Mr Sleeky A.K.A Joseph E. Ikhalia specialises in Web applications development and social media security. He graduated at the top of his Information Technology Master’s degree class during which he developed a novel two-factor authenticated social network – Sleeky.net. In addition, he designed a comprehensive social media security framework which has been published in numerous scientific publications receiving plausible accolades from the academic and industrial community. As an innovative Web applications developer, he is currently the Co-founder and creator of the motivational and educative social network – Sleeky.net.
My journey in summary, my name is Joseph Ehinome Ikhalia A.K.A Mr Sleeky; I am the first child of my parents, born over two decades ago in the southern part of Nigeria. I grew up as a very shy and quiet person but with an unusual habit of continuous imagination. In my teenage years I always loved to spend time alone, didn’t have much friends; to be sincere back then my personal opinion was that friends were mere distractions. I really loved spending time to observe the world around me, I am a very curious person, and I questioned every norm – especially issues on immorality, technology and music.
My curiosity in engineering technology led me to pursue a degree in electrical and electronics engineering from Ambrose Ali University Ekpoma and during my course I became really interested in music production. At age 19, I got my first personal computer and I was teaching myself how to make music with different soft wares, it was an exciting period of my life and very quickly it became a business venture back then. So many students wanted to launch their music careers and they would come to my home studio for their beats, overtime I became a local champion in my university before I graduated and moved to Lagos in western Nigeria.
While in Lagos, I was very much involved with God’s work and I dedicated most of my time to helping people in my community to get closer to God and develop themselves. I started a fellowship were tens of young and mid-aged people would come and listen to my messages, it was an exciting time indeed. During this period, I saw many situations that needed my help financially and morally – and was able to help quite a few. However, I realised I also needed to develop myself, I was becoming too complacent with my abilities and wanted a drastic upgrade. This led me to pursue a master’s degree in one of the areas I had been curious about during my childhood – computer technology. I successfully completed my master’s degree in London at the top of my class and published 6 scientific papers due to the effective mentor-ship I got from my supervisor.
How and why did you venture into entrepreneurship?
As I mentioned, I really wanted to help everyone coming to me for financial and moral support. But I could not help everyone because I needed to work hard on myself. I needed to improve my skills and learn more useful skills needed in the marketplace. With the skills I have learnt now, I can effectively develop enterprises that have the capacity of employing people across all educational levels. When some people ask me for money now, I don’t need to give them money; instead I give them a chance to earn it. I have about 5 projects I am working on currently and I need people who have the relevant skills to be part of it. When I found out that so many young people around me want to develop themselves but are unable to, I started a non-profit organisation – sleeky research group and volunteered to train them in computing and research skills. My goal is to create 50,000 direct jobs and about a million indirect jobs in the next 10 years.
What or who is your biggest motivation?
Without mincing words, the extra determination I have today to be an astute learner and effective in my practice came from my dissertation supervisor – Dr Chris Imafidon. Through his mentor-ship, I was able to understand that we were all born geniuses if the right learning approach can be adopted. There are no limits to what anyone can become, absolutely. I learnt again the importance of setting significant goals and working tirelessly towards achieving them without getting carried away by random or generalized activities. When you get anyone to learn consistently using the right approach, you set them for incredible achievements in life. So I was motivated by my mentor!
So Mr Sleeky, you are a Jack of all trades and a Master of all, a little birdy just told us about your new album, we are excited to hear more about this from you.
(Laughs) first of all, I don’t think I am a jack of all trades, I only have about four key interests – Music, Information technology, Research and Creative media. I really want to learn more about my areas of interests and turn them into 500 fortune business empires by God’s grace. The song I recently released under my label – Mr Sleeky Records was written four years ago during one of the most trying times of my life. I desperately needed a change and God came to my rescue. This just happened to be the right time to put the song out, with the opportunities of digital media growing daily and ubiquitous music sharing platforms. I have other songs coming up in 2016, so just watch out. By the way hope you have downloaded my song? (laughs).
What advice do you have for Young entrepreneurs?
My advice for young entrepreneurs is; learn everything you can about your areas of interest and then merchandise it. Don’t focus on one thing that over a million people can do, it simply does not make sense. Why would I pay so much for your service or product if over a million people can do the same job almost as good as you at a cheaper cost? So don’t settle on just one thing especially if you have the innate capacity to learn fast. Secondly, establish yourself in a relatively difficult domain were the supply chain of expertise is little. For instance, many people don’t know of my expertise in designing usable IT security learning systems, which is a service I offer to a very small market – particularly top organisations.
The best advice You have been given?
The best advice I have received was from my mother who told me at a very young age; “What will take the average man 10 years to achieve with just hardwork, you can achieve it in 10 months with God through effective praying”.
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