The Passion Economy

How The Future Works

Topcoder & Wipro documentary ‌The Passion Economy — How The Future Works‌ featured Dr. Sergey Pogodin aka birdofpreyru as one of its characters.

March 19, 2020



Nr - Wipro & Topcoder present.

In the U.S. alone, it's estimated that more than 60 million people will take part in The Gig Economy this year. Beyond the side hustle, there is the next evolution of work already happening. One where talented and specialized individuals are following their passions, and opting into work that provides more freedoms. Economic freedoms, geographic freedoms, and the opportunity to succeed regardless of formal pedigree, race, religion, gender, or nationality. This is the story of five individuals, who have found a different way forward, driven by their passions. This is...

The Passion Economy. How the future works.

Budapest. Hungary.

VP - It’s not easy for people with kids to start over their lives. I don’t know, it’s the economy, it’s the country. I have had super negative experiences. People just look at you and tell you that you’re lying, that you’re not working for them. As an example, I have companies which are Hungarian governmental organizations, projects which I just let go. Don’t care. And it’s so good when people value your work... And they are happy with it, and they say it. It’s such a different experience for me. It’s really, really good.

UC - Sometimes I wake up in the morning and she’s still working, but she is happy and she likes it, and it is such a special thing to find something that you really like to do.

VP - Anyone I told about my job, they had no idea what I was talking about. And sometimes I feel quite weird because they look at me like I was crazy.

UC - Mom is shy from some point of view, but also she is really brave. And I am so proud of her that she tried this new thing.

VP - I’m the boss here actually. I’m the one that has to be conscious enough. If I am conscious enough with my time, then I can do actually anything I want. I can go run in the morning, if I want to. I can spend time with my daughter as much as I want to.

Nr - Valencia. Spain.

SP - When you work in science, it’s difficult to develop your career. Even if I were to start my own research laboratory, I don’t think it really gives you that much money. So this model of the DNA molecule which is related to the first Topcoder challenge that I participated in, it has the first prize $8,000 which was quite a lot for me. And I think it was like one months run. So, $8,000 for one month. It was pretty cool. And even like the 4th place here has $1,500 prize, which was the same almost like my monthly pay. So after a few months competing Topcoder I realized it is a stable income source for me. I decided that I could move to a nicer place to live. So I chose Valencia, a large town, but still not that busy and crowded as Madrid or Barcelona. You get a better life. You always can dream about something bigger. So you think, ‘I should work harder so I can afford more stuff’. Maybe I dream one day I buy a yacht and start sailing on the yacht. With the skills and experience I get at Topcoder, probably one day I can start to do even more profitable projects beyond Topcoder.

I think everybody should start thinking about making some independent project and business of his own. To then bring you to even higher income and a better life.

Nr - San Francisco. USA.

SW - I took a very unorthodox path. When I was younger I left school early to start my own company. I went to Harvard for university for a couple years, and then I dropped out. I really just wanted to be out here, like I wanted to be building real things, and making things happen.

I’ve always been a very competitive person. I try to use competitive nature just in terms of trying to push for us to hit the best goals as a team, whenever possible.

It’s easy for a lot of people to look at programming itself. Or all of these different path that aren’t the typical orthodox pathand to say that they’re weird, to say that they are strange or different and it's easy to feel that way of course. There is nothing wrong at all with taking a different path. It’s possible to take different path too and to be able to relate and to fit in. I have a full time job running a startup. And obviously it’s very very busy. And there’s lots going on all the time. It’s kind of crazy to imagine that right - because you know, working at a software company... you would think the last thing you would want to do to relax is to program more. But somehow just that environment and the problems... getting to think about these and getting to test my skills against the best competitors in the world. A really good problem shows you not just how to solve the problem itself, but it also shows you this intuition or pattern that applies to many many places. It’s the same idea that can carry over and over. And that’s, I think,that is really truly satisfying.

Nr - Chennai. India.

NK - I have 2 kids who need me most of the time. I had to quit my job because of her. Not many people from India get to work from home. Everyone says the same: I am the only person they know who is working from home. What I was making in 30 days some 5 years back, I am making the same amount of money in 3 days. Yeah, I don’t want to tell anybody because the competition is huge. And the more people I say, the more competition I get. I don’t want to tell about Topcoder to anybody!


I am a tough competitor and I need to be strong from the beginning to the last very minute.

We are comfortable with competitions. We grew up with competitions. In education we have a lot of competitions. We have to do our best to get into good college. So it is easy for us to compete in Topcoder when compared to the competition we had during colleges.

Nr - Karditas. Greece.

TK - Most of the people I know would just sit there and wish that things happen to them like... they say “I wish I had a better car, I wish I was making more money.” But, they do nothing about that. I make changes to make things happen. Karditsa is a small city in the center of Greece with a very relaxing vibe. What I like most about my city is that I am very close to nature. I don’t really feel the need to move to a bigger city. I think you don’t have to be in a big city to make big things happen. You are going to work remotely and make the same money as someone who lives in the bay area.

As a copilot of Topcoder, I communicate with the clients to understand their needs on creating any type of software. I have to analyze the problem, split it into smaller problems, and then assign it to the appropriate group of people.

When I get out of the military, I wasn't quite sure what should I do next in my life. I realized I don’t have very many options. So I had to choose a path. I had to figure out what to do next. And I was very confused.

UC - Breath! Keep your hands up! 1 - 2 - 3! Punch! Harder!"Every obstacle makes you stronger. Even the harder opponent. You must overcome your fears. Like when you see a stronger opponent and you're afraid of getting hit. You only live once, you have to make it count. You have to have things that make you happy. You have to have enough time to do different things, enjoy yourself. Enjoy nature. Travel.

Nr - Top ranked competitors earn the chance to win all expenses paid trips to the Topcoder Open Finals in the United States.

SP - The first season I was competing I managed to actually win a trip to Topcoder Open. It was a big wow moment for me because I thought ‘oh wow, this is really cool’.

SW - When I was growing up it was very hard to find people who had the same interests as me. And so, of course getting to compete against people all over the world online was amazing. But, I think really getting to meet them in person and getting to know them and to make friends was especially valuable.

VP - And I am really looking forward to meeting those people again. Quite soon yay! I am so happy.

Nr - Houston. USA.

NK - I’ve never met any Topcoder guys before. So I wanted to meet all the persons I’ve been interacting with. This was an opportunity to be in the final. Gives me an opportunity to represent my country.

UC - We’ve got a community of over 1.5 million people. We’ve flown in over 100 people to be here with us in Houston.

NK - My US VISA was denied so I couldn’t make it. So I am very much disappointed. This was something I was expecting for a very long time.

UC - This year the spirit award goes to... Scott Wu.

SW - I want to participate in Topcoder as long as I can. Either to compete or to commentate. Or to just be part of the community. I really enjoy the community, so I would really love to come back.

VP - Actually it’s quite surprising... that we are happy for each other's successes. I mean If you think about it, it’s normal...we are human, but still!you don’t really see this in other platforms because there is no community at all. People are not talking to each other. And here, especially the Design Community, it’s a really loving family. So many good friends in this community who will stay with us forever it seems.

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