In 2010, I was six years old and highly imaginative. I could barely sit still to read a book because my head was always bouncing with ideas!
After you turn 8-or-9 ish, all of a sudden saying you want to 'change the world' and 'do massive things' becomes way less cute. Kids become mean. You become insecure about your big ambitions, and you suppress them - or at least that's what happened to me. I spent most of my childhood believing I wanted to be a teacher, interior designer or party planner. My younger self wanted security.
16 months ago, I decided to change wanting security to wanting to "impact billions." In these last 12 months, I've accelerated tremendously and redefined my life. I was a high schooler, no different than anyone around her, a little over a year ago. Now I'm someone who's speaking on the world's biggest stages, researching the cutting-edges of technology and on a crazy mission to solve some of the world's biggest problems.
Now I'm 16, and I more closely resemble my six-year-old self than my 14-year-old self.
Ten years doesn't feel like a lot of time. Ten years ago, I could barely multiply two numbers together. In what feels like a 'short' amount of time, I've learned a little beyond my multiplication tables 😉.
The first 8.5-9 years of this decade have played a minor role to the person I am today, compared to how much I've grown in the last year.
What I did from age 6-15:
- I went to school and got good grades.
- I made some friends, then lost most of them. I got sad. I had breakdowns over nothing. I cared about what other people thought of me, which made me insecure.
- Had a few "teenage" experiences
- I am seriously having trouble coming up with another bullet point.
What I did from age 15-16:
- Consulting on a project for Sidewalk Labs (identified $60.8M in revenue opportunity, while reducing the cost of housing by ~25-40%)
- Built CNNs, RNNs (types of neural networks) for different projects. I spoke at the T-mobile arena in front of tens, of thousands, of people about artificial intelligence and food technology.
- I conducted technical reviews for cultured meat and fish patents: read every cellular agriculture research paper I could find. Then, I landed myself in Amsterdam for the summer with some of the leading minds in the cultured meat space.
- Two of my friends and I created a product plan that could save Fasken (a law firm) $4.3M during their patent law practice. There's a larger market (by magnitudes) in using the same tool for case-studies.
- Worked on a solution for energy admission in slums with a team on a reality TV show in Montreal: The Social Movement
- A 'moonshot' project for women's reproductive health solutions using nanotech and AI. Ammorra.com
- Created tissue-engineering learning series on ed-tech platforms like belouga.org
- Went through The Knowledge Society (TKS) - the world's first human accelerator for young, ambitious people. Think about it like the YC for unicorn people instead of unicorn companies. Now I'm a program success manager at TKS across our cities (Boston, NYC, Vegas, Ottawa, Toronto).
- Researched three exciting areas for innovation for IKEA and presented at their annual digital festival in Copenhagen. Oh, and this was a dream come true. When I was a kid, I was OBSESSED with IKEA. Most children spent their alone time fantasizing their crushes; I spent it imaging billy bookshelves and Poang chairs.
- Gene-edited bacteria in my basement (my mom enjoyed having e-coli live in her house for a month!)
... that's just ten highlights ;)
I did everything I was supposed to do as a kid (i.e., normal). I did what every other kid my age was doing - how could I have done anything wrong? And guess what? I turned out exactly like everyone else. Funny how that works. Except, I've always known I didn't want to be like everyone.
This year (2019), as an experiment, I stopped doing what was conventional/expected. The act of doing things differently than the people around me kick started my development.