Happy Birthday Joel Gascoigne!


Joel is one of the very few truly great guys I have met in my life. I am not ‘famzing’ because he recently raised $400k for his startup Buffer. Anyone that can live with Oo for 4  months+ and attempt to run a business with him without running mad, is truly a great person.

Few people know how I met Mr Gascoigne.

Back in ’08 I got admitted to Warwick. I was in Nigeria when  I created a group called “Warwick Internet Entrepreneurs”, he was the only person that joined. When I eventually got my visa (I get faith sha) and arrived Warwick, we met up, got talking about his projects, mine, etc. We eventually started OnePage together. Even though I was EXTREMELY self conscious about being Nigerian (my “Yes, I Am Nigerian” tees were just fronting), it was as if this dude did not realize. He trusted me more than I would have imagined.  He has no idea how much it helped me. Thanks buddy!

When OnePage did not go as planned, we needed lawyers to tidy up a few things as we decided Joel would be taking it forward. What I realized much later was that his lawyers  ( I did not have one) wanted to insert clauses that would have given him the option to “screw me” if he so wanted. He asked them not to.

There was a period we got a mini grant (about 1500 quid) to do market research. Now at that moment, we did not need any damn market research but Joel needed a computer to build the product we were to research for. I needed the ‘seed money for a space over my head. Even though there was a ‘way out’,  Joel consistently refused to do anything remotely borderline against the rule even though it was what we sorely needed. So we forfeited the grant. 🙁

Of course he acted as my translator on quite a number of occasions when I did not sound Bri ish enough to be understood.  I even got him to enjoy a helping of Nkwobi.

So Joel, as you turn 25 (Haha! You are damn old man! 25?? Really? You are that old??) do have fun and keep being a great person.

Facebook and ‘Happy Birthday’

Today is my birthday. Yes, you most likely ‘forgot’ because you did not notice it on your Facebook Birthday list. Well, it was actually deliberate. I removed my birthday from my profile because I wanted to relive the feeling  of the good old days when the conversation went like this

Well wisher: Happy birthday!

Celebrant: Wow you remembered. Thank you  *Grinning from ear to ear*

You see, the advent of Facebook heralded the era of automating the wishing of Happy Birthday and took away that pleasant feeling knowing someone spared some brain  cells to actually remember your special day.

Some 2 birthdays ago, I received about 200 birthday wishes from my barely 1k Facebook friends. Last year was the eye opener, although I received about 400, a vast majority looked automated.

“Happy Birthday bro! have a nice one”

The one that killed it for me was ‘HBD’. Yup, you got that right, there was no time to spell out ‘Happy’

So this Year, with my 2k+ Facebook contacts, I decided to do something different. Rather than get 1000 HBD’s  which would be copied and pasted on the walls of my Birthday mates, I decided to remove the date to see who would remember.

The result was not surprising.

The first half of the day had less than 10 people writing on my wall (I would have gotten that number 24 hours to my birthday, had it been listed). by evening, the number started picking up (to about 27) due to the posts on my wall flowing to the streams of Facebook friends.

So I can authoritatively say that by not listing your birthday on your Facebook profile, the happy birthday posts will be 5% of what you would normally get.

This was just an experiment of a bored mind.

Thanks to all those that remembered. called, sent texts, and wrote on my wall. It is greatly appreciated.  After all, you had a clear choice not to.

For those of you that forgot, you’ve got 2hrs left 🙂


New year, new resolution

Unlike last year, I will not list a litany of resolutions, I will keep it simple.

  1. Focus and finish any project I start.
  2. Keep my confidence and integrity in tact
  3. Make real effort to become more religious
  4. Enjoy life.

Everything else will fall into place.

I am really feeling old at 23*


*Not a typo 🙂

A birthday Rant: Why I feel Too Old At 27

Today is my 27th birthday and I feel too old. Too old not to have made a mark on this world yet.

Let me give a little background to my little rant.

My life’s vision is simple: To inspire a new generation of Nigerian Internet Entrepreneurs through education and mentoring. (It will be revised if the Internet stops being relevant).

For me to fulfil my vision and be a true role model for Nigeria future internet stars, I have to be successful (create value and money) on the Internet. Money made from working in oil companies, banks, telecommunication does not count. I have also believed that this success should come in my 20’s and the reason behind that thought is that it would be easier to convince a 20 year old that he has what it takes to make it now if i did so when i was like him.

This year would make it 17 years since I first got exposed to a computer and 11 years since I first used the Internet. I am feeling a bit sad I didn’t take my chances. I should be making my mark on the web by now.

What about your degrees? They are what took your time… 

I do not know how the world has made people believe that ‘finishing school’ is an achievement on its own. There is no big deal in attending school especially when it has been paid for by someone else. If someone has done something (say a patent, added value to somebody’s life) while going to school then that is different. people never stop learning till they die, so going to school to learn cannot be counted as an achievement.

But  27 is still early…

That is not what people like Chimamanda Adichie, Chinua Achebe  (people do not realise Things Fall Apart was written when he was 27) and the people that have done stuff said. My role models (Zucky, Larry and Sergey, Bill Gates and others) where able to make their mark by the age of 27. I might be arrogant to try to make comparisons with such great people but I refuse to believe ambition is a crime

So what should happen now?…

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is NOW! –  African Proverb

I fully understand I cannot turn back the hands of time so it what I do from now that counts. It is why OnePage means a lot to me, it sets the stage for everything I want in life. So I really hope I grab the present and future opportunities.

Things I hope to do before I am 30

  • Write a book
  • Pioneer a start-up incubator (ala Y Combinator) in Nigeria.
  • Start what I call Micro Angel Investing

If I can succeed in these, I will feel very young on my 30th birthday. Who said age is irreversible? So anytime you see me, I need you to put the pressure on me and ask me “how far?”. Believe me , it will help.

Rant over!

Special thanks to my Mum and Dad for bringing me into this interesting world. Without you guys, I might have been somewhere on Pandora. You guys are the bestest parents anyone can wish for. I love you both.

This evening, with a bottle of Budweiser in my hand, I’ll watch the Super Eagles of Nigeria deliver my present through the Pharaohs of Egypt.

Lets go there!