Twenty Twenty One Recap

By in Thoughts

My 2019 recap ended with a 10-item list I labeled “Vision 2020“ but we all know how the year went 😂 . In contrast, I closed 2020’s recap with “I don’t have any anticipation for this year. It should look the way God wants and I make it to be.”. You can’t blame me after experiencing a year of the pandemic; lockdown, full remote work, salary cut, and loss.

2021 ushered us into an era when I will no longer need to be an astronaut or an animal to make a round-trip to space, thanks to Elon, Jeff, and Sir Richard (who has $450,000 they are not using oh? Help me). It’s the same year people lost money to Shiba Inu while everyone in tech talks about NFTs, Web3 or the metaverse especially after Facebook rebranded to Meta. It’s the same year we got “Friends: The Reunion” and lost James Michael Tyler (Gunther) to cancer like Soundsultan. May their souls rest in peace.

Despite these examples of co-existing joy and pain we all experienced this year, it’s been a good year with a lot of hard days. This article is a review of how it went for me. It is in 3 parts, you may click on any of the titles to navigate.

  1. What went well in 2021
  2. What didn’t go well in 2021
  3. What I want 2022 to look like

What went well in 2021

1. Work

The 2020 pandemic triggered a lot of changes at Disha, then Cregital so much that as of October 2020, I knew it is time for me to move on and to do something else. However, I stayed back because I had leverage (no one’s pushing out of the two companies as co-founder, so no rush) and I was waiting for the right time to switch roles.

Fast-forward to February 2021, Disha’s shutdown was announced. Staff strength at Cregital kept shrinking. The first half of the year felt like a typical government job – no drive/fulfillment, nothing to look forward to apart from the salary. At some point, I started feeling anxious about what’s next. I still believe partnerships works but, after many futile attempts at recovery, I had to look out for myself. I remember a senior friend, Chike, telling me “Whether you stay or leave, travel out or stay in the country, do not stop making money. At the end of the day, you have a life to live, a family to cater for and bills to pay.”

“Everything in life goes to the basic” – Kron Gracie

So, I dusted my almost non-existent CV and started applying for remote jobs in March. Besides interviews, for the first time, I did coding tests. I used to set and review other people’s submissions but this time around people, mostly in another timezone, reviewed mine. I passed some only to be rejected at the next stage, some I didn’t get a response, and some I didn’t have enough time to complete and submit.

In April, I resolved to consult for a while, but then GB and a couple of other people reached out and indicated interest to acquire Disha. The acquisition (and my exit from Disha) by Flutterwave was finalized in July, and there’s my perfect window to resign from my role as CTO at Cregital, a company I joined at launch in April 2015 as a Lead Web Developer.

 

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In August, I joined Flutterwave as a senior software engineer and architectural lead, still building Disha. No interviews or code tests required, just value recognition and conversations. More like negotiations.

It’s already 5 months as a waver (how time flies) and I have since led the development and deployment of the payments acceptance feature for all ~ 25k creators via their Disha pages. They can now accept payment from 34 countries and over 150 currencies. Of course, powered by Flutterwave payment infrastructure.

After 6 years and 4 months, every time I think about the impact and influence of Cregital in the design/tech community, it amazes me and it’s an honor to be a vital part of it all. While on the bike to a client’s office in 2019 (won’t do this extreme sport now), I sent the email below to the entire team and it captures my memories of my Cregital days.

A note to Cregital Team, 2019. Click to enlarge.

A note to Cregital Team, 2019. Click to enlarge.

Edit: A special thank you to Adaora, Blessing and Uwem, Chike, and Olude Ajibola for the moments of clarity. Those phone calls mean a lot to me.

2. Trip

I’m due for an international trip (looking at my account balance 🙃) but I couldn’t go on any this year because other plans came up + I’m not ready for any COVID vaccine injection. Yes, Team drugs!

Besides these, I was literally (still) drowning in work and commitments. I blocked the last 2 weeks of August off on my calendar for leave, but I spent it onboarding at Flutterwave and the hospital.

Eventually, in November I was able to take an 11-days trip to Abuja to celebrate my wife’s 30th birthday. We had a swell time doing almost nothing but eating, watching Netflix, and visiting friends in the city. Thanks to everyone that made it fun; Akinsanya Joseph and family, Charles Isidi and family, Jimi Damilola and wife, Mofiyin Fagbemi and family.

 

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3. Gospellyricsng

We were able to kickstart things this year, though slow and not the pace I wanted, but I’m happy about the progress we had on the social media engagement and traffic. Big thanks to the team; Charles, Ifeoluwa, Ayokay, Emmanuel, Francis, Setemi, Tolulope. You all made it easier.

4. Talks

I talked at 3 events this year, including the first-ever Flutterwave trade fair at Landmark Lagos. It’s always my pleasure sharing about technology and everything in between.

