I PUT DOWN MY FIRST CHILD AND OTHER THINGS I LEARNT THIS YEAR
December 2, 2014.
Our hero is in the local gym when his phone rings. The caller ID reads “mom”. A conversation which would change his life as he knew it ensued.
Mom: Nnanna, where are you?
Nnanna: I’m at the gym.
Mom: How can you be there when they said our house is burning?*Ends Call*
What ensued after that conversation was a series of dropped calls and a panic race home as I arrived late only to watch in agony and helplessness as my parents’ home of 20 years at the time was engulfed in flames, with everything we held dear and valuable being licked up by dancing orange flames.
Life as I knew it was never going to be the same. At that point, I was basically a new creation.
I was never the one with the entrepreneurial mindset amongst my family members. That was Chimuanya; which is weird because his dad was the one who preached savings and investments and my dad was/is the serial entrepreneur.
I must say I felt a bit honoured and undeserving when he called me late in April last year saying he was trying to start yet another venture, this time in the e-commerce space and he wanted me to join in by breathing life into it with my technical and management input.
I reluctantly agreed to the request at the time rather than giving him one of my countless long speeches and thought to myself, “Shit, I’m about to flush money down the toilet”.
That was the birth of our baby, Shopity NG , a local online store connecting FUTO Students directly with products from China and local discounted local products.
Shopity Home Page Circa August 2017
Over the next few months, we managed to work and coordinate on our progress across Port Harcourt and Owerri as we brushed up on our code, tested deliveries and sales amongst students in FUTO. It was at this point we started to slowly run out of money.
He needed to start NYSC and move back to Lagos to also solicit more capital and I needed a new, higher paying job if I was to continue keeping the lights on in our venture.
I must say he was successful in his quest for capital raising as he secured us a bunch of grants, patronage and deals when he was back in Lagos and the Job Hunt subsequently brought me to Lagos and much later Abuja, while I continued do my part in managing the money, site and product QC. But even then I had started to see the signs and begun to think of a way out. It also helped that this coincided with his stint at Jovago. (This never happened but a man is allowed his lofty dreams.)
Lagos was good to Shopity and this measured success on our part allowed me time to focus on my work and take up other vocations in Abuja to ensure the cash kept flowing. We even got featured on Thisday and techpoint.
It was smooth sailing at the time as we had successfully made a side project run on its own while focusing on our own things.
I moved back to Lagos from Abuja on November 18 2016. I’ve never liked this town but I was determined to make this work and ensure I continued to spread myself thin in the quest for knowledge and take up other vocations outside of my regular job but as Big Chief put it, “lagos does not love you”
We were wrong in thinking Shopity’s success would continue this year.
Instead, this year, I’ve learnt to survive traffic and plan my trips three hours ahead and pretend that’s normal, I have learned to survive outrageous noise pollution levels because “na Gidï we dey”, I’ve found love and had my fair share of woman troubles, I’ve dressed like a Yoruba demon, lost my enthusiasm for fitness and been broke a few times.
This is the quarter life crisis Sageseid wrote about as I’ve questioned myself, my life and my job numerous times this year, while also getting the feeling of just switching off and walking out of all of it.
Nigeria is still terribly disgracing us by being a bad place to live in and I have watched my best friend leave the country while we continue to see millenials check out to Canada on a regular basis.
I took countless Freecode Camp Courses, failed to get into Andela, Flutterwave and Paystack ( Emmanuel wrote such a beautiful rejection email you’d forget it was supposed to be a mass email) I built my first bot (it was terrible) and tried and failed repeatedly to catch up on my education despite numerous conflicts of interest.
I failed in being convincing and persuasive enough to the folks when I got an admission to continue formal education at one of the African Countries (It’s not the one you’re thinking of). However I continue to be thankful and grateful for their love and support.
With all these distractions and activities happening around us, we decided to pull the plug on Shopity as it was being neglected for a bit.
It’s been quite a challenging year of learning and unlearning for me in which my brightest moment probably came when I was selected to be part of a younger breed of thinkers who would develop ideas and products towards accelerating innovation within my organisation.
Shopity, my first child is dead, but I’ve learnt from it and from the challenges I experienced this year. Hopefully I will never stop yearning for knowledge.
I can’t wait to see what my future holds and how many other children, human and ideological I will make in the future.
It’s been three years since I lost everything, and in that period,
I’ve lived in Port-Harcourt, Abuja, Enugu and Lagos.
I’ve seen my parents rebuild in pain and hold the family down.
Retrieved a bunch of my lost documents and completed NYSC.
Had a couple of failed relationships and made new friends who have become family.
I’ve held down two great jobs and I’ve felt like quitting the most recent one for a while.
Finally got my own place.
Found God and been thankful for all his blessings in my life during this period.
In 2016 I bet on Donald Trump and won, in 2017 I bet on Okomu, Fidson, May & Baker, GTB, Stanbic and Ethereum and I won.
In 2018 I’m going to bet on myself and I hope to God I win.
Have a great year Nnanna and may the force be always with you.