25% of the decade
A personal update
The only question that really matters is:
We’re past the Q1 of the decade. The world’s been changing quite a lot since the beginning of 2020: the beginning of a Cambrian Explosion in biotech, exponential progress in AI and QC, the rise of web3, and unfortunately the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine too, just to mention a few topics I’m aware of.
At the same time, these have personally been both the craziest and most impactful years of my life. The things I thought I’d be doing as a 25-year-old, I’ve done before being 18: meeting leaders from around the world, developing biotech projects, going on morning runs, starting a podcast and a blog and cultivating fulfilling friendships.
As of today, I’ve also sent out more than 20 monthly newsletters. In this edition, I’ll first share some of the life principles I’ve developed in these 2.5 years, then continue with my June 2022 update, and conclude with some of my plans for Q3.
Sofi’s Laws 🦄
Inspired by Peter Diamandis’ Laws, I started collecting these life principles about 2 years ago. I don’t expect these to be insightful to anyone but they might be good reminders to many.
My list so far consists of 11 laws. Since I value brevity in newsletters, I’ll only expand on 3. Some others include: discipline >, everything is learnable, and understand thyself.
1. Do what you want to do
It should be obvious that doing something that is not genuinely interesting to you, you’ll feel bad and not do a good job. Unfortunately, evolution has coded our brains so that we try to please others, so that they like us, so that we survive. Following popular believes of what we should do then, is always easier than diving into that unconventional interest or building that crazy idea.
For example, the simple act of investing time into researching lab-made cotton felt scary to met at first. “Why is nobody doing this?” was the question I asked for months, until it made sense and I found out it was a great endeavor to focus on. It’s been the most fulfilling project I’ve worked on so far.
2. Lead thyself
Paraphrasing the religious phrase, I should accept the fact that I can’t change some external factors in life and I should take responsibility over things in my control.
Throughout middle school and high school I realized that the world is full of mediocre and stupid people. When that group outnumbers the group that does align to your values, it’s unfortunately easy to give in to their inertia (mimic them), as evolution explains once again.
Since changing people is unrealistic, Gandhi’s phrase comes in handy: “be the change you want to see in the world”. Don’t be one more ahole, see the bright side in everyone (even the aholes), and lead by example: lead thyself.
3. Be (more) patiently impatient
Very recently I became aware of one of my biggest weakness: being too impatient. Apparently Michael Raspuzzi, one of my mentors, realized this about me way before when he told me to be “patiently impatient”. That is, to set realistic goals and constantly work towards achieving them.
So how am I doing in practice? Recently OKRs have been really helpful to set more realistic goals. It’s helped me realized that my greatest disappointments don’t come from failure but from inaction.
July 2022 update
Things haven’t gone as I expected.
GALY internship: I’d been offered an amazing internship opportunity at this super cool a biotech startup based in Boston. But I need a J1 visa which I can only apply for if I’ve studied 1 semester of college. Believe me, we tried.
UC Berkeley: I’d been admitted into my dream college but got rejected from all the scholarships I applied to and needed. I also applied for a gap year to have more time to figure this out but the university didn’t accept it.
Kytos: after some failures in my early lab-grown cotton journey, I’m waiting for lab space and supplies, again.
On the bright side though…
New Harvest grant: I got all the funds I need for the first phase of my lab-grown cotton project. Thank you to everyone who’s supported this, either financially, by sharing, or providing feedback and advice!
Villars Symposium: I’m now one of the founding fellows of the Villars Institute, an organization founded by previous WEF members and other world leaders to accelerate change towards the net-zero economy. Huge shoutout to Dan Jacobs, head of partnerships at TKS for unlocking this opportunity!
Time to feed my curiosity: not getting some opportunities has actually given me the time to consume more content than ever before. I’ve been exploring topics ranging from quantified self to psychedelic science and building my skills in bioinformatics, starting with this course.
My focus for the next 3 months will continue to be Kytos: to develop my proof of concept.
On the side, my goal for this month is to choose an interesting side project to build during August and September. Out of this list, my favorite topic is BCIs.
Finally, I’ll be ramping up on content creation. Will give my YouTube channel another try, already have 5+ OBio interviews lined up, and 2 biotech VC-style articles waiting to be published in Nodes Advisors’ Medium publication.
I’m really excited for the stuff to come! You’ll see ;)
Wanna subscribe to receive project updates + stories on bioengineering and startups?