A letter to the future Startup Lifers, by Satu

Dear Startup Life applicant,
I hope your application is coming along well! I’m writing to share some of my experiences as a Startup Life intern. I have now lived in San Francisco for six months and it has been one of the most exciting experiences of my life.
Startup Life is an exceptional program. It is pretty amazing that we, students from a small Nordic country, are offered a possibility to interview with some of the best startups in the tech center of the world. Think about it: the Bay Area is the home of the biggest successes tech has seen in the past 20 years: Apple, Facebook, Google, etc.
Many of the companies here are truly changing the world. It is incredible that we are given a chance to work with them and make an impact.
For me, applying to Startup Life was an obvious choice. I was about to graduate and knew that this was an opportunity that could change my life – and I have to say it really did. I’m extremely happy that I applied to Startup Life last fall. I wouldn’t be the person I’m now without it.
You might have considered applying later, when you have more experience or the timing is better. My advice? Apply now. San Francisco is a city that changes rapidly. It might not be the same in couple of years. You don’t want to miss this!
Here at Coinbase, I have been given opportunities to do things that are on completely different scale than anything I have done before. I get to build features that are seen by over 2.5 million people. It is exciting to work with a product that is leading the transformation of a whole industry.
I have learned a lot and taken my design skills to a completely new level. For example: previously I would work mainly in Photoshop, but today I’m implementing many of my designs directly to our product with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I’m learning something new every day. In a startup, everyone’s contribution matters and you are given a lot of responsibility from the day one.
In this city, you get to work with extremely talented people. The people that I have met here inspire me to aim higher every day. I have made many new friends, travelled all over the West Coast and learned a lot about myself. There is nothing like moving to a new country to teach you how to adapt fast. I had never even visited San Francisco before I moved here, but everything has worked out better than I could have hoped for. This experience has definitely made me more comfortable with changes and more trusting that things will eventually work out. I’m sure that you will experience something similar when you come here. This city does change you.
It would be dishonest of me to say that everything has been smooth sailing for these past six months. Living here hasn’t always been fun. It has sometimes been difficult and it definitely takes a lot of work. I have sometimes been stressed, scared and insecure. But that is ok. That means that every day I’m stepping outside my comfort zone. Doing things that are uncomfortable is the fastest way to grow. The bigger challenges you face, the more you grow.
I still have almost half a year left of my visa and I’m sure there are many adventures yet in store for me. I look forward to learning more about design, technology, startups, and myself.
I’m excited to meet you when you arrive! Let me know if you need help with finding your way around the Bay Area – there are lots of us Finns here.
It is obvious that this is the chance of a lifetime. I promise you it will be the adventure that you won’t regret.
I hope everything goes well with the application and you will join us soon!
Satu has been working as a Product Designer at Coinbase since the beginning of this year. Coinbase is hiring again! Check their open positions at startuplife.fi/jobs!

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