depo 25 bonus 25 gacor Exclusive Chat with Nicky Verd, an African Enthusiast and Digital Transformation Maverick
Sunday, December 3

Nicky Verd lives to blow stuff up.  An International Keynote Speaker and Author of the hit book, Disrupt Yourself Or Be Disrupted. She is a show-stopping source of inspiration and a voice for those who yearn to recreate themselves in a world of disruptive technologies. Nicky is a leading thinker on driving innovation through personal disruption. A Digital Strategy Consultant, an Africa Enthusiast and Africa’s Digital Transformation Maverick.

After being retrenched from a job she held unto for dear life, Nicky Verd hit rock bottom, literally. But rose back up, reinvented herself and is now empowering others to do the same. From living on food parcels and contemplating suicide just over four years ago to being recognised by Thinkers360 as one of the Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Digital Disruption 2019 and Top 100 Women B2B Thought Leaders You Should Follow in 2020.

Nicky lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and is particularly passionate about igniting human potential in the age of Artificial Intelligence(AI) and bridging the gap between lay people and the understanding of how emerging technologies are impacting the workplace and life in general.

Nicky Verd’s new book is titled “DISRUPT YOURSELF OR BE DISRUPTED – Escape Conformity, Reinvent Your Thinking and Thrive in an Era of Emerging Technologies and Economic Anxiety” is now available in book stores across South Africa. In this book, Nicky Verd is bringing 4IR awareness to the lay person and empowering youths across Africa not to fight the Fourth Industrial Revolution but to embrace it and become part of the revolution. The Fourth Industrial Revolution(4IR) is creating a demand for new skills and competencies and “ DISRUPT YOURSELF OR BE DISRUPTED ” is a tool for you to equip and empower yourself for this shift in paradigm.

According to Nicky, many people think of disruption only in terms of new business models but disruption also work at a personal level, where people who want to pivot change and move ahead in life can disrupt and reinvent themselves, Personal disruption at its core is the ability to adopt forward thinking, evolve and reinvent yourself supplemented by a cycle of learning, unlearning, relearning and repeat. Nicky Verd strongly believes that personal development is the vehicle through which success and economic growth travel and that you cannot fully develop yourself if you don’t understand the world around you.

Understanding what Industry 4.0 aka 4IR is all about will help put into perspective how some of the world’s most cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Blockchain, IoT, AR, 3D Printing and many others will impact your own life.

It goes without saying, “You cannot fight a battle you don’t even understand.”

Q Who is Nicky Verd? Please share with us about your upbringing and your early years in life?

Born in rural poverty and growing up in the smokey village of Dzeng in Cameroon, I was one of 6 grandchildren living with grandma. My family had next to nothing. We were so poor that even the poor called us poor. But through it all I always knew at the back of my mind that there was more to life.

Q What was your journey like to get where you are?

My journey is characterized by trial and error. I didn’t always know what I wanted to be. I just plugged myself into the system like everyone else, “go to school, get a certificate and get a job.” And for many years I lived according to that script until the script turned on me and I got retrenched.  And that’s how my journey began….

Q Tell us more about what you have studied for and the experience you’ve accomplished as a result.

I don’t remember much of what I studied in school. However, having basic education did help me to be able to read, write and communicate, which is quite essential to what I now do.

Q How did your earlier career choices lead you to where you are now?

I would say life redirected my path. There is really no relationship between what I do now and my career choices.  I am not an academician by any stretch of imagination. I don’t have a Degree or any background in Tech. I pretty much taught myself about tech and disruption.

Q When did you first realize you that you wanted to write a book?

I never knew there was a writer in me. This is something that happened entirely by fate I would say. It’s a divine alignment, and a combination of things. More like, there’s a part of your heart, spirit, and energy that wants to choose something, and then that something finds you too, based upon that energy. And so, for me writing found me!

Initially, it wasn’t really about writing a book it was just about understanding tech for myself. But the more I did research, the more I realized that a lot of people also wanted to understand these changes that were happening in the world of work. And so, from one blog post to another, from one article to another, from one Facebook post to another, it just evolved into a book, naturally.

