I don’t need my eyes anymore.

Last week, I finally dragged myself to check my eyes out and it was an interesting experience of doubting if I may not need those pairs anymore.

You see, my gazing globes have been dimming for a while. It got so bad I was worried I could mistakenly stroll into someone else’s apartment and get myself some slaps. It has been almost 11 years since I got my first pair but unfortunately, because I use the laptop or PC a lot, I tend not to use them.

I promptly got them lost.

So I tried to use contacts, but sticking those stuff into my eyes was an exercise in self flagellation. And even when I managed to stick them on with pepper in my eyes, I still never saw things properly.

I simply resigned to fate. Hoping to outlive the dimness.

Back to getting new glasses. The doctor was pretty nice and pretty as well. She showed me a large scale model of human eyes and ran me through the different parts (or what would you call them?).

She pointed out that the eyes shoot over 10 bits per second through the optic nerves. But as we get older, or with some unfortunate souls with Glaucoma, the nerves start getting on their own nerves – struggling to keep up.

It struck me, if we could do ear implants or change the hips for the elderly, what if we could do something that shows light and vision directly to the optic nerves, bypassing the eyes?

Does that mean we won’t need eyes?

What if those cameras are so good – 8k vision. 20/20. Amazing shit!

What if we could overlay it with web3 🤣🤣 and some few porn?

What if we could send movies directly to it?

What if it could see in 360 so I could see what my annoying kids are doing without me being their

What if the signals could come from my house cameras when I’m not home

Or how would it be getting signals to my brain with a drone?

Or as a scientist, I’m fed by signals from a microscope.

Do I still need eyes?

Getting my Clones to do the Work

If only cloning were a thing! Imagine the possibilities: one of me hustling at work, another spreading kindness, a third diving back into research, and two others launching a startup. And then there’s me, spending as I wish. Delusions…

If I could clone myself into 5 other annoying DejiOlowes, today would have been the day I would place the orders for new mes.

I woke up this morning not wanting to do anything, but hey, I have to work – else I won’t be able to get food on the table. But come to think of it, what if I had clones, they would have gone to work, slaving their miserable lives on my behalf while I get on the next flight for a late summer vacation.
Who could resist such?

So what if I could clone 5 of me, what would they be doing?

DejiOlowe1 would definitely be going to work. I mean, he needs to hustle for the money all of us would spend. He would be warned to behave himself, not get distracted, no drinks after work, and just be a chilled dude. In fact, he would clock in more hours a week than Elon Musk.

DejiOlowe2 would be the nice dude, working the phone; calling family and friends, visiting relatives, and doing charity work.

DejiOlowe3 should go back to my first love – researching medical devices and esoteric stuff. He may get back to the Ph.D. that I abandoned in 2011. There was also an abandoned photonics experiment that he must pick up and finish. Oh, I forgot about the meta-genetic algo optimization that he has to work on as well.

DejiOlowe4 and 5 would start a startup together. Not sure what they would do but hey, they better get going because they need to make a humongous amount of money for all of us to spend down the line.

If only I could get an extra DejiOlowe to be working the gym while the real me gets 6 packs, that would have been the icing on the cake. Drooling.

And the real me? Probably lounging around, I will control the bank accounts and I set spend-limits for the other hapless DejiOlowes. If 4 and 5 do a good job, then I should travel the world and visit all the exotic places I have always wanted to go. Bora Bora tops the list.

Damn, I need to get out of bed!

Your Friends Reflect Who You Are

The value of friendships can’t be over emphasized. Friendship shapes destinies. Choose wisely: those who inspire growth, drive ambition, and respect others, pushing you to become the best version of yourself.

On a bright Wednesday morning, the Chemistry teacher herded us like recalcitrant goats into the Chemistry lab, handed over the second term Chemistry exam sheets and asked each of us to call out our scores so that he could tabulate them. Everyone called the usual numbers; most got Bs and As. When it was my turn, my tongue felt like lead. I walked up to the teacher timidly to complain in the lowest cat meow voice I could muster (so I won’t have to shout out the impossible number).

I got 45%. Never felt more ashamed in my life.

Growing up, I wasn’t a particularly bright kid; but because I was inquisitive, everyone felt I was smart. I could wing my way around; but since I was also supremely lazy, it was mostly misses than hits.

