Episode 10 – Building an Experiential Based Tech Future for Jamaica with Christopher Gayle

By Kadia Francis | August 18, 2019 | 1hr 15 mins

Photo Courtesy of Chris Gayle on Instagram


In the second form of high school (grade 8) I was listening to the Hanson Brothers, MM Bop and day dreaming about being a cute white girl in a Hanson video (it was a simpler less woke time). But I was being a normal teenager, blissfully unaware, annoying and un-impactful. In fact, for the most part blissfully unaware and ‘oh my god’, was my mood the entire 5 years I spent at Holy Childhood High School.

By the time Chris landed in fourth form (grade 10) he had already found his lane and was testing the hell out of those boundaries. In second form he was busy ‘acquiring’ source codes for games, editing the characters or altogether rebuilding those games. In third form his games were so popular online that it got the attention of the makers of Dragon Ball Z. Let us say they were not flattered by the similarities nor were they interested in friendly competition so they sent him and his nerd gamer friends a cease and desist letter.

 

So that was bittersweet for the team. To the artists, they were more upset. But to me, I didn’t lose any art, I guess the code was still useful. And I felt like I could now make something original that could go further than something that I was making as a fan. 

 

Just in case you haven’t picked up yet Christopher Gayle a.k.a Chris Gizzada is a Jamaican tech  prodigy. A completely self taught programmer, software designer & developer. And, now founder of Gizzada Limited, a premier, world class software development company creating apps that “help people get things done.”

I mean, here is someone who from early on knew exactly what he wanted to do and just did it. Although, to hear him tell it, it wasn’t so much knowing but just simply doing what he liked.

I don’t know, if it’s that I knew, I just kept on not doing anything I didn’t like. So I guess, anytime I didn’t like something, or I saw someone else doing it, and they were clearly more passionate about it than I was, I would just go back to my lane. It just so happened that this is what I liked.

That clarity of thought and his ‘just doing me” attitude makes him a progressive thinker with an incredible ability to foresee and predict trends.

“around fifth form I think smartphones were really out there now and I could finally transition from just making these computer based things to things that could go on your phone, and a lot of the stuff that were in my game, there are entire businesses built on top of some of those principles, and some of those systems. So I wanted to start to take pieces of that and apply them to the real world. And I figured that it would be it would just be a nicer way to live in Jamaica.”

The funny thing about just being you and creating the things you like is that you have to rely on your environment to guide you. I don’t have to spell out how valuable an asset that is when we are talking about people like Chris who are literally developing the future? Chances are very high that anything that he creates is going to be experiential based and because we are all cultured in the Jamaican experience that can only mean tangible benefits for the majority of Jamaicans.

This is what you call experiential tech, technology that is rooted in culture but developed to advance or better how that thing is done. And, it is no surprise that Chris is already way ahead of the curve on that front.  Chris is very clear about who his company  is developing apps for and the why of it all.

We are developing applications with the purpose of improving the lives of those living in the Caribbean

But mout mek fi talk right? The proof of the pudding is in the eating and all that jazz we Jamaicans say. Except, every single piece of application Gizzada Limited has produced thus far has manifested their why, and they are all experiential based.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 🛠 JA Maker (@jamakerapp) on

The JaMaker App is the Jamaican version of WeChat it is hybrid team organizer, eCommerce platform, business manager, instant messenger, and collaborative software application built with Jamaican companies in mind. Indeed it was initially built for his team.

The Get There App is an Uber-esque application that allows users to book taxis online. The app was especially developed with rural Jamaicans in mind who have a harder time with transportation.

JahMah Music App - Christopher Gayle

 

The JahMah Music App is an online radio manned by an AI DJ and features popular as well as up and coming Jamaican artists.

The Power Pree App is a collaboration between Chris and his team at Gizzada Limited and another brilliant young Digital Jamaican Yekini Wallen-Bryan and his team at Preelabs. The app and software is built by Chris and accompanies the PowerPree device developed by Yekini and his team.

According to their website the device allows users “to monitor and manage the usage of your appliances and save money on your annual energy bill by remotely and/or automatically turning things on and off according to your schedule!”

The app is what allows users to operat the device remotely, I love a good collab.

Mi nah lie yuh (no lie), young people like Chris and his team at Gizzada Limited and YeKini and his team at PreeLabs makes me really excited for the future of tech in Jamaica. We are decades behind the curve so we need more visionary, innovative, out-of-the-box, non-traditional and non linear thinkers like these two to lead the tech revolution in Jamaica. Maybe then we can finally stop playing catch up and GET THRE already.

Chris’s Gems

 

  • Start developing your passion from early, hone in on the things that you’re good at or that you love doing
  • Stay in your lane, don’t do something because its popular, do it because you want to, because you love it.
  • Unconventional, non-linear thinking is an asset, not a disadvantage
  • Know what you know and own it.
  • A university education is always a good thing but not always necessary if it’s not a distinct advantage
  • Be versatile and adaptable, don’t limit your self to just one area in your field, industry or interest
  • Create things that are Impactful and valuable to as many people as possible
  • The Internet is a vast resource and a valuable/powerful learning tool if you know where to go to find the information
  • Dont’ be afraid to break the rules, innovate til the rules catch up
  • You don’t need permission, once your mind can conceive it, go ahead and create it


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