Cadet Reflections

What The Heck Is An API? The First Step to Learning

*Ahem*: «Fresco Capital is an early stage VC firm, with over 40 portfolio companies, funds in diverse industries ranging from edtech to healthcare, and a surprisingly scalable reach across the global startup ecosystem.»

A moment, if you please. I’m feeling too proud to continue.

If I’d heard that opening sentence before my internship at Fresco Capital, I only would have had a vague idea about what on earth you were saying. Needless to say, I learned a lot during my time as a Garage Cadet, under the supervision of Fresco Capital Founder Tytus Michalski.

Before my internship, I was heavily involved in the online and print media industry, and I’d never taken a finance course in my life. Naturally, when I came across the list of companies recruiting interns through Garage Society, I decided it would be a fun idea to apply for the firm I felt the least qualified to work for (don't tell Tytus I said that). Surprisingly, things turned out way better than you might have thought.

There was a slight adjustment period though.

At first, I didn’t know what Tytus meant when he kept mentioning «ecosystems». That’s the thing you learn about in biology, right? NOPE. A quick read through of the blog post I was editing as one of my internship tasks, and a lot of the jargon started to make sense.

In tandem with learning about the VC industry, I was able to work on a wide variety of tasks from data handling to social media management to even redesigning the internship recruitment process.

And that was just the office work; our out of office engagements (lovingly dubbed «field trips» since we found them so interesting) included meeting with portfolio companies and exclusive entry into an IoT summit during January’s StartMeUp Festival. Field trips gave us a rare insider’s look into Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem and taught me how companies interact with each other, operate and plan their finances. Not a bad range of experiences in just one internship, eh?

Of course, the learning didn’t stop just because I got used to things.
During one meeting, when I had no idea what an API was, I was told that it’s okay to say ‘I don’t know'.
There were a lot of things I learned during this Cadet program, but that phrase basically sums it up. There’s a lot of pressure, especially in Hong Kong, to be specialised and competent in whatever you’re doing, and to always have the «right» answer. I don’t think that’s always the best approach to solving problems.

I realised the first step to learning or facing a new situation lies in saying 'I don’t know'. After you admit that, you can open the door to learning. And, with the fantastic and supportive people I met during my time as a Cadet — Tytus, the Garage Society staff, the many entrepreneurs — I definitely walked through that door!

Hi! I'm Crystal Kwok

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