I've always wanted to journal my life and capture my thoughts at the time so I can compare them against my future thinking. Alas, I've never really done that. This page is the closest to that idea I will ever get.
I spawned in Nitra, Slovakia about 27 years ago. The first few years were the hardest. I struggled to learn to walk and talk because I kept falling asleep every few hours. Once I managed to achieve those two objectives, I knew the rest would be a walk in the park.
At the age of 6, I began practising martial arts when my mum signed me up for karate classes. While I no longer compete at the highest level, I still follow the lessons and principles I learnt early in my life. Plus, it taught me a lot about my body, its capabilities and limits.
As I kept progressing in the athletic storyline, I discovered that I also enjoy intellectual pursuits. Growing up surrounded by books, I would spend days reading whatever I found interesting. Ultimately, I'd be mostly drawn towards books about jokes and non-fiction and not much has changed since then.
I wish I knew whether these activities impacted my personality or it was generated before I was born and my interests are simply a consequence of that. Either way, I turned out to be a jester performing dangerous activities and it's a miracle I managed to remain intact.
Another thing I fell in love with as a child were computers and technology in general. My mum would never let me take apart devices in our house fearing I'd never be able to put them back together, so I had to tinker with software. I still remember asking my mum how to create a new folder on desktop.
The next 12 years I spent improving my skills and completing the mandatory education track. I would represent my country at international tournaments on the weekends and study like a good boi during the week. My favourite subject was mathematics which I'd end up tutoring outside school to make some money. I was lucky – there is no way I'd be able to travel so much as a child had it not been for all those tournaments.
I also had many transitory hobbies because I wanted to try everything. I'd try making beats, playing chess, football, selling perfumes, drawing, and so on. Perhaps the most niche interest I've ever had was making paper crafts. Once, I spent two months working on a single model pretty much all day, every day.
Many people would tell me growing up that they see a great potential in me and that one day I will be successful with a work ethic like that. I don't know if they said those words to other kids too, but they definitely left a chip on my shoulder because I was 16 years old and still not successful. Can you imagine?!
I still think about them. Would my elders be proud of me? I hope they would be happy to see what I became and the influence they had on me. These thoughts often motivate me to do more when I feel like it's time to relax. After all, I can rest when I'm dead.
The second chapter started for me when I turned 18 as I was finally legally allowed to move out. I will never forget a dream I had as a small boy where I walked up to people on the street with a huge cardboard sign and asked them if they wanted to leave the country with me.
Alas, in reality it was only me who was able to make the move. I applied to a university in England as that was the only logical way for me to move out. Since I didn't know yet what I wanted to do in life, this option would grant me some extra time while I explored more interests. It was also the only way I could move abroad and not have to work a minimum wage job which was what a lot of Eastern European immigrants did.
While I didn't enjoy the formal education, I loved everything outside the school and I quickly realised I wouldn't be coming home. Objectively, the most important thing I accomplished during the next 3 years was perfecting my English. Everything else falls short considering how much impact this has had on my future.
As I was realising I liked formal education less and less, I started realising I liked working and making money way more. Studying was nice, but it didn't pay the bills. I wasn't a trust fund kid so the only way I could afford anything was to work for it. Shocking, I know.
Thanks to the jobs I had while I was studying, I was able to save my first £1,000 and buy a used iMac. At that time, it was my single most expensive purchase ever. Shortly after, I'd close myself in a room and focus on one thing for months on end once again. Only this time, I was determined to master programming and work on my first startup ideas.
My initial forays were unsuccessful, but I was hooked. I had ideas and programmed before, but I never considered it a career path. It was just a fun pastime I enjoyed. However, as I was approaching the end of my business degree, I looked around and realised that was the thing I could do better than anything else. I'd rather go try my luck than be another graduate analyst.
After the graduation, I fulfilled my dream of moving to London. Per usual, I'd act first and figure out if it was a smart thing to do later. I arrived with £50 in my pocket and a plan to stay in my friend's room until I get back on my feet. I spent £6 on the transport across London on the first day, so I quickly realised this mission is on a different difficulty setting.
As a result, I did what any sane person would do. Get a full-time job? No. Time for me was freedom, so I started working odd jobs to make ends meet while I went out and met people. There's just a part of me that won't let me be rational. It's either all or nothing. I'd be damned if I had to walk the paved path. Eventually, I ended up promoting brands and that's where I started my next startup idea.
While I was spinning this thread, I kept meeting more people. These connections led to many great opportunities that helped me pay my bills and stories to tell my children. After a year, I took a step back and saw that I wasn't making progress as fast as I wanted to. It was time for a change. Are you noticing a pattern yet?
The next 2 years would be the closest I'd ever get to a traditional lifestyle. That's because I started working full-time for other startups. I saw this as an opportunity to progress deeper in the tech world, learn how other people run their companies, and master my specialisation. I planned to try another startup when I have more experience.
The reason for this decision was that I recognised I was hitting the ceiling in my growth working alone. It was difficult closing deals for my startup, I worked hard every day, and I was rapidly bleeding cash. At the same time, I felt that my technical abilities could be better if I worked as a part of an engineering team. The old approach no longer made sense.
While I made more money in my new job than ever before, I've also been more bored than ever before. Every day was the same – same work, same building, same people. At the end of the first week, I closed myself in the bathroom and I just lost it. This was my life now.
I have always instinctively known what kind of lifestyle I liked but that day I became determined to work even harder just so I would never have to work on somebody else's terms again. Looking back, I think it was partly a shock from transitioning into a more traditional job and I got used to it over time, but I never settled.
I couldn't imagine myself going to the same place for the rest of my life, only to collect a pay check that disappears faster than I can earn it. I started looking for an escape and I remembered an old hobby of mine for which I never had money until now – investing. I started learning about the markets, reading news, and paper trading before I took the plunge. Still, it would take years before I started seeing some results.
The funny thing about success is it never happens until it does. The best thing you can do is stand in its way and hope it hits you. You do that by doing the right things, but the outcome is never guaranteed. It can take forever before you reach your goal. That's why when it happens, it always takes you by surprise. You get so used to your routine, you start thinking it will never change.
I could go on forever listing examples. Athletes, business people, artists, it happens all the time. I was no exception. After two years living a relatively normal life, I found myself without a job once again. What would normally be a terrifying prospect was an opportunity for the first time in my life to stand still and think. Where do I want to go next?
I spent a few months exploring my options and the choice was clear. It was time to pave my own path again. I didn't expect it when I started, but the next 2 years would turn out to be very different from the last 2 years. By that point, all the work I've been quietly doing started paying dividends. And when it rains, it pours.
While I originally worried I'd struggle to find the next job, offers starting coming in faster than I could evaluate them. For the first time, I had the luxury to work on my terms. During those 2 years, I would make more money than I have in my whole life prior to that. But life also happens outside of work. And on that front, I would find myself getting married in the middle of the global pandemic.
Good things come in threes indeed. I believe that because of my past experiences, I was in a prime position to make the next move. I knew what the bottom felt like and there's no way I was willingly going there again.