Thursday, 7 March 2013


I enjoy reading, it's a trait that was imbibed in me right from an early age. My father was your average black, educated-but-I-want-my-kids-to-do-better kind of man and he believed any spare time you had should be spent studying or engaging in some form of reading or the other. Hence, we always had books available; if they were not bought, they were brought in from the library. My brother and I read everything; fiction, non-fiction; James Hadley Chase, Sidney Sheldon, Jackie Collins, Agatha Christie; we read biographies; from Michael Jackson's to John F. Kennedy's to Stevie Wonder's. We read about Motown's Berry Gordy, Helen Keller, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte even Adolf Hitler, all these way before I even turned 12. If it was in black and white and on paper, we consumed it within hours, no matter how big. I remember us turning up in the school library asking to borrow encyclopaedias; such was the sheer hunger for knowledge that we had!

I find even today that I still have that same hunger for knowledge and with the internet and its huge volume of information, my quest is just simply insatiable. (I still love books though) Trust me, the internet is really what you make of it so if I am reading about someone and they mention another significant person, I'm all up on google researching the life out of that person. More recently, I am interested in inspirational stories, real life ones that get me pushing hard for my dreams. I love them even more when they have stories of failure at the beginning... ah, that gets me all in. And this quest for knowledge was what made me stumble on the remarkable story of Jason Njoku, the CEO of  IROKO PARTNERS, an online media distribution company focused on the Nigerian Entertainment Industry.

Njoku's idea for a media platform where all things African Entertainment: music, movies and celebrity interviews would be available for everyone to access anywhere in the world at an affordable price was born when he was trying to get his mother an African movie to watch online and he couldn't find any. He immediately contacted his friend Bastian Gotter and sold the idea to him and the two set out to tackle a problem that the Nigerian movie industry had been trying so hard to tackle before that time; piracy. By December 2010, Iroko Partners was born and within the first four months, they had bought the online rights to 500 movies from 100 different one-man production houses. Today, IROKO PARTNERS is the largest global licensor of Nollywood movies online. Tiger Global, a hedge fund run by an early investor in Facebook and Zynga has invested $8 million into the company and today IROKO PARTNERS is the fastest growing internet company in Nigeria and YouTube's biggest African partner with distribution deals with Amazon, ITUNES and Daily Motion. All these within 2 years. All these from a self-professed failure who grew up in a council flat in South-East London. All these because when Jason Njoku failed at first, he dusted himself off and tried and tried again.

Failure should not and cannot define you, me, or anybody for that matter. Failure is not a problem, it is the bruised ego that we suffer as a result of the failure that makes us take the stand never to go through it again. What we fail to understand, however is that failure is a necessary ingredient to success; in order to succeed and succeed well, we need to fail. Failure opens our eyes to our mistakes and allows for us to either perfect an original idea, re-define it or discard it altogether and build another one. It helps us build persistence, a necessary virtue that will ensure we stay at the top of our game when we eventually succeed. Other times failure occurs because the real opportunity is lying untapped right beside the one we are struggling so hard with; and without us failing at it, we never will make use of the real thing. Failure helps us to build our resistance, the more we fail, the more resilient we should be at succeeding. We must understand failure is great for us to define the path of our success, if only we learn to manage it well.

You might ask, How then do I manage failure?

1.) Keep trying.

Everyone fails, everyone. In fact, it is better to approach a new venture with the knowledge (not belief) that there is, indeed, the slight possibility of failing at it. The best thing to do therefore, will be to keep yourself open to trying new things. Be a learner. Research opportunities and look out for problems as it is in them that most big opportunities lie.

2.) Be wise.

Don't just 'hope for the best' and jump at every opportunity thrown at you. Take a look at that project and do a honest assessment " What are the chances that it will be succeed?" What are the chances of failure? Which one is greater? If the chances of failure is higher than that of success, it's probably not worth it to to go into the venture at all.

3.) Recognize failure when it stares you in the face.

Sometimes we are so busy trying to make something work that we do not realize we have failed. Because we know and have heard it said too often that persistence is necessary for success, we keep on trying where obviously there is no need to. Recognize when you have failed and don't be afraid to admit it. Get feedback where possible, get advise and seek professional opinion, don't get too emotional, zone in on yourself and your abilities; in short be your own competition. Try ideas in a safe place, don't be all out if you don't have to. Start off on a small scale so that even if it fails at that point, you can bow out with very few people even noticing. Above all, recognize when it is time to cut your losses. Don't be afraid to move on.

Don't give up. Fail, but ensure you are failing on the way to success. Shine the light at the end of your own tunnel and don't be afraid to swim lagoons, break barriers and if possible change paths and directions in order to get there. You can do it! And you can do it now.

Love & Light,


"Intelligence is not to make mistakes, but to see quickly how to make them good."- Bertolt Brecht.

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