Why We Need To Distribute Knowledge (and a picture of a real brain)

by Jobbatical March 23, 2017

Sitting on a plane above the clouds of Germany, I would like to take a moment recap the CeBIT conference in Hannover. CeBIT was my second time speaking in this city. In fact, standing on a big stage here in the year 2000 was my first big stage appearance ever. My student company had made it into the finals of the JA-YE European Student Company Competition, taking place at the World Expo 2000. We didn’t win, so disappointed 17-year-old me cried for most of the bus journey back to Estonia. Despite the minor disappointment, this was the experience that started my addiction to making a difference and thus was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey. Being back after all these years was a powerful experience.

At an event with over 200,000 participants, I was lucky to have many interesting discussions. Despite working in the hiring space, I was surprised to hear how major companies are struggling to find talent. They have so little faith that people would be willing to move to their lovely German cities. Many of them seem to have given up on chasing talent with work experience, focusing instead on training university graduates and hoping that they would then stay with the company. Considering that globally the average tenure in tech is 18–24 months, that is quite a remarkable effort. I spoke about our global community of tech and business talent whose desire is just that: to live and work in extraordinary locations, building extraordinary lives. This information seemed to light up the eyes of the HR teams present — it’s likely we’ll be seeing some exciting jobbaticals coming up in cities around Germany.

Getting acquainted with a (real) human brain in Singularity University

Last but certainly not least, I had the chance to be on the same stage with futurist Ray Kurzweil. I was lucky to have been Ray’s student in Singularity University (SU) in 2012. My SU summer was when I first had the idea of Jobbatical. We learned about future technologies from top thinkers and doers in various industries. We learned how 3D printing organs can impact longevity and destroy one of the most sinister black markets in the world — organ theft. We learned how the widely criticised genetic modification of food (GMOs) could save the lives of millions of children. We brainstormed business ideas that could save a billion lives — the mission of the SU program.

In that discussion, I asked myself:

We talk a lot about the distribution of wealth, food, or water. But what about knowledge?

Knowledge and experience create value in so many different forms, from building a business to activating communities. What if we would distribute knowledge to places that have limited access to it by inspiring talent to take career journeys? Even though I started to work with the idea of Jobbatical two years after Singularity Universtity, the idea itself was born during the most intellectually stimulating summer at the NASA Research Center in Mountainview. It feels good to think back to it now that Jobbatical is working with companies across forty-four countries, distributing knowledge from Zambia to Estonia, Australia to Colombia. I was proud to stand on the same stage as Ray Kurzweil himself.

Thank you, Ray & SU team for the inspirational experience that started this exciting journey!

Here is the video to my presentation at CeBIT

Here is the video to Ray Kurzweil’s presentation at CeBIT


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