Spencer Yen

Hey there - I'm currently a student at Columbia University studying computer science and history. I grew up in the Bay Area, and as a result was exposed to the tech scene early on. I'd always thought it was super cool to come up with an idea and just make it. Throughout high school I made a bunch of iOS apps, got lucky and worked at a couple cool companies, and also organized the world's largest high school hackathon. Now I'm just trying to learn more about the world and take solace in its uncertainty, work on projects that solve real problems, and do fun things.

 

Current Interests (November 2017):

 •  Food (trends in what we eat, what this says about culture, upsteam healthcare, and cooking)

 •  Healthcare (very complex, but what small part can I tackle to try to make an impact?)

 •  Design (product design, approaching problems with design thinking)

 •  College Admissions and Data (can admissions improve capitalization through better decision making? )

 •  How do you find meaning in life? (religion, absurdism, existentialism, and meaningful work)

 

Work

 •  DoorDash/KPCB Engineering Fellow (2017) - worked on iOS and Android development for the Alcohol team

 •  superlabs (Acquired by Zynga (2015)- helped build Draw Something for Messenger on iOS from scratch

 •  Ever (2014) - learned how a real startup operated and worked on location based photo search on iOS

 •  FWD.us (2014) - worked on social sharing features on the Selfies4Reform app

Projects

 •  Kenzo Health (Fall 2017) - trying to tackle chronic pain management through digital therapeutics. Received a grant from winning Columbia Engineering's Opioid Design Challenge.

 •  Selfie Activism (Spring 2017) - an app to send selfies and opinions to your representatives. Won Columbia's hackathon, learned a lot about the civic tech space, and realized this was the wrong approach.

 •  Flutter (2016) - an attempt at yet another college social app. Started off as an events discovery app, threw a couple launch parties during orientation, did Columbia's startup accelerator, changed the app to a location sharing app and then to a GIF sharing app. Social is a weird space.

 •  Eternal (2016) - a flashcard app that uses GIFs and the memory palace technique. I wrote about it, and someone else also wrote about it, and Apple featured it in the UK.

 •  Team Roots (2015) - around my junior year, mental health became a big topic of discussion in my community. A few friends and I wanted to lower the barrier to entry to get help by starting an anonymous online counseling platform for students.

 •  Yo From (2014) - in which Aakash Thumaty and I made a joke app and got a tiny feature in TechCrunch.

Writing

 •  My Middle School Campaign Speech

 •  Thinking About the Future of Culture and Identity in America

 •  My Biggest Small Contribution To DoorDash

 •  From the Free Range Childhood to the Pre-Professional Adolescence

 •  In the Information Age, Imagine There’s No Heaven, No Countries, No Possessions

 •  The Cusp of a New Era in Human History: Human Gene Editing with CRISPR-Cas9

 •  How I Built an App to Remember What I Learn in High School

 •  Delusional Obedience: The Checklist Childhood

Reading

 •  Time Out or Burn Out for the Next Generation

 •  When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanathi

 •  What Makes Us Happy

 •  Poor Charlie's Almanack

 •  The Organization Kid

 •  Good Old Neon - David Foster Wallace

Links

 •  Email

 •  LinkedIn

 •  Facebook

 •  Twitter

 •  Resume