I’d like to thank you for deeming me worthy enough to add me to the list of emails and notifications you get every time I have an idea while I’m pooping or showering (Now you’ll start noticing how erratic my bowel movements and my hygienic dispositions are, I’ll let you guess which one induced the inspiration for this particular post).
Because I’m usually more intimate with the contents of my mind rather than the contents of my activities, I thought that maybe I should formally introduce myself, and let you know what I’m up to.
Hi I’m Mohammed
I recently got laid off from a company that I was, and still am, loyal to. It was a wake up call in a lot of ways. No matter how great a job is or how great the people you work with are, a job is a job and it’s not yours and someone can come up to you one day and say “We don’t need you here anymore. Please leave and don’t come back.” And you usually have very little control over it.. or even forewarning.
I’ve known this for a while. Since reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad and going to seminars such as Millionaire Mind, I’ve known how tenuous a career really is. But I’ve never been that hard up to have my own business that I’d decide to quit a great paying job I enjoyed doing. But now I’m suddenly unemployed, and I can choose to go find an even better job with better co-workers and better employers and maybe a better shot of not getting laid off..
So I decided to just hurl my body into the void of time and space and see where I’ll land.
I had enough money saved up to hold me over for 2-3 months, granted that I reduce my lifestyle down to a spartan hermit. It wasn’t that difficult to do considering how cheap I’ve always been. I thought I’d do some contracting for people on eLance or something. A cursory look through some of the postings made me slightly disgusted with the entire idea of it.
Most people usually have no idea what time and effort it takes to create a product so they want amazingly complex projects in absolutely no time and for little money. I realized that even in a more formal setting, like with some contracting firm, I’m going to come across a similar mentality. Maybe they’ll be more reasonable because they know just how much time and effort it takes. But even knowing that, they’re gonna try to skin me alive.
But I only took a cursory look at contracting, because a very good friend of mine asked me to help him in a side project that he was working on. He had developed a Mandarin Chinese learning app, Pin Pin, that would help people to train their pronunciation of a complex language. It was a beautiful app and I was glad to be a part of it.
He developed and released the app, but sales were dismal and he had no idea how to market it. And neither did I. But I wanted to learn. Marketing, business, human behavior, those are all things I’ve always wanted to learn more about. And so I agreed to help him sell the app.
And I began to take my first steps down the world of marketing.
It also happened that this same friend and I were also working on another app that we were hoping would make us “MILLIONS of fractions of pennies!!” As we would joke. We both knew the realities of making money in the mobile world, it was a hard business to do. But we both also had a small naive hope deep inside that maybe this app was going to be a surprise and become big.
The idea was to add kung fu sounds to videos on the iPhone. My friend was the master engineer and he did all the design and development, and it was up to me to market Kung Fu Movie and take care of everything on the business end.
We also realized the opportunity we had to just swap the sounds and images and have a totally new app in a much shorter time. Everyone, including us, would instantly think about about a fart version of the app as soon as they heard of the idea. Hence Fart Movie came out only a few short weeks after the release of Kung Fu Movie.
With Pin Pin, I tried my hand at understanding how to design ads, write copy, emails, websites etc. I did a lot of writing and thinking, but nothing really got done with it. It was my first tip-toed attempts at what marketing was all about and I spent more time on thinking and defining things and researching and learning things than I did on implementing.
But with Kung Fu Movie, I jumped right in. I began to work hectically to setup and understand as many of the social platforms there were on the internets. I was already a modest user of Facebook. Now it became my main dashboard for social networking. And as I learned, I refined my techniques. Some social networks weren’t working so I dropped the use of them. Some were great and had a lot of tools to offer and they became my favorite.
Don’t worry, if you’re interested in the things I’ve learned, I’m going to write posts soon when I feel like I’ve gained enough proficiency in something to say useful things about it.
So I’ve been keeping myself busy.. and a little disoriented.
I now had all these apps to manage, all these new concepts and ideas to learn. Things were jumbled and all over the place. My financial future, the lack of one, was looming over me. The apps were making the fractions of pennies that we would joke about expecting. People weren’t climbing over themselves to recognize me for all the great things I’m doing. Their eyes weren’t bugging out at the apps and using it 24 hours and telling all their friends about it incessantly. I was a failure, I was useless, I’m ineffective. I should just go back to that office and do what other people tell me to do for the rest of my sad, mediocre existence.
I’m not as smart as I thought I was. I’m not as capable. I don’t have what it takes to make it. And when I’m 50 with wrinkles on my old sad face, hopelessness darkening eyes, I’ll face my child and try to tell them wearily that they can do anything that they put their hearts and minds to. But they won’t be convinced because they’ll see that their dad is a pathetic loser.
Calm yo self man.
Nothing was really wrong though. So I naturally got over myself in a couple weeks.
I hate to be one of those people who take a series of fortunate circumstances and say “God is smiling down on me,” that isn’t how I believe things work. And I’m just as suspect of that whole “you created these opportunities to occur in your life through the power of intention” mysticism stuff as well. I know that God is always looking out for me, and everyone and everything else too. So I’m not that special. And I know that my intentions drive me in ways for circumstances to coalesce into opportunities that present themselves for me to grab or not.
And that’s what happened. My first company had some retirement pension thing I forgot about that matured a week after I got laid off from my last company. It’s ironic because I quit the first company because I fell in love with the second company, but the first still continue to support me lovingly while the second dumped me on my ass without any warning.
It was enough money for me to survive on for the rest of the year. My friends came out of the woodwork and began to help me out. One of them I already mentioned, we’ve created a set of beautiful and entertaining apps that I’m very proud of. Another got me a small contracting opportunity he wasn’t that interested in, as well as handing over to me an unfinished Japanese flash card app, Kanji Touch. We were taking Japanese classes together before I got laid off.
So where does that put me now?
I found that the things I’ve always loved doing as a hobby can become something I can potentially make a career of doing. Watching documentaries and learning, writing blogs about the things I’m realizing and finding out, spreading the word about the apps my friend and I are developing, and being an ass on social networks.
Now I’m busy learning how to become known on the internet, creating a user base to launch apps and just about anything else that I’ll do. If I work hard enough, by the end of the year I hope to be able to sustain the rest of my life doing what I love:
Writing, programming apps, marketing, and just about anything else I can think of while I’m pooping or showering.
So it was very nice to meet you.
Please comment back and say hi. Let’s get to know each other better. Once I figure out how to find the list of my followers on this blog, I’ll visit you and see what your’e up to in your neck of the woods. In the meantime, thanks for dropping by and I hope you come again.
I’ve found out how to see the list of my followers. Let the stalking commence.