Coworking At Its Best: Prepping for the Westchester Digital Summit 2014

By Christina Collins, Account Manager for counterspace

How counterspace Joined the Coworking Community:

We were actively seeking a creative community to engage with last spring. We were looking for anything from a meet-up group to a networking organization- we didn’t really know exactly what, but we wanted to tap into or create ‘something’ where “creatives” could share, learn, network and grow. I had found The Digital Arts Experience online while on my quest for this so-called creative community we were looking for, but, to be completely honest, we didn’t really “get it.” Then, Brett [Yancy Collins, Owner and Creative Director of counterspace] created a meet-up for professional creatives in the Westchester/Fairfield area and Emily, on behalf of The DAE, saw the meet-up and sent Brett a note. When he told me that he got a note from a place called The Digital Arts Experience, I remembered that we had talked about it before and I was like “That’s the place I told you about in White Plains!” We decided we should meet with Emily and check the place out.

When we came in, The DAE was very quiet and there wasn’t much going on, but Brett knew right away that The DAE was a powerhouse waiting to explode and could be the place that he could tap into to host and grow a creative network. What we hadn’t thought about was working from here. After all, we had just moved into a loft space in downtown Port Chester not two months earlier! We left our meeting and Brett and I looked at each other and knew we wanted to try and figure out a way to make The DAE our home. But first, Brett wanted to meet with the founder, so I set up another meeting just to ensure personalities ‘jived.’ Brett, having been a part of creating a place similar to The DAE in Ohio called ‘The Works‘ many years ago and had much to chat about with founder Rob Kissner. We were excited to continue our ‘courtship’ with The DAE!

How counterspace Met Silverback Social:

It was that day that Rob and Emily introduced us to Silverback Social founder, Chris Dessi. Chris had tremendous energy and was gearing up for the first Westchester Digital Summit. Chris and Brett were after the same thing: creating a digital community in our backyards – Westchester, NY. Brett was doing it from a digital design perspective and Chris from a social media perspective, but they clearly were after that same sense of “Do it here. Do it now. And do it digitally.” And Chris was doing it so we were excited to see what the WDS was all about. We attended the [Westchester Digital] Summit the following week and soon after, told Rob we’d be moving in.

How counterspace Felt about Coworking:

We moved in right in the middle of producing a website for International Carseat maker, Diono. The pressure was on to produce the U.S. version of their site; we had crucial deadlines to meet. We were heads down and had no time to make friends! (Not sure what kind of first impression we made!) Meanwhile, all around us, The DAE was full of life. Since we last visited, The New York Institute for Social Media was in ‘the pink room’ (which I was relieved about because that was the absolute, one colored room I did not want!) and Harquin Creative Group was in the ‘blue room.’ There were interns all about, classes in session and freelancers coming and going. And during it all, there was Chris Dessi walking up and down the hall on the phone with clients all day long- also heads down on churring out work all day and night.

counterspace and Silverback Social’s WDS14 Work:

One day out of the blue, Brett and Chris started chatting in the hallway about this and that and Chris mentioned he had some design needs. A few days later, Brett went and sat down with Chris and they talked about creating logos for the Westchester Digital Summit and for Chris’s personal website. They talked about the future goals of each project and what kind of feeling the identity marks should evoke, what style Chris responds to, and what he doesn’t, and other bits of information.

Brett returned to his desk and within a few days time generated a series of logo marks for Chris Dessi and for The Westchester Digital Summit. Chris was very excited about the logos and was eager to continue working together. Together, they began to churn out really high quality work starting with a brochure for the Westchester Digital Summit, which included photography that Brett took specifically for it.  From there, they moved onto a large format poster to be used at Westchester Airport and they are currently finishing up the website for WDS.

In addition, we began to execute a new website for Chris’s personal blog featuring all the many things about Chris such as hiring him for speaking engagements, advertising his published book, featuring him as a founder of the digital summit, linking him as the CEO and founder of Silverback and more- he’s a busy guy! counterspace came up with a innovative design for ChristopherDessi.com that will accomplish the goals of featuring “all that is Chris” in a classy way. That site will be launching soon and we are all excited to see it go live! What’s next? Well… we’ll all have to wait and see.

We (counterspace) were very eager to start working on the Westchester Digital Summit, partially because we attended last year and were energized about the concept then, and now this is one just way we get to be a part of it for year 2. The more successful we are at branding it, the more successful it becomes and that is good not only for counterspace, but for all of corporate Westchester, specifically digital agencies.

Best Part of Coworking at The DAE:

The advantage Silverback and counterspace have in the coworking environment at The DAE is proximity. By being in adjacent offices, feedback is delivered in person and instantaneously, questions and answers can be tackled at each other’s desks, gut reactions can be gaged and responded to when sharing deliverables and, most of all, ideas get shared and goals get discussed. Becoming an extension of each other’s teams results in successful projects, positive moral and a sharing of each other’s expertise in a noncompetitive environment. Coworking is truly about working alongside each other, learning and growing by leveraging each other’s areas of expertise, experiences and sharing in each others successes.

We have been at The DAE for 3 months now and we are confident we made the right move for counterspace. We’ve met fabulous people, we like coming to work, talking about projects we are working on, hearing about other people’s projects and even sharing weekend stories. Silverback, Harquin, counterspace and The DAE are currently collaborating on how to work with interns collectively rather than having a “counterspace intern” and a “DAE intern.” We are stronger as one and although we are all still learning the ins and outs of all the agencies and people who call The DAE home, there is an energy happening that assures me we are all moving in the right direction.

