I decided to create a new category called interviews, (though I had previously conducted one with Mr. Isaac Durojaiye, Otunba Gadaffi of DMT toilets, read “lessons I learnt on the road to significance”). This was created so as to ask pointed questions and reveal insights as to how certain corporations and websites are run, stories of how some other entrepreneurs talk about their challenges and triumphs and to learn from the rising models of the new Nigeria; the values and attitudes to inculcate. Some notable entrepreneurs are already interested but my schedule and theirs will have to jell.
Today, I am pleased to start with the man behind the “keke POET” project, and the administrator of dipotepede.com and poetsolvers.com. Having known him for over 7 years, He’s one person who is gradually warming him way through the economy while touching the lives of others. Behind his posts and the management of his site, I decided to ask pointed questions about him and his business. His name is Dipo Tepede, enjoy his story.
1. Mr. Dipo Tepede, can we meet yon? (Your passions, likes, what u do…)
I am a growth oriented individual and love empowering people to grow; I love anything that makes me grow on a personal level. If I have to be involved in anything at all, I always tie it to personal growth. I started a blog because I wanted to overcome my weakness of writing; I read books in order to grow in learning; my greatest moments are when I am teaching and motivating people on personal growth; it’s my greatest joy to see someone move from a low level to a high level like the graduate trying to be employed or employee trying to be financially independent. This is my passion; this is what drives me.
2. In a recent survey, it was discovered that over 75% of graduates are not found in their area of study 5 years after graduation, what do u think is responsible? (Should I mention you studied chemistry?)
75% is a very generous fraction because I strongly believe that the figure is about 95% in Nigeria. I believe the issue faults from the educational background where we choose our course of study based on the perceived prestige or economic value. We live in a society where we are not allowed to be ourselves but we are pressured to suck up to the joneses. We kill all our conscience and intuition to please the world that does not even care about our well being.
After getting all “A”s in my junior WAEC, I was forced to join the Science Classes which led me to think about studying Computer with Economics because of my flair for science and social science. Unfortunately, my JAMB grades were not good enough so I settled for Chemistry hoping to cross over. Fortunately, my brother advised me on the trend in the job market that the course you do, does not matter; all you need is to get is a 2-1 in any course and you would be able to choose the job you want. He was definitely right but self discovery is a different ball game all together.
3. What facilitated your disengagement from Globacom?
Globacom is a very (nice)ok place to work with good pay and relatively less work load so it was a difficult decision for me to do.
The termination of my appointment with Globacom was a combination of factors but the chief driver was my MBA program in Sweden which I wanted to finish very well; whatever my hands find to do I should give it my best. I was joggling my MBA program with my work at Globacom in 2007 and I was topping the class in my first semester. My second semester was quite different; the course work was more tasking and it involved my presence in Sweden especially for an exam. It was quite impossible joggling the work, my family and the MBA program; my grades where plummeting. Forecasting on my thesis work that would involve my travel to China for some period of time, I knew there was no way Globacom was going to give me that time away from work but there was something that gave me the confidence to finally walk away; I made substantial amount of money from various MLM activities that I was involved in and I wanted to try my hands on some social businesses.
4. It really seems you’ve been enjoying yourself around the globe, but I’m sure it was not all fun. Behind all that what exactly have you been up to?
I realize that I enjoy travelling which is part of my growth passion; discovering new places, learning new culture and expanding my intellect.
Well, it is all fun for me whenever I travel even when work is involved; I remember travelling to Rome for three days and it was business meeting from morning to night and I enjoyed the experience.
My last travel involved so many things wrapped up together; I was in Dubai to close up some deals with some selected DGCX brokers, I was in Hong Kong and some part of China purely for research and finally and most crucial, I was in China for my “keke POeT Project”. The “keke POeT Project” is a social venture with a business perspective. It is targeted towards underprivileged secondary school graduates who do not have the means to go to university or polytechnic but have the desire. It is also targeted towards workers who do not have time to invest but have the means. The “keke POeT Project” satisfies two different demographics in Nigeria and we are looking at ways to expand it to other West African countries.
5. How has your experience at Globacom and Access Bank helped you in these new assignments?
The experiences I got in Glo and Access were pivotal to the “keke POeT Project”. The skills I developed while working in these two companies have helped me thus far in the pilot stage of this project. I believe there are more challenges that would require the experiences derived from these great companies as I move ahead because the project is still in its nascent stage.
