I was sixteen years old when I got my first pair of Nike sneakers. Having been born in 2000, this is unusual. Nike was already a household name by the time I got to middle school. So I hopped on the wagon late. Only discovered sneaker culture in the middle of high school. And it ended up influencing my career in tech significantly.
In case you haven’t figured it out already, this isn’t a conventional tech story. If you can’t handle that, you probably don’t need to read further. I like telling stories as they happened. And life doesn’t stick to one category. It just happens in random order. And writing helps us rearrange some of the pieces.
So, back to sneakers. I was so impressed by sneaker culture because it helped me find the two biggest sources of curiosity in my life: People, and art. I’ve always been a reserved guy. So people are a strange curiosity, to me. After all, I don’t socialize a lot, obviously. And I’m not similar to many people I’ve met, either. Hence culture, movements, and psychology are endlessly fascinating for me.
And then there’s art. Admittedly, I spend 80% of my waking hours writing and — let’s be honest — fixing code. Which isn’t unusual since I run a tech company making day trading bots. But despite my work being heavily technical, I’m a designer at heart.
I apply principles of design in my routine, schedule, organization system, process, and even team building. It’s not the same as simply planning, and I can’t explain the difference very well. All I can say is I tend to arrive at somewhat novel solutions on a regular basis. And I chalk that up to design. My design-centric approach to everything influenced my career in tech significantly.
Because I treat tech as just another medium. When I’m working with code, I’m not just trying to find a solution. I’m trying to find a solution that’s distinguishable as my own. It comes back to sneakers. Some pieces are so unique and expressive that you can almost see the likeness of the artist in the simple cuts and basic colors. There’s identity in sneaker culture, an identity I found lacking in the tech world. So I decided to add it myself.
Hence the mad projects I do. Hence the unorthodox team structure. Hence the tools I use and how I repurpose them. Everything I do in tech is influenced by the fact that I’m first and foremost an artist. And that means I’m not just trying to create something that works. I’m trying to create something that’s mine.