We had the good fortune of connecting with Marc Luzuriaga and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Marc, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor behind my success is using first principles to solve problems. Typically, many people like to solve problems headfirst into the water until they realize that they are swimming in circles, making little to no progress towards solving a problem. On the contrary, the first principle approach to thinking likes to boil down problems to their core truths and axioms. These core truths serve as building blocks for solving a problem.

For instance, when I joined my high school leadership team in hopes of being the change in my community, I noticed that the majority of students were forming volunteer organizations as a way for students to reach the one hundred hour volunteer hour graduation requirement. Instead of hopping on to this trend, I took a different approach and boiled down the activity of community service into one crucial truth, which was collecting volunteer hours. However, our school lacked an efficient way to record volunteer hours. Students were still recording their volunteer hours on paper and had to manually total their volunteer hours and submit them to their teachers. Taking notice of this inefficient method, I was able to develop a digital method of recording volunteer hours that automated the whole process of recording volunteer hours on a website now known as TimberwolveService. From there, I was able to formulate a team of students to build off of this technology. From working with the Los Angeles Mayor’s office to bringing a service award to our school to partnering with student and local organizations to providing volunteer opportunities to students, we were able to provide incentives and encourage the school as a whole to participate in the act of community service.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I was a sophomore in high school, I founded a community service and development web platform known as TimberwolveService for my high school, Larchmont Charter. I created the platform with three primary goals in mind: to inspire a sense of community at my high school, to provide student-led organizations with a platform, and to increase the number of service hours per student. Today, the platform is a place where the five hundred students in my high school could record volunteer hours, search for volunteer opportunities within the Los Angeles Area, view the information of student-led community development organizations, and search for community-service-based awards. Although this may sound great in the present, there was a time when this platform almost ceased to exist.

During the beginning of my senior year at high school, the student leadership team removed the service committee, the committee responsible for overseeing community service at my high school, and the committee that I intended to lead that year. As for the reason for the removal, the student leadership team did not give me one. It may have been because of the idea of a community web platform sounding too avant-garde during the time, or it may have been the bleak outlook of the future of service at our school. Nonetheless, I was faced with two decisions: form my own team outside of the main leadership team to develop TimberwolveService or not run and develop the idea at all. I chose the first option; and, looking back, I surely do not regret doing it. Although this meant that I had to work ten times harder to develop this platform, the impact that TimberwolveService made in my high school was ten times better than I had anticipated.

One of the memorable lessons that I took from creating TimberwolveService is that there is no secret formula to success. Too often, I have heard people ask me, “What is the secret formula to success?” My answer to them would be that there is none. Instead of looking for the magical formula of success, I would rather advise those same people to search for first principles that will guide their decisions. If you boil down your goals and objectives to their strict truths, you now have a great place to start and build your successes.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The first place I would take my friend is century city, as there are many restaurants and stores there. Specifically, I would take them to eat at the Chinese Restaurant, Meizhou Dongpo, located in Century City’s Westfield. I would then take them to Beverly Hills. Although my friend may most likely not afford most of the items in Beverly Hills, they would at least be able to view the extremely lavish but excessive life within the area. Within the Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive, I would take them to a Starbucks that I would go to every time I would visit the area. I would bring my friend there, catch up with their lives, and enjoy the scenery within the area.

After eating food and getting a drink, I would then take them to Pan Pacific Park on a walk around the park. Near the park, they would be fascinated to see what it is like within the Grove. The Grove is arguably one of the best shopping malls in Los Angeles. Just to end the day, I would see the latest movie with them.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shout out my parents for helping me fund this project and initiative; my sister, Marjorie, for taking the role of vice-president of this platform; my uncle for answering my questions about coding and web development; my capstone teacher, Mr. Ehrlichmann, for serving as an advisor to the platform; and the TimberwolveService team, Jessica Luna, Esther Song, Paige Go, Zahin Hossane, Marla Hamaya, and Yunju Park, for believing in this initiative and helping develop this project.

Website: https://www.timberwolveservice.com/

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