Starting with Why.

My battered old Nokia

When I was 11 or 12, just leaving primary school I won a Nokia 3650 from a radio phone-in competition. It was bright yellow, horrendously designed and damn-near impossible to use. And it was awesome.

It opened my eyes to not just what a phone could do but what it’s for, I realised then that a phone isn’t just for texting and speaking with friends, but for games, media, browsing, taking pictures, everything. I learned that it was powered by Symbian OS, an operating system that normal people could make things for. It was around then that my passion for all things tech sparked and have been the go-to tech nerd in my circles ever since.

With no real experience, except for my passion and a covering letter saying I’d work for free, I landed a job with Apple (kindly they agreed to pay me) during college and there I met a mentor who showed me how technology doesn’t just have to be confined to shiny boxes but that it exists all around us and has infinite potential to make people’s lives better, easier or more fun.

My parents, both imigrants to England, worked hard to give my brothers and I the opporunities we took advantage of and there’s no hard luck story to recount here, but let’s just say they weren’t the type to buy their 11 year old a £400 phone to see if he might like it.

We live in a time where most of the opportunities go to the people who can afford them; how can we find the next musical sensation, programming prodigy and photography genius when they don’t have the access to the tools to make a good go of it? I believe people need to experiment as much as possible to find the thing they love. But as you know, this can be very expensive.

Prizify aims to be a marketplace where economic position is not a factor in getting the thing or experience that could potentially change your horizons. Where everybody has an equal chance. We know it’s not perfect and there’s still a lot of work to do, but it’s a start.

Steve Jobs said “You can’t join the dots looking forward, but only as you look back”; he was right; I’ve realised I just got extremely lucky. I got that phone at a point in my life where it shaped what I’d do from that point forward.

I still have that Nokia 3650 in a drawer somewhere, plastic worn out, buttons missing, battery shot to pieces. But it’s still awesome.

troy@prizify.co