One of the first contests I can remember that ever captured my imagination was back in the golden days of YTV in Canada put on by a brand of cookies giving away a shopping spree in Toys ‘R’ Us. The tagline? You get 1000 seconds and anything you could fit into your cart was free.
Now if you’re reading this in 2018 (or from overseas) YTV was the kids TV network in Canada. Our gateway to such classic shows such as Pokemon, Hey Arnold, Rugrats, Dragon Ball Z, and some of the quirkier government sponsored programming. Toys ‘R’ Us at the time was the destination shopping experience for kids so to be able to go and get anything you wanted in 1000 seconds (that’s just over 16 minutes in case you were wondering 😉 ) was mind blowing.
Immediately this conjured up visions of pushing a cart/trolley along aisles and aisles of toys from board games, action figures, sports equipment, trading cards, books, heavenly amounts of Lego and even the higher priced fare in the electronics department all for the taking.
But I knew it wouldn’t be that simple. As anyone who has ever browsed or taken their kids to Toys ‘R’ Us in the 90s before would know - you need a plan otherwise you could easily spend an hour in there. No, this would call for serious considerations given the time constraint. I spent weeks thinking about strategy, what kinds of toys I thought would be most worthwhile and hoping I got that call announcing me as the winner.
Alas, I didn’t end up winning this contest and neither did hundreds of other kids who entered but it did make me think.
Now with the technology 2018, in a way, we’re all winners already - the internet has become our toy store and there sure is a lot of free stuff to catch your eye. Chances are if you did win that shopping spree there is no way all the items in a Toys ‘R’ Us back would have made a huge impact in your life. Just as being the winner would involve prioritising what would be the most valuable toys to grab in 1000 seconds, we have a plethora of content to sift through and consume with only 24 hours to do it each day.
This was one of my guiding ideas in creating Modern Afflatus 100 weeks ago, with the aim of filtering through the vast toy store of the internet/social media and curating a list of the most inspiring stories, tech and music to share with you.
And I certainly couldn’t have started this creative project without the encouragement and support of two unlikely friends whom I met with on a weekly basis to discuss our ideas, passions and ways we wanted to make an impact. Not to mention all the other kind strangers I met while I was living in Toronto. This was my afflatus - an inspiration so strong that it compelled me to explore, develop and ultimately create a passion project that I felt really mattered.
Since that point I’ve shared over 500 resources for keeping our humanity in the digital age with articles, videos, podcasts and more that my friends and I wish we had in university to help us transition into being young professionals and adults.
Now coming up on two years of this journey I wanted to give your own projects a boost which is why I’m running a contest where you can win £100 towards whatever you're working on. Since nobody knows what you could really need better than you do I’ll be choosing a team of two (or more) and put the funds towards your initiative where it can help the most. It can be anything that you really care about - planning a road trip, a backstage concert experience, setting up a surprise party for a relative, taking some online courses, or an early stage start up idea so use your imagination!
In the meantime thank you for all your support and here's to the next 100!