Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Growth & Jobs | Successful comeback - The multimillion-dollar business he expected didn't happen but that didn't stop him

Published:Tuesday | June 20, 2017 | 12:04 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Chase Jarvis
Chase Jarvis leads a session with creative Jamaican entrepreneurs

Chase Jarvis, is the successful chief executive officer of CreativeLive - an online platform that offers free creative education to aspiring artists and entrepreneurs worldwide. The business adviser, however, suffered a major blow in 2009, having created the world's first photo app, which was expected to share images on social networks.

This never materialised.

Jarvis, who is also an award-winning photographer, director and artist, was keynote speaker at the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Regional Workshop on Entrepreneurship in the Caribbean, which was held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston recently. The Young Leaders Initiative was announced in 2015 by former President of the United States, Barack Obama, during his visit to the island. The programme is expected to build linkages between young entrepreneurial leaders across the hemisphere. It addresses the opportunity gap for youth, especially women, by empowering business and social entrepreneurs with the training, tools, networks and resources they need to transform their society and contribute to economic development.


Wrong timing


In an interview with The Gleaner, Jarvis attributed his loss to 'wrong timing'. He spoke openly about the periods of grief and anger that came with what was then seen as a huge failure. He noted that the obstacle would later push him into his now very successful venture.

"My journey of becoming a photographer led me to a couple of things. One, I started playing around with the iPhone when it first came out and I was looking at creating the first iPhone app that shared photos on social networks. The app was called Best Camera and it was the app of the year in 2009 (having won the Adorama Photography Award).

"It shaped up to be a very successful business and had the opportunity to sell for a lot of money - money that would mean never working again. However, I basically shut it down and walked away from it. I made money while the business was operating but it didn't get the hundreds of millions of dollars (as was expected) and then Instagram (social media network) came shortly afterwards and sold $4 billion (in business)," he said.

... It is better that people scoff at your idea than forget it

Chase Jarvis said that he was impressed with the level of enthusiasm and prospective business ventures in Jamaica and, by extension, the Caribbean. He is encouraging budding entrepreneurs to expect challenges but, he said, they must strive not to crumble when they emerge.

"What I did was to take all the things that I learnt from that failure and applied them to my new focus which is called CreativeLive. It's the world's largest live-streaming online education platform which is focused specifically on creators and entrepreneurs," he told The Gleaner.

"One of the things that entrepreneurs will recognise as soon as they start their journey, is that it's not just about being better or having a better product or faster car, it's also about being different. When people scoff at it (your idea), let them do that; what will be worse is if they forgot about it entirely. When you are memorable, that helps you stand out and when you stand out, it gives you disproportional opportunity to make a living doing what you love."