Ask any rich man how they got their loot and the response will always be something close to : “Ahh. It was not very hard. I used to sell charcoal, then God blessed me and the rest is history.”
Ask any pool master how they pot the balls so easily. 7-Ballers to anyone who dares challenge them. “It is easy. Just aim and shoot. All you need is practice.”
Ask any master coder how he can develop a system as Complex as you can imagine in a week or 2 days. “I just reused some old code I have and changed some small bits here and there. Nothing too fancy. Anyone could do that.”
Then you listen to a enough of these people, and you start believing your own hype. You stupidly start believing that since these people did it, you can also do it. You blind yourself to the fact that out of the billions of people on earth, only these 10-20 people have done it. You ignore their sweat. You ignore their circumstances. You ignore all the lessons from The Tipping point. You start living in false hope.
This is one of the sad things I saw at the successful and prestigious #pivot25. Campus Kids calling themselves President, VP, CEO and all those fancy names. Totally disrespecting the sweat and years it takes to earn that title.
Our late Boss, Dr Geoffrey William Griffin always told us: “Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”
The skill-sets required to create Facebook and Google are out of this world. So are the resources and financials. Zuckerberg bought the domain-name facebook.com for USD 200, 000. Yes. Kshs 32M. I would do that myself if I had the kind of money young Zucks had.
Facebook received its first investment of US$500,000 in June 2004 from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, in exchange for 7% of the company. This was followed a year later by $12.7 million in venture capital from Accel Partners, and then $27.5 million more from Greylock Partners. A leaked cash flow statement showed that during the 2005 fiscal year, Facebook had a net loss of $3.63 million.
Ofcourse, I am not making up numbers and ‘facts’. Here is the source. With USD 42M+, there is no way he could fail. Now, ask yourself, do you EVEN have 42M Uganda Shillings to burn? Can you dedicate the next 3 STRAIGHT months of your life coding. Or is there rent, electricity and food to hustle for?
Don’t get me wrong. We are all entrepreneurs. I am not saying that it cannot be done. That with a-lot of dedication, discipline, willingness, sacrifice, money and knowledge, you cannot build your OWN Facebook/Google/LinkedIn etc. You can. Easily, with the above combination. No more, no less. Ohh yeah, plus luck.
But the problem lies in perception. That these things are easy. Alot of times, someone comes to iHub and asks me : “Salim, How much would you charge [it cost] to develop a site like Facebook?”. Or. “Salim, I have some spare server ina kama 40 GB Free space na kama 20k hivi. Si hii inatosha kuunda Facebook ya Kenya na tudosike kama madogi?”. And I immediately lose my appetite and start thinking about sex.
Anything is possible. As long as it is actually possible. You can do anything and be anything you want to be in this life. As long as you know and have what it takes and know how to get there. Everyone is special and unique. Just like everyone else.
Be like an erection. Start small, grow big and hard. Know your limits. Then conquer them. Knowledge is power.
Back to code…