Coworking Perspectives: Akshay (RIT Student) & Carlson Cowork Member

During his first month of coworking, Akshay Bhasin shared his perspective on coworking and how it’s a unique environment for a student.

CC: Let’s jump right into it, what industry are you in?

AB: It is Tech. Basically I’m in the app market. At the same time, it’s relationship-building — human interaction and social interaction. I would say some of it has to do with psychology. I really don’t know where I would categorize it. I feel like it would be something along the lines of socially conscious technology.

CC: So when did you kick this off?

AB: The initial idea was an app that connects people at airports. Almost 2 years ago, I was 20 years old, sitting in an airport terminal, and noticed everyone was on their phones. Everyone was clearly bored out of their minds, or they were just mindlessly watching TV.

CC: The airport. That’s where most good ideas come to us, right? {laughter, pause} What is the intention for the app that you’re working on now?

AB: It would be nice to make a little money on this, actually, {laughs} but right now it’s just about getting people connected. If you observe the app market today, the most popular applications and the ones that have the most daily active users are the ones that connect people in one way. shape, or form. Even Pokemon go has more daily active users than Snapchat, and Snapchat has over a hundred million active daily users! That’s absurd, and that’s globally. Pokemon is just in the states right now.

CC: It’s clear that connectivity appeals to you. Which is a great transition into co-working. How did you first find out about co-working?

AB: Through a professor of mine who’s also a cowork member — and YOU {laughs}! You came into my marketing class to speak, and that was the first time I’d ever heard about the co-working concept. I also had a friend in the same class that got a desk at the Carlson Cowork for a couple months. I heard about it from my professor initially, but then hearing about my classmates’ experience solidified it as a viable option for me.

CC: What about co-working appealed to you?

AB: Well, it felt like it’s a place where… I don’t mean to sound like a pamphlet, but it’s a place to connect and network. Beyond that, what appealed to me was — first off, it’s far enough away from home that I can’t escape to my bed {laughter}! I also know that there are driven people there that are trying to do their own thing. They are other people who aren’t too keen on the 9-to-5. Even though a lot of people do come in 9 to 5, it’s still a place where I feel I can come in at my own pace, and get work done throughout the day or in the middle of the night. I got the impression that it’s the kind of place where I can bounce ideas off of people that have more experience in certain aspects of different Industries that would be able to help me out.

CC: Did your classmates have a similar experience?

AB: What they told me is that the people are great! I also heard it’s a fun place to be, and you get to meet interesting people.

CC: Would you say that co-working has helped your business progress to this point? And if so, how?

AB: I’ve only been around for about 2 weeks, but yeah. I have used this space to work on other things as well, like my resume, and other productive things that I wouldn’t normally be able to do at home or in the library (which can be a very draining environment). But we had a conversation just now which gave me a new spark in a different perspective on my app project! So that kind of covers the benefits both personally and business, right? I mean your bed is not there {laughing} so personally you can be motivated by separating physical space.

CC: Do you plan on working for a while?

AB: Yea! I would love to. As a student, I’m being helped a little bit financially, but the fact that I’m able to be more productive here — even if I wasn’t working on the business, per se, even if I was just taking classes — I would use co-working as a space to get more work done.

CC: So as a student it almost becomes more productive than anything you could find on campus? Plus you’re making so many new connections that you wouldn’t at school, right?

AB: I think the big thing about it is that working with students, it’s kind of training because almost everyone thinks they know…

CC: Careful! {Laughter}

AB Well, I’m cool with this! I’m sure a lot of these people would agree with me. Many of my classmates think that, because they know what their major is, they know what they’re going to be doing five years from now. Even in the business school you’d be surprised at the amount of people who go with no intention of ever starting their own thing. It seems like those that do either don’t surround themselves with the right people or miss out on a nourishing environment. Or they just waste their time. I’ve been there and I’m getting out of that! I’ve decided that I’m not doing projects just to get an “A.” My drive and motivation is to know that what I’m doing is going to be a worthwhile, for me and everyone involved.

CC: To you, what is the most unique thing about coworking?

AB: More than connections it’s about learning other people’s perspectives. This ties back to what I was saying earlier — that most students I am around have the same perspective on life. Not in a bad way…

CC: It’s a similar experience, maybe?

AB: Yeah, it’s experience-based. It seems like everyone is looking at problem-solving the same way, but at Carlson the age range is from maybe 22 to, I don’t know, 50 or 60. On top of that, there are people in so many different industries that they are conditioned to see the world in many different ways. Being exposed to those perspectives is really what appeals to me. I can talk to you,and you can share your Insight about what I’m working on from your eyes, and then I can reach out to someone else tomorrow and they can share their insight about the same project but have a completely different approach.

CC: I’m glad to hear this because, at Carlson, we have such a wide range of age groups, and this just goes to prove what we captured is a mindset. I can tell that you’re driven, you’re born with it, and you have a desire to strive to continue to grow. That like-mindedness is what builds a solid community.

AB: To build off of that, yes I have the drive, but I didn’t have the right environment to be that way. My living situation, the people who I was surrounded by, I just needed to get out of there and be around people with a drive as well.

CC: If there’s anything about co-working that you would improve, what would that be?

AB: I think something that could be done a little differently is that it feels like not everyone is there to cowork. I know we have weekly lunch-and-learns, but that could probably be a little more enforced. If I’m signing up, it shouldn’t just be about me getting a quad space, or an office. Essentially, it’d be nice to find a way to create natural connections. There should always be a catalyst.


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