What Guyana Taught Me about Startups

I am a proud member of the Global Shapers, a program created by the World Economic Forum to empower millennials in cities all over the world to make a local impact.

Conversations with international Shapers are inspiring. They give me alternative perspective, both cultural and geographic, and I try my best to use their wisdom to improve my life.

For example, this is an unedited conversation I had with Onika Stellingburg, the curator from Georgetown, Guyana. We were talking about what it is I do for work. (Am I really this terse online? Anyone have a guide to proper Facebook chat etiquette?):

Onika: What does Clippo do?

I always knew it was there.

Neil: Make animated gifs and memes from your phone

Onika: Ps- I’M Slightly technologically slow but what’s IOS? Smart phones right?

Neil: yes iphones

Onika: I keep seeing this word ‘gifs’ ….it’s the moving pictures right?

Neil: yes, you got it

Onika: Excuse me….I don’t even own a smart phone so I pick regular things up slower than most. Yayyyyyy. There is hope for me yet.

Neil: much hope

Onika: So what do you do when you make them?

Neil: Share them with friends. It’s a way to communicate with gifs

Onika (at the same time as my previous message): Sell them online?


My creolese might come out here…..dats for fun or is it ya job?

Neil: love it, it’s my job and it’s fun

What I found interesting:

  1. She wasn’t sure what iOS was. I take having a smart phone for granted and iOS is a fairly common term, but this is not true for the majority of people outside the US.
  2. It was interesting that she knew what a gif was and not what iOS was, maybe the Buzzfeed effect?
  3. When she said smart phones, I said iPhones. Guess I’m not as quick to embrace Android.
  4. Her immediate question was whether we sell the gifs after we make them. At first I was amused, but then realized quickly that’s a very reasonable question. Businesses create products to ultimately generate revenue. The fact that we are focusing on growth and not revenue is probably amusing to her.
  5. I am a fan of Creolese.
  6. She asked whether Clippo is for fun or my job. I’m pretty happy to answer that it’s both.

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