So, I had a bitter experience with sweet things, that was part 1. Like I always share with people, you don’t learn much when you succeed, the real lessons show up when you fail. You spend nights dreaming and asking yourself what exactly did you do wrong. Yes, dream! I stopped being serious about chess after taking a few beatings on Saturday morning, I got to church the next day, closed my eyes to worship, and all I could see were black and white squares and giant pieces. Right there in church, in the presence of the omniscient, my mind was trying to recover from a failure experience and learn lessons. That marked the end of chess adoration – talk about the power of failure.
Something fundamental happens to you when you lick enough Trebor to last what some people lick in a year in 1 week. Yes, you grow a bond with Trebor, everytime you see it, you remember the taste, quite after you remember your last failure encounter. Failure is an awesome and memorable teacher.
So yes, I failed and had ample time to analyse why I failed before the next Scholarship Interview – Mobil! Without an extra doze of wisdom, my errors were easier to spot in hindsight – Wrong product, solo effort, wrong timing, e.t.c. Rather than quit from business totally, and make up my mind that was not my line, I somehow found courage to try again. I always tell people, it’s not how low you fall, it’s how high you bounce. So when you fall, make sure you bounce!
This time around, we were back in school, the list of shortlisted applicants came out on the dailies, I was on the list and so my friends. Once again, I thought, wouldn’t this be a fantastic opportunity for business? Over 500 people in one place at a time – I smelt an opportunity. Only this time my confidence was not as strong as the first time, failure has it’s unique ways of making a humble person out of you. I was willing to consider all the reasons I failed, and do this one more intelligently.
The product idea this time was transportation – Moving a bus on the streets. It’s first been sweet, now it was time for the streets. The calculation was simple over 150 people from Obafemi Awolowo University were going to Federal University of Technology Akure for their interview, organizing a convenient air conditioned bus to convey them peacefully to and fro was going to be a solution to a real problem. This time around I realized it’s better to have friends laughing with you after, than having friends laughing at you, so I told my friends about the idea and got them involved in being investors. We needed to make posters, share fliers, buy fuel and lock down the buses. Trust me, two are better than one, when there is work to do.
I was the conductor for the first bus, the bus was AC tight, and we were all dressed for the interview. The bus was arranged to take you there, wait for you and deliver you back without stress. You pay before you enter. By the time we were in FUTA, way before the interview began, business was conducted and money had changed hands, no need to rush, no need to hurry, no wandering thoughts, it was a perfect place to be. No friends to laugh at, it wasn’t time to laugh yet, we smiled at each other knowingly, laughing was for another location, when we shared the money in the evening after a long days work.
The street transport idea worked, and compensated for the failure with sweets. The interview was also an exciting experience, the interviewers had fun with us and made me discover something else that was going to be quite profitable for me, but before I go further into the future, I need to take you a bit back to … let me see… bread with a difference, the barbing, or the 24hrs turnaround or the first million Naira loss… or should I go further back? Let’s stick to the lessons… from Transport to Exploits.