After the unfortunate event in my SS2 (year 5 of high school), I went groveling to my two good friends for help. These guys were freaking smart, not kidding. Femi Gbonjubola was the king of Chemistry and Physics. Femi Olajide lorded over Further Math. They taught me Chemistry like I was a toddler.  A few months later, I did my General Certificate of Education (GCE) and got a few As and that was it. Life was made!

So, what was the point of that story and why should you care?

You can’t be better than your friends
Your friends are an indication of what you value, and you can never be better than them. Psychologists and sociologists have done tons of research on peer pressure and mob action. Everyone knows the company you keep can push you to greatness or infamy.

Friends affect your career and success more than prayers!
Growing up, I was lucky to be friends with people who took pride in challenging themselves to get better grades. That progressive rivalry made everyone to sit up, and it helped.

But then I remembered old schoolmates who didn’t care about grades and just wanted to wear the latest designer labels and shoes. Unfortunately for those old school mates, trying to be the social bee and getting bad grades seems to have a strong correlation.

But then, if your friends are the happening types and they network a lot professionally, hanging out with them increases your chance of bumping into a beneficial contact. Some of those serendipitous encounters have transformed lives significantly. Of course, if you have no friends and you hide at home after work every day you may not go far!

On the flip side, if your friends are the lau lau type, spending beyond means to impress everyone; raking up debt to buy business class tickets to watch Champions League when bills are crying to be paid, the end is usually not very good.

Ditch your friends; they are no good!
Do you have a friend who seems to have a negative attitude about life? He never sees the good in anything and always talking about how life is unfair; the weather is shitty, Donald Trump is the president of America (wetin concern agbéró with overload?), etc. Dump him; he’s no good!

Is your boyfriend insecure about your progress and always dissuading you from reaching your goals? Is he always preaching the how a woman should behave and must be seen not heard? (Fake preacher). Jilt him! There are too many good guys out there than for you to sacrifice your life to a sorry ass you met just four months ago.

If your friend doesn’t know how to save, is always envious of rich folks, loves to put up appearances, borrows money for parties…get LAWMA to take him out of your vicinity. He’s worse than dirt.

If any of your friends or side chicks wear fake designer labels or carries fake designer bags, dump them fast. The inferiority complex will rub on you the wrong way

If your friends don’t treat their drivers, house helps, office assistants, etc. with respect, run from them. It’s easy to know the values that people carry within them by the way they treat those less fortunate. You don’t know your friends until you have gone through a misfortune or two.

Choose your friends like you choose your underwear
I know some people are annoying, but if they have good values that you admire, choose them as friends or mentors. The positive attitude they impact on you would transform your life.

Pay attention to those who respect others and are considerate. Be close to very ambitious and driven people but want to use only legal means to achieve them.
If your friends love to read and be up to date about their environments, even if you fight, don’t lose them! They are worth more than their weights in gold.

Hang out with those who have self-confidence and let them boost yours as well. Many smart people have lost good opportunities because they were too self-conscious to seize them.

My friends are my heroes
I wouldn’t be where I’m today if those two scallywags, Femi and Femi, didn’t teach me Chemistry. It gave me the confidence to tackle the other subjects, and here I’m today, I finally got to be an electrical engineer (don’t ask me to fix your light though, we could both get electrocuted)

Femi Gbonjubola, unfortunately, left us Christmas day of 2002. Femi Olajide, on the other hand, has devoted the rest of his life cleaning dirty teeth and improving public health all over the world.

May you never lack good friends!

Dropbox banking: The backbone for Fintechs and a probable model for banking in the future

The argument about if Fintechs and Banks are frenemies would never end. And it’s justifiably so.

Retail banks have a model of providing checking, savings, investment account services. Of course, they layer that with credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, etc. Fintech showing up on the scene means one thing, banks would be losers. There isn’t any clearer way to say it.

Think about it this way, banks earn money from these services and would want to continue that way. Fintechs showing they could do it better means they also want to gain something as well. So, any of these could happen: banks would lose, and Fintechs could gain; Fintechs and banks would gain from increased service cost and customers would pay more; Fintechs would lose, and banks would be cool.

There is also the friction that comes with who owns the customer experience. Most banks loathe to see new players sandwich between them and the customers and would prefer to control every single data point. On the flip side, when customers start to use apps for Personal Financial Management and their bank accounts, they start seeing the banks as a repository of their funds or provider of loans.

