So You Want to Be Respected?

I’m always amazed when I reminisce on the many stupid things I’ve done just to appear cool. I remember when I was a teenager I used to iron the back of my school uniform shirts in a certain way just to have that swagger. Boy, looking back now, that must have been one hell of madness, really!

But when you compare all I did to look cool (I still didn’t look cool, sad!) to what others did or are doing, you will pat me on the back for keeping most of the screws holding my sanity together. Em, you can’t blame me for losing a few.
So which begs the question: why do we desperately want to appear cool? Or what do we want to achieve when we do very outrageous things…to be respected by others?

You want to know what some of us do just to be respected? Here are some:
Lie about who we are

My mum owns the National Theatre or I’m the CEO of Somewhere Limited with interests in oil and gas, properties, etc. I’m also into forwarding and backwarding.

Drop names like it’s hot
Bihari and my dad play draught every weekend and if I don’t call Osinbajo every other day he’s going to throw tantrums, crawl into a little room in Aso Rock and bawl like a child.

Buy things we can’t afford on credit
Social media is replete with car dealers chasing celebrities around on cars not paid for. I know a couple of guys who get first class tickets on credit and then dodge the hapless travel agents for months. Enough said.

Sucking up
Become a lap dog to senior management, celebrities, just to be relevant. They treat you like crap but you take it like blessing all because you want to be seen as part of the hip crowd. You even laugh at their stupid jokes!

Fake it like it’s real
This is pretty common! Buy fake designer bags, shoes and accessories just to look like you’re happening! I once followed a friend into a real Channel store, saw the price tags and left with a profound knowledge that all the Channel brooches I’ve seen in my office are fakes. Walahi!

Date an eye candy
Do all you can to date that super skinny yellow girl with a hip/waist ratio – that can make even a Cardinal lose his faith. It doesn’t matter that she’s emptier than a washed out barrel. Sometimes it is to stick up to the abusive super rich oil tycoon married boyfriend who pounds her with blows better than fufu.

There are many more ways to be a dick head just because we want to be known, seen, respected and be successful. If you think I’m talking about musicians, Nollywood starlets, OAPs, etc. you are so wrong! Their misbehaviors are part of the drama that life gives us as entertainment; their craziness is what defines them. I’m actually referring to the everyday me, you, my cousins and some of your colleagues at work.

Fundamentally somewhere in the deep recess of each of us (especially me) we want to be respected and everything we strive for is to achieve that – money, career, fame, girls, husbands, etc. Since the need to be respected can’t be cured or is innate to us, maybe we should focus our attention on how to be respected in a wholesome manner.

Let me break it down. The best way to be respected is to be good in what you do. No other sustainable way.

I can illustrate this better with two Nigerian women. Dame Patience Jonathan was a favorite punch bag for everyone with her numerous gaffes and poor grammar; she provided a good comic relief. Nothing beats this YouTube performance. Nike Davies Okundaye, on the other hand, represents some of the best things that ever came out of Nigeria. She grew up uneducated but despite that developed herself into a world renown artist.

Both are Nigerian women with poor grammar and don’t speak with phoney but while one is lampooned at every turn, the other is revered. Why? Because everyone knows Nike is good in what she does.

How to get real respect
Understand that the need to be respected isn’t bad. Like the need to get Coldstone Ice Cream or to Netflix, it’s part of every one of us.
Real and enduring respect comes from competence. When you are very good at what you do, and you are smart and consistent, trust me, even your haters will give you sadankata. I don’t like Cristiano Ronaldo and it’s from pure jealousy; he’s rich and I’m not. He has a six-pack but I’ve just a large one. He’s popular but nobody even knows me on my street. Beef aside though, I respect him because he’s good and not from luck; he’s good because he works hard at being good. How do you explain scoring more than 50 goals consistently for 6 straight seasons, na yam?

So put in real efforts into what you do and after a while, everyone will give you the required praise and attention you need. Don’t look for a shortcut, real competence takes a while to have.

Be yourself and don’t try to be others. After all you weren’t born a clone so why become one? You will be surprised that the fancy people you want to be like aren’t even half as good as you are!

Don’t buy what you can’t afford, fake your accent or wear stuff just because it’s the in-thing. Be comfortable in your own skin. By the way, this doesn’t give you liberty to dress like an idiot. Being cultured is part of competence.

Don’t suck up to politicians, celebrities, supervisors, the happening guys in your office, bla bla. It’s just a sad display and will definitely embarrass your kids in the future. You can’t imagine how much I cringe at the sickening display of loyalty in different offices – you call someone young enough to be your child oga or madam etc. just because you want to be relevant, seriously? Dude, do your job!

