A New Way To Network with NYU Entrepreneurs

We want introduce you to Collaborizm.We’ve met an awesome new tech start-up named Collaborizm, that is on a mission to connect aspiring entrepreneurial student minds across the country, that has launched their public beta today.

Collaborizm is kind of like an Eharmony for collaboration, and allows students to network with their ideal collaborators based on elements such as personality, complimentary skills, social interests, schedule compatibility, & much more.

Once you begin sparking conversations and building up your contact list onCollaborizm, you actually have the ability to form teams, and begin working together in shared virtual project spaces.

It’s an extraordinary tool and one we believe you will enjoy using. Let’s leverage it to help get our Brooklyn campus back on the map! Note: you can start your project ideas in the NYU project category to help students find you easier. 

Key Things to Note:

  • There are a ton of valuable things you can get done on Collaborizm without ever sharing any ideas you may not yet be comfortable sharing explicitly. Networking with your top matches, building a contact list, exchanging knowledge with new people, are all powerful ways to bring your ideas and goals forward.
  • Don’t fear project committment! Collaborizm Project spaces were built for users to explore new teammates, not necesarily commit to long term projects.
  • They are currently working with NYU Stern, Baruch, University of Miami, FL, and a few other innovation focused enterprise partners


Learnings from Youth Cafe with Chris Konya!


IMG_20141107_161315On Friday Nov 7, we had the opportunity to hear from Chris Konya, an innovation consultant with a lot of experience in brand strategy. Currently working for a start up with a really cool name (The Gild), she shared with us insights from her journey from a student to an insight expert.

She started the talk with an unusual prop – a little notepad with the main themes drawn out in a really cute way. Her first advice to us was:

“Don’t fall in love too quick”

At the beginning, Chris saw herself as an artist, an anthropologist, a sociologist, or a psychologist – any “- ist”, as she puts it. However, her dad had other plans for her since he wanted her to go into business. At that time, she didn’t know exactly what she wanted. While she saw herself in these fields, she also considers herself a very practical person. She decided to pursue marketing in college for that reason, and as she wonderfully put it, “There may be a long way to figure out what you really want to do, so wait for a second before deciding where to go.” Her first piece of advice to us was thus, don’t make hasty decisions, take time to explore, which really ties into her next piece of advice.

“Cast a wide net”

Chris  casted a wide net of experiences and interned a lot in college. In fact, she used to do up to 4 internships at one point. This experience was very helpful for her in figuring out what she liked and didn’t like. Chris also urged students not to get too entrenched in one field, but to put themselves in situations where they have opportunities to learn.

“Take any interviews you can get and remember that they are not just interviewing you, you are interviewing them. You are valuable to them” was her advice. This was such a great advice that several of our Youth Cafe hosts shared with us and that might explain their success: interviews are learning experiences for the interviewee as well as the interviewer! Implicitly, it’s a reminder that you have choices and value for others (future employers in this case).

“What turns you on?” What drives you? What is your passion?

Back in college, there were two courses which were really exciting to Chris – advertising and product development. Following her interests, she got her first job in advertising. The first assignment was to create a media plan for a small local zoo, which was a job that was very heavy on numbers. However, when she presented the plan to her boss, it was the first time someone was so straightforward to say that her job was not good. This was a learning opportunity for her as she realized that numbers were not her thing. Thus she asked herself, “what part of advertising do I like?” In the meantime, she moved to account management for a while, since she liked talking to different people.  This led her to discover that she found strategy interesting, and it has a lot to do with people, like what consumers like and don’t like. Thus, her advice to us was to be self-aware and try to ask ourselves what aspects of out work excites us the most, and to follow our hearts. But how do we develop specific skills? Well, she had the answer!

“Work on the muscle you want to build”

If you work on developing the particular skills that you believe are important for your career, it will help you become who you want to be. For Chris, she wants to be the best she can be. One important thing she learned through the years is that no matter how good or bad things go, just ask how it’s gonna be like next time. All what matters is what you learned from it. Someone once said to her, “you will never be as good as your weakness as those for whom are strength.” Thus it is about the balance between strength and weakness helps find out the strength. Therefore, it makes more sense to work on what makes you unique.

For example, in Chris’s journey,  a phenomenon coach from an ad agency  where she was working once told her that she was not a good presenter. Chris did not see it as a weakness but it allowed her to focus on what she was good at – coming up with good ideas. On the other hand, she also decided that she would learn how to present and she looked at all the opportunities to improve, and she’s now definitely a wonderful presenter.  Another way to work on weakness is to leverage on people you know. For example, Chris used to have a colleague who was very different from her. The more she saw how people respond to him, the more she realized that this is person is totally different from her, very social, super extrovert and talkative. They can do things each other can not and thus, they can play off each other pretty well.

“ Who do you want to be?”

