I never expected to create a 100-fold increase in web traffic on Kogeto’s website just by posting a simple video to Reddit. Within 2 hours I had made Kogeto’s web activity the highest it has ever been. Nobody expected that type of productivity from a low-level intern, but I continued to go above and beyond my job description hoping that my efforts would continue to benefit the company.
I have always been able to communicate with peers and colleagues in an effective and personable way. Whether or not this skill is inherent, I have had many opportunities throughout my life to practice and polish the behaviors that create an aura of trust and respect. Having worked as a waiter at a local restaurant, I was forced to not only effectively communicate detailed information about the menu to multiple customers, but also then relay that information to a kitchen staff that spoke very little English. Many teenagers hold summer jobs waiting tables, however one aspect of my time working for Salt & Pepper Restaurant was that it was my first time working in the food industry, and due a limited staff, I was taking on the brunt of the orders alone just after a few days of training. This required a high level of sustained focus, as well as quick thinking to balance multiple orders in a timely manner to ensure customer satisfaction. This was also the first time I needed to employ the nine years of Spanish I had taken in middle school and high school in a work environment. Although it was challenging at the time, looking back I realize what a great opportunity it was to practice a skill that may be useful in the future.
While my time working as a waiter taught me lessons in inter-colleague communication and direct customer service, I acquired some of the most valuable skills during my time working as an intern at a New York start up called Kogeto. The company created a way to film panoramic video using a system of camera lens set up with a series of mirrors to capture 360-degree footage. As an intern, I had a variety of jobs, but the one that I found myself doing most in my first year was traveling throughout New York and capturing film that the company could use. I filmed and uploaded over 40 videos during my first internship, but none of them seemed to be getting significant attention when they were posted on Kogeto’s website. I turned my attention to sharing the videos on a different social media platform, and my initial instinct was to use www.reddit.com, a popular website made up of news, humor content, and discussion threads. I spent the majority of my time crafting a title that would hopefully entice readers to click. When I went to check on my post the next morning, I was surprised to see that the video had made it to the front page of the website, and was the #1 post on the technology section. The web activity on Kogeto’s website had spiked drastically, along with sales of their product attachment for the iPhone. This was an incredibly rewarding experience and likely was part of the reason I was asked back the following summer.
The next summer I was given a few more responsibilities, one of which was handling the upgraded camera attachment and looking to showcase it’s abilities to the general public in tech stores throughout New York City such as Tekserve and Apple. In many cases, we were able to attract a crowd of intrigued onlookers. We tried to sell these potential customers on the product and all of its capabilities. This required an in-depth knowledge of the product to demonstrate expertise, as well an approachable ambience to make the customer feel comfortable and willing to trust what I was telling them to be true. I was able to close multiple deals, however, as it was my first experience in sales there were also many that I let slip through the cracks. Whether or not I successfully made a sale, I loved every minute of the process. I was passionate about the product I was pitching and the thrill of the sale taught me so much about social and economic tendencies in just four hours. At just 17 years old, this was a truly defining moment for me, and gave me an idea of a profession I could find myself enjoying for years.
Another way in which I matured and exercised some of the skills previously mentioned was throughout my four-year tenure on the varsity lacrosse team in high school. Driven by an intense head coach who prioritized the players’ character development over wins, I learned important lessons in communication, commitment, and teamwork. These intangibles seemed abstract to me at the time, and I never saw how calling an offensive play in the lacrosse field could transfer to relaying a food order at Salt & Pepper until many months after my career was over. These skills were refined over four long years, and I can accredit some of the competence I have in a work environment to my time spent on the lacrosse field. The skills I have learned as an athlete in tandem with the knowledge I have gained through years of working in different fields has helped me grow, and has prepared me for future work opportunities.