Monday, April 29, 2013

Now is the future

Which of these two pictures do you prefer?
A middle aged guy, grey double breasted suit, Rolex watch, chauffeur driven in a Maybach


scrawny kid in white shirt, bumbling briefcase filled with papers in a hoopty( bang up car/lapaz toyota?)

the first...obviously..but what if I told you they were the same person..just in different times.

For the past 3/4 times I have been invited somewhere focused on youth..entrepreneurship..leadership..i keep running into the same crowd...people 22-35 doing different things but doing the same thing. couldn't be any more different. It is funny my associations have changed as my focus has also changed. When I worked in a bank i couldn't wait for the day to end at 5 for me to exhaust the 'happy' in happy hour or play video games at a friends place from 6 pm to 6 am on a Friday night. It was just a few years ago..just a few friends ago..but after going for a program with my dad last weekend I realized that now is the future.

While sitting at the table with him a few dignitaries  CEOs..managers etc all came around to say hi and he did the same thing. When we watched the presidential court case on TV last week he spoke about several of the people on a first name basis. It occurred to me that regardless of your line of work, the African proverb ' Monkeys play in sizes' stands true. What we don't see often, what we that they all start somewhere. ..At the time I was born my dad wasn't at the hospital- he was in between one of his 3 day time jobs ( swimming pool cleaner, mason and chaplin at a hospital)..when he was 28 and got married he was 154 pounds and the ring he bought my mom made her hand green after 3 weeks. His best friend weighed 168 even though he is 4 inches taller than my dad. My dad is now someone 'decent' in society and his friend is the  head of the Ghana Bar Association-aka head lawyer in chief.

CEOs meet CEOs..and janitors meet janitors..that is on the surface...and that is if we apply the laws of extrapolation to our daily lives. However there is one thing that can shatter the concept or set path- ambition. Ambition is the one thing that can propel a janitor to walk up to the CEO of a firm to ask him, ' I want to be like you when I grow up,'

Considering most of us fall within the 'youth' category let us presume that we will all be successful in 30 years. Hard work, dedication..focus,the grace of God and a little help from the malthusian theory ..blah blah should make us successful...but a large part of where we will be ..who we will call..are the people who are on our speedial right NOW..

because NOW is the future.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Chairman oh Chairman

It has been about 2 months since it happened. I can’t go into detail but my friend is in a place no man wishes to be. He was silly and made a silly mistake and everyday that passes his family and REAL friends wonder his fate. I have not been able to see him, or talk to him. But I think about him everyday and try and make sense of why he would do such a thing but I can’t wrap my head around it. I have nothing but fond memories of him..stubborn, outspoken, rude, some might even think he is a jerk…but he is MY jerk is blind..Stevie Wonder..
Anyways , I have been scrapping for information on his upkeep ever since the incident and have received scanty information..the most optimistic thing I have heard is , ‘he says he is ok and that you shouldn’t worry,’
That was until this morning I spoke to another family member of his. I told him , ‘ tell him to read, gym and pray HAAARD every single day’ The boy responds, ‘that is all he does’ I say ok. Then the boy adds, ‘he is even the football chairman there’
For the first time in 2 months I smiled because despite his unfortunate circumstance, being thrown into the deep..and I mean deep end of the pool..he still finds a way to brighten his do something he loves and be recognized/acknowledged/loved..maybe respected for it.
We out the free world..should not imprison ourselves to do anything less. Brighten your corner wherever you have something to offer..they might not pay you for it in cash..not now..but maybe in kind..for now..and the future..
Anything less than doing what you are destined to do is a disservice to yourself,God and mankind.