Chris spent a lot time thinking about this. Who do I admire, who I enjoy spending time with, what kind of environment? In terms of environment, are those people nurturing people? Are they growing me? Or cut me down? Are they open to do things in different ways?  The other is the level of stretch, how much do you want to be pushed? The environment used to nurture her was not pushing her anymore, thus she moved to small agency. Her advice to us was that we should always be thinking of our next steps and keep ourselves open for new opportunities.


Many of the participants inspired by Chris’s insights had questions for her and we had a lively discussion. Among the many themes discussed 2 stand out:

Are there any tips for reserved people who want to get good presenters? (Remember Chris told us she was once told that she was not a good presenter, and none of those present at the Greenhouse could believe it).

  1. Work on that muscle. I am an introvert. I used to be quiet and shy. I did it a lot, with people who are good at presenting and socializing. The more opportunities to do it, the better you can be. The key is to push yourself to talk to people. Parties and events are great opportunities, low stake and a lot of people, you might not be able to see these people again thus don’t worry about the consequences, just practice.
  2. Talk in bullet points and get to the point quick. Chris said earlier in her career, she rambled a lot. Later she learned that for what you want to say, get to it fast, don’t lose audience.

Are there disciplines / rituals to get new ideas and be creative?

Bring in new stimulations into your brain and get new ideas! Think about problem through different lenses. Adjust your brain a bit.

I also use mindfully my subway commute.  Physically moving helped mentally moving. I spent this time “off” (alone) thinking about my day, projects, things that I don’t have time to think off during the day.

As you can see, this was one more insightful Youth Cafe (Thanks Chris!) and a wonderful way to end our series for this semester. More to come in the Spring.

No more super heroes needed: When empathy and passion come together  

“Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.” – Daniel Pink

This world does not need super heroes, but real people who want to make a difference. So, during the Halloween weekend, The Greenhouse and The Design Tinkering Club at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering brought all such like-minded people, in a quest to come up with solutions in our fight against Ebola, at ‘Hack Ebola @NYU’ – a hackathon for Ebola!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe event took place across two days – November 1 and 2, 2014 and it was held at the Regna Lounge, here at NYU Poly. We had the chance to connect with a New York based NGO – There Is No Limit Foundation working directly with the First Lady of Guinea and is a part of a West African Task Force against Ebola. Aissata Camara, the co-founder and Executive Vice-President of There Is No Limit Foundation, an NYU alumna, attended the hackathon as an expert. She presented a very detailed research on OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEbola and the current situation in the affected countries on the first day and worked with each team on the second day to give them feedback and provide extra contextual information. The event saw a great turnout with an attendance of 32 enthusiasts. A few ‘hackers’ presented their existing ideas after the expert talk and problem statements presentations. We also had two teams who came, respectively from University of Washington and a team called Pearls of Wata, who were actually two girls of Sierra Leone origin, to pitch their ideas. The attendees formed teams based on their interest and their skillsets. At the end of the day, we had 6 teams who worked all day on Day 2 to prototype their ideas.IMG_2043IMG_2065



The chilly and lazy Sunday as well as a city-wide marathon did not deter participants to turn up early in the morning at 9 AM to start working with their teams, on their brainstormed ideas the previous day.  Mid-way through the event, two teams collaborated to form a larger solution to tackle a single problem and we had 5 teams working tirelessly to present a prototype later in the evening. The teams not only hacked on some nice technical ideas but even went old-school to some basic but revolutionary idea of a health care bucket! The projects built during the hackathon were posted the Ebola challenge running on the OpenIDEO platform. You can read more on these ideas on OpenIDEO:

IMG_2120Out of the five ideas, The CHANCE Bucket was selected as a ‘Featured Contribution’ on OpenIDEO and SMSanté went on to become a highlighted and a winning idea for the OpenIDEO Ebola Challenge. That was one big achievement for the participants as well as for Design Tinkering and the Greenhouse. Seeing the enthusiasm of participants and the quality of the ideas (vetted by Aissata, our expert from There Is No Limit Foundation), Anne-Laure Fayard, Associate Professor at NYU School of Engineering and Advisor to the Greenhouse, decided to offer 3IMG_2312  ‘Greenhouse Prototyping Grants’ to the teams to help them build prototypes and help them go to the next step. IMG_2211Aissata who was impressed by the ideas has followed up on three ideas to help them piloting (and hopefully implementing) their ideas in Guinea and other affected countries. Our team is working closely with Aissata and the NYU Hack Ebola teams to get these ideas from ideas to solutions on the ground.

What made the hackathon a big success were – the ideas that were developed, the experts that provided invaluable insights to the actual scenario on the IMG_2059ground through presentation and actual one-on-one sessions with teams to refine the ideas, the yummy food, the diligent volunteers and organizers and most importantly, the participants who not only came from different walks of life, but also from San Francisco, Seattle and North Carolina, specially to attend the hackathon.

So, when we have such great humans wanting to make a difference, do you really think we need superheroes?

hackebolaeventjoyTeam Hack Ebola @NYU (Aditya, Rishi, Ashwin, Nikhil)



Where collaboration is born and ideas are nurtured.


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