Audacity gave out over 50 impact internships and fellowships in the past year. These are some reflections from a few of them
Audacity has been a wonderful platform that unites people with passion and purpose together. My greatest takeaway from being in Audacity is to live a more community-centric life. There is an old Tamil proverb that goes “it takes a town to raise a child” and it refers to my parents’ times where big extended families lived together and everyone had a part in grooming the children. I believe that Audacity is a modern version of community grooming and growth, especially for those who came in as interns like us. Not only did we learn a lot from the experts and enthusiasts we met and engaged with in the community events, we also grew as people through the fellowship. We have worked with one another the whole year, constantly bouncing off new ideas and encouraging one another in our own explorations.
Personally, the fellowship really kicked off my interest in sustainable textiles, ever since I started working with Irfan and Kim on Loophoop during the internship. This year has tremendously changed my approach to the problem as I pivoted in the space more than 20 times and finally got my idea for Aweare, a blockchain enabled universal basic income solution that incentivises wearing, caring and sharing of clothes. I am excited to see how many more times I am going to pivot this year and to make a large impact in this space.
I am grateful for the mentorship and the opportunities and exposure we got through the fellowship and to know that I have formed some amazing lifelong relationships. I hope Audacity grows even bigger in 2023 as every member is growing along with it.
My experience in Audacity has been amazing. I always want to know more about start-up companies and with this experience, I managed to explore a lot. It is such an eye-opening opportunity.
From the talks, I enjoy hearing everyone’s contribution to helping shape the earth. Everyone shares their goals and project ideas. It is really interesting. I also managed to contribute on brainstorming ideas when we got to share our opinion. Sharing season about a start-up is amazing as I get to understand their idealisation to make it happen to also explain their highs and lows and from there we could reflect and learn from one another.
A few of my highlights are my first-ever hackathon with the team. I’m pretty sure that’s one of the highlights of 2022. Me, Dakshitaa, and Kenji exploring second wear. How second-hand clothing can make an impact? I also have a better understanding of sustainability fashion with Kim and Dakshitaa. Exploring the different concepts and problem statements. Me and Kim also managed to talk about the homeless project. And also towards the end, proposing and organising events for the community.
I personally feel this has been a great experience and for that, I’m really grateful and thankful for this opportunity. I made new friends, new memories and I definitely learned so much. I wish one day I could contribute more and be much more hands-on!
Since I was 12 years old, I have always wanted to work towards an environmental cause. I always thought I needed to reach a high level of education such as a PhD before I could even start taking part in such a career. Being in Audacity and being exposed to a world of start-ups that have the same goal, it showed me how skewed my idea was from reality.
Audacity was filled with people with different ideas and it further opened up my world view. Under Audacity, I was able to organize Audacity Climate Cafe where I got to not only explore my own interest in sustainability, but got to create a platform for founders and interested parties to sit down, share their experiences and create opportunities. From a weekly dialogue session, we were able to snowball a movement from climate anxiety (which is on the rise) to climate action.
I am very grateful for this unique opportunity as I got to further explore what sustainability really means. It is not as simple as stop using plastic straws, turn off your lights when not in use or bring your own bag – no, there are several factors in multiple disciplines that need to be questioned.
Audacity is truly a place where solutions to these questions are tried and tested. People with a different point of view can further shine light on your ideas. Surrounding yourself with ambitious and out-of-the-box individuals can push your own ambition further. I hope Audacity 2023 will bring more of these individuals to create an even bigger community.
During my initial engagement with Audacity in 2020, I got to know what I could do in the start-up ecosystem. The weekly audalicious sessions and talking to the community members was an important avenue for me to learn about what others were doing, why they were doing it and how it became possible to do so. Essentially it helped me unlock myself from a conventional mindset of how I saw my future and my impact playing out. It was a pity that Audaclicous sessions came to an end but the sharings and discussions has inspired me in impactful ways. Also, the community spirit remained strong and I benefited much from learning from others through their experiences through events and get-togethers organised my members of the community.
Through the internship experience during the same period, working on real projects and being part of a team that had direct impact on real stakeholders provided me with an experience that I really needed; to understand how ideas are communicated and turned into action in the corporate space and in cross-organisation collaborative projects. Learning of ways to mitigate the common inefficiencies and bureaucratic hurdles along the way. Also, working on a new domain of robotics through Arbori was quite enlightening too, I wished to have been able to push it further but I believe circumstances did not help with that. Also, by observing how Audacity as a community was run, I took away a handful of values and methods that I believe will grow a strong common spirit and have been implementing them in my company ever since. It was like a role-model that I could follow.
Along this journey I also particularly enjoyed the book club, while it lasted, the discussions that we would have with Jeremy and the others he invited for these spontaneous sharing sessions, and the gatherings with fellow students in university like Sudarshan who really opened my eyes to what we as students could achieve and how we do not need to be limited by “these things are for adults” or “after finishing my studies” mind-set.
