2019 was an amazing year. Period. The year pretty much shook me off my comfort zone. I didn’t step out of it, the year shook me off and I simply followed its rhythm.
It’s easily the one year where I witnessed a lot of personal and professional growth; I hit some milestones, missed a ton of others, and still, I don’t know how to swim.
It was the year I became intentional about building and maintaining relationships, something I think I started late but still glad I started. The relationships I have cultivated in the past have significantly influenced the trajectory of my life from my teenage years and even through my twenties. I believe these relationships formed the bedrock of who I am today and what I do today. I am uncertain where I would be if I had not met some of the people I have met over the years.
I will turn 40 this decade. While that is scary to think about, I believe this decade will be a defining one and will set the tone to what the rest of my life will look like. For that reason, I am being a lot more deliberate with everything, particularly my words, thoughts, and actions.
In March 2019, I stepped away from paid employment and became a full time “house husband.” This period allowed me time for some much needed personal reflection, and in hindsight, the events that led to that moment weren’t happenstance. I like to believe that God had a hand in all. Clichè? I know.
In July of 2019, Olivia joined the board of Omin Inc. She has been on the board for about five months now and if the early signs are an indication of things to come, all I can say is that Lee, our current board chairman, has some serious competition. I am still here as their Chief Errand Officer(CEO) and I will always be at their beck and call.
In February I moved from a bachelor pad to a family home. The move was necessary and it afforded me some much-needed bonding time with my son; we play football together and I taught him how to ride a bicycle. I finally got a front porch like every self-respecting adult. My next goal is to buy a flower pot, put some flowers in it, tend to them and watch them bloom.
I cried once, maybe five times in 2019. Before that, the last time I cried was when I was burying my maternal grandmother in 2009 and here’s something I have come to learn about crying:
1) It’s therapeutic.
2) Tears never solve any problem, so when you’re done crying, your problems will still be there staring at you.
3) There’s a trick to crying without drawing too much attention to yourself: step into the shower, place both hands on the wall, lean in and let the tears roll down your cheeks. Don’t bawl you’re only going to end up attracting some unnecessary attention.
Professional - Hey Alta Labs
I started Alta Labs in 2019. I know what you may be thinking, however, starting the company wasn’t a shortsighted attempt at creating a startup in the Nigerian tech space. Rather, it was borne out of necessity; I and a brilliant group of young people identified a gap in the tech space which we strongly believe we are uniquely equipped and positioned to fill.
Alta Labs, a technology consultancy and strategy firm, was founded on a simple principle; to help African entrepreneurs scale their ideas quickly and affordably using modern technology. In a nutshell, how can we help them move their ideas from 0 to 1?
The solution we came up with is simple but effective; we will serve as the engine room for these entrepreneurs to help them do the non-sexy engineering work while they focus their energies on the areas of their businesses where they have a comparative advantage; sales, growth and building incredible teams.
So what did Alta Labs set out to do for companies and entrepreneurs?
Scale their team for efficiency: we have seen a lot of traditional companies in old industries try to ride the technology/digital wave and we are quite excited about this. But the problem is, a lot of these companies don’t have engineering as their strong suit, as such, it makes attracting and keeping talent a big problem. This isn’t an issue with the old companies alone, many start-ups hit this ceiling the moment they have found product-market fit, raised funding and are looking to scale. Our mission here is to help these organizations build desirable engineering organizations that will attract talent to them rather than them chasing talent.
Processes: like with team efficiency, most companies don’t quite understand what makes an engineering team tick. Why the engineering teams in company X are outperforming the engineering team of company Y.
Data stories: daily, businesses are acquiring more and more data, but they aren’t doing much with these data. We want to help companies maximize the goldmine that is data which are generated from their activities. We also want to help them tell stories using the data, drive user engagement and finally become their on-demand data engineers.
Training: Alta Labs is also well positioned to offer specialized training for companies with teams that are struggling with engineering processes and concepts.
Product Development: developing products for companies is not an easy task but Alta Labs is happy to do this particular heavy lifting for companies. We have the skill and capacity to cover everything in the product development process, from what you should build, why you should build, product design, DevOps and business intelligence.
In 2019 we spent time building, advising and consulting for some of the biggest brands you have come to love and admire: from a brand that is a two-person team to some of the biggest fintechs and financial institutions. We have powered and continued to power firms in e-commerce transport tech, human resources and edutech firms.
In 2020, I will be spending a lot of time leading the 12 incredible people at Alta Labs and building the company into an organisation that I would enjoy working at. We are very much aware of the task ahead and the possibility of challenges, however, we are confident that if we push harder, we will breakthrough.
Today, Alta Labs is engineering heavy, we still have a ton of roles to fill; product/project managers, business development, DevOps engineers, iOS(Swift) engineers and marketing. We are 100% bootstrapped so we will be growing the team steadily as our resources permits.
This is new territory for me, so I’ll be knocking on the doors of a lot more experienced people to help us on this journey. The request may vary from getting clarity around moving from point A to B or someone to just listen to me cry and rant.
This year I will be doing a whole lot of selling. Like a lot. I’ll be speaking to people everywhere; airport lounges, hotels, planes, church premises, malls, etc. There’s no shame here, our existence 100% depends on our ability to sell. So sell I will.
As a nod to the one company — Amazon — I have come to love and respect; it’s day one and will always remain so.
If there’s one thing I will be guarding fervently this year, it will be my time. This is the one resource that is limited in quantity and, unfortunately, I can’t buy more than the 24 hours that is allotted to each one of us.
It’s day one and will always remain so.
In all, 2019 was an amazing year.
What are you building? Tell me about it here and let’s see how Alta Labs can help - celestine(at)altalabs.io
I'll love to hear from you
Do you want to say hello? Email me - firstname.lastname@example.org
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