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Beijing Memoirs – moments, memories, and happenings from my trip to China

12 hours later and it’s touch down Beijing in the company of a pumped Enactus UCD team from Dublin. We had been crowned champions of Ireland a couple of months and were now to present the award winning project — Generation Accommodation on a world stage.

I have tried to capture moments, memories, and happenings in little packetsand themes as shown below. Enjoy.

On Travel

Missing Luggage. Extra Yuan

I had arrived the Dublin airport with two bags — both able to fit in the cabin and weighing under 10KG each. After debating with myself I checked-in the bigger bag only to arrive Beijing and no bag on the belt. Arrrgh, I should have just taken the bag on board, after all other people’s hand luggage are…

This thought was interrupted when the airport official handed me a British Airway Visa debit card and a 400 Yuan compensation — a silver lining you could say as I was reunited with my bag 24 hours later.

Key lessons: Travel is a [higher] form of education. The journey is of more value than the destination; and nothing comes of panicking, so relax.

Continue reading Beijing Memoirs – moments, memories, and happenings from my trip to China

His name is Rocstrong and he’s got sick tunes

Amazing time at 4 Dame Lane’s Dublin’s Uptown Shed Sessions with live music from Rocstrong and The Funk Element. Perhaps you’d value the session if you really love good live music and was very impressed to learn he actually wrote his songs.


My favorite songs from the evening: Go ‘Head, [She] Got It, Slow, and Row

Another reason to love Dublin.

You can listen to the latest music here and follow Rocstrong on Facebook, Twitter & Soundcloud.


All Photos by: Nubi Kay – The Afrodubliner

Road To Beijing: 5 business lessons from Enactus journey

And the winner is…

6 months ago I joined a team of students with an amazing idea to bridge the generational gap while meeting two needs in society — providing companionship for the elderly in society as well as affordable accommodation for matured students ready to give a helping hand.

The team — Enactus UCD. The idea — Generation Accommodation.

It has however gone from an idea to a running project, in fact, business already getting traction in Ireland with endless limitation since it is a very simple business model applicable almost anywhere and addresses two global problems.

No surprise Generation Accommodation went ahead to win the Enactus Ireland prize of representing the country at the world cup — attracting other national champions to Beijing, China in October.

In retrospect, here are my top 5 takeaways from the 6 months journey:


No resource is more valuable than people

Having joined a team that started with just 3 people, it was awesome to see it grow to 18. The lesson was not in the numbers but the value and talent and skill set that every member brought to the table — who they knew, what they said, the technical know-how, eye for design, and simple things as cheering others up and motivating the team.

It is really a fantastic team — 18 students from post graduate and undergraduate, 4 continents — Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, 6 Countries, and backgrounds in Commerce, Engineering, Business, Management Consulting, Art, Arts, not forgetting our Board of Advisors from KPMG (Katey), IFG (David), Aurthur Cox, and Faculty Representative (Kathy).

One problem can be a solution for another

Generation accommodation proves the above. On one side the elderly living alone with loneliness and financial woes their top 2 concerns, and on the other side matured students looking for accommodation. Match this two and you have two problems solved as the student now offers companionship and extra income to the elderly while getting a roof and a chance to have social impact.

It would have been more complex looking for a solution first for the lonely elders in society, and then another for many students in Ireland with the problem of having a roof over their heads. These are two different issues that when put together offers a solution that is simple and sustainable.

To find out more about the project, join the Facebook and Twitter community.

Having a plan B can be detrimental

Of all the teams that presented in the final round of 4, it was only UCD that had one project to pitch. Others had 2 and even up to 3, which according to one of the judges made the evaluation process complicated for them and easy for us.

Like I also said in my post here (#3), avoid the temptation of juggling more than one ball because you end up splitting focus and resource ending up with half-baked outcomes. We had 1 team, 1 project, 1 focus, and we delivered a top-notch outcome.

Storytelling is the best form of marketing

Don’t pitch me bro! Rather tell me a story. Everyone loves a good story so I was not in a bit worried at our presentation at the Enactus Ireland finals. We had stories to tell — one of a lonely woman captured in an audio interview, and another of Patricia who was an embodiment of the solution we proposed.

Yes, numbers and forecast are cool. Tech is not a bad idea. Business models are needed if you are looking for funding. However it’s the story that brings any stakeholder to the table in the first place so get that right and you have yourself an audience for what comes next.

Team UCD announced winner of the Enactus Ireland competition.

Success is the biggest validation

Just like after Alex Keany and I were announced as winners of the Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow Award 2014, it is safe to conclude that success is the biggest validation for any venture. We had top level managers from Facebook, PaddyPower, Irish Times, Accenture, NDRC, and Brand Fire tell us our idea was the best. Booom!

Same with Generation Accommodation, the end totally justified the means, and like my dear leader, Aoife Buckley said in the Irish Times interview

Participating in Enactus has been a fantastic experience for the whole team and it is a great feeling to be acknowledged for the hard work we put in throughout the year.

