Eric Tendian

Co-founder of Clarify ( Interested in the intersection of tech & education, urban issues. Studies at Illinois Tech, works at Packback. Only 19 but coding since ‘05.

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The world is a very tumultuous place right now. Violence is rampant, intolerance is becoming more widespread, and emotions are winning over the voice of reason. Rhetoric is flooding the airwaves and social media. It’s all very chaotic. How do you escape it?


Take a break. Stop trying to drink from the firehose of Twitter. Forget Facebook for a bit. Turn off the TV and talk radio.

There’s a lot of negativity right now. We’re not designed to cope with this much. So step away; disconnect. The negativity will dissipate.

Be calm. Enjoy simple pleasures.

Write to yourself if you need to get something off your chest. Let the chaos flow out, onto the page.

When you are finished, tranquility will have arrived.

It has for me. This is my pause.

- FIN -

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Halloween Hacks

Happy Halloween! The following was originally posted on Facebook.

Important information regarding recent security breach

Got this email from 000webhost this morning. Apparently they just found out they got hacked, and everything was taken. This is my first time hearing about the breach.

I did some research and found this blog post, from a security researcher trying to inform the company of the breach: Breaches, traders, plain text passwords, ethical disclosure and 000webhost

It’s horrifying that people still store passwords in plain text at this scale. Even more horrifying that the hack was done in March and it took this long for 000webhost to become aware of it.

The outrageous part is that it took almost an entire week before the author could find a way to disclose the breach to the company. Goes to show that if your organization doesn’t have a secure and easy way to disclose security risks, you won’t find out that you’re hacked until...

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I’ve found myself drifting away from many people, far too often. I don’t enjoy this, as there are many wonderful people I wish I could interact with. Former classmates from all my years of schooling, old colleagues who have moved onto other adventures, and even random people on the internet who shared a common interest. All of these people I seem to lose touch with, and I don’t have the effort or time to bring them back into my circle. Social media helps, and I can interact with them if I wish, but still it is odd to have someone on my “Friends” list who I haven’t talked to in five years.

There have been at least a couple different studies done about what is the cognitive limit for which people can have stable social relationships. One anthropologist, Robin Dunbar, estimated the limit to be 150 relationships. Two others, H. Russell Bernard and Peter Killworth, had their own estimate...

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The Professor Gets Tenure

I firmly believe that the best learning happens outside the classroom. Over the past few years my work experiences have proved this to be true, particularly in the last year and a half with my internship at Packback. Today I’m excited to announce that I will be joining Packback full-time as a Software Engineer, starting December 14. In this new role, I will continue to do full-stack development on our various products and internal tools, tacking exciting new challenges and increasing the pace of work. Reaching this career milestone much earlier than I had planned, I had to make some adjustments - thus I will be transitioning to a part-time student at Illinois Tech for the remainder of my undergraduate studies, with an expected graduation date of Spring 2017. I’ve got to step up my game to succeed both in the workplace and school, but as very few people get this opportunity I am going...

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Resonance Disaster

Two years ago today, 13 people were shot in Cornell Square Park. Violence in Chicago before and after that date has been unrelenting.

One year ago today, I announced the launch of The mission of the website was to (1) “give people the raw, unfiltered picture of crime in Chicago” and (2) provide avenues for those motivated to help stop the violence to do so, via linking to various community organizations.

Today, though continues to serve dozens of scanner listeners with a variety of tools, it is far from achieving the original mission. My heart and mind are no longer aligned as they once were.

This year-long journey has made me incredibly proud of the work first responders do, as well as the audience who seeks out the dreadful news, but incredibly disappointed upon listening to violence occur daily. Unlike the consistent anguish and horror that those...

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Startup resources

Here’s a few of the bookmarks I have which relate to some aspects of startups. This is by no means a finished list, and titles are copied as-is from my bookmarks. I’ll do my best to update this, but will probably forget in a couple months. Contact me via email or Twitter if you want me to update this post.

What is a startup?

  • Startup = Growth
  • Zero to One summary — Medium
  • Ask HN: Successful one-person online businesses? | Hacker News

Working at a startup

  • Runtime Era: My Interview Questions for Potential Employers
  • How to Land a Job at a Startup (Even if you life in the middle of nowhere) | Luke Thomas
  • Optimize for Happiness
  • Alex Payne — Letter To A Young Programmer Considering A Startup
  • The Intern Project
  • Forget the resume, kill on the cover letter by David of 37signals
  • The Only Interview Question That Matters |
  • Lessons from a Silicon Valley job search | Robert Heaton


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Injustice of a justice system

Some thoughts I wanted to write down:

I’ve been following the news coming out of Ferguson, NYC, and other areas where police have killed unarmed individuals, almost of all of them minorities. Without a doubt, more needs to be done to ensure police are policed themselves. These last two weeks have made the need even more apparent and the disparities between races very visible. With the lack of indictment in the Eric Garner case, myself (and many others) realized that footage of an officer’s accused wrongdoing is not enough.

There are many police officers who do their jobs well, often unrecognized as they are simply doing their job. However, still vast groups of people do not trust the police, and have good reason to do so. We’ve seen the statistics already, even some first-hand accounts on Twitter and elsewhere. Like many others I’m outraged at this string of verdicts, cases where...

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Ivory Tower: Is college worth the cost?

Looking at TechCrunch and other successful entrepreneurs, I ask myself: “Why go to high school?” “Why go to college?”

“If I’m learning something i will never use, why learn it?”

Today I watched a documentary called Ivory Tower (recommended by one of my professors), addressing these very questions. Is education worth all the cost? This documentary really hit home for me, so I wrote up a tweetstorm about my thoughts and observations on the topic. That tweetstorm is as follows:

  1. Student loans have become insane. Schools give more financial aid, but doesn’t solve the problem of tuition rising. #IvoryTower
  2. This extreme cost of higher education makes people rightfully question the worth of going to college. #IvoryTower
  3. In Silicon Valley, some think they can use economies of scale to do more with less, while making a profit (MOOCs). #IvoryTower
  4. I’ve tried some of these MOOCs; it is very...

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Leading From The Rear

Over a year has passed since I first joined a student organization at the Illinois Institute of Technology and since then I have been on three leadership teams at different organizations. As I transition away from them and bring focus back to what I am truly passionate about, I wanted to share what I’ve learned from my experiences to help the next set of leaders make their organizations even more successful.

Among many of the organizations I have been a part of, both on and off campus, the biggest contributing factor to their shortcomings has been a lack of motivation. This lack of motivation among the leadership team could cause relationships to fail, events to have low turnouts, and many other effects. I can testify to experiencing the pain firsthand.

However, this does not have to happen.

There are leadership strategies you can use today to motivate others in your organization,...

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Why I love learning but hate school

I love learning but hate school. Why?

In school, you’re forced to put in effort into something which has no direct meaning apart from words on a piece of paper. Learning is much more purpose-driven, you learn something because it drives success. You learn because you need that knowledge or experience.

There are no classes on how to learn to walk. You just try it once, fall over, and get back up to try again. You don’t get a multiple-choice test on how to swim. The most long-lasting learning does not come from a classroom. It comes from putting in effort, failing almost all the time, and finally making a breakthrough to burn that experience into your head.

When someone asks me how I “got so good at computers” I think of every time I wiped all the data off my hard drive. All the times my program crashed or gave an error. All the times software didn’t install as documented. Trial and...

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