University Education, Do I Really Need It?

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-Helen Keller upon enrolling in a tertiary institution and after spending some time there as a student commented that she was so overwhelmed with school work that she didn’t have time to engage in solid thinking-
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If you are in school, college or in a University and you think in your mind that the reason you are there is so that after you graduate your life will make meaning, or you will become successful due to the degree or the certificate that you will earn there; then absolutely you are mistaken.
I have come to define University and most especially a West African University as ‘An Institution which enslaves youth for about 4 to 6 years and during that period they are made to believe that they cannot do nor achieve anything until they are released from this prison of the mind’’. What makes a man goes beyond the certificate that he gets from a College or a University no matter how prestigeous that college or University is. It is now clear to me that Informal education is one of the significant ways that makes a man. Education is all around us and most importantly WITHIN us. It is not to be sought out in any man made institution. I know of great achievers whose works or achievements were not attributed to the University or the Institution they attended.
Now am sure some of you may start misquoting me and reading the ‘’thinking-within-the-box mind set’’ to what have just said. Yes you are to obtain your college degrees and university certificates, but this is just for you to avoid societal prejudice hence to have a good platform before the society wherein you can display your enormous gifts and contribution to the human race. Never for once think that you are in school to make a living. If you get carried away by this thinking you might actually be trying to make a living in life rather than to make a life.
Education is all around us and it is simply exposure and knowledge as the old saying says that ‘knowledge is power’’. Let us imbibe the right mind set and start thinking outside the box. We should be a nation of thinkers and not followers of thinkers as a friend of mine use to say. We are nurturing youths who are now merely followers rather than innovators and concept starters. When was the last time that you as a person sat down all alone to think deeply and to come out with ideas and concepts on how a particular thing around you should be done better, instead we are just wallowed in that prison of timidity and complacency allowing other people to come up with ideas for us. I think the problem is in people not wanting to sacrifice the time, energy and passion to engage in solid thinking. Martin Luther King Jnr once said; that one thing that people find it hard and difficult to do is to engage in serious and solid thinking. People don’t just want to sacrifice to do this
I truly and honestly don’t believe in formal and standardized education, and I will stand and defend this belief anywhere. The only time that I can begin to believe in Nigerian educational institution will be when a proper institution will be built and created to allow the imaginative thinking of students, an institute which will allow students to dream big, one which will culture inventors and innovators rather than old world and old regime followers, an institution that allows students to experiment with ideas and imaginative thoughts rather than following what the old and present generation has laid down and an institution which is built with a proper Research & Development unit.
Balogun Oluwafemi

Picture courtesy of 123rf

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Who is Bolaji Sparks?

٭٭SPΔRKS CLASSIC GEAR٭٭(3)

     fashion is the most beautiful thing after nature

–  Bolaji Olumoh (a.k.a Bolaji Sparks)

The name Bolaji Sparks which is linked to the now popular fashion brand known as Sparks Classic Gears has been on the trend for some time now. Many wonder who Bolaji Sparks really is or what Sparks Classic Gear really is all about, as you might have seen the tag on their branded cloth somewhere or with someone close to you.

Bolaji Sparks is the fashion genius and entrepreneur behind the popular fashion brand known as Sparks Classic Gear. A lot of his brand aficionados know of the brand name but don’t really know the genius behind it. I’m about to reveal it to you and quench all the suspense that has been built up. Bolaji Sparks as the nickname goes is actually Habib Bolaji Olumoh,  a 23year old(come this April)  fashion entrepreneur and genius, who happens to be  the C.E.O and mastermind behind the brand Sparks Classic Gear. I have had opportunities to meet with this rising business man and fashion aficionado several times and even had an interview with him recently which  led to the birth of this blog.

He started his early schooling in Ilorin but later moved to Lagos while he was still in Primary 3. In his own words; ”Growing up in Lag was kind of cool but not much fun as I had to stay indoor most of the time even though I had the Lagos orientation in me”. He then attended Home Science Primary School to complete his primary education and coincidentally, one of his favorite artist, Olubankole Wellington a.k.a Banky W to be specific, also attended the secondary school but at different times. Upon completion of his primary school, he proceeded to Ronik Comprehensive School for his secondary school education, but as an unintentional routine and habit that he took up, he changed his secondary school as he relocated back to Ilorin and then completed his schooling in Sapati International School. He told me during the interview; ” that was at first the worst thing that I felt ever happened to me, but God blessed me with that move as Sapati International School became my then new home”. He went on to tell me that Ilorin wasn’t bubbling like Lag but it was like everybody was one big family.

On asking him if Sparks Classic Gear had always being on his mind or he accidentally stumbled upon this idea in his university days as the like of Mark Zuckerberg, the C.E.O of Facebook did in his own university days at Harvard. He was quick to dismiss this and said that it had been his long time dream even though he had not come up with the brand name then. He said in his own expression ” I’m a big fan of Sean Combs a.k.a Diddy who owns Sean John and Jay-Z owner and C.E.O of Roca Wears. I used to dream of wearing my own brand” .

