The most powerful ideas imprinted in the minds of young children are often those subliminally implied. Imagine convincing a youngster that they may have to adjust to a life where they’ll always be “below the bar” without actually saying anything. Society has a clear-cut way of limiting the dreams of children with learning disorders, especially ADHD. They are supposed to be in a safe zone for life, a “comfortable place” where they take only what is given without attempting to reach further.
For Canadian-born serial entrepreneur, journalist, software engineer, and radio host, Michael Peres, his so-called disability could only be valid to him as a strength. The 31-year-old operates and oversees the activities of five companies and startups while still traveling the world and providing a range of services in tech, media, journalism, and digital marketing. Having spent most of his life jumping obstacles and resisting the holds of several limitations, it’s only natural that this mental conditioning would spill over into his work ethic.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Mikey Peres was only 9 when he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and other learning disorders. His earliest understanding of the condition was how textbook descriptions could only get so much correctly. One had to experience it to truly understand. The medications, isolation, come-and-go depression, anxiety, mood swings, and vastly fluctuating modes of energy would often constrict a young child’s horizons. Thankful for the caring support system he had, Peres learned all through high school and his college days to teach himself, train his mind, control his energy, and push himself beyond expectations. It took one day of being called “stupid” by kids in math class when he was actually right to change his mindset forever.
Peres said about weaponizing a condition that was supposed to be a limitation: “My ADHD certainly shaped my life, but I do not like being defined or rated by it. The journey to success is brutal and requires an immense combination of grit, stubbornness, and perseverance. It’s crucial that we see this journey through a lens of strength with no room for weaknesses. I look at challenges as opportunities to develop unique insights that manifest into exceptional tools and discipline. Our struggles are opportunities to operate in a unique playing-field that breeds the types of skills that one would never experience otherwise.”
Breaking the rules – whatever they may be
As a sheltered kid raised in an Orthodox Jewish community in Montreal, Michael Peres wanted so much more out of his life that his environment couldn’t begin to provide. There was no one in his neighborhood to mentor an upcoming teenager who was developing an affinity for computers. One of his earliest displays of resilience was wiring the internet into his room to have access to information online. He read, learned, practiced, and eventually started his first side business building and fixing computer systems out of his room.
Peres said, “I never felt like I had connected or been understood while at school, and my room at the very top floor of my house became my sanctuary. I would spend days engrossed in the realm of computers, and I quickly become great at building and fixing them. Before I knew it, my passion had turned to a side job and a means to pacify that inner fire I knew existed deep inside me, my first opportunity to provide unique value to those around me”.
Following a one-year spirituality and adventure stint at yeshiva in Israel, Peres returned home to find himself several light-years behind his colleagues academically. Unsure about the future and with his ADHD raging aggressively, he enrolled in the computer science program at Dawson College in Westmount, Canada. He was taking a Calculus class but due to a poor secular education, he could barely stand his ground in highschool Algebra. However, in a situation designed to break his will, Peres was determined to see how far he could stretch himself.
Peres’ ADHD interfered so severely with his academic work that attending classes became a waste of time. Luckily, with the help of a friend he met in college, Simon Labute, a math prodigy, Peres eventually learned to teach himself and devised a means of reading and understanding that worked just for him. Peres was 19 whereas Simon was 17 but the latter helped Peres realize just how far behind he was compared to those with stellar secular education and he was greatly inspired to pick up the pace. By his second year in the program, he had regained so much of his confidence that he became his own teacher. Upon completion of his computer program at Dawson, Peres embarked on a life-changing internship at Chabad.org – a worldwide Chabad-Lubavitch movement that promotes Judaism and provides daily Torah lectures and Jewish insights, where he worked as an app developer. Working there eventually provided the pivotal epiphany he needed.
Peres said, “Chabad.org showed me that, while I loved computer science, that admiration was merely a subset of something truly deeper, my love for science. I realized that computer science, to me, meant less about being a programmer and more as a powerful tool to express myself in science – a way to bring my imaginations to reality. I should have been thrilled to finally get a chance at building a career, but somehow, I knew that my academic journey had only just begun.”
