Prior to the COVID-19 virus arriving at our hometown, my some friends and I were operating a food delivery service as part of a personal project; we were trying to learn about the inner-workings and real-life applications around combinatorial optimization (the fancy way of figuring out the best routes for an item to travel along). We believed that the best way to learn quickly would be to test our ideas in real life. After a couple of weeks of planning and setup, we were ready to launch a trial delivering food to our professors. Shortly after our launch though, the virus hit our town and we saw the world around us begin to dissolve. Our schools closed, our competitions were canceled, and with them- our chances of a successful trial run. Our mentors recommended that amidst this uncertainty, it was time for us to stop making progress and wait for another, safer moment. But in times like this, a favorite quote from the French Mathematician Pascal comes to me “If we must not act save on a certainty, we ought not to act on religion, for it is not certain. But how many things we do on an uncertainty, sea voyages, battles!” That same afternoon, we had called 18 hospitals and began pushing forward again. The new game-plan was to use our learnings of delivery routes to help build a non-profit PPE network that makes and delivers medical supplies to healthcare workers who were running out. By the end of that week, we had joined forces with 3 major PPE organizations in our hometown and had built a network of over 70 volunteers who were ready to help fight the virus with us. The rest has been a combination of luck, coffee, and the work of many brilliant minds that everyday humble me to be surrounded by.
We’re excited to keep helping,
Edward Aguilar (Founder & CEO of ProjectParalink)