Bolaji Sparks is a fashion enthusiast who loves the glamour of the fashion world and quoted; ”Fashion is the most beautiful thing after nature”. Starting up with the fashion brand wasn’t easy at the initial stage as he did not get all the required support that he needed then. He had to sacrifice his time, his personal savings and allowances to make wears. He also had to deal with school timetable and his parents. When I inquired about what or who kept him going during this trial period, he commented; ”God kept me going from day one”. This reminds me of a particular personal expression I left on twitter some days back quoting that the period before success emerges are usually the most trying and difficult ones. He said then he had few people who believed in him,but the brand name was spreading in Unilorin and even Ilorin as a whole. The strong phrase of ‘winners don’t quit no matter what’ erupted from his lips strongly and this phrase also lies in concordance with General Pype’s song Victorious Man.

People who have inspired him and who he sees as role model include Dbanj and Aliko Dangote and above all, he honours God and sees Him as his source of inspiration and motivation. When I asked about where he sees himself in like ten years, he replied by saying he sees himself in a better position than he currently is. He has only one regret in life which is him not having started the fashion brand earlier but still acknowledges that God’s time is the best.

He hopes to combine his law practice together with his fashion biz and is a believer of having multiple streams of income. During his free time, he spends it with his family, plays soccer with his guys, listens to music and also thinks of more innovations to bring to the fashion world. He is a fashion tycoon in the rising and he’s a must-to-meet person as you will love his personality.

To personally get in contact with him, hit him up on his twitter account @iam_sparks

Balogun Femi (@Balogs5)

٭٭SPΔRKS CLASSIC GEAR٭٭(5)

Awesome topic

Gigaom

In Silicon Valley and the tech world, building a startup is almost seen as a rite of passage. Working at a startup is commonplace: not just acceptable but venerated. That culture has brought a lot of innovation and perhaps a few silly ideas to the world, but sometimes it’s worth it to step outside that bubble to see what can be learned from cultures in other entrepreneurial enclaves.

I had such an opportunity at the Toy Fair in New York last week during its Launchpad section. It featured roughly two dozen entrepreneurs who built a prototype toy and a website, and paid $1,900 for a 6-foot long table at the show. Several people showed off board games, figurines, including the above pictured Obos, and a variety of other items waited for a distributor or a buyer to discover them.

While talking to eight of the assembled entrepreneurs I realized…

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The Cycle of Workforce

Workforce

The Cycle of Workforce

I know most of us have been in a particular seminar, lecture, workshop or training in which a speaker has once tried to motivate and encourage you to be a leader and not a follower, to be your own boss and not a servant. I myself and including most of you readers have been once or more in this kind of lecture or motivational forum.

Years back when I started hearing these speeches about being a leader and not a follower, a boss and not a servant, what mostly went through my thoughts was; who will then be the servant? Who will do the petit jobs such as a messenger, house cleaner, security guards and such jobs as that? Back then I didn’t understand much then as I do now, and even now I don’t understand much as I would in the future. All these speeches and lectures concerning the concerned topic are actually true and are not far stretched.

What it means is what I personally call ‘The Cycle of Workforce’. This is a phenomenon in which the total workforces of an Organisation, a Company, State or a Nation are in cycles. I know it is impossible not to have jobs such as security guards, cleaners, messengers, garbage clearers etc. What you should make sure is you not turning these jobs into permanent jobs. These jobs are just meant for you to serve and work for a specified amount of time pending the time in which you are building plans for your next move and steps in life. You use the time you work in such jobs to save some extra cash, to plan ahead such as to enrol in a creative and quality educational institution if it so pleases you, to gain experience and skills in some field and then to meet and connect with people in your own little way. With this, you set goals and time limit  in which you plan to work in such jobs and when the time comes for you to move on, make sure you are disciplined enough to opt out and quit the job.

Don’t ever be satisfied with your status quo and trust me, a lot of people, even your close friends and family members might question your judgement and decision. You don’t need to start defending and arguing about the decision that you have made or that you are about to make, just keep quiet and save the energy to build that which lies ahead of you. The road might not be smooth initially and might even get tougher with time, but I assure you as you stay on course with dedication of your time, energy, resources, skills and efforts, you will eventually breakout of the dark loom of obscurity into limelight.

Balogun Femi

(Business Consultant)

