Author Archive - Jesse Clayburgh

About Jesse Clayburgh:

I'm a junior at Stanford and transferred here from community college at the beginning of this past year. I write about interesting things that happen on campus and in the greater Silicon Valley.

Top 5 ways to build your credit score in college (and beyond!)

Monday, December 3rd, 2012


Since high school I’ve always had some strange fixation with my credit score. In the effort of winning this ‘game’ (win = high score) I’ve talked with a lot of different people (both students and those in the credit industry) and tried many different strategies. Some definitely worked better than others and a certain few actions were more effective than all others combined. As I got a bit older and my credit score became higher (it’s now right around 800/850) I began to see the benefits of having a high score. For example, I just applied for a premium credit card with awesome perks—as a student—and was instantly approved with a $13,000 credit limit (a new personal best). I’m no longer asked to put down a $600 security deposit when opening a new cell phone line and I could get a super competitive rate on any loans I wanted to take out. While these may not seem like big perks now, when you get close to graduation you’ll thank yourself for paying attention. Because I like you, I’ll condense the past 5 years of my hard work and observation into 5 steps that if taken, will get you a killer credit score.

As most people who read this are in their teens/early twenties, I’ll assume you have no credit score. For those who have already started and have low scores you should work on fixing your score first, although reading this should be beneficial to you as well.

1. Get a credit card no matter what

Prevent this from happening by building your score now!

That’s right, I said it. Keep in mind that credit scores are not meant for the individual, they’re designed as a metric for the bank to see how much of a credit risk you are. No matter what you’ve heard, if you want to build a great credit you need to use credit—the easiest way of which is through credit cards. However, I guarantee that if you’ve applied for a card without any history, you’ve been rejected. Why? Because the bank has no idea if you’re a risk or not. Rather than take the chance, they leave it up to you to prove it to them first.

Solution? Start off with a secured credit card. This works by giving the bank a deposit (I originally started with $300) that they keep for a year (and they don’t pay interest, either). In exchange they’ll give you a full-on credit card with a credit limit of the security deposit. After a year passes and you’ve shown good usage, the card converts to unsecured. Keep in mind long-term these cards are not very useful (5 years after opening my secure card it now has a limit of $1800), however they are crucial for beginning your credit history.

Important: make sure to…  (more…)

Jordan Williamson — our long awaited hero rises from ashes

Friday, November 30th, 2012

November 16, 2012 – Source: Steve Dykes/Getty Images North America

As we get ready for today’s epic game against UCLA, I’m going to take a minute and time-warp a couple of weeks back to the epic game against the University of Oregon. Kevin Hogan played one of the best games of his life and Stepfan Taylor steamrolled through defender after defender. Our defense racked up sac after sac… but Oregon was damn good this year (as they were last year– remember the humiliation after waking up at 5:30am for College GameDay?!) and they gave us a run for our money. All our best efforts ended up with us going into a nail biting overtime, but thankfully we won the coin toss and chose 2nd possession. Basically this means that Oregon goes first, starts on our the 25 yard line, and has to score in one drive.

They get close and it’s 4th down. They send in their kicker. Solid snap and he kicks….. It hits the post and bounces off. No good.

Now’s our chance to make it happen. Surely between Talor and Hogan we can get this done.

4th down comes and we’re still 37 yards away. This can only one play left and everyone knows what’s going to happen. Shaw sends in Jordan Williamson.

Oh no…

Mind you, I’ve never met Jordan before and I’m confident that he’s been a solid kicker since his first day at Stanford, but this guy has gotten massively shafted during his time here. I won’t go into details on his Stanford playing career, but needless to say when he took the field on Saturday night to attempt to seal the deal for us, the sports-bar I was at in NYC (full of newly minted Stanford alumni) came to absolute silence. Jordan lined up, the snap was made, his kick connected and…

this

I know I’m not the only one who’s glad to see Williamson finally get the redemption he deserves.

See you at the game today. Oh! and also:

 

Resonance: More Than Just Background Noise?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Stanford's next Pandora?

Chances are if you’ve been listening to music online lately your browser has been stuck on Resonance. Created by current Stanford seniors Chris Seewald, Zach Weiner, Matthew Crowley, and Michael White, Resonance is as if Pandora and Youtube had an child that was raised by Spotify. Originally intended to reduce the time that it takes to find good music, Resonance allows users, focused around geographical areas, to add music to an online queue. Listeners can then rate the music their peers have uploaded and are provided with a stream of continuous songs that play alongside their respective YouTube video.