Understand the fact that being popular wouldn’t last forever so why kill for it? Even if you are the trending item on Twitter today or the most sought after speaker on the talk circuit, after a while everyone would be naturally bored and move on to the next thing. It doesn’t mean you ain’t respected, so don’t sweat it. Continue to do what you are good at. It will most certainly speak for you in the long run.

This brings me to talk about supervisors, managers and other random senior people in random offices. If you want your subordinates or colleagues to respect you, it won’t be by politics or being the boss from hell. Be a leader and be competent. Leadership means you provide your team with vision and you lead them on a mission of towards greatness. Of course discipline is needed and if butts need whopping, please apply whatever whopping is prescribed in the company handbook. But you need to be good and knowledgeable on the job to be respected so preaching leadership alone is – meh! When things are tough, they expect you to reach into your endless wealth of experience to solve whatever problem the team or your subordinate is facing at that time.

This article has also been published at

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Challenge

I’ve been on the AI train for quite a while. Sounds like the next thing humans will do but you never know it may end up like the disappointment genetics ended up being despite the promises of 1990s.

Google AI recently spanked someone at the game of Go, considering that “someone” is one of the best humans at Go, that’s something.

Suddenly everyone is sitting up with many bandying around the belief that there would be Armageddon when machines take over the world. It won’t probably end that way but then who knows?

What I know is that AI has been quietly creeping into our daily lives without anyone even noticing. Your smartphones are chuck full of blistering AI technologies. When Siri is bantering about all sorts of rubbish, you think it’s your cousin?

For me the greatest challenge AI can face is being able to analyze video – recorded or live stream.

Before I go into more explanations, AI today can check a picture and identify items in it. Facebook can see a picture and identify all your friends in there. Scary enough? No, hear this: Facebook can identify you from pictures even when your face isn’t visible.

All I want is to have AI watch a video and tell me the plot of the story or watch a live camera feed and tell if something untold is happening. This is beyond facial or material identification, this is AI understanding plot!

At least I can spare myself the horrors of watching Batman V Superman and let the damn AI just tell me it ain’t worth visiting the cinema.

Netflix eats Cable TV's dinner

Netflix strolled into Nigeria yesterday, as well as 129 other countries. I know it’s no big deal to a lot of people but trust me, it is to some. It’s like we are finally free of certain companies holding Nigerians to ransom. No name calling please; I have home training!

Netflix is an online video/movies streaming company. They started with video rentals with a subscription model, which was innovative at that time, and captured the market with unlimited views and no late return fees. Netflix is an example of high-performance innovative company; they quickly jumped on the bandwagon of internet movies and today account for 45% of all internet traffic in the US between the hours of 6PM and 9PM. Netflix offers millions of movies at very low and simple subscription model – pay a flat fee a month and watch as many as your eye balls could endure. Cancel anytime you want and come back when you are led by the spirit.

Initially confined to US, they aggressively moved into new territories such as Europe, Brazil, etc. but yesterday, in one giant sweep, entered into 130 new territories, including Ikeja, Lekki, Abuja and Kaduna. Ok, you get the drift.
If you want to read about the history of Netflix, go here. But the founder, Reed Hastings, is a personal hero of mine. Supremely smart, simple and hey, he demystified movies for everyone. But that isn’t all, he’s a great dude to work for.

When compared to what we currently get now from cable TVs, there is even no basis for comparison. Instead of paying N17K a month to watch from maximum of two TVs, you can get 4 simultaneous screens for $11.99 per month.
No need to even record and watch again, the movies are always there. Pause on the TV and continue on your phone. You can’t ask for more.

Some things are missing though:

I want to watch live TV, such as CNN, to just listen to Donald Trump yap.
Hate it or love it, Nollywood is keeping certain companies alive in Nigeria today. Mostly crappy content but hey, they love it if not they would have stopped acting. Haters like Deji Olowe can go hug an electric pole.

I want to see Arsenal get spanked, live. OK, sports is a big deal! Who doesn’t want to watch Wimbledon or see that British boy, what’s his name again, run around in circles in formula 1 cars.

When things like this happens, there would be gainers and losers, let’s talk about them.


My friends and millions of Nigerians that want access to good movies. I mean, crawling to the cinemas can be a dog of a chore. Buying pirated movies is too much hassles for my simple life. Imagine having access to millions of movies on demand, play, pause, rewind and just anytime I want. Series don enter wahala!
Smile, Swift and other internet providers will now have guys guzzling their bandwidth like hell. Smile will probably see an uptick in its unlimited plan because 5GB of internet is just one Netflix HD movie

Banks will discover new and stable revenue stream of customers doing international transactions without leaving Nigeria. It’s small but it’s steady. Trust me, some banks are already prepping communications to their customers about this. What do you expect?


