On My Own

A Personal Journal
by Davood Denavi

The Inception Of Binary Web

It all started in the ’90s. One year over Spring Break my parents motivated me to start teaching myself things instead of playing video games all day. Since my computer was running Windows 95 at the time I spent time learning how to modify Windows settings and configure the system to look and in ways that I wanted.

It all started in the ’90s when I was still in primary school. One year over spring break my parents motivated me to start teaching myself things instead of playing video games all day. Since my computer was running Windows 95, I spent time learning how to modify Windows settings and reconfigure the system.

Fast forward a couple of months, when school let out for the summer. I asked my father to drive me over to a bookstore so that I could look at some books about computers. At the bookstore I found a book about the Basic Computer Programming Language and a few others about computer history. I asked my father if we could buy one of the history books along with the one about Basic Computer Programming.

My father was so happy I wanted to learn computers that he returned to the bookstore alone a few weeks later and purchased another book he saw me looking at the day he took me there. This one was about Basic Website Development, specifically HTML and CSS.

By the end of the summer I had built six simple computer programs and two very basic websites, one of them a ten-page website that covered various website development topics. When my father saw that, he said, “I think you will be a website designer when you grow up.” My response was, “Maybe I want to be a fireman, Dad.” I was trying to be funny, and he did laugh, but I always kept his prediction in my mind.

In eighth grade, still fascinated by computers, I wrote a college level research paper on the Microsoft antitrust case against the United States Government. The research paper was a requirement to graduate at my junior high, but the topic was left up to each student. I was also feeding my passion by taking a beginning course in computer science as an elective, and we were learning CSS2. My teacher was so impressed with how fast I was going through the assignments that he asked me if I wanted to learn another language as well and gave me a choice of Javascript or PHP. WordPress 1.0 was still a few weeks from being released, but since I knew about it from my own studies at home, I chose PHP. The next day in class, he handed me an introductory lesson on PHP and told me to focus on that while he walked the rest of the class through the CSS lesson.

The summer after my sophomore year in high school, I started a computer repair business that I named Binary Computing Services. I got tired fairly fast of fixing computers, though, so I started looking on Craigslist for one-off jobs building websites. I got hired a few times, and from then on I’ve never gotten tired of building websites or modifying existing websites.

In college at Depaul University in Chicago, I pursued a computer science degree until the end of my sophomore year, when I decided I didn’t like the heavy math emphasis. Depaul offered a major in Human Computer Interaction, which today is called User Experience Design, so I switched to that major. Shortly after this, my father was diagnosed with cancer. As a result, I had to help more with my family’s businesses. I also had my studies and I was still taking contract work, and all of this delayed my graduation. Dad would end up surviving the cancer, but he passed suddenly a couple of years later.

Following his death, I concentrated on school and graduated from Depaul in December 2013. Unfortunately, quickly thereafter, my mom became disabled by a stroke one day while working out at the gym. I continued to take contract work while my siblings and I helped to take care of Mom at the nursing home. Since I was offering only website development services at that point, I changed the name of my computer business to Binary Web.

My mom passed in 2019, and finally I thought I’d look for full-time work. Then the pandemic arrived in 2020. My contract work has continued for the past three years, and after learning a lot from designing or redesigning websites for many clients, I’m now redeveloping my own website. As I do this over the next few months, I’m also staying open to full-time job opportunities and look forward to whatever direction I’ll be following next.

6 Responses

  1. I am touched by your life experiences and how they molded you and your journey. I can only imagine the decisions and actions you had to make and take to support your family’s needs. You are brave and responsible. God bless you! Cindy Rae

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words! I sometimes wish others would understand the sacrifices I made at the cost of my career and future cause of my parents health. It is what it is as my mom used to say.

  2. I loved reading your blog and can feel your pain. I too took care of my parents, first my mom passed away and 6 years later my dad passed. I’ve always said parents take care of their children when they are young and growing up. The roles reverse when our parents become incapacitated and the children take care of them. You can be proud of all you did for your parents. Hoping you get your web site redeveloped and things go well for you.

    1. Thank you so much Marla for sharing in very short terms the fact that you can relate to my story. Sadly, my parents were much to young when they passed. bother were under the age of 75 and ironically they died 7 years apart. 7 is a lucky number… so maybe those 7 years helped me find my calling as a website developer. Time will tell in the long run.