Attention Queens innovators: think outside the box.
At the second Queens Tech Meetup, local inventors learned that while Queens can potentially surface as one of the nation’s leading technology regions, creators must be fully engaged to energize the movement.
The advice was given to nearly 200 techies and digital startup hopefuls by venture capitalist Charlie O’Donnell.
“You have a responsibility to be the best employees, the best entrepreneurs,” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell, founder of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, commended the group of gadget-lovers for taking an interest in technology in the borough, but challenged them to become more innovative.
He instructed them to think of devices and software that differ from current trends and work to fix real needs. O’Donnell also told the audience to think about exceeding individual barriers, to try to design their own meetups and to spur continued growth in the field.
O’Donnell noted features of the borough that will attract more tech-focused inventors and aficionados that could drive the Queens tech era.
“A couple of years from now you’re going to be able to walk across the [Roosevelt Island] bridge and go to one of the premium engineering and applied sciences schools and the only place that you can walk from is Queens,” O’Donnell said, referring to the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute, which will be built on Roosevelt Island.
O’Donnell added that Queens has a wide range of people with everyday problems like finding a baby sitter, which could be used to generate new ideas for applications and devices.
Queens Tech Meetup 2 was organized by the Coalition for Queens, a group dedicated to fostering the technology sector in the borough.
Coalition for Queens recently received $65,000 from the City Council for creating classes to teach aspiring techies.
The first batch of classes will start in September and focus on areas such as web programming, team building and Adobe Illustrator.
“We want people to learn about skills like how to use social media, how to program a website or if you’re more advanced and want to build an app,” said JuKay Hsu, founder of the coalition. “We want to give everyone the opportunity to get really, really well paying jobs here in New York.”
Hsu believes the Queens innovators will be able to meet O’Donnell’s challenge because of the borough’s wealth in diversity.
“We have all these different people from different backgrounds and experiences,” said Hsu. “They’re going to think outside the box.”