- Sneaker “bots” are software scripts that expedite the checkout process for a purchase online, helping resellers nab hyped pairs that are released in limited quantities.
- A teenager who goes by “Lickety” online created Hayha, a popular sneaker bot, without any serious programming experience.
- The teen, who asked that his real name and exact age not be mentioned for privacy concerns, has made more than $380,000 in sales of his bot since April, according to screenshots of his payment history on Zelle and Stripe.
- “There are people my age who’ve made insane amounts of money,” the teen said. “It’s like a gold rush.”
- Here’s how he built a major sneaker bot in just a few months without any formal programming experience.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The maker of a leading sneaker bot says starting a massive business was never really a part of the plan.
“I just started this out and tried to make it a hobby,” the creator of Hayha, one of the most popular bots for sneaker resale on the market, recently told Business Insider in an interview. The teen creator, who goes by “Lickety” online, asked that his real name and age be withheld for privacy concerns.
“It was really fun, and I really never imagined it would get to this scale,” he said.
In the sneaker world, “bots” refer to software scripts that expedite the checkout process for purchase online. They enable resellers to nab hyped pairs released in limited quantities and are often the cause of much debate in the sneaker world.
Today, almost 1,200 active Hayha users use the bot for sites like Eastbay, Foot Locker, Champs, Foot Action, New Balance, Supreme, and Yeezy Supply. The bot costs $250 to buy at retail and $30 a month to retain.
Like most bots, Hayha restocks its supply on its Twitter account, which has over 45,000 followers. To ensure that demand is high, Lickety releases a limited amount of copies, which prevents possible site overloads with too many attempts to nab shoes at once. Since its supply is so limited, copies of the Hayha bot can resell for upwards of $1,500.
Since he started selling Hayha to the public in April, Lickety has made more than $380,000 in total sales, according to screenshots of his payment history on Zelle and Stripe.
“I worked on this project for so long before we actually did well,” Lickety said, explaining how he stayed determined to see the bot to success. “If it’s something that actually interests you and that you enjoy doing, just keep doing it.”
Learning from the bottom up
Lickety became interested in botting after watching his friend try to make money in the sneaker resale market. He began working on Hayha in September of 2019, figuring that the project would be a fun hobby that could reap some financial returns.
“Honestly, I don’t really know if there was a goal,” Lickety said of his decision to start making Hayha. “At the end of the day, I would do it for a couple of hours to unwind.”
Lickety had no formal training in coding or programming. While he knew basic Python elements from small projects he had previously worked on, he still considered himself a novice. To build the bot, Lickety stayed away from video tutorials and relied instead on old fashioned trial and error, troubleshooting specific errors by looking them up online.
“I would just try stuff, and then when it broke, I would Google the errors,” he said. “It was just like, find an example, modify the example, Google errors, look on GitHub, look on Stack Overflow, stuff like that.”
He named the bot Hayha as a nod to Simo Hayha, one of the world’s deadliest snipers.
“You want to be accurate with this kind of stuff,” Lickety explained. “So, I just picked that.”
His first breakthrough
The first few months of Hayha saw little success, nothing more than nabbing a couple of pairs every few weeks.
The breakthrough happened in April of 2020 with the online release of the Jordan 1 Retro High Court Purple Whites. Lickety said he stayed up all night to adjust Hayha for Shoe Palace, one of the sites that would be dropping the sneaker. The result was an unprecedented success for the bot.
“It was just incredible. We were hitting so much, it was insane,” Lickety said. Around 50 people were running the bot, and they collectively were able to grab more than 500 pairs of Jordans.
Up until that point, most of Hayha’s users were friends of Lickety. Now, thanks to this one drop’s success, the teen felt that the bot was ready to be released to the public.
“That release kind of gave me the confidence to realize that I could actually make something beyond just a personal hobby,” he said. “That I could actually sell it, and it would work.”
‘It’s like a gold rush’
After the success with Jordan 1 Purple Whites, Lickety began to sell his bot at retail. He used part of the money he made to hire some new developers to continue working on the bot. He also invested in new samples of code for different sites.
But even after the success of the drop, Lickety still grappled with feelings of imposter syndrome.
“A lot of these developers were professionals. Some of them work at Silicon Valley, some had actual jobs in their thirties,” the teen said. “I just kind of felt like I was a kid. I didn’t really know anything. So I felt like I didn’t really belong.”
Even after its breakthrough, Hayha still endured its fair share of failures. Eventually, the bot saw another major success with the release of the Jordan 11 Concords in July. Lickety managed to run a feature that lets users check out multiple times from just one item in their cart on this release.
Today, Lickety employs seven developers to help him work on Hayha. The teen, who plans to continue to develop his programming skills for a possible future career in the field, is one of many young entrepreneurs who has found a way to make it big, regardless of age.
“This experience has taught me so much about myself, and it’s really showed me what I want to do with my life,” Lickety said. “There’s such an incredible opportunity right now where you see people like me who are literal teenagers with no experience — there are people, my age who’ve made insane amounts of money. It’s like a gold rush.”