Stranger 45, Day 45 – Meet Kirubel, the “Technologist”

Stranger 45, Day 45 - Meet Kirubel

I met today’s Stranger at my office. I just walked around one of the other floors in the building looking for someone I didn’t know. Again, in an office of 1,000 people, it’s really not hard. Today’s gentleman was sitting at his computer watching a game or a film, I think. He kindly accepted a chance to meet.

Meet Kirubel, 21

Who are you?

“I mostly do robot design, development… and design robots for real estate agents that takes 360 (degree) pictures. I’ve invited three more people to work with me. Right now, we’re just going to each office of the real estates, and try to implement this little technology that we have going on. It allows agents or apartments to take 360 pictures of buildings and post it on their website.”

How did you get into this?

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been tinkering with technology. My uncles works for Ericsson in Europe, and I used to write him this little VBA script. It was for his work, and every time I would get finished with his project, he would give me Oreos. Ever since then, I was able to discover more that go along… meet new people who have the same interest as me — it’s cool. That kinda stuck with me until now — what I’m doing now.”

How long have you been doing this?

“Ever since I was a kid. I used to tinker with micro-robotics… make gates that automatically open, like toy gates. This was before Legos were cool.” (I always thought Legos was cool, though. Hmm…)

I asked him if he had a robot with him.

“I’m currently doing the designing part. I’m currently designing drones that takes pictures of buildings with a high-range of view.”

Including that, or outside of that, what are your passions?

“My passion is anything having to do with technology. ANYTHING. So Microsoft is the best company that I think is out there promoting open-source projects. They used to be not like that, but in their recent years, they’ve tried to implement open-source projects. I just look forward to working with them in the future. I’m already working as an evangelist… like a software evangelist for Microsoft. That’s what’s going on in my life right now. Trying to land a job at Microsoft.”

Why do you want to land one vs. keep doing what you’re doing and grow that?

“That, too. Everyone needs to have something they can fall back on. So what I’m doing is in case that doesn’t work out, I still have this company that I’m trying to start up. If it works… you know, technology companies nowadays are like a lottery ticket. A lot of people assume that you can just start somewhere. There’s no clear point to get to success. There’s no formula that you follow. It’s always better to have something that you can fall back on, and I learned that in a really hard way. There was a certain time in my life when I was pushing so hard for one specific task. I just like let go with the things that I was supposed to do, and found myself in a really terrible place.”

Who’s been your biggest supporters on this?

“Those people would be my parents. My parents were able to give me a lot of good guidance. They showed me a way of life that a lot of people don’t have the luxury of knowing. And books. I read a lot of books. Could be some little self-help books. Anything written by Richard Dawkins… all those popular people.”

What is your Dream?

“My Dream would be to change the world. Change how most people interact with each other. It feels like nowadays, we’re losing track of… when it comes to technology, it’s consuming too much portion of our lives. We’re losing track of that old communication that we used to have with people. I’m trying to rejuvenate all of that into a way that a lot of people are living like… how humans were supposed to live. I’m not totally against transcendence, but you gotta keep that little natural formula to live life… to maintain your soul. Every person needs to have some sort of… humans are social animals. So we always thrive on relating to others to better ourselves. So I’m trying to crack that little code that make that how people relate to people so we can communicate a lot better.”

What’s a lesson that you’ve learned doing all of this trying to live up to that Dream?

“Consistency,” Kirubel says as he nods.

“So, you can achieve anything if you have a high consistency of what you’re doing. And get prepared of failure. If a person’s trying to succeed at something, if he or she is okay with failing, I think you would increase your chances of being successful… be morally prepared for failure.”

What is the one thing in life you had a chance to do that you didn’t do that you regret? (Thanks to Patrick, Stranger 44)

“That would be a job opportunity that I missed by not asking the right questions.”

“It was a friend that I had… I postponed it [the request that I had for the job interviewer]. I just postponed it because of laziness, I guess. So I was not able to get that really important job. But the good thing I got from that is that, again, consistency. So you failed in something, learn from that, and get to the next level, and grow from there. That’s the first thing I kind of regret.”

Kirubel continues, “…but I’m okay with it now because I learned from it.”

What would you like to ask tomorrow’s Stranger?

“What do you think is the best way to succeed?”

He realizes, “I don’t want to be a hypocrite because I said there is no certain formula for success. But what do you think in your opinion is the best way for success. I, myself, believe it is consistency, but what is it for him or her?”

After the handshake.

Kirubel is an example of the young entrepreneur who started his passion many, many years ago as a young kid. He was inspired by his parents and uncle, and has continued that inspiration into building robots today. I’m always fascinated by these individuals, and in many ways, wish I had figured out what I really enjoyed when I was young. As Malcolm Gladwell points out in his book Outliers, the opportunity and repetition would have had great dividends now in my 30s.

I’m also curious of how Kirubel wants to continue his passion with robotics — design and development — at Microsoft. We didn’t go into this detail. However, I hope he continues to follow in his passion with robotics if it’s at Microsoft or otherwise. It’d be a shame to join a big corporate and then pigeon-holed into a role that does not allow him to exercise creativity.

Meet Kirubel. No longer a Stranger.

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