An exponential Summer

Sunday 7 September 2014

It has been four days since I have arrived back in Hong Kong, and in the pressing humid tropical air I have immediately succumbed to what can only be described severe “Singularity Blues”. I am missing the day-long challenges, the inspiring conversations, the classroom, the credit union, the Quinoa, the mild Californian summer, but most of all I miss my 79 other crazy, classmates. The last ten weeks have been wonderful, challenging, breath-taking, neck-breaking fast and truly inspiring…. Indeed there are too many stories, too many experiences to share them all here. But as my dear readers know, I love my lists, so let me give you a few glimpses of great experiences and moments of the summer- with no intention of completeness: – Signing the docs for our company Peared, a lifestyle company for the Elderly. Never before did I have a chance to work alongside such inspiring, open minded, motivated and positive individuals as Susan, Murilo and Alex Check it out on: 2014-08-04 19.57.012014-08-21 22.07.36 2014-08-21 15.23.03 – Watching a Brazilian Telenovela play life in front of my eyes – the South American Culture night had it all! Javier’s & Bea’s wedding (i still hope to invited to the real one), great music and way too much Tequila & Pisco… Getting to know 79 other, amazing people, their backgrounds, stories and ideas was the biggest takeaway – i am looking forward to stay in touch with them for a long time! – fulfilling a childhood dream of building a rocket and shooting it – NASA rocket launch day on Moffett field was a unique opportunity. Despite a substantial hangover, I finished my tiny rocket (that I had altered with a keychain camera to have “onboard” video footage). Sadly on the second launch the parachute didn’t open, so guess for another one it would be back to the drawing board…. here is the footage: 2014-08-16 10.49.50 2014-08-16 09.55.19– Trying desperately to defend a fictional company in SU court that had unleashed an artificial intelligence that got ambition to rule the world by stealing money, selling arms, etc. We lost the case, but nevertheless a had a fruitful discussion on understanding the ethical challenges we will be confronted with modern technologies – Watching potential future Nobel prize winner in medicine Dan Boyden explain his research on the new field called optogenetics. He can restore sight, steady trembles and soothe epilepsy. He uses a tiny virus to infect brain cells in mice with a molecule that makes the cells respond to light. When he shines a red light through the skull, he can change the cells’ activity. In the future, he might be able to turn off brain cells that are overactive (as in epilepsy). – Asking one of the leading thinkers on longevity and life extension to sit on the jury for the first ever X-Prize challenge for 3D printed beer bottle opener (i sponsored two cases of beer as a prize). Aubrey de Grey, did a great job and chapeaux- he is the first speaker ever i saw that went during his talk off stage to get two (!!) bottles of beer (of course to drink them) from the bar! The bottle opener designs were rather flawed – design won over function (sorry Riccardo!) and we suffered a chronic shortage of openers until the end. 2014-07-21 22.28.09 2014-07-22 11.25.58 – Getting a chance to meet with Googles ultra-secret startup CALICO (which just announced 3 days ago that they will invest 1.5bn in a new research facility that will cure aging) and present Peared’s concept in front of leading thinkers Hal Barron and Art Levinson (the chairman of Apple). PastedGraphic-1PastedGraphic-9 – Submitting the first patent application: I will never forget storming into the SF airport post office ten minutes to midnight, (after having taking three times the wrong exit on the highway – thank you google maps!) realising that the Postal Service does not have a printer! We had to hand paint the relevant forms – yes, we did it!- Peared filed its first provisional patent (for a hearing device with augmented audio reality) at 23:59.45 on 14 August 2014!!! The last letter of the day! – Staring at the amazing structure that is Hangar 1 – one of the largest free standing buildings in the world, that was once the home of giant, aircraft carrying airships and will soon be the home of Google robotics – Sharing a room with Marc, who I have to thank for getting me out of bed every day early enough to do long runs along the Bay. It all culminated in a great morning run over the Golden Gate Bridge, when we crashed the SF marathon: – Touring Napa valley with some amazing wineries in a yellow school bus… just one of the great trips our class self-organized: a BBQ for almost fifty people in Yosemite or watching the world cup final in an amazing lodge at Lake Tahoe. 2014-07-04 17.20.092014-07-12 20.22.20 2014-07-27 20.17.25 ffa0b5cbdcc3dd03fd08c5250eeb755e– Being able to participate in great unconferences and workshops: On “Terrforming Mars”, on “Nanosciences” , on “new ways to use drones” and countless more (we must had for sure more than hundred!!). I was allowed to fly a 747 (albeit only in the simulator:, workshops on machine learning, programming raspberry pies and the internet of things and despite causing chaos in the biotec lab, managed to analyze my DNA… Ten weeks ago I would never have thought that I could build and program an Arduino device that connects with a heartrate monitor and an accelerometer!! (Never say never!) photo 1photo 4 – Watching Murilos amazing closing speech ( … I haven’t laughed so much in a long time, and I will never forgot the like-ed, b[u]ttons and s[u]mmarize. Hope to see you in London soon! To follow in his words – I will miss the call for football, the call for Yoga, the queues at lunch at dinner, the endless beers with Exponential Motor Company and the absence of beer with ASAP. I also will miss the awesome music at the Space company’s offices!… and i will miss the prison party that never happened! There are soo more episodes, too many to share right now… if you want to hear more, just get me out for a wine or a beer!! Let me finish with the words if my classmate Georgia: …Most of all, I am once again humbled by life, life’s magic and by the many extraordinary minds and beautiful hearts that wonder this wonderful planet. Its been an honour and an extraordinary pleasure to meet and get to know 79 like- minded souls, my GSP14 family, while working hard on disruptive ideas and companies that will change the way we live life today for the better. I have never felt so calm, so confident and determined to make my vision happen. Never felt so full of purpose, so alive and so excited about the future ahead. My advice…Stay hungry, curious and with an open mind. Always say YES, never take No as an answer. Determination and passion are life’s rocket fuel….

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