The Journey of Alex Fink: From Optical Devices to The Other Web
Alex Fink, a software developer with a background in optical devices, hails from Austin, Texas, but his journey to the city is anything but typical. Born in Eastern Europe, he has crisscrossed the globe in search of a place to call home. Alex recalls how, early in his life, he was forced to flee his homeland due to the ongoing dangers and strife in the area. His parents, along with his older brother, accompanied him on his journey.
Memories for Alex, he shares, revolve around useful information, which is why it can be arduous to recall early life experiences. We delve into the idea that early experiences shape our interpretation and reaction to things in later life. Alex has lived in a variety of countries, including the Soviet Union, Israel, Japan, and the USA, and he reflects on his experiences adapting and assimilating to new cultures.
As a Russian speaker, he recalls making a conscious effort to maintain his accent to set himself apart from the crowd. He candidly recounts what it was like to live in these different countries, describing the challenges he faced in each one.
Todd shares a little of the Old West story of his home in Mayer, Arizona, while Alex reveals that, as a child, he felt people were constrained and lived according to other people’s expectations. However, he believed that he could be the best at anything he set his mind to, and he recalls being drawn to early 1900s America as a child.
Upon arriving in America in his 20s, he went to live with his brother and discovered a desire to put his talent and energy into things of genuine value. He experienced cognitive dissonance and felt he could do more in his life. His wife was extremely supportive of his entrepreneurial inspirations and pursuits. While Alex enjoys acting on impulses, he uses his logical mind to balance out his ambitions and achieve the desired outcome. Todd shares how his background has naturally and unexpectedly led to the ability to overcome challenges in the future.
Alex opines that the world suffers from an overabundance of “click bait” and reminds us that the real problem lies in the users themselves. He imagines a system called The Other Web, which blocks advertising and aggregates many popular online destinations, including search engines, wikis, social platforms, and more. His aim is to provide unbiased results and eliminate “bad” advertising methods. Using AI machine learning, he leverages technology to minimize human labor hours and maximize outcomes. His system runs on open source to allow anyone to review and analyze every aspect of the system.
The Other Web allows for unique interactivity with search options, as well as the ability to disable elements that would likely be advertising. The end result is a genuine and accurate resource that removes the content that is “advertising motivated.” It seeks to maintain authenticity in the user experience. Alex wraps up with a message to the world: “keep principles in mind, what you put into your brain is similar to what you put into your body.” Stop consuming junk and tune out the noise.
Todd ends with a valuable life lesson: “we know what we know, we know what we don’t know, and we don’t know what we don’t know.” That last one is the most challenging.