I recently read an article about how Sebastien Gabriel joined Google. It inspired me to jot down some of the moments in my life that I feel shaped the directions I’ve taken with regards to Technology, work and people.
This is more of a micro stories recordings of memorable moments, in case you’re interested in a hyper personal story that starts at 1983, in Haifa, Israel:
I grew up in the early 80’s, in a middle-class family based in Haifa . Both my parents were teachers who gave their event waking moment to their kids. They lived in continuous over-draft, much like everyone else we knew around us.
My first exposure to a PC was my cousins’ Commodore64. I was 3-4 years old, and seeing artificial 8bit like drawings on a TV screen previously the monopoly of TV shows was mesmerizing.
I always had the curiosity bug, the internal craving to understand and to feel, and the C64 at the time seemed like magic: It drew tiny universes you could manipulate and partake in.
While the image of the experience is engrained into my brain, what is more resounding is my uncles instructions to press F4 to start the game.
I recall, at the age of 3-4, ignoring the authorial instructions and pressing F8 as shown somewhere on the TV screen.
That simple act changed the difficulty level of the game, but more importantly signified the first moment I recall breaking the rules
4 years old. Dad bought us our first PC. Being middle-class, it was worth several months of wage and the store we bought it from thought computers were a fad. Thanks Dad
PERCEPTION IS FLUID
I grew up as a kid in my home town, Haifa, with similar friends, what seemed like a homogeneous environment . At the age of 9, my family and I moved to Munich, Germany for a year. I attended a proper German school and automatically became the outlier in my class.
A year later my family decided that the move was taking too much of a toll on my younger sister who didn’t quite blend in, and we journeyed back to Haifa.
Moving back to Israel felt like a tectonic shift, a transition between realities of sorts. Everything becomes comparable: People, places, smells, order levels, the looks, the language, the tones; That transition back propelled me to question the differences and similarities between two distinctly and widely different experiences.
Once I grew up, I realized that I was born into a national minority in Israel. Questions and pondering about where and how we belonged were the norm, surfacing continuous internal conflict, dialog and resolution. Stage by stage, I’d diverge and converge as I understood more about the human experience.
Life increasingly seemed like a perceptual experiment of how you and others perceive yourself and those around you; As that picture became clearer, a bipolar feeling of belonging grew with the a feeling of detachment.
An intellectual understanding and observation on how you belong
486/DX2. I’m 11 and am programming our PC to launch different games based on multiple choice questions. I built it so my younger sister could independently run and play her games (and because I could).
Code helped shape my thoughts by forcing me to be explicit, coherent and results driven. It gave and still gives me a language to break down and express complexity perceived around me.
Even then, I cared more about the solution than the code – the early signs of being interested in Product compared to Software Engineering
Dad agreed to get us a 28,800 bps Boca Compatible modem. Shadi Aidi, a friend of my cousin, taught me all about Bullet Board Systems, a precursor to the Internet, and now accessible to an inquisitive 12 year old.
I was no longer bound to my immediate surroundings or programmed TV and games. By connecting to other BBSes, The world seemed limitless, with multi-player games, new software, news and people I’ve never met.
(Illustration of how a BBS looked like, found on this web site)
I ran my own PCBoard BBS, expanding my tiny little early-90’s room into a virtual extension of who I was. I’d take over my parents’ phone line after 22:00, and wait anticipating the universe to change just a little bit compared to the day before that.
SALES AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
13 years old, moved to a new school. Having had access to BBSes, I had games and apps that few others did. Understanding how supply and demand worked, I started selling kids software (ethics aside). Quite a few moms reached out to mine, outraged that I marketed to classmates. Turns out this pattern was hardly unique, and is manifested in multiple variations universally.
I also leveraged my access to software to become the barer of new-things. Friends would fight over who will be the first to play the new Mortal Kombat. Exclusivity allowed me to broaden my differentiation and optimize relationships
1995. 12 years old. I now had access to the Internet. While BBSes freed me from the limits of my neighborhood, the Internet freed me from the locality of the country I was in. I became a netizen, living on IRC channels, devouring information at the pace I could understand it.
The web is and has been the most influential transformation I’ve ever been part of. The magic is in realizing these notions as you go through them, marveling at every new discovery
[blockquote]The most significant force in my life has been, undoubtedly, my parents. Both invested time and effort to explain, teach, carve out space for me to understand and explore. They are ethical, hard working, humble and loving to frightening degrees. They continuously adjusted the line of being parents and friends. I love them like nothing else in this world. [/blockquote]
Police Station Story
Story about my first experience with programming robots
Story about trolling, publishing, improving writing skills
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Unordered Stories to Cover
- Aseel’s Death
- Accepted to Computer Science
- Haifa Al Fatah
- My Jewish Cousin
- Playing in the Village
- HardwareHell (Corsair Story)
- LAN PARTIES
- Quality By Vision
- Hossam Haick
- GoldTippers Startup
- Granada Group
- Singularity University
- Shuly Wintner
- Teaching at the University
- Tech Friends (Saher, Shadi, being friends with Top tier)