Thursday, March 6, 2014

#Ghana57 - Our net worth is strongly correlated to our network

Happy independence day to all Ghanaians! I'm on vacation, albeit working a bit. I'd have a written a new long post but in the interest of vacationing :-) and time, I'd reproduce an old long post. The messages in here are very dear to me and in my opinion, critical towards achieving the kind of Ghana we need. It's my very first blog post written for the +Global Shapers Accra blog - Sesamu. Read it below.

I am passionate about Africa. Many times, people joke saying that the African dream is to get out of Africa. Many times, I would say my dream for Africa is for Africans to be able to achieve their goals and dreams without having to really leave Africa. I’ve heard Patrick Awuah of +Ashesi University and +Ory Okolloh, two of my biggest role models, say the same.
At the very first +Barcamp Koforidua, one of the mentors mentioned something that really struck me. “The most successful people would be those who build connections”. There were many great things about attending MIT ( +Mighty African ) and Stanford for my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, but one huge differentiator in the favour of these two institutions was the diversity of the network that existed there and the connections people in those communities could build. These connections cause people to think outside the box, have enough information to pursue goals, success stories to build upon, exposure to solve different types of problems and reach for what things they might get into.
I have a strong passion in connecting people. When I got together with some friends (at the +GhanaThink Foundation) to organize the first +Barcamp Ghana, we wanted to show the business and tech renaissance. There were pockets of excellence happening in different Ghanaian corners, home and abroad. We wanted to ensure these stories were known to more people and that people would collaborate to achieve more. Today, we have cases of excellence in many Ghanaian circles, which have ties home and abroad.
Our very next Barcamp was one in Washington DC, where I felt a strong urge to connect young Ghanaians in the US with each other. We had all-white and all-black parties for Ghanaian communities with little to no knowledge of the colourful achievements and ventures of Ghanaians. When I have the opportunity to speak at an event, I mostly choose to tell stories of Ghanaians who are being innovative, inventive and inspirational. I constantly look for new stories to tell. I love to do this on my blog too – mightyafrican.blogspot.com.
I always like to say that I built arguably the biggest and most diverse African music website, +Museke, out of my room. I made use of the internet and my connections or network. I made smart decisions based on the users whose needs I wanted to solve, what was important and would give quick wins. 4 years ago, I didn’t know about ‘low hanging fruits’ but I actually did work on low hanging fruits for Museke and other things I was doing. Being able to share stories of how I did more with less and made more money with no money is something I have grown to appreciate and want to share with as many people as possible in my cultural neighbourhood, Ghana and beyond.

A lot of people know me for various reasons and for a variety of things I’ve done. But I also know a lot of people similarly. My net worth is strongly supported by my network. We have many people shaping spaces around here and everywhere. Making sure you meet each other, know where to turn for help and where the success stories are is part of my job. There should be no shortage of local motivation and horizontal inspiration as we pursue vertical excellence and global relevance.
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