Sunday, June 12, 2011


Free Advertising Space :) ☝☝We are very glad to announce things are on course: Manpower Supply!

So I have been going back and forth with my cousin on Tullow Oil Ghana’s secondary listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange and I decided to post a slightly edited transcript here for your benefit as always. My cousin is Kwaku Addo Akuffo an investment guru in the making and certainly one of the most intelligent people I know. I take his word very seriously, even when I do not agree with him. He is going to be the next Warren Buffet of Africa, just you watch.
For more info, please visit the Tullow Oil Ghana Website as well. Read below carefully if you are interested in the share offer:

CUZO: Tullow Oil Ghana Limited will list (sell) 4,000,000 shares at GH¢32 per share (if my sources are right) on the Ghana Stock Exchange, the offer starts on Monday June 13th, minimum subscription is 3 shares (GH¢96) a great way to own a piece of the operators of Ghana's Jubilee Field. Also the Prospectus should be out Monday, contact IC Securities in Accra for further details.

MOI: Advice I gave to a friend; now to all interested parties.
Pros: Best stock offering on the GSE. Will be very easy to trade, liquidate, discount or use as collateral. Assured dividend revenue stream. Tullow is set to make more discoveries, and this will drive the share price up significantly over the next 2-3 years. 
Cons: Its very expensive, at ¢32 a share, even if you have ¢10000 that will net you 312.5 shares, that is peanuts in terms of volume. How much profit can one expect to make then.
Verdict: I say buy and hold for this period and then trade in a portion, say 40% of stake especially when you have made back your principal investment which will take some time; the rest is pure profit. Its a safe store of value no matter the amount you purchase, especially now with all the momentum in the industry, and all the hype about Ghana's oil!
PS: As your strategic consultant, this advice is normally not free. But in this case I will waive my customary fee for 5% of your first dividend or free Omotuo Special on Sunday, whichever one is more #forreal

CUZO: Haha....You have got to wait for the prospectus before taking any "buy" positions. I say so because I looked through preliminary IPO docs on their site, the success rate of their wells finding oil has gone from around 88% to somewhere in the region of 83%. Aside that, the mere fact that there would be more discoveries in offshore Ghana does not guarantee profits since their operations seem to be offshore therefore you should price in higher risk in relation to their assets. On the plus side with crude prices above 100 bucks a barrel it bodes well 4 E&P (exploration & production) firms like Tullow.
Word of caution you are buying into the global operations of Tullow Oil & not just their local Ghanaian operations, so you should consider amongst other things "the global economic recovery" "current/predicted prices of crude oil" "the supply & demand of crude", a decision to invest in Tullow cannot be solely made based on operations at the Jubilee field.
PS: 4 million shares might not seem as liquid (easy to trade) considering its pricing & also that sum listed firms have higher volumes on the market, lets not forget before Comet's IPO fell thru, they had planned on listing 60m+ shares on the market, that would have been more fairly liquid & also we are yet to know the details of what the $85m that Tullow is raising (assuming all shares are allocated) would be used for.

