Uncategorized

Founder Stories – My first Investor

I have often shied away from calling myself an entrepreneur since I have not had any real success stories since I stumbled into entrepreneurship. I say I “stumbled” for a reason, as I will try to explain in a bit. 

Before joining the  MEST program and being tagged an E.I.T (Entrepreneur In Training) for a while, I had always considered myself a creative who happens to love problem-solving. I express creativity through writing, photography, cooking and programming. But, for me, creativity is the joy of creating something out of nothing and perhaps, in the process, solving a real problem. 

It was this desire to solve a problem that made me stumble into entrepreneurship. It started during the first semester of my first year at the University of Cape Coast. I was majoring in computer science, and I supplemented my studies with online courses. However, whilst taking these online courses, I soon discovered that our introduction to computing was not at par with these online courses. I concluded that perhaps it’s because, in other countries, computing was introduced to students at an earlier stage. So I decided to start a social enterprise where I would teach professionals computing and use the proceeds to teach children in deprived communities about computing. My goal was to kickstart a revolution, hoping that by the time these individuals got to the University, they would learn more advanced things because they had already had fundamentals thought to them. 

The strategy was simple; I would start a club in my alma mater and eventually grow it across the country. Since building multiple computer labs was expensive, I would have mobile computer labs (a bus with computers set up), which would be easier to move around. I, however, lacked the resources to do this, so I started the club with two other friends during my summer vacation(or long vacation as we called it in Ghana). Unfortunately, it was a considerable struggle coming to Accra from Cape Coast each week to teach the children, which led to the club eventually failing.

This failure led to the birth of something new; I realized the need to interact with the I.T community in Ghana to get the support I needed for my social enterprise. I, therefore, started a digital magazine I called “geekWorld”, hoping to get in touch with I.T professionals whom I would interview for my magazine. But this was even more challenging than running the social enterprise, which I started as a club. The major challenge was getting tech news and finding information about I.T companies in Ghana. I was sure I could solve the later challenge by building an online directory for I.T companies in Ghana. That also failed.

I can go on and on and try to explain the various things I did that failed, but I choose to focus on the positives. With each failure came a new opportunity and new lessons. But the most crucial takeaway for me is my first investor, Ebenezer Acquaye (My Dad or, as I like to call him, Mr Acquaye). I read somewhere that the first investor in any company comes from the three F’s – Family, Friends and Fools. So perhaps that’s why my Dad invested in me. I always took money from him concerning my entrepreneurial stuff. But the most significant one was a loan I took when I wanted to create the I.T directorate. I needed to register a domain, get an official email etc. Interestingly I never paid him back, and sadly, I’ll never get the chance to do that.  

It is said that investors don’t invest in products or ideas; they often invest in teams and people. My Dad never invested in any idea I had; he invested in me. Hopefully, one day, that investment will pay off. 

My First Investor – Mr Acquaye!

PS. I always admired Steve Jobs as an entrepreneur, and since it’s been a decade since his passing, I wanted to share my entrepreneurial journey so far.  A short tribute to jobs :).

Standard
Uncategorized

Hello World!

Hello World!

I write about things I’m interested in, from movies to music to computer science to God, etc.

I often find my thoughts drifting from possible computer science research to plots of movies or new business ventures. Sadly I find myself in a society which likes putting people in boxes.  e.g If I rave about God then obviously I’m not one of the cool kids and I’m a religious nut :).  If I rave about movies and music then I’m probably not as Christian as I should be. In short I need to find my box.

Well sadly for you, my God made me versatile, hence I’m a man of many talents 🙂. Take me as I am, a wonderful creation of God.

PS: Basically I write about things I’m passionate about.

Standard
Uncategorized

Three Peculiarities of Python and why I use them.

Programming languages are tools we use to solve problems. Yet most programmers transition from one language to another expecting these tools (programming languages) to behave like their previous languages. i.e why does language X not behave like language ​​ Y . Well my answer to that is quite simple. If you transition from English to Ga,  you will obey the rules of  Ga if you wish to communicate effectively.  So don’t be too caught up in language wars and use the constructs if need be.