 

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5. New Apartment

My wife and I were going to move to Ibadan after work went fully remote in 2020. Why stay in Lagos when we can live somewhere less chaotic than Lagos? 👀 Abuja!
One weekend, we drove down to look at houses, saw one in Oluyole Estate, paid rent, then came back to Lagos to move our stuff. Following Monday, the agent called to inform us someone else had paid the landlord and refunded our money. We took it as God’s way of telling us to sit our asses down in Lagos.

We moved into the new apartment on the 30th of December, 2020 and it is like one of the best decisions I made in the last year. As they said, you can’t put a price on comfort and peace of mind. What currency would the price be anyway? USD, BTC?

6. Other Notable Mentions

I also became an uncle a lot of times this year. If I minted NFT every time I got the good news or attended a virtual naming ceremony, I won’t be asking for that $450k for space travel. It rained babies for newly-married friends and even those who have been waiting for years. The only issue was, these new families didn’t serve us Christmas pajamas photos as much as I anticipated. I hope they won’t bring this energy into the new year.

My parents, after over 30 years in ministry and service, were inducted as Superintendent in TACN. My wife and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. I randomly bought a ring-light and took fire photos at home 😀

 

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What didn’t go so well

1. Loss, again.

There’s no way I could have thought I would have to go through the losses of 2020 again in 2021. I thought the year will make up for the pain and the grief but it instead made it more familiar. I remember telling a senior friend that “2021 will be my most spiritual year yet, of deeper fellowship”. Instead, I have a deeper resentment for God. Do not worry we (God and me) will be fine, no matter how long it takes.

And people too! My wife recently said God is helping me sieve my relationships, helping me know the ones I should hold on to or release. That’s absolutely what the last 18 months have been about. Disputes are inevitable and unnecessarily stressful, but if you have people who are present with similar values and outlooks on life, friendships, and resolution, you are blessed like I am. The journey was easier because of these kinds of friends.

The central theme for 2019/2020 at Covenant Nation was quantum leap, little did I know that joy and pain can leap in the same calendar year.  The experiences of the past two years literally blow my mind on some days and bring me to tears on another. 2020 and 2021 are the years I entered the next level of adulthood, maturity, and understanding life in general.  This quote by Andy Squyres summarizes it all well:

My life with God has been a complicated one and I can’t really say the complications have been entirely my fault. I think a fair assessment would be that we’ve each allowed the other to experience at least some degree of disappointment in our friendship. I’ve misunderstood him. I’m pretty sure he’s always understood me but he hasn’t been necessarily vocal about it. It’s not easy being friends with people and friendship with God is no different.

Life is complicated and friendship with God does not make life less complicated. But as I get older I am realizing that I would not have it any other way. Internally I sometimes wish that life would be perfect rather than just occasionally good. But I think it’s a mistake to presume that a perfect world would be better than a free world. Love needs a place to live and grow and prove itself and that can only happen where tragedy is possible. Still, sometimes life is too much to bear. …Forgive me if this offends you but I have a better friendship with God because I remain soft hearted and tender toward him in a life where sometimes nothing makes sense.

2. Books/Reading

Mehn, I didn’t even try at all for this one. I read just one book and listened to another one on Audible. Two books, shameful right? Nah, you can’t shame the shameless, thanks to Brené Brown. Here are the books and my thought about them

  1. The Gifts of Imperfection – Brené Brown
    This book is a reminder that we are all made of strengths and struggles. Every single one of us. This is not an enfeebling fact, it’s instead a release; a cue to live and play like a child, without shame or the need to be perfect.
  2. Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents – Lindsay C. Gibson
    I know the title is heavy and dramatic 😂 but it’s a good book I’ll recommend to every young adult esp. raised in countries like Nigeria where parents are not popular for releasing their adult children. The book will help you learn to detach and manage familial relationships.

3. Fitness

Argh! I only worked out 15 times this year. Statistically, that is a -85.98 % decrease from last year and physically, a slightly protruding belly 😅. My excuse would be work, change of environment, and COVID scare. These made it a little harder but they are nothing but excuses.

 

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What I want 2022 to look like

I set a blank goal for 2021 and the amazing thing about this was, there’s no way I could have envisaged everything that happened. It is proof that we can only work toward plans, we can not control the outcome, even though we mistake the optimization for possibilities for certainty.

On the flip side, maybe my lack of goals in 2021 made me slack in fitness and reading. Yes, there’s no way I could have said I want to sell a company in 2021, that’s not a goal, it’s an outcome I had almost no control over. But, I can do better by saying this is the work I want to put in or optimize for to get a desired result.

So, besides God’s sovereign plan, here’s the list of things I’ll be working towards in 2022

  1. I’ve created a learning roadmap for the year. A lot happens in tech every day and I need to stay abreast of these things, at my own pace of course. No pressure.
  2. Then study and pass a certification exam.
  3. Work out at least 100 times in the new year. Approximately 9 times per month or 2 times per week. It’s doable. I’ve done it before.
  4. Read/listen to 12 books. One book per month. No rush.
  5. Eat, pray and love. Every day. Except there’s fasting.

Have a happy new year celebration and cheers to everything 2022 will be.

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