Anniversaries, Part 1: Tyrone Wilson and the Last Ten Years

I was reminded today that there are a few anniversaries in Jamaica this year. One of them is Tyrone Wilson’s tenth. He has reached double digits. I wrote about him a few years ago, after visiting him at the University of Technology Entrepreneurial Centre, an incubator. At age 22, Tyrone was just about to “change gears” then, I believe. I could see him looking forward to something new. Later I wrote about Tyrone’s support for the YUTE Lens Support program, here.

Since then, just over six years ago, he has walked along that steady, open (but not always smooth) road to the discovery of self, others, and all the possibilities therein. Tyrone is on Twitter (@CallTyrone_W) and as his profile description tells us, he is the CEO of two innovative companies, eMedia, and iCreate; a Prime Minister’s Youth Awardee; a Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) “50 Under 50” Awardee; a member of GraceKennedy’s Advisory Board. Oh, and an alumnus of Jamaica College (JC).

Today, Tyrone is celebrating his ten-year journey. I can do no better than to share with you his thread of tweets, today. What I love is his acknowledgment of the relationships he made along the way, and how they supported him. The story is longer than this, but I suspect there will be more to come, as Tyrone tells it on social media. Tune in to him on Twitter, Facebook – and tomorrow on Instagram, where he will be telling us more – live, on @CallTyrone_W.

The launch of eMedia. (TW’s photo on Twitter)

September 1, 2008 – 10 years ago, I officially started my journey as Founder and CEO of eMedia … first registered as eZines Limited – Jamaica’s first online magazine company. Shareholders were myself and Chris.

2008 – a decade from now was a completely different era than today. Not many accelerators, incubators, and angel investors.

Our very first product was @YourMoneyeZine. The first issue was published on October 22, 2008. No advertiser, no revenues.

I remember telling Chris I didn’t like sales. His response was: well, close down the business & look a work. He went on to highlight that some of the most successful entrepreneurs are sales people … Danny Williams … Michael Lee Chin

That talk alone was enough to get me moving.

Debut as an authority re: internet usage and digital media. “Home access not a true measure of local internet use, says eZines boss.”

I remember a year before I started, after finishing college, I was so broke after a few failed business ventures. During that time, I first met Meisha, now my wife. She gave me $10,000 I believe to purchase test glasses so I could put down the worn-out contact lens.

The first eZine published in 2008.

I had no money to change the contacts or afford the glasses and actually picked up an infection in my eyes. Thanks to Meish, I was able to get the glasses. She and my mom were my first two investors.

She said, well, you’re always talking about business so I’m positive we’ll be going into business sometime in the future. Consider this my first investment.

Then there was the JC Old Boy dinner where I met Chris. My Mom saw that I wanted to attend the Carlton Alexander Award dinner so I could meet a potential investor. The ticket was $5,000 … She sorted it for me and the rest is history.

I met Chris – then Managing Director of National Commercial Bank (NCB) Capital Markets and 10 years later, him can’t get rid a me. Today, his sons call me Uncle Tyrone.

I believe eMedia has always been a source of opportunity for people that worked with us. Definitely not the most stable place to work and not the most secure financially … but without a doubt the place to grow & realize your true potential.

In 2009, our focus was to continue to publish @YourMoneyeZine & monetize. Chris connected me with Sheree Martin for us to pitch for Advertising. NCB became our first advertiser – and there Sheree and I brother/sister relationship started.
Tyrone getting a high profile.
Positioning, refining and redefining our sales and marketing strategy for the company and for the product(s) came through multiple sessions with Sheree.
It didn’t take long for Sheree to invest in eZines. I’ve benefited so much from the Chris and Sheree combination. From DAY ONE, eZines had Advisory Board meetings and reporting structures. These foundations made us very attractive to institutional investors, who would later come on.
The journey was encouraging, inspiring and full of excitement …But the struggles are what made me stronger as an Entrepreneur. I can’t forget in 2010 thereabouts when my car got repossessed. We were earning very small revenues and of course, you know, I’m last on the list to be paid.
I fell behind on a few payments. I was living in Portmore at the time and I still remember that morning like it was yesterday. The bailiff came like 6:30am (if not earlier). Told me that they’re here for the car – the bank sent them.
I was depressed that week and had to borrow some $$ to help me get back the car. That was a huge setback…not really earning a thing for yourself…but then having to borrow money to get back a car that I couldn’t even afford to pay for one a monthly basis.
That entire period was one of the toughest for me as an individual. As usual, you see the little $$ in the company account, but know that you have to pay the team members and rent. When that’s sorted … when you squeeze through … there’s none left for you.
I remember when Meisha put school on hold … start taking the bus with me (eventually got back the car) … and said she realize I need the help so she’s gonna come to work and help me in the company.
Then came the speaking engagements …
Tomorrow morning I will be doing my first Instagram Live video. I will be talking about my 10 years in business. I’m embracing the uniqueness of each platform to engage my audience and tell my story. I’m so proud of what I was able to achieve as an Entrepreneur over the years.
Congratulations again, Tyrone! Here’s to more decades of success!
Tyrone Wilson, looking slightly nerdy these days. (Photo: LinkedIn)

4 thoughts on “Anniversaries, Part 1: Tyrone Wilson and the Last Ten Years

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