My story is actually that I got retrenched from a job I held unto for dear life. I never saw it coming and to say it was one of the darkest moments of my life would be an understatement. As a single Mom of two, I nearly drove myself to a mental ward with anxiety and worry. When the pain subsided, I became very curious to understand what was driving retrenchment and so my curiosity drove me to the belly of the internet. I discovered the role technology is playing in the workplace and making many jobs redundant. My curiosity to understand the world of tech just kept growing from there. More like when you’re put in a corner you reach down and you find what you have to find and you pulled it up. In my case, I pulled up a book.

Q Can you give a brief about your book and where can one find it?

The title of my book is “Disrupt Yourself Or Be Disrupted”. It is a book born out of an authentic passion to ignite human potential in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.  You cannot out-learn or out-efficient the machines but you can out-human them.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is creating a demand for new competencies and the need for upskilling, unlearning, relearning, innovation, and entrepreneurship has never been more severe than now.

I strongly believe my book is a tool for people to equip and empower themselves for this shift in paradigm.

The book is available at Exclusive Books and Bargain Bookstores Nationwide. It’s also available on Amazon.

Q Do you have any suggestions to help someone out there to become a better writer? If so, what are they?

My advice for anyone to become a better writer is to never stop writing. You only become better on your craft as you work on it. If you stop because you don’t see results, you’d never see the results. Believe in yourself!

Q What are the benefits and the drawbacks of being an international speaker?

I think the benefit is that you get exposed to different cultures and different people and you get to interact with different minds. And the drawback I can think of is that you’re constantly on the road, which on one hand can be fun and a drawback at the same time…lol

Q What motivates you to do what you do?

What motivates me to do what I do is the fact that I really love people.  I love making an impact. I love being part of the solution. And for me, my biggest desire is to make a difference and see someone’s life changed.

It’s all about impacting hope in others, you know, that they will not feel like it’s the end of the world when life comes crashing down. I know what it felt like when I lost my job and so that kind of drives me you know, to impact hope in someone else.

I want my people to know that its possible for a non-tech person to study tech on their own and create a space for themselves in a digital world. I’m not the smartest of people, and if I did it, anybody can do it.

Q As an entrepreneur, do you rely more on skill or dedication?

I believe so much in dedication. One cannot really be skilled in anything without persistence and dedication. Personally, I believe that persistence and dedication beats talent, persistence beats genius, persistence beats education.

Q What are your best memories of public speaking?

For me, every encounter I’ve had on stage is a special memory for me because I absolutely love what I do. However, one of my best speaking memories would be an event I had in Nairobi, Kenya.

I remember vividly being given the topic that I was supposed to speak on, and how my host gave me lots of resource material to help me adequately prepare my presentation. All was done with good intention of course. More so because my audience was a special group of Academia (PhD holders/Doctors, etc).

I tried doing my presentation as they wanted me to do. But at some point, I felt really insecure, hopeless and out of place. I was trying to be someone I’m not and so I just decided in that moment to abandon all the resources I was given. I decided to do Nicky Verd. They invited Nicky Verd for a reason and couldn’t bear the thought of going there to deliver something or someone else other than a true representation of Nicky Verd.

I did my presentation according to my own world view and perspective on the topic and when the day of the conference came, it turned out I was the highlight of the event. Had I gone with what I was given, it would have been a total disaster. That was a really special speaking moment and a learning curve for me as well. ALWAYS BE YOURSELF!

Q Tell us about your detailed service offering and which countries have you done public speaking in?

My services include Consulting, Keynote Speaking, Coaching, Team Building, MCing, as well as content creating.

I speak on all things tech, disruption, startup, innovation in Africa, entrepreneurship, women empowerment and youth empowerment. Many small businesses have zero digital footprints. This is a call for concern and this is where I come in as a Digital Strategy Consultant. In this age and time, tot having an online presence as a business or even as an individual is like committing digital suicide. And even for those businesses that do have some sort of online presence, they lack content.

Content is King! What keeps customers on your business page is content not your fancy logo. And so, I also create content for businesses that want to have a voice in the digital space.

Q Tell us more about what you have studied for and the experience you’ve accomplished as a result.

I don’t remember much of what I studied in school. However, having basic education did help me to be able to read, write and communicate, which is quite essential to what I now do.

Q How do you think further technology advances will impact how we live into the next decade?

I believe advances in technology will continue to escalate especially with Covid-19 pandemic in the picture. I mean the world has changed as we know it. Life is never going to be the same again.

I think that because of Covid-19, we are actually going to see more emerging technologies coming into our lives and the workplace as well.