MOI: Lol, I think you are too cautious in your assessment; Ghana is not facing a slump in its markets oh! You make some interesting arguments as usual; here is my rebuttal, as always:
Now Stock Markets are like casinos, and traders/investors are just like gamblers. Since they operate on free market forces, this means simply that buying/selling shares means you are taking a calculated bet; any trade is a gamble that you will make more money than you brought to the table. So whatever stock you are picking, you are gambling; and never in any prospectus have I read anything negative, its always simple advertising for the masses; you need to dig much deeper than that son. COMET tanked because they tried to do things the Yankee way, forgetting say we are in Ghana - The dynamics on the ground are very different here, as you will soon learn.
A decision to purchase any shares may be made based on any of several considerations; but there is not SINGLE SET FORMULA, everybody has their own strategy. Lets not fool ourselves (or anybody else for that matter) that all the complex algorithms and technical talk mean much, especially in a bearish market; trading stocks is not a science, it’s an art. Even the very best always make mistakes when they pick stocks, rate stocks et al - so sometimes it is not solely about the information you get from the firms and the market but also on macro/micro-economic trends in-country, and not necessarily Global because our economy is VERY loosely tied with other financial markets since we are not yet sophisticated enough. That is why despite this ongoing economic Crisis/Recovery our banks and capital markets STILL FLOURISHED independently. We are not tied into the NYSE, LSE, Singapore, Dubai, Japan, so when considering stock market advice, it is BEST to look at Ghana Stock Exchange as an Independent Microcosm for now. Nigeria and South Africa are markedly different, because they have hundreds of registered companies between them – NSE has almost 300 & JSE almost 500 – and attract a lot of foreign capital, they have fully matured.
But in Ghana we barely have 40, yes 40 companies listed on the GSE with a market capitalization not even up to $15 billion, this is a drop in the bucket cuz and in such a SMALL pot, shares are mostly stagnated, rarely traded and neither really go up or down. The GSE-C1 & PSI indices are among the most boring in the world and holding stocks rarely increases value significantly even over the long term. But this Tullow deal changes everything because they are being "compelled" to list, as will all the other operators in due course. WHY? To encourage Ghanaian participation/ownership of our oil resource; okay well the few indigenes than can afford it I guess. If successful it will grow the exchange significantly over the next 5 years; this may be the very game changer the market needs to shake things up. It will also open up our market to attract more foreign investor interest, and that is perhaps why its been priced out of the range of the average Ghanaian; as to whether that is good or bad considering its about oil here is another discussion by itself. But generally, attracting foreign investors is beneficial, they may even splurge on other stocks as well to diversify their local portfolio, and pull in even more investors and foreign capital inflows, you see where I’m going with this.
Now on the technical issues you have raised, it is true you cannot rate a stock buy/sell or avoid on operations in just one field in one country when you have large diversified capital markets. But in Ghana, we have only one Stock Exchange, and it is relatively very small and not tied into other global market hubs - if the Dow, Nasdaq or FTSE drop, I don't hear the local manager of AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) crying over their stock price, maybe in South Africa, but definitely not in Ghana. What does that mean, it means INDEED you base most of your decision on the LOCAL operations of the firm - see Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd, if I were to advise anybody whether or not to buy their shares, who cares what is going in Ireland (their HQ) or US, or London or anywhere else. It would be based mostly on their performance in Ghana, their market share et al. So the same logic applies to this Tullow deal, in an immature capital market, decisions must be localized until such a time that markets grow and accumulate enough interest and activity to warrant taking a wider lense to sweep the facts. Even then, its a gamble either way, and despite all the seeming complexities of stock trading, a lucky monkey could make more money than a highly skilled broker, non?
I still rate Tullow shares BUY A+ if you can, you don't want to miss out on the best deal the GSE has offered since its inception!

CUZO: Treading cautiously since I am yet to read the prospectus but I don’t buy the argument of GGBL; that’s an autonomous subsidiary but Tullow Ghana would be directly impacted by Tullow Oil Plc's global operations, capital spending decisions, asset allocations are all determined by HQ (from listening to the last earnings conference call in March).
But regardless I do agree with your point of it attracting foreign fund manager attention to the GSE, not to give anything away but I am fairly bullish on Tullow bearing in mind in the past 5ys 4rm 05 to 09, revenue was highest in 08 (we know what happened to crude prices then) & with Jubilee coming on stream, that should up their revenues significantly & having dealt with the tax issue in Uganda and having brought in other highly capitalized firms into partnership to develop the Uganda find, I think Tullow has bright prospects.
On Comet, I say it came down to the valuation of the biz, how can u give Comet, an 8yr old regional (1 development by Accra) real estate firm a market valuation of $300m, that would mean applying that same logic to Regimanuel which has operations in the sub region, Sierra Leone, a strong brand name, much longer years of been a biz, at say 4 times Comet's valuation, should put Regimanuel at $1.2bn (dis is a very conservative estimate) n u n I know Regimanuel cud be 10x bigger than Comet, that would value Regimanuel at $3bn almost 10% of Ghana's GDP.

