My name is Stephen.

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Stanford Essay: From Fortune 1,000,000 to Fortune 1,000

Stanford students possess intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.

My first job came a year after I started programming, and the client was (drumroll, please...) none other than my dad. I built him a warehouse management system so he could do his exhausting job at a small apparel store more efficiently. Scrambling to find inventory was substituted with a robust location search feature. Handwritten supplier reports were generated automatically. Although I didn’t get paid, I was content when he came home with a smile everyday.

As I continued to master my craft in programming, the golden opportunity arrived. Warner Music contacted me after their marketing director read about my app, iTunes Instant, in the news. She asked whether I could help streamline the company’s marketing analysis process, and I accepted it immediately.

Back then, workers still entered data manually, analyzed sales using Excel, and printed paper reports. To solve these problems, I developed a system that had automatic data entry and made dynamic sales reports available anywhere online. The most satisfying moment was when employees sent me emails talking about how much time and paper the system had saved them.

Working with a Fortune 1,000 company was not a typical experience for a high school student, and I learned the most that I could. Primarily, I understood the purpose of technology more deeply. Technology should be used to minimize the input and maximize the output. I want to continue building tools that automate repetitive tasks to save individuals and companies time and money.