Retail banks don’t even trust Fintechs as their services tend to aggregate and disintermediate. None of the banks want to be a bucket for storage.
But wait, why not?

The traditional model makes losers out of the retail banks for Fintechs to win, maybe the only way would be to have a new type of bank, modeled from grounds up to take away the arguments of retail banks.

So imagine a bank, fully licensed but whose interaction is via APIs that Fintech and others can use to connect to it. Fintechs are the actual customers because the banks help them to hold their customers’ funds and loans in compliance with the regulation.

Dropbox was happy to become the programmatic storage for many apps, and that cemented its position in the world of cloud storage. Of course, Google Drive, Box, Microsoft OneDrive, etc. support the same approach but nothing represents personal commodity storage more than Dropbox.

A bank, fashioned after Dropbox, could have the same model and would face no pressure to compete with Fintechs but be the backbone for them. Such a bank, with no direct customer interface, would be barebones to run with the most minimal of operational overhead.

Could this be a viable model?

If this model works, then it’s possible that the future of banking will be the gradual transformation to the utility company providing services to the Fintechs who will own the customers. Nevertheless, there may not be a total elimination of the traditional model though, or one where all banks become a full-scale utility.

The harsh reality for Fintechs is that banks still own the customers’ trust for now and that counts for a lot.

Being a utility player offers no room for differentiation, and it simply becomes a case of the best bank offering ease and variety of API integration (across the various requirements of the Fintechs – Risk and Regulatory Compliance – i.e.  KYC, AML, security of deposits, etc.).

What is likely to happen is more of a gradual acceptance of the Fintechs services as options for customers in areas where the banks may not have the capabilities. For example, Santander is selling SME lending via Kabbage or providing Personal Financial Management via Meniga, the ultimate Fintech bank that will provide an integrated suite of all the customers’ required financial services may just not be on the horizon yet.

But it will be interesting to see how this pans out for the future of banking.

#Note
Contributions from Ladi Asuni

mCash would change the future of payments in Nigeria

The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), along with numerous banks, have launched mCash as an alternative payment system in the populous country in Africa.
mCash rides on USSD and anyone can easily use the code to make payments at large stores, corner shops, etc. The mCash payment system, which is automatically available to over 28 million account holders in Nigeria, can be used with any smart or feature phone.
The Central Bank of Nigeria has been pushing electronic payments in Nigeria for years. The elaborate program, dubbed Cash-less Nigeria, was driven massively in partnership with banks, switches, schemes and other stakeholders. The results have been fantastic as electronic payments in Nigeria is on a tear.

Despite the massive success of the Cash-less Nigeria program, merchant payments using Point of Sales (POS) terminals have not been as successful. Payments at POS terminals have been bedeviled with a lot of issues: High cost of terminals, which has been exacerbated by the devalued Naira. Poor telco data/GPRS infrastructure. Overregulation of participation and fees, which has made the business to be highly unprofitable. The list of issues goes on.
It was no surprise that banks started pulling back. Many at times, merchants desirous of having terminals are not given because they may not have enough transactions to allow the banks breakeven.
Not deterred by these, NIBSS and some banks rallied around to design a new payment system which would latch on to the recent success of the USSD banking in Nigeria.

Rising from the ashes of mobile money in Nigeria, another failed experiment in the quest for a cashless society, banks quickly repurposed their USSD codes to connect directly to bank accounts instead of mobile wallets. As the average Nigerian is already used to using USSD codes to load airtime or select call back tunes, there was an immediate affinity. USSD banking in Nigeria now has more users than all other channels apart from payment cards.

The mCash payment system allows account holders to dial their bank codes or a special general purpose code and then pay any merchant. The paying customers and merchants do not need to be with the same bank. The transactions ride on the existing NIBSS Instant Payment infrastructure. Merchants get settled instantly instead of waiting until the next day as it would be for POS transactions. Banks do not need to create additional back office processes as the payment transactions are treated like regular NIP transfer payments.

Even the merchants love the new system as they would not need to pay interchange or MSC.
This is a new payment system and the jury is still out on how transformational it could be. It has all the potentials of a successful platform: reach, ease of use and cost to merchants.