16 years old Bilawal Hameed, A young entrepreneur from Machester, thought of his next business idea and decided to build it of the model of Flickr, Wikipedia, and TwitPic, Wikipic is the name of the site he says will be a world stunner in the next 2 years.
Hello, Bilawal. Thank you for joining us today. Before , we get started, please just give a brief intro into your company and yourself?
No problem, it is my deepest pleasure. I am Bilawal Hameed, a 16 year old entrepreneur from Manchester, United Kingdom and I build and maintain online business solutions since 2002. Yes, that's right, I have been doing this since I was 9 years old and I traded my first business online in 2003 and have been into businesses ever since. To the most recent, I have developed WikiPic, a online image library startup that runs a very intensive and powerful infrastructure to automate the imagery technology of applications, such as my invention, "image checksums". I'm always developing and experimenting with solutions, if not, you're most likely to find me working on WikiPic or my new venture, Ferple.
You started at such a young age, how do you think that has helped you to grow as a person? And be able to be successful at your business?
It has helped me grow as a person by the way I think, because doing things like this at a exceptionally young part of your life is extremely amazing because it shows your talent revealed before your eyes. It has helped me divert in a professional person and I stand myself out from everyone else simply because of the professionalism of the atmosphere you want to be around, not what your forced to be around. Success is something that will come to everyone, it is how you react on it to continue your success. After all that trading, you still can't seem to get some things right, but I believe the best way to be successful is to listen to your community, they use your service, and they will make you successful at the same time.
You have worked with some very big companies, what qualities do you think you possessed which singled you out to work with the companies?
Some companies I have worked with have simply been lucky approaches, but from those experiences I have built out huge ranges of contacts that I can easily use for future ventures. Being responsible for millions of pounds at only 14-15 years old is a pretty hectic experience, but to even realize people are looking for talent no matter how young or old shows transparent diversity in companies - they're willing to take any twists or turns to make it into the industry. I emphasized interest, and worked extremely hard to approach my identity to the world, and even when you are established you still have to consistently reapproach yourself to the industry as your battling against other entrepreneurs that probably won't have the qualities that you have but will have the money or contacts to get themselves known with big companies. Just be yourself, and let people see good things about you. They always soon see that they have to look for the best out of the bunch.
Where did the inspiration for wikipic come from?
Good question. WikiPic is built off several other companies, which specifically are: Flickr, Wikipedia, and TwitPic. These companies all had amazing advantages to the world that I wanted to bring into one service. Flickr has flexibility. Wikipedia has knowledge. TwitPic has demands. I tried so much to reinvent the wheel for user-orientated libraries and a large network that could change all the opportunities we have online, and from tons of hours of development and experimentation with my colleagues.. we came up with WikiPic. In specific, it took 2 years to invent this amazing project. From all that time, I have been building on the platform and consistently it is improving day-by-day until we're ready to let it be a world stunner. I'm more focused on improving the capabilities, and options that our world has rather than working on making money. Money can be made in every possible way you can think of, however making a long lasting impact is something that is a real challenge, and something that nobody can take from you, ever.
How long did it take to set up wikipic? And if there was anything you wished you could have done better whilst setting it up, what would it be?
As answered in the previous question, I have taken 2 years to set it up to get it as amazingly powerful as it is today. If companies like Google invented a company like this, they would have millions of dollars, however I built this amazing project in a sum of $500 and amazing knowledge, and it has been a lot of work, but extremely worth it. At my age, there's not much you can do in terms of exposure as you don't really have much contacts, but if I really did have to make an improvement, it probably would of been getting an investment because it would of made the process more smoother and can help me and a possible WikiPic team improve the platform on a day-to-day basis.
Do you feel you are more disadvantaged with regards to age because you are so young, and your
competitors are most likely to be older and more experienced?
Not at all. Even 40 year old startup founders can be even more unexperienced than you, just do your due digilence and you'll soon realize that you should no way at all be disadvantaged. You're going to be disadvantaged if you think like that. Self-esteem and confidence are the two main factors in yourself that are necessary in order from you or your businesses from becoming successful.
How do you manage the work/play balance?
At first years of high school, I spent practically all of my time on the computer. My parents at first were extremely skeptical about development online due to inappropriate content being published online, and doing what any other parent would of done. After soon realizing that I have a strong interest in the online business, I was let loose and given time to setup my own business. With a lot of hard work and underpayments for work, I invested my first $50 bucks into a website with some preset code. Time and self-education is what made me what I am today. A lot of things I missed out on, but it does show you love something so much you are willing to give everything up for it. Now, I split everything 50/50 since I'm approached in my first year in College.
Finally, what “wisdom words” would you give to young entrepreneurs of today’ s day and age?
To every other entrepreneur. Always imagine this scenario to yourself, "Imagine a world with full knowledge to anything, and without anyone." - that kind of help is more valuable than having someone assist you. Everyone who has internet has access to doing business as professional as every other successful entrepreneur out there, and there's qualities that you WILL have that nobody else does, and you discover them along the road of building your first business to success. It's a hard, but enjoying experience that you'll only realize at the end. Listen to your community. Don't take shortcuts in life. I'll leave the rest for you to find out, as your adventure will be completely different from mine.
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