I am passionate about growth, pushing my limits, and achieving ambitious goals. My goal in life is to become a billionaire and each day is a step closer.
Born in Buffalo, NY in the dead of their dreary winters, I spent most of my time playing videogames, working out, learning things. I was always ripping apart various electronics, trying to figure out how they work, and trying to build things on my own.
I took my first programming course in my sophomore year of high school and fell in love. We were taught the fundamentals of programming in BASIC. The first big personal project I did was creating connect 4 on my graphing calculator, which took me 2 months of not paying attention in class to figure out how to make, and I played with friends every day for the next month. I also wrote programs to calculate answers for math tests. I wouldn’t consider it cheating because we still had to show work, but it was very useful for verifying the answer I got was correct.
Junior year, I learned about logic gates and how they are what computers run on. I later went home and found a logic gate simulation software and spent the next 2 months creating a CPU architecture which I programmed in machine language to act as a basic calculator with input registers connected to buttons, and output registers connected to 7-segment displays.
I went to a nearby college for software engineering. I took a bunch of various STEM, some of my favorites being robotics algorithms and game theory. I was also in the robotics club, becoming president in my junior year.
The entire time I was in correspondence with my friend Adam (check out his website for cool feats of engineering) from high school, always brainstorming and trying different tech startup ideas. He was accepted in the Thiel Fellowship, a mentorship program by Peter Thiel, and moved to the Bay Area to begin working on it. During my junior year, he invited me out to help work on his project of a portable X-Ray machine. So after the year ended, I dropped out as well and moved to Silicon Valley to help him.
We initially lived next to University at Berkeley, but after a few months, we moved into the garage of a $9MM startup mansion where we continued working on various X-Ray technology.
Here is a CT Scanner built in our garage, with the final reconstruction of hotdogs
Doing all that was fun, but we weren’t making any money which was an issue for me, having moved out there with only $8,000. So after around a year, I had to start looking for something that paid. I decided to get into full-stack development from some research I did on the job market.
I met many entrepreneurs at the tech mansion, one of which had a tech company that was looking for full-stack engineers. After I met the CTO, I started working there for the next almost 2 years. I would meet up with the CTO at an office in Sunnyvale in the heart of Silicon Valley, taking the Cal train each way, and we would work together to plan and build the B2B booking processing software.
The tech mansion eventually shut down, which may or may not have had to do with all the crazy parties, so I decided to move up to Vancouver, BC to work at the startup’s main office.
My colleagues new some people with a vacant room, so I moved in there which was in an attic, and spent the next 1.5 years in Canada. There I spent most of my time working and learning, trying to make the company blow up and become one of the famed unicorns, greatly inspired by Napoleon Hill. I worked many 12 hour days and weekends and started to really refine my software engineering skills. The team was fairly small so I was able to interact with the other teams to learn some things about sales and marketing, which was really interesting to me to see the different components of a business besides the tech. Plus, it was my first time living in a city (not suburbs) which I found to be amazing being around all the chaos.
During my 2nd year there, we got accepted into 500 startups, and I got the opportunity to spend a month there, working at their office back in silicon valley. It was great being in an environment like that, with so many entrepreneurs pursuing their dreams.
Unfortunately, the company started running low on funds, and I also wanted to pursue other ventures, so I quit and moved back to the Bay Area.
Back To The Bay
There I wanted to try to live on my own instead of being dependent on people I knew, so I spent the next few months living in AirBnbs. Luckily I found one that was open to me living there long term which worked out nicely, which was essentially no lease housing.
I would spend the next year or so fairly stressed out, most of the time applying for jobs with little money and the threat of homelessness and starvation. I was getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night, eating mainly rice, kale, and occasionally free pizza and food from networking events. to save money I was spending my days in various coffee shops around San Francisco, taking up to 3 interviews per day, going to networking events at night, and coding or blogging in the evenings.
I eventually worked at a friend’s company for a few months, but it was not what I was looking for at the time so I parted ways with them. Then I ended up crashing on their couch as I look for a new job. But finally, I found a company I was excited about working at. I was finally getting a normal Software Engineering salary, was eating a ton of good food every day, and enjoyed what I was doing there.
But after 2 months, the week of Thanksgiving, they ran out of money and had to let go of half of the company, including myself. So I packed my stuff up and went right back to the coffee shop to start looking for a new job. No time to waste.
Napolean Hill always preaches “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” which has been super helpful. I was it as an opportunity for something better.
Burn the Boats
I had always wanted to live in Los Angeles, so I saw this as the perfect opportunity to do so. No obligations, I already had the experience of moving somewhere by myself, like I did when I want back to San Francisco, so I knew I could pull it off. Except for this time, I had almost no money and knew absolutely no one there. So when everyone else was celebrating New Years, I was on a bus from San Francisco to Los Angeles, getting ready for one of the greatest challenges of my life. I was excited to push myself to my limits using the death ground strategy or burning the boats, where I had given myself 2 options, conquer or die.
I moved into a hostel in Venice Beach, where I was back to coffee shops and applying for jobs, eating rice and kale. I ended up getting one within a month, which I was proud of. Then I spent the next 7 months in hostels to pay off debt, as well as keep pushing forward with my goals.