MOI: Loool.....Well the point I was making is simply reinforced here that despite all these complexities there is no single method of valuing shares or rating them. You were also initially bullish on Comet if I remember correctly (as usual you were on point with the first hand scoop :), but I was not in the least interested, they barely had any fundamentals to speak of. As for these valuations, sometimes they are not based on reality, you complain of Comet but how about LinkedIn’s recent IPO, how much revenue do they even generate - 4/500 mill annually yet their market cap is nearly 10 billion cuz, how many days since the IPO? That is why it’s a gamble either way, lets not pretend we are fortune-tellers, rather we are taking a very calculated guess.
Now I'm not saying Tullow Global’s operations won't impact Tullow Ghana. What I am saying is that dual listing or triple listing on a variety of stock exchanges provides some protection against unfavorable movements in each other. Example, if Tullow oil shares on the LSE fall, that doesn't necessarily mean that they will fall on the GSE. In the same way that if Tullow finds a 400 million barrel reserve tomorrow, shares won't automatically jump, as was witnessed when they announced Tano, that day their shares actually tanked by 2%. But in the long run, we can safely postulate that the share price will increase significantly especially if this share offer is very successful. It is a test in the waters, and I am quite optimistic about it, because if it doesn't go well, then it will set the GSE back in terms of attracting external funds and becoming more robust and active - that won't happen of course.
Another point I didn't bring up prior was that Tullow has always been focused on African energy plays from its very beginnings. When Heavey formed it '85 he was hunting for oil in Senegal, and Jubilee represents one of their biggest successes to date, so Ghana is very important to them. In that sense, investors can rest assured that they will ensure to keep their Ghana/Jubilee et al on the forefront of their now diversified and global operations. 
Lets also talk about the prospects elsewhere, that may also have knock on effects. Hess, Lukoil/Vanco, Oranto, Gasop etc all these are on serious E&P and though they are not Jubilee partners, any discovery they make may also drive Tullow Ghana shares up as well. I cannot release confidential information here, save to say this, there is ALOT more oil out there than we originally thought - my conservative estimate is that we may have as much as between 5-7 billion barrels recoverable by 2013. And whether crude oil price remains above or below $100 doesn’t change the fact that Ghana's crude is among the top 3 sweetest (best) light crudes in the whole world. Our oil will thus command a premium over all other crudes. Occupying the same vaunted halls as Oseberg & Ekofisk (North Sea) as well as Nemba (Angola). It is even better than Qua Iboe, Bonny and Brent [remember the Tullow Oil Capital Markets doc]. All this points to one fact, these shares have no way to go but UP, and rapidly so.
I predict!

CUZO: I was bullish on the real estate sector in general and not specifically COMET, with regards to COMET after an initial preview of their prospectus I had a lot of reservations about their share offer and did indicate in an email to you and a couple of others, not to participate in the share offer and I believe I was vindicated when the IPO did fall through (failed to raise the money). Don’t get me wrong the prospects of Tullow and other Africa focused energy firms like Afren look bright and taking that into account I also see upside in the shares of Tullow, but like you rightly pointed out this IPO if successful should catch the attention of Africa focused fund managers and emerging market funds to look closely at the Ghana Stock Exchange which in turn will have multiple effects on other listed companies in the sense that foreign fund managers might want to add some of these listed companies to their portfolios to diversify their risk, so I am glad overall that Tullow has shown its commitment to the people of Ghana through this listing and also look forward to other key players in the Jubilee field, such as Warburg Pincus/Blackstone backed Kosmos, listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange. I believe these developments re-inforce my bullish stance on investing in Ghana and Africa as a whole.

MOI: As always blood, I appreciate your thoughts and I will read through the prospectus when its available. Lets rack up them billions because NOW is the time for Africa! Bless :)


We both got tired at this point, I believe we both prefer to be financially rewarded for our services however this is free advice to the masses so we hope this helps. I believe we both raised some very pertinent issues to do with the Share Listing that any potential investor may benefit from.
For further in depth consultation, you may contact us via Facebook, please make sure you are cash heavy and light on wahala!
PS: Tullow Oil Ghana has not paid us for this oh but in case they see this and we get some contracts that’s not bad at all, non? ;)

Saturday, April 16, 2011


"Ex Africa semper alliquid novi" Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder, on his various travels as a Roman official summed up the dark continent in his words, translated as, "Out of Africa, always something new". Africa is a combination of many different cultures, similar enough but yet distinct from each other in several important ways. The problem with the West and most of the BRIC countries is that they are trying to deal with us like we are one homogenous group of people; but this is not the case. I know about Ghana, I have indeed figured out many things on my end - when I came back from the US, I had the same idealistic approach as all returnees who are new to the system but I have had to learn the very hard way the reality of things so I think radically different from them.

