And the ones that I found that are really, really successful, stick to the tried and true old method kiss, keep it simple and stupid.
Boss Uncaged is a bi weekly podcast that releases the origin stories of business owners as they become Uncaged Trailblazers, Unconventional Thinkers, Untethered Trendsetters & Unstoppable Tycoons. We always hear about overnight success stories, never knowing that it took 20 years to become a reality. Our host S. A. Grant Conduct’s narrative accounts through the voices and stories behind uncaged bosses in each episode guest from a wide range of backgrounds sharing diverse business insights. Learn how to release your primal success through words of wisdom from inspirational entrepreneurs and industry experts as they depict who they are, how they juggle their work life with family life, their successful habits, business expertise, tools and tips of their trade release the Uncaged Boss Beast in you welcome our host S. A. Grant.
Welcome to The Boss Uncaged podcast. On today’s show, we have Richard Bakare, better known as Richie Rich. Rich goes about many different titles and if you were to follow him on social media, you would think he’s just a world traveler. But in all reality, he’s a technology consultant and has been doing it for 10 plus years, even though his original origins started as an English major. On today’s show, one of the takeaways kiss, keep it simple, stupid, without any other spoilers. Let’s jump right into the show. Richie Rich. Welcome to the show.
Thank you. Thank you. Glad to be here.
So who are you?
Who is Richard Bakare? Well, if you were to do a Web search and look at the social networks where I actually have any sort of presence, you’ll see one slogan that I keep on their technology, fitness, culture, design ninja. So what does that mean? It means I, for lack of a better word, a jack of all trades, but always trying to stay at the cutting edge of everything with the whole goal of being to apply it, not just to consume things, but to apply this knowledge that I’m taking on to essentially move the needle forward in cultural aspects, in technology, anywhere I can help move the needle forward. That’s who I am.
I mean, I remember you back in high school and you’ve always been a people person, you know? I mean, you actually went to college for English. You became English major.
Yeah. English and philosophy was what I studied. And I think the main thing to take away from what I learned with English and philosophy is that I learned to consume information and process it and put something else back in the world that built off of that. You know, you heard the saying, what I’ve done is built off of the shoulder of giants. So the giants of information that I’m taking in, that’s what I’m leveraging. So that was what English gave me. And so some of the things that I put out in the world, you know, I’ve worked on projects where we’ve done prototypes with Nike for tracking fitness and doing recommender technology around what shoes to wear. I’ve worked with everyone from Lilly Pulitzer to Oakley, great brands like that on technology that takes in what people are doing and recommends back. That’s one thing I’ve done and you can use English in that way as well. So it’s all about information processing and putting something else back in the world.
That’s a laundry list of mix, different things that you came across. How did you decide to get into what you get into coming from an English background? Like what would the transitional point?
Well, the first thing that helped me whittle down what I want to do was getting away from what I thought I was meant to do. So I thought I was going to be a lawyer. So English and philosophy amounts to prelaw. I thought I was going to be a lawyer. I worked in a law firm that was not me. I knew that immediately. I was not helping to move the needle forward. I was just essentially helping process case files all my way to, you know, hopefully law school and become a lawyer. I wanted to do something that was more meaningful, at least for me and my values. So the one thing I’ve always been connected to and you’ve been this way, and this is partly how we became close friends, was technology. I love technology and what it can do to actually at the intersection of the humanities and technology, you move life forward, right? You create things that make people’s life better. Think about autistic kids who can now use voice assistance to help them connect. They can talk to someone who’s not really a person, but it helps them move forward in terms of their social connectedness. So once I realized technology was my path forward, I just had to find the niche of technology where I could be most effective. And that’s when I moved into Web technology, web development, web design and specifically recommender or I guess you can say machine learning for purchasing habits, decision making and corporate America in different industries.
So going to M2M.
So it’s one of those things.I mean, you always hear about A.I. artificial intelligence, you hear about M2M. I mean, what kind of things are you working on right now that’s, you know, more machine to machine learning? And I think a lot of people even really understand that. They think it’s tomorrow when it’s really today.
