And other thoughts about my favorite typewriter

This post originally appeared on my blog, where I write on startups, software, community, and life a couple times every week.

If you’re a mechanic, you might have a favorite tool in your box. If you’re a runner, perhaps your favorite running shoes. A violinist may have their favorite bow, and a programmer may have their favorite language. These are tools of aspiration. …


When money gets cheap, strange things happen

This post originally appeared on my blog, where I write on startups, software, community, and life a couple times every week.

Two years ago, in the summer of 2018, the half-century-old Ferrari 250 GTO racing car set records, selling for a cool $70,000,000.

Image for post
Image for post
This isn’t the 250 GTO, but you get the point.

Since most of you probably aren’t up-to-date on the high end auto trends of today, I’ll share a comparison. Ferrari’s current top-of-the-line hypercar is LaFerrari, last refreshed in 2016, which sold initially for over $1M and currently trades on the market for $2–3M.

The obvious question here is, how can old cars be so expensive? The 250 GTO was a luxury, but certainly not a 70-million-dollar luxury when it launched. It’s gotten order of magnitude more expensive over time, and LaFerrari will follow the same path. But we can already make sense of the rising value of these rare models with simple economics. There were only thirty-six of the 250 GTO made, and the pristine, surviving models of the set have accrued history and importance in the industry over time for the enthusiasts in the car community. …


On technical sympathy, and other thoughts

“Nobody on the founding team is technical, so I’m trying to recruit a developer. Since you have a technical background, do you have any advice?”

Whenever I’ve talked to a “non-technical” founder of a startup previously, I’ve answered this common question in one of two ways. Either learn to code well enough to build your first prototype yourself, or find a competent developer who also happens to be an amazing cofounder — don’t dilute your founding team for sake of technical competency, and definitely don’t outsource it in any way if it’s core to your product.

But my answer has become more nuanced recently, to refer to something I call technical sympathy. …


Building your cognitive tribe

This post originally appeared on my blog, where I write on startups, software, community, and life a couple times every week.

In the distracting bustle of professional life and career advice, I think we’ve lost track of why we call networking “networking”. A network is a weave. A grid. A fabric. The parts are interwoven tightly together to produce a whole strengthened by each cross-stitch and knot. When we talk about networking, I think we often miss the forest for the tress — the network for the threads, if you will. …


Blackbird. Pixar. iPhone.

This post originally appeared on my blog, where I write on startups, software, community, and life a couple times every week.

Outside the cockpit, the air chilled to fifty degrees Fahrenheit below zero. The reinforced glass panes of the windows ripped through the thin upper atmosphere at such terrifying speed that it was hot to the touch from invisible friction against the winds. Two of the most advanced jet engines in the world roared some 50 feet behind the twin pilot seats, but neither of them could hear it: The SR-71 Blackbird flew at Mach 3.5, …


So you want to grow a student entrepreneurship powerhouse?

This is an essay version of a Twitter thread I shared here, about what fuels UC Berkeley’s student entrepreneurship community.

Image for post
Image for post
Cal Hacks 5.0, Cal Memorial Stadium

The most exciting student companies I’ve seen at Cal aren’t born in accelerators or clubs or classrooms or co-ed fraternities. They emerge from the hands of students who get out there to solve problems they have to put up with themselves, who get their hands dirty to solve it because — what else would you do?

Like an iceberg

… ninety-percent of your mass is underneath.

Here’s an interesting observation about student entrepreneurs at UC Berkeley: At first glance, it seems like the fuel of the startup engine here is the school’s investment into entrepreneurship through developing coursework, accelerators, pre-accelerators, competitions, and so on and so forth. …


Image for post
Image for post
Cal Hacks 5.0. 2,200 attendees. The world’s largest collegiate hackathon. Photo taken in Berkeley, CA on November 3rd, 2018.

Today, we’re announcing with Major League Hacking that Hack Club Bank is the new preferred financial platform for all MLH Member Events.

On a golden Friday afternoon last November 2nd, 2,200 students from 20 states and 6 countries streamed into the main atrium of Cal Memorial Stadium overlooking UC Berkeley. Lines wrapped around the stadium’s granite columns with attendees anxiously waiting under the stadium’s shadow to hide from the autumn sun, tickets in hand and excitedly speculating on the night’s activities.

But this night, there would be no football game: the field would remain empty. Tonight, the stadium would be home to the world’s largest collegiate hackathon: Cal Hacks 5.0. …


🤔

Someone from the amazing Hack Club Slack asked me a few days ago what they should do, in regards to a career in software / computer science. In the process of jotting down my thoughts, I realized I had a lot to say. So I thought I’d share it in a longer form here.

I’m not an expert — I’m still navigating this space myself, but I’m a firm believer in the idea that there’s value in incomplete and flawed perspectives. So without further ado, here’s what I’d say, if you’re a high schooler interested in building software to make a living. …


This week, we went behind the scenes of Kiwi Campus at UC Berkeley to see how they work, where they’ve come from, and how Kiwi are thinking about prototyping and building a robot-powered delivery system!

We’ll have lots more conversations coming up with founders from all around Berkeley! Stay tuned ⏰, and let us know if you want us to talk to anyone you know.

Image for post
Image for post

If you’re a Cal student, founder, or alum, come join us at BearXto connect with almost 100 mentors and advisers and 2000 students and entrepreneurs on campus. We make it simple and straightforward — search through people on BearX to find mentors in your industry or field, and send them a quick message! It’s free to use, and we’re here at BearX to help you move forward, no matter your next idea.


We talked with Joshua Han, one of the cofounders of COBA, The Coffee Bar, about his life as a student founder at Cal, the work that goes into starting and running a company, and his experience growing COBA at UC Berkeley in the Cal startup community 🐻

We’ll have lots more conversations coming up with founders from all around Berkeley! Stay tuned ⏰, and let us know if you want us to talk to anyone you know.

Image for post
Image for post

If you’re a Cal student, founder, or alum, come join us at BearX to connect with almost 100 mentors and advisers and 2000 students and entrepreneurs on campus. We make it simple and straightforward — search through people on BearX to find mentors in your industry or field, and send them a quick message! It’s free to use, and we’re here at BearX to help you move forward, no matter your next idea.

About

Linus Lee

Thinking about community building, tool-making, and venture ecosystems. Fan of small teams doing big things. These days I write mainly at thesephist.com.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store