Darnel Francois — Building Tech Communities in the Caribbean
The world of technology and business startups is an exciting avenue for people to explore possibilities and opportunities. But unfortunately, not all places have a thriving community yet. In the Caribbean, for instance, there’s still much work to be done. But that’s what drives Darnel Francois to keep working. Today, he’s driven to use his platform and experience to inspire other people in the community to come together and build something beautiful.
Darnel Francois is a seasoned Product Manager originally from the Caribbean, he sees Miami as the meeting point of latin,caribbean and american networks. He has worked with many global companies in a remote setup and in-person, in places like the United States, Canada, Europe, and Latin America. He has experience developing products and handled many projects using Waterfall, Agile, and Scrum frameworks. Darnel has worn many hats in the technology and creative sectors, including being a founder, digital marketer and web designer. However the role that he’s found his “ikigai” or converging purpose of work and life fulfillment is product management. Here he experiences the joy of solving problems connecting business goals, people and solutions in a collaborative way.
Darnel has come a long way in his career despite his humble beginnings. Now he possesses a network of ministers, senators, founders, investors, country ambassadors globally and FAANG level tech operators. He hopes that by integrating the public and private sector leaders of varying countries he will grow the resources required for other young people from his locality to pursue a life in technology. Outside of the usual computer science, software engineering route, Darnel believes that even when one’s previous education doesn’t match their current role, one can still thrive in technology. “Your previous experiences, even seemingly unrelated, can be the key to excelling in a new career path,” explains Francois. “People should know that we need mindful technologists as much as we need the doctors, lawyers, engineers — career paths force-fed in our communities. I encourage others to let their perceived setbacks be a key differentiation in how to address problems and learn about product management and noncoding roles. My ability to empathize and synthesize people,ideas and frameworks may be my superpower. Connecting with the right people via a bootcamp or online community can help others unlock theirs ”
Over the years, Darnel has learned to communicate and get along with others from all walks of life. From a young age, he started selling and marketing products with customization in mind. He does not believe in one size fits all but rather always tailoring for a particular user and use case. At eleven years old, the budding entrepreneur was selling Pokemon pictures by taking the orders of classmates’ favorite characters. By the time he reached fourteen, he was burning and selling CDs with pre-requested track lists. ”You will be surprised how much you learn about someone on a deep level by their playlist choice, it is like a journey into their mind” Finally, at twenty-two years old, he started various ventures that would pivotal, including a bespoke hand-made jewelry business called Beids by Chuff, a creative company that also went on to produce carnival costumes for festivals across the Caribbean and Miami.
One of his big breaks in tech remote careers came when he joined bootcamps with Tai Lopez, which exposed him to the power of digital marketing, networking, and product marketing. It gave him the necessary skills to join a Utah based digital agency,where he helped launch many web and app projects. He helped companies pivot into digital as well as identify new market opportunities. He has also been a product consultant to companies, helping startups attain Venture Capital and structure. Since then, he has been instrumental in directing a Silicon Valley funding relationship for qualified startups in the Caribbean through his role in a company called Draper Startup House backed by legendary venture capitalist Tim Draper, where Darnel currently drives product development for startups across the community. “Finding mentors and opening up yourself to people from different walks of life can all happen in online social media communities”
With his unconventional and rich journey into the world of product , Darnel Francois hopes to connect with more people who will help him strengthen the startup scene in the Caribbean and show others in the region that it’s possible to build a thriving career with nothing but a laptop and an internet connection.