Yeah. Yeah. What are the biggest things that we’re working on is so a lot of my customers I’ve been working with for the last couple of years are in the auto industry. So the car itself is taking in many, many data points as you’re driving, as you’re using features of the car.And a lot of the data that we’re taking and running models on there are to make that whole experience better. Find out breakpoints. What makes cars fail so we can identify failure codes and get to the car before it fails. But then the other thing we’re doing is taking what’s learned. They’re feeding other models and those models help with the design. How do you design a product? How do you design features that are going to be something that the consumer wants and they don’t even know they want it to today? That’s one of the things that we’re doing. So one thing essentially recirculates and improves the features that are out there today. The other part is helping to design new features of tomorrow. So that’s what we’re doing with the machine to machine type of data model.
So we will see about twenty years that it takes somebody to become successful to get to where they currently are. How long did it take you to get to where you are right now?
Wow, that is a very, very reflective and introspective question, I would say. That the first decade I was talking to my wife about this the other day was a watch and learn decade, the second decade was a car of my own way decade. And now the third decade is I want to leave the final imprint. Not that I expect this to be my last decade, but I want to take everything I’ve learned the last two decades, that 20 years and actually burn a permanent imprint on the world. You know, some people say, I want to leave my name etched into history. It’s less about the notoriety part of it and then more about can I produce something that help people? And I don’t know what specifically that’s going to be. I have a couple of ideas that I’m toying with, but I definitely want to take everything that I did in the first decade, which was watch and learn the second decade, which was applying that and the third decade, which is just going deeper, deeper into all of the things that I’m interested in.
So, I mean, I think people listening to this podcast could definitely hear you’re passionate definitely about what you’re doing and passionate about the technology behind it. What I’m thinking about next is what’s one thing that you could have done differently if you could do it all over again to get to where you are faster?
I would have cut out the noise. You know, you and I have talked about this minimalist thing and it’s sort of intentionality, mindfulness, state of mind that I’ve been pursuing a lot lately. And the idea behind cutting out all the noise is, you know, I got wrapped up in the hedonic treadmill and the culture of, OK, you go get the job, you do the 9:00 to 5:00, you put in the hours, you get the bonuses, the raises and the notoriety. But then you also do the other things that are supposed to go with that. Get the house, get the cars, get the dogs and, you know, all the clothes you’re supposed to wear, all the trappings of a normal life. And that kind of pulls you away from the bigger dreams that you have. And if I have any advice for people, would be cut all of that out, don’t fall into those circles, don’t fall into those traps because you want to use the corporate income or use the corporate lifestyle to just help you achieve those other side dreams that you have. And I think I wasted too many years on the hedonic treadmill of just keeping up with the Joneses, and I wish I’d cut that out sooner.
So background wise, I mean, your mom, your dad, I partially know this, but I know your mom. I know she’s a hustler all day long, like anybody else in your family besides your mom, an entrepreneur.
Oh, yeah. I mean, I’m Nigerian, you know, by birth. And some people would joke Nigerians have like 20 jobs. And it almost is that way. It’s kind of just endless work ethic that the Nigerian culture has. So my wife’s family comes from a whole line of entrepreneurs. We visited their family in Vietnam. They still owned shops that they had thirty years ago down in Saigon in the market. So that’s something you’ll see. My uncle owns a construction company here. So we’ve got a lot of entrepreneurs in the family. And I don’t know if it’s the immigrant story that you hear about where you come here and you just have to hustle, or if it’s just something ingrained in us where, you know, there’s never a satisfaction in just enough. So we’re always pushing ourselves to go further. So there’s a lot of entrepreneurs in a family that’s good and bad because everyone then, you know, somewhat judges you if you’re working for, as they say, the man or corporate America but at the same time, there’s also a pool of people to learn from ask questions and one couple of people that we’re working with, not on one side project, have been very helpful with that side project.
