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I will do a PhD for the next four years and this is my plan. Do you think I can do anything else?

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Ezra

New Contributor
Feb 23, 2021
8
4
11
Hello guys, I am new in this forum and I want some observations in my path. I read both books of MJ DeMarco and they open my mind to new possibilities.
I am finishing a master degree in computational intelligence, and soon I will start my PhD. This is something that I really want to and it is something already decided. I am gaining some money from the scholarship and, if everything right, I will have another scholarship from the PhD.
I don't have much trouble in my life. Thankfully, I have a non-problematic family and we are living comfortably without much financial problems. Most of my problems in my life came from within, like relationship problems (or the lack of it), and loneliness. Thankfully, by reading philosophy (specially Nietzsche) I am working to destroy any resentment that I have and focus on productive and useful things. I am saying this because my mind is fully focused on my improvement and how can I offer value to society.
My plan right now is to use this next four years of my life to train my mind: learn everything I can about the contacts of the lab I am studying ; learn about people who started companies and business; learn about new tech; pay attention to what is troublesome and how I can improve it.
In these four years, I wish to develop some ideas to business, and if everything goes right, I can finish my PhD and soon after start a business. Of course that I have the option of canceling the scholarship and start a business before finishing the PhD (if I chose this path, I will make sure to test the idea and the market before canceling the scholarship) (can't have both: can't start a business while gaining from the scholarship).
My self improvement plan is this:
Reading a lot of books about business, ideas, new tech;
Working out and not eating a lot of unhealthy foods;
Keeping a productive mindset in my mind, focusing on useful things and how I can improve things. Also, controlling negative thoughts;
Of course, working hard in my master degree and then in the PhD.

I know that it doesn't exist a right step or right plan that have 100% to work, life is unpredictably, after all. But what would you do in my situation? Does any of these steps seems like action faking? Can I add some other productive activity in my improvement plan?
Thank you very much. I am sorry if this post seems like the usual "please tell me what to do to become rich". I understand that there isn't such a answer. I just want to see some observations about what I am doing and if I can make it better.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I am 23 years old, living with my parents. I am a person that spend a lot of time in computer, but don't like to waste time. Rarely do I play games or watch tv shows. And of course, my study involves programming and artificial intelligence.
 

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AceVentures

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- What do you plan to do with your PhD?
- Are you studying at a highly regarded institution with faculty that's actually moving the field forward?
- Do you trust and believe in the research that your institution is pursuing?

Cause if you've got 4 free years to work on difficult problems - why not do it for yourself? Create your own curriculum, educate yourself, and solve the problems you care about. Solve problems that you think could provide value to people.

Why solve some abstract problem set forth by some random faculty member? Unless you think their idea is better than an idea you could come up with, and that solving this problem is of great value to either yourself or your surrounding.

If it's just for the credentials, then again I would ask what would you want to do afterwards for which your cred as a PhD would be valuable?

You probably know a great deal about AI at this point - form a group or join a group of like-minded people and work on projects with opportunities to monetize. Start talking to business owners, learn their workflows, and see if you can automate any of their tasks via RPA and ML-based algos.

My guess: you're too comfortable. Listen dude you're finishing a masters in computational intelligence. If that doesn't give you enough confidence to take action, the PhD won't turn you into a brilliant entrepreneur.

In my opinion, it has a chance of making you more one-dimensional as a thinker, siloed for 4 more years, taking instructions, and sniffing your own fart every time you publish a paper.

That's just me though -

P.S. a job wouldn't be a bad start either... I'm sure a masters in computational intelligence has enough oomph to land you a decent-paying entry-level job in the tech field.
 

Ezra

New Contributor
Feb 23, 2021
8
4
11
- What do you plan to do with your PhD?
- Are you studying at a highly regarded institution with faculty that's actually moving the field forward?
- Do you trust and believe in the research that your institution is pursuing?

Cause if you've got 4 free years to work on difficult problems - why not do it for yourself? Create your own curriculum, educate yourself, and solve the problems you care about. Solve problems that you think could provide value to people.

Why solve some abstract problem set forth by some random faculty member? Unless you think their idea is better than an idea you could come up with, and that solving this problem is of great value to either yourself or your surrounding.

If it's just for the credentials, then again I would ask what would you want to do afterwards for which your cred as a PhD would be valuable?

You probably know a great deal about AI at this point - form a group or join a group of like-minded people and work on projects with opportunities to monetize. Start talking to business owners, learn their workflows, and see if you can automate any of their tasks via RPA and ML-based algos.

