App Kid: How a Child of Immigrants Grabbed a Piece of the American Dream

Michael Sayman. Knopf, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-525-65619-7
Sayman debuts with a beguiling account of how he became one of Silicon Valley’s youngest entrepreneurs. The son of Peruvian-Bolivian immigrants, he fell in love with computers as a young boy in Miami. Sayman recounts how—using Google and YouTube videos to learn how to code—he created a game, sold it on Apple’s App Store in 2010, and by age 13 was making $10,000 a month. In the midst of media coverage that followed over the next few years, he caught the attention of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who offered the then-17-year-old an internship. Just a year later, he was raking in a six-figure salary as a software engineer. The real emotional center of Sayman’s story, though, lies in the “catch-22” of being Facebook’s youngest employee, “my biggest strength and my greatest weakness.” His strength was being able to educate “the grown-ups” on the youth market—which led to his significant role in the success of Instagram Stories—while his weakness manifested in his inexperience as a manager (Google later swooped in and made him its “fastest mobile app engineer”). He also shares how—after growing up in a community where “kids still used ‘gay’ as a putdown”—he learned to be proud of his sexuality as a gay man. Readers will be enthralled by this humanizing look at the tech world. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/21/2021
Release date: 06/15/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-525-65620-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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