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Inspiring People

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Patrick Collison (born 9 September 1988) is an Irish billionaire entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CEO of Stripe, which he started with his younger brother, John, in 2010. Patrick is one of my favorite silicon valley entrepreneurs, not only because he and his brother are building something great but because he is one of the most voracious reader in the valley.

In November 2016, the Collision brothers became the world’s youngest self-made billionaires, worth at least $1.1 billion, after an investment in Stripe from CapitalG and General Catalyst Partners valued the company at $9.2 billion.

Here are some thoughts of some other entrepreneurs on Patrick Collision:

Chris Sacca

“Patrick is quite literally one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. Like, he puts Larry Page on his heels smart. I don’t know anyone who has 1) read more books and 2) has the near photographic memory for what he has read. His thoughts are provocative and challenge the status quo. His success is no accident.”

If you were to look at my cheat sheet, there wouldn’t be a lot on it. There would be a tennis ball, a circle, and the number 30,000. 

Drew Houston of Dropbox is one of my favorite silicon valley entrepreneur; he attributes a lot of his success to his belief that everything is figouratable. In the early days of starting dropbox, when he needed to figure something out, he went to amazon.com and bought the top-rated books on the subject, he read the books, and he then tried to apply the principles to his business.

Andrew Houston is an American Internet entrepreneur, and the co-founder and CEO of Dropbox, an online backup and storage service. According to Forbes, his net worth is about $2.2 billion. He attended Acton-Boxborough Regional High School in the 1990s. He later graduated with a degree in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. It was there that he met Arash Ferdowsi who would later go on to be co-founder and CTO of Dropbox.

During his time in college, Houston co-founded a SAT prep company. Houston and Ferdowsi co-founded Dropbox in 2007. Houston currently is CEO and 25% owner of Dropbox. In February 2020, Houston joined the board of directors of Facebook, replacing Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who left in May 2019.

“With the possible exception of Henry Ford, Sam Walton is the entrepreneur of the century.”- TOM PETERS, co-author of In Search of Excellence

One of my favorite entrepreneurs of all time is Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. Sam was a visionary, cheerleader, great salesman, serial borrower, tough competitor, relentless entrepreneur who built a retail empire without losing his common touch. One of the most interesting things about Sam Walton was his vision for Walmart and his focus on generational wealth. As long have observed the Forbes list of the richest people globally, his offsprings have always been in the top 20 Forbes richest list, which is very impressive.

The Walton family held five spots in the top ten richest people in the United States until 2005. Two daughters of Sam’s brother Bud Walton—Ann Kroenke and Nancy Laurie—hold smaller shares in the company. The Walton family is an American family whose collective fortune makes them the richest family in the United States of America and the richest family in the world.

Samuel Moore Walton (March 29, 1918 – April 5, 1992) was an American businessman and entrepreneur best known for founding the retailers Walmart and Sam’s Club. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. grew to be the world’s largest corporation by revenue as well as the biggest private employer in the world. For a period of time, Walton was the richest man in America.

Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, one of the world’s largest business enterprises in terms of annual revenue, and with just over 2.2 million employees, the world’s largest private employer.
As of December 2014, the Waltons collectively owned 50.8 percent of Walmart. In 2018, the family sold some of their company’s stock and now owns just under 50%. In July 2020, the annual Sunday Times Rich List reported that the Walton family’s net worth was $US225.2 billion.

Sam Walton’s Autobiography: Made in America is one of my favorite business biographies as it contains lots of wisdom, insights, anecdotes, in the trenches advice, a very good read. The book chronicles his starting out, major tough early business lessons, borrowing ideas from others, customer obsession, Small Town Strategy, battling cancer, raising kids, understanding the value of a dollar among other insights.

Ms. Amina J. Mohammed is the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Mohammed served as Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria where she steered the country’s efforts on climate action and efforts to protect the natural environment.

Ms. Mohammed first joined the United Nations in 2012 as Special Adviser to former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with the responsibility for post-2015 development planning. She led the process that resulted in global agreement around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals.  

Ms. Mohammed began her career working on the design of schools and clinics in Nigeria. She served as an advocate focused on increasing access to education and other social services, before moving into the public sector, where she rose to the position of adviser to three successive Presidents on poverty, public sector reform, and sustainable development.

Leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do it. – Frances Hesselbein

Frances Hesselbein (born 1 November 1915) is the former CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, from 1976 to 1990, and is the president and CEO of the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum, at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership.

Leadership is the art of getting people to do what they might not otherwise do, and to like it.- Harry Truman

Between 1965 and 1976, she rose from volunteer troop leader to CEO and held the position of CEO for thirteen years until 1990. During her tenure, the Girl Scouts attained a membership of 2.25 million girls with a workforce of 780,000, mainly volunteers. In 1990, Hesselbein left the Girl Scouts to run the Leader to Leader Institute (formerly known as the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management). After Drucker’s death in 2005, the foundation was renamed after Hesselbein in 2012.

In 1998, Hesselbein was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work with the Girl Scouts of the USA. She turned 100 years old in November 2015. Hesselbein was denoted a Pitt Legacy Laureate of the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. She has received 22 honorary doctoral degrees.

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area)  who didn’t read all the time-none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads-and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book  with a couple of legs sticking out.” 

Charlie Munger is the vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett. He is an American investor, businessman, former real estate attorney, architectural designer, and philanthropist. Munger served as chairman of Wesco Financial Corporation from 1984 through 2011. He is also chairman of the Daily Journal Corporation, based in Los Angeles, California, and a director of Costco Wholesale Corporation.

Charlie is a proponent just like Warren Buffet of Life Long Learning. As a teenager he worked at Buffett & Son, a grocery store owned by Warren Buffett’s grandfather.

In his 2007 USC Law School Commencement Address he shared some great insights on life long learning:

Wisdom acquisition is a moral duty. It’s not something you do just to advance in life. As a corollary to that proposition which is very important, it means that you are hooked for lifetime learning.

And without lifetime learning, you people are not going to do very well. You are not going to get very far in life based on what you already know. You’re going to advance in life by what you learn after you leave here.

Another idea that I got, and this may remind you of Confucius too, is that wisdom acquisition is a moral duty. It’s not something you do just to advance in life. Wisdom acquisition is a moral duty.

“Life’s a lot more fun if you treat its challenges in creative ways.”

Bill Gates is an American Entrepreneur, software developer, investor, and philanthropist. He is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Gates co-founded Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975, in Albuquerque, New Mexico; it went on to become the world’s largest personal computer software company.

Bill Gates is one of my favorite people in the world; I grew up adoring Bill not only for his wealth but also for his relentless learning habit and work ethic. He has attributed his success to his relentless learning curiosity and maniac hard work. Bill Gates is one of the biggest testaments to the truism: “To earn more, you must learn more.

The most significant investment you can make in your lifetime is on yourself by becoming a lifelong learner and be curious to figure things out like Maria Forleo argued in her excellent book: Everything Is figureoutable. Someone might say that Bill can read that many books because he is Bill Gates, which I would say; instead, he is Bill Gates because he read important books voraciously.

I still spend five or six hours a day reading.

He spends as much as 80 percent of his day reading.

Warren Edward Buffett (born August 30, 1930) is an American investor, business tycoon, and philanthropist, who is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is noted for his adherence to value investing and for his personal frugality despite his immense wealth.

Warren Buffet has been the chairman and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway since 1970. His business exploits have had him referred to as “Oracle” or “Sage” of Omaha by global media outlets. He is considered to be one of the most successful investors in the world.

  • Warren starts every morning by poring over several newspapers and estimates he spends as much as 80 percent of his day reading.
  • Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.
  • I read and think, So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.

Don’t sleepwalk through life. Don’t say it’s all going to be great. I’ll do this and I’ll do that, I’m just marking time until I get to be older. That’s like saving up sex for your old age. It is not a good idea.

Muhammadu Sanusi II was the 14th Emir of Kano, he ascended the throne on 8 June 2014, following the death of his grand-uncle Ado Bayero. He was dethroned on 9 March 2020 by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.

Prior to his accession, Sanusi was an economist and banker. He served as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009 to 2014, when he was suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan after raising the alarm on the US$20 billion NNPC scandal.

