Making invention accessible. That is the concept, the reason why a boldly purple company exists – to empower people to invent and to give great ideas a chance to come to life. This is the mission of Quirky, a rapidly growing startup in New York City, where I had the pleasure of spending my spring break.
Although I only spent a few days there, this Princeternship gave me a unique window into startup culture, leaving behind the academic rigors on campus and beginning to understand the excitements of the entrepreneurial world out there. Warmly welcomed by our Princeton alumni host Nikki Laffel Kaufman ’07, and Suzannah Kerr on the first day, we were soon off, meeting people of all departments that are growing the company together.
I was exposed to a variety of departments I had never considered, ranging from design to sales to operations and more. Everyone was so passionate about what they were doing, so willing to explain and answer any questions, excited about the company, pumped about the future, and invested completely in their potentials and the power entrusted to them. People hung out in the kitchen, joked out loud in the main working space, laughed, thought, and through all of that – solved stimulating problems with creativity and focus. I caught a glimpse of the challenges each part of the company wrestles with and was more importantly, inspired by the confidence with which each person approached these challenges. Getting advice about everything from how to make the most of college to preparing for the life beyond, I learned not only about specific career paths, but also more broadly about the value of taking risks and jumping at opportunities that may take you on a path you may have never imagined.
My Princeternship experience at Quirky ended with my participation in their company-wide product evaluation meeting, a wonderful experience that exemplified collaboration and the openness of the Quirky company culture. My biggest takeaway from the people at Quirky is the notion that it is by going for the things we love and working hard at them that we give ourselves the opportunity to find a career where work does not feel like work. I learned that most specific skills can be picked up on the job so that it is really about pursuing your curiosities and developing the capacity to think and problem solve that can be applied anywhere. As an aspiring inventor and entrepreneur, I believe my experience at Quirky was invaluable and would strongly recommend it to any curious students. Many thanks to my hosts and Career Services for giving me this opportunity