About The Persistent Question:
At Drink Tank, we’re lucky to meet interesting people on the reg and have the chance to ask them tons of questions. We’ve met people with different perspectives and backgrounds who’ve shared their excitement for what they’re building and who’ve been generous with their wisdom. Seeing this again and again, we came up with “The Persistent Question”. The set up is pretty simple: we choose a question and we ask of it of the people we meet. We pass along those answers to you here as a testament to the power of multidisciplinary collaboration.
This Edition's Question:
There is an authenticity to the midwest that I think is desired all over the world.
I think Chicago is the best place for me now as I think the city is ready for disruption and change for the better. The last year was very difficult for our city and caused many people to further question what they believe in and how they can make a difference in their communities.
Outside of the ability to vote, one of the greatest individual powers that we have is our voice. My passion is helping people find that voice along with the appropriate avenues to make that voice heard. And in the spirit of innovation and collaboration, I think we are starting to see more cooperation between government, business, civic and community organizations to discover what works and how to push forward. I love that in the chaos, there is a great beauty in trying to define, and then exploring what's possible together.
We have a city full of driven, strategic, creative people. We also have a city facing significant challenges with education, health, safety and economic development. How can we have all this and not get to work?
In the past couple of years I learned how important a support system is to building a business and life away from where I started, in Romania. I have no family, childhood or college friends here. And no matter how much I'd like to believe I am so tough that I could make it on my own, I didn't. I have a rock-solid friend support system. I've lived in many places around the world and Chicago is where I made good friends quickly. In this beautiful big city there is a humanity that I haven't encountered elsewhere. People are open and honest, willing to give and receive. This is the city of big hearts.
There may be cities with more a venture capital/angel network, but Chicago feels like it has one of the most supportive investor communities. I've been in touch with hundreds of companies and can count on one hand how many I have left without feeling compelled to help through one way or another; even if it is completely out of our scope. Last month the most interesting outside-the-box companies I met were curators of saffron, and a connector of millennials to fine art and with each I felt equally compelled to be helpful than if I was pitched on an Uber or Airbnb type of company. It's just a great, creative city.
Launching a social communication app like Brunch in Chicago benefit greatly from our pragmatic culture of app users. In other words, you better have a really good product to get any excitement or attention around here. In the valley, excitement around apps boom and bust in a heartbeat. It often creates false positives and kills startups before before they can get off the ground.