Week 4: Closing the Door, Wishing for More

In the last week in New York, I found some of the most exciting ideas of the whole journey. I was sad to leave the Big Apple, as I’d really felt “at home,” living day-to-day in America for the first time in four years. My perspectives on my own personal growth over those years were deepened and broadened through my time in the USA, and I feel most certain that I wouldn’t have my current insight into and gratitude for the past year in Budapest without the contrast and complement of the past month in New York City.

Laszlo Karafiath was my favorite this week, and possibly the speaker I most enjoyed on a personal-intellectual lever over the entire module. I had no idea what a “meme” was, aside from a fantastic way to waste time online  (LOL katz, anyone?) before hearing this presentation. However, after understanding the quite deep and powerful nature by which memes shape society, thus personal lives, I was able to get a new understanding into, for instance, how a company can strive not only to “promote” itself, but to build into and onto the memes that currently exist within society. I understood the different emotions upon which marketers can rely to appeal most effectively to their audience in relation to the concept of self-identification through memes, as well. And finally, I was personally inspired to learn about the work Laszlo is currently doing working to integrate the urgency of climate change into the “memes” of the church–a powerful societal force in some of the groups which notoriously deny climate change in America. That project reminded me of a speaker we had from the beginning of the year, a professor of linguistics from Berkeley (I think), who talked about how people can only be amenable to an argument and to changing their mind if they are listening to the language of their own belief system. Because I have a strong passion for language and its interaction with culture, I definitely enjoyed the mental calisthenics offered up by trying to wrap my mind around these concepts fully and apply them practically to business operations.

I also enjoyed Brooklyn Grange very much, as I think many of us did, and not only for the lovely views! It was interesting to consider how I can build a business that uses sustainable environmental practices, such as green roofing, without really having it be the main thrust or drive of my business plan. I was inspired to envision a recent concept I’ve been developing – restaurant incubators with a shared kitchen and shared dine-in space – with rooftop gardens for use in fresh cuisine!
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Finally, I found Frank Rimalovski to be one of my favorite speakers over the whole module, as well. Specifically, I have begun reading some of his suggested books, and they are very informative. But more importantly, as I mentioned, I have finally settled on a business plan that I am determined to take to market. I didn’t know where else to go from there. Frank gave very practical step-by-step instructions on trying to prove market acceptance before approaching funders. He enabled me to shift my mindset from the “get-an-idea, pitch it” mentality to one of steady, simple building blocks of action. Specifically, he talked about opening a conversation with consumers before even finalizing plans, through websites or in person. He also mentioned the idea of sharing my idea, which I was hesitant to do, and pointed out that it wasn’t like Apple invented the mp3 player, but rather the answers to successful businesses lie in execution, not the idea itself. This revelation changed the way I will approach building my own enterprise, and I am more excited than ever for the chance to move forward!

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