Sergio Prado '09
Position: Founder of internet-based fitness startup; Former software engineer at Microsoft
Thesis Title: “Beyond the Ram and Spear: A Non-Thucydidean Model for Athenian Imperial Cohesion”
After studying ancient history, I worked as a software engineer at Microsoft. And now I have founded a (successful) fitness startup. Unsurprisingly, I regularly get other engineers asking how my ancient history degree, among the “least useful degrees” out there, is at all useful for what I do. I’m a strong believer in the liberal arts. As was the Patron Saint of Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs: “technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.” It really is true. What’s the point of creating something if you don’t know 1) if people will actually find it useful, and 2) how to build it in such a way to make it useful to everyone? My study of history has helped greatly with this. On top of that, learning history is ultimately about understanding systems. How they evolve based on internal and external stimuli. So is writing code. So is designing software. Once you’ve mastered one type of system, transferring those skills to another type isn’t all that difficult. History has been incredibly valuable in my career. No question.