is not really a negative influence per se is that it has influenced a lot of people to think formal education is not as important as it ought to be due to the ideas some creative minds have been able to conceive.
Further more, it is important to note a real education enables a rational mind to think out of the box. When you add your skills the value increases. I’m particularly interested in this article because contemporary youths are paying more attention to what the society is showing them, thereby making it hard for some students go to school or even concentrate while in school forgetting that rational and informed youths combine both academic knowledge and informal knowledge. As a matter of fact, if the only knowledge you have is what you have upstairs which is devoid of formal education, your chances of conquering new grounds might be limited. The world has truly grown and new business needs some form of knowledge and information which can come in form of formal education in order for it to properly executed.
Let me share a personal experience with you, I have a legal background, but that has not stopped me from exploring other options. During the course of writing my book, I shared valuable and resourceful information relating to my legal background, tax background and all my professional work experience and the message has really resonated with so many people when they read my book. Some of the opportunities I have received in recent times came from people who have interest in my professional and academic experience. All this experience add up to and make me a resourceful being when I write and speak. What people often see is the finish work (public speaking), but they don’t see the background work. To some people, I am a great public speaker and writer but I know for a fact a lot of factors and experience contributed to it. I didn’t allow my skills to overshadow my professional and academic accomplishment.
In conclusion, since we are all concerned about achieving success, the best way to do go about it is to know yourself just like Bill Gate, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, Richard Branson and Henry Ukazu did. By so doing, you’ll will be able to know the path to thread because each and everyone of us is different.
Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with New York City Department of Correction as the legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success.
Opinion: The Power of Zero (Part 2)
By Tolulope A. Adegoke
Zero as Little Beginning
“The law of Effective Achievement states that, “being consistent in doing ‘mini’ on and on guarantees effective DOMINION. Little drops of water could make a mighty ocean. Don’t be too proud to start small, break that ego! never despise the days of little beginning”! – Tolulope A. Adegoke
Here is another important perspective from which we must consider this interesting subject. As individuals, we tend to overlook the foundations of little beginnings. We often do not want to start small. We forget that just as the number zero is a cogent number that requires work to make it significant, we need to work on our small beginning to make it great. As long as we keep working on it tirelessly in the right way, it will surely produce the desired results.
Whatever your calling or talent in life is, never despise the days of little beginnings. God Himself has promised, “And though thy beginning was small, yet thine end shall be very great” (Job 8:7). The zero beginning of today may become the biggest corporation of tomorrow. People who own the biggest companies today did not become successful when their businesses began to blossom; they became successful the day they conceived the ideas that made them successful. They were pregnant with ideas that were so rich that they yielded success when applied.
This must again prove to you that ‘zero’ is a very pregnant number that must not be underrated or undermined! To use the words of James Allen, “The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”
A woman who gave birth today became pregnant immediately her fertilised egg was implanted in the lining of her uterus. It was the continuous nourishment and splitting of this little egg that resulted in the beautiful bouncing baby that was eventually born. That is the power of zero, the mother of all numbers!
Many young people today do not want to start small; they do not believe in the potentiality of zero, let alone igniting it. Yet the truth is that the power of zero starts manifesting – even when there is ‘nothing’ in your bank account – as soon as you conceive an idea that will eventually change your life when applied.
Let me quote James Allen again, “Your circumstances may be uncongenial, but they shall not long remain so if you but perceive an ideal and strive to reach it. You cannot travel within and stand still without. Here is a youth hard pressed by poverty and labour; confined long hours in an unhealthy workshop; unschooled, and lacking all the arts of refinement. But he dreams of better things: he thinks of intelligence, of refinement, of grace and beauty. He conceives of, mentally builds up, an ideal condition of life; the vision of a wider liberty and a larger scope takes possession of him; unrest urges him to action, and he utilises all his spare time and means, small though they are, to the development of his latent powers and resources. Very soon so altered has his mind become that the workshop can no longer hold him. It has become so out of harmony with his mentality that it falls out of his life as a garment is cast aside, and, with the growth of opportunities which fit the scope of his expanding powers, he passes out of it forever. Years later we see this youth as a full-grown man. We find him a master of certain forces of the mind which he wields with worldwide influence and almost unequalled power.”
