Friday, May 18, 2012

    Paying it Forward

    There is a strong tradition of paying it forward in the startup community and it is one of the main reasons why I love the space so much.  A couple of weeks ago, I was able to partake in this tradition with great success. 

    My friend Sean just recently started a fashion blog similar to  Every day, he rides his bike around campus and looks for students who are wearing interesting fashions.  He then asks to take a picture of them and then breaks down who they are and what they are wearing on

    When I first heard about his idea, I really liked it and secretly wanted to help him out.  However, outside of some basic blog and camera advice, I did not have much to offer.  A week later, while doing some research on the Guardian (UCSD newspaper) for an InternMatch project, I was reading through the feature section, which is where they write about notable students and faculty.  My immediate thought was “Why isn’t Sean in here?”  So I tracked down the email to the features editor and with a devil may care attitude, drafter up this email:

    Hi Mina, 
    I just wanted to point you in the direction of my friend Sean Couey who is starting a fashion blog focusing on UCSD students.  Every day, Sean wanders around campus and looks for students who sport some interesting fashions, he then politely asks to take their picture and put it up on his blog where he also breaks down the specific pieces they are wearing. 
    It's a great story about a UCSD student who is doing something unique with his passion and I hope you look into it. 
    Jonathan Lau

    Next thing I know, the features editor responded asking when Sean would be available for an interview.  A week later, I am looking at a full page article on in the Guardian (God knows why there isn't a picture of Sean there though!).  Since the article ran Sean has seen a nice bump in traffic, though seeing his site in a newspaper was probably way more satisfying than any number of unique visitors. 

    As for me, I was just really glad that I was able to help.  It shocks me to think of the chain of events that my one casual email started.  Honestly, when I hit that send button I was not expecting a response, much less one in an hour.  It has really gotten me wondering about other small ways I could help out my friends.

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