Aug 17 2012

Time flies when you’re having fun.

  • Posted by: admin

Yes, I’m talking about my summer internship coming to a close. Have I been brainwashed? Maybe. Am I mad about it? No. Would I do it again? Yes. Did you hear that, Dad?! I LIKE WORKING! In what felt like no time, eight weeks has come and gone and it’s my last day at 1871. Tear.


I came into this whole internship thing thinking “Ok, I nailed that interview.. but I don’t really know what I’m doing.” Scary. My first project was to create a top-secret everything-you-need-to-know-about-starting-a-company “toolbox” for Dashfire’s partners to access, compiled with nearly a hundred of the best, expert-written articles I could find. Ranging in topics from A/B testing, analytics, target markets, SEO, web design, etc, this toolbox will (hopefully) act as a information guide for entrepreneurs who are in the process of launching a startup, but don’t know everything about everything. Time will tell if project #1 gets an A, but, if anything, creating the toolbox was a great way for me to learn about all things tech-related. Maybe it was Rick’s way of teaching me without making it sound boring. Sneaky…


Post-internship life lesson #1: Before you jump into something, learn as much as you can about it. Read. Listen. Ask questions. Take notes. Learn from people who know what they’re talking about.


I’ve been in charge of managing social media and writing blogs for Dashfire. What I thought would be a side task became something I did constantly throughout the day. I’ve come to learn that social media is a huge part of business development, and, after getting my learn on all summer, I’ve created a social media framework for Dashfire’s companies. Initially, I was intimated by the fact that Dashfire was a well-established company. Rick went to Georgetown and sometimes when he talked about differences between b2b and b2c companies I took notes on what he was saying and googled it after our conversation. Guilty, but at least I was learning! Basically, I didn’t feel like I was qualified enough to tell 200 Twitter followers, all of Built In Chicago, and THE WORLD WIDE WEB how to better network online, or how small business SEO is changing. Though I knew how to do both, and was learning new things every day, I didn’t have that much confidence.


Post-internship life lesson #2: Have confidence! If you think you know what you’re talking about, you’re one step ahead of a lot of people. Just because what you’re saying may not be articulated perfectly or 100% true across the board, it’s still a free country, right?! Speak your mind, and speak it with confidence. I minor in Journalism at DePaul because I like to write, but I’m averaging a C+ (don’t tell my Dad). Naturally, I was considering giving academic writing the boot and sticking to communication studies this year. After working at Dashfire and having Rick as a boss/mentor and my #1 complimenter, DePaul professors will not only have to put up with my writing for another year, but now I’ll be fighting my grades because “teacherz, my boss thinks I write good!”


Post-internship life lesson #2.1: Get a mentor like Rick Desai.


Another project I worked on was creating a template for entrepreneurs who come to Dashfire with a simple idea, or as an established company looking for Rick and the Dashfire team’s expertise. I’m about to contradict everything I just ragged on DePaul for, but it was great to see what I’ve learned studying communications put to use outside the classroom. Outlining how an idea on a powerpoint will turn into a company is very similar to, for example, creating a Public Relations plan. You must define your company’s situation, layout your objections and goals, define and know your target audience, develop strategies, and tactics to implement those strategies, create a timeline, delegate responsibility, and, most importantly, evaluate results.


Post-internship life lesson #3: Listen in school. Take classes that will be relevant to what you want to do post-grad. Take electives that will be of use to you in the future, not because it’s an online class with a teacher who everyone loves on called “History of the Beatles 101.” Unless, of course, you are very interested in this topic and feel it to be useful. I am not here to pass judgments.


Thanks to 1871’s awesome co-working space and Rick’s introductions, I’ve had an opportunity to meet tons of great people this summer. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be a small part of the Chicago tech startup scene, and look forward to being involved during the school year. That being said, I’m trying to start something! Ironic, right? Here’s why: I feel lucky that I’ve made great connections, but it saddens me that other kids my age didn’t have this opportunity and probably would have loved to. I want to connect entrepreneurs to other entrepreneurs on a personal level, as well as introduce them and their rad companies to people who are interested. It’ll start as a blog and then probably turn in to, like, the next Jersey Shore or something. Just kidding. If you’re interested in letting me ask you a few questions which will result in people knowing how awesome you are, feel free to email me at, or send me a tweet @withtwoxs. 


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