Lessons from the Creator
Genesis 2:7 says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” God made man, the crown of His creation, out of the dust of the earth – which was like an insignificant thing, a zero. First, He moulded the man into His desired shape and structure; and then He brought life into Him by breathing into him. He empowered him with His ‘breath’ to become a living being.
God did not underrate the power of the zero (that is, the dust of the earth). He knew that, with the right input and approach, a hero could emerge from the zero. And that was exactly what happened! God saw HOPE; He saw a bright future in mere dust. And that’s because He knew that nothing He created was useless – even the earth and its dust have many powerful potentials.
It is this same principle that worked for the creation of man that still works for re-creation through man. All of the inventions and breakthroughs that we see around emerged because some people decided to work on their seemingly insignificant ideas and dreams. This should let you know that no idea, dream or beginning is insignificant. And of course, most importantly, no individual is insignificant.
Let’s apply this in the workplace. You can never get the best out of any staff that you consider a dummy and never-do-well. What such a staff requires is relevant motivation, direction and impartation. It is the combined force of these approaches that will awaken the giant in the staff.
Even the best of your staff members must be constantly appreciated and rejuvenated with consistent trainings and motivating incentives. This process births the best out of them and propels them to deliver their very best and at the same time retain their loyalty to the organisation.
It is the same with youngsters in school. A student who is constantly rated zero would soon begin see himself as a failure; yet, in the real sense of it, he is not a failure because he, at least makes attempts – only that he is not able to perform up to expectation. As the case of Prof. Imafidon and others have revealed, that same child, if nurtured and bolstered with appropriate motivation, the zeal for success will be activated within him and this will enable him to take the required steps towards attaining excellence.
The student who scored zero in a test or examination has hope; at least, he made an attempt and could be better next time if he could work harder with the zeal to succeed. He is far better than someone who was absent for the test or who never made an attempt at all.
A Personal Experience
Before wrapping up this part, let me share my experience with you. I remember that when I was much younger, I often took the last position in school, until my story changed – mainly through the influence of my mother. My mother was a disciplinarian; yet, instead of beating the hell out of me whenever she saw my report card, she would draw me closer with words like: “I still believe in you! You can do better”. Her attitude always made me look at her with wonder and I would ask myself, “What kind of woman is this?”
It is now that I have come to realise that my mother used this approach because she understood the power of zero. Her motivations, calm words and constant efforts towards making me better sparked the desire to succeed in me. I found myself saying, “You must succeed and prosper, even if not for anyone else but for the sake of this woman…She believes in you so very much!” This mentality activated a lot of dead cells in me for excellence beyond human comprehension.
The effectiveness of this approach of my mother has tremendously contributed to shaping my belief in the boundless potentialities of zero. The law of effective achievement states that, being consistent in doing MINI on and on guarantees effective DOMINION. Little drops of water could make a mighty ocean. Don’t be too proud to start small, break that ego! never despise the days of little beginning!
I hope it further convinces you that you must never give up on yourself or anyone else, nor should you despise your little beginnings!
Watch out for the Book titled: “The Power of an Empowered Zero” (Awakening the Giant Within You) by Tolulope A. Adegoke. Foreword by Dr Yomi Garnett (CEO/Chancellor, Royal Biographical Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.SA., U.K., Abuja, Nigeria.) Edited by Ola Aboderin.
Tolulope A. Adegoke is an acclaimed “globalpreneur”, with the mandate to enrich lives and provide the professional, spiritual, academic and leadership empowerment needed to birth, maximize and sustain possibilities in peoples, corporates and nations. He is a prolific writer, frequent keynote speaker and spoken word poet, among others, having written countless articles in diverse reputable fields and honoured many public invitations.
He is also a Senior Administrator.
Tolulope Adegoke can be booked for public events via the contacts below:
Third Term Agenda: The Power of Speaking Tongue in Cheek
By Eric Elezuo
At the opening of the of the National Executive Council meeting of the All Progressives Congress in Abuja on Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari finally ended his silence on the much talk about third term agenda, which not a few Nigerians have allegedly accused the President of harbouring.
