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Startups Are the Word That You Heard

In a recent piece on Forbes, How to Not Get Left Behind in Startup Land, contributor David Tao discusses the trials and tribulations about working for a startup. Tao says that people need to understand that “practically all startups will go through several phases of change before they find that magic intersection between great idea and sustainable businesses.” And he should know; over the past two years Tao has had four different jobs in the startup world.

Redspin Inc.'s Start-up Week Presentation

For others, startups are a way to start over. Take former advertising exec Tom O’Keefe, who for the past 20 years worked for DraftFCB. In an article posted on April 9 on Advertising Age, O’Keefe discusses how 10 weeks ago he made the decision to move to a startup. Why? Because he wants to become excited again—by ideas and by building something that’s meaningful. It’s a feeling that resonates with many startup entrepreneurs.

Recently, DGC spent time at Penn State University’s Start-up Week, an annual educational get-together of company founders and CEOs, started by Penn State alum and Weebly CEO David Rusenko.

The goal of the event was to provide insight to students about what it means to found a startup and to inspire them to start their own companies.

Throughout the week, Penn State students heard from Rusenko, Reddit/Hipmunk co-founder Steve Huffman, Exec founder Justin Kan and Scribd/Parse co-founder Tikhon Bernstam, just to name a few.

During our time there, DGC sat down with David Carlino, a Start-up Week presenter and Penn State alum, for a look at the life of an entrepreneur.

David Carlino (DC):  Hi, my name is David Carlino and I’m an IST graduate of 2009. Since then, I’ve worked for Network System Architects, Inc., which was a small seven-person company in Colorado Springs. After that, I moved to Redspin, Inc., which is a security company and my focus is on policy and analysis for companies.

DiGennaro Communications (DGC): Why was it important for you to attend Start-up Week?

DC: I think when I was at school, specifically IST, I thought the only option for a job was to work for very large corporations, which at the time, I thought was what I wanted to do. But since then, I’ve realized that I do like to have a little bit of ownership over my work, and I tend to not get that necessarily in the large company environment the way that I’d like to.

I wanted to come to Start-up Week to represent a small company rather than starting your own company, because for me, it’s a much better fit. I have a lot of the stability that I look for and also the opportunity to have ownership over my work. I have a little bit more responsibility, which sometimes is daunting, but for me it’s very rewarding.

DGC: Do you credit where you are now to IST?

DC: I do. I often tell people about my major that was designed with professors teaching us through experience, rather than having a teacher tell you, “This is exactly how it should be.” IST professors let you flounder for a bit, and until they know you can’t get it, you won’t get the answer from them.

In my role, currently, there’s not someone I can usually go to to ask for advice. That’s frustrating if you’ve never done that before, but IST provided me with a lot of experience and the know-how as to what to do to learn about things I might not know about and apply them to situations I’ve never seen before.

This way it’s not as frustrating as it is exciting because I realize I can do it if I keep with it. IST really gave me that level of confidence in my ability to solve problems, and also gave me a lot of experience trying.

DGC: Would you attend Start-up Week next year?

DC: Sure. I would love to. It’s always fun being at IST; the staff is always welcoming. They’re always very friendly. The experience overall was very well organized and very easy to ask questions and get answers.

What are some of your experiences with entrepreneurism? Let us know in the comments below!

Forbes Shares “Aha” Moments of America’s Top Entrepreneurs

Image via Forbes

We’re in the throes of election season where topics like job creation and unemployment rates are being thrown around by candidates, pundits and citizens, alike. Did you catch last night’s debate?

While both sides of the aisle have ideas for change, Jim Clifton, the Chairman of Gallup, suggested that what we really need is more entrepreneurship inspiring people to start companies and grow organizations, ultimately leading to more job opportunities.

Well, ForbesAlan Hall recently spoke with 100 founders of growing businesses about the “Aha” moments that solidified their decision to move forward with their entrepreneurial initiative -– what inspired them, how they did it and ultimately, how many jobs they created in the process.

Our very own Samantha DiGennaro weighed in, explaining that after 15 years as a corporate communication executive at global companies where corporate politics “starved her soul,” she knew she could build a better alternative. And so, DiGennaro Communications was born.

Read on to be inspired by the experiences of 99 other talented entrepreneurs in “100 Founders Share Their Top “Aha” Moments — Guess How Many Jobs They’ve Created So Far?”

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