Hey! I am Awais Naeem. I am a proud resident of the city of Lahore, also known as the City of Gardens of Pakistan. My highest formal education is the Bachelors of Electrical Engineering from a reputable public institute of Pakistan, namely the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore.
I love reading books about Business and Personal Development. My personal best is The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman, and The Greatest Salesman in the World by OG Mandino. Both these masterpieces fuse the knowledge of creating a Successful Business with the best practices of developing Work Ethic and Moral Values, something which is inherently hinted at in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.
I am a Tech-Enthusiast and always looking for ways to improve mine as well as other people’s lives through the use of technology. To date, my biggest achievement is the development of Control Algorithms for the autonomous operation of Prosthesis. This is going to help the amputees a big time in walking just like normal human beings.
EtherCAT Communication is another flagship technology with which I have been involved. It is the most advanced technology dealing with digital communication between the two electronic devices. With transfer rates of up to 1Mbps, it has almost less-to-zero communication delay and produces a highly deterministic response.
During my undergraduate study, I developed a Machine Learning based Gesture Recognition System. It was eventually applied to establish Communication between Dumb and Normal Person. In the first phase, sign-language gestures from a dumb person were converted into text. In the second phase, text from a normal person was displayed as a sign-language gesture. Here is footage explaining the conversation between a Dumb Patient and a Normal Doctor:
From being called a ‘Weak Electrical Engineer’ to the founder of Embedded Robotics, I have come a long way and still going strong in pursuit of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
As per my experience, it is inevitable that LIFE will happen to you at least once in your life-time. If you are not-so-lucky, it will hit you so hard that depression and dejection are bound to follow.
Your approach to life’s beatings will then define the route to your mental stability and financial well-being. You will have the option to be either of the two persons:
- Those who let life’s intense challenges mold them into Just Like Everybody Else
- Those who beat life at its own game, and Stand Out from The Crowd
The moment I graduated; I also came across the harsh realities of LIFE. However, I did not choose to be within the first group and be like 99% of the others. Instead, I have always strived to be within the remaining 1%, and Be A KING!
In this miniature version of my life story, I am going to reveal the major setbacks in my life, what I learned from them, and how they helped me set out on an entrepreneurial journey, while also developing a Personal Brand for myself.
Not only that, I am also going to explain how you can benefit from this blog in a true sense, and how I am going to help you with your academic as well as professional life challenges.
Before wasting any more time, let’s get started…
The Brightest Student
If you know any of your fellow or colleague who is considered a smart soul and is always looked upon as the first-choice leader, then that was me in a parallel universe of my own.
Whether you looked at the person who led the morning assembly prayer in school, or the one who represented the entire school in a science fair, you would always find me.
If you looked at the person receiving the First Prize in the annual prize distribution ceremony of the school each year, you would not be able to look beyond me. And, these classical shields are a testament to that:
I achieved all such landmarks because of a positive attitude and deliberate confidence in my skills/abilities. Rather than being over-confident in my achievements, I was consistent in my work ethic and that eventually resulted in my habit of doing things the HARD way.
Because of this immersive habit, I could only endure the feat of ‘The Brightest’ from Grade 1 till Grade 12. After that, it was the time to start my undergraduate studies and, who knew, my downfall was awaiting me there.
The Impending Downfall
As a result of nature’s reward for my HARDWORK and PERSISTENCE till Grade 12, I was admitted to the most competitive program in UET Lahore i.e., B.Sc. Electrical Engineering. I was confident that I would ace this program too, but nature had some other plans.
I took my ability and confidence for granted; however, I did not anticipate the competitiveness of the program as well as the skill level of the fellow students.
Most of the students were “BRIGHT” in their own circle, however, their brilliance overshadowed mine because of my sole reliance on HARDWORK and PERFECTION. At that time, I just could not understand that a bit of SMART WORK was needed to give a proper direction to my HARD WORK.
A simple interpretation of my innocence was that during the first three years of my undergraduate study, I was not even smart enough to search on Google for the simplest of my queries. I confined myself to TEXT-BOOKS only, and my learning was limited in each possible way.
What do you think would have happened to me after such an outdated approach towards the most competitive of the programs?
Yeah! You guessed it right…
My overall academic performance took a huge dip. With each passing day, I increased my effort but my learning approach was not correct. Hence, the results were never in my favor. The performance graph reflected the opposite of how much effort I was putting in to improve my performance.