My guess: you're too comfortable. Listen dude you're finishing a masters in computational intelligence. If that doesn't give you enough confidence to take action, the PhD won't turn you into a brilliant entrepreneur.

In my opinion, it has a chance of making you more one-dimensional as a thinker, siloed for 4 more years, taking instructions, and sniffing your own fart every time you publish a paper.

That's just me though -

P.S. a job wouldn't be a bad start either... I'm sure a masters in computational intelligence has enough oomph to land you a decent-paying entry-level job in the tech field.
Hi, thanks for the answer.
I spend some time before writing the post, but when I started to write it, I forgot a lot about what I wished to say.
I do believe in the research of my institution (some times its research appears in the news), and the environment is great for innovation there. My intention with the PhD was to follow an academic career, but this changed after I read MJ DeMarco books. But, still, I intent to follow finish the PhD simply because I do believe is the best choice for me, and if everything in my life goes wrong, I will have some plan B.
Sometimes some startup is created in this lab, and sometimes there is partnership with companies, so I believe this can provide me a good experience. My advisor is a kind of person that is too focused in the usefulness of our research, and he have created some startups from our projects.
Talking to business owner is something that I believe would be productive in this situation. I will include this in my plan and start to take action.
I am too comfortable, I agree. I believe that this comfortable sensation is making me believe I am doing something wrong.
Thanks for your response, I will reread the responses I get along this time and if I note that I am too stagnate, I might have to take a drastic decision to get out of the PhD and start a job to gain experience.
 

zackj117

Contributor
Aug 24, 2020
31
40
97
San Diego
Hello guys, I am new in this forum and I want some observations in my path. I read both books of MJ DeMarco and they open my mind to new possibilities.
I am finishing a master degree in computational intelligence, and soon I will start my PhD. This is something that I really want to and it is something already decided. I am gaining some money from the scholarship and, if everything right, I will have another scholarship from the PhD.
I don't have much trouble in my life. Thankfully, I have a non-problematic family and we are living comfortably without much financial problems. Most of my problems in my life came from within, like relationship problems (or the lack of it), and loneliness. Thankfully, by reading philosophy (specially Nietzsche) I am working to destroy any resentment that I have and focus on productive and useful things. I am saying this because my mind is fully focused on my improvement and how can I offer value to society.
My plan right now is to use this next four years of my life to train my mind: learn everything I can about the contacts of the lab I am studying ; learn about people who started companies and business; learn about new tech; pay attention to what is troublesome and how I can improve it.
In these four years, I wish to develop some ideas to business, and if everything goes right, I can finish my PhD and soon after start a business. Of course that I have the option of canceling the scholarship and start a business before finishing the PhD (if I chose this path, I will make sure to test the idea and the market before canceling the scholarship) (can't have both: can't start a business while gaining from the scholarship).
My self improvement plan is this:
Reading a lot of books about business, ideas, new tech;
Working out and not eating a lot of unhealthy foods;
Keeping a productive mindset in my mind, focusing on useful things and how I can improve things. Also, controlling negative thoughts;
Of course, working hard in my master degree and then in the PhD.

I know that it doesn't exist a right step or right plan that have 100% to work, life is unpredictably, after all. But what would you do in my situation? Does any of these steps seems like action faking? Can I add some other productive activity in my improvement plan?
Thank you very much. I am sorry if this post seems like the usual "please tell me what to do to become rich". I understand that there isn't such a answer. I just want to see some observations about what I am doing and if I can make it better.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I am 23 years old, living with my parents. I am a person that spend a lot of time in computer, but don't like to waste time. Rarely do I play games or watch tv shows. And of course, my study involves programming and artificial intelligence.
Hey Ezra,

Im a 21 year old programmer who is taking the freelance route, but interested in AI / crypto. From what Ive seen if you are trying to position yourself for optimal success after school, it would be wise to contribute to open source projects you are interested in / build up your network in that space. AI is a tricky field full of wannabes and empty promises. If you were to niche down on what areas you are interested in and go all in, you could leverage your education and name to get your projects funding or join a decent team.

Since you sound alot like me ill give you a warning that I am currently struggling with: Its about making money and making an impact. I am currently making ~400k as a contract iOS dev ( multiple contracts) but feel as if I am rinsing and repeating and not creating anything original. Just make sure you don't default to something that just gets you an average job, as you have too much to leverage to get stuck there.
 

