Category Archives: Episode 085: Taking Initiative | Michael Ghandour18-year-old owner of MAKO Program

Episode 85: Taking Initiative | Michael Ghandour,18-year-old owner of MAKO Program

Taking Initiative, Michael Ghandour creator of MAKO Program Michael Ghandour took the initiative and created MAKO Program, it’s kind of like an artificial intelligence for computers where you can talk to the computers, it’ll take your commands and respond to you in the appropriate way. I’m fascinated with Michael for a lot of reasons. One of them is that he did something for fun. He just got excited about it and then he took initiative to take it to the next level, take it to the next step and really own what he was creating. Own it to make a difference.

Michael Ghandour is the creator of MAKO Program, an artificially intelligent assistant that can do anything you ask it to do! MAKO is the most advanced artificial intelligence software. Their revolutionary software is not only able to learn from you, but it can also do essentially anything you require it to do with the power of your voice.

Zeb’s Take on Taking Initiative

I can’t tell you how interested I am in Michael’s story. Just being so young and taking the initiative to go out and get this work done is so impressive to me. He had an interest in playing video games and so he decided, hey I want to learn how to build this video game, and so he did. After he built the video game he thought he wanted to do something with a little more substance. He saw Iron Man 2 and thought, ‘Hey that looks cool. Maybe I could create something like that.’ Then he went out there and created this program that essentially does what JARVIS does in the Iron Man movies. It’s all just because he thought of something, thought it was a cool thing to do, why don’t I create that. There are not a lot of people out there that think that way, that take the initiative, take the action to do something like that.

Taking Initiative, he was talking about how he was learning Economy before he was required to take the Economy class in High School. He was talking about how he had to learn leadership skills. And you can tell that he’s talked about this before. He’s going out, he’s marketed his product, he’s talked passionately about the program he’s creating. For somebody, at 18-years-old, I mean… me at 18 I was so nervous to get in front of people and talk about anything, being on a podcast would have been horrifying. He handled himself very well. He was articulate. He talked about his program the way you would expect someone who is very excited and passionate about what they do.

Putting this all together, he just has this passion, something he enjoyed and wanted to do. He took initiative. He went out there and he did it. That really typifies what The Defining Success Podcast is about. Once you define your success, for example, Michael said, ‘Hey I want to create this program, this artificial intelligence, I want to get recognition, I like recognition. I’m going to go out there and define what my success is and then I’m going to go out there and make it happen.’

It’s remarkable. I hope all of you out there, if there’s something that interests you, something that you want to do, something that you are passionate or excited about, take initiative and go out there and make it happen.

Now, go out there and find your success.

Find out more about Michael Ghandour or MAKO Program

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Speech Recognition Program - MAKOQuotes

  • “What can I do to feel like I did something?”
  • “I thought, why can’t I just create it?”
  • “I had that curiosity that I had from the video game, how are video games made? Now, I’m like how is software made.”
  • “The ability to create something and see it at play is just magnificent to me.”
  • “I love programming. I love getting recognition.”


More from the Interview

Michael Ghandour, Owner of MAKO Program and Video Game and Software ProgrammerAt just 18-years-old, and 3 days from his high school graduation, Michael is the youngest guest we’ve had on The Defining Success Podcast.

Before he created MAKO Program he says he played lots of video games. He created his own video game that he programmed and managed, called Final Heros. It was a web based platform, a player vs player game, you compete with other players fighting to gain items and stuff. There was an economy to it and it was starting to suffer from inflation. Michael had to study economy to fix the problem within his video game.

When he was 14-years-old, he still remembers the day a player of his game asked him how they could donate. He said that it was a wonderful game and would like to support it. He wanted to donate $100 and maybe he could get some items in the game in return. At the time Michael hadn’t thought about how to make money from his video game, but $100 sounded pretty good. He looked into it, found PayPal and that’s when his mom helped him set up his first bank account. He says, “I told my mom, she was kinda skeptical of the whole thing. She was like, ‘$100 dollars from a game and you have to put in your bank account number?’” She was supportive though.

He was getting donations from players making purchases within the game, there were no required payments or membership fees. Everything was, players could either work hard and get it or they could donate. He actually needed donations to keep the website going.

Michael didn’t just have to learn about programming to create this game. He had to learn about economy, mathematics, and all these other things that he had to apply and incorporate into the game. Michael says, he also had to learn about leadership skills. You wouldn’t expect someone to learn leadership skills from a video game. I had a staff of 8 people and 4 of them were from other countries, so we had to manage our time to see when who will be logged in and it was all for fun. They were never paid. Michael had to manage them so they were never abusive within the game and that they were helpful.

When Michael had to shut down the game he created (he felt it was taking away from from his schoolwork) he decided to have a more relaxing summer before his last year of high school. After playing lots and lots of video games he says he felt kinda depressed, because he wasted his summer. He didn’t take advantage of the summer like he had in the past, he didn’t learn any new programming, he wondered what he could do at the end of summer to make his summer feel like it was worth it. He saw Iron Man 2, and thought why isn’t there something like JARVIS. He knows there’s SIRI, but it’s not actually that smart or functional, and there’s nothing for PCs that can actually do many things. He thought, why can’t I just create it.

“What can I do to feel like I did something?”

“I thought, why can’t I just create it?”

“I had that curiosity that I had from the video game, how are video games made? Now, I’m like how is software made.”

Two new features that Michael has recently added to MAKO Program. One is MAKO Research Center, you can say ‘gather information on Bill Gates’ or ‘gather information on Oprah Winfrey’ and it will pull up 3 photos of the subject and bring up a small description. The other feature is self-aware mode. That’s in prototype stage. Michael says, “It’s pretty scary because it’s actually like artificial intelligence. You’re talking to it and it actually responds like in the movie.”

He says it uses a similar algorithm to Cleverbot, an online chat program that can think, respond to and remember what you said at least for the short term. He has lots of plans for this feature.

He knows it’s not perfect. He is trying to make the engine for MAKO really flexible so it can work with any microphone.

Michael is reminded of something one of his classmates posted on Facebook, “‘Art is magnificent, it’s my passion. I can create anything and it feels like it comes to life seeing the response I get from my art.’ I feel like I’m the same way, programming is the same way for me.”

“The ability to create something and see it at play is just magnificent to me.”

Michael says the biggest mistakes he’s made is over-trusting people, staff positions, with passwords, or the ability to spawn items, it can be abused. He says you need to take precautions. The other big mistake Michael says he’s made is being naive to the law, but he’s learned a lot.

“I want MAKO to have the best engine, 98-99% accurate; that it can understand you 99% of the time. To make self-aware mode feel like you are actually talking to another human. To make MAKO truly like JARVIS from the movie. To make it functional and not just an entertainment factor.”

He named it MAKO because when he asked his mom what he should call his program that was was she suggested. She had been watching shark week on the Discovery Channel and was thinking of the shark. She thought a shark fin could make a good logo too. Michael liked the name, it’s short, simple, easy to pronounce, and he thought the fin could make a good logo.

To help Michael, just have curiousity like he did, if you are at all interested in his program check out his website and try the 7-day-free trial. If you don’t like it cancel it.

Many people use his software for the dictation aspect, he likes to use it for reading text and for the research.

Being proud of yourself and proud of your achievements, and having those achievements recognized, even if it’s small recognition, I think that’s what success is.

“I love programming. I love getting recognition.”