Introducing Vickie Remoe and The Official Vickie Remoe Blog

Since many years, I am a fan of Vickie Remoe. How can one not love her spider-in-the-web business smarts, her flamboyant, sensual, and life-affirming style, and her constant reinventing of herself from journalist, to TV-show host, to magazine mogul, to returnee role model, to sexy mama, to marketing expert and the list goes on. Remoe is that person who always writes good content on social media and possibly who’s postings I comment on most, so believe that I  s-h-r-i-e-k-e-d  with joy when I saw she had started her own, self-hosted, personal blog!

I just had to ask Vickie Remoe some questions and share her with you!

 

1. Who are you and what do you do?
 
I’m a storyteller. Even when I’m working with clients and handling their marketing campaigns or drafting their marketing plans, what I feel I’m doing is telling a story. I run a small international marketing firm here in Accra, called Vickie Remoe and Company. We work for clients across the West African sub-region and amongst many other marketing services we help SMEs with the marketing plans they need to increase their sales leads and strategies for growth.

 

2. Why do you do what you do?

 

The sum total of my skills and experience these past 10 years have given me what I believe are insights or intelligence into selling and marketing in West Africa. So it is only natural to package all that and unload it for the benefit of paying clients.

 

3. What is The Official Vickie Remoe Blog and what is a GoWoman?

 

The Official Vickie Remoe Blog is a personal diary. It’s an outlet for me to use my writing not just to teach others but most importantly to tell my story as a means of finding clarity and peace.

 

GoWoman is from GoWoman Magazine, a magazine that I publish for and about what I call the 21st Century African Woman. A GoWoman is a woman who finds or makes a way where there isn’t one.

 

4. Why did you start blogging now?

 

I’ve been blogging for over a decade first on SwitSalone, then on GoWoman, but this is a personal self-centering undertaking. I started to blog because I need a place to connect my thoughts and talk about my own truth and lived experience. I’m not sure there is anyone else out there with my perspective, way of life, living as I am.

 

So I’m telling my story first and foremost for myself but also because I do have a following of young women who I feel need the content I put out, covering the things that would otherwise not be discussed in public. If I am honest and open about my life and my challenges and what I go through it might help them to also live their full lives.

 

5. How do you see Ghana today and where do you see Ghana in 5 years?

 

 

I’ve been here for almost 5 years and quite frankly I believe in Ghana. I have faith in Ghanaians that come what may
they’re going to stay invested and make sure Ghana is and becomes what they want it to be. This is a true democracy, not perfect, but true. In 5 years I think we’ll have more of the same; individual Ghanaians developing innovative solutions to everyday problems. I love Ghana and I hope to contribute to its development in my own way. This is home for better and for worse so we have to build it, all of us citizens and residents.

 

6. What is your best advice to someone who wants to create change?

 

You want to create change? Take small steps and actions. Don’t try to fix the macro problem, focus on what’s near, what’s close, and what you can start today.

 

7. What do you want to promote?

 

I follow a lot of women on social media. Women who exhibit their own light and are doing big and small wondrous things. They inspire me to keep doing me. To me, that’s what I get the most from social media, stories, and inspiration from others that set my soul on fire and give me strength. Some of them I don’t know at all.

 

Locally, I’m inspired by women in business who could be doing anything else but choose to follow their passions in seemingly unconventional fields. My local heroines are Yvette over at Cafe Kwae, Maggie over at Niobe Spa, Maabena  at Fitvolution and of course everyone’s favorite blogger and writer Jemila from Circumspecte. Those are taking the path less chosen, creating footprints for others who may not otherwise know how to get there.

 

Thank you for sharing, Vickie! I especially liked how you promoted other women “creating footprints for others” (sounds just like someone I know!) and your positive imagining of Ghana in the future. I wish Vickie all the best with her personal and very readable blog The Official Vickie Remoe Blog – two recent posts I read on dating married men and miscarriage – and suggest you follow her on FB and Instagram.

Introducing The Flint and its Initiator: Emmanuel Quartey

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email with a very long text about WhatsApp marketing in Accra. Sure, I am a social media fan, but marketing and WhatsApp are not exactly my areas of interest. Still, I read the entire article and said to myself, something like: “I need to know more about this high quality initiative taking social media so seriously in our local context”. So, I contacted the initiator and asked him a few questions. Here is my interview with Emmanuel.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Emmanuel Quartey, and up until very recently, I was the General Manager of the MEST Incubator (which funds and supports early stage tech startups) in Accra. I consider myself primarily a product designer, but to be honest, I find the “what do you do” question increasingly difficult to answer these days. For money, I’m currently doing product design and digital marketing consulting. Otherwise, I’m working on The Flint, and saying “Yes” to all sorts of inbound requests from founders and VCs to chat about some a broad range of topics. So in summary: I write, I design, I figure out how to get people excited about things on the internet, and I have conversations with interesting people who’re working on interesting things.

