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Who is Speaking On Your Behalf?

Prosper Otemuyiwa on January 14, 2020

Who is Speaking On Your Behalf? forloop Summit 2019 (L-R), Remy, Mohammed, Mustapha, Prosper, and Funsho Prowling around Twitter like ...
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Jason C. McDonald

Excellent article. Very well said.

I, like many, have had to be my own advocate. One of my obstacles is that I lack a "traditional" work history, due to my traumatic brain injury preventing me from finding or being able to access a standard office job for many years. I instead focused on my own software startup, MousePaw Media. I've built a career for myself, but that would have meant nothing without, as you said, someone to speak for me.

But for the longest time, I knew no one who could do that for me, so I spoke for myself. I crashed the doors of the industry, so to speak. I wrote letters to leading computer scientists, asking for their advice on various topics. I made appointments with professors and career services directors to build my company's reputation with the universities. I learned how to leverage my passion and communication skills to get people excited about my ideas, and then I went and found the people I wanted to get excited! I seldom bother with the "traditional" hierarchies and channels: I just go straight to the person I want to speak to, even if it means bypassing three department chairs and a gaggle of administrative assistants.

Case-in-point, as my goal is to produce educational software, I once cold-called the guy who had been lead developer on a best-selling educational software game in the 90s. That is, I found his name in the credits, researched his work history online, and went straight through his current workplace's corporate switchboard to get to his office line. He was, frankly, flabbergasted that I had found him, and was only too willing to answer my questions.

Of course, many people wonder how I'd even have the guts to try that, but I've learned to have the shameless audacity to reach out to the people I want to talk to. (Of course, I'm always polite and professional about it.) After all, think about it: what's the worst possible outcome? They say "no, go away," and then you're no further back from where you started. That shameless audacity is why I have a signed personal letter from Donald Knuth hanging on my wall, encouraging me to keep at it.

All that to say — if you don't have an advocate, be your own advocate. I'm well aware that I have common bias in my favor, as I'm male and (apparently) white. Yet the best people, the people you want favor and help from, often won't care what your skin color, gender, or heritage is! What I'm talking about is one-on-one communication, not one-on-industry. Beat down the doors if you have to. More often than not, you'll be amazed who answers and invites you in.

Some of those people may even become your advocates.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Wow. Your journey is quite a huge inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story!

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Omo Osagiede

Wow! Thanks for sharing your journey! I believe self-advocacy is super important. However, there are some doors that only other advocates are able to open for others. Both sides of the same coin I say.

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Jason C. McDonald

Indeed. I believe it starts with self-advocacy, by which you'll usually find other advocates.

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Debbie♠

Thank you for this!!
Cannot even begin to share how truly valuable the experiences you've shared are.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you, Debbie.

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OIkechukwu

Quite an interesting read there from Prosper. The message was sent was dully received.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you so much. I hope you keep finding it useful.

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dyagzy

Wow, Jason your perspective is very impressive. I had to re-read your article about three times so as to get all the points you raised.

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Jeremiah Ikwuje

Thanks a lot Jason. I also did this with an outstanding author. This is something that prior to this write up, I find it tough though.

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Emmy Steven

A nice perspective on the matter! I'll go with both, I'm an Oliver Twist

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Osa

Very apt article. I've always been one to tell myself that just coding like a wizard won't get me anywhere without the proper connects or advocates and this is true not only in tech but also other fields as well. I remember how your advocacy got me the ZTM course by Andrei Aenogie which is changing my life till this day. Thanks sir for this article and everything.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Oh wow. I can't even remember this but I'm glad you got the course. This is awesome!

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omorodionnosa

Great article!

My take away are:

  1. Let people know what you do, not just within your circle but outside your circle.

  2. Anyone can advocate for you irrespective of their status.

  3. Be Visible. Connect, join communities.

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Samuel Famolu

Thank you so much for this wise words. You have lived this truth, the tongue of the wise maketh knowledge good... When I heard one of your primary school mates talked about you, I just think to myself, wisdom is profitable to direct.

Will practice this as often as possible. Keep winning

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

The tongue of the wise maketh knowledge good. Proverbs 15:2

Keep winning too, Samuel. Send my regards to my school mate!

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gbols

Thanks for this article, you really have blessing not just to the Nigeria tech ecosystem, but to the world at large.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

You spoil me with kind words. Thank you so much!

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Moritz Rupp

This is a great post and a very good view on how society works.
Networking is one of the most important things. I have only worked in huge enterprises and that's the first thing I have learned.

  1. Build your network and connect to people, even if you don't know what to talk about with them
  2. Be visible
  3. Do great stuff and talk about it

The difficulty is to not brag about it, but still push your story to get your advocate.

Thanks for sharing this, Prosper!

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you for reading, Moritz!

