THE BATTLE OF OUR GENERATION: WICKEDNESS IN HIGH PLACES


Since the killing of George Floyd, I have been deeply concerned with inequality which manifests in form of racism perpetuated by police brutality. I followed the US anti-racism protests and even watched George Floyd’s final burial service where Reverend Al Sharpton gave a veiled attack on President Trump calling him Wickedness in High Places (Ephesians 6:12 KJV).  I never cared much because it happened far away in Minneapolis and I am in Kenya. I failed to acknowledge that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. My attention has been drawn to it by recent police killings in Kenya and lately in Lessos where a cobbler was shot dead for not wearing a face-mask. The locals in Kenya responded like in Minneapolis and burnt the police station.

These two similar injustices have little or nothing to do with police. From these events, I came to an intense realization that the greatest battle that Gen Y (those born between 1980-1994 or 2000) has to fight is white supremacy which is veiled as racism or inequality. It is the wickedness in high places.

Although most people think of racism as prejudice and discrimination based on skin colour, racism is more than that. Racism is basically white supremacy which is an entrenched system of inequality that is institutionalized and legalized. It is legalized economic exploitation that that masks under the guise of discrimination based on colour, country or tribe.  Robin Diangelo, author of White Fragility, a book on racism noted that white supremacy as a political system is never acknowledged or studied.  All other political systems be they capitalism or socialism are identified and studied extensively but white supremacy is never studied. White supremacy goes hand in hand with an ideology called individualism. Individualism holds that individuals succeed because of personal effort, talent and abilities. Individualism assumes that people are illiterate, poor, sick or in prison because of personal choices. Individualism fails to acknowledge the role of privilege, connections, family background and their influence on the individual choices. White supremacy is a deliberate social, political-economic system that advantages those considered as “white” and their supporters.  “Whiteness” has got nothing to do with colour. For instance, in 1922 the Supreme Court of United States claimed that Japanese could not be classified as White because they were scientifically categorized as Mongoloid. Let’s examine how white supremacy manifests:

1. 1% of the world’s citizen hold 50% of world’s wealth, 99% of us share the rest 50% https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/14/richest-1-percent-now-own-half-the-worlds-wealth.html#:~:text=News%20Videos-,The%20wealthiest%201%20percent%20of%20the%20world’s%20population%20now%20owns,to%20the%20Credit%20Suisse%20report

2. 100% of the world’s richest people are white: https://www.forbes.com/stories/ten-richest-people-in-the-world-2020/  

3. Top 10 most valuable companies are from United States: https://fortune.com/fortune500/

4. 90% of board members of these companies are white. See for example the board of Walmart https://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/leadership

5. 86% of world’s top universities are from predominantly white countries. You can check here: https://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/choosing-university/worlds-top-100-universities

See more about inequality here: https://inequality.org/facts/global-inequality/

To deal with inequality and economic injustice there must be a deliberate effort to hold people in power to account for inequality.  We have to do it the way they did in countries like Singapore and South Korea: Deliberate personal boycott of non-essential imports and support local industries. Boycott of products from local industries/companies that perpetuate inequality. Never buy from a multinational if you can buy locally. By doing this you create local employment and minimise inequality.  

Is Data the new oil?


Sometimes back Wired published an article asking if data the new oil. Within this century that is the 21st Century, data is certain to replace oil just like oil replaced coal in the 19th century. Data is immensely valuable, but it is an untapped asset which has not yet been fully exploited.  Those who will develop the means to discover data wells, systems for refining the data and extracting valuable information from the data wells will leap immense rewards. This is because in the twenty first century we are operating in the digital economy where the data is highly valuable and a necessity to the digital enterprises. It is the engine that will power the digital enterprises in the same manner the coal powered engine powered the steam engine. The need for data is not going to be restricted to the private and digital enterprises, data will even be more valuable to governments which will need it for efficient public service provision.

Data Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Data Infrastructure Should Become a Profit engine of the business

Many organizations view their data centers as a cost and expenses which they can find ways of eliminating. However, data infrastructure is very important to the future of digital enterprises and organizations should view their data center as the new profit center. Companies have to view their data as a strategic company asset that has immense value to the company. The asset should therefore be protected and managed affectively so as to realize its value.