So being that you’re coming from a mixed part of entrepreneurial backgrounds and business owners and I mean it’s ingrained into you, do you think it was a factor to your success?
Absolutely. I think I don’t think I would have done as well as I did in my first ten years out of college if I didn’t have that ownership mentality. So even though I wasn’t working for myself, I think my employers and my bosses noticed that I took on the company name as if it were my own and tried to make sure I was a good steward and representative of the company. So I think that helped me get more feedback from them, promotions and things of that nature but also they gave me their time and their attention, which are the two most precious resources. And those things were lessons that they taught me, extra time they took with me to get better. And now I can take those skills and things that they showed me and apply them to my own endeavors. So I think having an ownership mentality, whether you work for yourself or someone else, is critical to success.
Well, another thing that’s critical to success, I would think, is definitely home life. And how do you juggle that?
My favorite word is balance. I love the concept of balance in all things. So to that you have to work on efficiency. So efficiency is something that you know, I know it sounds like a robotic approach to living life, but I think you can use that to your success. So what does that mean? I love yoga, right? I love to get my yoga sessions in, but I can’t do two hours of yoga a day and still be successful in the office. So I literally have mapped out my day almost hour by hour on the things I want to do. I do the most important personal things. First thing, when I wake up, read, yoga, exercise, write. And then go to work, put it down, and then I come back and then pick up some of these other things I want to work on, so that balance has to be something that I think you visualize and map out. I happen to be particularly detailed about it. You don’t have to necessarily write out every hour like I do. But I think that you can’t deceive yourself and say, oh, yeah, I’ll juggle these things and get everything done. You can do everything, but you can’t do all at once. So you have to have some sort of plan. And I prefer to put it on paper.
So, I mean, one of the big things you just brought up was morning habits, morning routines. What is your early morning routine?
The first thing I do is when I get out of bed before I do anything else I read. So I actually use what’s called a Pomodoro method, which is essentially taking a timer and timing the activities you want to pursue. So it’s 30 minutes of reading, five to ten minutes of writing and everything is time blocked so that you only do that one thing, no distractions, everything else is off. I even turn the lights off. Then after I do the writing, I do my exercise and then after the exercise, yoga or meditation, then I transition into work mode, which is shower, eat and go to the office. When I’m done with that, I come back to do other activities but that two to three hour block in the morning is very measured and I do use a timer for each and every one of those steps,
so what time you usually wake up?
about five thirty. I know it’s an old cheesy thing, but I do honestly believe in the early bird gets the worm. And I think the main reason for that is the early bird is not distracted. Let’s say you have a side hustle you want to work on and it’s you codding a new app. Let’s say you want to do the next Instagram. Well, you can’t do that at 4:00 in the afternoon. You’ve got emails, meetings, phone calls, things to take care of traffic but if you wake up at five thirty five,(5:30) six(6:00) before the world wakes up and bothers you and you can do an hour to two hours of that project every day, I mean, think about it. In a month you’ve put in a thirty to forty hours of just project time knocking out that side hustle or project. So I think it’s very important to wake up early. It’s not my ideal thing, but I’ve seen the benefits and it stacks up.
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So if you’re waking up at five 30, what time are you go to bed?
I actually go to bed around nine thirty ten. I don’t need a lot of sleep. I think that is something that is genetically advantageous for me. My wife needs a lot. So, you know, unfortunately waking up for early for her doesn’t work. But for me, getting eight to six hours, you know, six hours on the short end to eight is more than enough. And I feel very energized. I also try and catch a nap in the afternoon for fifteen to twenty minutes just to recharge a little bit later in the day. But that’s about the time I go to bed. And then I also am very diligent about my sleep hygiene. It’s something that I practice about winding down in a certain fashion so that I actually go to sleep when I’m trying to sleep.
It’s funny you said I mean, you sound literally like you were designed to be in programming.
