The Background

2014 was the year where I wrote down my first line of code. I remember this moment like it was yesterday. Unlike other teenagers, writing code for me wasn’t just the cool thing to do to automatically impress my friends at the time, It wasn’t to be called “Hackerman” or some other unrealistic nickname, on the contrary, writing code at this young age meant more than all of these superficial layers. This was the catalyst for a chain reaction that turned me into a Unicorn.

If you are unfamiliar with the term “Unicorn”, this is a term commonly used for the hottest startups in Silicon Valley that transcend their peers and actually end up being very successful. Take Facebook for example, or even Airbnb, these were referred to as Silicon Valley Unicorns back when they first popped their Bay bubble.

More Background

I was 16 at the time, not a very young age to code in the EU or the US since they take it as part of their school curriculum, but here in Lebanon, where you don’t learn how to code until you enter university, it is considered a very young age to enter the tech world and start creating projects on your own.

Every teenager cant wait to get older to be eligible to work so that they can pocket in some extra money for a gaming console or to get the latest iPhone. This is fine, don’t get me wrong, this was one of the reasons why I learned how to code, but that wasn’t the main reason. the main reason was independence, becoming independent from my family was a priority.

I come from a middle-class family but at the time, my parents faced some financial issues which created a form of financial tension among our ranks.

I didn’t want to be a burden on my parents, and I needed a way to make a stable income that will grant me more freedom.

I turned to the tech world even though this wasn’t my main area of interest when I was young, but being a programmer in 2016 is like entering the military in some third world country, it means that you are set for life.

Unlike most of the professions in Lebanon, tech-related jobs are from the few jobs that were not affected by the eco-political problems that became part of our lives since 2006.

First Bloom

The summer of 2016 was an introverted experiment, 80% of my summer was spent in my room, waking up at 5 PM and sleeping at 7 AM. I became a night owl, a human coffee machine. I was able to learn the full front-end stack in that summer and started taking in modest freelance jobs every now and then.

Making a somewhat decent income at 16 while working from home was a dream come true to me, by the summer of 2015, I was able to get detached from my parents’ financial lifeline which was the goal at the beginning.

This milestone achievement felt great, it was very fulfilling for me to actually nail this goal. But like every materialistic goal, you should aim higher whenever you feel like your goals are within reach.

After independence comes the challenge of stability. Freelance is great, but it’s not stable unless you really put a lot of time into it which might be in vain. The Lebanese culture is a conservative one, people here value fixed jobs with salaries and are afraid of the freelance lifestyle.

I knew what I needed to do, I needed to get a stable job while working as a freelancer.

Full Bloom

Getting a job has never been easier, all you have to do is to make sure you have an attractive toolkit and create a Linkedin account.

I learned a few in-demand JS libraries, added UX/UI to my CV and was ready to go. 2 weeks after creating my account, I found myself talking to an HR representative asking me to join their agency. The pay was exceptionally high in comparison to my expectations. I said yes right away and joined the team the following week.

I didn’t turn 20 yet and was making what my dad makes in a bad month. Everyone from this point forward started taking me seriously. All my family members started looking at me in a different way and started saying things like “You will be the youngest Millionaire in the Family”, “You will get this family back on track”. At first, this was the best thing a young entrepreneur can hear. Having all this high expectation on my shoulders was really motivating. I was on the track to get a promotion at work after a couple of months from joining, my freelance queue was on fire. Life was just great at that time.

I bought my first car, got myself the tech products I always fantasized about having and even manifested physical independence from my family in the form of getting my own room which I used as a bedroom/home office.

The Unicorn aftermath

The title of this blog post doesn’t seem to referrer to a happy ending because that isn’t quite the case.

Well when there’s an up, this is usually followed by a down which is what happened.

A year has passed without any major breakthrough or achievement, not having something to bring to the table really makes you think if all this hype was for nothing; if you will actually end up as an unfulfilled potential example.

Being successful becomes an obsession to most entrepreneur, after all, this is what they dedicate most of their time for. Being successful might not be a need for everyone but its surely a universal mean of happiness.

When being successful is all that you think about, it really makes you take bad decisions. Like a gambler who wants to go home with a profit to prove that he’s not ruining his life gambling.

I tried multiple startup attempts in this monotonic year, most of them failed, I guess I wasn’t taking my time with these ideas but the urge to produce triumphed my logic.

Have you ever cared so much about doing something that you forget how to be good at it? Maybe success comes with luck and forcing it to happen is a fruitless practice.

Even though you are ahead of the pack in many ways, not progressing can be interpreted as failure. This is the Capitalist way, always looking for improvement and opportunity.

If you feel that your happiness is strictly connected to success, just try to look at life in a simple way. It’s very hard to do, I know, I can barely do it myself.

Life will throw a bone your way one day and overthinking about success won’t really change things.