For many there is a misconception that the terms “entrepreneurship” and “making money” are the same thing. Firstly, this is not true and there are different types of entrepreneurs. With my field of study being Mass Communications, for my ENTP 210 class I had to find an entrepreneur in my field. The entrepreneur of choice who fit the description perfectly was Mr Lasana Liburd. Mr Liburd was quite willing to share his story in spite of his very busy schedule and allow me to prepare a narrative on him.
Mr. Liburd is the Managing Director, CEO and Editor of Wired868, an online newspaper in Trinidad, in existence since 2012. It is a company that distinguishes itself through its clever, analytical sport stories and blogs as well as its satirical weekday news briefs. He was a Freelance Sport Writer from 2004 to 2005, and prior to that held the post of Sport and Youth Affairs Writer at Trinidad Guardian Newspaper from 1995 to 1997. As a journalist with over 15 years of experience he has worked at several local and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.
Mr Liburd through his efforts over the years emerged as an entrepreneur as he used his knowledge and expertise to create something different for locals in the form of a news and media website and the name Wired868 is indicative of its Trinidadian roots and focus. Other newspaper agencies began with print, but Wired868 has been online and mainly a one man show. He has been seeing things through with his hard work and ownership of things. His high internal locus of control was evident as well as his clear and visionary thinking.
Essentially, his vision for an online paper was one that was different to what was on the market. He felt that he could offer something “special and necessary to the media landscape”. Since it did not fit into anyone else’s plan, he decided to take ownership of the project and do it himself as he felt he could satisfy it.
Along the way he has faced many challenges, but identified the challenge that moulded him as being selling. It meant transferring his vision, belief and enthusiasm for this project to people who did not know him and were unsure as to whether his project could survive and even flourish. It meant he had to learn how to communicate with corporate Trinidad and Tobago. It was a long time he sold his first advertisement facing “brutal hours” which he endured.
His goal was to make Wired868 the starting point for intelligent conversation by giving readers the information they needed to form opinions on various subjects and to grasp issues at more than a superficial level. To quote his words, Mr Liburd said, “It feels great when readers say they appreciate us being here to cover local football or for our sometimes thought provoking satire but the best thing of all is just to see persons understand the talking points and debate them, even when they might not agree with our conclusions.”
As many in the field would expect, it has been tough on his family. In spite of the challenges he faced he has had support from his family from the very beginning and over the years they never insisted that he quit. According to him, that was all the support he needed. He added, “I hope to reward them for their help as Wired868 flourishes.”
He further stated, “You have to be stubborn and flexible at the same time. You have to be absolutely driven in your belief in your company but, at the same time, open to what needs changing in your initial plan.” Wired868 has changed quite a bit over time and has reacted to the public while keeping its core idea alive. This is what he described as “a tough balancing act but it is one he balances well as many who follow his work would agree.
I concluded my interview by asking Mr Liburd what it means to be an entrepreneur. This was his response, “For the most part, as an entrepreneur you need to be a problem solver and you should always be thinking about what your customers need and want, which may not necessarily be the same thing.”
It is clear that he loves what he does and I urge those who do not know of him and are interested in the work he produces visit this site:
and these pages,
Interviewing Mr Lasana Liburd was indeed a pleasure and I am grateful for an opportunity like this.