Ghana is developing its very own unique model for sustainable and accelerated development. Our leaders are finally realizing that we have to do as the BRICs did, which is to stop blindly photocopying Western ideas and values and begin evolving our own strategic development models, informed by pre-existing models but tailor-made to suit us. In this sense, there are many differences in our values and our cultures - it doesn't make either system right or wrong because they should not be directly compared, that skews things in favor of the bias of the analyst. The West tends to take the high road to advice the rest of the world how to handle its affairs, to some extent this is necessary - but all the examples of nations that succeeded display that they did so by solving their own problems and not always begging for help from the West. The BRICs for example are not perfect democracies but they are gaining dominance because the Western model has its fair share of flaws - chief among them being that it believes its system is inherently better than all others, failing to account for the rise of "unorthodox" success stories that employ different models to reach high levels of development as well.

For so long have we failed to listen to our own inner voice, the so called 'development partners' dictated to us how to solve our problems within the context of Western gain (SAPs et al) that we failed to go anywhere. Well, things are changing; we are becoming just as smart, as savvy and as cunning as our Western and BRICs brothers. After being so ill-treated we have learnt that people shall only help others when it is in their self-interest to do so. An illustrative example is that though Ghana - through the GNPC - courted investors for over 25 years to explore for crude oil off our coast, they invariably balked to make the significant commitment of funding and resources necessary. That is, until 2003 when crude oil begun its inexorable climb culminating in an all time high in 2008. More money continues to pour in as the era of high crude prices comes here to stay. Investor interest, risk tolerance and psychology towards Ghana have changed drastically, because there is an internal catalyst (Ghana's crude itself) and also external pressures (High Prices) which are forcing IOCs to go where they were previously adamant to go.

I understand general Western psychology, and I know exactly how Ghanaians think (and to some extent Africans in general) and I have reconciled the two in a model that works very well for me and mine. It would behove any investor to take this advice freely given, seriously. In order to survive in Ghana, or Africa at large you need not be emotionally invested. Investment approaches must be unorthodox if they will succeed because NOTHING works as it should here, or at least they work differently. Understanding that this is a rapidly evolving and developing landscape would go a long way to inform your investment approach. Venture Capital exists in Africa but on a small scale because African's are only now inculcating a culture of repaying loans into our mindset - our traditions denotes any loan or some such as a gift that need not be repaid in a fixed period, but rather a favor the beneficiary owes the loaner. If you want to succeed in venture capital, a resource that is severely needed to bolster the local financial markets then one has to engage on a serious educational campaign to sensitize the target market about the business before one can expect a sizable deal flow.

I recently worked with my boss to come up with a presentation for an eminent government Minister. He was part of the Ghanaian delegation that attended the TIMES CEO Conference in London. As my reward I was given copies of all the documents from the conference and the overarching theme was that attitudes towards Africa were changing from one of patronage and pity to that of respect and marvel. This is because the hope of the world recovering in the long-term from a century of excesses rests on Africa. This is moreso now that the BRICs also have to manage growth and associated inflationary pressures. Africa is the last remaining investment frontier; Africa is true virgin territory, and for once, Africans appreciate this fact themselves. All the gains that Ghana has made over the past two decades were made by Ghanaians, without much help from the West. Donor aid has done little to solve problems but rather to accentuate them, fattening the Dinosaurs and not achieving much on the ground (see Dead Aid).

Fortunately, my generation has refused to abide by the fallacies perpetuated by our forbears, or by the West. My friends and I have all been educated in the West, but we have been radicalized by our return and appreciation of the changing dynamics of our birthplaces. I have been here in Ghana for 5 years straight and that’s enough time to figure out how this system works, and how to get things done. If anything I have always desired to educate others about what I have learnt, such that they may not make the same mistakes I made and thereby contribute to the occurring paradigm shift where people avoid possible mistakes and as quickly as possible (which is still going to take a while) seize opportunities that present themselves before foreigners enslave us all over again, with soothing words and mental shackles this time instead of painful physical chains.