Laying to rest the thoughts of doubting Thomases, Buhari said that he would not make the mistake of attempting a third term in office, adding that apart from age, he was limited by the two terms stated in the constitution.
“I’m not going to make the mistake of attempting a third term. Besides the age, the constitution makes provision for only two terms,” he said.
But to the follower of Nigerian history, and more especially the student of ‘Buhariology’, the utterance or rather proclamation sounds very familiar, and one wonders if the President is not speaking tongue in cheek like he had always done.
Recall that in 2011, after losing the election to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Buhari publicly proclaimed that he would never run for the office of the president again. But he ran again in 2015. Yes, he may have been invited to run by powers that promised him victory, but he failed to keep his words.
Again, it is on record that Buhari also craved for one term in office, also citing age as his main discouragement, but he threw caution to the wind and sought a second term in office which he won, using apparatchiks at his disposal according to a cross section of Nigerians.
In recent times, Nigerians wake to various policies and acts that make them wonder if it was actually the same Buhari who promised so much prior to becoming president who is seated at the seat of power (no pun intended). If we consider that the promise of making one dollar exchange for one naira is still a pipe dream, then one will wonder if the promise not to go third term will see the light of the day. How about the promise to convert the national fleet into the much sought after ‘Nigeria Airways’ and add addition aircraft as the years roll by? Has it been fulfilled almost five years after, or is there in sight to actually fulfill it.
Oh, we forget about and incessant medical pilgrimages. President Buhari has remained the biggest culprit of his own promises, the biggest breaker of his own pronouncements. How possible will it be for Nigerians to trust him regarding his denial of the third term agenda.
A scary insight into the third term jingle reveals that most of the policies and proposals of the government have a life span exceeding its time, even as the government as it stands seems not to have veritable opposition in terms of political parties or institutions. Nigerians, behaving more like a conquered state, or to borrow the language of the ancient empires, a vassal state, seem to lack the energy and willpower to fight anymore, as a result, Buhari will surely get what he desires.
Well, was it not the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan who said, only recently that any request brought to the Senate by Buhari will receive express approval. Not wonder it took less than two months to pass the Finance Bill into law as anti-people it is. And was not Justice Tanko Mohammed, who declared that certificates are not necessary for contesting elections and that ‘technicalities’ take precedence over facts.
Now tell me, was the President not speaking tongue in cheek when he denounced the third term agenda?
Food for Living: The Experience of Life
By Henry Ukazu
Greetings Dear Friends,
Life is an experience every one of us must surely pass through. It is often said that our experience shapes/defines who we are. Regardless of how true or false you may feel about life, you’ll agree with me that to a reasonable extent, your experience has helped to shape some of your thoughts and actions. Isn’t it true that it is only the person who wears the shoe who can tell where the pinches? It is a well-established fact that experience is the best teacher. This is because we all feel pains differently. According to a philosopher, life is about experiences. We all have to dream, strive, and fail before we can achieve success. Maybe we’ll discover along the way that the journey is more important than the destination
In one of my articles, published a couple of years ago what is life and how can one live through it? I defined life as a woman because you cannot “really” know her. During the course of this article, we shall be discussing many components of life and how the experience can shape you. We all need experience to survive through life because it helps to shape us in addition to giving us more exposure, opportunity, and respect. For instance, we all sit in the same classroom, but we don’t hear and understand the same thing; we all look at a picture but we don’t see the same thing; we all might be walking to a location but we all have a different vision; we all have a business but we run it differently based on our experiences, knowledge and even networks. The same theory is applicable to marriage, job, academics, business, sports etc.
Let’s share some practical details on how experience can shape us.