The Westchester Digital Summit 2014 will be held on May 15th, 2014 at the White Plains Ritz Carlton. For more information, please contact JohnZanzarella@SilverbackSocial.com or ChrisDessi@SilverbackSocial.com.

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SILVERBACK SOCIAL SAYS: I’m A Loser

This article was written by our good friend Chris Dessi, Founder and CEO of Silverback Social, an amazing social media marketing company.  Please visit them at SilverbackSocial.com.

I’m a loser. Really, I am. I’ve had my ass kicked so many times I’ve stopped counting. I’ve been fired more times than I care to remember. Three times in less than two years in fact. I have scars. Deep ugly jagged cuts that at times have left me bleeding on the ground. That’s precisely why I win in business. It’s also exactly why my company performs 10X better than our competition. Because I’ve had my ass kicked I do things differently. Let me explain:

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The last time I was let go I was so stunned I couldn’t respond.

Literally. READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE

What Everyone Ought To Know About Reddit

By Alex Yae (A.K.A. The Google Whisper) of Silverback Social.  

When people hear the term “social media” typically, they think of the major social networking platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.). However, there is one rapidly rising, highly influential social media platform that, although well known, is underutilized and often misunderstood – Reddit. All those cat memes you love? They started on Reddit. In fact, a lot of viral content on the Internet stems this site.

Reddit is a “social bookmarking” site where anonymous users can post interesting links, discussions, images, etc. and other users can vote them up or down. The voting feature essentially makes this website a user-regulated forum where spam and poor quality submissions get sent to the void and the submitter gets publicly shamed…. READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE

Startup Weekend Crashes White Plains with 54-hour Lesson in Entrepreneurship

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Startup Weekend Crashes White Plains with 54‐hour Lesson in Entrepreneurship

WHITE PLAINS, NY – MAY 1, 2013. This month, Westchester hosts its first-ever Startup Weekend, an event bringing together entrepreneurs, designers, developers and startup enthusiasts to participate in 54 hours of taking innovative business ideas from concept to launch.  Local CEOs, founders, and startup veterans will be on hand to provide expertise and give talks on their experiences in the fast-paced world of technology startups.

“Innovation happens because someone conceives of an idea that will make the world better, more efficient, or more interesting. We need more innovation, and it starts with entrepreneurs, designers and developers. Innovation starts here at Start Up Weekend,” says Chris Dessi, founder & CEO of Silverback Social: a social media marketing agency representing organizations like The Leukemia & Lymphoma  Society.  Dessi will be hosting the Westchester Digital Summit, a global social media & technology event being held at the Westchester County Center a few days before speaking at the kickoff of Startup Weekend White Plains.

On Friday night, attendees will take the open mic to pitch their ideas to the group in 60 seconds or less. After groups form, the rest of the weekend will be spent formulating the most popular ideas with the help of mentors and seasoned startup entrepreneurs. By Sunday, teams will be ready to present their ideas in front of a panel of judges who will award prizes, including a coworking membership at the Digital Arts Experience, a logo from the DAE’s creative team, and a valuable social media consult with Silverback Social founder & CEO Chris Dessi, all of which are targeted to help teams build their startups after the weekend.  In addition, entrepreneurs-in-training will enjoy their fill of Starbucks coffee, treats from Whole Foods, and beer courtesy of Yonkers Brewing Co.

“Part of our mission involves building a community and culture of entrepreneurs and creative people here in Westchester and the greater New York City area,” says The Digital Arts Experience’s Event Coordinator Emily Angell. “Startup Weekend is such a natural extension of that ideal… we HAD to get Startup Weekend to White Plains.”

Around 80 participants are expected to partake over the weekend; additionally, there are limited tickets available to the public for viewing the presentations on Sunday night. Although the focus is local for the White Plains attendees, Startup Weekend will also sanction events this weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah, Springfield, Illinois, as well as Canada and Tunisia.  Startup Weekend White Plains runs from Friday, May 17th at 6:00 PM to Sunday, May 19th at 9:00 PM at The Digital Arts Experience, 170 Hamilton Ave. in White Plains: a learning center for the digital media arts that features shared workspace for creative people. For more information the event, as well as tickets to participate, please visit whiteplains.startupweekend.org

ABOUT STARTUP WEEKEND: Startup Weekend is a 501c(3) non-profit based in Seattle, Washington. Founded in 2007 in Boulder, Colorado, by Andrew Hyde, the organization has been based out of Seattle since 2009 under the direction of Marc Nager. Supported by a grant from the Kauffman Foundation, Startup Weekend has held over 325 events around the globe, inspiring nearly 30,000 entrepreneurs to take an idea from concept to launch.

ABOUT THE DIGITAL ARTS EXPERIENCE:  The Digital Arts Experience is a creative learning hub, committed to the exploration and development of self-reliant digital literacy.  Their goal is to expose the community to the digital world and empower students to embrace the technology of today and tomorrow.  Founded on the principles of collaboration and community, this space is the first of its kind in Westchester because of its unique amenities.  With a creative team offering all-in-one production services (including audio, video, photography, web, design & animation), a spacious 8,000 square foot loft, and photo/video/audio studios boasting state-of-the-art gear, the DAE is the ideal place for creative people to team up, work, learn, grow and play.  For information on the Digital Arts Experience visit: thedae.com and for details regarding shared workspace visit: workhomebase.com.

Contact: Emily Angell at the Digital Arts Experience – 914-644-8100 or emily@thedae.com.