The story probably begins in 2009. I could start earlier—for example when I was 6 I experimented heavily with point-and-shoot disposable cameras. But, since I’d rather not dive deep into the potential environmental impact those disposable cameras may have had, I’ll skip that part of the story. Suffice it to say, photography was something I grew to love early.
In 2010 I was a kid who was really into Halo: Reach, and YouTube vlogers. I had been given a DSLR for Christmas that year but I was really upset because it didn’t shoot video. Let’s ignore for now that I was still an avid photographer. At the time, YouTube was my thing.
I saved up some money over the course of the year and eventually was able to buy a flip video mino, a little camera that looks like it shoots in portrait mode and runs on two AA batteries. I wasn’t fond of the idea of vlogging myself, but I had dabbeled in improv a few summers back so I figured I could write a funny sketch. So I did.
For the sake of my future political career, that video, and the channel on which it lived, can only be found today on a backup harddrive in a shoebox in my closet. But, through the five years which followed, making YouTube videos shaped my future.
I learned photoshop. I learned what it was like to have a passion project. I learned how to market, and and re-invest proceeds into a business, though not well, admittedly. I learned how to take criticism on the internet from real people who I didn’t know.
Mostly, I learned that I like trying new things.
About every 2 months I would change the narrative style of the videos. I changed the genre. I changed the shooting style and editing style. When I finally did buy that DSLR that could shoot video—a Canon T3i which I still have today—I took it outside and shot a series of viral-video style fruit ninja parodies with my friends. Luckily, I had a friend who had a machete.
Eventually University came and YouTube went. I didn’t have the time, and I’d kinda lost interest. But I was still into photography, I was still into creating things, and I’d recently started business school which meant I now knew how to run a business.
I started a theatre company with a guy named Shaq at one of the colleges at UofT. We developed a season with two plays and a musical, found venues, and started production on the shows. I did all this instead of studying—in hindsight, that wasn’t a great idea. I’d argue, however, that I learned more running the administrative arm of a theatre company, and doing production and lighting design on that musical, Bare: A Pop Opera, than I could have in the classroom.
I continued my habit of genre-hopping in 3rd year. I left my theatre company and joined an engineering design team, the University of Toronto Aerospace Team (UTAT). Of course, the members of that team didn’t let me touch any of the hardware they were building. Instead I helped them develop a fund which would bring in capital to pay for ambitious projects. By March 2016 we’d secured $240,000 CAD (about 180,000 in real money) in annual funding for satellite development and launch. With UTAT I finally found an outlet for all those AdWords skills I’d never used.
In 4th year I hopped again, this time into startups.
I’ll leave the story there for now. I continue to work with startups. Today I work as COO of Bio Conscious Technologies, a health analytics company in Vancouver. I’m still a photographer. I paint. I write. I like building things. I like problem solving and strategy games. Frankly, I struggle to balance all of my hobbies, and I haven’t even mentioned swimming, running, bouldering, and learning to program.
I’ve yet to find anything not worth trying - but I’ll keep looking.