2. Why do you do what you do?

I do what I do:

  • Because I want to know how and why things are. I get a special bone-deep thrill from understanding how things work, especially human systems. When this happens, I want to tell everyone about what I learned.
  • Because I’m fascinated by the relationship between the words of ideas, and the world of made things. I’m driven by the desire to understand how it is that some ideas make the leap from a mind to “reality,” while others get smothered immediately.
  • Because I feel I’ve been incredibly lucky and privileged, and I feel an obligation to make the opportunities I’ve had available for as many people as possible.
  • Much of this is motivated by my mother, whose life has been defined by service to others.
  • I’ve been very motivated throughout my life by school – I’ve had incredible teachers and the attended institutions with very strong missions. Primary school was St. Paul Methodist in Tema, whose motto was “Knowledge is Power”, High school was SOS-Hermann Gmeiner International College, whose motto is “Knowledge in the Service of Africa”, College was Yale, whose motto, “Lux et Veritas” means “Light and Truth”…It sounds corny but that underlying message of learning and sharing knowledge means A LOT to me and drives a surprising amount of my thinking and actions.
  • Even more, I am motivated by fear and anger. Fear because there are these horrible forces out in the world and I worry that we’re not equipped to withstand them. Anger because we could be so much more. We could be SO much more.

3. What is The Flint?

On a very practical level, The Flint is an online publication about technology in Africa, aimed primarily at non-technical African entrepreneurs who’re eager to leverage technology to achieve more. I meet so many people pursuing fascinating ideas, but they lack the exposure to simple tools and processes that’ll help with user acquisition, recruitment, etc etc. Technology can be a productivity-enhancing multiplier for literally everyone, but too much of the knowledge is trapped in highly technical writing aimed at tech startups.

More conceptually, The Flint is also a vehicle for me to explore ideas around digital media. I believe that in the future, literally, every company will be a digital media company. By which I mean that every company will be in the business of acquiring, translating, storing, and distributing information. Manufacturing? Files (information) of objects will be transmitted (distributed) to be printed (translated) on site. Housing? Airbnb owns no property and yet manages the flow of information to put millions of people into millions of homes. Sports? Sports teams are already experimenting with placing fitness trackers on athletes and repackaging those statistics into content that is consumed by sports fans.

I genuinely believe this is the direction we’re heading in, and I very much want to understand as much as possible about how digital media entities work. What better way to run one myself? It’s very much an exercise in working and learning in public – in addition to the interviews, I’ll be sharing updates on what I’m learning while building The Flint. I’ll learn a ton and hope people will be interested in learning along with me.

4. The name clearly is about sparks, what fire to do want to light?

Racial justice means a lot to me. I want us to wake up to the fact that we have the tools to become masters of our own destiny. It begins by changing our relationship to our work – whatever “work” means to you from a chore, to craft. We need to 1) become craftspeople and domain experts in everything we do, and 2) we need to TEACH EACH OTHER how to level up.

We need to learn how to do hard things.

5. How do you see Ghana today and where do you see Ghana in 5 years?

Oh, goodness! Ghana leaves me both incredibly excited and intensely frustrated. I think Ghana is genuinely something special on the continent. I think our tiny nation has often proven that we have a remarkable ability to lead the way for the entire continent, and I think we’re dimly aware of that fact.

I don’t know where we’ll be in 5 years.

I hope we’re at a place where we realize we, collectively, need to be so much more serious about so many more things.

6. What is your best advise to someone who wants to create change?

I’m hesitant about answering this question but:
Courage is contagious. If you see something that isn’t right, say something, or do something about it to the extent of your ability. Someone once said that courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. When you step up, you give other people permission to do same. They agree with you, but they were waiting for someone to say it first. “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” – Hillel the Elder

Find your tribe. Chosen families are powerful. Find your people who resonate on the same frequency as you and let them nourish you. It’s important to note that your tribe might not be your biological family or members of your school or religion. You might have to go far afield, but find them.

There will never be a perfect time. Planning can quickly become procrastination. Do it, even a small version of it. Do it now. Throw the bottle into the sea. Your people will find you, no matter how faint your signal.

Do cool things. Tell people about it. Repeat. People will mimic you. That’s how change happens, I think.

7. What do you want to promote? (a book that changed your life, what someone who wants to write for The Flint needs to do, go to grad school, don’t go to grad school etc.)

I’m very eager for people to contribute their knowledge to The Flint! The Flint wants to become a community of makers and craftspeople creating and sharing knowledge with each other.

If you don’t have the time to write, don’t worry – reach out to me and if I think your story will be instructive for others, I’ll write it for you. The things that make a good story for The Flint:

  • It reveals new facts or data that people would be surprised to know
  • It teaches a process/framework that can help a group of Africans do more
  • It involves technology in some way (note: “tech” can be as simple as a telephone)
    People can pitch ideas at emmanuel@theflint.io

Thank you for sharing, Emmanuel! I especially liked how you linked change not just to start-ups and entrepreneurship, but to civic courage and speaking up.  I wish Emmanuel all the best with his fiery, new project and hope you also like The Flint!

Travel Destinations: Greater Accra and Gotland

I have two homes. One in Ghana and one in Sweden. Having two homes is normal to me, it is my life.

In Ghana my life centers around the Greater Accra area: the capital Accra, my hometown Tema and my workplace roughly an hour north east of Accra. In Sweden, I hail from the island of Gotland, more particularly the village Brissund and then the cosmopolitan city of Malmo in the very south thanks to my siblings who moved there.

This week, I stumbled across tourist information of my two homes provinces and WOW! they look great! I can’t believe how lucky I am to share my time between these two places…

1. Ghana: Greater Accra (as described by Virgin Atlantic)

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2. Sweden: Gotland (as described by the campaign GotlandJordenRunt)Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 1.55.13 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So when are you coming to visit?