Wednesday June 19, 2019

Warning: Use of undefined constant sfire_topic_count_text - assumed 'sfire_topic_count_text' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nas/content/live/nyconvergence/wp-content/themes/nyconvergence-3/functions.php on line 188

NY Disruptive Technologists: Five Words of Advice (Part 2)

(l-r) Nelly Yusupova, Joe Rubin, Steve Rosenbaum and Joanne Scillitoe (credit: Donna Hollins)

By David Craig

Panelists at the Disruptive Technologists in NYC Meetup Wednesday offered five words to entrepreneurs who want to take their ideas and turn them into reality: passion, negativity, mentors, family and time.

Entrepreneurs who lose passion will falter. Panelist Nelly Yusupova, Webgrrls International,said, “If you’re in the leadership role and you lose the passion for the idea, you’re doing a disservice. As CEO, leader and visionary, it’s your job to make the entire team see that vision. If they are not unified with what the vision is, they may see that you can’t communicate and it will be very hard to move forward.”

Joanne Scillitoe, New York Institute of Technology, agreed, “You do need passion, but I just want to give a nuance to this; it’s also an inventor versus an entrepreneur. In the research world the inventor tends to get overwhelmed by the competition, but there’s value in that because you have to recognize that you are not the right person.”

Steve Rosenbaum, NY Video Meetup, offered advice on dealing with the negativity that accompanies rejection. He said, “If you meet 100 people and say, ‘This is my vision’ and then 95 of them tell you ‘No,’ it’s hard to internally modulate which one of those ‘No’s are actually good feedback.”

He said a potential investor was trying to decide between investing in a hotdog vending machine service and his own media company. “Media company or hot dog vending machine? I’m thinking you clearly have expertise in one of those areas,” he said. “This made me realize as a startup guy some people actually know your business and add value. When they push back and say, ‘That’s not a good idea’, sometimes their feedback is really good and sometimes they’re wrong. Sometimes they just come from other worlds and they don’t know what you are talking about.”

Yusupova said entrepreneurs need mentors. “Finding a mentor, finding someone who has done it before, is really important. You don’t have to make all the mistakes – if someone can tell you don’t do this or that, this will save you lots of time,” she said.

Family support is also important. Rosenbaum talked about one recently married entrepreneur who that if he didn’t get something going within six months, he would have to find a job.That’s not right,” Rosenbaum said. “Everybody in the family has to be on the team. This is a lifestyle decision, not a joke. It’s a 24/7 gig and it doesn’t ever stop being that. If you don’t have the support of family and friends it gets real hard.”

Rosenbaum added that he never reads emails after 10 pm. “I decided that anyone who emails you after 10 at night is going to piss you off. No one gives you good news at 10:15. I would obsess and dream about emails, so now I don’t bring the iPad and the phone and all the various emails into the bedroom anymore — and I haven’t missed anything that I couldn’t get to in the morning.”

[Editor’s Note: Lauren Keyson, founder of Disruptive Technologists in NYC Meetup, is a frequent contributor to NY Convergence.]