Growing Up

Sanusi was born on 31 July 1961 in Kano to a ruling class Fulani family of the Sullubawa clan. His father, Aminu Sanusi, was a career diplomat who served as the Nigerian Ambassador to Belgium, China, and Canada, and later served as the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was also the Chiroma of Kano and son of Muhammadu Sanusi I, who was the 11th Emir of Kano from 1953 to 1963, when he was deposed by his cousin Sir Ahmadu Bello.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian-born economist and international development expert. She sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).

Previously, Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, scaling the ranks to the Number 2 position of Managing Director, Operations (2007-2011). She also served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003-2006, 2011-2015) under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively.

She is renowned as the first female and black candidate to contest for the presidency of the World Bank Group in 2012, backed by Africa and major developing countries in the first truly contestable race for the world’s highest development finance post. 

Currently, Dr Okonjo-Iweala is Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation. Since its creation in 2000, Gavi has immunized 680 million children globally and saved ten million lives. She is also a Senior Adviser at Lazard and sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered PLC and Twitter Inc.

Aliko Dangote is a Nigerian Businessman and philanthropist who is the founder and chairman of Dangote Group, which is the largest conglomerate in West Africa and one of the largest on the African continent. According to Forbes, Dangote is the richest African and the 162nd wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of $USD 8.5 Billion.

Aliko was born on 10 April 1957 into a wealthy Muslim family, the son of Mohammed Dangote and Mariya Sanusi Dantata, herself the daughter of Sanusi Dantata. He is the great-grandson of Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, the richest West African at the time of his death in 1955. He lost his dad at the age of 8 and was raised by his uncle, who gave him his first business loan, which he paid back in three months.

Masai Ujiri is a Nigerian-Canadian professional basketball executive and former player, and is the president of basketball operations of the Toronto Raptors in the National Basketball Association (NBA). As president, Ujiri worked to usher in a period of sustained success, helping the team win its first NBA championship in 2019.

Ujiri was born in Bournemouth, England, where his parents were studying. With the family moving back to Nigeria when he was two years old, he grew up in Zaria, Nigeria.  Ujiri’s father, a hospital administrator and nursing educator, is an Isoko from Aviara in Delta state, while his mother, a doctor, is a Kenyan from Machakos County.

I stumbled on Coach George Raveling’s story while reading, Jon Gordon’s Book: The Power of Positive Leadership and after finishing the book, I googled him and I was inspired by his story hence am blogging about it.

Referred to by many as “Coach”, George is Nike’s former Director of International Basketball. He is a husband, a father, a friend, and a mentor to many. In 1960, Raveling graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and a fruitful collegiate basketball playing career in the record books. In 1964, George would return to basketball as an assistant coach at his alma mater. He would go on to become a world-class educator and coach with head coaching jobs at Washington State, the University of Iowa and USC. Following a prolific basketball coaching career, he would spend brief stints as a color commentator for Fox Sports and CBS, before being presented with an opportunity of a lifetime to join Nike, Inc.

Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina is the president of the African Development Bank since 2015. Until he was appointed Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2010, he was the Vice President of Policy and Partnerships for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He was named Forbes Africa Person of the Year in 2013 for his “bold reforms” in the farming sector.

On May 28th, 2015, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina made history when he was elected as the 8th President of Africa Development bank thus becoming the first Nigerian to occupy that exalted position since the establishment of the Bank in 1964.

Akinwumi was born in February 1960 to a Nigerian farmer in Ibadan, Oyo State. He earned a first-class honours Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ife, Nigeria in 1981. In 1988 he completed a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University in the United States, where he won the Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis Award for his research work. He also won the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Social Science Post-Doctoral Fellowship in 1988, which launched his international career in global agricultural development.

He also Speaks Impeccable French

Whenever you wake up, that is your morning. What matters is that you wake up. – Igbo Saying

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian Writer born 15 September 1977; she grew up in Nnsukka, Enugu, Nigeria. While she was growing up, her father, James Nwoye Adichie, worked as a professor of statistics at the University of Nigeria. Her mother, Grace Ifeoma, was the university’s first female registrar.

Chimamanda completed her secondary education at the University of Nigeria Secondary School, Nsukka, where she received several academic prizes. She studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. At the age of 19, Adichie left Nigeria for the United States to study communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Connecticut State University, with the distinction of summa cum laude in 2001. In 2003, she completed a master’s degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University. In 2008, she received a Master of Arts degree in African studies from Yale University.