Below are three peculiarities I found when I started using python but in time I began to appreciate and use them.

 try … except … else

The first time I came across this I felt one of the laws of nature had been broken. Why would one use exception handling as a means for flow control? In time, I realised there are situations where you need code to run only if the block of code within the try does not fail and unlike the way I would handle it in other languages, I’ve come to love python’s approach.

An example of such a case is manipulating a database object if successfully retrieved.

Using try … catch … else

# using Python 3 and Django 🙂
# try ... except ... else example
import logging

logger = logging.getLogger(__name__)


def un_publish(blog_id)
    try:
        blog = Blog.objects.get(pk=blog_id, is_published=True)
    except Blog.DoesNotExist as e:
        logger.info("blog with id {} does not exist".format(blog_id))
        logger.error(e)
    else:
        blog.is_published=False
        blog.save()
        return blog



Using try … catch without else

# using Python 3 and Django 🙂
# try ... except ... example no else
import logging

logger = logging.getLogger(__name__)


def un_publish(blog_id)
    # in order to prevent the if blog condition from failing, blog must be defined either before the try block or in the except blog
    blog = None
    try:
        blog = Blog.objects.get(pk=blog_id, is_published=True)
    except Blog.DoesNotExist as e:
        logger.info("blog with id {} does not exist".format(blog_id))
        logger.error(e)

    if blog:
        blog.is_published=False
        blog.save()
        return blog

In the second code snippet you would realise there is more code, and the worst part is- as a developer I have to remember the state of blog in the whole process. Perhaps it’s just me but I’ve come to love the first approach 🙂 If you won’t take my word for it read this

Inner Functions

In most cases this peculiarity will be called differently, but for our purposes I’ll stick with inner functions
The very first time I came across this was whilst reading a colleagues code at work and I thought to myself, “wow you can do this in python!?”. I could not really find a use case for ever using this peculiarity in my code except when I was developing decorators. In some rare cases, you have a piece of code which repeats itself within a function and it’s only needed within that said function. You could use an inner function to solve this problem.

An example could be adding empty rows to a csv file based on specific conditions.

def generate_report(start_date, end_date):
    # do sales report stuff
    sales = Sale.objects.filter(start_date=start_date, end_date=end_date)
    number_of_empty_columns = [""]
    for sale in sales:
        if sale.number_of_items == 3:
            number_of_empty_columns = [""] * 3
        elif sale.number_of_items == 2:
            number_of_empty_columns = [""] * 2

In the code above, the number_of_empty_columns could be generated with a function and since this code will only be needed within the generate_report, there is no need to write this piece of code outside the generate_report.

def generate_report(start_date, end_date):

    def gen_empty_strings(number):
        """
            This method generates a list of empty strings based on the number provided
            :param - number is the number of empty strings to be returned
        """
        return [""] * number

    # do sales report stuff
    
    sales = Sale.objects.filter(start_date=start_date, end_date=end_date)
    number_of_empty_columns = gen_empty_strings(1)
    for sale in sales:
        if sale.number_of_items == 3:
            number_of_empty_columns = gen_empty_strings(3)
        elif sale.number_of_items == 2:
            number_of_empty_columns = gen_empty_strings(2)

Although the above code is a simplified use case of inner functions, inner functions can make code cleaner and easier to maintain, but over using it could make code harder to read. Some thoughts on inner functions in python:

https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/232766/when-to-use-python-function-nesting
https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1589058/nested-function-in-python

Dictionaries as switch cases

In case you have not noticed, python has no switch cases for control flow, so most programmers resort to lengthy if statements. What if I told you that the pythonic way to create switch cases is to use a dictionary. Don’t believe me, follow the code below:

# Assuming you needed to show a different kind of menu to different kind of users. You will realise a switch-case may be cleaner than a series of if-statements:
# Note this is demo code.

def customer_menu():
    print("welcome customer")
    # do customer menu stuff

def admin_menu():
    print("welcome admin")
    # do admin menu stuff

def sales_menu():
    print("welcome sales rep")

menu = {
  'customer': customer_menu,
  'admin': admin_menu,
  'sales': sales_menu
}

# To call a specific menu 
selected_menu = menu.get('customer', lambda: "Invalid menu choice")
selected_menu()

Perhaps my love for using dictionaries in place of switch cases may be a sign of Stockholme Syndrome 🙂

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Interesting love stories — A visit to the optometrist

Most people who know me describe me as emotionless, incapable of love.
A few, however, will say I’m a hopeless romantic. The thought of both amuses me, since I do not see myself as either: I’m just a kid trying to find love.

