Aspire to Perspire and Why I’ll always choose Substance over Form


Well done is better than well said – Benjamin Franklin

Last month, my friend informed me that she was relieved from her senior management position in a startup company she joined last year. She was relieved not because she was bad but because the company had to make the painful decision to cut down her workforce by over 70%. This was a company that had raised over $20 million dollars in pre seed funding.

She reached out to me because I had discussed some of my concerns with her when she got the offer. I was concerned at that point when she could not explain what the company wanted to do in simple plain language. Two months down the line, it was the same. Only that she was able to confuse me at this time with some technical terms and how they were trying to solve this novel problem. Each time, I explained my reservations to her.

I think the significant rise of venture capital investments in Nigeria has really contributed to the rapid development of the tech ecosystem amidst other advantages. However, with everything else, this has also come with some negatives. One that readily comes to mind is companies biting more than they can chew. Because, how do you explain a start-up that is yet to break even having several unnecessary executive roles. Hopefully, if I get to own or lead a VC firm in the future, the focus would be more on later stage funding rather than pre-seed and seed funding. Maybe I should write about this in another article.

I can share this story now with the permission of my friend and because she has moved on to another company with a focus on solving real problems. This post is maybe not primarily about businesses but individuals. Everywhere you turn to these days, there’s a coach with basic domain knowledge trying to train another neophyte.  

Look around you, you will find an unemployed person trying to teach someone else how to land a well paying remote role, or a little known author with a book on how to sell a million copies in your first week, or the IG hair seller with maybe ten all year sales selling knowledge online, the real-estate mogul without a single project or even the twenty year old life and relationship coach. Now am I saying, you can only talk or teach about something only after you’ve gained mastery of the field? Far from it but at least gain some significant knowledge before trying to impact others.

Am I also inferring that it is wrong to package whatever you know and sell that knowledge? Again, I’ll say no but there are two types of people in the world, those who get their hands dirty while trying to solve a problem and those who talk about the problem. While the latter might be famous and probably make a fortune from talking about the problem, in the long run, the major beneficiaries would be those who were more focused on solving the problem.

And someone might ask, “What if you can do both?” For sure, go for it! But if you must choose between actually developing yourself in a particular skill/field or just talking or even tweeting about it, please friends, go for the former. Because even though it looks like influencers or brand ambassadors are the most successful group of people around these days, there are definitely people paying the influencers to talk about the brand.

About the author


Black man with big dreams.
Enjoying life’s best moments with Bolashares.
When I’m not actively working, I like to imagine how tech can be used to solve real-world problems, and also think about weird ideas/stories that would probably remain ideas because I am maybe too busy or lazy to bring them to life.

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