Can you introduce yourself for us?
My name is Maolei, I’m a software developer, mainly in charge of mobile clients– specifically for the Campuswire iOS app. I originally come from China. I got my bachelor’s degree at UCLA, where I majored in computer science and engineering.
What were you doing before joining Campuswire?
I worked in San Francisco at another startup, developing tech for people with Alzheimers and dementia. We worked with people who were getting older and dealing with memory loss. This software allowed caregivers to track people who are at high-risk or in hazardous conditions– you can see if the temperature in their area is pretty low or pretty high, and you can contact them through the app to check on their condition.
When did you leave San Francisco for New York City?
I moved to New York maybe half a year before I started working here, because my girlfriend was pursuing her masters degree at Columbia University. So I had to move to the east coast, then I joined Campuswire.
How do you like New York versus San Francisco?
New York City is actually pretty similar to my hometown– I come from Beijing. Both cities are modern, and huge. Compared to the west coast, there’s a lot of transportation, so I don’t need to drive, and there are no traffic jams. And actually, the winter in San Francisco is pretty cold.
It really is! You always have to have a Patagonia on you. Anyways, what do you do for fun outside of work?
On the weekends– well, I recently joined a club for rock climbing, so now I can just practice by myself and climb. I’m usually pretty sore after.
I bet. I have such a bad fear of heights, I wouldn’t be able to do it.
There’s a lot of room for improvement between week zero and week eight. They are like levels– right now, I can only achieve level two.
If you were an ice cream flavor, what would you be?
I think it’s either vanilla or green tea. Green tea is a taste I like because it comes from Chinese and Japanese food, so I love it more. And vanilla– when I first tried ice cream, I had vanilla.
When was the first time you tried ice cream?
I don’t know– when I was young. When I was young and tried it, there weren’t that many flavors. Just vanilla and chocolate.
How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?
Maybe three to four cups.
Not the worst we’ve heard. What is the longest time you’ve gone without sleeping, and why?
That takes me back to my college life. If you’re a computer science major, and if your work has no results, you don’t get any middle points on a project. So if your project is successful you get 100%, and if it’s not, you get a zero. You have to catch up and be successful [and not sleep].
What’s your favorite movie?
Maybe Avengers: Endgame.
Do you collect anything?
Stamps. I’ve collected stamps since high school.
How many stamps do you have?
Every year there’s a collection book you can buy with that year’s stamps. My father and mother actually worked for the postal system, so they got them. They could also peruse the stamps for the next year and get them for my book.
Do you have any rare or unique stamps?
Chinese stamps– each year they have a stamp based on whatever animal represents that year. Some of them are pretty rare.
When did you start at Campuswire?
March of last year. I found out about Campuswire from Angelist. I’m really interested in higher education, so I direct-messaged Tade about that. Because I have a lot of experience with mobile apps and higher education is what I wanted to work in, we connected. The current technology in higher education is boring, like Piazza. It’s boring, and the user interface is not what you’d like.
What do you do each day?
I’m working on the mobile app, trying to catch the interface up with the design we have on the website. Before I joined there was an app, but it was a pretty rough version. So I’ve implemented a new app, built from the ground up.
What’s your favorite part about working here?
For our app, the project is pretty open-ended so I get a lot of space to do the research and find the library images that is best suited for this part of the design. You need to do some experiments using different libraries and choose the best one.
What has been the biggest challenge at Campuswire since you started?
Because I do a lot of experimenting, I sometimes choose a library and work on it for a long time before realizing that it won’t work as a template for the app. Then I’ve wasted a lot of time and energy on work that can’t be used.
Can you tell us about a time when you were a student where you think Campuswire could have helped you?
I wanted Campuswire messaging. It’s not like I could use Facebook, because it’s social media– that would distract you from doing the work. But with Campuswire, you can focus on the college and class material and communicate with your classmates about the questions and things you did not understand. And also, for the future — when we launch V3 this fall — I could have used our integrated learning system in many of my classes. Piazza uses iClicker, which doesn’t make sense. It costs a lot and you might only use it for one class.
What’s something you didn’t expect about the company?
We’re always thinking about the next version of the app, and the next features. It surprised me a lot.
What are you most excited about for the future of Campuswire?
The revolution within higher education. I also want to see my professors use Campuswire and be involved in giving feedback, and requesting features, and developing our platform. I had a few professors who will be using it in their classes this year, and that’s exciting. ●
Campuswire is a course communication system built with the specific needs of professors and students in mind. Get to know the rest of our team through our Meet the Campuswire Team series, or by sending us a message on campuswire.com.