All of this continued for the first three years of my study, and my confidence was eventually being shattered into numerous pieces. Although I stopped believing in myself, GIVING UP was never an option for me.
It was only after an internship at a Home Automation Startup after my junior year, that I got to know the correct approach to tackle the intensive undergraduate studies.
With the right approach, I aced the last two semesters of my studies and missed the top spot only by a little margin. My Final Year Project also went well, and it was ranked among the Top Ten for that year. My confidence boosted back up again, and I saw the light of hope at the end of the tunnel.
But who knew, what was waiting for me outside the tunnel?
The Bottomless Pit
During the undergraduate studies, I had developed a keen interest in the fields leading towards Industrial Revolution 4.0 i.e., Embedded Systems, Robotics, AI, and IoT. Thus, I intended to secure the position of a researcher in a lab or industry involved with the research of any such technology.
At first, I faced THREE straight-off rejections from some industries working in the field of Embedded Systems. That did not even bother me, because after all, my overall academic performance was below-average and the industries heavily used this criterion to filter out the applicants.
I then got an interview opportunity for a Teaching Assistant position in a lab working for mobile robotics. The lab director asked me some technical questions; I answered some of them correctly, while I could not answer others.
At the end of the interview session, the lab director gave an ironic response which I can never forget my whole life:
“YOUR ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING IS WEAK”, he said.
As he uttered those words, all the compromises which I had made during the previous 16 years flashed through my mind. I could barely walk at that time but somehow made it through that day.
The very next week, I had another interview in a lab working in the field of underwater robotics. Again, some questions were asked; I answered the majority of them, while others I couldn’t.
The lab director also assigned me a task related to hardware, which I completed with almost 75%-80% accuracy. However, still came a befitting reply from the professor:
“NEITHER YOU KNOW HARDWARE, NOR YOU KNOW SOFTWARE”
Both these statements were enough to make me feel dejected and lowly about me. At that time, I felt being pushed into a pit of despair and hopelessness which had no bottom. Something special was needed to pull me out of such dejection and depression.
Along with all of this, there was another aspect going on in my life which demanded my utmost attention…
Fighting with Obesity
Before I say anything, you need to see this:
Don’t believe your eyes! Have a look at another one:
Still don’t believe this! All Right…
You need to look at the fashionable me:
So, now you know what the problem was. I was weighing a whopping 120 kg with a Body-Mass Index of 38. This situation was worsening day by day because of added depression and feelings of hopelessness.
As a result, my health was deteriorating at a rapid rate. I felt sleepy all the time, and could not even concentrate on my routine tasks. I was regularly Body-Shamed because of my physical appearance, which was also taking a toll on my mental health.
By that time, my confidence was almost shattered into numerous pieces of disbelief. However, that NEVER GIVE UP attitude was still in me. Plus, the element of HARDWORK never faded away from my personality.
Both these distinctive features of mine ultimately motivated me to take control of my life into my own hands. Firstly, I specified clear agendas and goals for myself to achieve in the upcoming two years with hard deadlines:
- Lose 40Kg Weight to achieve Normal Body Mass Index
- Gain Knowledge about the operation of Embedded Systems, Robotics, IoT, and Artificial Intelligence
- Develop a Personal Brand for myself to Stand Out from Crowd
- Be my own BOSS
Rather than thinking through a detailed plan to achieve my goals (maybe I was wrong here), I just spurred into action immediately…
First Things First
The very first agenda which I targeted was that of weight loss, primarily because my bad physical condition was affecting everything I did. I felt tired and low-on-energy each day because of increased glucose and cholesterol levels in my body.
To get started, I did two simple things. Firstly, I stopped eating all the junk food and fulfilled my recurring appetite with fruits or raw vegetables.
Secondly, I signed up with a gym beside a national park. Each day, I went there; ran a couple of miles, and did 6-7 cardio exercises. I repeated this process every day (including Sundays) for two months straight, and my weight was reduced by 4Kg.
After a long time, I saw my efforts bearing the intended results. This gave me much-needed confidence, and my self-belief started to build again.
With each passing day, I began to understand the best practices leading towards the healthy weight-loss. Thus, I recurrently changed my diet plan as well as my exercise strategy.
Using the Right Approach/Direction, I worked hard in a persistent manner and maintained a disciplined behavior towards my weight-loss regime. After three years, I was able to lose 30Kg.