This is one of the most complicated and sensitive part of life any human can relate to. Marriage in simple term is life itself. As fondly opined by many rational minds, it is the school one can never graduate from, because you’ll continue to learn until the end of life. In our contemporary society, we have recorded so many divorces and questions flood the mind as what the secret to a successful marriage relationship actually is. Well, in my own humble opinion, there’s no clear cut secret to marriage except the presence of true love between both parties. This is because lots of factors contribute to a make a successful marriage. Every marriage is different and only the partners themselves can decide how they can manage their affairs. Where there’s a misunderstanding between both partners, it will be in their best interest to settle it themselves, and where they can’t settle it, a married or informed counselor can assist. I’m not insinuating that unmarried counselors with insightful positive experience can’t advise married couples, but I do know that whenever couples have problems, they are the only ones who can address their concerns better because nobody knows the root and fundamental cause of the problem more than do especially when they are not comfortable letting it out which leaves the counselor with the only option of speaking from his/her own experience. There have been cases where unmarried couples give advice to married people, in as much I won’t kick against that idea, I feel that sometimes, if not most times, experience plays a huge role in solving problems especially a sensitive one like marriage. Moral: somethings are best experienced than imagined. This is because of the practicality that comes with it. It’s just like driving, having sex, running a business etc.
Just like the saying, old wine tastes better, the same can be said for business. The more time you spend learning the ropes in addition to equipping yourself with knowledge can play a huge role in shaping your business. Just like every great work takes time to manifest, business takes time to grow. I doubt if there’s any overnight successful in business. If at all one ever exist, it’s an exceptional circumstance it’s quite unfortunate many people jump into a business with the mindset of having a great turn over/profit just because they see it is flourishing or they see their friends/colleagues making great strides in the industry. What they fail to understand is that it is not greener out there and every business has a secret.
It’s imperative to note that one of the greatest ways to succeed in business is by having a great network. People find it comfortable to relate with people they know. According to Robin Sharma, “the business of business is relationship, but the business of life human connection”. In business, a lot of factors come into consideration before one can have a headway. First and foremost you must know what you are passionate about and what your skills set is composed of. Then, give yourself the necessary time to learn the business/trade. This learning can take several forms such as reading, volunteering, taking a class, networking and gaining exposure in the sector.
Furthermore, to succeed in business, you must learn soft skills in addition to being creative with emotional intelligence. For example, a creative and proactive businessman/woman must meet people where are as opposed to having the clients meet him/her where he/she is. A prudent business-minded fellow must have a great attitude to listen to customers, he/she must take the initiative of providing ideas on what might be beneficial to the business, and he/she must have a great attitude to relate with not only his/her clients but the public at large. According to John Maxell, ‘Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them’.
One of the places that experience plays an influential role is the aspect of a job. Most employers always look for candidates with experience during the hiring process. It’s only in a few and rare instance they accept a candidate without experience. An experienced candidate tends to do a better job than a new hire. For example, a new hire may do the job in the right way, but an experienced being may do it in an efficient way.
In our contemporary society, many people seem people to downplay the role of education as it relates to succeeding in life. They opine that you can always “learn from the street”, you can also learn in an informal way as opposed to formal education. However, they fail to realize that education itself is an experience because you need to get theoretical knowledge before applying practical knowledge. It should be noted that academic education gives you an edge over a person who doesn’t have any opportunity/exposure to one. It is a well-established fact that no knowledge is a waste and having a basic theoretical knowledge can take the place of experience in certain situations.
This is another great area where experience plays a role. Sports is one of the great areas where experience is needed. It doesn’t matter if you play football, soccer, table tennis, volleyball, basketball, track and felid events and wresting. Your experience will definitely make a difference if you harness it well.
In conclusion, regardless of what you may have experienced through life, having a positive attitude is a guaranteed way of overcoming negative experience. According to Reno Omokri, an author and Pastor, “the secret of love is sacrifice. The secret of happiness is giving; the secret of life is GOD.” This nugget may have informed his line of thought. I don’t know your experience, but whatever it is continue to learn from it because one day it will add up and when you look back, you’ll understand why you have to have to go through the whole experience.
Just like every taste bud is different, each and every one of us experience different things in life. According to Eleanor Roosevelt, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” If you ask anyone what’s the purpose of life, you’ll likely receive different responses. The answer to this question is subjective and deeply personal. Different things are important to us throughout the course of our lives. Yet one thing stays with us no matter where we go: our experiences. With respect to personal experience, definitely it’s important to note that your network determines your net worth. Therefore, cultivate your friendships and find companies that fulfill you. It’s from those experiences in life that you’ll learn and grow. In this process, we can learn valuable lessons about ourselves and the world around us. So, don’t be hard on yourself.
Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success. He can be reached via email@example.com