REFLECTIONS ON WEALTH AND LIFE
I asked my good friend, Tim Akano, Managing Director of New Horizon System Solution, who is 60 today, to share his thoughts with me on the growing dominance of ICT as the king of wealth.
Since 2005 when the franchise was launched in Nigeria, New Horizon has done a lot in the area of ICT-enabled wealth, especially through its ICT centres in more than 10 universities in the country which has produced several tech start-ups.
Tim did more than just share his thoughts on ICT and wealth, he also forwarded to me his short reflections on life generally. I found both interesting and just thought I should share them with you. Please enjoy.
FORTUNE KEEPS CHANGING HOUSE ADDRESS!!!
On my table, as I pen this short piece, are copies of the August 2nd ‘’1999 GLOBAL FORTUNE 500 magazine’’ and FORBES 2022 richest people, which respectively listed names of the 500 largest companies in the world in 1999 and the list of richest people in 2022.
The most restless, unpredictable of God’s creation is FORTUNE (I didn’t say money, no, because God didn’t create money, man did!).
In the beginning, when our forefathers lived inside the Cave, STONE was the symbol of fortune because from it they got fire which was crucial for their survival. However, not all STONES can produce FIRE! The ability to distinguish between useful and useless stones determined who survived and who perished.
On August 20th, 1619, the Portuguese kidnapped 20 Angolans who were shipped to the British colony of Virginia and were bought by English colonists. At a time in world history, fortune was determined by how many SLAVES a person had!
In the 17th century during the period of the Agrarian revolution, FORTUNE relocated again to Agriculture. The more land, machines and hands a person had on the farm, the more FORTUNE the fellow controlled.
In the 18th century, during the Industrial Revolution, FORTUNE befriended the industrialists, the accent was on manufacturing, oil and retailing. Among the most prosperous businesses of the era were oil, steel, textile, railroad and food production industries. That was the era that gave birth to the automobile and aviation industries. In 1901, the United States Steel Corporation was incorporated at a value of $ 1 billion. It became the world’s largest corporation.
Back to the August edition of ‘’1999 Global Fortune 500’’ companies on my table. Of the 12 largest companies in the world just about 20 years ago, none of them was an ICT company; they were in the manufacturing and retail sectors. They were: General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor, Wal-Mart, Mitsubishi, Itochu, Mitsui, Exxon, General Electric, Sumitomo, Toyota and Royal Dutch/Shell Group. The only ICT Company that could rub shoulders with them then was IBM, which was number 14 on the league table.
Today, the narrative is completely different. The 12 richest people in the world by Forbes 2022 are Elon Musk with $239 billion, Bernard Arnault with $198.6 billion, Jeff Bezos, $187.3 billion, Bill Gates, $187.3 billion, Larry Page, $118 billion, Warren Buffett, $116 billion, Sergey Brin, $113.7 billion, Larry Ellison $99.9 billion, Steve Ballmer $97 billion, Lukesh Ambani, $90.5 billion.
The above shows that 80% of the world’s richest today are in the ICT sector. Indeed, during the C-19 pandemic, statistics showed that the wealthiest 1% captured $26 trillion representing 63% of the total world’s wealth while the remaining 99% captured $16 trillion representing 37% of the total wealth. Interestingly, the bulk of the wealthiest 1% is in the technology space.
We can confidently say that FORTUNE’s new profession is ICT but it has no fixed residential address, which makes it interesting. In 1999, most of the top 12 companies were either American or Japanese but today ICT has no residential address. Even though it is currently in Silicon Valley, that is a transit address, not permanent.
The ICT professionals in India, South Korea, China, Kenya, Nigeria, etc have equal opportunity to build the next Amazon, the next Uber, and the next Google as their counterparts in Silicon Valley. What is required are skills, infrastructure and innovation. And those three have no ethnicity or nationality or religion or race.
In 2022, New Horizons Nigeria scanned the global ICT job opportunities and discovered that the volume of jobs available today globally for competent and well-trained ICT professionals is limitless. For instance, in Artificial Intelligence, there were over 3 million vacancies, in Data Analytics, 2.2 million vacancies, Big Data, 1.5 million vacancies, Cloud Computing over one million job vacancies, Project Management with 500,0000 job vacancies, Blockchain with over 400,000 job vacancies and the Elephant in the room, Data Science with over 6 million job vacancies. And all of them keep growing. Some of these skills attract salaries ranging from $50,000 per annum to $250,000 depending on the level of skills and experience and certifications.
This means there is no reason why anyone who is trainable and teachable should be poor or hungry. The opportunities in the ICT sector are humongous. Indeed, there are some skills in ICT today that have ZERO UNEMPLOYMENT according to the January 2023 research carried out by New Horizons Nigeria: Artificial Intelligence and a few others, such as DevOps, Platform Engineering, Data Science, Digital Project & Product Management, Design Thinking and Artificial Intelligence among others.
You can say the world is not fair, you are correct as the top 10 per cent own 85% of the wealth while 90% own the remaining 15%. The fastest way to join the ‘’Wealth Champions league is through the instrumentality of ICT skills’’.
As of today, over 90% of the available jobs globally require digital skills while over 60% will require sophisticated digital skills by 2030.
The ICT sector contributed about 10.4% of the global nominal GDP in 2022 amounting to US$346.8 billion in 2021, US$537.8 Billion in 2022 and it is expected to reach US$696.4 billion in 2028 a projected growth rate of 4.2% yearly, but India is growing at 9.47% yearly. Nigerians and Africans should not be on the ICT balcony, they deserve a seat in the living room!
13 HOTTEST OPPORTUNITIES TO PURSUE IN TECHNOLOGY
- Programming, Web and App Development (new apps are required to power the emerging AR and VR technologies.
