Featured on Apr 21, 2011
"Ideas = dime/dozen. Execution = |matters|."
Entrepreneurship runs though my blood. My first encounter with entrepreneurship (that is, after lemonade stands and snow shoveling), was a tabloid classified ad campaign that I thought was going to make me the wealthiest high-schooler around. Turns out, the only people who respond to backpage classifieds are those trying to sell you their junk. Another high school endeavor yielded my brother and me a patent on a weight lifting device and that was a good lesson in what it actually takes to manufacturer a product. In college, I started my first real business, deliverU.com, an online food ordering site for college campuses which grew to service several Washington DC-area universities as well as some national chains. Post college, I moved on to become the Director of Marketing at ReturnBuy.com and after its acquisition, I returned to my startup roots launching effordables/MotoRecycle. After a private sale of effordables a few years later, I spent a year in Shanghai, China with my wife on assignment for her job where I did some consulting and worked on my Mandarin and photography skills. My passionate do-it-yourself customers from effordables/MotoRecycle inspired the idea for makeMania.com, a site for DIYers to find inspiration and supplies (soon). I took that idea into the Founder Institute, started the HobokenTechMeetup.com, and there you go. In the end, we are all fruit.
- Title: founder: makeMania.com, HobokenTechMeetup.com; cofounder: MissionFifty.com
- Age: 32
- Location: Hoboken
- Contact: @APstartup, LinkedIn
How did you end up starting the Hoboken Tech Meetup? Is there anything in particular that you think differentiates the Hoboken Tech Meetup from the NYTM?
After I graduated from the Founder Institute, where we heard weekly from rockstar CEOs, I had a craving to keep that constant educational and inspirational element alive. I relate well to hearing from the stories of other founders and CEOs and I'm especially eager to hear their lessons learned from failure. I go to a lot of the NY tech events - NYTM is just one of the many great events - but there are few here in NJ. As a a proud fist-pumping, soccer-mom-loving, down-the-shore going New Jerseyian, hosting the tech meetup in Hoboken was a no brainer. I took what I thought were the best elements of the variety of events I attend to build the Hoboken Tech Meetup: speed networking, startup pitches, and a feature speaker. Getting the support of Stevens Institute of Technology, where it is now hosted, has been fantastic. Besides the quality speakers, I would attribute some of the success of the group to the no-show list of shame policy, where I make public the names of all of the members who are no-shows at events (they can change their RSVP at any time). To me, if you can't keep an RSVP up to date, you have no business founding a company. Members have been great about that policy and it yields very high engagement as well an amazingly high quality level of attendees. The event is open to all, but we encourage serious and ambitious professionals over "wantrepreneurs." Join us at www.HobokenTechMeetup.com - just keep those RSVPs up to date!
You’re also the “Chief makeManiac" of makeMania. What are some of the best projects you’ve seen on the site?
makeMania is a site for do-it-yourselfers to find project inspiration and to (soon) buy supplies to make those projects. A classic example is this 1974 Corvette body-off restoration. I love gearheads - in fact they were a key inspiration for the idea for makeMania and I'm thrilled that there are some amazing cars like this shown off on the site. However, we are moving in a particularly crafty direction ($28B market...) and this Recycled Game Board Photo Frame is a great, environmentally friendly, easy to do project that represents the easy accessibility of DIY projects. The creativity of DIYers never ceases to amaze me. I'm a DIYer myself, but I have less and less time to dedicate to my own projects, typically fixing up things around the house, or building this LCD tv stand. Finding expertise is tough and finding the supplies for DIY projects is immensely time consuming. Seeing the ideas people come up with is an inspiration for us to build makeMania into the place for DIYers to access that expertise as well find supply kits.
Can you give us your pitch on why people should come to hang out and/or work in Hoboken?
10) Birthplace of baseball.
9) You get more sq ft / $ in Hoboken.
8) The PATH train from NYC at 33rd St to Hoboken takes only 14 mins.
7) More reach for hiring talent: Hoboken is a mass transit hub to/from NYC and to/from suburban NJ.
6) This guy is a town fixture.
5) Plenty of quiet angel investors looking for startup investments in NJ.
4) Hoboken is about to have a sweet coworking space called Mission Fifty (full disclosure, I'm involved).
3) Schools with smart, techy, and ambitious students in or nearby: Stevens Institute of Technology, NJIT, Rutgers Newark.
2) I shouldn't even have to mention Sinatra, the Cake Boss, Benny Tudino's, or the variety of social clubs around town.
1) There's this awesome event you might have heard of called the Hoboken Tech Meetup.