For months all eyes were on one day: November 18, the day my teammates Lauren Merlini, Morgan Trachtman and I had to prove Flashbulb’s worth as more than a passing idea. That evening, pitching went smoothly, and it happened almost too quickly. Flashbulb represents the culmination of months’ worth of work that was sometimes tedious, but ultimately so rewarding. After preparing, practicing and cementing our pitch, the time came and passed in which we finally presented Flashbulb in front of a panel. Not surprisingly, we were nervous.
As we neared the end of our pitch, however, the nerves began to subside, and all that remained was confidence in our work. From the hundreds of questions we received about our product over the course of the semester, it was interesting to then hear the questions the panel asked in a matter of only minutes. And when the time came, there wasn’t a single question asked that we hadn’t already heard in the Lab.
What I found most fulfilling from working in the Lab was a greater appreciation for life as a learning process. It was unbelievably interesting to see the effects that knowledge has in leading creativity down a path of creation. Working at the Lab, there was a constant influx of opinions and perspectives that changed the way my team viewed our product and its importance to consumers. I learned that knowledge stems from more than facts; there’s no greater knowledge than being able to hear and understand different perspectives from different people. The greatest changes to our product came from learning what was desirable. Questions and facts of feasibility and viability changed how we did things, but they ultimately didn’t change what we wanted to do. I’ve also developed a greater passion in entrepreneurship as a process that builds a connection between a product and people. Learning about entrepreneurship from John Clark, the Lab’s executive director, and Sara Peach, the Lab’s associate director, provided me with a different perspective on the role of innovation when dealing with business and the media.
At the beginning of this experience, John and Sara presented each team with a question involving society at a local level, and the challenge was to find a way in which the media could provide an answer for these questions. For my team, the solution existed in curating news with personal impact through meaningful preservation. Flashbulb captures and accentuates the news that’s most relevant to an individual, and it builds on the idea that what’s news to you isn’t necessarily news to me. When I think of innovation in media, I think of the photographs, the articles, the headlines, the quotes and the videos that make me pause and think. Most importantly however, I think of the pieces that make me reflect.
Far too often and maybe even more so now, artists craft their work based on perceived range of impact: whether an article, a segment or a video will garner many hits or views. But maybe instead the focus should be shifted toward media with a greater depth of impact. In an increasingly modern society, the key to a world of knowledge lies often in our own hands. However, this isn’t usually enough to get that knowledge into our minds. There’s a lot of apathy in the world, and it’s not necessarily rooted in a lack of interest or even laziness. With so many existing and developing media outlets, it’s difficult to find content with consistent personal relevance, and this often affects the level at which audiences can remain engaged to the content they’re consuming. I’m happy with the direction my teammates and I took in creating Flashbulb because the goal was to bridge this disconnect by creating a meaningful, everlasting news source that people could consume individually while sharing it with others who share the same invested interested.
I’m thankful for my experience at the Lab. I’m thankful for everyone who gave my teammates and I feedback, whether they did so passing through the Lab, answering our calls or listening in on pitch day. I’m thankful for the new perspectives I’ve come to understand while working with everyone at the Lab, and I can’t imagine going through this experience with a different set of people.