The sigh of satisfaction

For no particular reason I decided to take on the challenge of reading every single Jack Ryan book every written and to do this in chronological order. Using this guide, I ploughed through the list. I clearly remember entering the modern era of Jack Ryan when the average read dropped from 45 hours to 15 hours. The classic Tom Clancy novels of the nineties had a full novel as an introduction; leaving you to wonder, how much you should be paying attention to the detail. But no matter the length the story telling is great and the historical context is excellent.

So job done. Jack Ryan, Jr, Clark, Ding, Dom and Adara see you again when Amazon resurrect you out of sequence and with less super-hero awesomeness.

For the stats: Total reading time – 585 hours , Calendar duration – 20 months.

The books:

  1. Without Remorse
  2. Patriot Games
  3. Red Rabbit
  4. The Hunt for Red October
  5. The Cardinal of the Kremlin
  6. Clear and Present Danger
  7. Sum of all Fears
  8. Debt of Honor
  9. Executive orders
  10. Rainbow Six
  11. The Bear and the Dragon
  12. The Teeth of the Tiger
  13. Dead or Alive
  14. Locked on
  15. Threat Vector
  16. Command Authority
  17. Support and Defend
  18. Full force and effect
  19. Under fire
  20. Commander in Chief
  21. Duty and Honor
  22. Truth faith and Allegiance
  23. Point of contact
  24. Power and Empire
  25. Line of Sight
  26. Oath of office
  27. Enemy contact

Keto, again

After a break of roughly 5 years, we are back on the Keto diet train. Its just as effective and rewarding as I recall.

If its so rewarding and effective, then why are we back here again? Opposed to well, still being there.

In short, its because eating according to the keto diet is genuinely a lifestyle change and not an eating plan. Eating and food are a fundamental social glue for all cultures. The keto diet, in my view of course, challenges this cultural aspect as much as it challenges the mind around what food to eat and when to eat.

This culture shift is expressed in two main ways; the re-evaluation of what you eat, and then when to eat.

Done well, eating according to a Keto diet will mean the sacrificing of carb-high foods resulting in a change of your menu, and a greater interval between the meals you do eat. In other words, you will change what you eat, and you will eat less often. This poses two major challenges; changing what you do when you are in social contexts (which often revolve around various kinds of feeding) and then how you manage your thinking around eating, now that your body doesn’t need input (what do you do in lunch time for example?).

Like most of life, we have all become obsessed with being data-driven. Our sleep, food purchases and travel movements are all voluntarily being measured and monitored. The good news is, this also applies to living a Keto lifestyle, now its possible to monitor your sugar (glucose) and ketones in your blood at home with ease, at a relatively low cost. The benefit? Real-time indications of whether you are actually succeeding at your Keto diet – you have low blood sugar and sufficient levels of ketones in your blood. The result, motivation! You can see the result of you hard work; by that I mean the effort you are taking to make the right food and drink consumption decisions every day.

Why all the fuss? Truthfully, there are push and pull factors. Firstly losing some unneeded body weight was in order, and secondly the challenge of committing to change something fundamental to day-to-day living.

When we first heard about the Keto diet through the back-channel YouTube recordings of Prof. Tim Noakes, it was a largely wild and crazy idea that was shocking all who heard it. As you can expect, it was (and still is) largely contested. Now a few years later, adopting a Keto lifestyle is so much easier because of the pervasiveness of fundamental food sources, and also, the encouraging study and education of people like Dr Boz, who has made our Keto re-adoption dramatically easier than a few years ago.

An added benefit to changing our eating habit, feeling better and losing weight as been the focus we can put on the quality of the meals we do eat. In other words, we eating fewer meals, and so are able to use better ingredients. This not only makes us look forward to these meals more, but also helps us do our bit towards eating from sustainable producers, supporting farmers who are trying to make a difference, and generally just looking after our earth more by buying less plastic. Win win win.

Measuring Blood Glucose
The corresponding blood Ketone measurement. Check out the Dr Boz ratio on her site.

Fond Memories: Market success with GT Bank

A few years back I had the privilege of working with one of the most innovative banking teams in the world. GT Bank are market leaders locally in Nigeria and have bagged a few global awards.

Whilst at Clickatell Transact, my job was to help build and launch a product that could take make the adoption of complimentary 3rd party products quick, easy and commercially viable.  We nailed it with GT Bank!

I recently found these pictures of a celebratory event we held on Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. Quality people, delivering a quality solution.

Reading list 2018 check-in

A list of completed and planned reads for the year:


  • Your first triathlon, Joe Friel
  • Switch on your brain, Caroline Leaf.
  • Let the story to the work, Esther Chow
  • Tips for living (fiction), Renee Shafransky (Prime punted).
  • Go, Kazuki Kaneshiro. (Prime punted, didn’t realise it was a book for teens!).
  • True Fiction, Lee Goldberg. (First in the Ian Ludlow series).
  • Debt of Honour, Tom Clancy (Book 6 of the Jack Ryan series). One of the 1000+ pages classics.
  • So good they can’t ignore you, Cal Newport. *stand-out read.


