Interview with William Lee: Author, Speaker, Youth Leader, Entrepreneur

william lee

Below is a transcript of a phone interview I did with William Lee. William Lee is an author, speaker, youth leader and entrepreneur based in North Carolina. He not too long ago published a book titled: Breaking The Mold: “WHY WASTE TALENT?“. The book is available on Amazon. William can be contacted through his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/williameleejr

How would you introduce yourself to someone who has never heard of you and you have never heard of? Who is William Lee?

First and foremost I am distinctly different, I am unique, I am a bonafide business man. William Lee is a person who has come a long way in life. Right now I am 27 and there are so many things the Lord brought me from and right now he is taking me to the next level.

What are the three most memorable events that have altered your life to lead you on the path you are walking today?

One of them is being saved. The second thing is seeing my mom cry. After I saw her cry, that changed my life and I just wanted things to be different. The third thing would be to have have mentors who could see the potential that I have. They loved me so much to allow me not the remain the person I used to be. Those are the three things that changed my life.

When did you decide to write the book “Breaking the Mold” and how did it all start? Tell us about that journey.

I have been thinking about writing a book for years and then I told myself I was going to get it done and decided to eliminate all distractions. And that is something important I did. It took me four months to get it done. That was my goal and I am very very proud. The book writing process was a bit stressing, but I was willing to through the struggle.

Wow, that’s very impressive. Did you have any help in the process? Who are some of the people who helped you put the book together?

It was mostly just me and my editor. I did my research, my due diligence, what I needed to do. Then I submitted it to my editor and that’s how we got it accomplished. But before starting that process I made sure that I removed all distractions. It took a whole lot of focus.

You did a very good job marketing yourself and generating anticipated expectations of your book on social media before its release date. Who did you learn from? Who influenced you to produced such good results?

That’s a good question, I have been learning from others who have a strong following. I have been learning from how they motivate people, how they inspire to change lives and that’s basically how I did it. I learned from what they were doing and did it a little different.

Giving a clue to young adults on how to spend their time, how does a youth leader like yourself spend his weekends?

My weekends I can honestly say I never get distracted. I still work and I do  the same things that I do during the week. I might take a little break here and there but mostly the things I do during the weekend are the same things I do during the week.

How do you entertain yourself, if you do?

Sometimes I might go take a long ride on the highway. I might visit my mother, my family members, I might go to the gym. I just enjoy working, that’s how I entertain myself.

What are you expanding into, what are some of the projects you are currently working on, and why?

Right now I am working on another book and we are working on a YouTube channel. Everything I do is geared toward helping other who would hear about me.

Last, but not least, if you would make a recommendation to the American youth on how NOT to waste their talent, what would you tell them?

Eliminate all distractions. Talent can get you where you want to go, however you need to have personal development. You need to have the skills, knowledge and abilities, and also have mentors. Mentors are very important.

The interview was conducted via a recorded phone call on July 11, 2013.

Interview with Christian Okoye: Founder of www.cokoye.com

Christian Okoye
Christian Okoye – Founder of www.cokoye.com

I am always on the lookout for people who have stories to tell and I had the opportunity to interview the founder of the information hub and open forum www.Cokoye.com, Christian Okoye.

Here are the interview question and his answers.

1. How old is the platform Cokoye.com and what was the idea that lead to its creation?

Cokoye.com was created on 5th July 2009 i.e. it will be 4 years old on 5th July, 2013. Many things led to the creation of Cokoye.com such as ability for Africans to discuss their issues the way they want it, how they want and when they want it. The primary reason Cokoye was created is to serve as central online community for all Africans both within and outside Africa and those interested in Africa.

The idea of a central African forum came into my mind one day (early 2009) when I got tired of visiting Africa countries forum one by one having explored All Nigeria forums I know and Ghana and other countries in Africa and decided to join a general forum where I can meet all Africans in one place, not just Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, etc but to my surprise I found none. Some forums that attempted it were foreign forums as a result they put Africa as subdirectory (Example of subdirectory is something like this: thewebaddress.com/Africa) meaning Africa is not their real reason of their site as such no serious attention is given to Africa’s community, not only that they write all kinds of their opinions about Africa without facts.

Having seen this I decided to install SMF forum to address the need for Africans forum for Africa’s families and friends of Africans and those interested in Africa.
This is how africatopforum.com was born, which was later branded to Cokoye.com on 2011.

2. For other entrepreneurs with similar ideas back in Africa and beyond, what does it take to start such an ambitious project? What are some of the resources you needed when starting? Did you outsource development? Do you outsource daily operations?

What it takes is, identify the need, be passionate about the solution, determination (as many people will tend to discourage you), and willingness to serve the society, discipline and constantly focus on why you started it.

Africa Forums- African Online Discussions Community Forum -Cokoye
Screenshot of www.cokoye.com (July 3, 2013)

I do not outsource development as I’m a professional webmaster, Cokoye was installed as smf (Simple machine forum, is a software that is found in many web hosting service) and also know how to get whatever that will keep Cokoye serving it’s needs for Africans, friends and those interested in Africa.

