Lagos’ Best Kept Secret: A Report of INTERFACE Season I By Itie Harry

Posted: September 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

Somewhere in the Victoria Island, some of the most interesting people from diverse disciplines, but united by our curiosity, open-mindedness and desire to rebel against the ordinary and mundane, by not only thinking outside the box, but away from the box, meet in an eponymous conference called the Interface. Bet you have never experience anything remotely like it.

This innovative highlight conference is like an intellectual spa, where they discuss and plot the next revolution for Nigeria’s creative economy and under-writing the future. Fret not! It’s not a bloody revolution, but a creative revolution that will redefine Nigeria’s economic equation and make it more competitive with the evolving ultra-trendy global economy. Most are young entrepreneurs and professionals seeking ways of making the most of their ideas, talents and potentials, fulfil their creative thirst for expression and gain a worldview.

July 24, 2010, will forever remain ingrained on the minds of the amazing audience who attended the first edition of the Interface, which held at MMR, in Victoria Island, with the theme, “Nigeria and the Creative Economy.”  The three hour meeting was an amazing event. Like the carnival of creativity, it is a cauldron of ideas brimming with innovations and cutting edge presentations from brilliant people in every true sense of the word. It was a mind blowing phenomenon, beckoning on young people to come into a fresh expression of destiny and flaming the embers of our un-explored passion. Ferdy said, “Following the passion of entrepreneurship is to expose oneself to the possibilities of success and failure; it is a path fraught with detours and distraction. While it could be a solitary journey, there is a need to find people on the same adventure, but maybe the same or different pathways and build a network that can provide some measure of encouragement and support. We must continue to learn, collaborate, and apply new ideas to move forward. Here, we are each other’s cheerleader, and together we can get to the end”.

The ambience reeked of exciting time of camaraderie as people made new friends, left with expanded minds and ready to take action about their dreams and enterprise. How did this come about?

The conversations where with genuine depths and real life applications tailored made for the audience. Those facilitated were Uche Nworah of Globacom, Pai Gamde of HiTV, Tosin Otitoju, a young lecturer from UNILAG, Tolu Oluketuyi of WMP, Lami Idakwo of Pan African University and Uche Eze who runs Banestone Communications and who also runs the award winning Bellanaija blog, all presentations earned deafening applause.

Our vintage lady, Pai Gamde set the ball rolling by dissecting the topic, “Anatomy of Excellence: Duck or Eagle”. She shared practical ways of unlocking personal excellence, encouraging people to move out of their comfort zone. “Autograph your work with excellence hence we must go the mile after the extra and every aspiring and young entrepreneur must upgrade and hone their skills.” were her words. She added that beyond success is purpose, we must organize our life towards a purpose. Her parting shot was to share keys that will unlock your personal excellence: The will to win, the desire to succeed, and the urge to reach your full potential.

Have you ever met a 21st century Nigeria polymath? One word to aptly describe Tosin Otitoju is the polymath Tosin is good and excels in many things. This avid reader took no prisoners with the second lecture, as she spoke about creative curriculum, which she titled, “What Do You Read?” She suggested books she had read that had inspired her and encouraged those in attendance to do the same, ending with a brief talk on the future of education in Nigeria and 20 emerging industries. She urged every entrepreneur to be a leaner.

Uche Nworah with his calm demeanour that kept the audience at ease combines the spirit of a true Nigerian with a rare wisdom that makes his story more than compelling. He made an engaging entrance by recounting nostalgically, his experience on his road trip abroad and pursuit for greener pastures, which reads like a well written sitcom. His presentation was titled, “Enemies of the ordinary: Harnessing your Creative Potential”. He talked about being the best you can be wherever you find yourself and things you can do in achieving that. Advising every young and aspiring entrepreneur to find and make mentors, expand their network. The reliance on building and maintaining good networks are important to attaining goals be it personal or social in nature.

Quintessential Uche Eze, in her conversational style talked about “Virtues of Necessity: 5-Must Have Virtues for Success”. These virtues are passion, strategy, consistency, pace and positivity. She demystified the word strategy and encouraged every young entrepreneur not to give up amidst the challenges. Anthony Greenbacks Book of Survival says, “To live through an impossible situation, you don’t need the reflex of a grand Prix driver, the muscle of Hercules or the mind of Einstein, you simply need to know what to do.” Uche simplified strategy to a simple action of action.  Ferdy was bothered that some strategist like him, might need to find another job with such welcoming simplicity.

“Revolution is a result of mindset evolution” says, thought provoking Lami Idakwo, a graduate student of the Pan African University and also a Social Media Researcher and Consultant. In her usual confident and calm visage, she spoke on social media and its evolution, how it is influencing our culture and lexicon, claiming everyone is looking at everyone without their knowledge. in her words, “For a variety of reasons, what economists call ”barriers to entry” are being destroyed; today an individual or company anywhere can collaborate or compete globally.” she added that creativity and innovation remains an untested industry in Nigeria, yet remain the progressive factor of many industries over the world.

“Have you ever felt gravity?” as entrepreneurs in very challenging environment like ours, there are no mistake-proof solution, one just has to learn to fail forward, and when you hit gravity or rock bottom, use it as the spring board to re-launch again with a high and holy resolve”, was the simple encapsulated wisdom from the serial entrepreneur Tolu Oluketuyi the brain behind discount solutions and the first Nigeria to pioneer this through YPM and POS model. He talked about the challenges he faced as a businessman, but ultimately, you have to tuck that fear under your wings like a football and run with it.  “Think not just about the pains but the opportunities. Sometimes in the season of our entrepreneurial growth, you have to learn to fly without perching.”

There was also Q & A sessions with the speakers that wrapped it up.

In conclusion, The Interface was amazing and we are all looking forward to the sequel in September 11. This is a necessary prelude for something great…a revolution, if you are interested in attending call and book a seat as this is an invitation-only event. I believe we are ahead of our time, why not join the quest for the interface.

TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH…

When the pains of staying at your present location exceeds the fears and uncertainties of venturing into your future destination… Life will demand that you move; you don’t always have to know where you are moving to, but just be sure on what you are running away from. The rest is faith!

The question is not whether we want to fly, but how high we want to fly. So open your mind just a tad wider than the average, listen just a little more, work just a bit harder. If society under-estimates your worth,

If interface is a place, it would be said that the future lives here, a market place of ideas, where you come interact and learn.

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