Like everything is completely linear. It’s a step by step. I mean, what happens if something detours? I say your alarm clock doesn’t go off. Let’s say the power went out the night before and you wake up at seven o’clock in the morning versus five thirty. There’s that completely threw off the rest of your day, the rest of your week.
No. And I think the reason for that is I track all of these things. So I’m pretty big about, you know, either journaling or keeping track through some app of, you know, things I accomplish because doing fifteen minutes of yoga, that’s an accomplishment. You should celebrate it. So I log all of these activities when something does interrupt that I don’t say, oh, now I can’t do anything else. I know the list of things that I want to accomplish in a day. And if I can’t get to that other thing, I can do something else. For instance, if the power goes out, I love to read. I can read the emails that I’m back behind on. I can start drafting the responses so you don’t have to have everything going a very specific flow. But by laying out the flow in the way that you want it, if something interrupts it, you can find time to steal from one thing and give to another thing that takes advantage of the situation.
Well, I think this is probably a little bit more insight to help them. I mean, a lot of people not to say there’s a number associated to the quantity of people, but in all reality, waking up early in the morning is not an easy task to do it consistently. You can wake up on a random Tuesday early and then back on Thursday, you’re waking up late again. How do they get into that habit? And I know you’re going to say something more like routine, doing it consistently, but with some tools you used to kind of really lock that in to wake up on time every single morning.
Yeah, I’ll recommend a couple of books, but before the books I’ll talk about the getting the sleep. So if you don’t get to sleep in the right way, you’re not going to be successful. So the first thing you have to do in the hierarchy of human needs is get rest. Our bodies are not limitless batteries. They need to recharge. So my sleep routine, my sleep hygiene is what sets me up for that early morning rise. So what do I do an hour before my target? Bedtime, all the blue light is off. So that means the TV, the tablet, the phone, anything I think that might keep the mind from resting. I try and get rid of those, read print media, meditate, something like that, play the guitar. Then what I do is I make sure that the room is dark. That’s very particular for me because the body needs that kind of sense of, OK, this is a place that we’re going to go to sleep. I also use ambient noise to actually drown out anything that might keep me from going to sleep easily. So that’s something that people should test. And then what I start to do is make sure that the room, the bedroom is a place for sleep. So I actually stay out of my bedroom unless it’s time for sleep. So all of those things that sleep hygiene I’m talking about helps me get to sleep, stay in sleep, and then it’s easier to wake up at five thirty when you’ve actually slept where most people are doing. They’re going to bed late, they’re reading in bed with their iPad in front of them. That blue light keeps you awake. So that’s what I do to get to sleep. The second part of it is the actual routine. Once you’re awake, if you wake up just for the sake of waking up and do nothing, you’re wasting your time. So read Deep Work by Cal Newport and then read Atomic Habits by James Clear. Those are two books that help you. One, structure your day and understand what those 24 hours a day before and then understand the science of habits. So forming a habit isn’t as simple as I’m going to do to certain days in a row. That’s not enough. So habits are cues, cravings, responses and rewards. And once you understand the science behind it, you’ll understand how to actually maximize and make this part of your genetic makeup. So those are two books I’d read once you get that sleep hygiene down.
Like I just went to the church.
I don’t know what it’s worked for me. And I stick to it. I preach it.
Yeah. I mean, like I said, I mean, your passion definitely pours out of you for.
So thank you.
What do you see yourself in 20 years?
Wow. That is a very good question. I think I see myself where I wasn’t twenty years ago, more than where I want to be. Twenty years. But I think the main thing that I want to be able to, you know, so like when I see Elon Musk, he’s kind of the Tony Stark of the real world, right?
