I was opportuned to be one of the facilitators in a discussion forum for young entreprenuers today. The line up of invited people for this particular segment included Mr. Okechuckwu Ogunjiofor the pioneer of Nollywood, Mrs Florence Seriki MD of Omatek ventures Ltd, Otunba Gadafi, MD of DMT Mobile Toilets, Eno-Obong Essien, MD of Rheydolence Limited and my humble self. Mrs Seriki was ably represented by her CMO, while Otunba had to be unavoidably absent. I entered the venue as one of my key mentors was living, Prof. Pat Utomi, I was so pleased at his excitement at seeing me. The meeting was meant to be an interactive session with young and upcoming entrepreneurs. we were all given the floor for 10mins ahead of the questions and answer session. While I learnt quite a lot from the other speakers, when it was my turn to speak, I remembered a story I normally start entrepreneurial sessions with.
It happened at a time, that an elderly Yoruba man approached his fresh graduate son with a proposition. He told him that he had found a wife for him. The young man was shocked and displeased, how can his father in this day and age be looking for a wife for him. He told his father to please leave him alone, that he can find a wife for himself, at the right time, which of course is when he’ll also have gotten a job. The father persisted though, that the wife he had found for him is a daughter of Dangote (Dangote is currently the richest man in Africa). “Really?”, the young man quizzed, “are you serious?”, “I don’t think it’s a good thing that my father is finding me a wife, but if it’s Dangote’s daugher, sure, why not”. :). The father penciled this down as number 1. This father had his university education in the eastern part of Nigeria, and had somehow crossed paths with the current Central Bank Governor- Charles Soludo. He called him up and told him that he would want his son to be a director in CBN. Charles laughed and wondered why he would make that kind of request. “Directorship of the CBN is by appointment and we usually need people with strong networks and networths” – Soludo said, “Who is your son, and what has he done?”. To this the father informed soludo that his son is about to conclude marriage arrangements with the daughter of Dangote. “Ah”, said Soludo, “Your son sure has the network, if directorship is all he wants, it can be arranged ASAP. The father noted this down as Number 2.
The father did not have direct access to Dangote, so he linked up with a friend who knew him, after all, our degree of separation from any mortal is 4-5 people. He finally got Dangote’s number and rang him up. “Hello Alhaji Dangote, I’m sorry to bother you this morning, how are you and how is the family…”, he started with the normal introductions and laid the premise of who linked him up with him. He then went straight to the point to inform him that, rich man to rich man, he’ll like for his son to marry Dangote’s daughter. Dangote was shocked by this request, and out of curiousity asked to know which daughter in particular and the father provided the name. Still out of curiousity, Dangote asked, “Please, who is your son, that you consider him worthy of marrying my daughter? Well, the father said, my son is currently being appointed as a director in the Central Bank of Nigeria. “Ah…” Dangote responded, “in that case, it can be arranged!”. In another few weeks, the wedding happened, the Directorship position was secured, and life was good. Who is an entrepreneur, an entrepreneur is someone who sees an opportunity, or a gap in society, or a possibility and connects resources together to create or make things happen. This father saw the possibility of a marriage, of a good job and of a good network for his family, and made it happen. The question I ask you today, is did you connect it?
All of us have access to resources, time, money, skill, relationships e.t.c. Those relationships, that money, that skill, that time, all that you have is only as relevant as it’s use. If what you don’t use is endangered, will you panic? If you will, then panic, because it is. In an analysis of how the human brain works there are connectors between different aspects of the brain, this connections thicken and work faster based on use. The reason why you’ll ask me for 17 times 17 and I’ll give you the answer in half a second is because that part of my brain has been well used and the connection is tight and thick. In the analysis of the human brain’s function, child psycologists say authoritatively that what you don’t use, you lose. Our brain connections are weakest where use is lacking. Can you take an overview of your life and give yourself a percentage of how well you are connecting it? Did you connect it? Are you connecting it, or are you allowing those synapses to waste?
Even the bible says that one will chase 1000, and two will put 10,000 to flight. In my own little analysis of this, it shows that the value of the loss of productivity that happens when two who should be connected are not is 80%. How you ask? Very simple, let me calculate it for you. If one can chase 1000, how many will two unconnected people chase? 2000!. How many would that have chased if they were connected? 10,000! How many did they lose? 10,000 – 2,000 = 8,000. Everytime you don’t use your connections, there is at least 80% being lost somewhere around you. If the connection was a connection of 3 people that was underutilized, the loss soars to over 99.7%. Not connection it, is failing woefully and not knowing.
Yesterday, I also realized that I have not been connecting it. I saw the joy and excitement with which Prof Pat Utomi announced to the world around that I was a revolutionary, and I knew I had not been connecting it. I saw the excitement with which the pioneer of Nollywood told me that he had heard about us and believed we could work together, and I knew I better connect it. I saw the desire of the Omatek CMO, the Rheydolence MD and others to join the New Nigeria Club, I saw the belief, the expectations and the excitement of the crowd, and I knew that I had better connect it.
There is so much waste daily, because two people who could connect well together and rock the world, decide to go solo. There is a lot of waste when we have access to people, access to resources, and access to anything we want in this world and refuse to connect it. Jobs don’t happen, Marriages don’t happen, success doesn’t happen, promotion doesn’t happen, nothing just happens, they happen when someone sees it ahead, and connects it!
Did you connect it?