Dan Rosenberg is currently the Chief Executive Officer of FokisOn, a tech startup that created a productivity app that strives to create moments between people in different settings. The COMmunicator sat down with Dan to talk more about the app, his experience with PRLab, and new features on the app that users can look forward to.
Emily Chen: What inspired you to create FokisOn?
Dan Rosenberg: I think the epiphany was back when I was running a lot of complex global projects. I couldn’t understand why they were getting more complicated, until I realized how many people were distracted by their devices and social media during these meetings.
EC: Could you briefly explain how FokisOn works?
DR: I wanted to address these distractions in meetings and solve this dependency on devices. I looked at the app stores and realized there were hundreds of productivity apps that help an individual deal with distractions while they were doing work. So, we wanted to create an app that’s different and gets people together into a “moment” so they can more easily avoid distractions. These moments in the app become a time for people to remove distractions from their phone and focus on the event in front of them. This time frame could range from minutes to hours. It helps people use their phones to enhance meetings or classroom settings, rather than distract from those things.
EC: How did you find PRlab and how do you think PR can help startup tech companies like yours?
DR: I found PRLab through my colleague Chris Kogler. His son helped run PRLab and that’s what introduced me to the program. The second part of the question is a bit more challenging but I think public relations in any startup company is important. Public relations can help these startup companies with figuring out which publications will work best. For our company, PRLab has helped us make these how-to videos about our app which has really helped us and will continue to do so.
EC: Was there anything in PRLab that inspired you, as you continue to develop the app?
DR: It was great working with PRLab because the problem with cell phone distraction and addiction is more pronounced in younger people. Seeing this, I thought that FokisOn could not only be used in meetings, but also in classrooms to help students and teachers better focus on the lesson that’s taking place. It’s always great working with PRLab—this year being our third time—and seeing Professor Shanler apply our app in her classrooms was terrific. We get to see how we could improve our app and make it more applicable in every setting.
EC: How do you think participation in PRLab will benefit students in the future?
DR: The obvious thing for you is the whole breadth of experience you get out of the lab, you see the photos on the wall and all the students that have done all these different things. Students here get so much experience and learn so much with different opportunities. I think some of the most helpful things that students learn in PRLab are dealing with different clients, client management, and client satisfaction.
EC: How do you suggest college students incorporate FokisOn “moments” more into their lives?
DR: We obviously can’t take away phones because students need to use them and they’re already a big part of our lives. We need to take the moments in the app and add value to them. I had a personal meeting with a professor at Georgia State University where he suggested that moments could be used to enhance classrooms. We decided to start with something simple: have professors use moments to take attendance. It could also be a way for teachers to check and see if everyone is focused on the lecture.
EC: What future plans do you have for FokisOn and the company?
DR: We are currently testing a reward system so members can redeem points they earned in their moments for prizes like gift cards. I want FokisOn to be more engaging and fun for people. FokisOn can be more engaging not only in classrooms or conference rooms, but also in people’s daily lives and family dinners.
Emily Chen, Staff Writer
Emily Chen is a junior at Boston University majoring in public relations with a minor in psychology. She was born and raised in California, but hopes to eventually move to the Big Apple to pursue her career in fashion PR. During her free time, she enjoys traveling to different countries, trying new food, and cooking with friends.