- DevOps/ Platform Engineering (as hot as hot potatoes with ZERO unemployment!)
- Data Analytics/ Data Science: The Elephant in the Room. Data Science experts earn up to $250,000 yearly – depending on their level of certification and experience
- Cloud architect
- Quantum computing
- Artificial Intelligence – tomorrow’s king of the jungle, the lion of the tribe of ICT!
- Digital Marketing
- Design Thinking and Data Visualisation
- Digital Project/Product Management/ Business Analysis (No coding skill, no hassle, no problem – earn up to $150,000 yearly with these triple skills)
- Green Technology. From 2030, Europe and America will end the production of combustion engine vehicles – Green takes over from oil. Green Tech Engineers would rule the world. Become the First Mover!
13 Complex Problem-Solving Professionals (CPSP): ICT, Climate change are creating complex problems for humanity which a new set of professionals with critical thinking, creativity and complex problem-solving skills will be required to tackle.
In conclusion, when FORTUNE changed her house address from Manufacturing to ICT, it kept the door to her abode open for anyone with ICT KEY to enter and become prosperous without limit. Just 4 things are required: ICT skills, internet, laptop and FOOD! Still, wondering what the correct FORTUNE house address is? Her new house address is in your BRAIN!
THIS LIFE! MY PERSPECTIVE
- Whatever happens, no one will get out of this world alive.
- The same fate awaits both the mega achievers and the underachievers at the departure lounge to the Headquarters.
- But the rewards are not the same. To live in the hearts of people long after our assignment is done here is the reward for our struggle of today. And that is immortality when one’s LEGACY DOESN’T BECOME DUST LIKE THE BODY.
- We are here as God’s Co-workers, Co-creators. Specifically for a unique assignment in continuation of the perfection of God’s CREATION.
- When we were born, THE TRUTH i.e. our assignment or message to the world was inside of us. Every one of us was born with his/her own TRUTH!
- The vanity of life is not in dying, no. The spirit doesn’t die, it transits, and it changes form.
A life of vanity is one that passes through this path without discovering his/her PURPOSE in life or fails to fulfil it after discovering it or fails to stay in his/her lane.
- We have different roles in life, some are like the ROOF of the House. Some are like the LINTEL, some are WINDOW, some are CEILING while some are WALL and some are FOUNDATION. But we are all useful if we discover our purpose and fulfil it and stay in our lane.
People don’t see the Foundation, but people only see the ROOF. But without the foundation, there is no roof.
- People like Dora Akinyuli, Steve Jobs, Mandela, Obama, Aliko Dangote, Zelensky of Ukraine, etc are the roof. However, they didn’t choose that role for themselves, that is the role God created them for.
They were/are the REASON WE HAVE A GREAT AND AMAZING WORLD. They use their respective lives to fertilise the world and make the world a better place than they met it. The recognition and awards and respect people give them in appreciation are not their driving force. The journey is joy, the journey is LIVING, and the journey is the reward.
Steve Jobs said he set out to put a dent in the universe He did. So, at the level of the spiritual plane, Steve Jobs lives! Why? There’s Steve Jobs in many homes globally, even though he died at 53 his life and achievements were not vanities.
Dora Akinyuli dedicated her life to fighting fake drugs. She put her life on the line fighting those killer businessmen who import fake drugs. Dora delivered her message Dora lives!
Mandela’s message was to use his life to free the 40 million helpless, hopeless South Africans from the yoke of apartheid. Mandela delivered. Mandela lives on!
- It is incumbent on all of us to search for OUR PURPOSE on earth and struggle to fulfil it.
The day I discovered I was sent to this world to light the candles and prepare the way for African youths who will eventually transform Africa was the day I discovered the true joy of living. And I have managed to stay in my lane.
- Why do we struggle, when we are going to drop everything at the end? We are not our body, the body is dust, and it goes back to dust. The real us is the spirit and it lives on after parting way with dust (body). The spirit does not need all those cars, gold wristwatches, private jets, awards, etc. But the body needs them while we are here to help the spirit to fulfil its purpose on earth. A happy and fulfilled body compliments the spirit.
But the THINGS i.e. all the TOYS would go the way of dust, after serving their purpose for the appointed time but the spirit lives on.
- Yes, we must struggle because struggle is part of our message in life. For each of us that is reading this piece, you are a SURVIVOR. For every life that is born, it competed and overpowered 40 million sperms. Put differently, each of us outwitted and pushed away 39.99 million sperms to be born. In other words, some of us jumped the sperm-long queue, we pushed all the sluggish sperms away to allow us to arrive at the womb first. And we blocked the way for other sperms to come in, unconsciously. The struggle is in our DNA.
So, before we were born, we struggled to come to a world where we had zero ideas of what it looked like.
- We must encourage our children and grandchildren to struggle and go for mega achievements. As long as we are fair to our fellow human beings and we do not destroy others in an attempt to become mega achievers, success is sweet.
Imagine the world without Steve Jobs, Africa without Mandela, the Black race without Obama or Nigeria without Aliko Dangote, Pastor Adeboye, Fela Anikulapo, Dora Akinyuli, Azikiwe, Yoruba race without Awo, Fulanis without Ahmadu Bello! Just imagine.
Life is not vanity; life is a game of discovering one’s message and fulfilling it and staying in one’s chosen lane. God would not have created a vanity world. King Solomon used the phrase to describe how he personally felt after marrying those countless wives and concubines and drinking all those champagnes. Solomon didn’t get fulfilment in those things.
Fulfilment is in a PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIFE i.e. an intentional life juxtaposed with love and intensity
Happy birthday Tim!