A big thank you: From me, to you


It’s funny how things go. Growing up as a kid, we aspire to be something one day. Well, life has a knack of changing things unexpectedly – such as the case with my journey to where I’m at today. Never would I have thought of growing up to becoming a “reviewer,” but reality tells me otherwise, as it’s been my profession for the better part of the last 7 years. Actually, it’s closer to 7.5 years at this point, but I’ll just say 7 full years.

Back 7.5 years ago, I was working at my desk as a retail manager at a popular consumer electronics store when I came across an advertisement seeking out a reviewer that’s based out of the greater New York City area. I thought about it for quite some time, but didn’t initially feel compelled to apply because I was comfortable in my then current position. After sleeping on it, I filled out an application and sent my resume, just to see what may come of it.

Of course, I was utterly shocked by an email response later in the week – just because it seemed too good to be true. Considering the pool of applications they were getting in, I really thought it was unlikely that my application would even be seen by someone (or acknowledged), but it did! And to my delight, I was given a formal job offer to take up the position after writing up samples posts, and even a short review of one of the many phones I was using at the time. Hard to believe it, that phone turned out to be the Sony Ericsson W580i, which was part of the Walkman series.

Fast forward to the present, I still find it tough sometimes to rationalize that I’m doing something that I truly love. Most people would think of it as nothing more than a job, but for me, it’s a passion that has never burned out – and it’s that fuel that has helped me to develop into the person who I am today. Yes, there were times when I thought whether or not this ‘gig’ was going to be sustainable, but with each year that I managed to get under my belt, along with committing to doing it full-time after 2 years on the job, I never looked back.

I think it’s the challenge that has always driven me to doing my best. Looking back on my first review, it’s almost unbelievable for me to even fathom that was me. Trust me, watching my first video is still cringe worthy to this day, however, as time went on, I managed to adapt to the changes to better my talents. Back in 2008, the landscape was a vastly different one than what we have today. It was the era before YouTube’s unrelenting invasion into our consciousness. Throughout it all, I was able to adapt to the changes that came along with the challenges.

And that same desire for challenge is what’s propelling me toward my next journey. When you’re part of a family for so long, it’s never easy to say you’re leaving….but that’s exactly what’s happening.

I’ve been grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way resulting from my time with PhoneArena. Not only did I get a chance to visit places I’ve never been, as well as checking out all the cool tech gear, but I even got the chance to meet many amazing people too along the way – who I consider friends, and even family. The memories I’ve made during my time with PhoneArena have been invaluable, something I deeply cherish and will proudly continue to share. So, it’s tough for me to say that I’m leaving at the end of the month.

Between now and then, I’m going to take the time to reflect back on my time with PhoneArena, and share some of my favorite things. Before that last, official day comes, I’d like to take the time to thank some important folks who impacted my life tremendously.

  • First and foremost, Pressian Karakostov, founder of PhoneArena, who gave me the opportunity to pursue this thing called my passion. Without that, none of this would’ve been possible.

  • Shout out to one of my many mentors, Nanko Rusev, who trained me from the start in getting me up to shape with PhoneArena’s process. Those first few reviews done by me were painstakingly brutal, but with his help throughout the years, we’ve perfected the process together to where we’re at now.

  • Ray, Nick, Chris, Vic, Daniel, and all the other many reviewers, writers, and editors in the office overseas that I’ve worked with over the years. We collectively brought PhoneArena to where it is now, so I can’t thank them all for their help and support.

  • Alan, Michael, Maxwell, Sam, Brian, and the rest of the current and past PhoneArena US-based folks, it’s been wonderful getting to know you throughout the years. Some I’ve met in real life, others I have yet to see, but regardless, they’ve all had an impact on me.

  • Michael Oryl, founder and former editor-in-chief of Mobileburn, who I met at my very first event in New York City. He may no longer be in the industry, but his friendship and mentorship during the early days have been invaluable.

  • Orhan Chakarov, who I attribute in developing my photo and video skills. From the early lightbox days, to how videos and photos are done now, I’ve come a long way to perfect my form. His commitment to perfection in how to capture content is a true work of art.

  • And lastly, you. Yes, you. The readers and fans, who helped propel my desire to strive for the best. Without you, the fans, all of this wouldn’t have been possible. I get to do what I truly love, am passionate about, so I have to thank you for making my passion a reality each and every day.

So, what’s next? For now, you’ll continue to see my presence on various projects I’ve been working on for the site, so I’m not leaving just yet. Come the end of the month, however, my journey will be at its end. Leaving something you love, have nurtured for a long time, is never an easy thing to do without reflecting how much it's become a part of you. It’s very much like watching that last episode of your favorite television show. You know that after that, there won’t be anything else.

Obviously, my presence on the Internets will still be there, as it’s always been. Don’t be a stranger, I’m always up for a good conversation – especially when pints of beer are involved, of course. This journey has been nothing short of extraordinary, so with that, I’ll leave it by saying I’ll see you in another life.

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