I remember the first time we met. It was during the clinicals at UCC in my first year. You wore a skimpy skirt. It wasn’t trashy, no. It was quite elegant. It was a black skirt with a matching tank top. Anyone could tell you were a first year student. Your naivety was obvious.

I’m still not sure if it was the dress, or the kindred spirit I thought I’d found, but before I knew it my feet walked me closer to you. And with every instinct in my body screaming “Run!”, I asked you “Is this where first years are having their eye checkup?”

“Yes”, you answered. “Actually I would advice you stand behind me before the queue gets longer.”
You smiled.
“It’s like all we do in UCC is queue.”

Those words made you laugh. In all my 18 plus years, I had never made a lady I’d just met laugh.
I don’t remember the rest of the conversation, only your smile, and how the hours we spent getting our eyes checked felt like the shortest queue I would ever join on campus.

If I had done my dentals first, or even the blood tests, perhaps, our story would have been different. We might have become friends. We might never have met.

Standard
Uncategorized

The Author

There once lived an author who wrote the most beautiful stories.

These stories had love, drama, action and all that you could ask for in a good story.

His stories were often soo lively, that characters would actually come to life.

These characters would often have a mind of their own. A spirit of their own and a soul of their own.

He wrote an entire universe just for them to live in.

Interestingly some of his characters would forget or doubt his existence,

because in his creation of these characters he gave them free will.

He so loved and cherished his characters that he always wanted to be with them.

And in order to do this, he wrote himself into their story.

Sadly his characters keep rejecting him and doubt his very existence.

So to solve this he wrote his way into the lives of some of his characters.

And he made other characters chronicle these encounters which he later preserved into a 66 page love letter,

he shared with his creation.

Often, his characters would hurt themselves through their actions and in-actions and always blame him for it.

Funny thing is, he constatnly seeks the attention and love of his creation. Just so he could say this.

“Let me write your story, and it would be the most beautiful story ever.”

Well this Author, I have come to know him as God and in this month of love,

take time to read the most beutiful love story ever written to you.

Read your bible. If you don’t know where or what to read. Read the book of Phillipians.

It’s just four chapters. Read it thinking God wrote you a letter, saying …..

“I love you soo much and if you would only let me write your story, it would be a beutiful one”

PS – God is not done writing your story. This is just the prologue.

Philipians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you

will complete it, until the day of Jesus Christ.” — Amen

Standard
Uncategorized

Seeing your miracle

A lot of us go through life expecting and waiting for a miracle.

Yet we can be in the presence of our miracle and not know it.

Worst yet when our miracle happens, we expect a rushing wind or some supernatural manifestation.

Don’t get me wrong, that happens and when it does, it happens to glorify God.

But there are also quite healings and silent miracles- as I like to call them.

Most of us know the story of the woman with the issue of blood. – Mark 5:24-34.

A lot of people were close to the man who could solve their problems yet only one person was recorded to have taken advantage of the presence of God.

Another interesting thing is when she got healed, the bible says she new it.

Don’t go through life missing your breakthroughs and chasing after signs and wonders. Sometimes the solution is staring at you in the face.

I know your default reaction is, where is my breakthrough ….. I can’t see it.

My answer, say this short prayer of faith. “Lord Jesus open my eyes to see my breakthroughs when they happen.”

You will be amazed at how much you would realise has been done and is being done by God in your favour, and remember — “God loves You!”

