The Knowledge Society — An Honest Review

Jake Adler
6 min readJul 30, 2021


Having finished TKS’s (The Knowledge Society) innovate program just a few months ago, I feel that it is only fitting to write an article describing my experience being a member and experiencing all TKS has to offer firsthand. This is my attempt at a 100% honest review.

Discovering TKS and Applying

I do not clearly recall how I discovered TKS, whether by pure luck or a friend referring me, but I was stunned upon discovering it. In a world where I was consistently told to wait for university to pursue my passion, TKS seemed like an outlet to begin creating an impact while developing critical mindsets to support my personal growth. Similar to the reality distortion field Steve Jobs produced, TKS has this vibe that students who enter the program have the capability of becoming something beyond imagination, something genuinely next-level. This vibe really pulled me in, and upon doing research and deciding that I wanted to do it, I applied. I made it past the first stage and was interviewed by Harrison, the now-former director of TKS Toronto. He asked random questions regarding impact and motivation and the interview, in my opinion, went quite well. That assumption was confirmed when I made it to the final stage. After completing all the steps and patiently waiting, I awoke to the acceptance email one morning, which quite literally threw me out of bed and had me running down the hall to tell my mom. I was determined to make every moment count in TKS and ensure I didn’t take this experience for granted.

First Thoughts

The first legit day of TKS was at WeWork Toronto on the weekend. We discussed presentation skills and built out a presentation on a tech topic. I recall the awkward looks when all four of us started presenting together (one person is always the most ideal). Regardless the first session was great, and it really was an authentic introduction to the world of legit presentations. It was also a great way of showing that I know jacksh*t about presenting.

As a few weeks went by and COVID hit new levels, we were forced online. Zoom sessions lacked some of these awe-inspiring moments that I experienced during the in-person meets. Still, looking back, it allowed us to meet way cooler people (from around the world). It allowed us to meet other cohorts more effortlessly. And I got to travel to Dubai for a bit which was pretty awesome.

The year started with explore sessions (learning about cool tech) and moved more towards using the technology to help people. We also got the opportunity to work on in-house and consulting-esque hackathons, which in my experience, were some of the best moments in TKS innovate. For those curious, TKS Toronto Innovates got to work with Instacart and later the UN on addressing specific issues within their individual company domain.

Progression + My Regrets


Throughout the year, innovates are tasked with completing explores and focuses (more in-depth explores), which center around a specific category of tech or science that has the potential of benefiting a whole bunch of people. I have yet to complete a focus, so I can’t garner any specific advice or opinion on them specifically. However, I do know that they work, and you should try to complete them.


Velocity is like a TKS supergroup. It is designed for individuals looking to go beyond TKS and hit new levels of personal growth. This community is crazy. The short time in velocity proved to benefit me vastly more than some experiences I had in TKS. Velocity is strict about completing requirements. Unfortunately, while travelling to the UAE, I forgot to get a newsletter out, effectively kicking me out. I could rejoin late in the year but regretfully didn’t. Join it if you can sustain the workload.

Meeting People

I came into TKS with an external shell projecting myself as an extrovert with an unfortunate ego. I came in assuming I knew a vast majority of knowledge in the world, only to end the year knowing just how little I truly know. I believe my ego was a significant inhibitor in connecting with people personally and instead of making every conversation almost a transaction. I finished innovate with a minimal amount of people I could confidently call a friend. My advice to you, be kind, be empathetic, and be open to meeting new people. If your an incoming innovate, throw any preconceived notions you have out the door and be genuine.

Connecting With Directors

Throughout innovate I had two primary directors who managed TKS Toronto. Depending on timing, either one or both would be at the session. It could be that I didn’t make a considerable effort to connect with the directors. Still, sometimes I felt like our relationship was cold or distant. I know they cared about me and wanted me to succeed, but sometimes I felt like they cared more about some of the other innovates. I can only assume that the distance I felt was intentionally created to remove the hand-holding aspect young individuals cling to. It is similar to when you leave for university. Your parents encourage you to go but genuinely want you to stay. Still, they try not to bother you consistently as they want you to grow as an individual.

BTW, have a one-on-one with other directors even if they aren’t from your cohort. Definitely book something with Nadeem or Navid.

Not progression but advice on Imposter Syndrome

Lots of teens come into TKS with some accomplishments already, but many others don’t. For those who enter TKS and feel like it’s an ego battle or that you need to post to life showing off your projects, just stop. TKS is designed to be a somewhat selfish program, sure you will be helping others grow, but you are there for just yourself. TKS is a time to focus on you and grow where you see weaknesses. It is a time to be vulnerable and learn where you make common mistakes. Never worry about doing more or less work than others. Just concern yourself with your own personal growth.

End of Year

I was super sad when innovate came to a close, but it was also incredible to see just how far I came. In a single year, I feel like I’ve grown more than I have in my entire lifetime, and I will never be the same as I was before joining TKS. Although my time in TKS isn’t done yet (as I was accepted to Activate), I still will look back on innovative days whenever I need further inspiration.

I wanted to wait until the end of summer to post this as I wanted to see how I would feel a few months after TKS is done. I can’t help but feel a bit of regret, like I didn’t fulfil TKS how I wanted to. I came into the year wanting to do as many focuses as possible but left without completing one. I don’t want to re-complete innovate, though. Not because the program isn’t incredible, just because I feel like I’ve extracted the benefit from it already. I just feel like that quote from the office — “I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them.” However, it is time to move to a new realm of activating upon problems to help people, something I’m super excited about and something i’ve been trying to pursue for a long time now.




Jake Adler

Founder of Ordy and oneKYC - Making crypto accessible and easy for everyone!