I’ve known Andy for just under nine years now, and we’ve gone from being acquaintances to business partners, to great friends. Whether it’s sitting on the road in Wales waiting for pizza to be delivered, or brainstorming for hours on end for clients, or agreeing to pray about something that’s proving difficult, Andy is the kind of friend you want in your corner.
He’s quiet, is a good listener, has learnt to forgive (thank you Jesus), and is one of the most versatile entrepreneurs I’ve met. And I’m happy he’s my friend.
It isn’t necessarily foolish to make a mistake twice you know? It could also be that risk taking sometimes becomes addictive. Not the bungee jumping type, but the type when you decide to stay on a job for XYZ period then up and leave because you know you have paid your dues… This was me in 2013, that was me in 2015 and hey, I love being able to make decisions without feeling I will die if things change.
I left a steady 8am -5:30pm job as a Chief Technology Officer in an ePayment and IT solutions firm exactly two years after leaving the role of a Senior Cyber Threat Analyst in the UK. For most people I seemed crazy, to others, unserious. What was the next plan? Well, the next plan had started almost ten years ago and kept me as busy as all my other steady jobs did, surprisingly that even paid better. Eight months later, I wake up every day filled with the peace of mind knowing that the hustle is up to me; I broke free of the chains called corporate slavery and went full-time into being an entrepreneur and an innovator which is what I have always been passionate about. I actually started a pre-book taxi service which has in turn created several employment opportunities for some young Nigerians.
I am thankful for so many things, knowing that I can survive through the month without salary coming from one source has driven me to do better and has even helped me prioritize and have peace of mind. I got closer to God and learnt the real art of giving. I did that for a bit and realized that when we give expecting to receive, we actually do receive but hardly ever in the way we expected. The gift of life, health, family and little things are the rewards which can hardly been quantified. The best blessings are the blessings unseen.
While thinking of reasons to be thankful, I had a real-time experience that shaped my thinking and sense of experience on the 29th of November. A thief/armed robber jumped into my moving car and tried wrestling the car from me, of course it was late at night. Years of working out finally paid off as I foolishly fought till he fell out of the car and I drove off Nollywood style. I would have been stabbed or shot but I am here today. That means more than money.
I work with an amazing group of young people, the Abuja hub of the Global Shapers Community (the youth arm of the World Economic Forum), who are leaders in their own right and passionate about having an impact on the society. Less than 10 days after the Nyanya and Kuje bomb blasts by Boko Haram in Abuja, we started a project called #AGSDrive where the good people of Abuja contributed cash and several items for the people affected by the bomb blasts. This renewed my belief in good people who are able to have an impact even without waiting for government.
I am thankful for bottled water. I visited a community called Wukara were their main source of water can not even be called a stream. Where they had to sieve out spirogyra from the same water they drink, bath and wash with. Thankfully the Global Shapers, Selfless For Africa and The Project Drink Live teams sunk a borehole for them.
It is another December and I’m still unmarried, said several people. But that does not define me or you, it does not put a benchmark on achievement or success. I have learnt that the real resources crucial in life is people and not money, the right network and how you cultivate relationships with individual and clients is what sets you aside from the next man. It is okay to be upset at things around you as long as you are creating a solution. Finally, find something to believe in; for me it isn’t a pastor or Church but I believe in God and that has helped me find some sense in a lot of nonsense in 2015.
Andy Madaki is a Partner at iBlend Services, CEO SmartDropNg, an information security analyst, a public speaker and part-time geek. He stays in Abuja, Nigeria.
See what I said? All-round correct guy! Thank you for sending in your entry, and for being on my blog again! Here’s to a fabulous 2016!