So I just arrived on campus for the Multicultural Overnighter and Accepted Students Day. I've met some really cool people and checked out the photography building and the arts farm. I will be updating this post with my experiences over the weekend.
Writing the Urban Experience
Taught by W. Ryan at FPH 105
Now, I'm sitting in on this class. It's kind of a big class. 23 People. The people in the class are sitting around the tables made into a hollow square. On the outside are all the admitted students/visitors. There are almost as many of us as there are of them. The class is discussing a piece of writing by a student in the class entitled Jersey Kids and cars about the driving as a pastime. It brings back memories of blasting ballads like Journey's Don't Stop Believing and yelling driving with friends when I lived in Washington.
The next story, Laura's story, is about Laura, the aunt of a student who is quite a character, she is a mother of five, went to college while working at Smith and took 10 years to do her undergraduate degree, taking one or two classes at a time. It's quite an interesting piece. I really like it. Although, it does leave you with something missing. I'm just so excited to be in college and participating.
So, that kind of failed, didn't realize my day would be so jam packed. I had a really good time and met a lot of really amazing people. I'll finish up this blog post soon.
Ok. Being online is addictive and I can definitely say that it's an addiction of mine, but I'm finding that I've started a bunch of new "blogs" all of which have a purpose. I know you guys really like stalking me. I'm actually just kidding, but if you're interested here are all my online presences that I can think of at the moment. I might or might not update this post with new things, but the reason I have so many is that I like trying new things. I start them and give them a chance to grow. Some I keep some I let live on with few posts. I'll give you my spiel about each and why the are useful. I'm not going to list the ones that I am "working" for because I'm sure you've heard about them already or will hear about them later. Here are all my personal ones.
Formspring: http://formspring.me/justinleung - I try to be honest and genuine about all the questions here and have yet to get one that I didn't answer. If you want to ask me something publicly this is the place. Otherwise email Justin@justinleung.net or if you're really adventurous, call 415.997.9201.
Tumblr: http://jstin.me - This is basically where I write my more or less unadulterated raw feelings. I have to warn you that it's also full of snippets of cuteness and love.
750 words: http://750words.com/entries/stats/34887 - Here's the analysis of today's entry. I really like this because I can be totally uncensored and incoherent. I basically go on a word rant every morning (I try.) I just write whatever comes out and it's great because I know no one else is reading it and I can say whatever. It's basically a journal.
DailyBooth: http://dailybooth.com/justinleung - Ok this isn't a blog, but it's just daily pictures. I don't know if it's really that useful, but it's entertaining and cute. I haven't been doing a picture everyday, but I might. I'm pretty sure no one wants to see me that much actually.
This past month has been amazing and I have met and hung out with so many great people, but with all of that stuff I've hardly had time to blog, so right now, I'd love to just write a bit about what I've been up to and my goals for the next month, if for nothing but as a kind of diary, since I've got a horrible memory and can't possibly remember all this stuff.
For the last two weeks it's basically been madness, I walked into the lab today and my co-worker remarked that I hadn't been in since before our ski trip which was February 9th, crazy huh? That made me realize that I'm doing what I always do, take on more and more projects and making excuses to myself about stuff so in March my goal is to stop taking on new things, reassessing where I am on my current ones, putting some on hold and making a ton of progress on the rest. I'm going to learn how to straighten my priorities and learn to say no, or at least a long yes...
Here are some of the things I've been working on in February:
Stanford Entrepreneur Week - I was welcomed to Stanford by Kevin Xu and invited to attend several events including Reverse VC Pitch Party with Larry Chiang. I also did VC3 pitches hosted by ASES and went to a great BASES mentorship dinner. It's a great school and hopefully I'll be going there or another similar school in the fall. I really learned a lot from the students there and know that whatever most of them do with their lives they will make a big impact. It was great meeting everyone and best of luck!
Other projects: I'm working on a few other projects that aren't ready for primetime yet, but keep your eyes peeled for them.
My plan for March.
Be great at all the stuff I have on my plate, meet a ton of new people and help out as many as I can. Build relationships and hang out with old friends. Have fun and get things done. I have a few major things that I need to get done and I'm going to do them.