this man is doing everything. He’s got the boring machine. He’s got the Tesla, he’s got SpaceX. And not that I need to have any sort of notoriety like that, but I would love to be even on the smallest scale for my own community where I live, that guy who’s in every facet of his life pushing things forward. So what does that mean? I’ll kind of open the box of some of the endeavors that we’re pursuing. I love coffee, but I don’t want to open a coffee shop for the sake of opening a coffee shop. I want to open a coffee shop for the sake of improving coffee culture, helping people understand, like where it comes from, how these growers get paid, how they get compensated, what goes into a good being. So that’s something I would love to do, is enrich the coffee community with that sort of experience. And I don’t know what that would fully be. But, you know, just the kind of preview it. We’ve already sourced beans from a small supplier in Vietnam and just working with him on that ground level. I think we’ve already accomplished so much. The other thing is, I love the nonprofit community. Problem is the nonprofit community can’t afford tools like Salesforce, MailChimp and things of that nature to deliver on all of the valued services they offer. I would love to build some sort of platform that helps these be corps and non-profits operate like the big guys without burning through their cash pile because they have a limited budget. So we’ve got to come up with the tools that they need that are off the shelf or SAS that they can help use to help run their businesses and be successful and also stay Pii compliant, which is a big risk for most non-profits.
So when you go out the back, back, back up, I understand what you’re saying, but in all reality, what is SAS?
software as a service. So if you think about Salesforce, a lot of businesses need a CRM, so they’re paying Salesforce. Salesforce is not cheap. So if you’re a small nonprofit, like a foster care agency in Atlanta, you’re not going to be able to afford something like that. So you’ve got a pool of resources, people who are working beyond the normal working hours to achieve great things. And that’s why they’re all saints for what they do. But they should have the tools similar to the big businesses to succeed. So I want to create a software as a service that provides basically the back office set up that. They need intake for new clients, marketing, communications, processing of payroll, all of those things, one turnkey application that helps small nonprofits operate like the big boys.
You’re talking about, like a blend between Salesforce quick in quick books.
And then probably, you know, with a hybrid CRM in between as well.
Yeah, yeah. So we call it Order management, but instead of Order management, the intake management. So if you think about nonprofits, they’re taking on their casework, but they also need to have the stages in there. So this is the stage where we are on board. This is the stage where we nurture. This is the stage where we’re working the case. There’s a trouble ticket. Well, they have all of these things in my conversations with my friends in nonprofits, but they have to use a disparate array of tools. Sometimes it’s just Microsoft Office to achieve this. No nonprofit should be managing all of these cases and a spreadsheet that’s just not fair. They’re doing great things. They need the tools to help them succeed.
So you talked about different tools. I mean, what’s one tool that you could recommend that you couldn’t see your business without having access to this tool?
Wow. I would say I mean, I’m big on data. Data is everything. So for me, any project that I enter, the one of the first things I asked them, are you doing anything with your data, data leaks, data warehouses, data repositories, any sort of Emelle algorithms that you’re running on it? So this is tools that they’re very expensive. They require a lot of brainpower up front, but without data, you cannot do measured improvement on the processes that you have. So you can process map out a whole sequence of things that you do. But the data helps you find where things are successful, patterns you never saw. So that’s something that I love. You can start as small as an access database, but, you know, you can get fans who would tableau or you can use some sort of machine learning notebook and set of tools like that to run algorithms and models on your data.
I think you just come here. You said access to I’ll say Oracle. Maybe I’m thinking because they may be, but you said access.
I’ve seen it as small as an Excel spreadsheet. So you could take a spreadsheet and you could also run models on it, too. But you’ve got to capture it at the beginning. So if you don’t capture it, you can improve it.
So I guess when you’re looking at just standalone businesses, services or products, what is a good way for someone to capture information?
It all starts with the actual intake. So I call it intake or the acquisition flow. So if you’re trying to start a new business and let’s say you want to sell baby products, right. You’re going to have to be distributing those baby products into stores. You have to find a way of finding out who you talk to when you talk to them to take care of your product. Did they say no? So that’s where a salesforce . Something like that comes in making sure that all of the touch points and all of the pieces of data that you need to either convert a sale, follow up on a sale or nurture a potential deal has to be captured in those forms. So your sales teams, your marketing teams need to capture all of those on the front end in the initial interaction with the potential customer. Then in the next following steps, when you’ve won them or lost them, you capture additional data and it keeps going and going and going. But in that first engagement, if you’re not capturing the things you need, you’re losing a lot of critical touch points.