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David Dennis

This is the most excellent article I have read through 2019/2020. I must say, though I haven’t met with you in person but I am most encouraged by the testimonies and witnesses that talk about how much you do and contribute to people especially in the tech community. Meeting you will be one of my goals for this year 2020. More grace to you..

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you David. I really appreciate your kind words. I can't wait to meet you this year too!

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Jake Hadar

Anyone inspired by this post should check out the books “Expect to Win” and “Strategize to Win” by Carla Harris (author quoted at beginning). I was fortunate to attend one of her talks at the start of my career, however her books have content relevant to all stages.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you so much for these recommendations!

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Abel Akogwv

Thanks for this great piece of brilliance. You've been a blessing to everyone that knows you

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you so much, Abel!

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Trisha Aguinaldo

Thanks for posting this! I bookmarked this as a reminder that self-advocacy is a must. I was passed over promotions at my old job because I never talked about the hills and mountains I had to overcome daily. I think, my supervisors didn't know exactly what I did or even how I did my job. They just knew I made magic happen. But I took the hard lessons I learned from my old job and tried to market myself more at my new job. I took the time to get to know my co-workers and see them for who they are. Anyway, I think you're right, the best way to get ahead is to connect with the people around you, observe them, and then reflect on ways you can be relevant to the company.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Oh wow. I'm really sorry about that Trisha. I'm positive that henceforth you will get all that you deserve!

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calebdeji

Thanks for this article, this is really insightful and inspiring 🔥🔥

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. --. ..- ... ..

Probably the best thing I've read in a long time and it just goes to remind me of something important I forgot, that is - building connections with people is easily more valuable than what ever money I make. People / Relationships last longer, and can do things that no amount of money can do for you.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thanks for reading, Dan!

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Eric Annan|Cofounder KuBitX|Blockchain Enthusiast

Insightful, thought provoking and humbling piece. The only constant currency is quality relationships and most importantly Integrity backed by powerful congruent at all times.This goes a long way to get someone to vouch for you in Secret places you may have no idea of.
Note, it takes years to build that strong values of sincerity, integrity and honesty, but just a wind can blow it, if not jealously guarded.
I believe, together by been intentional and deliberate we can reconnect the dots and build a magnificent society on the principles of UBUNTU in Africa by holding each when we are climbing the mountain.We have to rewrite the narrative whereby the son of nobody can rise through hardworking, sincerity, honesty and integrity with solid relationships with people. We must eschew meritocracy and entitlements mentality to earn our sit on the table with our output.

Thanks for this great piece.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

I totally agree. We need to, Eric.

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Doyin Olarewaju 🇳🇬

Amazing as always.. God bless you for this article.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank yo, Doyin. You are amazing too.

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Jeremiah Ikwuje

Uncommon article. They're things people don't like to talk about, networking is one of them.

I read this earlier this year, and it has begin to take some effects in my life.

OurEdenLife will never run out of ideas.

Thanks a lot Prosper.

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Melvin Kosisochukwu

This is an amazing read, I'm a noob in Software Development Field and i try to take this advice but sometimes i just don't know how to or the people I'm trying to reach out to are always busy(Which i completely understand). If there's any additional pointers or advice on how to tackle this, will be greatly appreciated.

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Olumide

Lovely Read Prosper, i am so happy i stumbled on this article it really made an impact. I felt like you are talking to me...How can we connect (Please speak with me i will convince you to SPEAK FOR ME) : )

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Prafulla Raichurkar

This is so realistic and nicely put.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you, Prafulla.

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Melody Daniel

Excellent read. Best piece I've read this year yet. Thanks for this.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Melody, thank you!

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Nkem Njoku

If you think you 'deserve' more look at this and see something you might be missing. People mostly listen to those who look like them(someone they can trust) , if you want your name in the CEO's ears have someone like him in your corner

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Olly Imanishimwe

This is an eye opening one.
Prosper, thank u a million for this 🙏

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you so much, Olly!

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Okaba Mac

I just want to say thanks so much for this article! Practically been the story of my life. Thanks once more

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

I'm glad you really liked it.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you so much, Thabitha!

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Olusegun Ekoh

Found the perfect bible verse "Eccl 9: 11" to buttress your points!
Cogent piece of writing I must say!

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Folaranmi Oluwatosin

A quite insightful piece. Thanks

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you, Chief Folaranmi.

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Joe Izang

Thank u for this. Jesus Christ is my First advocate and major advocate. May God help us forge d right relationships

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

The God of @unicodeveloper is the author and finisher of my faith. Jesus Christ is also my first and major advocate. Amen brother Joe!!!

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Nifemi SOLA-OJO

Lol. This piece is not that short.

May the Lord keep you, sir.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Hahahahahahaha, I thought it was. Amen. May the Lord keep you too.

