1. Making Work Personal AND Meaningful

    Jessica Lawrence feature pic


    Published On August 20, 2014 | BusinessInterviews

    Jessica Lawrence is the Executive Director of NY Tech Meetup (NYTM), the largest Meetup in the world and a non-profit organization supporting New York’s growing technology community. NYTM’s goal is to build a sustainable and diverse technology industry that drives economic growth, leads innovation, and creates positive, high-impact change. The organization’s perennially sold-out monthly events have served as a springboard for hundreds of the city’s technology start-ups from Tumblr to Foursquare to Livestream.

    My Definition Of Success | Success in the past has sometimes meant getting good grades or a promotion or a raise, but success for me now means flourishing – both my own, and the flourishing of those around me. It isn’t just about being happy, but having a true sense of well-being. Author and researcher Dr. Martin Seligman has a model with five components that resonates with me: it’s about experiencing positive emotions like joy, comfort, hope; being engaged (experiencing flow), having positive relationships, experiencing meaning (finding connection with something greater than yourself), and experiencing a sense of accomplishment (setting goals and working towards them). I feel successful when I’m flourishing and when I’m able to help others experience it as well.

    I Am Driven By | I’m in large part driven by a sense of unfulfilled potential. I have a continual sense that I can contribute more, that there is more that I can extract from myself, more ways that I can add something meaningful to the world. I’m also driven by the desire to help others reach their full potential and flourish. I picked up Austin Kleon’s book, Show Your Work!, the other day, and even just a few pages into it found myself saying, “This is an amazing book! This is so helpful!” I’m driven by wanting to give that experience to people – to have them feel that a talk I’ve given, an article I’ve written, a conversation I’ve had with them, a product I’ve made, or a company I’ve built has made their lives better.

    The Difference Between Good And Great | The difference between being good and being great is most often tied to how much effort you are willing to put into something. The great writer is the one who gets up every day and writes, even when it’s difficult. The good writer sits around waiting for inspiration instead of working.

    A Key Talent | Conscientiousness has been crucial to me. Although by no means perfect at it, I tend to think first about how my actions will impact others: how will the conference that I’m planning or the dinner that I’m curating or the website that I’m helping to design make people feel? When I was planning a conference in fall of 2013, I developed a new practice that helps answer that question: I wrote myself a letter, pretending that it was coming from a thrilled conference attendee. In their voice, I described all of the aspects of the conference that would leave them thrilled, whether it was inspiring speakers, feeling taken care of, or having amazing food. I then translated those concepts into actionable ideas, like creating name badges out of Scout Books notebooks so that they would always have a notebook handy, or having a chalk artist create portraits of every attendee on the chalkboard wall in the event space. The letter gave me a framework and something concrete to work towards.

    How I Use My Mind | I use my mind by observing my mind, by looking for patterns, by getting curious about what is and is not happening. When I’m stuck, it’s usually not because of external forces, it’s because my mind is in the way. I’m counting myself out before I’ve even tried. I’ve let fear apply the brakes. I’m ascribing intent when there wasn’t any intent there. It’s not about defeating your mind but understanding it and gently reshaping its distortions.

    Dealing With Doubt | I have moments of self-doubt, fear, and negativity every day. My internal dialogue is harsher to me than any external critic ever has been. It’s a voice that says, “who are you to be speaking up and speaking out?” It’s a voice that judges me when I do little things wrong or when I find a task challenging. That voice can feel like an enemy that I have fight on a daily basis, but it can also feel like a friend. It keeps me humble. And it teaches me how to work through challenges, even if they are self-inflicted. I’ve learned to pause my catastrophizing and work with my fear by articulating what I’m really afraid of and why, and by looking at the best-case, worst-case, and realistic outcomes of any situation. I also think that being bold isn’t something that you do once and then do on auto-pilot from that point on. Being bold, moving ahead in spite of fear, is a daily practice.

