Technology, Data, and Networking in the “Big City”

To be honest this is the hardest blog post that I’ve written in this class. It seems like every time I was trying to write it I would not like what I was saying or I didn’t feel that it really captured the what I learned in this class. The truth is that I learned more than I could’ve thought on our trip and this was the most engaging class that I’ve taken at BC.

I took this class because I was interested in entrepreneurship and technology. After some hard work, I can say that I got more out of this class that I thought it was possible. For example, I learned how companies go from an idea and trough the VC cycle to get to a liquidity event, trough this, I got a better understanding of how companies actually evolve. In addition, I got a better understanding of AI and how to differentiate between weak and strong AI. This class was a lot of work, however, it never felt like work I was learning about exiting technology and startups something that I found myself being very passionate about.

Some of my biggest takeaways from the class came unsurprisingly from the trip:

  • Data, “We are 60% a data company and 40% a food company” Freshly. It seems like we talked about data in almost every visit. That being how they leverage data for decision-making to how data breaches are a major concern for their organizations. This visit made it very clear that it doesn’t matter what industry you are in you need to know how to gather and use data.

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  • BC Network & Networking, I remember that when I just got to Boston College I was told that the alumni network was very strong. Well in New York we saw it in action, it was great to see how many BC alumni have high positions in different tech companies. As well as how willing they were to give some of their time. This trip really showed the strength of the BC network and I will definitely be using it when searching for a job/internship. This trip also really showed the importance of networking, almost everyone we talked to said that they got to where they are today because of specific people that helped them along the way.
  • Ambiguity, the world is not black or white, but, different shades of grey or in the words of Lisa Opoku (Global COO of Technology at Goldman Sachs) “Be comfortable with ambiguity”. I think that this is really important for us college students to get into positions that the outcome of your decisions are not clear, this fosters leadership and growth.

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  • “Choose a company or a startup, not a role,” This was said during our fintech panel. I’ve spent most of my internship searching time searching for a role when in reality where you work matters more. When it comes to where to work the why is more important than how.
  • Innovation, In our very first visit in Boston, one of the employees said that they were not trying to innovate but simply improve what they were doing. When he said that I completely lost interest in working for that company. Businesswise it is a completely valid strategy to focus on your main business but I just felt that if I worked there I wasn’t going to be able to be creative or that the work wasn’t going to be exciting. I think that for my job search it will be really important to search for a business that is always trying to innovate.

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  • Growth, I became very interested in growth throughout our class. Whenever someone spoke about it I felt like I had more energy. It is a really amazing process in which startups are able to take an idea and implement it and then grow it and adapt it to different cities and countries. It is also really amazing how a company evolves because of this growth and how the culture and people within it change. After seeing how interested I was in this topic during our trip I will definitely love to work in a company that is experiencing rapid growth.

There is something special about technology and startups and that is that they have the potential to change the world. We saw this in most of our visits, the passion with which the employees and founders talked about their business showed that money wasn’t their main driver. That is what truly inspired me in this class and why I want to be part of this environment.

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Lastly, I want to thank Professor Kane and Professor Doyle for making all the lectures engaging as well as being great company during the trip. Kelsey for organizing the visits. Rohan & Julia for being great Teacher Assistants and being always positive. Most importantly, all the classmates for the different perspectives that you all brought to every discussion as well as being such great company through the trip and class.

2 thoughts on “Technology, Data, and Networking in the “Big City”

  1. Nice post Lucas! I agree that this trip definitely taught me the importance of being able to understand and use data, since data’s will only increase in the future. I thought the Freshly quote by CEO and cofounder Michael Wystrach was a big eye opener into just how much some tech startups use data. I also liked how you highlighted the fintech panel quote about choosing a company rather than a role. This is always something I have been curious about, and it was nice to hear this piece of advice and their reasoning behind it. Great final post!

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  2. Awesome post! I agree with all of the themes you touched on in the post. I really liked the quote you included, “Choose a company or a start up, not a role.” I think that people often get caught up in searching for a certain role designed to fit their skill set. However, if you end up at the right company, I wonder if you will be able to move around and find a role that is a good fit. Additionally, given how much time many people spend at work, I think it’s important that you’re going to a place you enjoy being at most of the time.

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