One of the major advantages of the internet enabling people to work remotely, which we have seen increase during the Covid-19 pandemic, is increasing equality in opportunities for work based on talent and not other factors such as age or location. Because of this companies are much more open to working with younger talent particularly in many new industries such as gaming. One 22-year-old visionary who developed a creative community which started on the internet and now consults for some of the largest companies in the world is Zack Ahmed.
Ahmed was born in East Africa however, due to an unfortunate circumstance where his mother passed away at a very young age he had to move to live with family in Cyprus. This threw him into a completely new environment where he had to learn English and Greek. This was not easy and led to him having a troubled school life. However, when he was 10 he moved to London then began studying in Cardiff. Whilst his move to Cyprus had not been easy his move to London “changed everything”. He was a big fan of Marvel movies and comics growing up and moving to London made him feel closer to many of the heroes he admired on TV. At 12 he received his first laptop and searching the web for such heroes and playing video games opened his eyes to a new world of online communities built around gaming and comics.
With a strong desire to join these communities and add value Ahmed started watching YouTube to learn how to design. He started picking it up very quickly and soon after was working with gaming clans such as FaZe Clan, Dare and SoaR designing banners and working on YouTube content for members of their team. Ahmed was still in secondary school at the time but loved being able to come home in the evenings and engage in this “other world” with other young people. His next step involved learning about video and animation and once upskilled he started to get recognition outside of the gaming industry when he started working innovating content formats for musicians, by animating album and single covers which sparked multiple relationships with international record labels who would commission Ahmed for their content marketing and creative needs. This led to Ahmed earning a platinum Brit-Award for his creative direction contributions to NSG’s famous music single Options.
As Ahmed turned 18 and went to Cardiff’s notable school of journalism to study a BA in media and communications he began to realise that there was potentially more in the work and satisfaction in what he was doing outside of his formal education. Many of the peers he had interacted with online realised the same thing and they started forming online cliques on platforms such as Skype and Discord where people would bring their creative skills to the table. Ahmed then started leveraging this community to work on building the driving force team of content creators for a number of successful YouTube branded channels including the likes of Top Trending with over 5 million subscribers and Tech Vision which now has a following of over 500,000 subscribers in the space of 12 months which over 100,000 were achieved in less than 6 months alongside a successful sports media brand him and his team have been building. “Having grown up on the internet whilst we’re young we have an innate understanding of what people are looking for in content which makes what we produce a mix of both quality but churning out content consistently,” he says.
Being a crucial member of building these channels has led to recognition and a stream of clients ranging from record labels to some of the best known tech names in Silicon Valley.
However, what’s most impressive, particularly given what the world has gone through over the last year having to shift to remote work, is how him and his team have always worked virtually and have numerous staff from the across the world, highlighting a model that will likely become more common and go some way to democratizing the global pool of talent that exists to ensure the best people get the best work in this new digital age.
Always looking for new ways to leverage the network and platform he has built Ahmed has turned his sights to cryptocurrency, specifically NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) having worked with Brit-Award Nominated artists D-Block Europe in launching an NFT and earning $8,000 in 48 hours as well as putting on one of the U.K’s first pay-per-view concerts in 2018. He’s convinced this space is “just getting started” and has a number of exciting projects lined up in the coming months.
Ahmed is representative of a new class of extremely talented people who rather than going to work for the largest organizations in the world after university are deciding to become entrepreneurs and connect with people internationally and make these organizations his clients, given his age there is certainly much more ahead to come. At this stage, any company would certainly be lucky to have a Zack Ahmed on their roster.
This article is part of a series featuring underrepresented people making a difference. To submit ideas for features or keep up to date with new releases you can find me on Twitter – @TommyPF91