6. What does a Dubai Gold Commodity Exchange (DGCX) mean and what services are you offering Nigerians?
Dubai Gold Commodity Exchange (DGCX) is one of the commodities futures and derivative exchange market in the world located in Dubai. I am a certified professional with DGCX and I was looking for the best way to share my knowledge in this important aspect of business. DGCX is not just a way to invest and make money; it’s a knowledge you would need if you want to be engaged in international business.
So I said to myself, ‘How do I venture into this all important task of sharing this knowledge without affecting my other programs and entrepreneurial activities?’ I thought of training but I debunked it after some time when I realized the commitment of marketing it for success, so I realized the best thing to do was to write a book on it and leverage Amazon for marketing to Nigerians in Diaspora and do free seminars in Nigeria where the book would be sold. The book would be completed soonest.
7. The Poet initiative has been on for a while, what is the purpose behind poetsolvers.com?
POeT means Prophets On empowerment Tactics; I have a prophetic unction from God Almighty and I am empowering the world using various tactics. I started in OAU, Ife in my year 2 and the project lives on till I leave this earth.
POeTSolvers means POeT Solution Providers. It’s majorly a consulting outfit registered with the CAC in Nigeria. The vision is to empower Nigerians financially through various platforms like training, books, blogs and social businesses. POeTSolvers.com is the official web site,
8. Behind the entire internet processes and the razzmatazz of business, what drives you?
Like I mentioned earlier on, my drive towards anything on this earth is growth, empowerment, development and change. These are my passion; it’s my joy to see someone change from one level to another. I am also happiest when I am involved in anything that causes change like motivating youths and teaching through my blog. This is why I do them for free because it makes me happy but the business angle comes in to sustain the projects.
I realized that God gave me business talents to control organic growth of empowerment projects that I am venturing in and may venture in the future. My “keke POeT Project” was derived from Mohammed Yunus – Nobel Prize Winner for Peace in 2006 who was able to use business to salvage the poor of Bangladesh through microcredit. I am also coming up with ways to influence my community and hopefully win a Nobel Prize in the near future. I foresee other projects like film and television production. You would definitely need a strong business skill to make your investors happy when making films but you would derive the joy of passing your message across,
9. There is an imbalance in the system. Lots of people are desperate for jobs, while a fewer portion are pulling the bull, and starting their own businesses, which has been better for you?
There is a book we are developing in POeTSolvers called JOB FINDERS. It’s a total solution to job hunting in Nigeria. I am surprised why people are desperate for jobs when they do not have the requisite skill and knowledge to get the job. If you want to get a job, you need to develop yourself to get the job; there is no magic about it.
When I finished my undergraduate program, I wanted to join PWC but I failed the aptitude test three times. I had to tell myself the truth by developing myself; failure is only an indication that you are not yet ready for that level. Developing yourself increases your chances and makes you stand out amongst your peers.
There is really no scarcity of jobs but scarcity of the right people. When I was in Glo, there was a recruitment process to get into Glo Gateway – the international business arm of Glo. It was every staffs dream to work in Gateway so management placed a bar on the people allowed to work in Gateway by saying only those that have international MBAs can work there. Guess what? I got into Gateway without this prerequisite (no MBA not to talk of international) because I stood out. I have developed myself amidst several failures from PWC and P&G.
Now talking about which one is better; it depends on individuals, their dreams and their aspirations. It’s better for one to know what he/she wants at the earlier age in life. I am not really a fan of those who venture on their own because they could not secure a job; if your dream is to secure a job, please develop yourself to get the job. Do not go on your own because you could not get a job. This is why POeTSolvers took out time to develop JOB FINDERS – a total solution for job seekers so that you can secure that dream job.
10. For me it looks like there are silent internet communities rising to redefine the values of a new Nigeria. How are you contributing your own quota?
I believe there are so many communities rising up to redefine the standards in Nigeria but most do not have access to the media. The internet is a cost effective way to pass across your message and for those fighting through the internet to create positive change, I give kudos to all of them.
I have a blog at www.dipotepede.com titled DipoTepede.POeT where I attempt to provoke the minds of individuals towards personal growth. At this season of my life, I am focused on the financial aspect of growth. I am also trying to get various minds together in POeTSolvers Article Conference located at www.poetsolvers.com/ams to discuss best ways to inert the gravity of poverty. You are all welcome to share your views through articles, comments, etc.
Thank you very much Deola, for giving me the opportunity to reflect on my vision; the interview was very stimulating and rewarding. Wishing you the best bro!