The news of Fahim Saleh’s tragic death has struck raw nerves across several parts of the world. Not only is the techpreneur known for his exploits in the African techspace, his name is now associated with innovation, the same innovation he once said is all about shortening processes and eliminating middlemen.
Born in Saudi Arabia to Bangladeshi parents, Fahim lived with his family in the Middle East for a while before they started moving around. They eventually settled in New York as immigrants. It was here, in New York, that he had his education. As a child, he would spend hours in hiding playing video games. This soon spurred his interest in technology.
Fahim built his first websiteSalehfamily.com before he turned 15, and it was hosted on AOL Hometown. When his parents threw family parties, his father would encourage relatives to visit the website. This ‘marketing strategy’ helped the young boy to garner an average of five unique visitors to his website on a monthly. Although this was laughable, Fahim was very encouraged.
Quite naughty as a youngster, young Fahim would often go out to play and end up using rocks to scratch people’s cars. He recalled that his moment of awakening came when his actions caused his parents to spend one-third of the family savings, to fix one of the damaged cars.
“I remember that night vividly; my Mom was crying because our only option would be to move back to Bangladesh. Luckily, the next day my Dad got an offer from a university to teach computer science,” he later recalled.
Even then, Fahim decided that he needed to start making some money for himself. As a teenager, Fahim self-schooled himself on coding and started developing apps. He was quite a boisterous and lively teenager, and apps soon became a means of expressing this. He built teen-hangout.com, at age 15, a social network which many have now described as “too-early-for-its-time”.
He made some pennies from it, enough to encourage his efforts. He would ask his friends to publish articles on it, and it soon became a community-oriented blogging forum, allowing him to place ads and generate $2-$3 a month through his trial and error approach.