Shit Ezra Says

Achiever. Thinker. Wanker. Cofounder and CTO at Paystack.

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The origin and evolution of my Sunday brunches

Every Sunday, you’ll likely find my friend Tolu at brunch somewhere. She might be at Eric Kayser alone, catching up with a former colleague at Pitstop, or hosting close-knit friends at her apartment in Victoria Island. It was no surprise that when she came to spend the weekend at mine sometime in February 2021, she was itching for us to go out to brunch on Sunday. Another friend of mine was around at the time, and we collectively agreed to spend our Sunday morning at Orchid Bistro, Ikeja GRA.

We spent the time talking about anything and everything, catching up on our individual travails, and running commentary on the food. A colleague of mine was scheduled to visit me that day, so she joined us at Orchid Bistro instead. I appreciated how chill and relaxing the outing went and commented on how I’d love to experience it more often. The only problem was that regularly leaving my house...

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The journey to a 10GbE home network

My first memorable experience with a well-designed and functional network was in 2009 at the African University of Science and Technology (Abuja). My friend, @bigbrovar, designed and built the network, and was its sole administrator.

Speaking of the network being very functional, I am referring to the breadth of services running within the network that needed to be kept alive. The university assigned laptops to students. These laptops ran a custom Linux distro (also put together by my friend) and, at some point, loaded the user’s home directory off the network, making it possible for students to login to their desktop profile on any school-issued computer they can find. There was also some caching setup in place such that any HTTP download is done once over the internet and subsequently on the network, dramatically cutting down bandwidth requirements for system updates, etc. I used to...

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Leveraging spare computing power for science

My earliest participation in distributed computing systems was installing SETI@home on my computer in the early 2000s. Short for “search for extraterrestrial intelligence”, SETI@home at the time was essentially a screensaver that leveraged idle computing power to analyze data captured from the Arecibo Telescope to detect signs of intelligent life outside our planet.

The project failed to detect evidence of life outside earth. However, it proved that it is possible to leverage volunteer computers worldwide for scientific research, giving researchers more options beyond buying time on specialized supercomputers for their work. SETI@home also evolved from a single-purpose screensaver into the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC). This system matched volunteer computers with various projects that could use the spare compute.

Enter Folding@home

Like SETI@home...

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The weak link

Ever since I had my Twitter handle changed to @0x back in January of 2010, I have been no stranger to attempts at stealing the account off me. First, it was seemingly lame password reset attempts - I got the emails, and simply ignored them, and then it escalated to straight up demands to surrender the address via subtle threats in my DMs.

Sometime in 2018, someone succeeded in breaching my old and abandoned yahoo email account and then emailed me from the address, asking me to change my Twitter password to a specific text, along with what to set the new email address on the account to. I didn’t respond - he later reached out via DM threatening to leak compromising pictures he had in his possession from the breach.

blackmail screenshot

I didn’t think I had anything to be worried about. My security sense is definitely not fort knox level but at least, I had all the bases covered - I use a password...

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It’s amazing how I have managed to garner a reputation for always being angry in certain social circles. Particularly on Radar, I have been referred to as a terrorist, someone who prides in mindlessly bullshitting (or attacking) other people’s ideas, amongst other things. I have in not so many words been blamed for some people abstaining from sharing their thoughts or products for fear of being judged. Some have even gone as far as looking forward to the failure of things I lay my hands on just so they can have a good laugh - I know this because this sentiment has been expressed to people who happen to be friends of mine.


Sometime in 2009, I wrote a casual blog post titled Celebrating Mediocrity which basically expressed my disgust with the low ambitions of most web services created by Nigerians. This sentiment hasn’t changed much. What has become even stronger is how much people...

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That night on Santana Row

So I had been home for at least 7 days straight now, besides going out for the obligatory Tuesday evening dinner. Now this can be considered awesome. Working from home with only three destinations to really be bothered about - the bed, the desk, and the kitchen. Okay, maybe occasional trips to the bathroom. However, things can get a little awry quickly. Like running mad from all the monotony. It doesn’t help matters that I live in a secluded part of town.

A couple of weeks back, while in a little conversation with the lady driving the uber I was in, I asked about what fun stuff to do in town and she mentioned this outdoor mall in San Jose with a number of bars and outdoor happenings in the evenings. This sounded great. Afterall, It’s high time I started making friends around here. Ope and I decided to head there last night. The plan was simple - relax, have fun, and knock ourselves out...

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Going live

As a developer, the most exciting moment about your product can easily be when people start making use of that shiny new code you pushed, and everything hums along just fine. Or not. For some reason, I tend to prefer the latter, because you see the problems right away, and get to work fixing them which eventually culminates in that additional sense of pride in your work.

We promised the world we would move Paystack to public beta back in December. As a matter of fact, we raced towards making this happen between December 7 and 11. Rhyme not intended. These were nights without sleep for me, well partly because my clock also hadn’t fully adjusted to Nigerian time as I found myself sleeping more between the hours of 11am and 6pm. Then the slow downs began. It was like finishing 98% of the work, and then taking your sweet time to do the remaining 2%. There was one excuse or the other for not...

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Crudcast: A holiday special

I did promise I would publish my writings more frequently in the new year, but perhaps writing a new post immediately after the last is only going to raise expectations. I’m fine with that. :)

Earlier today, we recorded a new episode of the show. The concept was put together less than 24 hours before the recording began, and the unintended guest only 3 hours prior. I had a brief Skype conversation with Tolu earlier today where she was forming Spanish babe - a language she has been forced to learn due to her ongoing sojourn in Chile. I told her about the episode and what we had planned for it and that was it.

I have to say, it wouldn’t have turned out to be as fun as it did without her on the show, and I’m glad we had that call. We played a game around places we have been to, companies we have worked with, and programming languages we have written in. Uzo’s choice to marry PHP still...

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2015 roundup

I’m not much for reflection, but I feel compelled to write something this time around. Maybe it’s from the need to write more often in the coming year and beyond, or just plain boredom. Or maybe I am actually amazed at how far I have come in the past few months, who knows?

In many ways, this was probably my worst and most depressing year ever. Personally, I was a mess. My financials was pretty much below zero. My career was as good as non existent. Physically, I was withdrawn from almost everyone. I think I also got a little angrier than normal. There were days I would be driving home from work and literally just start shedding tears. I didn’t want anybody to tell me it would be alright. No. I just wanted everyone to stay clear, and in more appropriate terms, fuck off.

My fantasies became my escape. I love gadgets. But I couldn’t afford to buy myself the things I wanted. I could only...

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You shall not pass!

Eyowo was a service that made it easy for people to accept payments online. Its appeal, and primary unique selling point at the time was that it managed to consolidate the various possible means of electronic payments run by different companies into one interface. This greatly reduced the barrier of entry for potential e-commerce players in terms of cost and ease.

Soon enough, we identified opportunities to do interesting things with the service. We could determine people’s spending patterns based on what they buy, websites they buy from, and how often they shop online. Best of all, we can have this information available to the shopper. A bonus surely wouldn’t hurt. Right? Thing is the users had to login to view this information. How do we get them to set their passwords? An early implementation of the Eyowo payment page had a login/register interface that comes up before payments (the...

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