Final Week – Social Innovation & Sustainablity

The final week, on sustainability, I felt would not interest me like the previous weeks did. It’s not a type of business or field I see myself entering into, but was proven wrong. While some of the lecturers had interesting things to say in their remarks, I was most impressed, particularly with two of the site visits: Brooklyn Research and We Work.

One of the most interesting and insightful was the statements by special guest Mike Blumenfeld on Tuesday during the student presentations. He mentioned the NYC student presentation by the eventual founder of Pininterest who was showcasing a tote company. Mr. Blumenfeld brought this vignette up to stress how necessary it is for passion to be inherent in an entrepreneurial. While the guest judges denounced the service / product the presenters showcased, one judge, was impressed with one of the presenters. He saw the passion in one of the presenters and eventually invested 50,000 dollars. This presenter was the founder of Pininterest. Now valued at over $11 billion, the guest judge was prescient in seeing the potential in this presenter.

A favorite company visit was Brooklyn Research. I found the passion and unique product designs they showed were amazing. It was clear by how the founders spoke that they enjoy what they do that few employed people could ever find.

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One complaint I had with the founders of Brooklyn Research was their lack of business sense. They did not foresee where their company was heading and appeared to fail to appreciate the need for a more structured outline of how they can grow their business. They also failed to understand the need for marketing and basic business processes to really increase the potential for the business.

The most surprising company visit that I enjoyed was the site visit at WeWork. I have heard of co-working spaces, but did not see why or how they grow so quickly. What I did not understand was the ecosystem they provide in helping small to medium size companies grow – especially small entrepreneurs. The ability for WeWork to scale companies quickly and the business model of month to month are one of the many advantages and attractions that WeWork provides. But, an important part are the ancillary services they provide: free beverages, conference rooms, ability to meet other companies within WeWork that can help provide products and services, and other benefits. After the presentation by the employees, I would seriously consider finding employment with WeWork.

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This final week showcased companies that I initially thought I would not find as potential employers, but after visiting and learning more about what and how they operate, my views have changed drastically.

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