Senser Stories // Jakob Aungiers
Senser Stories is an interview series of just that; stories from The Sense Network, our Sensers. This global, diverse, articulate and curious group of humans are our lifeblood here at Sense Worldwide and we want to share their incredible life experiences, advice and creative journeys so that other’s may be take encouragement and inspiration from them. This week we’d like to introduce Jakob Aungiers, a Senser from… well everywhere but currently living in Sydney.
Jakob Aungiers: The sky-diving, wave-surfing, adventure-seeking technologist living on Bondi…
Let me introduce myself…
Hey! I’m Jakob Aungiers and I am a sky-diving, wave-surfing, adventure-seeking technologist and expert in artificial intelligence and financial markets. I’m originally from the Czech Republic but grew up living in the UK. Currently I live in Sydney, Australia where I work running a consulting company from the UK, as well as working in a small hedge fund here in the city, but I am making plans to move back to the buzz of Europe again soon. Still trying to find my place in the world.
What makes me tick…
Well this is a question that I feel most of us are constantly trying to work out. I have spent the best part of the last 10 years trying to find the answer myself. But whilst I’m still searching to properly define it, I have found out that what really drives me is a passion for adventure towards making an impact in the world.
I love skydiving and surfing, and have seen these worlds change and progress significantly over the last decade. I’m happy to have been involved in some of this change and being involved in these sports is what gives me happiness and a place to unwind from the rest of the world.
At the same time I have seen how technology, especially artificial intelligence, has been growing from initial research in universities into having a substantial impact in the world and the everyday lives of ordinary people. My biggest passion in life right now is looking to help drive this progress forward in a positive direction by helping others to utilise this technology to help progress the world forward.
Finding my most productive working environment…
My working spot changes from day to day depending on the work I am doing. For my current job I’m in a small office with a plethora of computer screens at my disposal, but at other times for other tasks I am working from my laptop under a tree somewhere.
Productivity for me comes from getting in “the-zone”, being so focused on something that all other things sink away from the front of your mind. This zone state for me is best accessed by having both a positive passion for what I am working on that day and taking myself away from all surrounding distractions that could break my zone state. Because of that my noise cancelling headphones are a godsend when I need to get top quality work done!
The music can be anything that doesn’t require too much attention (so nothing with lyrics to distract me). Depending on my mood that will either range from classical concerto’s (Vivaldi and Ludovico Einaudi are my two favourite composers at the moment) to deep house and liquid drum and bass to really help focus me into a zone space.
What I’m most proud of…
I don’t have any one particular favourite piece of work I can think of, but I think one of more inspiring projects to date and one that got me a lot of opportunities in terms of clients, travel and opening my eyes to the fact that I could make my own way in life was a personal piece of research I did in a niche area of using artificial intelligence to predict patterns in time series data.
I published this research article on my website which then made it onto the front page of Hacker News; a famous technologist website which in turn lead to several interesting people and opportunities coming my way.
That project was one of the early steps to the ongoing epiphany I have had over the past year that motivates me to go down my own untrodden path in life.
Who’s helped and joined me on my creative journey…
I’ve been completely self-starting in my work and have managed to get to where I am today completely by myself, whilst starting from a very unprivileged background. I was born in Germany to two poor Czech parents who had fled the Czech Republic from the communist occupation and ended up as asylum seekers in Germany with hardly any money to their name.
At many points I have envied people who have had external help to gain success (Donald Trump’s famous quote “My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars” springs to mind) but at the same time the biggest inspiration I have had have been from successful individuals who have also risen from similar unprivileged and in some cases positively poor backgrounds. Elon Musk, Ray Dalio and Jan Koum are my top three inspirations in what they have achieved, and their stories and philosophies on life are what keep me motivated and driven in my down times.
Where I’m ‘from’ and how it inspires me…
Currently I live in Sydney’s Bondi Beach. I chose this place as I wanted a change from England to somewhere that had good weather, a surf spot and a healthy lifestyle whilst maintaining the buzz of western infrastructure and the vibe and culture of a big city.
I like Bondi Beach as it’s the only place I have seen in a city as big as Sydney that has such a long and beautiful beach right in its heart. On hot summer days it’s the perfect place to escape the city life without leaving the city itself. Some of the less fun things about Bondi Beach I have discovered after living here for over 6 months however include the traffic, a huge influx of tourists and surfers in the water, and the fact that whilst most people think of Australia as a land of constant sunshine and warmth, in the Aussie winter season (May through September) it is actually very similar weather to a mild London winter (wet, grey and quite cold with temperatures between 8-14 degrees Celsius).
The city influences my work with its summer weather, when it is hot and sunny the atmosphere is a bit more laidback and everybody works to a slightly slower pace. However I have found that what really influences the work I do is the people I surround myself with. If I am working on an exciting ground-breaking project that will bring about real change with people who are equally as passionate about it then I am much more motivated than when I’m working on something that is a bit more mundane and corporate with people who equally don’t have a passionate buzz about it.
If you’re in the area…
My favourite place to recommend would be the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk at sunset, it’s a 6km walk along spectacular clifftops and over some of Sydney’s best known (and best hidden) beaches.
The biggest turning point in my life?
Deciding to leave a very well paid, safe, yet ultimately not particularly exciting corporate job in the UK with no decision on what to do next. It allowed me to do a lot of self-reflection and experiment with what it is I truly want to do (which I am still doing to this day).
Since that decision I have lived on the tropical island of Bali, qualified as a lifeguard and surf instructor, surfed beautiful coral reefs and big waves in Fiji, been a keynote speaker and business mentor in Beirut, experimented with moving my life to Australia and working in different roles in the city and have met some amazing people along the way.
I believe that this journey is just at the beginning and there are many new experiences to be had, people to meet, places to discover and changes to make. It all led from the one decision I had that there is more to life than working in a safe, corporate job and that life should be for living, not for following everybody else’s routine.
Jakob’s worked with us on finding an audience for a cryptocurrency based private members club, was a member a Pepsi’s NOW Network and is currently a member of our top secret Creative Council… to name a few!
Also published on Medium.