So that is the context within which any investor should place people such as myself - we are the the “New Capitalists” of Africa. I am fortunate enough to understand that the patterns of global power structures and poles are gradually shifting; away from the West and more towards the South. It would take time, perhaps my generation may not even fully witness our eclipse of the world as we rise, but I will ensure that I do all that I can to make this happen. I will do any and all that is in my POWER to ensure that Ghana, my motherland and Africa my beloved continent leaps to the forefront of Global socio-economic and political dynamics and make up for the many centuries of primitiveness and backward development that has plagued us. Begrudge me not my destiny or that of my motherland, if anything be hopeful because Africa is still big enough for all of us to play in – so long as the game is fair and mutually beneficial.

I do not mean to sound trite, but this century is indeed the century of the developing world. Unfortunately, a lot of traditional Western investment powerhouses are still greenhorns who are enamored by the textbook definitions of Africa. That is why the Chinese are gaining heavy concessions all over the continent; because they are willing to play the game on African terms. Any investor must understand that this if our turf and the rules are different from what they know. Perhaps most importantly, investors must realize that gone are the days when we were ignorant of our potential, when we foolishly gave away all our treasures for paltry gains and selfish ends. These practices still exist no doubt, but the culture is changing, some people are beginning to realize that we must look beyond ourselves in order to gain the most – I am one of those people and my hope is to call more ambassadors to the cause – I am NOT ALONE!

I always encourage African neophytes to fly into Ghana and roll with my friends, associates and myself. It is only then that they would see the reason why there is all this hullaballoo about this land of magic and sorrow. And they should also remember that if they make promises they must not fail to deliver, some of us have long memories and will not be toyed with by people who are neither ready, willing nor able to keep their word, because if you miss your opportunity, trust me, there are several interested parties who will be willing to play ball.

As I have oft stated, for me this is not just about money - this is about having a serious impact on my environs and my people; an indelibly positive impact. We cannot do that without wrestling with the West and the BRICs for enough economic power to change the social and political landscape appropriately. Again I repeat, begrudge me not my actions nor pass judgement because this is much bigger than me or you, this is about joining a movement that will have global consequences in decades to come. It will not be easy, there have been and will continue to be drawbacks, but overall I am optimistic and I believe you should be too.

Oh and by the way, if you are interested I can give you a solid foothold in the most promising African nation at the turn of the century. You know where to find me!?!? Facebook :)


