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Featured on Sep 29, 2011

Lisette Voytko

"Passion is the source of our finest moments...If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. - Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

Bio:

A Brooklyn girl by way of New Jersey, Lisette interned her way through "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and "The Colbert Report" before landing at the Apple Store in 2008. It was there she discovered the magic of OS X and began considering a career in tech. After leaving Apple, in 2009 Lisette went on to work for TalkPoint Communications, a top webcasting provider in New York City. At TalkPoint, Lisette was responsible for building and producing webcasts for Fortune 500 companies such as UBS and Credit Suisse. Lisette is also a Senior Contributing Writer for Macgasm (macgasm.net), an Apple news/features blog. Her work for Macgasm has been mentioned by TWit.tv and Gothamist. Currently, Lisette is the Support Engineer for Pivotal Labs' New York office. Pivotal Labs is a recognized leader in agile, Rails and mobile development. At Pivotal Labs, Lisette is responsible for day-to-day operations and support for over 30 developer Pivots, as well as the New York branch of TechStars. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism/Media Studies from Rutgers University. When she's not fixing the interwebs, Lisette can be found at various karaoke venues in the city or at home watching Doctor Who.

  • Title: Support Engineer, Pivotal Labs
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Brooklyn
  • Contact: @lisettevoytko

We recently asked Heather John about her favorite karaoke venues.  Do you have any additional suggestions?  What are your songs of choice?

I first sang karaoke about a month after I moved to New York City. I got hooked on the adrenaline rush and being able to entertain a rowdy bar-- as long as you can sell it, your vocal chops don't have to be on par with Freddie Mercury's. Two of my favorite venues are Uncle Charlie's (by Grand Central) and Karaoke Boho (in the West Village.) Uncle Charlie's has Tuesday night karaoke that's free and fun, but it's more well-known as a piano bar on the weekends. That's when you can listen to true Broadway vocalists belt it out with live piano accompaniment...and if you have the guts, sing your favorite show tune! Karaoke Boho, a more traditional joint, is great for private rooms as well as singing in the main bar area. Getting a room with a big group of close friends is awesome, as they won't judge you too harshly for shameless song selection (Linkin Park, anyone?)

Songs of choice include "Mr. Cellophane" from the musical Chicago, as well as "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" by The Smiths. You can never go wrong with Morrissey.

What were some of your favorite startups in the previous TechStars class?  Any that you think we should follow closely for the current class?

My favorite startup from the previous TechStars class is definitely OnSwipe. They took a new device in the tech world (tablets) and provided a beautiful solution for businesses to optimize their websites for the tablet setup. As for the current class, I'm a big fan of http://contently.com. They are pairing journalists with writing assignments from real publishers, as opposed to content farms. Contently makes sure their writers are paid fairly for their work, which is especially awesome. We're living in a world where a journalist's work has been greatly devalued. As someone with experience in the media, it breaks my heart to see so many journalists struggling to do the work they love. Contently gives me hope that writers can get paid a living wage, and keep the journalism industry alive.

You made the jump from television to tech.  How did you go about learning the necessary skills to work as a Support Engineer at Pivotal?

Working at the Apple Store while I was at Rutgers gave me my first real experience working in tech. Apple painstakingly trains each new employee to be comfortable working with the OS X environment. After all, 50% of the job is showing customers how a Macintosh works! And they don't just train you when you're hired, send you to the sales floor and forget about you. Training is ongoing the entire time you're an Apple employee. You learn new things every day, surrounded by 100 people as obsessed about Macs as you are.

Pivotal Labs is an all-Macintosh environment, which was one of the reasons I wanted to work with the company. And my day-to-day is a lot like working at Apple. I'm deploying new iMacs for Pivots to code on, I'm answering clients' questions about how to do certain things in OS X, and I'm making sure everyone is happy. I know very little about coding, but yesterday one of my co-workers complemented me by saying "you're an expert on this stuff!" when answering a question about the iPhone and iTunes. It totally made my day. Knowing the answer to something and being able to help others with that knowledge is what makes me love my job. And if I don't know the answer? You can bet all the Apple products in the world that I'll find out.

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