Let’s talk about my journey as a tech innovator
The path to innovation is truly a lonely road. If you must go through it, please think twice. When people hail you, know that they don’t mean it, in fact they didn’t really mean to hail you - they just had a moment to sit and wonder why you still haven’t give up yet. They wish they had your grace, your fire and grit. No one admires you, they just covet what you have; or let’s say they covet what they think you have?
In 2011 when I decided to abandon my degree in Architecture to pursue a career in software technology, I didn’t have any expectations. Deep within me, I just had the assurance that I could do anything I want with my life and my choice had nothing to do with my chance of success. That I could choose to sell firewood literally and I would come out the best at that. I know the tenets of hard work, sacrifice and continuous learning. I know those would create success over and over again.
Why did I choose to program computers instead of building habitable spaces? My dad and so many well wishers didn’t understand why I chose to abandon a supposed “lucrative” profession for COMPUTERS? Well, I think it was just a simple story of passion taking over. I knew whatever I decided to do, it was going to be a bit of struggle at first. The thought of struggling as an architect or any other venture scared me so much. What if I fail? Would I have plenty regrets? What would my regrets be? On the contrary, the thought of struggling as a computer scientist kinda excites me. Since year 2000 when I saw an internet enabled computer for the first time, it was mostly a love at first sight. I was in Junior Secondary School at that time. It really didn’t matter if I failed in a career in computer technology or succeed. The possibility of success is easy to daydream. It feels like my kind success is not yet defined. Like I am writing my own history.
At the back of my mind, I knew even if I failed in my chosen career, it cannot be recorded as failure. What is failure anyway? Is it the money or the cars? Is it the friends or with people agreeing to your ideas? No, success in my future is going to be determined by me. So in essence, I can’t really fail in my own choices. But even at that, all I need is just to document my experience and I would help someone else do better on this path. That itself is greatness.
Day by day, I walk through the valleys of the shadows of failure. What if I am wrong? What if In the end, the lonely path leads to a desert. No no no, it just can’t be that bad. By evading the distractions, division, depression and all the other vices of daily struggles, I cannot but thank God I made that decision to go through this path. I have gone through the phases of self discovery and purpose. I have found that I don’t owe my fellow men any more than a life of inspiration and courage.
I thank God I made the decision 9 years ago. I can’t imagine making that decision now - with thoughts of starting a family, demands from girlfriends/side chicks. Lol. It would have been a lot harder today.
That I could be anything I want to be is the truth that I found. Like the first children, Cain and Abel. Where one chose to be a hunter, the other a farmer. Our journey to work is a journey where our life meets the need of humanity.
Ayoola is a leading cyber-security expert in Nigeria. He started out as a website developer in 2002 and today, he has founded PageCarton a platform that has championed a new set of tools to publish content to the internet through web sites and apps.
About Ayoola Falola