We’re thrilled to present the continued success of our project, Generation Accommodation, on a global scale at the Enactus World Cup

For now we celebrate and then get back to work for we have only a few months left on this road to Beijing, China to represent Ireland at the Enactus World Cup.

Road to Beijing was first published on my Medium.


Road to the Accenture #LOT finals

We’ve come so far to give up who we are.. or in this case on this app.

Can’t get the Daft Punk tune out of my head as we went from Top 60 applicant pass 3 rounds into the final 6 at the Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow competition – one that attracted Ireland’s brightest student entrepreneurs.

It’s been an amazing journey, especially the Development Days at Accenture at NDRC and come April 10, the winning team walks away with either an internship at Accenture or place on the NDRC launchpad program – and a trophy.

The big ideas that got us to the finals?

I’ve been working with Alex Keaney on OnePlace, an application to make messaging simple again.

You’d agree we’ve gone from when communicating was simple via email and text messaging to a time of tens (possibly hundreds) of Instant Messaging and Social Networking apps – with you active on at least 3 platforms making communication more difficult and in the case of team/groups a corresponding drop in productivity.

Well, time to go back to the good ol days where you sent a message and the odds the recipient received it is very high. How? OnePlace aggregates all of your messaging apps, allows for smart sending (so you send to active and priority recipient accounts), and consolidate in-bound messages from multiple platforms for better context.

For updates on our journey, follow @OnePlaceHQ on twitter.

You can now stop reading and just watch the recap video below

Top 5 Web Summit Highlights – From Elon Musk to Nigerian Startups Reppin’

Social Media Week (Lagos) is my favourite conference so far, and if you have doubts about that, then read my Top 5 moments from the maiden edition. However, moving to Dublin has its perks. Aside from the tourist attractions, diversity, and breweries, the tech scene here is amazing, and one way to get a good view was from the terrace at the Web Summit.

The third edition of the Web Summit saw over 10,000 people converge in the city of Dublin for 2 days of conference, workshops, pitch, competitions, hackathon, and keynotes, as well as 3 nights of parties. Not to get ahead of myself in what is meant to be an introduction, here are my Top 5 highlights from the event, where I had the opportunity to be a member of the Live Team.

1. People: Garyvee, Elon Musk, Levie, Sarah Lacy and More

The calibre of people at the Web Summit cannot be exaggerated, as individuals considered champions in their ventures came together to rub shoulders and share minds. From investors and founders, to media gurus and public officials, every stakeholder in the business of web were well represented.

Just to mention a few names, especially my favourites – Gary Vernychuck, Sarah Lacy, Baratunde Thurston, Robert Scoble, and Lori Cheek, all of which are in the business of social, and many other notable attendees like Drew Houston, Aaron Levie, Cindy Gallop, and Elon Musk who drove the Irish Prime Minister to the stage in a Tesla Model S.

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2. NASDAQ in Europe

This didn’t make any sense but it did happen. The opening bell for the NASDAQ trading was rung at the Web Summit. Just in case you still don’t get it, people started trading in the United States, after the bell was rung at the Web Summit here in Dublin – that’s a city in Ireland on the continent of Europe.

NASDAQ happened to be a sponsor of the conference and must have been cajoled into pulling this stunt which did stun so many of the attendees.

3. Nigerian Startups Reppin’

With over 90 Beta and 110 Alpha startups from all over the world, it was exciting to see two from Nigeria pitch at the Web Summit. More impressive was the fact that after chatting with over 50 startups at random, the teams from Nigeria – MyMusic – a mobile and web service looking to crack the code of music distribution, and Insidify – a social recruiting platform, are both world class as regards to quality of team and product/service offering.

Definitely an indication that the local tech scene is one of a bright future.

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4. Live Team (my cape) and Summit Team

I briefly mentioned being part of the Live Team at this year’s Web Summit. This meant not only was the 900 Euros ticket fee waived, but I also got to work with a brilliant team of people to share moments from the conference on social media. We had a diverse team using different tools including: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and blogs to capture moments and then share with the rest of the world.

I can only appreciate Elva Carri who took it upon herself to make the Live Team members look more like superheroes as you can see from my cape-photo.

5. Night Summit: #WeCodeHard and #WePartyHarder

Big new for Web Summit is branding  The Summit as it now looks to explore other areas that are connected to the web in one way or the other including: music, art, fashion, food, and more, making the organizer expect a 20,000 attendees next year.

However, this year saw the activation of some of these new verticals including Wet Summit – a weather center providing up-to-date information, Food Summit – feeding and proving nutritional information to attendees, and last but not the least Pub and Night Summit – that saw 10,000 attendees takeover the night life venues across the Dublin city center. Let’s just say techies like to code hard, and love to party harder.

Those are my top 5 highlights from the 2-day event, and sure looking forward to the October 2014 edition, after the Social Media Week 2014 in Lagos, Nigeria.

BONUS: 5 Highlights In Social Media Land – From Facebook And Twitter To Cyber Bullying And IPO