At the start of my tech career I read and watched a lot on the success stories of American tech companies. Being very young with no experience and little thought of how the real world works, it was very easy to believe you could be the next one. Being inspired and motivated for such a big goal was so effortless and simple. That is, until you grow a little more, you find out it’s not very much as you thought. The dreams don’t die, but now you deal with doubt and fear over you can even begin doing such a thing.

Now that you’ve convinced yourself that you’re not cut out for doing it, you continue with a more stable path. But even then, the motivation can kick in and remind you of what you dreamt when you were more naive. And you want to return to it. But at this point you think differently, and might’ve revised your big dreams. I was a very big fan of Elon Musk (I currently hold different opinions). Even though it was somewhat impossible for me to take a path on which I end up creating a successful rocket company, I don’t regret having that fantasy and I respect anyone who did the same even if it was impossible to become real.

Years in, you look out for opportunities to achieve something of your own (even if you know you probably won’t act immediately), instead of staying as a cog in the machine. But being a cog in the machine is not necessarily bad. At the end of the day, those makers need other people to help them achieve their goals. If everyone became a founder, that would not be efficient I guess. Startups and companies need users.

Where I stand at now is making me excited, again. I regained my “motivation” because the more you age, the more you realize and grasp the fact that you only get one life and that you don’t want to be thinking of this moment when you’re 70 and say “I wish I had done it”. While I’m scared of aging, I’m even more scared of regretting the things I could’ve done but did not even try. I imagine that thought would last as long as I live. It would be scary. That’s a powerful motive for the now.

I come to know to some amazing people during these past few years. I myself feel happy to see them succeed and go further. It’s a delight to see how they come up with solutions, how they approach problems, how they create from the ground up, how they form their vision, how they build a persona, and most importantly how they’re authentic and genuine. It’s easy to spot them. And so is to spot the opposite. The obnoxious type.

It’s easy to get carried away by the lure of money and the glam of a luxury life. Some choose to make it their persona to relentlessly show off their wealth and advice us the peasants to “break free” and “get control of your life” and what not. Some even capitalize on other people’s insecurities and their dreams and market them a “solution”. I always found that disgusting. Someone genuine would never trigger such feelings on other people from a completely financial and marketing motive. And I find it as a very quick and cheap way to fill the big holes in their egos.

I think there are a few categories of this type but the main point is always like this: “I was broke, I started lots of startups/companies, now I make lots of money, you can too, so buy my product and follow me”. If you’re a teenager or just over 20, you’re most likely to follow these people and take them as role models. You would try to repeat their steps, buy their products, and event start acting like a copy of them.

There’s a guy, let’s call him X. He became successful, he made money. Then you will see some different people that are basically copycats. They’re building a similar persona where they try to build the same thing, use the same style in how they are talking, and even following the same patterns in choosing a profile photo or a domain name for their product.

I understand that for some people this can also be a source of motivation. And I totally respect money being the main goal. On the contrary, I wouldn’t believe if someone said “money is not important”. In fact, financial freedom is one of the cores of my goals. That being said, I don’t respect those who exploit the inexperienced for personal gain without providing something of any significance in return.

Genuine makers don’t capitalize of vulnerable feelings of other people but instead they try to help them. Their stories and their personas are often a source of inspiration, without asking for clout and attention and money. They’re more focused on building than they are on seeking artificial relationships and internet engagement. I think these are the types of makers teenagers and young aspirers should take as a role model.

I’m at the very beginning of my journey. The few things I created are peanuts compared to those who I seem to have complained about, and those I admire. I haven’t been in a ride where I’m tested by these temptations. Hope this writing will serve as a reminder for me in the long run.

Getting to know to the genuine makers helped me get rid of the idea that it’s not worth it or that I shouldn’t try, and taught me that it’s possible leave a mark and make money without being an obnoxious character. I hope one of them would eventually read these words.