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Category : Storytelling

Caribbean Entrepreneurs Content Creation Creative Entrepreneurial Stories Ryerson MDM Social Media Storytelling

How Tamarind Balls, White Envelopes, and Art will Create a Successful Storytelling Entrepreneur in 2017

My life’s ultimate goal is to become a very successful storytelling entrepreneur, which I am currently preparing myself for. In my small digital marketing hustle, I assist small businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs with innovative digital strategies that lure and satisfy potential and returning clients. In addition, I am currently working on honing my storytelling skills, and by December 2017, at the end of my Master of Digital Media Programme, I will create a storytelling journal. The journal will include the different structures for telling stories in a digital world and demonstrate how to engineer those stories for spreadability.

From my interaction with many successful entrepreneurs, many of them share common stories about hustling and starting businesses as children such running lemonade stands and servicing paper routes. Consequently, I decided to look at my past to see if I was entrepreneurial back in the day. I started thinking about my days in Grenada when I attended St. Andrew’s Anglican Primary School. Did I do anything that was entrepreneurial there? I certainly didn’t have a lemonade stand; however, I remember my tamarind ball hustle. When I was young, I remember seeing vendors in the town of Grenville selling tamarind balls to passersby and thought to myself, what if I took the same concept but sold tamarind balls in my school? I already had access to the main ingredient because there was a huge tamarind tree next to my house, but the startup capital came in the form of a dollar I borrowed from my mom to buy the sugar for my business venture. Once everything was in place, I started making and selling tamarind balls to my schoolmates. I remember the first day I sold out. I couldn’t believe it; the feeling was indescribable. Admittedly, while writing this piece, the nostalgia reignited that said feeling, and I started smiling ridiculously.

Soon, tamarind went out of season; however, because of my initial experience, I somehow caught the entrepreneurial bug and moved on to another venture, an envelope hustle. Put simply; I sold white envelopes to my classmates. Up to this day, I can’t remember where I got the envelopes from, nor do I know why my classmates were buying them in the first place since they had no need for them. As a matter of fact, upon reflection, I now feel bad about this, but the envelope hustle didn’t last long. Firstly, before going further, however, I must admit that my next venture was the epitome of plagiarism. However, in my defense, I had no idea about that concept back then. Secondly, I must apologize to my friend Amwell for using his brother’s art for financial gains since my next business involved selling copied work. Sometimes when Amwell brought his brother’s art at school, which was generally drawings of popular cartoon characters and superheroes, I traced over his drawings then sold the duplicates to my schoolmates for 25 cents. Therefore, Amwell if you ever read this, forgive me for my ignorance. Since my conscience is now clear, I can now elaborate on the other legal businesses I later ran.

As time went on, the symptoms of the entrepreneurial bug were still evident. When I attended secondary school, I joined the Junior Achievers programme. I was the president of my company which was called “Noix de Coco Ltd”. The company was made up of students from St Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School, Grenville Secondary School, and St Joseph Convent Grenville. Our company made and sold local coconut products to the general public. The little company gave me a true sense of what entrepreneurship was all about since I experienced all of the facets of running a business such as marketing, production, book keeping, management, etc. firsthand.

Related Article- Do this in 2017 to Grow

Admittedly, there was a period when I believe the drive to enter business went away for a while, but fortunately, I got it back in my last year of university while living in Mexico. Consequently, to further assist me in my entrepreneurial journey, I am currently pursuing a Master of Digital Media degree at Ryerson University. My Major Research Project is all about storytelling and getting stories to spread from a business perspective. I want to help businesses tell their stories because I think it’s one of the most underrated skills in entrepreneurship. I am currently storytelling for small clients and the #IamGrenadian project, and so far, the result has been great. I aim to document and blog my progress as I become a master storytelling entrepreneur, and I am glad to have you along for the journey.

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Ryerson MDM Storytelling Videos

Why Do Stories Spread? Join A Conversation Or Start A Conversation?

Last week, I attended a workshop held by the Transmedia Zone at Ryerson University. The host for the event was Douglas Rushkoff, one of the best media theorist today and author of the books “Programme or be Programmed” and “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus”. One of the many things he spoke about that was of interest to me was the issue of virality and what causes stories to spread. The topic of virality piqued my interest because it centers on rapidly and widely sharing information online which directly aligns with my Major Research project for my Master of Digital Media program.

