My Kingston - Kadion Preston
What’s most enjoyable about being a resident of Kingston in Jamaica, and Kingston 21 in Florida?
I absolutely love being home in Jamaica. It gives me unprecedented joy and truly fulfils a part of my soul. I also enjoy having the opportunity to do business in my homeland and make a difference.
As the guiding force behind CaribShopper, how do you maintain the company’s edge in the ever-changing online space?
While most industries change and adjust every 3-5 years, the technology industry moves every single quarter and requires intuition to see where the market is going. With over 14 years’ experience in the technology industry, I have the foresight to know what to look out for, be current and a trendsetter rather than a follower. In addition, three things help me maintain my edge. (1) As an avid reader, I stay on top of the industry by reading a ton of articles from top-tier publications. (2) I also love to attend and speak at conferences. It allows me to have a deeper understanding of the market. (3) And lastly, I maintain my edge by having a strong group of tech professionals within my network.
How do you define innovative entrepreneurship in your own work life, and who gets your admiration as a self-made entrepreneur worth his or her mettle?
For me, an innovative entrepreneur is someone who can take the road less travelled and completely turn the industry on its head. It’s someone who can disrupt the way things used to be for effective change. Something that lasts. Steve Jobs is a perfect example as he changed the way music was delivered to everyone.
At CaribShopper, we looked at the e-commerce industry and realised there was no innovation. What we realised was that customers had to adapt to the market rather than the other way around. We changed that. CaribShopper is the first site to adapt to its customer. We brought a seamless process allowing for smartphone and online purchases. The days where customers have to jump through hoops to purchase products are long gone. We are proud to offer multiple payment options in local currencies for the Caribbean consumer. We also have been innovative in a market that is cash-driven where we have allowed consumers to take their cash and convert it to credit and shop instantly through our integration with GO Top Up network with over 1,200 locations islandwide.
Tristan Walker, the young Silicon entrepreneur who founded Bevel, the personal care line for people of colour, and Walker & Co Brands, has caught my eye as someone who took the road less travelled and has built a solid brand. Walker has raised an impressive $24m from top-venture capitalists and celebrity investors such as Earvin “Magic” Johnson and John Legend. Also, he is a 31-year-old young African-American with the bonus addition of being married to a Jamaican!
When is ambition considered too ruthless in your book?
Any measure of ambition that encourages you to abandon your morals and teachings is too much. When you do something that impinges on somebody’s rights. It’s important to remember to never cheat someone to get ahead.
A gripping page-turner or a film? Which sets your mind at greater ease?
As an entrepreneur my mind is always racing. The only way to silence it often is by watching a great film and allowing someone else to tell the story. I enjoy watching movies that allow you to think, where you can’t predict the plot. My recent favourite is
Fences and I’m always ready to watch a James Bond movie.
Jamaica’s economic growth has been in the one-figure region. If you were tasked to develop a stimulus plan to boost revenue by double figures, how would you implement a plan of action?
The world as we know it has changed. No longer are first world countries the only countries making improvements. If I was tasked to boost economic growth, I would focus on our strengths, our people and our land. Secondly, I would put in an infrastructure to promote local farming and manufacturing of items we can export. I would also promote local entrepreneurship by offering a fund that supports and helps facilitate locally grown businesses that qualify but that also grows our workforce and expands our reach regionally. In turn, I think we could unlock the full economic potential of Jamaica.
What do you pinpoint as the next big move towards making online business a more dynamic experience?
Internet penetration is the highest it has ever been. We are still a cash-driven society that needs to change in order to take advantage of the online experience and the opportunities it allows. The next big move is two-fold:
(1) Facilitation of distribution of digital payments will make it simpler for consumers to get cards and mobile wallets so they can pay for services online;
(2) With more money being digitised, more companies will move to provide their services online giving the customer 24/7 access.
You’re on a sinking ship, and only have five minutes to make two telephone calls before you go under. Who are the persons receiving those last-minute conversations?
My parents and children.
Life gives unexpected curve balls because...
The only constant is change and the uncertainties of the future.
The most disappointing and greatest chapters of your life are what?
The most disappointing chapter of my life has been coming to grips with the grave illness of a close family member and the greatest is absolutely the birth of my children.