“The spotlights are exposing you, your body is transparent enough to let that light enter; shining on your heart that is beating in an unstoppable rhythm. The only opaque object is in your hand; that is your weapon and the floor is all yours. Block that exposing light, and show that you are worth standing there.” Those were the voices in my head 10 seconds before taking the stage; it was the moment of truth, to be or not to be.
The advantages of disadvantages:
I personally believe that age is just a number, yet there is certainly a barrier between success and experience. Being the youngest in the hall, having no experience whatsoever in business or app-building, and participating in your first Startup Weekend were all facts that were pointing at failure. Hesitation started filling my heart, especially after pitching my idea which nobody completely understood. Was it the right moment to be a part of this, or should I have waited for a year or two? I was surprised that my idea got voted for amongst the top 11 ideas, and started forming my team with legendary developers that made our dream come true in the most perfect way possible. A team that consisted of 4 superb developers, all at least 5 years older than me; yet we connected together smoothly. I had something that I thought of as a disadvantage where it was an advantage after all. Having all those gap years between me and everyone else gave me opportunities that I never thought of. I had the youth energy they lacked, I had the hunger for knowledge that they have, I had the passion sparkling inside me which is dying inside them, I had all the reasons in the world to prove that I am worth being here and make a name for myself, and I did.
No talk, all hustle:-
To prove all of what everyone challenged me of not being able to do, it had to be a remarkable experience where I hustle non-stop, and act instead of talk. I had to talk the talk and walk the walk, which I did. An Arabic proverb says, “Who laughs at the end, laughs a lot.” God, I was so fulfilled after the results came through, that I couldn’t even stop smiling the rest of the evening. Honestly, I never even knew what a business model was before I entered the competition, but thank God for Google. The business model was changed several times until an epiphany made me create one which made sense and everything fell into place. The most difficult issue was to convey the presentation in the simplest way possible, in a way everyone would understand. Scenarios were created, fictional characters were made until it was the simplest idea ever and demonstrated the problem and solution perfectly. I had full faith in our team that the app would be ready and fully functioning, which was the case when I took the stage and rocked it all over.
Knowledge isn’t just university courses:-
I mentioned that I didn’t have any business background since I am a Software Engineering student. Yet, books I have read also provide me with the knowledge that is applicable in the real world. Never stop learning, be hungry for knowledge. Moreover, thanks to Tamkeen for existing in Bahrain, as the events they have organized have expanded my knowledge in business and gave me an insight into the business world. Meeting people and having an absorptive ability to catch their inputs may add to me as well. Be absorptive.
Opportunities are there to be grabbed:-
The most important thing I learned from this experience was that opportunities are there to be grabbed, a very cliché advice I know, but it really made sense after all of this. Never hesitate a second to take advantage of any opportunity that throws itself in front of you, create a mindset that drives you to take every opportunity in front of you; and never, ever, underestimate yourself. Even if you didn’t get any support from anyone, create your own support. Even if you fell down several times, fall 7 times stand up 8. Even if every circumstance in the world is against you, create your own circumstances. Even if people underestimated you, prove to them that you do have the experience that they claim you lacked. It is not about age, it is about intellectuality, mentality, and driving-power that you wake up every morning to make it real. It is about the dreams everyone thought you wouldn’t bring into reality, which you do. Be hungry for knowledge, “For the only thing I know is that I know nothing.”
Concluding, give yourself a promise and act to fulfill it. I promised myself that I will travel to London, solo, next year, and I will with the help of God.