In his presentation, Mr. Rushkoff indicated that stories go viral when the content that is being shared exists, but its story is not being told or a conversation about it is to be had. He illustrated his point with the example of Rodney King, an African-American taxi driver who was beaten by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department in 1991. According to Rushkoff, the main reason why King’s story went viral was not because it was recorded and disseminated in the media; instead, it reached the far corners of the world because his experience shed light on an unfortunate issue that existed that finally got exposed. Mr. King’s beating brought the story of police brutality and how police dealt with African Americans in the Unites States of America to the fore. It was widely known that police cruelty was a problem in the black community; however, the act was never caught on tape and publicized until then. So because someone recorded Rodney King’s beating, it was enough to spark a response from the black community. With the tape as an overwhelming piece of evidence, people were prepared to spread it to get the conversation on police brutality started.

I was reading a book called “Spreadable Media” by Henry Jenkins et al., and it is in direct contrast to Mr. Rushkoff. In his book, Jenkins mentions that content and stories spread online when people take part in a conversation that is already taking place. Interestingly, Jenkins even used the writings of Rushkoff to justify his position. Consequently, when given the chance to ask for clarity and seek Mr.Rushkoff’s stance on the matter, I pointed out the two points of view to him at which point he made it known that he does not agree with Jenkins. He stated that he does not think that content spreads when it’s part of an ongoing or existing conversation; instead, it has greater reach when it is part of a conversation that people are not currently having.

Personally, I think both men have a point, and my belief merges the two concepts. I believe virality results when non-mainstream content that many know exist is shared. Consequently, it gives people a voice to express themselves based on what their experience or what they see while evoking the feelings of others that empathize, share the same attitudes or concerns, or in some cases contradict their opinions which then lead to greater sharing or spread of information. Therefore, in the simplest sense, if at least one other person can relate to or denounce something I believe is worth sharing, the individual might share the content as a means of consciously or subconsciously showing solidarity for a common opinion or possibly as a show of opposition. Others then become exposed to the information and the cycle of sharing continues.

I hope to work with brands and communities to help them create their stories and spread them to the masses. Currently, I am doing some more research into this idea of why stories spread online. I am quite excited about this area, and once my research is concluded, I will share my findings.

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Creative Ryerson MDM Social Media Storytelling

Storytelling is the new Marketing, Branding, and other Good stuff in Business

I was sitting watching Mcguyver on demand when I received a video from an acquaintance from one of the online groups I am a part of. The video was about a guy with some religious message, and I decided not to even bother to watch it. However, while I was posting an image on Whatsapp a few minutes later, the video started playing, and the guy started telling a story about a civilian that saved a soldier’s life. The story highlighted that the civilian’s mom wanted to abort him a few years earlier, and the mother of the soldier whose life he ended up saving sat with her and encouraged her to keep the baby. The story got me hooked, and I watched the entire video, even the message after the story.

That got me thinking; it validated what I have been working on for the past few months; storytelling is how Brands can use their story to grow their businesses. Gary Vaynerchuck stated that he day trades attention and build businesses. To him, the ultimate asset in business , in this internet led era in which we live, is attention. Therefore it is of utmost importance to find ways to get and keep this asset. I believe that to get the attention, we need to tell stories.

In January 2016, a tourist (Jessica Colker)was murdered while exploring a deserted beach while on vacation in Grenada. Note well, Grenada is my home country.The incident generated lots of international media interest; most of it negative. The coverage painted a picture of a dangerous, barbaric island with savage people and where rapists and murderers roam freely.  Some literature even issued travel warnings and advisories.

As a Grenadian, Colker’s murder stunned me; particularly because Grenada is one of the safest and friendliest Caribbean islands with extremely low crime rates. I anticipated the coverage given the international ties of the victim, however, what I did not expect was the very negative image that was painted of Grenada and Grenadians like me. This sparked the creation of the #IamGrenadian counter-project to share the real stories of Grenada and Grenadians online.

Six months later, the Facebook page  garnered 11,000 likes and massive engagement; that’s when I realized that storytelling was a powerful way to shape a brand’s narrative online. As part of my Masters Degree in Digital Media, I am currently working on the best way that brands can tell their stories across multiple platforms. I will keep everyone updated on my progress. I am not going to talk about the benefits of storytelling or the steps to create a story; these can be found with a quick search on google or by visiting the business of story website. Nevertheless, storytelling is the future, and I will be writing about the different ways a story can be created and shared across multiple platforms. Stay tuned for progress updates on my research.

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