Concerning outsourcing operation as you asked: Cokoye is free open forum for all, Admin, moderators and writers run Cokoye. Moderators and writers are given the right to place their adverts in Cokoye in return which enable them to reach thousands of members and members of public that visit Cokoye. This arrangement create win win for Cokoye, moderators and writers, this means as they write about their respective African subjects/issues mostly their countries eg Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda etc and posting in the Cokoye, their signatures promote who they are, their ideals, establishing themselves in the African community, at the same time making impact in the lives of people and Cokoye in return put their designated adverts linking to their desire websites or products.
Cokoye always welcome Africans writers that will join Cokoye writers’ team, as there are more stories than we have time and money to tell about Africa, all positive and uplifting of Africa.

3. Since its inception and initial launch, what are some of the key milestones that have been reached, and how were they significant?

Cokoye has moved from one member (Which is me) to over 260,000 members worldwide and still counting. This means people are identifying the need of Cokoye in Africans community. Cokoye has been seen Africans (Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Liberia etc) both in and outside Africa joining Cokoye on daily basis and joining discussion like one family. This means Cokoye brings all Africans under one umbrella, thus fostering the objective it was created for.

Foreigners come to Cokoye to ask questions on any issue or subject about Africa. This means Non Africans are gradually relying on cokoye to know more about Africa being a discussion community where they meet African people. This is really a welcome development as many members of Cokoye are delighted in this.

When you type: Africans forum or Africa Top Forum, etc in Google Cokoye appears at the no 1 position. This means that Cokoye has beaten foreign websites and given it rightful position as Africa’s no 1 platform.

4. As its founder, what is the grand vision you have for the community created at Cokoye.com? Are you looking to sell in the future, where are you taking it?

I never thought of selling Cokoye in the future rather I think about it impact and fulfillment of its purpose to the world’s society. Grand vision for community created at Cokoye.com is Cokoye will be a source and hub of all piece of information in Africa’s land, a place where hundred of millions of Africans, foreigners within and outside Africa discuss issues on daily basis, able to pay and employ thousands of staffs across 53 African countries mostly writers and moderators.

5. Would you please tell our readers a little about who you are, where they can find information about you (website) and how to contact you?

My name is Christian Okoye from South east Nigeria, professional webmaster, founder and administrator of Cokoye. I’m always at www.cokoye.com itself, you see me active there and always joining discussions and constantly trying my best to be the first to reply to any post made by members.

The interview was conducted over email communications during the week of July 3, 2013.

Interview with Dr. Sukhee Kang (Former Mayor of Irvine, CA)

Lionnel and Dr. Sukhee KangOn May 18, 2013 over 250 students from both California University of Management and Sciences (CalUMS) and its sister school South Baylo University graduated and were awarded bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. One of the most memorable segment of the graduation ceremony was the commencement speech delivered by Dr. Sukhee Kang, who served as mayor of the City of Irvine, California from 2008 to 2012. The speech as I referred to in a conversation with a friend later that day was a masterpiece. The delivery of the speech was flawless and it left everyone in attendance inspired and excited about the future.

Upon request, Dr. Sukhee Kang accepted to meet with me and my objective was to draw from his wealth of experiences in order to reinforce his graduation message. We met on May 30, 2013 at UC Irvine where Dr. Kang serves as Special Advisor to the Chancellor for South Korea Relations.

Considering all he has been able to achieve so far in his lifetime, it is worth listening to him and learning from what he has to say. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom I collected during my conversation with Dr. Kang:

  • The prerequisites to great achievements: respect people, value integrity, set clear personal goals, apply common sense.
  • America embraces people from overseas as long as they perform and display a sense of decency.
  • Learn from other who have been successful.
  • The end result is what people care about.
  • Be a good listener, follow through, and make things happen.
  • Character building and self-confidence are very important.
  • Politics is about serving people, align your vision with the people’s message.
  • Convey the people’s message, not your own.
  • Learn about the issues and present a solution based on facts and your highest informed judgement
  • Stand behind your policies 100%. Don’t be wishy-washy.
  • Hard work is more valuable than talent.
  • The world is always on the lookout for people with wealth of knowledge and real life experiences.

You can learn more about Dr. Sukhee Kang from his Wikipedia page. I wrote an article for my university’s newsletter publication and I will update this post with a copy of the newsletter when it is released. In the meantime tell me which one of the nuggets above is your favorite and why?

Interview of Bernard Kelvin Clive: Author and Speaker

Ebook publishing for newbiesI recently interviewed Ghanaian author and speaker Bernard Kelvin Clive. Bernard has published over 8 different books on Amazon.com and he is an authority in the fields of self-publishing and motivational speaking in Ghana and abroad. The interview was based on his book: Ebook Publishing for Newbies: How to Publish and Sell your Books with Little or No Money. The book is available on Amazon.com and having purchase and read a copy myself, I highly recommend it if you have ever considered writing and publishing a book or an ebook. It is easier than you think and Bernard makes it even easier by sharing his experience and giving a specific roadmap that will take you through the whole process from the original book idea to publishing and creating a platform of followers.

