Mark Zuckerberg in Nigeria: 6 Great Lessons

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and founder of Facebook landed a surprise visit on Nigerians. In his own words, he said when he landed in Lagos State, Nigeria; “This is my first trip to sub-Saharan Africa. I’ll be meeting with developers and entrepreneurs, and learning about the startup ecosystem in Nigeria. The energy here is amazing and I’m excited to learn as much as I can.

Lagos State, Nigeria

Mark visited Lagos State, the Centre of Excellence. Lagos State is no doubt an entrepreneurship-driven state with countless SMEs and startups. There’s a usual quote in my native language–Yoruba, “Owo eko, eko longbe” meaning “Revenues generated in Lagos is exhausted in Lagos”. This is a result of the standard of living in the state. But think entrepreneurship, think Lagos State. That doesn’t, however, invalidate other states in the country–Nigeria–for entrepreneurship.

In a recent speech delivered by the Emir of Kano and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, he said Lagos can do without Nigeria. I entirely agree with him because the internally generated revenue of Lagos State is quite alarming.

Related Article: 3 Great Lessons from Steve Jobs’s Lifestyle

Mark Zuckerberg’s Lagos Tour

Mark started his tour by visiting Co-creation Hub Nigeria (CcHUB) in Yaba, Lagos State where he talked to the kids at a summer coding camp and entrepreneurs who went to CcHub to build and launch their apps. He met with other entrepreneurs like Rosemary Njoku who operates an Express Wifi stand in Lagos, a technology designed by Facebook.

Mark also held a question and answer section with entrepreneurs in Lagos which he started by listing hard work as an essential element of entrepreneurship. He also endorsed the internet as a necessary infrastructure for business success. He explained engineering as a form of breaking problems into segments, thereby creating a solution. An example of this birthed Facebook.

During this session, he said that their primary priority for WhatsApp is to grow the community. WhatsApp currently has 1 billion monthly users but about 5 billion people texts daily in the world. He also talked about a recent update that was meant to link your Facebook profile to your WhatsApp.

Mark Zuckerberg had a quick morning run across Ikoyi bridge with entrepreneurs in the Lagos Road Warriors running club. He also visited Nollywood and met some Nigerian stars.

During his stay in Africa, he disappointingly announced that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed their satellite. A satellite that would have provided connectivity to entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent.

Lastly, he visited the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja. Mark Zuckerberg’s lifestyle during his tour inspired this piece. 6 great lessons his trip birthed:

Exercise is a vital aspect of entrepreneurship

Mark had a quick morning run during his visit to Lagos. This stresses the importance of exercise to entrepreneurs. It keeps the brain active and prepares the mind for the day’s activity.

Live simply

Almost throughout his visit to the country, he wore casual wears. He dressed officially strictly for official occasions like meeting the president of the country. Do you know what amazes me the most? The billionaire wasn’t wearing a wristwatch during his question and answer session with entrepreneurs. The same applied to other pictures taken during his visit to the country.

Before you scream at me, I know that’s no big deal. But there are entrepreneurs who buy a $300 outfit from a $1000 worth company. Worse, there are aspiring entrepreneurs that buy $500 wearables when they ought to be saving for their startup. Outfit and wearables are the reasons why some entrepreneurs don’t have a reasonable investment.

Humility

Mark was highly and unexpectedly humble during his stay in Nigeria. He trekked on the streets of Lagos, an action Nigerian multi-millionaires hardly practice. The president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari said in his own words, “In our culture, we are not used to seeing successful people appear like you. We are not used to seeing successful people jogging and sweating on the streets”. That’s how much he amazed the president.

Not limited to that, he ate native dishes. He ate snail, even though some of his entourage detested eating a snail. That’s humility at its peak.

Be an expert of your business

During his sessions with Nigerian entrepreneurs, he wasn’t talking baselessly. He spoke with facts and figures. The accuracy of these figures made me feel like he has no employee–he runs Facebook all by himself. He is no doubt an expert in his field.

I can’t figure out what to call him, an engineer — for solving problems — or a developer — for writing and developing programs. I guess I’ll just have to go with what he called himself–an Engineer.

Expand your business terrain

Mark’s visit to Nigeria was definitely to expand his business. I’ve never heard of an Express Wifi device, a technology designed by Facebook till he visited the country. I am sure that I’m not alone, same applies to many others. Through his visit, several thousands of people got to know about the device, perhaps 5% of these people would be converted to customers.

Even though he runs a multi-billionaire company, he’s still looking to expand his business terrain. That’s an ideal entrepreneurial mindset.

Related Article: Bill Gates’s Message to Africa’s Next Generation

Business before fun

Mark ended his tour by visiting the president of the company, it’s advantageous to his business but it sounds like fun. He went straight to business after landing in the country, then ended it with pleasure. That’s outstanding.

Bottom Line

We know the kind of man we want to become and perhaps, how we wish to get there. But imbibing some of Mark Zuckerberg’s habits, especially the ones listed above is not a bad idea. It’s a type of mentorship. Don’t forget your mentor don’t need to know that you’re his mentee before he or she can be your mentor. Live simply and be proactive! Cheers!

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