I mean, you just feel like you’re a lucky leprechaun. You’re just literally I mean, you got to think about all the jewels that you just drop in, like the past, like forty five minutes is ridiculous. All right. So the final words of wisdom you like to leave behind for up and coming entrepreneurs.
Wow. That’s a very good question. So you know what I’ve found that has worth when I talk to my customers and I’ve worked with some guys that are just I mean, not supposed to really share names, but think of the big three in the auto industry. I’ve worked with them extensively over the last few years. I worked with major real estate technology companies and the ones that I found that are really, really successful. Stick to the tried and true old method kiss. Keep it simple and stupid. The point of that is not that simplicity loses all of the fancy features and that, you know, something more sophisticated is going to fly over the heads of customers. It’s just get out there, get out there and then iteratively improve on something. If we look at Apple and you look at the first iPhone and you look at the current one, in retrospect, you might laugh at him like he couldn’t do this, it couldn’t do that, but they got it out there. Then they improved on it every single time and they took all the licks and punches for not being able to do X, Y and Z. And when I tell some of my customers, just keep it really simple and get out there and learn and improve, some of them just get very frustrated. They want to do everything all at once. And like I said before, you can do everything, but you can’t do it all at once. So keep it simple. You will get there eventually focus on three or four key features and get out there, because the longer you just ruminate on it, think about it overnight. Planet, Planet, Planet, you’re not executing someone else is going to eat your lunch because they’re going to get out there when you were twiddling their thumbs. Another example would be Uber when it first came out. Very simple, some of the sets of features. Now they’ve got everything that you can think of safety pay with this, pay with that, different profiles. But all of that wasn’t during day one. So keep it simple.
So how can people find you a line on Facebook, Instagram, email or website?
I’ll give one example. I like that. I hope those are out there. I mean, the simplest way is just go to my website. Richardbakare.com, from there, I’ve got all of the other Web assets and Web sites linked. And that’s the best way. It’s not the most exciting website, but it’s the quickest way to find the latest blog entries and articles I’ve written, the activities I’m pursuing, even what books I’m reading. You can find it all there.
I got a bonus question for you.
if you could spend time with anybody uninterrupted for 24 hours, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Wow. Oh, my goodness. OK, this is a good question. So I’ve referenced the company, but the individual would most likely be Steve Jobs. He was not the easiest person to work with. Nobody that I’ve ever met that worked at Apple with him there, that biography’s will ever say anything otherwise. But the pure passion and drive that got him to that place, taking the licks of losing the company. Let’s not forget, he was forced out, came back resurrecting the company, the innovation engine that they created there. I just have to learn. I just have to understand more. One of my favorite things I took from reading his biography was he used walks to beat down people in negotiations. Now, let me unpack that. He would sit across the table talking to someone, say, hey, let’s go for a walk, because he’s trying to negotiate a deal for some semiconductor chips. What did he do? He would take them on a six, seven, eight mile walk. These guys were wounded and tired but in a walk and gave in to his demands. That is a brilliant tactic. No one would ever think to leave the conference room, go for a walk and physically wear out the person wearing probably dress shoes into submission. It would a simple walk and break them down. That’s the kind of stuff I would love to spend 24 hours with him talking about. And also the family man people forget to kids wife. He lives in a suburban neighborhood in Cupertino. They didn’t have a lot of fancy things. I would like to understand how he balanced working life and how he kept that connectedness to his family. So I’d spend 24 hours with him. Very interesting person. And I think it would be a nice time spent.
I mean, with that being said, it was great spending time with you. I definitely appreciate you coming out to the podcast. I mean, it was definitely well worth the time.
Thank you so much. I really appreciate being here and look forward to following it as you progress.
All right. Have a good one. Thank you.
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