Meet Sayid Muhammad: He’s creating a Web3 startup and is already working in #MiamiTech. DMs are open.
If you want to meet the future of #MiamiTech, get to know Sayid Muhammad.
The 18-year-old from Homestead first got introduced to tech in 7th grade detention. The teacher overseeing the students thought a good “punishment” would be learning HTML. Trouble was, Sayid embraced it. After a few more detentions the teacher changed the punishment activity, but Sayid moved on to learning technology on his own.
“My parents have always been pushing for me to be a scientist, and I just fell in love with computer science so that’s just what I’ve been doing since I was young.”
Sayid applied to a long list of high schools but despite a good GPA was rejected by every one. Undeterred, he applied to and attended iTech, a tech-focused magnet school in Little Haiti, traveling there two hours in the bus each way every day for four years.
Although the classes often covered programs he already knew, Sayid said going to iTech was the best decision to get immersed in programming, despite the grueling bus rides. Among the new experiences, he interned at OnPoint Global, a Miamai tech company, in the 10th grade. There a senior developer at the company, Charles Ohana, helped him elevate his tech skills and became a mentor to him, and has continued to help him.
Around the same time, Sayid started dabbling in startups too and tried to get a couple off the ground, even once discussing an app he made for grade calculations with Alberto Carvalho, Miami-Dade School’s outgoing superintendent. But in the process, he learned a lot about programming.
“I didn’t leave it up to my teachers to teach me. Even when I got home, I was learning other parts of programming — I was so obsessed with it. I was actually my teacher’s assistant for a lot of the years that I was there.”
After graduation last year, Sayid decided not to continue with college (he has taken a number of MDC courses through dual enrollment while at iTech). “I was just doing projects up until the end of high school and I realized that I could build anything I want and I thought I should just hop into this space.”
While that wasn’t popular with dad, Sayid had a plan: Secure employment at an exciting Miami tech company while also working on his own startup, GPlay. [Sayid’s dad has since come around and is supportive]. Around this time last year, Sayid was also beginning to learn about crypto and blockchain on his own – that was not part of iTech’s curriculum. Sayid co-founded GPlay with Hyder Zubairi, who is in Sayid’s words way smarter, and “we kind of love it now.” We’ll get back to all that.
Finding a #Miamitech job was next on Sayid’s list. The application process was so grueling Sayid developed a Python script to automatically send out emails – and disclosed his process so he would stand out. “I ended up sending out a thousand emails to all these Miami-based tech companies with my resume, my cover letter, my qualifications, and all that.”
Marc Billings, founder and CEO of Blackdove, responded right away and asked to meet up with him that afternoon. They did, and Sayid said they talked about his skills and Billings asked him to do a few projects on a contract basis. A few months later he was hired as a full-time programmer.
“Meeting Marc really led me to where I am now because I like to surround myself with people smarter than me to learn off of other people’s skill sets. I watch the way Marc handles the team team meetings. And Blackdove being a Blockchain-centered company, I got to learn about solidity, a blockchain smart coding language.”
Said Billings: “Sayid is a gift. His spirit, talent and tenacity embody our culture at Blackdove.”
Now let’s hear from Sayid about GPlay Studios.
As envisioned, “GPlay is a player and a blockchain platform where users hop on and they stake their polygon against one another globally, and they play online games such as chess, tic tac toe or a fighting game, and then the winner will basically win the pie,” said Sayid. ‘Multiply that by potentially hundreds of games and we have people online playing all day and making money and cashing out their fiat, which is the dream of play-to-earn gaming now.”
But first they need an MVP and users. Team GPlay thought a grant would be an easy way to $50K to build it out, “but you know, we are two kids from high school, so our team wasn’t up to their standards.” Now they are bootstrapping and starting to talk to investors.
Sayid first met Barron Channer on Twitter – the same way @GPlay_Sayid met Miami’s Mayor Francis Suarez [pictured with Sayid above], Michael Sarasti, Auston Bunsen and a bunch of other #MiamiTechies [DMs are open]. Channer has been helping Sayid with his MVP plans and roadmap, and is always sending him suggestions and articles, Sayid says.
“Sayid represents a fusion of two things that resonate strongly with me. He is an embodiment of Black Miami and simultaneously represents a promising future for Miami Tech,” said Channer, board chair of Black Miami Angels, among other roles. “His desire to succeed and initiative to act exceeds most people I meet in the sector. I am excited about the investment potential of his GPlay crypto-gaming platform but even more bullish of his potential to impact the Miami Tech landscape.”
On tap for 2022 is developing an MVP and getting first users on the platform, a guerrilla marketing campaign, raising money, and more networking. Sayid will be part of the Casa de QuickNode house for Miami Hack Week later this month.
And longer term? “As you can see, I run pretty fast. … After I have an exit, I might want to be a VC or angel investor.”
If you haven’t met Sayid yet, you will.
READ MORE STORIES ABOUT YOUNG INNOVATORS ON REFRESH MIAMI:
- Meet a 14-year-old who is coding her future in AI, crypto, telemed, social impact
- Student spotlight: FIU students launch startup to help struggling restaurants
- 20-year-old Kayra Yasa dives into #MiamiTech with 2 startups
- The learning never stops for YTeach founder with a big vision
- Meet the young founder teaching seniors about modern technology
- Student spotlight: This entrepreneur is using tech to streamline housecleaning
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