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How I survived my first 3 months at Disruptor’s Handbook

By Joanne Jacobs

Photo credit: Stephen Cooper

Last week I attended the first-ever ‘Wednesday Evenings short talks’ at the Vibewire Common Room. Pioneering the weekly events was futurist, trend spotter and keynote speaker Tim Longhurst who spoke to us about his experiences of Serendipity. As he enthusiastically recollected on the five chance encounters that changed his life, I could not help but reflect on the serendipitous moments in my own life that have led me to where I am now.

My university experience up until recently, has been one of  begrudging reluctance. My first semester however, placed me in the tutorial of Joanne Jacobswho I immediately identified as someone who was witty, intelligent, accomplished and approachable. It was Joanne who introduced me to Gavin with the intention of bringing me on board to the Disruptor’s Handbook team. I was excited and ambitious but honestly, mostly confused. Gavin briefly introduced me to words and phrases that I had never heard before—hackathons, disruptive innovation, startup incubation, just to name a few.

Three months down the track and I am now far from being nervously under-qualified. I have facilitated the organisation of two hackathons, learnt how to manage WordPress, Mailchimp and Eventbrite and I am already quick to roll my eyes when mentions corporate regulation. Gavin and Joanne have mentored and challenged me to adopt new industry skills and trifle with unfamiliar technological platforms. To share, here are just a few novelty lessons that I have learnt so far:

  1. There is always an app for it. Part of my job means that I am always engaging with new technologies. Gavin surprises me regularly with apps that I never thought possible. Wrap your head around these:
    • Hootsuite, a social media management platform that allows users to remain updated on their Twitter account.
    • Storify, a social network service that allows you to scan through multiple social media networks in one place and select posts to create stories or timelines. (EDIT 1/8/18: As Storify no longer exists, some alternatives you might like to consider are Wakelet and Scoop.it)
  2. Networking matters. Establishing relationships, whether they are made through online networking sites or through every day encounters, are so important. The people you meet are potentially future clients, colleagues or collaborators. LinkedIn is your friend after all.
  3. Everything is simpler with a handbook. Whether you are evaluating your startup’s key messages or calculating how to deliver a winning presentation or market, a step-by-step guide will chaperon you towards accomplishing your goal. Check out the Disruptor’s Handbook’s selection of handbooks here.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  People are a lot nicer than you anticipate and I have found that they are more than happy to explain and share their industry knowledge if you overcome the hesitation of asking.

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