Category Archives: Hard Truths

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“I want to be a billionaire".”

“I want to be promoted to CEO.”

“I want to run my own company.”

“I want to retire by 40.”

“I want to do my masters.”

That’s you, right? Lofty dreams. Lofty ambitions.

millionaire

Now that we are well into 2014, just a week ago you were probably fondly re-iterating these dreams to yourself and perhaps your nearest and dearest.

And yet … is this your day?

6:00: {Alarm Rings}

6.01: {Snooze}

7:00: Wake up, shower, dress, breakfast

7:30: Stage

8:30: Arrive at work

8:31: Twitter. Facebook. Blogs

9:45: Email. Memos. Work

10:00: Tea

10:30: Twitter. Facebook. Blogs

11:15: Work

12:30: Twitter

12:50: Lunch

2:00: Return from lunch

2:01: Twitter. Facebook. Blogs

2:30: Work

3:30: Meeting

4:00: Work

4.30: Put out feelers on evening action – drink ups, nyama, coffee dates, movies, etc

5:00: Exit, stage left

6:00: Coffee joint

7:30: Local

9:00: Home

9:30: Supper

10:00: Movies / Series

12:00: Sleep

Rinse and repeat.

It is, isn’t it?

genius

Chances are you started January like this and before you know it it’s December.

You will then wonder how time flies as you pop the New Year drink. You will then say:

“I want to be a billionaire".”

“I want to be promoted to CEO.”

“I want to run my own company.”

“I want to retire by 40.”

“I want to do my masters.”

And before you know it another year has passed.

The next thing you know you are married, have two kids, a dog, a mortgage and credit card debts.

And come New Year …

“I want to be a billionaire".”

“I want to be promoted to CEO.”

“I want to run my own company.”

“I want to retire by 40.”

“I want to do my masters.”

Notice anything? Your goal is no nearer than it was 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 years ago.

Why?

Because you’re not doing anything consciously to move closer to your goal. You’re not making any traction.

donkey-and-carrot

So, you are stuck in the same job you have been at for the last x years, at the same level – or perhaps a level above.

And the world moves right on without you.

On top of that, threats are coming up every day.

Younger, faster, more energetic kids are being churned out of campus every day. Who don’t mind spending the night in the office.

Which you can’t. Because you must pick up the kids from school. Or cook. Or pick up your wife. Or take the baby to the doctor.

What happened?

No traction!

You don’t just magically do your masters. Or magically become a millionaire. Or magically start a business.

You must WORK at it.

Take “do my masters”.

That is an amorphous goal that you will probably never hit.

Break it down like so.

  1. Do research of what master’s degree I want, which includes WHAT PURPOSE
  2. Find out which universities offer
  3. Get the prospectus
  4. Choose the university and course
  5. Find out the fees
  6. Save / borrow / find money to pay
  7. Enroll for the course
  8. Do the course, assignments and group work
  9. Do the dissertation
  10. Graduate
  11. Plug in to #1

This way there one amorphous goal is broken into several concrete tasks that you can track progress.

You then assign resource to each task. Resources are not just money. Time is another resource, which you probably have plenty of.

However we fail to realize that you cannot be enrolled in a master’s and spend your day as the timetable above. You must find time somewhere. And since the day is just 24 hours, you must make sacrifices.

This requires you to cultivate discipline. You must be ready to say no to your friends. Ready to not follow the crowd. Ready to make tough choices. Ready to pass up fun for the greater goal.

Success is a long game.

If you like sleeping in, wake up early to get an extra hour or two of work. Cut down your going out and use that time to study or do research. Don’t the entirety of Sunday sleeping off hangovers.

If it gets to December 2014 and you find you are still at #1 – then you know you have wasted your year.

And that – that’s a pity

Hard Truths #2–Mobile : The New Frontier. Yaaawn

So the other day I made a comment about our IT industry.

It did not go down well in certain quarters.

And so I did the only rational thing – I decided to expound further. In great detail

This series, based on my experience is the result of that.

No offence folks, but I’m tired of hearing about how mobile is the new frontier.

Everybody knows this. Nobody disputes this.

And yet there are innumerable seminars / workshops / meetups / white papers / blogs / articles to tell us this.

Why?

image

What’s the point of answering questions nobody is asking?

It is like having events to discuss if electricity or the wheel is the next big thing in 2012.

I think we can safely assume everybody knows the impact of mobility.

Nobody had endless seminars to discuss that electricity of the petrol engine were the next big thing.

They got on with it and innovated, improved, enhanced and built.

For many years I designed and implemented some solutions for the NGO sector, and that sector my friends is at another level when it comes to answering questions nobody asks and asking questions everyone knows the answers to.

The culture of meeting about doing things rather than actually doing things is poisonous, and we in IT are fast catching up with our NGO friends.

I have nothing against folks making a good living off this particular junket, but as a great man once said

Don’t hate the player. Hate the game

The rest of us should stop talking about where the fish are and FISH

Hard Truths #1–This World Owes You Nothing

So the other day I made a comment about our IT industry.

It did not go down well in certain quarters.

And so I did the only rational thing – I decided to expound further. In great detail

This series, based on my experience is the result of that.

So last year, after 12 years of what I fondly believe to be sterling service, I left the company that had employed me to start my own company.

I enjoyed myself very much in that company, and held a number of positions as I rose through the ranks in various capacities. I would be the first one to acknowledge the company took a number of risks believing in my … unique … way of getting things done, and all things considered I like to think the risks paid off.

So after the traditional send off lunch, and speeches I later asked the HR what token the company would give me from my decade of service.

She seemed surprised and puzzled by my question. "But we got you the lunch last week?!"

image

I must confess I had a momentary flash of intense outrage.

And then I thought about it some more. It’s been a pleasant run. I worked with amazing folks. I found unique and revolutionary ways to solve problems. I trained some of the best guys in the industry, many of whom have gone on to do great things. The company (daringly) mostly left me to my whims and did not question my unconventional methods of getting results. It let me indulge my numerous pet interests like www.mzalendo.com.

Plus it paid my salary.

By many measures I’m not exactly sure between myself and the company which got the better deal out of the arrangement.

And so it dawned on me perhaps my sense of expectancy was mightily misplaced.

Perhaps I did not make as big an impact as I fondly believe.

That, I confess, was a difficult pill to swallow.

So it dawned on me that perhaps, in fact I was the one that got a better deal out of the arrangement.

"Never mind," I told her finally. “Forget I asked.”

This world owes you nothing. In fact you might actually owe the world. You don’t live in a war torn country. You have three square meals a day. You have a roof over your head. You are of sound mind. You are healthy. You can walk. You can see. You can hear. You have family and friends who love you.

What more do you want?