Lovely Monday folks

Saturday, April 6, 2013

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS:small talk for small star

I wrote this 2 years ago..and in the midst of people complaining about the 'light off' and 'heat' situation I thought I would re-echo my words..

tired of the excuses
tired of the subconscious racism
tired of settling for less
Ghana/Africa why we so poor when we so blessed
we complain about our jobs and our bosses
and drag our feet at work so company's making losses
why dont we say what we need to say when we need to say it
what we afraid of?why are we so afraid?
want to go to heaven but we don't want to die
 want to achieve and be wealthy but you dont want to work hard
iphone ipad ipod itouch
idont think he did that overnight
Steve Jobs is dead
but his Apple is alive..think about it
why dont we take a bite out of His apple like the logo
think different act different switch up the flow yo
want to serve the nation but dont want to do national service
because u study engineering in Tech and end up customer service in a bank..thats a disservice
so then we want to go to school in 'yankey'or 'london' and then work there and get the dollars and drive the nice foreign whips
and complain about how hot and crappy the country is..
who is supposed to fix it?
not the old folks? the politicians? the pastors? the expatriates?the kenkey seller?
if not WE then who?
if not YOU then who?
if not ME then who?
Fuming right now at how 'we' think..because it guides how we act
always want handouts from the Americans or sign 3 billion dollar loan deals with Chinese
do you know even if we pay these people back with interest we STILL owe them?
oil in OUR country but we about to give it away...
Lebanese and Indians in they are not wicked ruthless how well they treat eachother and treat their families...
but they understand that work is work and have deeeeep consumer insight on the Ghanaians attitude to they keep their workers on a tight leash because we take advantage of friendship and kindness and cripple our own businesses...
how many times have you heard of money/business spoiling friendship amongst our people? we do not respect hard work and do not understand that providing a product or a service is the easy part, but building a brand-a positive mental perception-a name is something else.
What the heck does the average Ghanaian care about a brand for? where is your pride? all we think about is where the money at? 
taxi driver asks you to please get out his cab so he can pick up the white dude across the street 
all we do is consume..or at best do our 'fitters'
 mechanic for 30 years and you have never tried to create 1 car?
because it is is dont have money
everyday...'it is in God's hands'
all night ..praise and worship..morning devotion..speaking in tongues..
God can hear you...but are you listening to Him?
He gave us dominion over the earth...and free will...
small talk for small minds
Everyday saying 'i love ghana i love ghana' when the black stars score a goal
do you know how hard you have to work to be a Black Star?
do you know you are a Black Star?
and by the way do you know the meaning of LOVE?
it means means means sweat...
what are you sweating for?
when you wake up and put on that tie you hate to get to work..what are you sweating for?
money? if money then be a mercenary it pays well
if impact then be a Black Star..and shine wherever you are
a cedi  in my pocket ..a dream in my in my heart..and time( aka youth aka energy ) on my side
independent since 1957..on paper..
but we are STILL dependent ..mentally and on paper
Freeedom Freeeedom Freeedom..thats what Kwame Nkrumah fought for..and what did we do with it??
2011 Ghana..wake the f*^k up...
because you are being buried alive at the moment

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

do you give a 2..short sighted

Where was I? short sightedness is a litmus test..infact it is my theory..that most of one day at a time right..? ok..that might be a bit short about…a year at a time…how about..4 years at a time… more for you..I believe most people live 4 years at a time at most ..until it is almost too late..check this
In the 6th grade you are doing everything you can to get to 7th grade/j.s.s 1/middle jss 3 you are doing everything you can to get to your top school/at least ss.1…in ss.3 you are trying to get into university/the most prestigious university you can get the end of university you think oh crap..i need a good place to do national service..i hope it is in accra..towards the end of national service..i hope I get a good paying job..i hope  it is in mining/banking/telecom or oil oil oil..need that Arab money baby…
Then I get the job..hope it PAYS well..2/3 years down the line I am getting steady income…used to honeysuckle happy hour..wasted on Friday nights because Monday to Friday 2pm is so stressful..sleep in on Saturdays/go to wedding/outdooring/funeral/watch football all day on Saturday…Sunday morning church…Sunday afternoon beach..repeat
By this time you are approaching 30 and if you are where I am from..they are all asking when are you getting forward 2/3 years you might get married..find an apartment..1/2 years later..get a are in your early 30s..married..with a kid..driving some kinda car..and then one day..
You think..i dislike my job…I want to do something sell pause..matrix style and look your wife..with a bun in the oven …and your kid that took your head size and is looking to grow into his body..and your mom hands on waist..foot tapping dad…in a newspaper boy hat..saying YOLO(ya right)
Chickens…you want to sell chickens…hmm..since when..? always? Why? They fascinate me…ever since I heard the ‘why did the chicken cross the road’ joke..well that’s…cute,,
Chickens…ok this is getting long…but the issue is we live and think forward...instead of thinking backwards..and living forward,,what do I mean?
Let me go back to my cousin who I know doesn’t give a shi@ about his education now …you know why? Because we asked him, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up,’ instead of ‘what do you want to be remembered for?’
What do you want to be..puts you in a box..from the get…but what do you want to be remembered for ..gets you thinking ..legacy…
Blame it on the age, Lord knows at 17 ..without a care in the world besides the cute new girl and how many 3 pointers I can make in a row…or who is going to the get the next Iverson’s(because I am from that era)…I cannot even comprehend the gravity of the question ‘what do you want to be remembered for?’
But maybe..just maybe
It might change my thinking, and then my might not..regardless..whoever would have asked me would have planted a seed in me  potentially more fertile than the proverbial,’what do you want to be when you grow up’
Maybe it would have made me think about what people would say about me at 62…instead of 26..maybe the question would condition my mind  to believe that this ad math test could help me run my future empire..instead of just getting me to the next grade..
Hmm…I don’t like this short sightedness…God grant us a destiny so compelling it kicks the immaturity out of me..and turns us into the people we are supposed to be..not the people we are going to be.