Cable TV. I’m sorry but babes thou art overpriced! Some of my friends spend upward of 17K a month to watch what? Super crap most often than not. If you miss a video, so be it.

Pirates will discover that it’s cheaper for their customers to do Netflix than buy CDs but no chilling 🙂
Banks may face more fraud issues as the payment process for Netflix is, I’m sorry, too simple not to be abused by just anyone. Just enter your card information and that’s it. Nothing stops anyone from using a stolen card to watch few mojos for some months.

Mum, AI took my job

AI’s expanding capabilities, from personal assistants to image recognition, pose questions about job security. Then there’s the scary part, the prospect of AI inventing other AIs. Will this lead to more widespread job displacements?

Recently jobless, I took to trolling the internet for good inspiring stories and I fortunate to bump into a long form on George Hotz inventing a self-driving car. George is of internet fame when he was the first to successfully hack an iPhone and then made a mess of Sony. That’s then.

There are many ways to skin a cat, at least if you can kill the cat first. But then automating self-propulsion isn’t a piece of cake. Planes have been flying themselves for over 84 years but all because danfo drivers don’t fly. Come to terra firma, somewhere around Abule Egba, and it’s a different ball game.

The best known name in the game is Google and they have been plugging away at this for years. Meanwhile African bad boy, Elon Musk recently released a patch that allows a Tesla to drive itself on the highway.

Summary, it costs zillions of dollars and millions of years to do build a working self-respecting self-driving car. Really?

George has turned all this on its head. In October of this year, he invested $50,000 ($30K of this was for a brand new Acura ILX 2016) and presto out came out a decent self-driving automobile. In 2 months? You must be kidding me.
This is where it starts to get interesting.

George’s approach is totally different from others. Instead of programming every conceivable rule and regulation of how to drive and what to expect (let Google come to Obalende!) he taught the car driving like the way I could teach my niece. Many things have made this possible – advent of deep learning, cheap computers, sensors, etc.

The bit I love is his bet against Musk.

So what has AI got to do with losing your job? Well, truth is AI can be taught to do many things. They already power simple things around you – SIRI, Cortana, Google search, image recognition, etc. What happens when it can be a perfect secretary, equity trader, physician, customer service officer, proofreader – correcting my numerous typos?

There is a lot it can do or may not do. The scariest for me though, would be when AIs can invent other AIs. Then, I’m sure that damnation would be an understatement.

Lagos is doomed

Lagos is doomed and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

That seems a pretty harsh thing to say but hey what can I do about it?

I recently took a road trip between Abuja and Kaduna and was mesmerized with kilometers after kilometers of good road. I wished I had a grand tourer like Merc or BMW 5 Series Touring to tame that piece of asphalt. Not that there wasn’t any pot hole, in fact quite a few broke the innocence of that road but comparing that road to anything in Lagos is like comparing a decent girl with less than 5 guys on the register and a working girl from De Wallen.

Considering that the road has also suffered neglect from government, I figured out that it survived because it was never pillaged as much as Lagos roads by monster container trucks.

It seems I’m rambling. Now straight to the point.

Lagos is like a working class man who gets new cousins to live with him every time he gets promoted; he’s never gonna be successful.

Early in our democracy, Jagaban demonstrated a type of leadership not easily found around here. Although OBJ sat on Lagos federal allocation for 7 years, he raised internally generated revenue and ran this state successfully. Then poster boy Fashola took over and spent trillions on Lagos but what do we have to show for it? Next to nothing. Did they work? Yes they absolutely did.

So what happened?

Nigeria failed.

A recent stats from FRSC showed that 33% of all cars in Nigeria ply Lagos roads not considering that Lagos has the smallest landmass of all states in Nigeria.


As Lagos became more secure, people showed up to hide from Boko Haram and kidnappers. When the environment became conducive for commerce, all new graduates skip to Lagos as soon as they are done with NYSC. Every company has its head office or a liaison office in Lagos. Practically everything imported into Nigeria, including the offending 41 items banned by CBN, come through Apapa ports.

Meanwhile the nation has been so sadistic to Lagos it makes waterboarding a trivial torture. While the ports bring everything in, they were neither upgraded or the road fixed. Ok, JB did a part but too small it’s of no consequence. The road to the MMA is so terrible that flying in and out of Nigeria is an exercise in depression. But then everyone, or almost everyone, must come to Lagos to fly out.

Traffic is so bad and depressing some people are giving up their homes to rent accommodations nearer their offices. And it won’t get better.

While I’m happy that Ambode has finally come around to fixing the security problems, I’m very well sure that no matter how successful he is, no matter how much he does better than Fashola, as long as the other states in Nigeria are failed or semi-failed, Lagos will never be the place we want it to be.
Olówó ní àrín àwon òtòsì…