Image courtesy of sheelamohan/freedigitalphotos.net

Facebook’s Dilemma

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Facebook’s Dilemma
18th of June 2012 around 11:30 p.m. (Central Africa Time) I began to analyze and closely scrutinize the future of Facebook as a social network, an investment for Facebooks’ investors and also for current and potential advertisers. The more I looked at the prospect of the company and also on their ability to dominate the social network, the more I realize the social media company might actually fade out unless strategic and drastic measures were actually taken out by the management team. The fact is most Facebook social networkers now spend less time on the site as compared to about three to four years ago when users were practically addicted to the social network site.
The world is evolving rapidly and new technologies are erupting out of US, Europe, Israel and Asia at a fast pace. What will actually decrease the number of users of Facebook and the time they spend ‘facebooking’ is actually the invention of new mobile devices with distinct and innovative social network software and also the emerging of new and dynamic entrepreneurs. An example of this occurred some years ago when Blackberry broke out from just supporting and providing services for mobile phone companies into actually coming up with their own brand phone which comprised of features such as blackberry messenger, chat and other tech applications. The public welcomed the idea of this social networking as that period was what I called ‘The Blackberry Craze’. Not only did they support the public socially but was also a business boost as it made business communication and contacts much easier and efficient. This was so evident that almost everywhere that one happens to, you would see people just pinging (as that was the popular slang then). I can remember being in the bank at a time and I was on the queue waiting to make some deposit only to see that one of the bankers in front of me was so engrossed with his blackberry and he rarely concentrated on what was going on around him. Lecture rooms, buses, taxis and parks were not left out as people got so attached with this mobile device due to its social network functions.
People want the idea of having their friends and practically the ‘whole world’ (I use this literally) at their fingertip. Good enough, Facebook team recognized and understood this as they also came up with Facebook mobile software for phone users and this helped to avert the crash of the use of Facebook to some extent. The problem with the Facebook mobile application is that it was a setback for potential advertisers and consequently Facebook investors as they could not advertise on the mobile device. They failed to realize that people no longer have to carry their laptops or even tablets everywhere they go just so as to keep up with the social trend, people prefer to use their mobile devices to do this and in such way it makes more sense, it’s more practical and virtually far easier.
I agree that there are currently about 901 million Facebook users, but if you check the stats on the exact active users and the time they now spend ‘facebooking’, you will know there has been a decline. Not to my surprise, about a month or so later I was watching Bloomberg when there were reports about the skepticism of Facebook investors and also advertisers on how effective the adverts they place on their social network site is. The stock value compared to their IPO value was even more devastating as it had almost halved (and currently it’s about $18 or $19) and analysts including myself are expecting it to drop even further. Andy Borowitz (not a business analyst) an hilarious speaker who also writes for the Newyorker made one statement on his twitter account which sounded funny but actually that was the ugly truth. He commented ‘ facebook investors are not happy about the drop of the stock to $19, they should be rather happy/satisfied for something that is actually worthless. Another observer commented; Facebook is like the boyfriend you no longer like, but are scared to dump because you’ve invested so much time in the relationship. All these are pointers to where Facebook is headed unless the management team starts coming up with new ideas, innovations and strategies as new and emerging tech geniuses and IT entrepreneurs with mind dazzling and innovative ideas will take them and the social network world by suprise.
Balogun Femi
(Business Consultant)

Branding Yourself

Just Business
In everything you do whether it be a skilled job or an enterprise, you must apply the right business principles if you want to have high returns for all your efforts. When you know that you have a skill in doing something and you know the best you can reach, you don’t have to come out fully at that best for everyone to see during the period that you emerge from obscurity. You just come out a little above the former way things have been done before and keep people at suspense on what you intend to bring in next or what you want to achieve next.
The simple illustration I can use to clarify this is Usain Bolt. I read that he’s the only track and field athlete to make ten million dollars a year. Do you think that he made these ten million dollars last year because he was better than other athletes who broke world records before him? Definitely Not. The reason as I see it is mainly because he has agents with good business IQ and acumen who didn’t follow the paths of other agents in this line of sports. When he ran (i.e. USAIN BOLT) 9.78secs or so, and then ran 9.69 and 9.58 seconds later, did you think that he accidentally ran this far record beating records period after he just broke one with the 9.69secs? Definitely not. My guess, he and his agents(PACE Sports Management) and trainer knew all along his capability to run that 9.58 sec but coming out with your best truly at first is not the best business strategy.
I have to tell you that sports and business go together. If you happen to just say that you are a good sports man without also combining the attributes of a good business man or not consulting a business expert to help foster and package yourself well to your fans and to the public, then you will only achieve great trophies in your line of sports with little or nothing to show for it when it comes to your bank account. When Usain first came during that record breaking time, did you notice that during the 100m dash, when he was about ending the race and he noticed he was leading that he slowed down to finish the race? Of course he could have ran faster to even achieve a far greater world recording time, but that would mean not being able to keep his would-be fans in suspense and in the long run not maximizing the amount he could earn as a sport professional. This made him to break the record three times (including breaking his own record two times) and also breaking the 200m record.
This was all systematically and strategically planned by his sports trainer and agents to fully maximize his returns in terms of his earnings from breaking world records, being an advertiser for sports companies such as Puma, Rocklive, Virgin Media and doing adverts for various companies. He became the most talked about athlete not because he is the only person to break a former world record but because he used a business approach to it. The same way in anything you do that you are skilled and professionally good at, try and consult a business expert on how you can package and market yourself to your audience or target market so that you won’t only be good at what you are but your bank account would also testify to it too.
Balogun Femi
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Hello world!

Welcome to my blog where you are enlightened about business, leadership, education, ideas & innovations, concepts and modern trends. I’m a business consultant at Biz Consults, a writer, blogger and an infopreneur with passion for enlightening the public about ongoing and future trends. You can also follow me on twitter: Balogs5