    Performing At My Peak | I don’t think that anyone can always perform at their peak. I think the trick is to not let those non-peak times turn into catastrophic moments of self-judgement. One day of sitting at your desk and getting absolutely nothing done does not mean that you’re a lazy, unproductive person. Giving one less than stellar talk doesn’t mean that you’re a bad speaker. Failing to close a few deals doesn’t mean that you’re a horrible salesperson. Make a small mental note of the circumstances at the time so that you can recognize patterns if they develop, but otherwise, let it go. Part of performing at your peak if forgiving yourself when you’re not, and moving on.

    Advice On Building Wealth | I would recommend that before they take steps to grow rich, they understand exactly why they want to be. Security? Power? A sense of winning some grand life competition? To change the world? To feel successful? Because they think being rich will make them happy? Despite all the evidence that once we have our basic needs met, additional money doesn’t make us happier, many of us still hold onto the belief that we’ll be happier with more money in our bank accounts or with nicer houses and cars. Once you understand your motivation – your underlying goal – relating to being rich, ask whether money is a requirement to get you there. Can you accomplish it without being rich? Can you actually find a sense of security or feel successful without accumulating more money? Are you using your current lack of money as an excuse for not moving forward with what you want to accomplish?

    The Legacy You Would Like To Leave | I want my legacy to be about how I made people feel and the positive impact that I had on their lives. Did I help them thrive? Did I make them laugh? Did they feel supported and loved around me?  Did I help them reach their full potential? Did I solve important problems and make the world better?

    Useful Links | 

    Website: http://nytm.org/

    Website: http://jessicahlawrence.com/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/jessicalawrence

    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicahlawrence


  2. Breaking into the NYC Tech Scene

    Lately, NYTM has been meeting with lots of international tech organizations who are all asking a big question: “How do we break into the New York tech scene?

    In a recent interview with Montreal NewTech, Andy Saldana, our Sr. Manager of Events and Development at NYTM, shares insight and resources for anyone looking to “relocate, expand, or collaborate in NYC”.


    NewTech - How big is the NY startup scene currently? Do you have numbers in terms of total # of startups, number of investments?

    Andy- It’s difficult to estimate the exact size of the NYC Startup scene as it is growing very quickly. This spring, NY Tech Meetup collaborated with Association for a Better New York, Google, Citibank and HR&A to conduct a study examining the economic impact of New York’s Tech Ecosystem. The findings conclude that “Tech is not a silo” but is “infused throughout the city’s diverse economy.” It also finds that there are 291,000 jobs in the NYC tech ecosystem. You can find more details about the study athttp://www.nyctecheconomy.com/.

    Other indicators of the size of the startup scene is our “Made in NYC" list, and the city’s "Made in NY" list. Both sites list companies that base 75% of their development here in NYC. Each list has over 600 and 1000 companies listed, respectively.

    - See more at: http://mtlnewtech.com/post/94447657600/how-to-break-in-the-new-york-tech-startup-scene-a#sthash.KW8RKwwv.dpuf

    NewTech - Let’s say a Canadian startup wants to move to NYC. How would you accelerate the process? Any insights on meeting investors, potential partners, getting new customers?

    Andy- I would definitely suggest checking out our Monthly event and our website! Second, they should check out as many of the tech and entrepreneurial meetups found on meetup.com and events such as Creative MorningsInternet WeekSocial Media Week or any of the number of conferences that happen monthly and annually in the city. NYC is thriving with coworking spaces such as WeWork that also encourage community and collaboration and are great places to work! The NYC EDC also runs some great programs focused on entrepreneurs that many startups can take advantage of. Here’s the link . In addition there are great programs like VentureOut NYC that connect startups with investors in NYC. If startups are ready to look for Angel funding, AngelList and Gust are great tools places to start.

    NewTech - Can you highlight names of individuals or organizations that are a must in New York? For a growing startup.

    Andy- In addition to some I mentioned in my previous responses here are a few resources that are a must. Subscribing to the NYTM newsletterGary’s Guide, StartupDigest, This Week in NYC Innovation are all great newsletters for trends, events and community news. AlleyWatch, AlleyWire, TechCocktail are great sites for startup news funding and general content. General AssemblyFlat Iron School and New York Design and Code Academy are great places to learn and hire local developers. There are a ton of resources out there for anyone new, looking to relocate, expand and collaborate in NYC. We at NY Tech Meetup are always happy to help as much as we can!