Friday, January 14, 2011


Its all part of the Plan!
As it turns out, coming back home was the best decision I have ever made in my whole life. I am now over the crisis that was my premature “akwaaba”, taken from another perspective it was pure destiny. I am still not over the trauma of the local educational system I had to wade back into and the ensuing long and painful readjustment phase; lets just call it a process of reverse culture shock. I have still not fully come to terms with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Sorrows and Tears (KNUST) and until I do, I shall not write much about it; save the necessity of inking that degree onto my CV. I mean I remember how the Frankly Unaccomplished Cabal Keeping Ebullience Radically Short nearly succeeded in preventing a conclusion to my quest for purpose; but like I said, now is not the time. I digress; the topic at hand is that coming back home was the best decision I ever did make. In retrospect I would not have said this and meant it the way I do now a few years ago, but still I can even claim some level of prescience. I remember sitting down with one of the dearest women I have ever met, a counselor at the International Students Office in ‘Cuse who took me under her wing and advised me against coming back to Ghana; she felt it would be a mistake. I told her, “Back home, there are far more opportunities and far less distractions for me; there is a lot less pressure and I really understand the system, I will be able to mature and fully realize my potential.” I was right!
I knew deep down that in the US, I would at best be comfortably mediocre, but that in Ghana I could be truly great; I tired of having to choose between being the token African dude, or part of the close knit African clique – after all I am by nature an outgoing loner. I realize now though that I came to Ghana at precisely the time that the country was on the verge of leaving behind its past of obscurity in favor of a more robust exploitation of its huge potential. It could not have been a better-timed return; within a year of my arrival Ghana discovered oil and I found my calling in life; to be to Ghana what Rockefeller was to America. Ladies and gentlemen, that is the plan! Since our discovery of crude oil in commercial quantities I have been learning and soaking up so much information and experience that in my own biased opinion, I have become quite an astute local expert on the nascent petroleum industry – at only 24. At the same time I was slogging it out with the academics, I was also running around busily building the right connections, networking in the business circles and getting practical on the job expertise the hard way; the entrepreneurial way. I am glad to say that bit-by-bit, we are bringing the plan closer and closer to its fruition, we still have quite a lot to learn before we get there, but it is nice knowing that you are way ahead of the game. Nowadays, I regularly meet a lot of people who are only now trying to do what was done years ago, or learning what has long been known; they are new to the system and frankly they are behind and will be playing catch up for a while.
It has not been easy at all, in fact at times I almost gave up and run away back to the States – I raised the money myself and seriously contemplated that possibility a few times. However I remained in Ghana for so many reasons; first of all I cured myself of some dangerous habits; certainly not all of them but a marked improvement from before. Also I fell deeply in love and suddenly had a reason to be truly happy for once, though that proved to be another failed attempt at searching for an extrinsic source of joy; karma is only pleasant to the guiltless. Thirdly, I made some great friendships with individuals who had been through similar traumatic experiences and they helped me to settle down and re-appreciate the sun, the heat, the food and the sights and sounds of the land of my birth. Another reason was the onset of the Global Economic Crisis, which had very little effect on Ghana but left the prospect of working and financing the rest of my US college education by myself and in such a climate very unpalatable. But the most compelling reason is that I had a very supportive family; the parental unit was constantly admonishing me not to blame external sources for my troubles, but to reflect on the internal causes for my mistakes and seek to correct them. Thank you so much Mum and Dad for not coddling me into a dullard but forging me into the man I am today, a man who can truly survive in any circumstance.
As I gradually went native again, I suddenly began to realize the vast business opportunities available in a region of Africa that has been enjoying some unbridled growth over the past decade. So great was this epiphany that I knew my destiny was to become one of the rising stars of Africa, but only if I put in the necessary quantum of work and sacrifice. Sometimes I miss the good old days when I was carefree and spoilt; but I am far better at being mature, thoughtful and meticulously calculating. I think, I plan and I execute with the calm and precision born of constant practice dealing with both structured and unstructured situations. I am equally comfortable in a Tro-Tro station educating passengers on the recent petroleum product price increments or negotiating a multi-million dollar investment with a foreign investor at the Holiday Inn. I have not finished paying my dues in the school of hard knocks but I can smell the faint fragrance of graduation into the Big Easy, so I have been spurred on even more. I recently read “Talent Is Overrated” by Geoff Colvin and became even more convinced that all this stress I am facing; all this pain I am enduring; all this sweat, blood and tears are not being shed in vain. I am not going to be Rockefeller without it. Please note, he begun working in 1855 at age 16 in very modest circumstances, and it was not until 1865 that he made the decisions that launched him on his career to become America’s first Billionaire. I begun my career at 20, I am four years into the hustle and I have not made much yet but I bet you that by age 30, I would have been already set on a similar upward trajectory – this is not a boast but a simple statement of fact. You see I do not only aspire to be like these people, I know in my very marrow I am capable of doing what they did or even better – these are the personalities that I would deign to compete with and nobody else.
And this is not simply about money or accumulation of wealth for its own sake, this is about showing people that it is possible to achieve anything that you want in this world if you are willing to work hard enough at it. It is about leaving a legacy of hope and opportunity to the masses of African youth who have little chance to better themselves and their circumstances. If they can be shown that they can make their dreams a reality through consistent hard-work and not via any shortcuts, they shall have hope and will be galvanized into action, into developing their nations and bettering their own circumstances. That is the legacy I want to leave this world with and I get personal satisfaction from knowing that I am trying as hard as I can to make this happen; and it can only happen right here on the Dark Continent. I only pray that God grants me life that I may enjoy the blessings that are still accruing and may He be graceful enough to amortize my sins.
L.J.J @ 2:59am 14/01/11

