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Alumnus Mohammed Abdoolcarim Talks to Island School Students


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After 16 years, Mohammed Abdoolcarim returned to Island School to share his journey with us. He told us all about his life at Island School, sharing funny anecdotes and skills he learnt from his time here like his time at the Summerbridge programme where students taught students and where he learnt about how failure isn’t the end of the world. After graduating from Island School, he did what he thought was expected of him, which was to go to university. He was accepted into Stanford where he followed his passion for product design.

His first job was at Google, working on the Google Desktop. This led him to work on the Mobile Phone Space, which is what he really enjoyed. From the magnificent life at Google, he continued to follow his passion and joined the Siri team in 2008. He told us about the vast difference between working for the well-established Google to working for the new start-up business of Siri. 52 versions of Siri were invented to get to the one we have today, and it was way back in 1992, when he was in year 7, that the seeds for Siri were first planted. After two years of hard work on Siri, the app was finally launched in 2010 for the iPhone. From the success of the launch, Apple decided to buy Siri and this was a huge pivotal moment in his journey. He not only got to meet his idol Steve Jobs, but he also got to work with him to launch the first truly automated personal assistant on the iPhone 4S. (He shared a funny anecdote about when Steve Jobs walked into their meeting, there was absolute silence as everyone absorbed the fact that he was standing right there breathing the same air!)

With all this success from Siri, he made a big decision to jump into the next point in his life and left Apple. His love for entrepreneurship took him around the world and led him to think about what he truly wanted – to find a way to bring people closer together through technology.

Mohammed was an inspirational speaker and we thoroughly enjoyed his talk.

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Tasneem Muchhala 12R

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