Jasmine Gao

Head of Product & Analytics at Made
Gamer interested in art, passive learning and ice fishing.
Tweet @jgao or say hi@jasminegao.com

Previously: Bitly data strategist, Enstitute fellow and Plum Alley

More About Me

      Once upon a time, when Jasmine was only 15 years old, she got her first taste of start-up culture at myCollegeSTAT, a website specializing in qualitative (instead of just quantitative) college admissions data for prospective university students.

      Having enjoyed her experience at myCollegeSTAT and itching to further pursue her passion in entrepreneurship and technology, Jasmine spent four months at Google NYC participating in the Technovation Challenge. During this time, she and a team of three others built Trending, an Android application that aggregates and organizes current, seasonal, and categorical trends in the fashion industry.

      Jasmine later found herself fully immersed in the New York tech scene while interning at JumpThru, a business accelerator targeting the large gender disparity in technology. At, JumpThru she worked on a number of projects ranging from the Hamptons Hackathon for Humanity to Plum Alley, a marketplace for exclusive products by female founders.

      Currently, Jasmine leads Product and Analytics at Mealku, a platform for ordering handmade meals by independent chefs. She is also an Enstitute fellow taking an alternative path to traditional higher education. Most recently, she was a Data Strategist at bitly where she worked creatively with large datasets under the scope of producing new products and services.

      TL;DR: Aside from being a recovering video game addict, Jasmine enjoys art, architecture, Ancient Egyptian history, and sticky rice.

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Some Ramblings Disguised as Reflections

It’s 5:29AM.  This is the first time I’ve naturally woken up this early and I don’t know if it’s because my body is making a valiant effort to regulate my wonky sleep schedule in an attempt to become that morning person we all wish we were or if this is the onset of some weird case of insomnia and I’m really just screwed. Either way, there is something nice about being 4 hours ahead of schedule and not having to answer to a blaring alarm. Ironically, however, as I type this, my roommate Samman’s iPhone has been playing marimba every 5 minutes since I’ve been awake; but instead of being bothered and wondering why in the world she wants to wake up at such a cold, ungodly hour, I’m actually impressed with her ability to hit snooze so many times with such quickness and precision that it makes me think maybe her sleep habits are even more fucked up than mine.  I do, however, feel bad for my other roommate Weezie who is actually trying to sleep but is too nice of a vegetarian to say anything—everyone in the house has placed bets on when we think she’s going to snap, though, and be found grilling up a mean steak, maybe Samman’s iPhone alarm will be the reason why. 

In the past hour I have been awake, I’ve noticed that although I’m running on less sleep than usual, I’m calmer, more productive and less overwhelmed by the congestion of thoughts and observations that normally fill up my mind. There is an odd sense of clarity during these quiet hours that I’m not used to but will enjoy getting used to as I start to develop a more “normal” morning routine consisting of breakfast, the occasional run (fingers crossed) and some quick jotting down of ideas. 

At exactly 9:20AM, my winter break will have officially ended and I will be starting my first day back at bitly since 2012. I’m excited for new projects that will help me better define and develop my area of expertise, which I believe will be in tech-focused product management, and am truly proud of what I have accomplished in the short 3 months I’ve been in Enstitute so far.  If you had told me a year ago that I would be dropping out of college to work at one of the most well known internet startups in the world, learning programming and the many facets of running a company from brilliant engineers and visionaries, writing my first python scripts and creating an army of twitter robots about Star Trek and food in Brooklyn, meeting with Todd Park, the CTO of the United States, and an array of accomplished CEOs and investors, being written up in CNBC, Forbes and a number of other news publications, making my bed, doing my own laundry, developing an uncharacteristic appreciation for Carly Rae Jepsen, etc., etc., I’d have thought you were crazy—but then again that’s what everyone thinks before they end up doing something big, and I’m looking forward to looking back a year from now at all the big things I’ve done in 2013.  

Bits of Life, Learning and Working at Bitly

During the past month and a half at E[nstitute], I have experienced more than I could’ve possibly imagined. Looking back, the two weeks of boot camp definitely set the pace for the next two years of our apprenticeships through back-to-back projects to event planning on $100 budgets—all with unexpected issues and changes popping up left and right. What hit me the hardest, however, was not the workload or fast-paced environment, but rather the sudden passing of my grandmother just one week into boot camp.  That experience alone opened my eyes to the true nature of uncertainty and taught me not only how to grieve but how to balance family and work at the same time. 

[Read the full post on HardknocksU]

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