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CEC Student Travels to Silicon Valley for Startup Conference

Junior Computer Science Student David Hodge Attends YCombinator Conference

David Hodge, a junior Computer Science student, traveled to California in September for YCombinator’s “StartUp School”—a one-day conference that allows entrepreneurs a chance to hear stories and advice from founders and investors. Hodge shares his experience and advice from some of the most successful startups in the industry with other CEC students.

Ycombinator has been called “the world’s most powerful start-up incubator” by Fast Company, and “a spawning ground for emerging tech giants” by Fortune. Dropbox, Reddit, and Airbnb are some popular companies that have come out of YC. Some notable speakers at the conference were Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest, and Marc Andreessen, a venture capitalist.

Hodge says that while the information provided at the conference was useful, the personal accounts of entrepreneurs like himself were the most inspiring. “These people also started at the bottom,” says Hodge. “I learned that while overnight success is expected, you have to have patience to become truly successful.” Hodge says that he also learned about the importance of measuring your own personal growth, and meeting your own expectations before others. An understanding of human psychology and an understanding of technology are what set these entrepreneurs apart and made them successful.

Hodge says the most inspiring speaker at the conference was Ooshma Garg, the creator of Gobble. The 29-year-old found success in her second startup Gobble, a dinner kit delivery service, which is on its way to being a million-dollar startup company.

Dean Hossein Haj-Hariri provided travel reimbursements from his personal research fund for Hodge. Hodge says the experience inspired him to focus on personal growth and take different paths.