The interview was on phone and below is the transcript:

Lionnel: When people ask you what you do for a living what do you tell them?
Bernard: I listen to people, basically I inspire them. I encourage and teach people, I make the complex things simple for them. I teach people how to live life successfully.
So that is what I do, I am a speaker and author and I do IT consultancy. I consult for people, and I advise people on right partnerships in IT.

Lionnel: Very good. So Bernard is not only about books and speaking, he is also an IT consultant involved in a lot of other areas.
Bernard: Yes, and I also advise people on many other programs.

Lionnel: You wrote your first book in 2006, “Your Dreams will not Die”, is that correct?
Bernard: I did publish it in 2010.

Lionnel: So it was actually published and made available to the public in 2010.
Bernard: Yes, 2010.

Lionnel: What made you start writing, what was your drive?
Bernard: I had to share and inspire people. I was doing a lot of samples for different people, writing notes and a lot of text messages sending across to inspire them. Results are everything and I would see the results were more encouraging even to me as I encouraged others so that is when I had the courage to put that book together “Your Dreams will not Die”.

Lionnel: So the book “Your Dreams will not Die” was really the culmination of a long process?
Bernard: Yeah.

Lionnel: It didn’t happen overnight?
Bernard: No, it didn’t happen overnight and chapters of that book were written over the years. I will say that I kept on writing so eventually I decided to put it all together and then publish.

Lionnel: Moving on to your book “E-book Publishing for Newbie’s” what made you write that book, why do you want to share what you know about writing and publishing books?
Bernard: Having studied digital publishing and French publishing locally all these years I have noticed and I kept getting a lot of questions from people actually on publishing. Most people are looking for a publisher to give their money to publish for them and that is really one of the major hurdles to cross in the publishing industry.
I kept answering questions on how do I get my book published by myself, so the questions kept coming and I put all these together and I organized an event on self-publishing to teach people how to get their book published. After that I had to put everything together in a manner to teach people and answer their questions.

Lionnel: Do you have some stories of people who have read that particular book and have been successful at it, one or two stories?
Bernard: Yes, I know about two people who have published their books online through reading that book. The first time I organized my book to be published it was difficult to put it online because I had no experience. So when you hear some good feedback that is a good book.
Because even the material that people really need on how to write and just publish is how do I get it done. What I believe it is setting a good course and that is alright.

Lionnel: You just gave us a few of the questions that are answered in that book, would you please share one or two quick tips on how to get started? Derive them from the material in the book, what are some one or two tips you can give that people can get more of if they get the book?
Bernard: In the book, the first step I started dealing with was; how do I start writing?
People come to me asking me that question, I give an outline of how you can then write that question in one book and that question gets to be the title of the book, which is the context.
The key questions I ask in that book are: why do you want to write and why do you want to get published? And that answer need to be very careful especially in the publishing, you need to answer the why, then that gives you the reason to publish. Is it because people are publishing and you want to also, is it the money or is it for the need. So that question is hard to tackle and secondly the part that is easy to get.
The why behind your writing gives you the purpose and how to find your chapters and start to put down your points and now you move on to the other solution which is the book guideline. Here I give solutions on how can one finish the book, most of the time people stick to the first chapter, that is what happens in your head.
So these are key things that the book achieves. The other hard one especially in the publishing, most people look at making a killing out of publishing I am not saying that can’t be done but if you risk on the book, you get out the wrong book so you need to start with the question why, so that your driving force is not the killing but some kind of reader centered goals and I answer all those questions. If you want to make a killing on publishing there are certain things I feel you should put it out on the book also, like why you need the book.

Lionnel: Here is someone who bought the book, read the book and he doesn’t take any action, a week passes by, two weeks, three weeks and months, nothing happens.
What can you tell that person, that person who has read your book or any other book about how to write and publish, and nothing concrete is happening, what can you tell that person?
Bernard: The best thing is that; one if you have the best materials in this world and have the right resources and you don’t act, nothing happens. You have to do it, you have to go back and take action. So act, act, practice and see the results, results don’t lie.

Lionnel: Excellent! Results don’t lie, I like that. Getting close to the end of our interview, let me ask you this: what are the benefits of sharing your experiences and knowledge by writing a book, what do you gain out of it on a personal level?
Bernard: One, a sense of fulfillment, I am really satisfied with what I am doing so that gives me a sense of fulfillment. I have been looking at other aspects along that but peace, joy, which is this book, inspires me. I read your book and now I am publishing my book or this book helped me in understanding further.

Lionnel: Bernard, now your final words, what do you want people to take away from this?
Bernard: It is action that leads to transformation.

You can get a copy of the book Ebook Publishing for Newbies: How to Publish and Sell your Books with Little or No Money on Amazon.