Posted Sat, 16 Dec: For the sake of you readers, I'll keep this short and sweet, because not much will be gained from me going over each company again.
This trip has flipped my knowledge of the world upside down. Instead of thinking how much can I do, I think how much can I not do, which allows me to eliminate unnecessary tasks and work towards a few perfect products. I took this method from Apple. I now think 'how can I dream bigger', rather than 'what am I doing when I leave school'. This was because I saw time and time again from the people we met that they did not have some huge master plan, they went with the flow, followed their passion a worked hard for it. I have loosened my grip on the dream of studying my undergraduate degree at Stanford or a similar US college and have refocused on being more flexible in my study options. Auckland, Otago, Sydney or Cambridge are on the cards for the beginning of my tertiary studies, then I will explore the US in my masters and PhD. Thanks to the trip I am now much more driven and focused, yet relaxed and open to change which are complete opposites I know, but I mean I am more comfortable with my schooling knowing that my study choices and skill sets do not limit me to the industries I can work in in the future, while I am also determined to work my butt off to live and work in the valley - whatever the path to it may be. I now understand the importance of computer science and engineering in the tech world and my view and opinion of the subject have been changed dramatically. I was one of those people (like many I am sure) who saw software engineering as nerdy and not something I'd be interested in and my assumptions were creating a mental barrier. However, when talking to the people we met I saw that there are millions of people who find this interesting and that there is an infinite demand for these people. Because of this, I have made a deal with myself to use Khan Academy to look into the subject and give it a chance, for I too may become very passionate about it.
Aside from the learnings of this trip, I also met many amazing people. From CEOs to interns, everyone was welcoming, encouraging and passionate. However, the most amazing people I met were the others on the trip with me.
Gabe: I must admit you did embarrass me sometimes and I felt like slapping you across the back of the head, but you also surprised me a lot. I know nothing about you academics or school passions yet I know you have the potential to go far. Don't be afraid to fail and find some way to motivate yourself to the point where you crave working hard and completing a task. Thanks for being a great mate and making me laugh so often. Keep it Steezy.
Saia: You're a solid guy man and you have all the characteristics of an amazing leader. You're motivated, smart, self aware and kind. Don't be tempted to return to old ways and keep the memory of this experience fresh. Sorry for making you sleep on the couch and keep it Steezy.
Maihi: You inspired me every day of the trip man! Your attitude, motivation and mana is prominent and you are a great people person. Work hard at university man and carry your community with you. You have a chance to make a big statement and effect many other Maori, so never give up. Aside from all that, you're the funniest guy I know, whether it was the bean boozled challenge, the CEO or eeeeah bouy you made me laugh hysterically.
Toby: I still can't get over you starting a business at 14 man, you're an inspiration and a perfect example of someone who is not afraid to fail. Keep up the good work bro and I look forward to seeing where DexTech will go.
Luke: You're a bright guy with a lot ahead of you. With your set of skills there is nothing you can't do in the tech industry and I look forward to working with you in the valley sometime. Thanks for your work on this website, we all appreciate it.
Jason: Gabe and Saia are lucky to have such a passionate teacher at their school. You are a breath of fresh air in education and I wish my teachers were as innovative in the classroom as you are. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and thank you for coming with us on this trip.
Carym: The shining light of the north. You're always glowing with creativity and passion and your presence on this trip was invaluable. Stay motivated and I'm sure I'll catch you at IDEO soon. I look forward to hearing of your impact up there and what change comes of your experience.
Harrison: Been great having another Dilworth boy to share this experience with, and I know we will return to school with some big changes in mind. Whether or not the school supports them is a different story, but we will do our best. See you at choir camp bro.
Simon: It has been a pleasure and privilege to get to know you this past week. Your passion for the school is obvious and Harrison and I cannot wait to turn Dilworth into a school that produces great entrepreneurs and aspiring techies. Personally, you are an inspiration and a role model for me, and I hope to succeed in the business then give back to Dilworth like you have done. Thank you for coming on this journey; you have left a mark on all of us. Also, I must mention the Dilworth X-Change. Thank you Simon and your colleagues for making this opportunity available for Harrison and I, and for believing in our potential.
Andrew: The best for last. I cannot thank you enough for organising this trip and changing all of our lives entirely. Your vision for young people and generosity is admirable and you have instilled those exact values into us all, and we may well return the favour by doing something similar in the future to give other students a life changing opportunity. You have given my studies purpose and my life direction, something that I cannot thank you enough for. May many more people be touched by your vision and this experience! Thanks again.
Thank you to everyone who supported me financially or emotionally, I cannot thank you all enough.