On Wednesday November 28th, OLC attended the inaugural Disruptive Technologists in NYC meetup. The event featured a panel of experts including; Murat Aktihanoglu of Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator; Nelly Yusupova, CTO of Webgrrls International; Steve Rosenbaum, CEO of Magnify.net; Joe Rubin, Director and Co-Founder of FundingPost.com; and Joanne L. Scillitoe, Ph.D, Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at host, New York Institute of Technology.
The Disruptive Technologists panel began with brief introductions of all the panel members. Then they proceeded into panel questions. The first question was “What is the quirkiest product idea ever pitched to you?” This question elicited several chuckles from the panel, as well as stories of curious and successful products. Akithanoglu recalled a sort of “people bidding” dating site. The site allowed men to bid on women for dates. When asked if anyone funded the company, Akithanoglu joked, “I hope not.” Yusupova spoke about the company Quirky, which allows customers to sell products that fix some sort of everyday problem (like a dustpan that eliminates the left behind crumbs). Yusupova recalled hearing about the company, and loving the idea.
The conversation segued into what it takes to make it in a start up world. “Passion is a must. Startups are so difficult.” stressed Akithanoglu. Rubin agreed, and added that one should never take failure to heart. One must also “balance between big dreams and rational business ideas,” he explained. “The path of failed companies is littered with amazing ideas.”
Rubin also spoke about what to do should one tire of the start up world. Figure it out early on, he said, so that you “don’t leave everyone else holding the bag.” He referenced a company where the CEO left to take another job, leaving the start up’s small team of employees stranded.
The final question consisted of any advice the panel had for those planning to venture into a start up company. Akithanoglu suggested finding a mentor to guide you. Yusupova recommended learning how developers think. Rubin concluded by suggesting that one’s company should be a brand new idea. “Disrupt what is out there. Completely change the game.”