On My Own

A Personal Journal
by Davood Denavi

Don’t Be Trapped By Dogma

On Monday I shared the story about my love for computers and how it ultimately led to the inception of Binary Web. Well, today is the twelfth anniversary of a computer industry entrepreneur’s passing. This entrepreneur’s name is Steve Jobs. He was my idol, and by the time I got to college I was dreaming of working for Apple and possibly having a chance to meet him.

In 2005 Jobs was the commencement speaker at Stanford. During my senior year of highschool, I watched his speech on YouTube, and he told three stories that have stuck with me ever since. As I mentioned in my previous post, when I was in eighth grade I wrote a research paper about Microsoft’s antitrust case against the United States government. That case and writing the paper led to why I later became a wholehearted Apple user.

In October 2019, I accepted a position as a Computer Science instructor at a private K-12 school here in Chicago. I had only about a year of teaching experience from volunteering as a teacher at a literacy agency, so I decided to go back and watch Jobs’s speech again to see whether anything he said might provide tips for me to excel in my new role.

One of the stories he shared in his speech concerned his battle with pancreatic cancer. Toward the end of it he said, “Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent; it clears out the old to make way for the new.” Within one month before rewatching this speech, I had visited my mom for the last time in California. She left us too young at the end of October 2019. However, I was looking at “the old” that was cleared out by her passing. I had been hesitant to move forward with my own life as I visited Mom multiple times a year while continuing to do website development contract work. I saw that now I had the opportunity to start a new career as a teacher.

But not long after that, the world was hit with the pandemic. When my contract ended in March 2020, the United States was shutting down schools and forcing everyone to stay home due to the COVID-19 virus. This meant it was back to the drawing board for me. That is where Steve’s other two stories have played a role in the rebirth of Binary Web as we close out 2023.

In one story, Jobs told about getting fired from Apple at the age of 30 and then launching Pixar and NeXT, Inc. He said, “Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did.” When I think about it for me, that brick was not losing my mom but instead six months later losing the teaching job as a result of a deadly global virus.

That brings me to what was actually his first story, about connecting the dots. Toward the end of this story he said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust the dots will somehow connect in your future.” In the past couple of months, I’ve started to see the dots connecting for me. I am working on getting a project management certificate and will be either taking or auditing classes, likely in marketing, at the graduate level, to gain the knowledge necessary to build my contracting work into a full-fledged business.

I love what I do as a website developer. I love the creative aspect and also that I am able to control my own schedule as long as I meet deadlines and live up to client expectations. As a result, I’ve made the decision to rebuild Binary Web into a website development and marketing agency in honor of Steve Jobs as well as in honor of my father, who always told me not to give up. For the last 35 years of my fathers life, he carried the above image in his wallet.