As the fellowship began, so did my university life across the island at SUTD. This made it much harder for me to interact and continue the level of engagement I used to have with the community. The location really was an issue for me. Also being paid for it with a contract-like agreement with unclear goals made it quite confusing for us fellows to act towards the original objective of the fellowship for most and turned it into a monthly requirement kinda thing. While I was heavily working on my own start-up Stick ‘Em during the duration of the program, it felt like it was not something that Audacity was interested and hence I often did not feel the motivation to bring it up in my engagement with Audacity. Also being the only one working on a start-up from a founder’s point of view amongst the fellows, I felt unable to effectively relate with the others about my experiences nor learn from them. However that does not mean to say that they were not contributing and developing in their own right, I think most of us have developed quite significantly through the entire duration of our engagement with Audacity and in some ways that is an amazing opportunity that we are extremely grateful to have been given. All in all, for the fellowship, I feel that a clear understanding of goal oriented expectations, commitment and engagement with the community needs to be conveyed before including them in the fellowship if this kind of fellowship is to be done again.
In essence, Audacity community has provided me with a life-changing path and experience. While am still figuring out how it came to be, I feel that most of what has happened has happened in the correct direction for us to have developed the way we have. And for this I am genuinely grateful and am very interested in being part of how this community will develop over time in the coming years under the leadership of Taizo, Atsushi, Jeremy and the other devoted core community members.
As I have decided to dedicate the next decade towards creating life-changing opportunities for youths like me all across the board, if I could learn from this experience and see how I could make this experience readily available for others out there, I think it could be a game changing endeavour. When I do so, I hope Audacity will be willing to support it too 🙂
They say that when you are young you have energy, time, but no money. When you are an adult you have energy, money, but no time. When you are a senior you have time, money, but no energy. I think this saying accurately reflects my current situation as I find myself slowly transitioning from having less money to having less time.
Recounting my past year, the first year of university for the most part was pretty easy, except for the general mods that everyone had to take. My plan was to use the extra time I had, to familiarize myself with Linux, using WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux). It being just a headless version of Linux was perfect for me because I wanted to focus on learning the command line and system administration without relying on a GUI (graphical user interface). The goal was gain a deeper understanding of the operating system and its capabilities, hopefully moving over to it completely in the future.
I’ve used it in virtual machines on Windows before, but I wanted to take it a step further and fully integrate it into my workflow. As Linux was originally made by developers for developers, there are more widely used open source tools and applications available. I also started learning and using Neovim more, a powerful shell based text editor that you can personalize with many commands and plugins. I slowly begun to use it even for school work and this also led me to start my own dotfiles repository to save all the configurations I’ve made.
Soon after I found tmux, a terminal multiplexer, which allowed for even more features and better workflows. At this point I was pretty much doing everything on just a WSL Linux terminal, using only windows for work that required a GUI.
At the end of the first year I started diving into Docker, after hearing many great things about it. Docker is way to containerize applications or even whole OSes. It makes things more portable and you no longer had to set-up all the dependencies for each project manually, you could just spin up a new container with everything pre-configured with a single command. I played around with many different Linux distributions there, trying to find one that I enjoyed using. I also set-up my developer environment as a Docker Image in a couple different Linux distributions.
Around this time Heetesh also contacted me play around with the new telepresence robot which he got from Ohmnilabs. It was perfect timing because the robot also used docker to easily scale out their code to all the robots they produced. We wanted to connect the OpenAI OAK-D camera to the robot, making it speak and following us around, but realized it was quite hard to add functionality due to the limited processor and memory the robot had.
I then left on my solo trip + summer school to Korea, something that I’ve always wanted to go. Originally I had planned to do a solo trip to Thailand but a last minute successful scholarship application on the day before my final exam changed some plans. It was definitely an experience I’ll never forget.
When I came back, I started to develop a couple of websites with the skills that I’ve learnt over the past year. I made some alpha versions of my portfolio website, blog, magic app and game on my DigitalOcean cloud server. But I was most proud of was how I set-up the networking with Traefik and containerized everything with Docker, which meant that I could easily move my set of web apps to another server and have everything back up in a few minutes. Around this time AI image generation also blew up, because of software like DALL-E 2, stable diffusion and midjourney. I found a new hobby dreaming up new images on the midjourney discord server, which I found was the best among all the others at that time.
Fast forward to today, I have moved to a complete Linux environment, using Fedora as my distribution of choice and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. The transition wasn’t easy and there were definitely some challenges along the way due to the lack of official support for Asus laptops, but overall the switch to Linux has been a positive experience and also made me understand more about the Linux system.
ChatGPT is also something that I’ve been using quite often now, it has definitely came a long way from GPT-2. It’s amazing how good it is at solving programming related tasks, combining the GPT-3 text and codex models together. Together with github’s copilot, it’s indispensable in my workflow, I use it to resolve errors and explain things that I would usually otherwise google. Although it was only trained on data up until 2021, it feels like it is all knowing and the possibilities are endless. Hoping to see even better open source models soon like stable diffusion that will beat OpenAI’s.
Due to google ending unlimited storage for schools, my goal this year will be to build my own home server, storing my 2.37TB of data and allowing me to access it from anywhere. Also, hosting my own GitLab, a development environment for remote access as well as moving my webapps hosted on digitalocean server over eventually.
I’m really thankful to Audacity for providing me with the opportunity to explore my interests even after my internship, and for providing me with valuable experience and skills that I can use in my future career. I’ve always learnt something new when interacting with the community, and it was really nice to see familiar faces at the parties held at MicroFactory at the end of this year. Hope to see even more exciting things happening in 2023!