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Errol Anderson of Popongo: “Faith and cautious optimism!”

Faith and cautious optimism! Other than hard work and manners, as I mentioned earlier, I am a firm believer in having faith and remaining optimistic even in the darkest and hardest of times. Without that, what else is left? I believe that our paths in this life have been written. Every day, we all get […]

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Faith and cautious optimism! Other than hard work and manners, as I mentioned earlier, I am a firm believer in having faith and remaining optimistic even in the darkest and hardest of times. Without that, what else is left? I believe that our paths in this life have been written. Every day, we all get to make decisions on who we are as people that day and therefore who we want to be tomorrow. It is a responsibility we all carry, but for some of us, it holds less value. I hold faith that there are some very good people in this world, and if good people work together and fight for what is right and just, I am cautiously optimistic that tomorrow will be better than today. And I like to work out! Eating well and working out keeps my mind right!


The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Errol Anderson.

Errol Anderson looked for an outdoor game to bring to a close friend’s small backyard get together when he realized there was a desperate need for more options for social and interactive lawn games. He started brainstorming ideas for his own game, and Popongo was born. Originally from Jamaica, Anderson celebrates Jamaican culture with a nod to the Jamaican flag in Popongo’s color scheme.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was born and raised in Jamaica and was fortunate to have had the opportunity to complete some of my education in England. I was raised with one brother (Marvin) and one sister (Dahlia) by our mother, Rose. As a single mother, she worked very hard at two jobs. She was very strict making sure we were in school every day and church every Sunday. We had a small, close nit family and took care of each other. At 14 years old, I made myself a promise that one day, with hard work, I would make sure she does not have to continue working that hard. I would lay on my roof and look up at the stars, and in Jamaica they seem very close. I would focus on the brightest one I could find, and I would think to myself, “if anyone in America can see that star that I am looking at, then one day I will make it to where they are, and that will be the first step toward accomplishing my dreams.” To a young Jamaican, America was the land of opportunities, and I figured, one day I will get my turn. I have accomplished getting to America, and I have every intention of carrying out my mission.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said “Heights by great men reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” I actually got this quote tattooed on my shoulder about 11 years ago. This quote means everything to me, and I live every day with it in mind. I am a firm believer that, in life, nothing great comes easy. My entire life has been this way, and I am the only one that can regulate that. A lot of people have goals and are great at vocalizing those goals, but very few seem have the discipline and drive to put in the effort to do what it takes to accomplish those goals. My goals are so high, I do not have the time or desire to relax. I came to America hoping for an opportunity for more opportunities and will not allow any to pass without me giving it my best shot.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

“Cry like a Man” by Jason Wilson. This book has impacted me and my outlook on life and relationships because it helped me understand that it is okay to be vulnerable as a man. Not only as a man, but as a black man, we need to learn to trust more and allow ourselves to show emotion and be vulnerable to those we love or are growing to love. Allowing yourself to cry is not showing weakness, as we believe we need to constantly maintain our “warrior’s stance,” — it is actually a show of courage and strength. Those are probably the top three most important lessons I have learned in my life so far, and I am forever grateful to someone in my past relationship who helped me get there. That lesson has allowed me the emotional freedom to work toward being a better person.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

I operate in the world of banking and real estate. I am a partner and Co-CEO of a company called Legacy Management Group. I have been with this company since 2004. I also independently own several other business ventures outside of my day job. Popongo is the newest and most fun venture so far.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

I decided I wanted to do something with all the free time I had. Every day was more boring than the previous, and since I am not one to stay glued to a computer screen, I decided to get creative. I locked in on what I wanted to accomplish and went for it. Once I started down that path, the days went by quite quickly because I was filled with intrigue as the process and idea developed.

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

After a few months of lockdown, a few friends sent out a message asking if we could get together in a backyard and hang out while adhering to the rules of social distancing. We wanted to bring outdoor games that would allow distance while we played. There were very few options, and those we saw were not terribly exciting. I thought to myself “this is it? This is all we have for outdoor games?” That was the “Aha moment.” I did not necessarily think I was going to be successful at coming up with something but thought it would be fun to try. Something challenging to do.

How are things going with this new initiative?