Effective management of the company data is essential for companies as this can enable the company to extract customer data as well as share the data about products and services with partners and producers so that they can customize product to suit customer tastes and preferences. The data also provides companies with opportunities to recombine information and ideas about products and services and thereby bringing into life new products and services that resonate with the target market.

Data enhances decision making

Data provides the evidence that is needed in instances where critical decisions have to be made. Data helps the business to stop relying on heresy and opinions during decision making. Data provides concrete evidence that can help the business make better choices that can make the business more profitable. During the growth phase of the business, opinions tend to dominate, but as the business grows, opinions have to be set aside. It pays to use data in decision making. This is because with data, any decision about the business be it marketing, human resource management, can be made by testing, measuring different alternatives and making improvements. The use of data can inspire the business to come up with new ideas, identify new opportunities and trends and take advantage of such opportunities before competitors seize the moment. Most importantly the business owner should know the KPIs of the business and develop infrastructure for collecting refining and developing insights about these KPIs. Different businesses have different KPIs. Retail businesses have different KPIs from the non-retail and software business. Understanding your KPIs helps you to focus on collecting and refining data which is relevant to your business and make most of that data.

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you will make deliberate effort to collect data from your business and use it to guide your decision making.

Book Review: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism


This is a rare examination of the concept of White supremacy. The book explores the notions and underlying beliefs which are perpetuated by the white people and the ideologies that serve to perpetuate racism. The author looks into the defensive moves assumed by white people when encountered by racism such as silence, anger, and guilt. The anti-racism educator further discusses measures that can be taken to reduce racism in the society.  The book is a bit discomfiting for white people but it is also very informative. This book White Fragility is necessary because it stirs racial humility in the reader.

The authors boldly dissect the complex racial dilemma that is faced by White people in the United States and elsewhere. The author acknowledges that White people face some challenges that make the fragile to racism. They were raised in environment where they are not taught about racism and being exposed to racial discomfort that comes with being identified with one’s color. The other challenge highlighted by the authors is that every white person has an opinion about racism but the opinion is mostly misinformed. The authors claim that white people do not understand socialisation and its role in one’s success. They claim that the western ideologies of individualism and objectivity are usually great obstacles in exploring racism in the society. Individualism exhorts people to focus on their capabilities and uniqueness and holds that group factors such as race play no role in influencing the opportunities accessible to the individuals.  Individualism claims that failure is a result of individual choice and not a factor of social structures within the society. According to individualism, race is irrelevant to one’s success. Based on this, the author argues that most people in western countries have a simplistic view and understanding of racism.

The authors debunk the concept of racism and explain that race is a product of racism. Racism is mostly a concept of exploitation and discrimination of people. Exploitation occurs first before explanations about color. It is exploitation that precedes the race based explanations on why exploitation happened.  Race is an evolving social idea. The term white first appeared in 1600. For instance, in 1922 the Supreme Court of United States claimed that Japanese could not be classified as White because they were scientifically categorized as Mongoloid. Therefore, racism is an embedded institutional power that promotes race based discrimination and cannot change direction just because some few people of color have excelled. This is because whiteness is a position of status that comes with the legal, economic, political and social privileges that are denied to others. The author further shows that white supremacy acts as if it is the norm. While all other forms of social stratification are studied and explained extensively, there are no studies that are wholly dedicated to the examination of white supremacy. White supremacy is never recognized or acknowledged.

The authors acknowledge that tackling racism is an ongoing process which does not happen at once. The authors emphatically stress that anti-racism is not about niceness and smiling at people of different races. It takes more than that. It entails having most discourses about racism and how it is embedded in the all aspects of the society and the steps that can be taken to minimize racism. The book is an eye opener on issues of racism and helps one to appreciate the effort being put by different groups to overcome racism.

The book is a good read in the wake of George Floyd killing which sparked a wave of protests in the United States. You can have get this book from Amazon by clicking the image below.

Book Review: ONE THING by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan


The book One Thing by Keller and Papasan expresses how individuals attain extraordinary results in life. This book is based on a simple principle of 80/20 principle of Pareto which rests on the idea that minor inputs, efforts or causes can result to major rewards or outputs. This means that 80% of one’s results come from the 20% of the efforts put in place. This is therefore evident in this book whereby an individual has to allocate the right time to the ONE THING on a consistent basis so as to attain the extraordinary results.