  • Little Bets, Peter Sims.
  • Lean Six Sigma for services, Michael L. George
  • Executive Orders, Tom Clancy (Jack Ryan epic, book 9).
  • Heaven, Randy Alcorn.
  • Find your why, Simon Sinek.
  • Building a story brand, Donald Miller.
  • Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman

Next on the shelf:

  • Keep your love on, Danny Silk
  • Scaling up excellence, Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao.
  • Immunity to Change, Robert Keegan and co.
  • Zone to Win, Geoff Moore
  • On writing well, William Zinsser.
  • The barefoot investor, Scot Pape
  • Story Driven, Bernadette Jiwa
  • Sprint, Jake Knapp.

Refresh your Product launch thinking

Reading some of the “start-up” material can be quite helpful in making sure that our corporate processes and practices don’t become so cumbersome  that they snuff out the possible opportunity.  This is a good article to take us back to product development lifecycle basics – The Non-Technical Guide to Launching Products & Side Projects by Ben Tossell.

Looking for guidance and inspiration to be more entrepreneurial?

Get closer to the source of startup hacking

This is a great post giving some direct links to semi-aggregated start-up and entrepreneurial content.  This will allow you to get a bit closer to the realities and opportunities of start-ups. Unlike Yoav (the author), I still enjoy the macro trends people like Tim Ferriss find – lets face it some of the stuff is more interesting that it is practically helpful.  Take a look at this list of more-direct content here

Is group chat making you sweat?

Being a moderately heavy user of group-chat across distributed teams I can completely relate to the post by Jason Fried  “Is group chat making you sweat?“, because he has managed to capture the frustrations, short-comings and culture expectations that we unwittingly place on ourselves when we rely on group chats as our primary form of communication.  There’s a lot to digest in his review, and it’s well worth making some changes in our expectations and habits of how we use group chat.

There’s something in the water

Before you start humming to “There’s Something in the Water” by Brooke Fraser (simple and ridiculously catchy I know); cast your mind to the last time you needed to make a big decision; perhaps it was hiring, restructuring, or deciding to pull the plug on an idea. More than likely you would have leaned on past experience as well as the input of some advisors. In some cases these are friends, in other cases these are colleagues or peers who have walked a similar journey to the one you have walked; and come out on the other side.

The question is “Who do you take this advice from?” and further to this “Who earns your trust?” and “Who should just be fans on the bleachers?”  This is where I tend to lean on people who not only have the experience, but the ones that have a similar value system, a similar outlook, understand the risks and the context.  This is our community, where our culture is fostered. It is very difficult, perhaps even impossible to make decisions of any kind outside of the influence of our community; as this has such a large influence our framework of thinking.  To this end, its critical to choose the community to which you belong; it has a profound and direct impact on your decision-making.

Building Teams in a Better Way.

FC Red Monday
It seems to be a common truism that there is “no I in team”, yet the more and more we enter the “talent war” the more we repeat the same form of recruiting methods, adding more I ‘s and as a result, breaking existing teams rather than building teams.
Nowadays most interviews are conducted before a group or panel to eliminate any form of personal or political bias. There are typically multiple rounds of interviews to ensure a more rounded impression of the candidate (an attempt to ascertain this knowledge through an enforcement of the law of averages) and to a lesser degree minimise the accountability or a bad hire. I know of companies that have between 7 and 14 rounds of interviews!
More recently a form of technical competency is included in the process to try see through the fluff. But on more than one occasion I have seen (and advocated myself) the employment of someone who exudes the right attitude over down-right skill or experience. This is because of a deep desire to see the underdog win, and an assumption that attitude will manifest in a raw hunger to learn the required skills.
This I guess this is an improvement on the whole to the once favoured job offer to a fellow socialite, sportsman or graduate over a casual beer. Or is it? One of the single greatest challenges with recruiting is to try understand who the person is behind the “work-mask”? How much is the person dialling-up the things you want to hear just to get the job? How much do they really buy-in to the purpose of your team or organisation? How will their presence and contribution not simply add, but enhance the team as a whole? These are the true questions that need to be answered when building teams.
One of these answers can be found partially in the use of good profiling tools such as Thomas International ‘s PPA, Clifton’s Strengths Finder or the like. But ultimately the only way to really get a true view is to engage in a trial project. Not a fictitious project, rather a project that will stretch the applicant and the team who is working alongside them. This gives the candidate a real view into what is required, what is accepted and what the expectations are on the ground.

Notification Detox

A couple of days back I had a catchup coffee with a long-time friend.  Whilst sipping our coffee’s catching up on news since our last such meet-up he suddenly interrupts me and says “watch this” An instant later he answers a call on what I can only describe as a the closest phone I’ve seen resembling a Nokia 3310 in many a moon.   It didn’t have an immediate impact on me, but a couple of days later I suddenly caught myself day-dreaming about this event – was he really onto something? He’s magic combination was this “Nokia 3310” together with an iPad Mini (GSM).  The phone he keeps ever present in all activities, but the iPad is only around when he has bags to carry it.

Whether by accident, or pure genius I decided this form of hardcore separation may have its merits. A form of notification detox.  This impacted me to such an extent that I have purchased my own beloved Nokia 130, capable of making calls, sending and receiving SMS messages, and very little else. No beeps and no flashing to inform me that someone who could have done something or that  something is apparently so important that I need to know about immediately. No, in fact a whole lot less noise and a tremendous scaling back on disruptions during the day is what I’ve experienced, delightful!

Some other interesting reading on a related topic is definitely The Information Diet by Clay Johnson.