Co-Founder Chris Seewald claims that since their recent inception at Stanford they’ve had “several thousand visits from a couple thousand users.” More impressive however, is how much those users have taken to the site, as “users have added more than one thousand of their favorite songs.” In response to the positive feedback they’ve received from the Stanford campus they’ve decided to expand geographically, moving into Austin and Boulder due to the large student populations there and personal connections. While for the time being they’ll staying on college campuses, in the future they plan to expand into cities as well, with San Francisco and New York in their sights. Seewald is also excited for the potential of different playlists throughout the nation and thinks that there’ll  be “unique music taste differences across different regions,” which is a pretty cool concept when thinking about how say, Kansas City might compare to Seattle.

I will say that for my particular tastes the Stanford Resonance channel seems a bit too random at times, jumping from Bob Dylan to Skrillex. Also, a friend of mine who originally introduced me to the site said she liked the recommended songs more before Resonance started gaining popularity, claiming that the site took much more of a “dance-party” type of feel as more people started contributing. That being said, while listening to the site while typing this article I didn’t skip the majority of songs that came up.

There’s no doubt that Resonance is entering an extremely crowded market, but given this all-star team of co-founders (with full-time offers (correction: Chris’ offer from BCG is for a summer internship) from Apple, Square, and BCG) and their already growing base of users, they might just be on to something here. What do you guys think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

BASES 150K Challenge End of Year Finale Tomorrow

Monday, May 21st, 2012

The Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students, known as BASES, will be holding its end of year exhibition and finale tomorrow (Tuesday, May 22nd) at the Arrillaga Alumni Center. This event marks the culmination of the 150K challenge, a funding competition for entrepreneurs and product inventors where 150,000 equity free dollars will be handed out . The finale promises to be interesting and will have a diverse mix of entrepreneurs, investors, students, and others from Silicon Valley. BASES was even just recently featured on TechCrunch for this event, which is a pretty big deal.

Doors open at 1PM and inventors will be showcasing their products to finale attendees. Ex Zappos COO and current venture capitalist Alfred Lin will give the keynote address at 4:30PM with all 150k challenge prize winners to be announced shortly thereafter. Check it out tomorrow and tell us your thoughts!

Update: RSVP for the event here.

Day In the Life: Dominik Pasalic

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Part one of a series detailing Stanford students and the awesome things we do outside of class

7:15AM on Sunday morning and my alarm sounds, piercing my post-Saturday night partying foggy consciousness. Detesting the idea of waking up at this godforsaken hour, I hit that glorious invention the snooze button and roll back into blissful nothingness. 5 minutes later my phone screams at me again, and an image flashes through my mind: I’m floating atop the water, the sun warming my face and the wind whipping through my hair. I’m drinking beer and laughing with friends. From the depths of my slumber, a slightly accented voice booms at me “Pull in the jib sheet Jesse, we’re tacking!” In a rush of excitement, I fly out of bed and begin searching for warm clothes, finally remembering why I got up this early on the day most college students never see the a.m. hours: it’s sailing time!

Stanford Senor & Skipper Dominik Pasalic

If you think I’m nuts for giving up my one guaranteed morning of sloth to schlep all the way to Santa Cruz to battle the wind or lack there of, wait until you meet Stanford senior Dominik Pasalic, Croatian born and raised, and an ocean lover since day one. Despite his passion for the sea and fascination with all things maritime, it wasn’t until his mid teens that Dom took his first one week sailing class in his home country. “Learn how to sail an old Croatian sailboat,” he tells us, “and you’ll be able to sail any boat in the world!” he emphasizes as he points to the electronic controls on the modern 46 ft Beneteau sailboat that we’ve chartered (sail speak for rented) for the day from Pacific Yachting in Santa Cruz. (more…)

Rove at MemAud: Obama’s done “Boo-do-diddley-squat!”