In this book, it is also clear that a ‘to-do list’ is essential when applying the Pareto’s principle because the ONE THING that an individual will focus on will be his/her central idea towards the attainment of success, happiness or any fulfillment. This does not mean that an individual can only have one goal but it implies that it for one to attain the extraordinary results s/he has to set a priority which will be worked on.    

When reading the book it is clear that there are six lies which exist between an individual and his/her success which include multitasking, all matters equally, big is bad, will power is always on will-call. These elements contribute greatly towards one’s failure. the  authors presents  one big question “What’s the ONE Thing I can do today such that by doing it everything else will be easier or even unnecessary? ” which individuals need to question themselves before pursuing anything in their life. This question will help one to understand one essential thing that needs to be done so as to attain the extraordinary success in that particular area. It is therefore necessary to create some habits which will help one embrace the concept of ONE THING.

for an individual to be able to implement this  concept, the authors of the book suggest that an individual has to time block his/her ONE THING as early as possible by allocating four hours a day to that particular thing. it is also necessary to time block the ONE THING by ensuring that nothing is given a priority until the ONE THING is accomplished.  This is evident in the statement that “Until my ONE thing is done—everything else is a distraction!” it is also necessary to time block one’s planning time.

The authors have also noted that there are four factors which can hinder the productivity of an individual. These include the inability to say no, the environmental factors which do not support an individual’s goal, fear of chaos and poor health habits. For one to be productive, the book indicates that one has to rely on focus by concentrating on the one thing which will make everything else to be much easier or make them unnecessary.

It is also clear that the authors’ points are more rhetoric than arguments since they pose challenges to the philosophical idea of balance which they eventually conclude that balance does not exist in real life situations. He therefore argues that balance is a grand idea which is ideal but neither practical nor unrealistic. When the philosophers talk about ethics, the authors of the ONE THIN G talk about the work-life balance. This book is therefore very essential in one’s life since it will inspire one to attain the extraordinary success in his/her area of interest.

You can buy this book from Amazon here on this image:

5 productivity hacks to keep you on track towards your goals


There is huge fulfillment that comes from productivity and attaining one’s goals. Nothing feels frustrating like non productivity or taking too much effort to produce too little. To be productive, one has to constantly seek ways of enhancing personal productivity. Some of the ways to enhance personal productivity include:

  1. Setting goals. Without goals productivity is a mirage. Goals provides sense of direction and focus. Goals show the intended destination. Just like a driver without a destination can use any road to go anywhere, so is seeking productivity without a goal. Any road will certainly take you anywhere. But if you have a goal, you have a destination hence you have to pick particular roads and tools that will and can lead you to the particular destination of productivity.
  2. Work in short duration. Work in small episodes that last up to 25- 30 minutes. This is because it is usually very hard to retain concentrated focus for long duration. By deliberating setting up short working duration, you are helping the mind to absolutely focus in those 25 minutes without meandering.
  3. Take breaks. After working for the twenty to thirty minutes you can take a two –five minute breaks to allow your mind and body to rest. To maximize on the merits that come with taking a break, please do not engage in anything that is mentally taxing in that duration. You can stretch, stand up, or maybe closed your eyes but please do not get into the temptation of getting into the social media channels and other channels that might take up your mental energy. Your intention is to refresh your brain and make it ready for the next session. Meditate, relax and if possible zone out and think about nothing.
  4. Block web based distractions. These are mostly apps and websites that send out notifications or websites which are addictive and you naturally tend to search and log into when the mind is resting. To avoid this, you can install web blockers like Cold turkey which can help you to avoid and shin these distractions completely. They tend to consume huge mental energies.
  5. Block physical distractions. While web based distractions are easy to block, there can be other physical distractions like people coming to visit and calls. Others can be television or background noise that create nuisance. Strive to work in serene environments that are free from physical distractions. This enhances focus and productivity.

These are some of the productivity hacks that you can use to enhance work productivity and total focus during work hours.  With heightened productivity, one manages to do a lot of work within a short duration which provides one with extra hours that can be used for other non-work related activities.   You can read more about productivity here.

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