The opportunity to participate in the EntreTechNYC immersion in the New York tech scene was an incredible experience. We had the unique opportunity to visit, interact, learn, and shadow information-based companies and entrepreneurs, including Foursquare, Google, HuffPost Labs, and Single Platform, to name a few.

One of the biggest takeaways for me was the notion that employees must be passionate about what they do in order to succeed. Every company we visited reiterated this theme. Passion was also cited as one of the most essential ingredients that organizations themselves need for success.

However, beyond having passion, we learned that companies also must instill a culture that is conducive to team collaboration. Allowing individuals who share in the company’s values to brainstorm and bounce ideas off of each other within a collaborative work environment is considered just as essential to success.

Some examples are:

  • Huffington Post’s HuffPost Labs consists of a team of three incredibly smart individuals working on creating innovative tools and ideas, such as complyr and Tomatovision. They are:
    Huffingting Post Labs Team Photo By Will Wu

    HuffPost Labs Team
    Photo By William Wu

  • At Gilt, we were told that being a team player is a core ingredient for recruiting prospects, because all employees are regarded as on the same level. Even more impressively, no one there has offices (not even the CEO, who sits in a cubicle alongside other employees). This is done to create a feeling of openness and trust and to foster collaboration.
  • Foursquare instills a culture of working in small teams to collaborate, produce, and roll out products quickly and efficiently (per Dennis Crowley, CEO).
  • Night Agency, having a culture of smaller teams, offers the ability to collaborate in a manner that provides speed and agility (according to Darren Paul, managing partner).
  • Reddit‘s NYC office is based from collaborative space WeWork, providing an open environment that offers entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses access to office space, office amenities, and affordable healthcare plans. The idea of teamwork and encouraging a collaborative environment was strongly evident there.

In visiting these companies and speaking with founders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists, it dawned upon me that successful individuals truly did not do it alone.  They had friends, team members, and personal networks of individuals who believed in them and their products. This illustration of collaboration instilled for me a recognition that human beings just want to feel connected.  They want to be able to feel like they’re part of something worthwhile.

Team Collaboration Photo by William Wu

Photo by William Wu

Yes, passion is extremely important and a key ingredient to becoming successful. However, simply being passionate is not enough. It’s the collective effort of trusted teammates who are loyal to the product that ultimately determines a company’s future. This synergy of collective learning, sharing of work and forming close relationships, coupled with the ability to welcome a competitive spirit benefits not just the organization. It also affects every individual on those company teams by enhancing their ability to grow and develop, and in the end, make our lives better through their work.