    You can read the full interview at: http://bit.ly/1osIyTb

    Big thanks to MTL NewTech!


  3. Lineup for August 4 NY Tech Meetup

    Here is the lineup for the August 4, 2014 NYY Tech Meetup (listed in alpha order):


    Caliber helps you connect with professionals you should know from your city or at an event.


    Get a sneak peak at MongoDB’s upcoming new web service that offers single-click provisioning of MongoDB on Amazon’s EC2.

    My Mini Factory

    MyMiniFactory is the worlds only fully curated, 3D object download platform - hosting thousands of free files all ready to 3D print.


    Ringly: Smart jewelry and accessories that keep you connected to the things that matter most to you.



    SocialRank is the easiest way to identify, organize, and manage your followers on Twitter.

    Thomson Reuters

    Thomson Reuters: Act with confidence in a complex world.


    Zenly: Browse apartments with video tours. Rent online without a broker.

    Zola, Inc.

    Zola combines design, ease and endless options for a new wedding registry experience for the modern couple.


  4. Tell your Senator it’s time to curb abusive patent troll behavior and #fixpatents. Call at fixpatents.org

  5. Amazing women at tonight’s NY Tech Meetup - Majora Carter launching an new QA program in the Bronx, and Jen Pahlka, announcing the next round of White House Innovation Fellow applications (due 4/7). Photo credit: QoolFoto

  6. Kicking things off at #nytmaustin - thanks shutterstock


  7. Join Us at NY Tech Meetup: Austin

    For the third straight year, NY Tech Meetup (NYTM) is bringing the best of New York City technology to SXSW with NY Tech Meetup: Austin which will be held on Saturday, March 8, at The Rio, 601 Rio Grande, Suite 200/300, Austin, TX, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    Co-hosted by NYTM and Gust and presented by Shutterstock, the event will feature a full NYTM demo event with presentations from some of New York’s most promising up-and-coming tech companies, including Aereo, Skillfeed, QLovi, Topi, Kinsa, Moven, MongoDB, HeTexted, Canary, 1 Second Everyday and more. Attendees can also enjoy a late morning meetup that will bring together investors and entrepreneurs, and a technology and recruitment showcase featuring top NYC technology companies, all capped off with a closing party.

    “One of the most important things we can do for the New York tech community is to make the rest of the nation and, ultimately, the world aware of all the amazing things that are being created here every day,” said Jessica Lawrence, Executive Director of NYTM. “We’re excited to give some of the top innovators in NYC a chance to shine at SXSW while exposing the creativity of New York City’s tech ecosystem as a whole to the world.”

    “Shutterstock is thrilled to support the NY Tech Meetup and fellow NY tech companies that will be showcasing their work at SXSW. Like Shutterstock, SXSW is all about the convergence of art and tech and we are inspired by the strength and creativity of the NY tech community that attends every year,” said Shutterstock VP Corporate Development, David Fraga.

    NY Tech Meetup: Austin is free to attend, but guests must RSVP in advance for each portion of the event via Eventbrite (https://nytmaustin2014.eventbrite.com). The event is first come, first served and an RSVP does not guarantee admission. Schedule updates and general event information can be found at www.nytmaustin.com.

    The currently confirmed schedule for the event is below:

    11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
    Investor and Entrepreneur Meetup – Hosted by Gust
    Meet top investors and fellow entrepreneurs at a casual meetup.

    11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    NY Tech Showcase and Recruitment Fair – Presented by NYCEDC
    Explore New York tech companies and current job opportunities.

    4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
    NY Tech Meetup
    Enjoy one of NY Tech Meetup’s famous demo events, featuring demos from top New York tech companies.

    5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
    NYTM Afterparty
    Join us after the Meetup to network with fellow attendees.


  9. demand-progress:

    The NSA “is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world.” (Washington Post)

    Join us in protesting the National Security Agency’s wide-ranging invasion of privacy.

    Take action →

  10. So just busted a move on stage at via jonmarkgo