Monday, January 10, 2011


Posively Yankefied; BTW the Lip Gloss is very necessary for winter if you have big juicy African lips :)
{Memories – Kid Cudi ft David Guetta}
Fresh from the Jet and Seething with Rage!!
When I returned from my aborted attempt at a US college degree in 2006, I was a ragged mess, seething with rage, despondent and simmering with a mix of confused emotions and haunting memories. I was broke, angry, depressed; suffering from withdrawal symptoms and most importantly, I had no idea what I wanted to do with myself. What was I going to do now? I mean contrary to what I told most people - that I was coerced into coming back to Ghana - the truth is that I voluntarily decided to come back home. I had simply had enough of America; I remember effortlessly gliding back and forth through various cliques in a deeply splintered social scene but still remaining on the fringes. I was an authority all to myself in a teeming mass of youthful faces. One of my favorite pastimes was to get stupendously high, dress up in a fancy outfit, put on my aviators, light up my clove cigarettes, grab my iPod and go dance walking on campus (Dance walking is when you walk to a beat and move in time with the rhythm in subtle but recognizable dance moves). I never planned it but somehow I became quite popular for all the wrong reasons – I have a natural magnetism that can at times prove to be my very undoing.
{Want U – Lo-Fi-Fnk}
I reminisce about all of my ridiculously wealthy friends and associates and all the amazing and crazy things we did; and I still smile over those precious memories. I lived the flashy life of an African Prince in college. I was the classic truant; I spent approximately 20% of my time in class and 80% doing what I wanted, when I wanted and how I wanted. I was a crazy party animal who was down for anything, anytime – anybody that knew me in 'Cuse can verify this. However, though I projected such outward glee, I rarely experienced inner bliss. I was always very depressed so I coined the term “The Bleak Existence” to describe my life as it was then. Another problem was that I was always broke no matter how much money my folks sent me; which was considerable seeing as I never worked a day in my college career. But for all this I was still considered extremely intelligent, I cannot remember how many times my lecturers and academic counselor sat me down and tried to help me utilize my sharp brain but they were many. I even had the entirety of the International Students Office take an especial interest in me – one of their most promising stars had faded into academic obscurity in favor of extra-curricular shenanigans of the most unnecessary kind. A lot of people really tried to help me out but I did not appreciate all these things until much later; sadly all the advice fell on deaf ears.
{Angel On My Shoulder (EDX's Belo Horizonte At Night Remix) – Kaskade & Tamra}
So I got tired one day; I was like to hell with all this crap. What am I doing here anyway, wasting my life away and remaining so unhappy? I don’t know why, perhaps it was because I went to college too early, I was only 17  at the time. Perhaps it was because I was coddled into feeling very special once people realized that I was very unlike all the other African students on campus – I was accepted into all the in-crowds because I was a “rich kid” just like everybody else. I refused to accept that I had obligations to my folks who were financing my education and inadvertently, my flamboyant lifestyle. Perhaps it was because I had everything so easy so I took it all for granted thinking it would always be there. It definitely had to do with my inability to sustain this lavish lifestyle at a certain point – I became the classic moocher flitting from clique to clique. Eventually you will get spurned because there are unwritten rules in social interactions; one has to always bring something to the table. As I became more and more depressed I also became less and less gregarious. I preferred to stay in my vast apartment and just get high, write my science-fiction novel (which I subsequently lost when my Powerbook G4 went on permanent leave, but that is another story) and receive visitors; people still found me fascinating even at that point.
{Burn For You - Kreo}
Recovery 101 - Make a Plan
I personally orchestrated a series of events that culminated in myself on a plane with a one-way ticket heading back towards West Africa. It was not an act of a victorious conqueror returning home from a successful campaign abroad; it was more the scene of a defeated general hastily retreating into his impregnable fortress to lick his wounds from a failed crusade. I wanted to relax for a while and detox myself and then go back and fulfill my true potential - I was severely burnt out. As fate would have it I never did go back to Syracuse – said financiers had decided to cut their “losses” and restructure my educational direction. I remained in Ghana and had to restart my tertiary education all over again; in what was to me the very decrepit educational system I had studied so terribly hard to escape from as a kid. That experience was so traumatic that in order to deal with it I decided that I needed to face reality and grow up. I needed a strategy to survive in the very primitive system from whence I was raised – and so I came up with a Plan!

To Be Continued......
TheBizmic {*U*}
PS: The inserts are the songs I was listening to at the time of writing this blog.....(Favs of 2010)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Neat, handy.....and necessarily intrusive!

