In late 2010, Business Week discussed a new epidemic among college students: “Startup fever.”
Given Boston’s status as the second leading city in the country for startups, it’s no surprise that many BU students have succumbed to this entrepreneurial outbreak. Unleashed Public Relations, BU’s Public Relations Student Society of America student-run PR firm, recognized this interest and responded with its Nov. 12 event, “An Inside Look: Startup and Entrepreneurial Panel.”
The panel consisted of local startup experts including Dana Lampert, CEO of Wiggio, Jon Olinto, co-founder of B.good, Jack DeManche, Community Experience Manager at Dailybreak, and Alison Morris, BU alum and Content Strategist at Springpad. With COM Professor Stephen Quigley moderating, the panelists chronicled how the rose to the top, with key themes repeated by all.
Morris described herself a “crazy workaholic,” a trait that all panelists agreed they possess. According to the panelists, their official job titles don’t match their work on a daily basis. In a small startup environment, each employee is expected to complete tasks that they weren’t hired for. This is why Olinto stressed the need to be open-minded in an entrepreneurial workplace.
The startup market seems to be constantly expanding, but that doesn’t mean that every pitched business is an instant success. DeManche said that there is an abundance of startup ideas, but what differentiates them is the entrepreneur’s ability to prove that his or her idea will work. Olinto recommended having a strong business plan, and all panelists agreed on the need for technical expertise. Without a firm grasp of technology, no idea can come to life.
The conversation constantly returned to the hard work and grit needed to get a startup company off the ground. But even more palpable was the passion that each panelist has for their respective businesses. Olinto said entrepreneurs need to “put their whole self into it,” while Lampert told the audience that he seeks employees who show enthusiasm for and are inspired by his company.
Event attendees left with a firm vision of startup culture, and a call to action from Olinto: “You guys should be sitting in this seat in ten years.”