Eric Lu

Computer Science @Harvard.

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What I learned from building the same website three times

In college, I built a website called Grouptale, which I described as a tool to “make deliberations easy”.


I was part of many student organizations in college where membership was selective. In a lengthy “deliberations” process, current members of the group would discuss prospective candidates, and eventually come to consensus on who would be selected to join.

Deliberations is always a painful process. Groups traditionally used spreadsheets (or even physical notebooks) to keep track of candidates, and the final rounds of debate over candidates could drag on for hours.

The idea for Grouptale is a very simple tool that groups can use to organize, comment, discuss, and even vote on candidates.

At its peak, Grouptale had around 200 active users in over 10 organizations at Harvard. It’s not the next Facebook, but Grouptale is a very special product to me because of the many learning

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Learning lessons from visiting Israel

At the end of February, I was lucky enough to travel to Israel to work face-to-face with our team in Tel-Aviv. It was primarily a business trip, but I did get the chance to explore the region a little while I was there.

It’s painful to admit, but in Israel I found myself constantly surprised by my own ignorance. If anything, the trip made me realize that there is a lot more for me to learn about religious history, Jewish tradition, and the Middle East.

I grew up in a wine country suburb and like many kids in our neighborhood, I was an on-and-off member of our local church. I’m spiritual, but also conflicted. I have a few Jewish friends, but my understanding of Jewish traditions (and even Christian traditions to a certain extent) is elementary. Needless to say, I was in for a culture shock.

Part I: Geography

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Geographically, Israel is a small country in the Middle East. You can

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From waterfalls to waterfronts: Our trip through Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile

This past June and July, as a graduation gift, my brother and I had the opportunity to travel through three countries in South American: Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile. Our trip was an eye-opening experience that took us to the colorful neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, the snow-capped peaks of Patagonia, the arid Atacama desert, and many more beautiful places. Even more meaningful than the sights, however, was the chance we had to connect with people from an entirely different culture, and experience life in their shoes. The combination of the people, places, and things of South America made it a truly unforgettable trip.


Though there is a plethora of information available online, there were still many things that we had to learn along the way. In this entry, I’d like to document some of these learning lessons that the internet did not prepare us for. The locations that we visited are

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