Exactly a year ago today, I posted about taking time off of Duke to join a startup in MV. Since then, I left to run Glimpse full-time after receiving funding from Y Combinator and joining the W20 batch.

Image for post
Image for post
YCW20’s first dinner — yes! it was in person.

My original article has resurfaced due to COVID, leading to more than 2 calls a day with students questioning higher academia. While I love calling and discussing if dropping out of school makes sense for you, I hope answers to the most common questions will help you decide on your next steps.

The 6 Most Common Questions I Receive

“How did you know your idea was good enough to drop out?” …

Image for post
Image for post
group video chats are awkward

There’s 16 of us on a zoom birthday call, all of us love the birthday girl to death, yet nobody talks. We’re celebrating her 21st over video 👯‍♂️. We don’t all know each other, and even banter is just plain awkward 🌮. The worry about interrupting others results in nobody talking.


When done incorrectly, group calls are so exhausting the feeling has created a phrase coined: “Zoom Fatigue.”

If the dreaded fatigue has not hit yet, check out my 4 tips below. If it has, maybe these will reverse the effects! …

women hosting events
women hosting events
credit: unsplash.com

Glimpse is the app that will spice up all of your online social events 🥳.

Perfect for any group, from 4 to 400,000 to get to know each other at a deeper level.

You match 1-on-1 via video for 2 minutes at a time.

This post will include:

  1. Effortless setup
  2. Event Suggestions
  3. Customization Features

Effortless Setup

  1. Visit joinglimpse.com and make an account.
  2. Give your room a fun name and description
  3. Click “copy invite” and share the link with everyone you want to invite!

Event Types

Still not sure? Here’s some types events we’ve elevated already:

  • Happy Hours: from office happy hours, to Y Combinator founders getting together, to college friends. With our recent introduction of minigames this becomes even more fun! …

Your 5-part guide to becoming the ultimate virtual happy hour host

After Zoom birthday parties, virtual happy hours are proving to be the growing meme emerging from a chaotic March. CEOs and bored parents alike are searching for ways to maintain community and high-spirits despite distance and worrying headlines.

We are all new to this, so here at Glimpse we’ve compiled a guide to hosting a fun virtual happy hour to keep those real-life friendships alive. Virtual events can create a special atmosphere that give you a glimpse into parts of friends’ lives that you don’t always see.

Image for post
Image for post

1. Take ownership

Hosting an IRL event is hard work! And to our surprise, so is hosting a virtual event. Creating an event exciting enough to create a sense of commitment among friends and coworkers can be challenging. Creating that sense of commitment becomes easier if you take ownership over the hosting. …

We are living in an unprecedented time, with pressure to make our social isolation a productive experience. I propose instead a way to stay connected with your community and mentally sane.

Image for post
Image for post

Some are waking up today breathing with the help of a ventilator. Others are waking up to learn a friend of a friend is in the ICU. Yet another is waking up to news that they’ve lost their job.

Thankfully, others are more blessed. …

Ariana Grande sings “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.” What if this song was really about cutting ties with your smartphone?

🎉Happy 2020! Many of my friends are setting the same New Year’s Resolution: to reduce screen time.

This is something I’ve been working on myself and I thought I’d share my personal approach and some research suggesting how crucial this lifestyle change really is. Gravitate can help with this! It pairs you with someone relevant, plans a meal together, and suggests conversation topics that jumpstart a deeper relationship.

Read to (1) identify signs you are dating your phone, (2) understand why your relationship is toxic, and (3) how to end things respectfully.

To advance our professional lives, we employ career ladders which delineate steps to a promotion.

To advance our companies, we define KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and make data driven decisions to accelerate scale. To advance academically, we study and get good grades.

These quantitative measures of success, fuel people like myself: goal oriented, driven, passionate individuals. I suppose I am metrics-driven and output-oriented. Perhaps if personal growth was quantifiable, I would not be a workaholic.

This begs the question:
Why is there no framework for measuring personal growth?

Boy on a ladder, reaching into the clouds
Boy on a ladder, reaching into the clouds
Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

An easy answer, is that personal growth is too personal to generalize. The paths to “success” vary immensely. And what “success” means to you varies as well. …

After 3 semesters in college, I left to join a startup. Like most life decisions, it was comprised of push and pull factors. My choice quickly attracted a variety of admiration, judgement, and unsolicited advice. This post gives insight into my thoughts, and can hopefully provide perspective to others questioning the purpose of higher education.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo credits @jeshoots

The post is in chronological order, interspersed with advice I would give people at that point in their life. Take what I write with a hefty grain of salt 🧂 — these are all just my perspectives, shaped by my background and experiences.

Entering College

I was shaped by having extremely supportive parents and teachers growing up. Hearing and feeling a resounding “you can do anything” has been fundamental to my growth. If while growing up, nobody told you that you could do anything, consider this me telling you now: you can do anything.

A lot of peers ask me about how I use LinkedIn, how I meet amazing people, or even how I have time for meetups. Here’s all my secrets…

Before I share how I approach my network, I want to recognize Keith Ferrazzi and his book, Never Eat Alone. A lot of how I approach meeting people, was strongly influenced by his ideas. I think of it as a modern How to Win Friends and Influence People. Here are key take-aways:

  • Build your network before you need it 🌐. I use build, because it is a process. …

Last week I competed in StartupBus, a five day startup bootcamp/hackathon during which participants launch a company while on a bus to New Orleans. I imagined an extended hackathon with additional roadtrip discomfort — but it was so much more. Read on to learn about StartupBus, my company, and what I learned.

Hackers, hustlers, hipsters enter, and 30 companies emerge 5 days later. I identified as a hacker (full stack developer). Hustlers contribute their business know-how, and hipsters make it popular.

At this point you should be asking… who can be crazy enough to spend days driving across the country with strangers, and by choice, give up sleep and comfort. Apparently over 1500 people (including myself) found it appealing enough to sign up! 100 “buspreneurs” were selected, split across 5 buses, each starting in a different location. …


Helena Merk

Founder @ Glimpse. I love building, creating, hacking. I believe everyone who wants to create, should have the means to do so too. joinglimpse.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