Ezra

New Contributor
Feb 23, 2021
8
4
11
Hey Ezra,

Im a 21 year old programmer who is taking the freelance route, but interested in AI / crypto. From what Ive seen if you are trying to position yourself for optimal success after school, it would be wise to contribute to open source projects you are interested in / build up your network in that space. AI is a tricky field full of wannabes and empty promises. If you were to niche down on what areas you are interested in and go all in, you could leverage your education and name to get your projects funding or join a decent team.

Since you sound alot like me ill give you a warning that I am currently struggling with: Its about making money and making an impact. I am currently making ~400k as a contract iOS dev ( multiple contracts) but feel as if I am rinsing and repeating and not creating anything original. Just make sure you don't default to something that just gets you an average job, as you have too much to leverage to get stuck there.
Hi, thanks for the answer.
I didn't know that contribution to open source was so important. Fortunately, most of the research my lab work is open source. But I understand, it may be a good option to find others open source projects to contribute and network with these people. Thanks, I will research about some topics I am interested in working on and will start to contribute.
Thanks for the warning. I really want to do something that it isn't an average job, that is the reason that I want to use these 4 years to gather some ideas and test them.
 

WJK

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You said that you can't start a side business and use a scholarship? OK. And you are financially comfortable. Good for you. It's an opportunity. So, if you can't make money on the side, you might start or join a club at your university. Create a community of like-minded people and try out some ideas. Be the leader. Or go out on your own -- if you are so inclined. Become a one-person force of nature.

You need to rethink your education and really make it count. What can you build? What are the practical uses for your education? What can you patent? What is a unique application for common elements that you are working with? (Remember that the essence of a genius is simply using common elements in a unique combination or for a new use.) IF you chose to use this approach to your education, you'll be amazed at how much you will learn in those 4 years. Having purpose and passion will put you so far ahead of your classmates! You'll no longer just be putting in your time. Relish the moment. Make every minute count.

Ask LOTS of questions -- even the dumb ones. Stand up in class and ask the questions that no one dares to ask. Interview everyone around you -- staff and students. Pick their brains. Find out what they are thinking and why. Ask leading questions that provoke people to think and give you long-form answers. If you make a statement, ask others for confirmation as to your premise and conclusion. Involve everyone around in your quest for knowledge and creative solutions. Your goal should be to create synergism to propel you and everyone around your forward.
 

ZF Lee

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Hello guys, I am new in this forum and I want some observations in my path. I read both books of MJ DeMarco and they open my mind to new possibilities.
I am finishing a master degree in computational intelligence, and soon I will start my PhD. This is something that I really want to and it is something already decided. I am gaining some money from the scholarship and, if everything right, I will have another scholarship from the PhD.
I don't have much trouble in my life. Thankfully, I have a non-problematic family and we are living comfortably without much financial problems. Most of my problems in my life came from within, like relationship problems (or the lack of it), and loneliness. Thankfully, by reading philosophy (specially Nietzsche) I am working to destroy any resentment that I have and focus on productive and useful things. I am saying this because my mind is fully focused on my improvement and how can I offer value to society.
My plan right now is to use this next four years of my life to train my mind: learn everything I can about the contacts of the lab I am studying ; learn about people who started companies and business; learn about new tech; pay attention to what is troublesome and how I can improve it.
In these four years, I wish to develop some ideas to business, and if everything goes right, I can finish my PhD and soon after start a business. Of course that I have the option of canceling the scholarship and start a business before finishing the PhD (if I chose this path, I will make sure to test the idea and the market before canceling the scholarship) (can't have both: can't start a business while gaining from the scholarship).
My self improvement plan is this:
Reading a lot of books about business, ideas, new tech;
Working out and not eating a lot of unhealthy foods;
Keeping a productive mindset in my mind, focusing on useful things and how I can improve things. Also, controlling negative thoughts;
Of course, working hard in my master degree and then in the PhD.

I know that it doesn't exist a right step or right plan that have 100% to work, life is unpredictably, after all. But what would you do in my situation? Does any of these steps seems like action faking? Can I add some other productive activity in my improvement plan?
Thank you very much. I am sorry if this post seems like the usual "please tell me what to do to become rich". I understand that there isn't such a answer. I just want to see some observations about what I am doing and if I can make it better.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I am 23 years old, living with my parents. I am a person that spend a lot of time in computer, but don't like to waste time. Rarely do I play games or watch tv shows. And of course, my study involves programming and artificial intelligence.
You might want to read this:

Lex here went to work for a PhD in psychology, but as the story went on, he saw lots of stuff in academia...
 

Ezra

New Contributor
Feb 23, 2021
8
4
11
You said that you can't start a side business and use a scholarship? OK. And you are financially comfortable. Good for you. It's an opportunity. So, if you can't make money on the side, you might start or join a club at your university. Create a community of like-minded people and try out some ideas. Be the leader. Or go out on your own -- if you are so inclined. Become a one-person force of nature.