In elementary school, Peres had to leave his class to join a special tutoring program whenever it was time for math. He had required a lot of private attention. Ironically, after his time at Dawson, he delved back into the academic world as a math student at the Yeshiva University in New York City. Deep down, he had begun to love math from his time at Dawson and was determined to major in something he’d been told he wasn’t good at. Also, America’s New York had been calling, and he was more than eager to answer. At school, he spent countless nights awake, perfecting his learning system and building his overall discipline. Contrary to the label his teachers gave him in elementary school, and with the right self-guidance, Peres discovered he was an exceptional math student, getting better every semester as the courses got harder. Following his graduation from YU at the age of 27, New York, he went to California with practically zero funds to start his life. Now based in Seattle, Washington, operating five companies and making a major impact in the field of tech, marketing, digital journalism, Peres said about his remarkable growth: “I had come so far from the boy who was ridiculed for asking questions that were inspired by sheer curiosity.”
No limits allowed
Michael Peres’ early grooming with building systems and repairing computers in Montreal gave him a base foundation for entrepreneurial ventures. His experience working as an app developer at Chabad.org was also a powerful motivation, and in 2017, he launched Hexa Tiger, a web development firm that creates custom WordPress websites. Later in the same year, Hecto Fox followed, a cloud computing firm providing solutions to people who need to host websites and store data online.
Peres’ unorthodox and unique way of operating inspired him to launch the Breaking 9 to 5 work model in 2019, a concept aimed at promoting a work-life balance with no boundaries (such as time and location) for entrepreneurs and even employed 9-5ers. A part of his personal work model is doing 50% free work and 50% paid work. An example of his “free work” engagements is working with venture capitalist Ariana Thacker to launch a GMAT study guide and to date, he has helped over 350,000 people ace their GMAT exams.
Peres is near the completion of a memoir about his transition from a young Jewish kid with ADHD to serial-entrepreneur and multi-niched founder. The memoir also contains a solid breakdown of the Breaking 9 to 5 work model. In 2020, he launched Israel Now News, a broadcasting network for the latest updates from Israel, the Middle East, and the global Jewish community. This website’s Facebook group currently boasts of 25,000 passionate and active users and has grown to be one of the top 8 Israeli groups on Facebook. In the same year, Peres Daily was born, a news system that publishes original content relating to politics, business, economics, entertainment, health, and entrepreneurship.
While also writing as a journalist for various renowned publications, Peres hosts The Michael Peres Podcast, a platform where he explores important questions relating to entrepreneurship, technology, and current events. His empire now includes an agency providing SEO and Social media marketing to fully represent entrepreneurs, public figures, celebrities, and artists.
At the age of 31, Michael Peres has accomplished more visions than he could have ever imagined as the exhausted 9-year-old popping Ritalin pills every day. He operates and engages in all these ventures while still traveling and touring to his heart’s content. In this day and age, all you need is a laptop and an internet connection and you could control an empire from anywhere in the world.
Most aspiring entrepreneurs would often be held back from their dreams due to “uncertainty anxiety”. Especially for people who have been conditioned to accept certain limitations while growing up, the stakes are often higher and even more terrifying.
Peres said in advice: “Have your priorities thoughtfully aligned and focus your energy on today, don’t let the worries of your future get the best of you. You want to build a beautiful castle, and the best way to do that is to focus on placing the brick in your hand as perfectly as possible, and it’s ok a step back once a while and see how it’s all coming together. Three years ago, I was coding in my basement. Today, I’m representing the most amazing individuals.”
He added: “Remember, we all want great success, but most of us are not willing to acknowledge how much work it really is and commit to delivering. So the meaningful question should be: How much do you want it? Do you want it more than partying on the weekend? Or how about your 8 hours of sleep?
Published February 15th, 2021