So I was turning on the Genius feature for my iTunes to as it were, "expand my musical horizons" and came across this part of the iTUNES STORE - TERMS AND CONDITIONS, which nobody reads but weird specific people like me. Please breeze through.....
Except as otherwise stated in this Agreement, the Service is subject to Apple's Privacy Policy at
When you opt in to the Genius feature, Apple will, from time to time, automatically collect information that can be used to identify media in your iTunes library on this computer, such as your play history and playlists. This includes media purchased through iTunes and media obtained from other sources. This information will be stored anonymously and not associated with your name or iTunes Account. When you use the Genius feature, Apple will use this information and the contents of your iTunes library, as well as other information, to give personalized recommendations to you.
Apple may only use this information and combine it with aggregated information from the iTunes libraries of other users who also opt in to this feature, your iTunes Store purchase history data, aggregated purchase history data from other iTunes Store users, and other information obtained from third parties, to:
• Create personalized playlists for you from your iTunes library.
• Provide you with recommendations regarding media and other products and services that you may wish to purchase.
• Provide recommendations regarding products and services to other users.
At all times your information will be treated in accordance with Apple’s Privacy Policy.
Once you opt in to the Genius feature in iTunes, you will be able to create Genius playlists on Genius-capable devices. To enable the Genius feature on a device, you must sync it with your iTunes library after you have opted in.
If you prefer that we do not collect and use information from your iTunes library in this manner, you should not enable the Genius feature. You can revoke your opt-in choice at any time by turning off the Genius feature from the Store menu in iTunes on your computer. After you opt out, iTunes will no longer send information about your iTunes library to Apple. If you have elected to share your library from multiple computers, you need to turn off the Genius feature from each computer. The Genius feature cannot be enabled or disabled from your device.
By opting in to the Genius feature, you consent to the use of your information as described above and as described in Apple’s Privacy Policy.
When I finished I begun to wonder, can I really trust Apple Inc with a comprehensive insight into my personal music tastes. This information even includes the 'sources' of my music: crap, Limewire & Transmission are some serious friends of mine. Its of necessity, here in Accra, Ghana, where am I going to find a CD shop that sells reasonably priced CDs - Massa lookee hia, blame Sean Parker not me man. XD
George Orwell's 'original' manuscript in development [src; Wikipedia]
All that aside, I wonder how exactly Apple Inc will benefit from this information. I mean its an exchange, they will give me access to more music that is supposedly similar to my current predilections. In return they will expect me to pay for for the songs they recommend online - sounds fair, right? Question is, will they seriously just store this information about myself and not utilize it further? Will they not provide this information to third parties, either at a price, under duress or for other reasons. I don't know and that bothers me; then I think, why should it there is a lot more information about me on WEB 2.0 already. My Facebook account alone is like a treasure trove of personal information. And then my Gmail account, and my LinkedIn profile, Hotmail, Yahoo, Skype chats, Chrome/Safari/Firefox histories, even all my numerous accounts splattering my digital footprints all over cyberspace. Nineteen Eighty-Four came 20 years late, but it came nonetheless. Seriously, Facebook launched in 2004, chew on that!
Concerns must be analysed and then put in the right perspective. Now I grew up on the internet; or shall I say grew up with the internet. As it has evolved and become an even more invasive and addictive experience, I have come to the simple conclusion that I cannot shy away from this technology so I will embrace it fully. I will figure out its intricacies, its fluid framework and its highly dynamic set of rules and become extremely adept at utilizing it to achieve my own ends. It is _2011 (-93.5hrs) and I would much rather be an Inner Party member than Winston Smith; O'Brien had it far better. After all, I manage what information I would like to put in in the public domain and it appears quite self-evident that the better you manage this information, the better off you will be especially considering this is the Information Age. It is certainly impossible to control who has access to your digital information nowadays. It is so easy to access and share everybody's personal data, pictures especially are taken for granted but are much more revealing. Certainly if you see that flashlight blinking you better give your best pose, because someone might just tag you.

The best way to exploit a system is from the inside. So I am wired in hard, trying to stay ahead of the curve. Many people are just passive, some are reactive, but a few are proactive. Seriously, very proactive. Human beings will increasingly lead more and more of their lives on the internet, so as an early adopter in a rapidly changing landscape do not begrudge me my many Facebook posts, my prim and proper LinkedIn profile or my annoyingly snide emails. It is all part of my online persona, who is not that much different from me in person, just disconnected from the immediacy of the physical.
Anyway my Genius feature is turned on and apparently all 6961 audio files in my iTunes Library can be neatly categorized into 12 playlists. You can trust Jobs & Co to make things so easy. I'm diving in, doublethinking all the way because Big Brother is watching you! :)