This week, I attended the NY Tech Intern Meetup at Dogpatch Labs, organized by my fellow NYU classmates Andrew Oved, Jacob Laufer, and UPenn student Eric Berdinis. The event took place in a great space and, as usual, I had a good time meeting NYC interns building their futures on the spot (or just eating pizza and relaxing after a long day’s work). Either way, it was a fun opportunity to network, chat, hash-it-up, hustle or anything else you want to call it.
Guest speaker Chris Paik, a Harvard graduate and Handyman at Thrive Capital, spoke about his experience working at the investment startup, which focuses on early-stage tech companies involved in the digital consumer area. I found some of his networking advice to be worth remembering:
• When you’re meeting someone for the first time, always try to make a warm and friendly introduction.
• Linkedin is a great tool to connect to someone. Use it! If you are interested in working somewhere or connecting with a company, send them a message with your information. It’s a great professional networking tool to take advantage of.
• Do things for people without expecting something in return. Just be authentic and genuine.
• While networking, it’s important not to see people as a means to an end. People see through this. The best conversations had are with people who are respectful and open about who they are and what they are interested in.
• Be passionate. Say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. Be proactive about work and demonstrate that you and your skills are valuable.
I think a lot of these points are good for life in general, not just for your career. If you’re honest about who you are and the things you love doing, it won’t take a lot of convincing for people to immediately notice that. I particularly would apply this to PR, as any personal connection with a client should be based on trust and dedication to work.
Jane noted that companies build a product for one main purpose: to sell it. While those working in business development grow and develop the brand and are more interested in how they can turn a product into an opportunity, salespeople think of how they can turn a product into dollars. Wiley spoke about his experience with SinglePlatform and underlined that a startup’s main goal is to get the first transaction done as soon as possible. Some of advice he gave to future startups is to motivate their team, using interesting visuals and to go beyond the limits of building an idea. Eric spoke of some of Foursquare’s previous transactions, as well as the functionality of business development and sales at Foursquare.
Although the event and speakers focused on sales and business development, I took the advice of these speakers and tried to apply it to the public relations industry. I think a PR firm works for its clients in a similar way to the business development team of a startup. In PR, a team thinks of interesting ways to build a client’s image rather than the products they are selling. I believe that in order to successfully sell a product, the audience has to first be sold on the idea and why it is relevant to them. PR’s job is not only to increase a client’s visibility, but to connect it on a more individual level with its clientele. In this way, the engagement between a brand and the consumer increases and may lead to more sales in the long run.