002 – Blazing the Tech trail in the Caribbean, with Ingrid Riley
Ingrid Riley is a trailblazer in the field of tech. An Award-winning Blogger, she is the founder of Silicon Caribe and Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at getCONNECTID. She is also the leading lady behind many Meetups+ Pitch events, 3 Caribbean Tech Conferences, 3 Caribbean-wide Hackathons, a few Mobile App Competitions, Online Twitter Chats and Startup Weekends.#PeakPerformers, @IngridRiley shares her awesome journey on #TEY #Podcast today! Click To Tweet
If you were really hungry and really, really sleepy and you had to choose only one, which would you choose? Would it be sleep or would it food?
I’ll definitely do the food. Because the food would probably help me to sleep better because you can’t really sleep well if you’re hungry if your belly is like rumbling.
Who is Ingrid Riley?
Just somebody who is curious, love to experiment, love to get to know people, love to read, love to observe individuals, love to travel. I definitely have a thing for travelling. If I don’t travel, my skin starts to itch.
So now, let’s get a little digital. How were you able to get started in this somewhat predominantly male-oriented field?
I never thought that would—I have no other intention just to simply follow what I was curious and passionate about. I was an investigative journalist. And when I kind of reached as far as I could and having been surrounded by technology. And I just kind of fell in love and fell really hard. Coming from that thought tradition and media background, I was looking at online media. Because of all of that exposure, I started my first company, which was called Maverik Media.
What were some of the bumps in the road that you encountered?
I’ll choose one from the early days. Because I had this internet guide, it was my then business partner, I said, “Hey, I don’t know how to do this. Can you help me? Let’s put it together.” Because of that, she was also part of Maverick Media and we like doing things like email, newsletters or stuff that we are learning and sending out to people that we knew. We were recruited by this American dot-com called HomeView.com And so we put Maverick Media on ice to go and join this team in the hope of, you know, the whole thing of you joining a team. You get shares. We’re going to go IPO, you know, instant millionaire, right? The dot-com bubble popped. I led myself to be fired and went back to Maverick Media afterwards.
The thing that I learned from that is never put your own company on hold to go and work for somebody else unless you were at the centre of negotiating and really negotiate terms that are actually really good for you. I think we’re just kind of happy to be there, happy to learn, happy to be part of this thing without actually thinking about the business aspect of it carefully and recognise when a shark comes and knock on your door. Don’t put your company on the ice. Learn how to negotiate better. Don’t do things that are against your value system because it’s always going to come and bite you.
The second lesson I’ve learned recently is in this whole process of being involved in kick-starting the Jamaican tech entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem here and the Caribbean as well, I learnt to say no and always take care of myself.
How important is it for entrepreneurs and even persons who are considering entering entrepreneurship to follow their instinct?
It is the number one thing. It comes down to trusting yourself as an entrepreneur who tends to see things differently, tends to see things before others.
Well, let’s look at the flipside note, alright? When you create a product or a service or whatever it is, you become so intimately attached to it and you take it too personal to the extent that you refuse to listen to others. I know what is best for me. That’s the flipside. What do you say to that?
No. I believe that there’s always value in that—success always leaves clues. If you see somebody, you know…is like I keep telling people that I do not take financial or money advice from anybody who isn’t richer than me.
We are living in such an awesome time right now. It’s amazing, the opportunities that are available and sometimes we are looking around waiting for persons to come and present stuff on a platter.
Exactly! We are waiting for someone to hand us when it’s there right in front of us. We have the connection. Now, what do we do with it? How do we spend our time? What are we going to create? What are we going to do with others? How do we want to express ourselves in this world? You have access to this internet through your phone, through a laptop to whatever it is.
Persons may be listening in our community now and are wondering how are some of the ways in which I can monetize online, what are some options?
What are you willing to spend a lot of time on getting to be really really great at. You could say, for instance, somebody is passionate about beaches. That’s all played out. Where can you find a list of a map of top 500 beaches in the Caribbean? What do they look like? What are they? Who goes there? What happens there. You become an authority on these beaches. You have your videos, you have your text, you have your photos. There’s a way to monetize that.
So as an award-winning blogger for siliconcarib.com Is it only just tech that you blog about?
It’s a technology and digital lifestyle blog. I blog about the people, the product, the places and what we’re doing. We’re embracing technology in the Caribbean and how we are positioning ourselves to be successful in the global digital economy.
- Don’t do things that are against your value system because it’s always going to come and bite you.
- Find a way to monetize what you’re really good at.
- never put your own company on hold to go and work for somebody else.
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