Alex Dorsk ‘07, located in Cambridge, currently works as a freelance software consultant while also working on his own music education project, Musikata.
For software consulting, he often works for scientific organizations. For example, he helped the biotech repository Addgene convert their old website to a new DjangoCMS system. He’s also about to start a new contract working with a text analysis company, Luminso.
Alex’s project, Musikata, “provides beautiful musical training, inspired by the metaphors of the martial arts.” He started working on Musikata when his mother started learning how to play the ukulele. When he was teaching her the basics, he was surprised to find that there were few online sites that helped beginners learn music fundamentals in a fun way. So he started thinking about methods that would work better and turning those ideas into little prototypes. He writes about music education and how to design media for teaching music online in his blog which can be found here.
Alex is the first to admit that his project has not gone very far yet. Looking back, one of his biggest regrets is that he started it without a team; he is just now realizing how essential a team is, and is working on finding collaborators.
For current Oliners who are interested in starting their own business, Alex recommends getting some experience first by working for an established company. He says to think of this time as your grad school for production or management. It is also a great time to make professional connections in the area of your interest, to experiment with small side projects, and find teammates.
He reports that Olin was fantastic preparation for life in the real world. It gave him a sense of holistic thinking, and the chance to explore many different topics, like history or oceanography, when he was still a student. In addition, Olin's emphasis on communication has been very valuable to his consulting work.
When asked if he has time for fun with everything else that he does, he said “Yes! I read, organize ukulele club meetings, make giant bubbles, and also organize music technology meetup groups.”
Here’s what Alex has to say to current Olin students: “Appreciate the people around you, be they student, faculty, staff, kitchen chef, whoever. They are probably amazing in some way you don't know about. Everyone has a story.”
He also says to take time and explore what interests you. Go into Boston, roam around MIT, get outside!