Respect

According to a common opinion, former researchers tend to function really well as entrepreneurs. This is true. However, there is one useful quality missing in academia - which turned out to be very painful to me when I went a little bit more into the entrepreneurial direction. Namely, in academia, no one teaches us how to value our time.

Real choices, fake choices

At some point I realised that the decision on whether or not to stay in academia - or in other words, whether to do research or focus on commercial projects instead - is not the real choice I need to make right now. In fact, the real choice is: how much am I willing to risk? Let me explain.

Born to do it

One insight I remember from all the motivational books and movies I ever consumed is that, entrepreneurs always underscore how difficult it is to go against your relatives and friends when it comes to risking, investing and dropping day jobs on behalf of starting new ventures. In my case, family and friends react completely differently than in most cases I ever heard of - and it gives me goose bumps.

15 years later

I spent Christmas among family and friends quite as every time before. However, this time, I also had a few afterthoughts as there are some examples of common knowledge that stroke me really hard. You might hear some simple truths from your parents and teachers over and over again - or read about it from motivational books - but after all, you only learn how important they are when you see the consequences in real life. 

A gap - vol. 2

In August this year, I wrote a compilation of seven things I had learned from having a gap year. Funny thing is: the gap year was only halfway back then. Now, when it slowly comes to the end, I can easily add yet another seven things I learned since then. Some of these things are almost like rediscovering America, but I would like to shortly highlight them here anyways.

Moonlight

Blockchain is already changing the world of supply chains, higher-education certificates, internet of things, communication between institutions etc. All these systems work well when they do not need to rely on human trust. In blockchain industry, trustless systems are implemented by means of decentralization. Does it also imply that you could, in principle, move labor onto a blockchain? One platform created with a purpose of creating such a friendly marketplace, is Moonlight. The main goal of this initiative is to optimize employment both from the employer’s and employee’s point of view. Could Moonlight change academia?

The Tangle Approach

I was recently recommended to read the book by Emilie Wapnick ‘How to be everything: a guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up' (2017), dedicated to the concept of multipotentiality. In the book, Emilie refers to her own experience as a person who cannot fully commit herself to just one profession, but instead, has multiple passions and can only find fulfilment by sequentially indulging in multiple professions on her career path. When I read this book, I have a feeling that it resonates with my own story to a high extent. However, I developed my own model of labor, which I could call a tangle (or a plaid).

So close yet so far: a postcard from Kilimanjaro

Five years have passed since I hiked to the top of Kilimanjaro; it happened precisely on the morning of 16th September 2013. It surprises me how vivid this memory still remains. Especially the last day of the hike, a lonely path from the last camp of Barafu towards the peak, I remember as bright as if it happened yesterday - maybe because finishing a PhD feels EXACTLY like that day. 

How to conduct an interview?

Perhaps, some latent hobbies or talents you inherit after your parents, but for a really long time, you do not realise this. I have recently discovered that i am actually fond of interviewing people. I also learned that an interview can go way smoother than expected when you follow just a few general rules. I would also like to share the tips in here - who knows, maybe it turns out useful for more people. We are not formally trained how to interview people during our scientific careers after all.

Neuroscience is changing very quickly in the spirit of open science. This involves not only sharing big datasets but also creating new, open-source tools that allow for testing research hypotheses derived in the clinics. One such tool is the virtual brain (TVB): a software developed to launch mesoscale simulations of the human brain.

Mission: Impossible

How to predict the future? That’s the whole difficulty when it comes to making any choices, from choosing the right studies, through choosing the right friends, choosing the right investments, to choosing the right projects at work. A mundane, typical scientist (such as me) can produce one, two, sometimes three first-author publications per year - not much more is physically possible. In such a situation, it is crucial to choose the right projects.

A gap

As Confucius famously said, choose the job that you love - and you will not need to work for a lifetime. However, this is all not that simple. As a matter of fact, the school system (or at least polish school system), kills a lot of natural talents: knowledge served at schools is standardised and the amount of material you need to learn is so overwhelming that you are becoming a little robot, working days and nights for good grades. There is just no more room in your life to explore the environment around you, and learn about your own talents. This is exactly why I decided to conduct an experiment on myself; my contract expired some time ago and I came to a conclusion that it is a great opportunity to actually find out more about myself instead of jumping into a new job straight away.

What trading gave me, and what it stole away from me

Since a few weeks I have been doing research projects again, as opposed to past few months when I was mostly trading instead of doing any science. My aim was to work out an independent source of funding for myself, but also to rest from science for a little while in order to see if this relationship has a chance to last forever. So, trading turned out to be a refreshment of a particularly painful sort, as it did not make my daily life any easier - rather the opposite.

The Tragedy of Commons

The year of 2009 was groundbreaking, for at least two separate reasons. Firstly, on January 3rd of 2009, the genesis block of Bitcoin was mined. Secondly, on October 12th of 2009, Elinor Claire "Lin" Ostrom has became the first woman awarded with a Nobel prize in economic sciences, "For her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons". The clue of this work is a phenomenon known in economy as the Tragedy of Commons. This phenomenon occurs when a group shares a resource, but at the same time, every individual acts on their own behalf, which is often against the common interest of the community. Can we spot the tragedy of commons in academia?

Trading

Recently, we have a lot of new, interesting markets to skyrocket, including cryptocurrencies, marijuana pots, and others. This gave me an incentive to search out for passive income in these markets. But, when I entered the world of trading, I didn't know how difficult and disturbing my new life can be.