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Abdulrahman M Bashir

Damnnn!!!!
Thank you for this piece.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you so much.

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chis0m

Wow, a great article. The God of @unicodeveloper will be my God. All I ask for is a double portion of your 'anointing', can't wait to meet and follow you sir.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

I'm asking The God of @unicodeveloper for an excellent spirit like Daniel. I'm sure you will receive the anointing soon!

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chis0m

Let me be your Elisha, I ask!
The calling is strong on me now

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17th_streetCode

Truth sir.
And Jason C. McDonald made a point in his view.
Merged together the thoughts, it's a great baton to run 2020 race with.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

I totally agree. Very powerful point.

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Nwankwo Gabriel Onyedikachi

Wonderful piece.

God bless you prosper for this eye opening write up.

More grace.

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Adewale Olaoye

Daaamn,
Thank you Prosper

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you, Adewale.

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mapalochibwe

Simply Powerful!Some things are no greater than the force of sincerity in networking.

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Ayobami Ogundiran

This is a well written food for thoughts.

Prosper! You really nailed this write-up.

Thanks for sharing!

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate.

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We All Trash. Gen 6:6

Impressive and apt!

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Automaton

Best article of the century

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Oh wow. That's crazy

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dyagzy

Your article better explains the TedTalk by Cala Harris on People Currency. Thanks for sharing this perspective with me.

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Ilemona Achimugu

How can we ever thank you?

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you so much Ilemona. Just keep sharing. That's all.

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Omereshone Kelvin Oghenerhoro

Oga boss. Ever a fan. You are wonderful. Thanks for this clarion wake up call. Taking massive actions with this new light asap.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you, Chief. I really appreciate.

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popo

Thanks a lot, good article (+ good advice) and very true.

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Cudderfelix

Insightful Article Boss! I'm inspired, thanks for spurring up my consciousness on this very important aspect of life.👍🏻💯

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Ejiroghene

Articles like this are what keeps us up on our feet. Thank you for this sir

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

I'm glad it's keeping you on your feet, Sir. It's doing the same to me too

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elouisramsey

Spot on like always.

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IDOWU OLAYINKA AYOBAMI

Am really grateful for this ...it's a masterpiece.

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Tochii

Great Read 👊🏽

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Temitope Olotin

Thanks for sharing. It was really insightful

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Sylvester Nkeze

This speaks deeply to me. Thanks a lot boss

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Ndifreke Friday

This is the post 🔥

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Roland "Akio" Salunga

Great article! Thank you for writing this, it gave me a push face my fear and start networking and talking to people.

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Hisham Sharifdeen

Thank you for an excellent artical, a very interesting read!

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you so much Hisham. I really appreciate!

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Akap Azmon Deh-nji

Wow! I will read this many more times. I haven't read an article like this before. Am inspired, am moved.

Thank you very much!
Who is going to speak on my behalf...

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Iroleh Vincent Nwachukwu

Thank you for sharing this inspiring writeup.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you for reading

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Godfrey Jonas

This article reminds me of the people I have lost due to my attitude towards working with them.

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Ali Usman Mohammed

Quite an interesting story, I leaned from it

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Miracle

Wow I will like to meet this man @unicodeveloper one day

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

I'll like to meet you too soon!

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Promise Chukwuenyem

One of the best articles I have read in a while. Amazing 👏👏👏

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Dharmendra Vaishnav

Definitely everyone of us should have at-least one person who can speak on your behalf, otherwise your smart work remains to yourself only without any influential recognition.

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tom hermans

Excellent piece. And it's true. Advocate stuff passionately and help people. They will be your advocate

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you so much, Tom.

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Adewale Abati

Thanks for sharing this Prosper!

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gbengaayelab

Amazing piece Sir!

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Jide

This is quite insightful. Thanks for sharing.

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Sylva

This is the most inspiring piece I've read this year. I remember getting a big gig through a friend.

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Lautaro Lobo

Amazing. Thanks!

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Idiakose O. Sunday

Indeed this is often the tiebreaker. Heres to advocates speaking for us this year.

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DigitalEmma

Full of insights, one can never go wrong especially when it's coming from unicodeveloper

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Dule Martins

What a read....

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you, Martins!

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Gyasi

Speak on my behalf. I would really like to meet you.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

We should connect on Twitter.

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David Akuma

Very well said.

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Maharony

What a great read.

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you, @maharony . This is really kind.

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Moses Gathuku

The best i have seen this year.

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Weezykon Akinbode

Thanks a lot for this lovely article.

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Ebenezer Oladutemu

Chief Prosper at it again! Thanks for this great article bruv!!🙌🙌👏🏽

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Prosper Otemuyiwa Author

Thank you, Ebenezer.

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avfranco-br

Hi Prosper, really powerful and true message!