I may not exactly know how, what or when but the truth is that the world post Covid-19 is going to be entirely different from what we’re familiar with and what we envisaged before the pandemic struck.

Q Is Africa ready for 4th Industrial Revolution and if not, which direction should we take as entrepreneurs?

Is Africa ready for the 4th Industrial Revolution? No! The reality is that no country is ready for Industry 4.0; No government is fully ready for the transition that new technologies requires. Asking if Africa is ready for the 4IR is like asking if Africa is ready for Covid-19?

Unprecedented change doesn’t always ask whether you are ready. It comes whether you are ready or not. What makes the difference is how each country or continent responds to change. If we take the approach to bury our heads in sand because we don’t feel ready then we’ll truly be defeated and left behind but if we rise to the occasion and face things head on, I believe we’ll give birth to innovation that the rest of the world will envy.

Industry 4.0 might be Africa’s biggest advantage to leapfrog and Covid-19, as devastating as it is might be the kick in the teeth that Africa needed to embrace digitization and start the journey of looking within her borders instead of China or the West for innovative solutions.

Q Some people think that technology has made life easier; others claim the opposite.  What is your opinion on this issue?

Personally, I believe that technology has made our lives easier, interesting and innovative too. People who claim otherwise are those looking only at the consequences of technology (e.g. job losses).

But of course, there are always advantages and disadvantages to everything and so people that are only looking at the disadvantages of technology fail to see how tech has made our lives easier.

You know, there’s so much more you can do with just your smartphone. You do your banking with the touch of a button; you can order food with just a touch of a button and a whole lot more. For me that is simplifying life.

You sit at home and you can talk to your grandmother in the village in real time and see how she’s doing via video call. In the past, you had to travel probably an hour, five hours seven hours or whatever your distances to actually see your loved ones but not anymore. Video calling is no longer for the elite.

Everyone now has this tool that simplifies our life and businesses. And this is just one basic example of how interesting technology is.

Q If you were to advise World Health Organisation (W.H.O), what would be the key priorities you would recommend for dealing with COVID-19?

Well, I will have to be a medical doctor or some sort of a healthcare practitioner to advise WHO; of which clearly, I’m not.

But I think its more important at this point to adhere to social distancing measures put in place for the sake of not spreading this pandemic further.

Q The COVID-19 have adversely impacted the world economy. How do you think Africa and other emerging markets will be affected and what strategies they consider to balance the economy?

Entrepreneurs and individuals should not lockdown their minds but start thinking on how to re-invent themselves and their businesses so that they’ll stay relevant post Covid-19. The pandemic is still unfolding.

We do not yet know the full scale or impact that is going to leave in the world and particularly in Africa. So, the worst thing you can do in this crisis is to do nothing.

Right now things are bad and they could get worst but they are equally opportunities in the midst of this pandemic, opportunities for innovation.

Q Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?

My journey has been a really difficult one and without God I wouldn’t be here. However, God works through people and they are many amazing people that have brought me to where I am today.

My Mom is my favorite person! She has always been there, praying for me and throwing her arms around me even when the world throws stones at me. And my brother who has always been to me like a father I never had. Dr. Strive Masiyiwa is also one person that has had a tremendous influence on my journey.

Ntate Bonang Mohale is an angel walking the earth, without Mr. Mohale, my book would never have seen the light of day. He single-handedly sponsored the entire project from production to printing.

It’s difficult to name just one person; I have amazing friends and even complete strangers that have pushed me to be who I am today. It takes a village!

Entrepreneurs and individuals should not lockdown their minds but start thinking on how to re-invent themselves and their businesses so that they’ll stay relevant post Covid-19. The pandemic is still unfolding.

Q What awards have you received in your career, what did they mean to you?

I was recognized by Thinkers360 as one of the Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Digital Disruption and the Future of Work.

Winning an award is very encouraging, it shows that someone believes in you but Impacting someone’s life is way more rewarding and fulfilling than any awards/recognition I could ever win.

Q In one word, how would you describe yourself?

In one word I will describe myself as Resilient! No matter what happens, I always pick myself up and keep moving!


About Author

Benito Mamaile is the founder of Intellectual Media and Communications a business development and digital solutions firm for entrepreneurs, Chief Editor for National Business Xposure Digital Magazine. He's passionate about helping brands leverage content to share their stories with the world, he frequently cover the following topics; leadership, media, tech, entrepreneurship and business development trends.

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