Monday, April 1, 2013


I met up with some friends recently..impromptu..thought it would be one or two..but it turned out to be 8 girls..and I was the only guy..It was a birthday lunch at a popular restaurant in East Legon. The food was late, orders were wrong, the waitress had an attitude and a locally aquired foreign accent which she says she had picked up from one of the girls at the table(who happens to be a very popular radio show hostess)…all in all it was fun

I do not enjoy being in the midst of so many ladies..not my forte..and on any other occasion I would have left within an hour. However I decided to embrace this time with the ladies, I even openly hugged one of them in the middle of the whole thing. I pulled an Oprah/token gay male friend..but anyways these girls are all working women…approaching 30..interested in shoes..weddings..marraige and having babies..I did not participate much in that part of the conversation but my friend likes to tease me and call me a celebrity and then proceed to tell people about the stuff I do. Around this same time everybody started moaning about work the next day and the tone of the conversation changed

Everybody agreed that the money they were being paid wasn’t enough, that the system sucked, that they are undervalued and frustrated at work…then they went on to talk about some great Ghanaian entrepreneur stories..Beige Capital..The Boateng Brothers of Global Media Alliance and the most loved of all local entrepneurs Prince Kofi Amoabeng.

The ladies spoke in admiration of the bold steps these people had taken and how they were fairing now. One girl lamented, ‘Sometimes I look at all the work I do and I think to myself I want to quit and do my own thing…’ but I don’t know what to do.
One of the ladies spoke about how successful a father of her friend was – ‘He has shares everywhere-oil, roads, mining, palm wine…’ We laughed…she continued ,’but he started off as a trotro driver and his wife was his mate’

Pause ..
Pause again…

So many things went through my head at that time..too many to put in words…but by the time we settled the bill my mind went back into work mode..I got home to find my cousin who was home for the holidays from school. He had his report card-a variety of alphabets thrown all over the paper and my mom had not taken it lightly. When I left the house this morning she had ‘encouraged’ him (African mother style) to study. 11 hours later I got back and he was at the same position...head in the books..looking like Django..chained

I asked him ..Jaheim(fake name) …do you give a shi@? I would say crap but I know you say shi@ and I do too so let’s not fake it. Do you give a shi@ about your education/grades?
As the average, normal,decent 15 year old would respond he said ‘Yes’ and went on to regurgitate more jargons for me ‘education is the key to life and success’

I left him, telling him we would talk tomorrow morning but as I sit behind my PC I have to ask…


Looking at the waiter, the bevy of birthday girls, my cousin, the entrepeneurs they spoke about I cannot judge or answer for them…

But I know their answer will determine success or failure in their lives.

The problem..with most of our short-sightedness..but I have to go please remind me to talk about our short sightedness