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Robert Gibbs- Photo credit to Chris Seewald

Last Tuesday Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs duked it out in Memorial Auditorium. The debate, moderated by Stanford Professor Rob Reich, was actually pretty interesting. Reich started the debate by asking both Rove and Gibbs to “role play” and switch sides, each arguing for their opponent’s case. Predictably, Gibbs started off by declaring how Romney has no special insight into how to manage the American economy, especially given his record in Massachusetts. Rove then retaliated by bringing up Obama’s largely unfulfilled promises from his first election campaign, claiming that new “unifying” leadership is needed. Reich pushed each debater to better answer the prompt,

Karl Rove-Photo credit to Chris Seewald

which neither initially addressed, and joked about the difficulties both contestants had with not pivoting, much to the amusement of the audience.

While both candidates dodged and skirted their fair share of inquiries, Rove took the prize for eluding questions. When pushed on several occasions as to establish whether or not he supported transparency in SuperPac donations, for example, Rove deliberately brushed the question aside, stating simply, “If that’s the lay of the land, then that’s the lay of the land.” Reich eventually gave up and moved on. Surprisingly, Rove was very clear with his opinion of the DREAM Act, declaring that it should be done by states and not on the national level. This is a significant departure from the majority of Rove’s Republican compatriots.

All in all, the debate lived up to its promise of entertainment; both men stuck close to party lines and agreed that, to get anything done, compromise and cooperation are imperative. Rove however, won without a doubt, showcasing impressive skill in debate. Granted, Rob Gibbs is much closer to the upcoming presidential race than Karl Rove and has a lot more at stake with what he says, but Rove’s witty comebacks and no-holds-barred language (declaring one of his dissenters a “no-good lying sonofabitch”) enhanced his case. Furthermore, Rove spoke more extensively on major points than Gibbs and often interjected during Gibbs’ responses with the Republican counter-argument, citing a laundry list of facts and previous legislation.

Video of the debate after the break…

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The dreaded Stanford bike police…..(and how to escape!)

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Black and white, a terrorizing sight on campus!

They’re sly, they’re sneaky, and they give out tickets like nobody’s business! That’s right, I’m talking about the Stanford bike police. They’ve been out in force and recently I had the great honor of “chatting” with an officer as I was riding my bike at night without a light. As most Stanford upperclassmen know from experience and most freshmen and sophomores are learning the hard way, bike tickets seriously cramp everyone’s style! Expensive, time-consuming (if you choose to go to “ticket school”), and all around crappy. Now, if you follow the law (use a light at night, come to a full-stop at a stop-signs, don’t ride where you’re not supposed to, etc.), you should be fine and don’t need to read this. However, if you’re an anarchist bent on disobeying authority, this is definitely for you. Also, if you’re a regular Stanford student that makes a few mistakes now and then, you should probably keep reading.

DISCLAIMER: I do not endorse breaking the law, nor dishonesty. Use these tips at your own risk. If you get caught doing some of these your punishment will be far greater than if you hadn’t tried to be a bad-ass. Telling the officer that “Jesse said I could do it” will most definitely not work. Duh. The following tips are based on the experiences of myself and other undergrad Stanford students:

1.) Don’t be a dick

You have to realize that from the second a cop pulls you over, he has complete control. Even if you are completely innocent, I promise being rude will get you absolutely nowhere. In fact, just being rude may be warrant enough for the cop to give you some type of ticket. Sure, you may be able to get out of it down the road, but that doesn’t mean it won’t take a ton of your time and energy in letters and court appearances. Pulled-over? Suck it up, smile, and be polite.

2.) Be honest

Cops are not idiots. I promise. They give literally thousands of tickets a year, so your half-brained, split-second excuse is most likely not going to work. Depending on how crappy it sounds, it could end up with you getting a heavier fine/more unpleasant interaction. If you get pulled over it’s likely the first thing the officer will ask you is why you think he pulled you over. You have two options: tell him the truth (if you know), or tell him you’re not sure. Again with the whole idiots thing: if it’s super obvious (ex: blew a stop-sign where everyone else was stopped) and you say you’re not sure, that’s a pretty sure bet for a ticket. Oftentimes honesty can get you a long way with the police here, especially if you’re apologetic and polite. However, enforcement will rarely have mercy for bikers who don’t pay attention when they’re riding, and honestly they probably shouldn’t. In cases like these I recommend telling the truth, but putting your own spin on as to why you broke the law. Which leads me to point 3…. (more…)