Gordon Swaby

On becoming 24

A lot of people are offended when one of the first questions you ask them is, “so, what do you do?”.  I’m guilty of this, but let me explain.  I think what you do to earn money makes up a large part of who you are, no doubt, after all, you spend  8 hours or more per day doing it. So, me asking “so, what do you do” isn’t me trying to pry, it’s me trying to understand what you’re like as a person.

After giving it some thought, I realize that I don’t ask “so, what do you do for a living?” because, I never really think about it that way, I never really think that some people work for a living, because I don’t and I tend to (mistakenly) think that way about others, too. But the reality is that many people work to live and nothing else. They don’t work because they’re passionate about what they’re doing, they do it to literally just pay the bills. In regards to this I think you have 3 sets of people. People who work to pay the bills and because opportunities are scarce, people who work because they have no idea what they want to do with their life and people who work because they are passionate about what they do. The first set, I think, generally lives from paycheck to paycheck, the second doesn’t necessarily struggle, but aren’t sure what they want to do with their life, but know that they have to to maintain a certain lifestyle.  These people are either not content with what they do or are indifferent. The last set are doing what they love; sometimes they make a lot of money, sometimes they don’t, but what’s most important to them is that they’re doing what they love and they’re not just doing it to live.


A photo posted by Gordon Swaby (@gordonswaby) on

  I think I fall in the last set. I eat, sleep and dream entrepreneurship; that’s what I’m passionate about; I’m doing what I love and it has never felt like work, ever.  The idea of an enterprise and starting with just an idea and turning it into a big, profitable entity excites me.  That’s one of the reasons I wake up each morning excited about life. That is why I can’t write about becoming 24 without talking about what I do. In my 2012, “on becoming 22” blog post I wrote: I think a large part of being an entrepreneur is having confidence. You have to to envision it before you say it (out loud or type it) and you have to believe it before you do it. Two years later and I still believe that to be true.  Entrepreneurship can be such a lonely journey, lonely because regardless of how much advice you get, ultimately the decision lies with you; if you think about that too much it can be terrifying.  I read a blog post a few months ago titled “Disappearing into the Fire” by Jerry Colonna. I encourage all budding and current entrepreneurs to read that. So, 2014? Wow, what a year! I’m not even sure where to start, but let’s go!

  • Selected by the Inter-American Development Bank as one of ten  innovators in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Celebrated 5 years in a relationship with my beautiful girlfriend, Francine Derby.
  • I travelled to six  countries [Brazil, France, Switzerland, Panama, The USA (Washington, D.C.),  and Trinidad & Tobago] and they were all amazing and life-changing experiences.
  •  Partnership with Grace Kennedy’s First Global Bank for an exciting initiative (Flipped Classroom Project)
  •  Partnership with Versan Educational Services [SAT Prep]
  • EduFocal expansion to Trinidad and Tobago
  •  EduFocal partners with the Jamaican Government  to place the service on close to 1000 tablet computers for students
  •  Curatorship for the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Kingston Hub
  • Second annual EduFocal Awards successfully staged



 It’s been a whirlwind of a year with a lot of emotional highs and lows, both personally and professionally, but at no point did I ever feel defeated. Goal setting is important to me and that helped me to measure whether or not I was making progress on a goal. It also allowed me to adjust my strategy and expectations when I wasn’t getting the kind of results that I wanted. I say “kind of results” and not results because rarely do things go the way you plan. Things generally either work out better than you thought they would or not the way you expected them to be, but nothing beats a plan.    

  A photo posted by Gordon Swaby (@gordonswaby) on


As I close out the year I reflect on the things that I’ve achieved, the things that I can do better and the things I plan to achieve. I’m very excited about 2015 and the things that are in store for me. Here’s to 2015!


A photo posted by Gordon Swaby (@gordonswaby) on

A photo posted by francinederby (@francinederby) on


P.S I want to thank local, regional, international media and others for following our journey. Here are some of the many stories throughout the year:

Young entrepreneurs take to the web to boost development by the UK Guardian

Young Innovator Educating The Nation’s Youth Online by the Jamaica Gleaner

Swaby’s EduFocal On A Roll Internationally by the Jamaica Gleaner

Presentation the IDB president and Board of Governors in Brazil 

Gordon Swaby ON ANOTHER LEVEL by the Jamaica Gleaner

EduFocal Does It  by the Jamaica Gleaner

EduFocal to help T&T’s CSEC, SEA students by the Trinidad Express

Jamaican innovator to bring Edufocal to T&T by the Trinidad Guardian

EduFocal awards top GSAT, CSEC students by the Jamaica Observer



Written by Gordon Swaby

Gordon Swaby

Founder and CEO of social learning service EduFocal.com. I’m passionate about technology, the internet and the use of technology in education. I am a recipient of Governor General’s Youth Award, the PSOJ’s 50 Under 50 Award, The commonwealth Youth Award and many others.

Lovingly made on Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 at 9:00 am. Filed under Entrepreneurship, Personal.

  • Rocky Campbell

    And may 2015 be even greater!

  • jamaipanese

    Keep rising!

  • Jodiaz

    Great read Gordon, Congrats on your achievements! I really do agree that each individual is faced with the choice of “why they work”, I also believe that initial socialization is a strong determinant of this choice. So i’m all in for social transformation where if we enforce the right values and educate our young, they will continue the trend thus fostering a ripple effect. It sounds easy on paper but its difficulty shines through adult behaviours and accomplishments. You have made positive contributions to our education system and I am looking forward to greater accomplishments in 2015. Great Job on your 2014 !

  • OnOrangeStreet

    Such an inspiring journey Gordon. Keep up the good work.

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