What I love the most about hiking is the peaceful feeling that you get from interacting with nature. Especially with all of the information overload from social media and all the pressure to move fast in this internet era, I think everyone deserves to disconnect and just relax once in a while.

My name is Aqid, and I’m a technology enthusiast who loves to try different things. I’m a technical co-founder for several start-ups: Flipbox (flipbox.co.id) & Medigo Indonesia (medigo.id), and I was involved in the early design of one cool start-up called Angsa (angsa-robotics.com). I am currently working as a part-time software engineer at Siemens, while also doing my master thesis in the field of Machine Learning and Blockchain.

What inspired me to choose my career is the curiosity about what the future will hold. Flipbox is a mobile-focused software house because we believe that mobile is the future. Medigo Indonesia is a healthcare start-up because we would love for hospitals to be better. Angsa is a smart outdoor cleaning robot because global warming needs to be solved. And I believe that Blockchain is the future of trust in our digital society.

I currently live in Munich, Germany, but I’ve often moved in the past because of my studies. During my Bachelor’s, I moved to Jakarta and stayed there for 10 years. I then moved to Munich 2 years ago because of my master’s study in TU Munich. After several years of building start-ups, I felt the need to refresh my personal knowledge, as well as experience new things outside of my comfort zone. That’s the main reason why I moved to Munich.

Outside of my job, I love hiking and podcasting. I became interested in hiking at a young age – I grew up in Indonesia, and we have lots of mountains there. That’s why it is pretty normal to have hiking as a school and group activity. Because there is a small hill in the middle of my hometown, I used to hike there as a child and I started hiking taller mountains around my Bachelor studies.

When I am hiking, I pack lightly. I make sure to bring all the essential things, but no more than that. Because I sometimes hike for 3/4 days straight, bringing non-essential gears/equipment will tire you fast. Essential equipment are food-related things (dried/fast food, stove and foldable utensils), medical kit, personal hygiene, and sleeping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, lamp, etc).

My favourite place that I’ve hiked is the hill in my hometown – just because of childhood nostalgia. I don’t really have a favourite mountain, as I don’t hike the same track multiple times. But I can say that I love all mountains that have clean toilets. Sometimes you can find a really messy toilet in a random mountain!

My most memorable hiking experience was during primary school – my friends and I were chased by a group of wild monkeys trying to eat our food! There’s also one time where I took the wrong turn and get lost while helping my friend (with a twisted ankle) descending quite a tall mountain. Of course, there are lots of awesome experiences as well. The feeling when you reach the top of the mountain and get to see all the surrounding scenery is indescribable.

Looking at my other hobby, I also love podcasting. I have several friends and we love to have a deep discussion regarding politics, philosophy, ethics, and technology. One day, one of us has an idea about joining an existing podcast and we will host a special section. And that’s where it all started.

In terms of inspiration, I currently watch The Midnight Gospel on Netflix. It’s an animated production with derived content from Duncan Trussell’s (Duncan Trussell Family Hour) podcast. I think it’s an interesting way to explore and experiment with the podcast contents.

I consider my podcast activity is at the MVP stage right now. That’s why I try not to invest too much with the equipment. I use a USB condenser microphone from Samson, and I’m pretty satisfied with the quality. The problem right now is that since we can’t do a live discussion/interview, the quality of equipment doesn’t really matter that much because your sound travels through the internet via conference call. It will get compressed and processed either way.

My friends and I come from different backgrounds, so we don’t limit ourselves to certain kinds of topics on the podcast. We usually brainstorm for some topics and discuss them from historical, technological, economical, and philosophical perspectives. But I can say that politics and social phenomena are the most common theme that we discuss. For example, our last podcast recording session discussed the banality of evil, fraternal society, and moral blindness in the modern era.

Every podcast episode is a new and memorable experience for me. Due to us not limiting the theme/topic, we have to do extensive research before recording the podcast. I can easily read dozens of papers and new books that I might never read if not because of the podcast. One particular interesting book that I read is called Letters of Javanese Princess. It was pretty interesting to read the letters and experiences that form her progressive opinions and ideas. I also realized that some of her thoughts from the 1900s are still pretty relevant in our modern society.

I think that living in Munich has definitely supported my passions for hiking and podcasting. I’m planning to hike the Alps as often as I can, even though I admit that I haven’t done it as much as I want. But it’s always going to be there, so that’s nice. There are also a lot of German philosophers and literature that my friends always recommend for our podcast episodes, but due to my bad Deutsch, I can’t really understand it that well. I need to increase my proficiency first before I can freely enjoy their literature.

I do see similarities between hiking & podcasting and my current occupation. Working on the podcasts requires me to read a lot of references. I pick up some interesting concepts and insights along the way that directly or indirectly help me in solving some problems before I start to code and deliver features. For example, for the last podcast, I needed to read Moral Blindness: The Loss of Sensitivity in Liquid Modernity, and that book gives me new perspectives about how technology affects our morality and makes me think a little bit more about features that I have or will develop. Hiking teaches me patience and keeping my head cool, which is really beneficial when you get stuck in some kind of mysterious and seemingly unsolved bugs.

Both these hobbies have been a benefit to my technological career. I would say they enable me to look at different perspectives, as well as building my mental and physical health. Because I read a lot of non-technical/computer science-related references, I can approach a problem from other perspectives. And when I start to feel some occupational burnout, I can just grab my bag and go hiking somewhere secluded for a couple of days and do a short digital detox.

My advice to anyone interested in hiking/podcasting is that you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment. You can just start small – try a half-day hike in small mountains with your sport shoes, or buy a cheap microphone for your podcast. Gradually upgrade to better equipment when you have a reason to do so.

There is always more than tech. First and foremost, we are a human before a technologist. Like a quote from Jurassic Park: “scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should”. Sometimes, we’re too excited to pursue the advancement of technology without realizing the detrimental effects that it could bring. Technology exists to help humans, not to control them. So don’t forget to nurture your human side: be it sports, arts, or entertainment.

 

To listen to Aqid’s podcast, be sure to check the following link: https://anchor.fm/podcast-progresif.

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