You need to rethink your education and really make it count. What can you build? What are the practical uses for your education? What can you patent? What is a unique application for common elements that you are working with? (Remember that the essence of a genius is simply using common elements in a unique combination or for a new use.) IF you chose to use this approach to your education, you'll be amazed at how much you will learn in those 4 years. Having purpose and passion will put you so far ahead of your classmates! You'll no longer just be putting in your time. Relish the moment. Make every minute count.

Ask LOTS of questions -- even the dumb ones. Stand up in class and ask the questions that no one dares to ask. Interview everyone around you -- staff and students. Pick their brains. Find out what they are thinking and why. Ask leading questions that provoke people to think and give you long-form answers. If you make a statement, ask others for confirmation as to your premise and conclusion. Involve everyone around in your quest for knowledge and creative solutions. Your goal should be to create synergism to propel you and everyone around your forward.
Thanks for the response.
I understand now that the purpose of my post is to find ways to make the best of these 4 years. I am learning a LOT about new tech and practices in the lab, and I believe this contact is an amazing opportunity. I don't want to waste it.
I am paying a lot of attention about the practical uses of my education, and specially in the techs of the lab that interested some companies to push for a partnership. I am searching for what I can work and what I can patent.
I really need to improve my social life and start to speak to more people. I am used to be the quiet person, but I understand how speak to people can help me in my path. I will work in speaking to more people, knowing what they work, what they do, if there is a problem that they are having (I will try to not make this conversation weird with them).
And finally, I believe that involving everyone around in some purpose is a great way to maintain a healthy mindset and relationship. I don't want to view as a competition, but a cooperation.
Thanks for the answer, it gave me a lot to think about.
 

Ezra

New Contributor
Feb 23, 2021
8
4
11
You might want to read this:

Lex here went to work for a PhD in psychology, but as the story went on, he saw lots of stuff in academia...
Thanks for the link. I am finding a lot of useful things to apply. I will make some notes about that thread to remember.
 

WJK

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Thanks for the response.
I understand now that the purpose of my post is to find ways to make the best of these 4 years. I am learning a LOT about new tech and practices in the lab, and I believe this contact is an amazing opportunity. I don't want to waste it.
I am paying a lot of attention about the practical uses of my education, and specially in the techs of the lab that interested some companies to push for a partnership. I am searching for what I can work and what I can patent.
I really need to improve my social life and start to speak to more people. I am used to be the quiet person, but I understand how speak to people can help me in my path. I will work in speaking to more people, knowing what they work, what they do, if there is a problem that they are having (I will try to not make this conversation weird with them).
And finally, I believe that involving everyone around in some purpose is a great way to maintain a healthy mindset and relationship. I don't want to view as a competition, but a cooperation.
Thanks for the answer, it gave me a lot to think about.
I will tell you the secret to talking to other people -- get them to talk about themselves -- it's their favorite subject. That truism includes their pet projects and especially how smart they are. Your best skill to develop is to be able to ask those questions that make them feel brilliant. Once they get started talking, they'll tell you everything that they know, or ever thought about. You'd better also learn to be a good listener. Keep the conversation going by punctuating it by asking the questions that lead them further into the conversation. This is the easiest way to become the most popular person in the room. The upside for you is that you will gather mountains of information for your life's journey. You want to get as many ideas and threads of possibilities to synthesize into your life's work. Your Ph.D. quest is your perfect moment to set your feet on a wonderful path.
 

Ezra

New Contributor
Feb 23, 2021
8
4
11
I will tell you the secret to talking to other people -- get them to talk about themselves -- it's their favorite subject. That truism includes their pet projects and especially how smart they are. Your best skill to develop is to be able to ask those questions that make them feel brilliant. Once they get started talking, they'll tell you everything that they know, or ever thought about. You'd better also learn to be a good listener. Keep the conversation going by punctuating it by asking the questions that lead them further into the conversation. This is the easiest way to become the most popular person in the room. The upside for you is that you will gather mountains of information for your life's journey. You want to get as many ideas and threads of possibilities to synthesize into your life's work. Your Ph.D. quest is your perfect moment to set your feet on a wonderful path.
Thanks, I will apply this mentality when talk to people, specially because I am terrible with finding a subject otherwise the common small talk.
Yes, I believe that I can make this phd quest the beginning of a incredible and productive path. I just have to apply all this advises and being disciplined to not give in to laziness
 

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