Lumumba Was Here

Wrote this last year.

Kwame Som-Pimpong

Yesterday was the 54th anniversary of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, independent Congo’s first prime minister.

Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, one of the first blacks to attend my alma mater, wrote a nice piece on the importance of Lumumba and his death. He recently published a biography of Prime Minister Lumumba that I look forward to reading.

Here’s a letter Lumumba wrote his wife, Pauline some time before his death.

Tomorrow, we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, President Obama gives his State of the Union address.

Lumumba and King were decades younger than President Obama when they died. It’s incredible how productive they were in such a short time. Much more work to be done still to realize their massive dreams.

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Bill Janeway Knows a Lot about Technology and Economics

Barry Ritholtz did a fascinating interview with Bill Janeway, Managing Director at Warburb Pincus, a private equity shop whose name you may have seen when Timothy Geithner joined as President a few years ago.

Side note: Warburg Pincus is the largest shareholder in Kosmos Energy, the exploration company that was part of the discovery of the Jubilee oil field in Ghana nearly a decade ago. Wow. Time flies. Check out Big Men if you’re looking for a movie to watch this weekend. 

Janeway draws on economic theory and the history of the US technology sector over the course of the interview. This is one of those interviews I will listen to a couple more times to be sure I caught all the events, people, and companies I should look up, such as Ferdinand Eberstadt. Check out the interview below.

Netflix Delivers on Promise

Netflix went live in 130 countries today.

I wrote something on their shareholder letter from last summer. In the letter, Reed Hastings mentioned that the plan was to go completely global by the end of 2016.

Delivering on that goal 12 months early is amazing, or at least a good move in managing expectations.

Freedom Schools and Upward Bound Memories

I’ve watched this video of Ron Clark dancing with some of his students at least ten times over the past day.

It reminds me of Harambee at Freedom Schools. Starting off the day with a thorough turn-up is good for the soul.

I also think about the summers I worked at Upward Bound. Those were some amazing summers. The photo above is me learning how to pop, lock, and drop it.

Freedom Schools and Upward Bound were full of super long days, frustration, smiles, and progress. Good times.

Alright, back to the video, then back to work.

Enthusiasm

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I spotted this plaque at my parent’s home before I headed back to DC from one of the best New Year’s holidays I can remember.

I have been observing people around me who I admire for how they consistently show their gratitude. On New Year’s Day, I had a pretty good opportunity to work on that. I’ll probably share more about that years from now. All of these people have an enthusiasm about their ethos as well. It’s invigorating to be around.

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I see the man in the above photo on the street near my office at least once a week. He jogs backwards with traffic and spins around while waving at cars and passersby. He is probably the most enthusiastic person I have come into contact with and is clearly enjoying life. I smile every time I see him. Shucks. I just may join him one day.

Top Posts of 2015

I got this email earlier today from WordPress recapping the year, so I figured I would share the top posts from the year.

1. What Does a Black Princess Look Like?

My daughter calls herself queen now, and me king. I’m not quite sure where she got that, but I smile wide every time I hear her refer to herself as that.

2. Why I Do What I Do?

It was helpful reading this again.

3. Thoughts on David Brooks’ Letter to Ta-Nehisi Coates

After writing this, I felt like I should apologize. There is nothing particularly forceful about it. Just a bit more honest about what I believe these days. I read it again before putting this post together and still felt an apology forming in my mind. An apology for putting distance between me and those who think they are white. For writing in terms of “them”. An apology for speaking plainly. That’s a frustrating feeling.

4. Osiakwan: Africa’s Time is Now

Here’s to Eric and Chanzo Capital scrapping for Africa’s potential.

5. Help Me With My Blind Spots

I’ve seen more blind spots since I wrote this post, thanks to my friends. I’m very grateful for them (my blind spots and my friends).

Here’s to more words (hopefully productive ones) over the next year.

Where Can I Buy African High Fashion?

Africa’s fashion industry has the potential to be massive and you should pay attention to it.

When I found out that Akin Adebowale, Kolade Adeyemo, Bobby Pittman, and the rest of the team were building Oxosi, I couldn’t wait to see what they would come up with.

Oxosi is an e-commerce platform that brings African high fashion to the US. Place your orders! Parts of African fashion have impacted taste in the West for a long time. It is good to see the creators of African fashion get credit for their genius through platforms like this.

The team has raised a good bit of money to start off and if their bet on the appeal of African high fashion in the US hits, Naspers and Tiger Global, two of the biggest investors in e-commerce out there, should pay attention.

Kudos to the Oxosi team. Here’s to, in the words of Paul Judge, building something from nothing.