Standard
Uncategorized

God’s favour 

 “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.”‭‭Genesis‬ ‭8:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.com/111/gen.8.1.niv.     

I love the underlined phrase so much. But I read it differently, “But God remembered Larry.” I don’t think God has ever forgotten about you, to the extent that he needs to remember you. But rather the word remember here is used in the context of favour. 

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭6:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.us/111/gen.6.8.niv

Again I read it as “But Larry found favour in the eyes of God.”

I’m sure you’re wondering what you need to find favour in the eyes of God. Well it’s simple;

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

‭‭John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.us/111/jhn.3.16.niv

The day you accepted Christ as your Lord and personal saviour was the day you found favour in the eyes of God. You are no longer one of the masses God protects out of his sovereign love. But you are a follower of Christ hence a child of God hence you have that favour. 

So the next question is why can’t I experience that favour;

1. Have you accepted Christ, if not just say this prayer. ” Lord Jesus, come into my life and reign supreme. I confess all my sins to you and I pray you accept me into your kingdom. In Jesus mighty name I’ve prayed….. Amen” . 

2. Are you living a righteous life? Given that we can’t live a life that is completely righteous, there are certain things we do that we know are wrong in the sight of God. “Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”” ‭‭. 

 Genesis‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 http://bible.us/111/gen4.6-7.niv.

 This should make you realise that God wants us to live sin free lives.

3. Now if you have accepted Christ and you can’t put your finger on any particular thing that would make you loose favour in God’s eyes then it’s either you have not allowed him to work in you or it’s because you’ve not exercised that favour. To exercise that favour, you have to ask God and trust that he would do it. I know trusting is sometimes hard because the reality on the ground is far from what you want/need. But that’s the point of faith 😜. To allow him to work in you, relinquish control to God and stop trying to be a co-pilot.

If there is nothing you pick from this, know this …. “God’s favour is sufficient “

Standard
Uncategorized

Seek God-Seek Wisdom

Do you believe in the statement, “life is a battle ?” Or are you struggling with an aspect of your life. Worst yet, are you struggling in life.  My struggle may be different from yours, your struggle is different from hers and his. But one thing is sure, we all have our battles.

Some battles are as minimal as getting a bus on time for work or as problematic as substance abuse, financial difficulty or my personal favourite loneliness or heartbreak :).

What if I told you, you’re fighting the battle in a wrong way. What if I told you the age old secret to winning all battles. Better yet, winning the war we have come to call life. This age old secret is non other than wisdom.

I’m sure you’re frowning and shouting at the top of your lungs saying all the sarcastic things that come to mind :). Well the book of proverbs 8- and yes it’s a Bible thing, speaks of hearing the call of wisdom. Wisdom in this context is described as a person willing to aid and help you.

How might I discover this wisdom you may ask, well it’s simple-spend time with the man who gives wisdom- God. Most of us walk around saying we’re Christians, yet we don’t remember the last time we went to church. Yeah I know your response, I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian.  But do you need to go to work to be called an employee of a company?

The church thing is not even as bad as the fact that we do not spend time with God.  How can you gain wisdom, if you’re not in touch with the source of wisdom? How can you know God, if you’re not in touch with God?

You want the rules to the battle of life, you want the expect strategist in your corner. Then spend time with him. I can promise you, life won’t be a walk in the park but you are guaranteed of victories in all your battles.

This may sound like religious talk. But trust me God does not want a religion, he wants a relationship with you. Religion is just man’s way of finding God. But all God is asking is- “trust me, spend time with me, get to know me and I shall give you rest.”

If you believe what you’re reading applies to your life, as in you’ve lost touch with God, say a prayer of faith, “Lord Jesus, I’m sorry for doing things on my own, I surrender my will to you, guide me and help me become the person I was supposed to be.”

If you just prayed this prayer with faith, trust me, he has taken control. The next step is spend time with God each day. It does not need to be an elaborate two hour session :). It just needs to be time you’ve set apart to study God’s word (Bible) and pray. Also find a Bible believing church and start attending and trusting. In little to no time, you shall be victorious in all your battles.

 

 

 

Standard