In my junior year of high school I was introduced by my high school AP English Language teacher to This I Believe.
This I Believe is an international project engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives. Over 70,000 of these essays, written by people from all walks of life, are archived here on our website, heard on public radio, chronicled through our books and television programming, and featured in weekly podcasts. The project is based on the popular 1950s radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow.
I took his challenge and though about my beliefs and wrote about one. I still live by it. I don't think I've changed. It's raw and unadulterated. Enjoy.
When I was in fourth grade I moved to London, I started at a new school and knew no one, I made new friends and started a new chapter of my life. In sixth grade, I started at Hoover Middle School; I stepped into the large auditorium knowing almost none of the 400 runny nose kids, who I would spend the next three years with. I grew to know and love every single one of them, each in their own way, their quirks and their weaknesses. Then again in 9th grade I started at a new school, new kids. This time I was more prepared, or so I thought, but what I realized was that no matter how prepared you think you are, you aren’t, you need to be able to think on your feet at any given moment in time, introduce yourself to new ideas and adapt. Everyone always tells you that your childhood is to prepare you to be an adult. I don’t agree with that, I think that being a child teaches you to adapt, in fact it teaches you how to learn. In life there are so many things that can’t be prepared for like a parent dying, or seeing your home destroyed or any of the millions of things that life can toss at you. These are things that you must learn to adapt to. I believe in adaptation, in going into an unknown environment and forcing you to adjust, to fit in, or stand out, but be involved, not be walked past. I believe that you can prepare all you want, but it is only as good as what you can think of in a split second. This is what I believe; this is what I live by.
I hope that convinces you to write your own too! And link to it so I can read.
Last week I had the chance to try out Square myself and here's what I thought about it and to be entirely truthful me trying to make a case to Square to give me one to take donations for my climb. For now, you can donate here.
First off, what is Square?
Square is a mobile payment system aimed towards individuals and single employee businesses. The company was founded by Twitter co-founder and Chairman, Jack Dorsey. The two parts of the system are the credit card reader dongle and program. Together they give anyone the ability to take payments through a swipe of a credit card.
The device itself:
The device is actually very cool to use it is about the size of a quarter and in the shape of a smashed cube with a audio jack. It is powered through each swipe which is really neat. They are planning on giving it away to everyone and making money off the transaction cost. I have heard some complaints about the device not being durable and flimsy when swiping, but I have not experienced this firsthand.
Update (2/18/10 10:34pm): I just heard that 3.5% is only if you manually input the card info, if you swipe it, is 2.9% but that is hearsay until I see some proof.
Update (2/18/10 8:42pm): Square is charging 3.5% and no flat fee. Here's some proof.
Square is still in beta so they have not definitively decided on the transaction cost but this is what I've heard (take this with a grain of salt.) The transaction cost is 50 cents per transaction plus 3% of the total. I talked to a Square representative at Macworld and was told that they decided to drop the 50 cent transaction fee and now it's just 3%. It's still in beta so it's too early to say. But if there is a flat transaction fee of say 50 cents and a percentage fee I'd rather just pay with cash or Paypal. With just a 3% fee it would be a welcome alternative and is competitive with Paypal and Google Checkout. Also, they plan to donate one penny of each transaction to the charity of your choice.
Square is a paperless company so they give you the option of emailing or SMS-ing your receipt and also allow you to search for it on their site. Here's what it looks like.
So far I've had a really good experience with the device, but I have not gotten the chance to extensively test it. When using the system it reminds me of the iPod/iTunes system everything works together and it's all very intuitive. I can't wait to get my hands on the device for a real test taking donations and payments, so I'll reserve my full judgment till then, but it seems like a great system. The only thing I worry about is the 50 cent transaction fee. If that is what they decide to do it would really cut into the margin. Since a $3.50 cup of coffee minus transaction fees (0.50+3.50(0.03)=61.5 cents) is $2.88 (rounded down). That's 17.5%!! Not even taking into the account how much it costs to make that cup of joe.
Update (2/18/10 8:45pm) Heres a screen shot of the merchant online view. Courtesy of Spencer Schoeben