While walking through the streets of New York City, you might stumble upon Jed Caluag, the founder, developer, and creator of RateMyDorm—a resource for authentic college dorm reviews. Caluag, a Boston University alumni who always dreamed of developing his own startup, has now fulfilled this monumental milestone. Currently, Caluag hopes to pursue further his dream of coding his own startups, while creating YouTube content in New York City.
During high school, Caluag enjoyed capturing wedding videos, travel videos, and portraits with his camera. His passion for cinematography grew throughout college and he began creating content on YouTube shortly after graduation. Caluag has uploaded 82 videos since his first video titled, “Guam Travel Video,” with content ranging from “Productive Day in My Life” to “Coding My Own Version of Discord.” As he continuously uploaded videos since 2019, he slowly built up a following. Caluag now has over 190,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Caluag graduated from Boston University in 2019 with a degree in Computer Science. In 2020 he purchased the domain name ‘RateMyDorm,’ to create an authentic resource for college students to view and contribute to dorm ratings at universities across the nation. RateMyDorm is similar to RateMyProfessors, a website designated for the ratings of professors at universities across the nation, Canada, and United Kingdom. With over 4,000 reviews and 520 photos on 320 colleges around the nation (RateMyDorm), RateMyDorm gained attention and users through social media, with the help of brand ambassadors at numerous colleges.
While balancing YouTube content and his startup, Caluag has moved around between Boston, Los Angeles and New York City. Caluag recently lived with fellow NYC content creators Ashley Alexander, Kelly Wakasa, Luke Eich and Isa Sung. He now lives alone in a New York City apartment.
Q: Let’s start from the beginning: What led you to create Youtube content? Was being a content creator a goal or milestone you wanted to achieve?
I did photography and videography throughout high school and college – not YouTube, but portraits, wedding videos, cinematography, and travel videos. It wasn’t until post-college graduation did I start making YouTube videos/vlogs.
Q: On YouTube, you film ‘Day in the Life content’ – Does it ever feel repetitive? What videos do you hope to create?
Lifestyle / slice of life content is a really popular niche on YouTube. Rather than making videos around big ideas, I make videos documenting my career and life in the city.
It sometimes can start feeling repetitive because life is repetitive, but that’s the creative challenge that comes with YouTube.
Q: YouTube is an extremely vast platform with videos being uploaded every second. Is there a specific content creator you gain inspiration from?
I’ve gotten inspired by the cinematography from Sam Kolder and the vlog style from Casey Neistat.
Q: What did you envision when you purchased the domain name ‘RateMyDorm’?
In 2020, I was bored in quarantine and wanted to work on a side project. I noticed there was RateMyProfessors, but there was still no go-to website for dorm reviews. So I bought the domain name to build out ratemyprofessors but for dorms.
Q: Would you ever turn to being a full-time software engineer, shifting your focus from YouTube?
I definitely don’t see YouTube as my main career for long, but I don’t think I’d ever stop making YouTube videos either.
Q: Your most recent video ‘My last startup coding video’ highlighted the success of RateMyDorm during the month of April. With RateMyDorm being close to finished, do you have any future startup plans?
The plan for when school starts back up again is to continue collecting more dorm reviews and dorm tour videos for @ratemydorm socials.
Q: What challenges and difficulties did you face throughout the countless hours put into RateMyDorm?
One problem is that RateMyDorm would have an advertising revenue model like RateMyProfessors. Since dorm research is a seasonal activity, RMD traffic will be as well.
Q: What was your experience with a college dorm that inspired your startup, RateMyDorm?
When I was an undergrad at BU, I relied on Facebook groups and Reddit threads to find out what dorms to live in. The idea of RateMyDorm came to mind back in 2015, so when 2020 came and I realized there still was no dorm review site, I figured I’d code it myself.
Q: You lived with fellow NYC content creators for a year. Do you find it hard to connect with people your age who may not share the same occupation?
I’ve only been doing full-time YouTube for 2 years, so definitely not. :)
Q: You’ve moved from Guam, to Boston, Los Angeles, and currently New York. Where do you see yourself living in the future?
I’ll be in New York for a while!
Q: Balancing Youtube, working on a startup, and maintaining a social life proves to be difficult. How do you deal with burnout?
[When managing burnout] I find that taking breaks from YouTube definitely helps.
Caluag’s influence on Youtube has been small but mighty. With a mean of 200,000 views per video, viewers comment on his uploads, praising his motivation, mindset, and maturity. Caluag’s hard work is a testament to his determination to succeed and create work he is pleased with. From countless Youtube videos to a successful startup, Jed Caluag urges individuals interested in coding their own startup to “find a problem you want to solve that you’re passionate about!”