Interview: Former Digital.NYC Editor Marcos Dinnerstein
If you're involved in NYC's startup scene then you have probably heard or bumped into Marcos. Recently, I sat down with Marcos Dinnerstein , an editor, consultant, and communicator.
Marcos is a community manager with an extensive network in NYC government and the metro area startup ecosystem. He's the former editor of Digital.NYC which is the official hub of the Tech and Startup ecosystem in New York City.
I picked his brain and asked him some questions about the industry.
How did you get started in doing what you do now?
At the moment I'm consulting in communications roles (feel free to reach out) with various companies and I am advising founders on how to navigate the NYC tech and startup ecosystem.
So what I'm doing now is a moving target. Years ago, I started out at Rho Capital Partners doing office support work. One of the partners there was kind enough to mentor me, answer most of my ignorant - not stupid - questions and gave me greater responsibility. One of those was the chance to run a company that had folded, Parlo.com.
It was a language instruction site in the dot com era that, among other things, offered self-guided language instruction online for a mere $49 per course. When it closed the site was still basically functional and taking in money for these course.
I was given a shot at trying to make it into a small revenue generating business but in order to do this I had to learn about maintaining a site, basic marketing, blogging, writing some HTML and CSS and how to hire and work with developers. I knew nothing about any of this at the time. I learned...
Fast forward through a variety of operational roles at an adtech company, followed by work at ProQuest in customer support > product specialist > the beginnings of product management I then was asked to be the editor of Digital.NYC at Gust Inc. This was my most recent position as editor/ambassador of NYC's official tech and startup hub.
What 3 things does anyone starting in your industry need to know?
If we say my industry is communications then the answer would be the ability to speak clearly, write clearly and understand people and their needs.
That may sound simple but simple doesn't mean easy. It's simple to put a golf ball in a hole that's 300 yards away, simple to throw a basketball in a hoop from mid-court but clear communications elude most people. It takes constant work.
Why do you enjoy working with entrepreneurs and startups?
The energy and commitment in startups is wonderful. There's a universal sense of promise and people try to build something that others will value.
What do you think c-suite executives can learn from startups?
Too broad to answer but I'll give it a shot. Most startups, but not all, subscribe to lean methodology and agile software development.
Build a minimal feature, test, measure, and adapt based on how the market / people react. While this has been effective in early stage companies it's not appropriate in all conditions. But the thinking behind it is useful to not be complacent.
Everyone needs to continue to test hypothesis to see if assumptions are true or still true over time.
What are your 3 favorite tools for doing [something your audience cares about]?
Buffer for social media scheduling. It's simple and effective. The google suite of tools. And - maybe out of left field - my beat up bike. There's no better way to get around the city than by bike. Sure you have to keep you wits about you but it also breaks you mindset during the day to just think. Most of us don't allow ourselves the time to do that and we should.
What's the value of all the info we take in if we don't allot time to process it? Add the minimal exercise value to that and it's amazingly useful.
Is work/life balance a myth? Can you name a few healthy tips?
It depends on whether you make it a priority. Many don't and get away with it for some period of time. But it's not healthy.
It's not sustainable and it doesn't set a good example for your company, whether you're a leader or co-worker. And not everyone can be a work-a-holic. If you have kids at home you need to stand up and go at a set time.
Better to learn to use your time more effectively, carve out pure work time vs. responding to emails throughout the day.
Tell us something interesting we should know about you?
I've kayaked around Manhattan on more than one occasion. You can't get a better view of the city than from the waters off of Manhattan.