Why you should never take no for an answer when it comes to you making your dreams your own living reality.
Failing is not the same as failure and you should never give up on your dreams.
Here is my story in 10 stages:
1. I wanted to specialise in IT & business, as a result I took maths, physics and economics for my A’Levels. I was kicked out of my maths class because I could not make the cut off grade and told I would never go to university. I ended up with a D in physics and economics. I only ended up with two poor A’Levels results.
2. Couldn’t get into uni because I had not been in the country for three years as a citizen. I had to wait an extra year. I took my maths A levels again and failed. At that point I remembered what my teacher told me.
3. Finally went to Kingston university and majored in electronic engineering. I got an A* in my maths modules and aced the rest of the modules. I needed to break the curse placed upon me by my maths teacher. Later found out that the starting salary for electronic engineering was £16k and chances of success were slim because I really didn’t have the passion nor talent to be an to be an engineer. That’s what my parents wanted. I hated the degree anyway.
4. Decided to repeat my first year and changed my degree to computer science. In my first year I got D’s on all modules and repeated the same D grades in my second year. I think it was because I was constantly partying and drinking. The course was so bloody easy so I just did what I had to do pass while I enjoyed uni life.
4. I was required to secure a one year industrial placement and every application I made was turned down because of my grades. I was the last to secure on. Even how I secured it was by the skin of my teeth. I will never forget the interview I had which was conducted by an ex military personnel. His last question threw me off guard: “If you are so smart how come your entire educational history is laced with below average grades?”
My response: ” Because I spent the early part of my life trying to discover what it was I really wanted to do and when I finally did, I discovered the joy of partying hard and drinking in my first year of uni. I know it’s a pretty lame excuse but it’s the truth”
I can’t explain how I got that job but it changed my life. I was now a knowledge management executive for one of the world’s largest consulting firm and I was reporting to senior management earning £16,000 a year. Now being exposed to the corporate world i wanted more. I fell in love with online technology and finally found my calling.
5. At the end of my placement, I was promised a full time job with a £26k starting salary provided I got a 2:1. That unfortunately was impossible unless I got 3 A’s a lot B’s and very few C’s. Did I let that stop me?
I went back to complete my final with a focused mind and smashed it. Remember I told you it was easy.
Where I needed help I got help. Eventually I ended up with a 2:1 and only an extra A away from a first class. Filled with excitement, I finally felt my future was secured until 9:11 happened. Mercer the company I did my placement with lost staff to the World Trade centre that came crumbling down due to the terrorist plane crash. The Market was also affected and they couldn’t take me on. Back to square one.
6. I had to start applying for other graduate roles. Unfortunately I couldn’t pass the aptitude tests requirements for graduate roles and still can’t. I thought I was dumb so I took an IQ test and realised my IQ was 145. That’s way above average entering the gifted range so what on earth was wrong with me.
I applied for software development roles as a computer scientist but no luck. I couldn’t code to save my life. Eventually i secured an IT support role paying peanuts and yet I still got fired before my first pay cheque.
7. At this point I felt hopeless. My decision was if no one will hire me I will hire myself. I took a £15,000 loan from the bank and decided to focus on my passion: coming up with online tech ideas and making a fortune out of it. 18 months later, my fortune was far fetched and I ended up with a £45,000 debt, a failed business, totally unemployed and at 25yrs of age.
8. I decided to go back to work but this time I was only going to apply for work based on what I had a passion for. I applied for a project manager role with a tech start up and secured it only because I had started my own tech company and they need someone with experience with tech start ups. Funny how a failed concept opens doors. Within 6 months I was demoted to a QA manager role managing the testing team in Ukraine. That was the most humiliating moment in my life but sometimes you have to go down to go up.
As a QA manager I got to know everything I needed to know about offshore application development. The entire end to end application development life cycle and how to get it dead cheap through offshore outsourcing.
Sometimes demotion is promotion. Within months I was head hunted to be the head of QA for an eCommerce company. There I learnt everything I needed to know about ecommerce. I was now finally ready to give running my own tech company a go.
9. 9 months later I quit my job and started my own company with my childhood friend Daniel Agoye. We made good headway securing 1.1m in investment.
10. I went on to set up Digital Bananas Technology, my own digital company for tech start ups and Career Insights, a training work experience platform for people interested in becoming project managers and business analysts within the tech field. Today we have helped over 3,000 people secure PM and BA jobs, we have a 2,000 strong ecosystem with 20 candidates securing jobs every month plus a very healthy profit margin turning over half a million pounds a year with a view to reach the £1m turn over in 2015.
We are also in the process of acquiring our own building giving people with app ideas the opportunity to pop in and share their ideas with us with a view to the the concept to execution.
As a tech start up our apps has been shortlisted for the 2012 innovations award, featured in the national press and we are the founders of:
Now why am I telling you all this?
Failing is not failure, it’s evidence that you are trying and in most cases making progress. Failure is when you give up.
“Don’t ever let somebody tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me, alright? (alright) You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves. They wanna tell you that you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period” – Pursuit of Happiness