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From Harlem to HALLO: Tech Leader Takes Childhood Talent to the Next Level

We have good news for you. You can have a cool career and make a good living. No need to choose between loving your job and paying your mortgage. The following profile, part of the BlackEnterprise.com Cool Jobs series, offers a peek into the nuts and bolts, perks and salaries behind enjoyable careers.

The It Factor: Founded a not-for-profit. Check. Started a digital sports marketing company, 5th Avenue Sports. Check. Led successful ad campaigns for Fortune 500 companies including Mountain Dew, GNC and the NBA. Check. Became founding partner of the HALLO voice mobile app. Check. Check. And another check. And all this before the age of 30? Need anyone say more? Ali Abdullah took a love for creating and building things and turned it into lucrative ventures, with revenues in the millions and growing. Among his latest boss moves, Abdullah serves as founding partner and chief marketing officer of Players 2 Fans (P2F), a sports entertainment media platform set to change the social media game when it launches in July.

Early Self-Learning: Abdullah, 27, remembers back to this teenaged years when he knew exactly what his passion and purpose was. “When I was around 13 and my father bought me my first computer, I knew I wanted to be in touch with technology,” he says. “And not just basic learning, like software and basics you learn at school, [but I wanted to go beyond that.] I picked up a book and mastered a few things immediately, and I saw the bigger picture.”

Abdullah says he knew, then, that technology would play a major role in how people communicate with one another and share their experiences. “I knew computers were going to take over in terms of communication, and I was very intrigued and wanted to know how I could get involved.”

Full-Court Advantage: As a youth, Abdullah took classes to learn HTML and other tech skills, even while appeasing another passion for playing basketball. He would later study computer science and marketing at Alfred State College in upstate New York while balling there. “I was the only African American in the program. … My roommate and I would be up all night programming. … I loved playing sports, but really what was my exit strategy? I thought ‘I could focus on what I really love to do [that had longevity], which was sitting at my computer, being creative and working as a collaborator to build software and platforms that could affect millions of people.’ ”

As his desire to create innovations in technology became stronger and stronger, he decided to mix sports with enterprise, quitting basketball and traditional study to found 5th Avenue Sports. He’d grind for that business for more than 5 years, building relationships and partnerships with sports players, brands and professionals that would help catapult Abdullah’s career even further.

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