And, here is the new me:
After such a massive weight loss, it felt like I have accomplished something incredible. Now, I feel lighter and want to jump in the air each time I walk on the ground. Ah! Such fantasies…
The weight loss regime was just a fraction of the activities which I used to perform each day during the previous three years.
I had other goals too, and I had to achieve them too…
The Real Deal
To outgrow my Personal Brand out of the crowd, I needed to have a thorough knowledge of the technologies with which I wanted to associate my brand. Moreover, a specific plan-of-action was needed to decide on the optimal learning approach.
At that time, I had two options in my mind; one was to submit a hefty fee to enroll in a graduate program and learn via outdated teaching practices. Although this approach would have earned me a formal degree of knowledge, most of that knowledge still would have come through the internet.
So, I decided to bypass the middleman and learn from the internet directly. I would never be awarded a degree in this case, but I would be flexible enough to learn the practical aspects of any technology I desired, that too, at my own pace. Moreover, I could have spent the saved money on the development and growth of my brand.
I was already aware of the free online course-wares of prestigious universities as well as other learning resources i.e., MIT Open Courseware, University of Pennsylvania Courses and MOOCs, Coursera, Udemy, edX, etc.
All I needed to do was to learn and then implement that knowledge in a practical context. And, that’s exactly what I did.
To take care of my financials, I firstly started a teaching job at FAST University, Lahore. After 1.5 years, I made a switch to HCR Lab in UET Lahore which was working towards the design and development of Prosthesis, Exoskeleton, and Collaborative Robots.
While doing a full-time job, I kept on learning new things about Embedded Systems, IoT, Artificial Intelligence, and Robotics.
It was quite tough for me, but it was worth it!
Anyway, I was successfully moving towards the achievement of my second agenda, and that feeling alone kept me motivated all day long.
Why I Started this Blog and What’s in it for You?
By now, you must have guessed the main reason behind me starting this blog. However, if you are thinking that I launched this blog primarily to build my Brand, then I am afraid I will have to disappoint you.
Yes! One of the main reasons for starting this technical blog is the recognition of my personal brand, but this is only secondary. The primary reason is that I Want to Make Technology Simple for You!
In simple words, I don’t want you to go through the hassle of understanding the technical concepts related to innovative technologies via complicated literature available on the internet.
Believe me! You can understand the same technical concepts, albeit, through a much more simplistic explanation and real life use-cases.
Don’t Worry! I am going to make this happen for You!
In fact, there is a solid reason behind my motive to explain the technology in a simple manner.
Right from my early childhood, I had an inherent ability to firstly visualize the concepts in my mind, and then try to make sense out of them. Until the senior year of my undergraduate studies, I only explored books to understand a concept. Moreover, I knew that books were always written in a formal and complicated manner.
However, when I started browsing the internet for online learning, I assumed that the information on the internet must have been explained simply, since there were no restrictions on the grammar and textual structure.
However, the situation was even worse than textbooks. Most of the online resources seemed to have over-complicated even the simplest of the concepts. As I explored further, I came to know that this issue is widespread all over the internet.
Thus, I decided to fill this web-market need by explaining technology via detailed graphics, real-life analogies, and interactive animations. As an example, here is a simple animation which I have put together to describe how Neural Networks are trained to inculcate artificial intelligence in a dumb machine:
And here is an animation explaining the working of IoT Devices via a remote internet connection:
Having learned a myriad of technical concepts over the last couple of years, it is the right time for me to share my knowledge with others.
Henceforth, I have decided to launch my technical blog which will not only increase my Personal Brand Recognition across the like-minded audience, but will also help them understand the technology in a more interactive and a simplified manner.
Above and Beyond
As of now, I am well on my way to achieve the goals that I set for myself three years ago.
Earlier, I estimated to reach there within two years, but given the learning curve and internal complications for each agenda, that was a wrong estimate.
I also did not make a thorough plan-of-action to achieve my goals in the first place, hence the wrong projections. Thus, here is a life-lesson for you:
Always Make a Thorough Plan-of-Action to attain your Goals with the specified deadlines. Else, you risk making the same mistake I did.
Anyways, I am flowing Strong and Sturdy through the uncertain waves of life. I know what I want, and I will be there One Day!
Anyway, what do you think of my life journey and struggles?
Can you also dare to share your failures and rejections, and more importantly, how you overcame your fears to achieve success in life?
If Yes, I look forward to hearing from you…