With Great Power…

With Great Power…

“With great power, comes great electricity bills…” (black humor, but couldn’t be any more true…)

At Grappleline, we’ve been privileged to take up a number of interesting and audacious projects lately. And we’re just beginning to scratch the surface. For this, I’m really excited.

A particularly impressive project would be our most recent one – an Enterprise Software Deployment for the Power Sector. Lots of buzzwords, right? I could go into details, but I’m still very much of a newcomer. My partner Tega would be the subject matter expert in this scenario. (I’ve got my other strengths, okay? So it’s not that bad.)

But first, allow me to take things back a bit…

I’ve gotta admit that when we kicked off at Grappleline, we were quite shortsighted. And that’s normal, especially when you start a company right out of university. It’s difficult to see the world beyond your basic line-of-sight. The basic ingredients were there – passion, dedication, commitment (wait… don’t they all mean the same thing? Now you see why I despise buzz-words), but honestly, without a clear, objective view of the possibilities that existed beyond what we knew, it was quite difficult to establish a clear-cut direction for the company, and that really affected us, in no small manner.

But things are changing.

So, back to the story.

In the past 2 months, we’ve had to more than double our staff capacity. All software developers. We’ve spent nights and weekends staring at computer screens, battling glare and chugging down coffee (or anything else that keeps the developers awake). Oh, it’s been an incredible experience. And in between driving over to the clients’ for review meetings, keeping our people happy and meeting deadlines, I’ve learnt a few lessons about running a company:

  1. It’s more than just the money: I’d be kidding you if I said the project isn’t profitable, but heck. As much as our bottom-line is important, that’s not what keeps us up and running. Cash keeps the lights on, and our people happy, but the possibility of increasing our individual and organizational capacity has been what gets us really excited. We’ve actually started ‘looking ahead’. And that’s a good thing.
  2. You need the right people: We’ve had to stretch ourselves to acquire good developers. And, yes, I mean financially. Sometimes I joke with our interns that they make more money than me, but it’s actually true. For now, we’re focusing on getting, retaining and building the right people, as well as establishing a reputation for ourselves in a highly competitive industry. And we’d do whatever it takes to make that possible. Without that, wouldn’t it be fair to say that we’re just goofing around?

But that’s actually not the main story.

[Main Story]

I’ve fallen in love with Energy.

Wait. No, I’m not talking about some sort of ethereal definition of energy… I’m talking about actual Energy. Yes, Power. Electricity and stuff.

In the roadmap of Nigeria, I believe the power sector is about to get better, more organized and relatively more efficient. As a regular citizen, that might be quite difficult to believe, but if you’ve been in our shoes for the past few months, it’s easier to understand why I made that statement.

(Side Note) – Gosh, we need better power in this country. I had light for a few hours today and ended up binge-watching Studio 1.0 on Bloomberg. Learnt a lot. Imagine if there was light for the entire day.

So, here’s what might happen. In the next few years, through the combination of big data, smart grids, standardized energy efficiency indices, stakeholder organization, giving a semblance of control to actual end-users, (and let’s not forget the all-too-important role of government policy), I believe we’re heading for better days.

And at Grappleline, we’re excited about that.

So, in our own little way, we’re driving that change. Firstly, by conducting basic research on the possibilities that exist in the sector. Then, moving forward, to the best of our capacity, we hope to take actual strides to do things that really matter. It’s all quite hazy, but I’d keep you updated, okay?

So, on a final note…

Between building our strengths as a Software/Digital Media/Mobile Company, streamlining our product pipeline and then researching into new possibilities in the industry, I think we’re making good progress. We’re not a tad-bit where we’re supposed to be, but I’m glad the journey has started. In the next few years, we hope to build a more powerful company.

But we know all too well, that with great power, comes great responsibility *cue Uncle Ben from Spiderman here*.

So, I sincerely hope we’re ready to be responsible enough to give it what it takes.

Finding Ourselves in our Stories…

Finding Ourselves in our Stories…

Taking a quick, retrospective look at the things I’ve been privileged to learn in my few years alive, I can’t help but notice the incredible, formative power that stories wield…

Let me bring things a bit closer to home.

In the past 1 year, I vividly remember just about 3 of all the books I read. Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’ and ‘What the Dog saw’ would be a classic case in point. If you’re familiar with Gladwell’s writing style, you’d recall the fact that he mostly recounts real-life experiences of people, remarkable or regular, and then he does something strange. Just as you’re about to figure out what the bottom-line of the story is, he leaves you in this unnerving limbo, which, in trying to make logical sense of what you’ve just read, your mind frantically starts putting fragmented pieces together, searching for some sort of meaning. The final arrangement of these separate pieces could have a thousand permutations, enough to create millions of unique narratives/lessons for each individual that reads his literature. I particularly remember sitting and staring blankly for about 20 minutes on my bed after reading the final chapter of ‘Outliers’. It was, to say the least, a revealing learning experience. And I still haven’t gotten over it.

Same thing goes with such books as Ofili’s ‘How Stupidity saved my life’, C.S Lewis’ literature and John Kotter’s ‘Our Iceberg is Melting’, albeit that writing styles are significantly varied from one author to another, first being lifestyle, second, Faith and third, business.

Now, where was I going with this? Okay… yes. I remember.

Well, personally, I’m highly of the opinion that this life we lead is just too complicated… interestingly beautiful… too magnificent… too diverse… and too flanked with constantly alternating, dynamic variables for anyone to claim to know it all… or as a matter of fact, claim to know anything at all – not to talk of flaunting our opinions as supreme or foolproof. Why? Because our experiences, situations, exigencies and configurations differ, and most times, do so by more than just a long shot. I, for example, would most likely live an entirely different life from some other guy who shares the same birth-date, time & place with me. Yes, it goes that deep.

So, all this begs one simple question – For anyone burdened with the highly indispensable role of knowledge transfer… a parent, teacher, writer, blogger, sibling or leader… what are the best ways to go about creating relational, interpersonal or social influence in a way that is void of bias and can relate to any target audience?

Well, I think the answer might be quite simple.

We need to tell more of our own stories.

Those real, honest, transparent and unbridled stories.

We need to be a bit more vulnerable, sometimes laying down our entire psychological line of defence… gently cracking open the oyster not minding whether there’s beauty within or not… We need to share the good, the bad and the ugly side of our stories, sometimes in reversed order. We need to, for once, get off our high horses and our incessant creation of make-believe mannequins signaling the flawed fact that we have everything figured out, or that the world works our way, or that we’re incapable of making mistakes.

Now, the creative outlets for these stories might differ – it could be a pen or a keyboard, a tongue or braille, across social media or across the dinner table… But if we look to make true impact, the message within our narratives need to remain the same.

So, what do I know? Well, I’m not sure. But here’s what I think.

I think we’re called to be a little less judgmental and self-sufficient – to be unafraid of coming across as ‘imperfect’, ‘damaged goods’ or ‘less than ideal’. And to do this, we’ve gotta tell our real stories, pacified with even the slightest glimmer of hope that in this brief journey called life, by sharing the very essence of what makes us ‘be’, we could, perhaps, find the very thing that we have been searching for all along…

Our true selves.