It has been an amazing journey so far. I didn’t expect this at all, and I am still getting used to the fact that it is happening, but so far it feels great, and I am enjoying every moment of it.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My mother. She never gave up, and I appreciate that. She was strong and tenacious. She made sure we understood responsibility and appreciation for what we had. It was never a lot, but it was enough and what we needed. She made sure we put in the effort and worked hard at everything we did, and she stood for nothing less than our best, especially at cooking. In our house, she started teaching us how to cook in stages from a fairly early age. As we got older and the dishes became more complicated, the critical tasting and watchful eye intensified. She would always say, “one day you will not have me to cook for you, and if you do not have a wife to cook for you or a wife who knows how to cook, you need to be able to take care of yourself or both of you.” She also would say to me “son, it is not a Visa that gets you through the world, it is manners.” I treat everyone, no matter who they are, with the same level of respect as I expect to receive. I apply these lessons to everything I do as an adult, and I feel they have helped me to get to where I am today.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

I would say the most interesting experience so far has been filming a video about tips on how to play Popongo. Up to that point, I had never done any sort of video or any sort of post for social media. When they told me they wanted me to do it, I flat out said no. I asked if someone else could do it because there are plenty of people on our team who would be more than happy to do it. Summer, who handles all our social media and marketing efforts, said “no, you need to be the one to do it. People need to know who you are and experience you as a person because if they like you, they will like Popongo even more.” “This will be a good start!” she said. I was defiant at first, but it made sense, so I agreed to do it. I was so nervous, it was ridiculous. My mouth was dry, palms were sweating, and everyone sat around talking as if nothing was happening as I was silently freaking out inside. I did a 7 minute 30 second long video in one take. When I was done, I said “how was that?” They all sat there looking at me with what seemed to be expressions of disbelief. Then Summer said, “and that is your first time doing that?” Apparently, I did a good job, and they used it in its entirety.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

First, no one told me I had to be the face of this organization. As I mentioned before, I am not the online or public eye person. I do not make posts and I very rarely participate in online interactions. Just to reiterate, I still have a flip phone. I would rather someone else be in the forefront and me in the background. Second, setting up manufacturing, fulfillment and distribution is not a simple task. I had to learn very quickly and I am still learning. So much fun though and it feels good to see it come together. Third, I got to find out that not all PR companies/teams operate the same. You would think that PR companies all do the same job right!? I mean, it is pretty straight forward right!? Well, I learned that is not the case but now I have the right team for me. Fourth, I had never been on television before and considering this type of project and the potential for a lot of online or television opportunities, I wish someone told me to not use Chapstick or suggested the right type to use to keep my lips moist. When I saw the news clips, the first thing I zoned in on was that my lips seemed to have a slight greyish/whiteish film on them, or at least it looked like it to me and I did not love it. Now I am on a mission to find the perfect lip moistener. Then I can pass on this amazing knowledge from my extensive experience to someone else. Fifth, while creating Popongo, the most exciting part for me was the decision to utilize the Jamaican flag colors. It was the most amazing feeling knowing that Jamaica is going to feel a certain level of pride because we have never created a game that has the potential to end up in most households across the world. Jamaica and the Caribbean are known worldwide for a lot of amazing things, but as far as I know, not for creating any outdoor/indoor board games and one that utilizes colors influenced by the Jamaican culture and Caribbean beauty. I felt this was an opportunity to add to our legacy and every Jamaican would fully endorse and embrace it. I wish someone would have told me it would be quite challenging to secure Jamaican brand partnerships. I have hope that my people will be proud to partner with Popongo and will continue to try. I do remain optimistic that others like Sandals will see the opportunity.

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

Faith and cautious optimism! Other than hard work and manners, as I mentioned earlier, I am a firm believer in having faith and remaining optimistic even in the darkest and hardest of times. Without that, what else is left? I believe that our paths in this life have been written. Every day, we all get to make decisions on who we are as people that day and therefore who we want to be tomorrow. It is a responsibility we all carry, but for some of us, it holds less value. I hold faith that there are some very good people in this world, and if good people work together and fight for what is right and just, I am cautiously optimistic that tomorrow will be better than today. And I like to work out! Eating well and working out keeps my mind right!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Popongo is a game for adults but one that children will also really enjoy. It is great for keeping them away from the screens and getting them to get up and move and be physical. Popongo gets you going, and children need that now more than ever. I envision Popongo boards in every elementary school in the Caribbean and the United states, to start. This is would a great way to help make math class a lot more fun for children.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

Kamala Harris. From what I know of her, she knows what it is like to ‘not have.’ She got to where she is today because of her relentless pursuit of success and desire to be in a position to affect and implement change. She wanted better for herself and worked hard to achieve it. I feel she is someone who understands and can relate to what a lot of minority, disadvantaged people go through, and I respect her accomplishments, especially considering her obstacles. She seems like a very pleasant person, and all the decisions she has made in her life have brought her to this day where she has created history and inspired so many to be their best. Oh and by the way, she is half Jamaican. That could be a fun game of Popongo!

How can our readers follow you online?

Follow Popongo’s Instagram page @playpopongo. Thank you!

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