You’re an expert if you can find a good problem at a hackathon


I am sitting in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel in Vienna. The Healthcare MIT Hackathon ended this morning and we are all toasted. We didn’t win. I’m sitting here instead of visiting the city in order to stalk the judges.

It was really fun. You know how they say that these events are for meeting people? It’s true. For me it was particularly when we were arguing, and then out of the blue stumbled on an idea that was a perfect fit to our team. At that moment, there were sparkles in our eyes. Continue reading

How to find an interesting position, anywhere


In the lab I got assigned a project that no one wanted.

The data is messy, there is no clear goal and I literally heard sighs of relief from those who passed it on to me.

Truth is, this is very common when you start any job, in industry or research. The new colleague gets the projects that others left out. It, however, doesn’t have to stay that way. Here’s how you can get projects you’re interested in, in any working environment. Continue reading

Is academia more risky than startups?

Yesterday I went to the “Business Ideas” workshop organised in Zurich by Venture Kick for the ETH startup scene.

There were talks by successful spinoffs like Aerotainment Labs and SwissLitho talking about their experiences which are all positive of course. And the challenges, and the freedom… Blah.

The most interesting thing I learned was why companies spend millions and millions in advertisement in big sport events. Did you know it was not only for the visibility? They’re in for the emotions: the high-stake, the suspens, the belonging. Positive and strong emotions. They want to be associated with that.

Anyway, while I was busy stuffing myself with free food I bumped into this guy, stuffing himself too. He must be a researcher, I thought. No one stuffs themselves at a networking event if they had a real salary. Continue reading