Mar 9, 2011
MITER celebrates its first birthday! We look back at an amazing year of new experiences, milestones reached, and lasting memories made. We begin with a few words from the new Exec team, and then each of our Founders will share their entrepreneurial journey. Stay tuned for more from Rob, Erdin, Edu, and Nate.
As MIT celebrates the MIT150, we at MITER thought it a fortuitous opportunity to reflect upon our own milestone: MITER’s one-year anniversary. While not quite as historically significant as the one and a half centuries of our venerable university, MITER’s one-year mark is still a momentous occasion for us. It has been a year of hard-work and determination, characterized by alternating periods of uncertainty and triumph. We are proud of where we’ve gotten to, and we look to the future with great enthusiasm.
I was first introduced to MITER when I arrived at Sloan this fall. Like so many of my enterprising classmates, I wanted to help build something while I was here, to leave a mark. Although MIT abounds with opportunities to do just that, especially in entrepreneurship, something about MITER lured me in. It was a start-up that wrote about start-ups. Its motto was “where Einstein meets Edison”, or a place where “thinkers” met “doers”. MITER brought cutting edge knowledge, innovative ideas and practical experience to entrepreneurs. This mission resonated strongly with me and I became a MITERite in no time.
A birthday is a commemoration of the beginning. To this end, I decided to sit down with our founders to hear MITER’s story. I share it now with you as a testament to the past and future of our organization and the spirit of entrepreneurship.
The need for an entrepreneurship publication at MIT had existed for awhile. New products, companies, and entrepreneurs were constantly “graduating” from MIT, but there was no consistent coverage, and therefore no knowledge or information transfer. The demand was there, but it took a confluence of vision, initiative, and luck to bring the concept into fruition. In the summer of 2009, the new Director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, Bill Aulet, was determined to have an online entrepreneurship publication for the Center. Around the same time, three Sloanies from Kyrgyzstan, Spain, and New York (Erdin, Edu, and Rob) walked in his door and asked how they could become more involved in the entrepreneurial life at MIT. Shortly after, they walked out as the founders of the new MIT Entrepreneurship Review.
Like any startup, MITER has had its share of missteps, including one at a most critical moment. It was the day of launch, and the link to our new website was posted prominently posted on the MIT homepage, the most visited university webpage in the world. But when you clicked on the MITER link, all you saw was a blank page with the notification: “We’re experiencing technical difficulties.”
It turned out that when the team outsourced the site’s development, it had naively opened itself up to a world of uncertainty, something many of us have learned painstakingly. Long story short, the group found itself essentially without a developer and unable to access its own website. Luckily, MIT is probably the best place in the world to find a computer science major in the middle of the night. Within an hour, we had a freshman extricating the code and launching our website. Sergio became our Founding Technical Lead and an integral part of the MITER team.
As I listened to the MITER story, I realized what we were really celebrating today. It wasn’t just the website, the articles, or the number of page hits, it was the creation of an organization that drew people in, made them feel like they were part of something special, and left them with lasting memories.
Since MITER’s first article, “Are Entrepreneurs the Source of Economic Crisis” by Michael Bikard, our website has been viewed over 150,000 times in 163 countries around the world. The MITER team has grown from the original 3 founders to over 40 people. Our readership continues to grow and we’re attracting a broader audience (as demonstrated by syndications with publications like the Huffington Post). As a member of the new executive team, I can say that we’re all very excited for the possibilities ahead. We have plans to improve our platform, reach a greater audience, grow the team, and continue to provide cutting edge material. I believe there are no boundaries and that MITER has the potential to become one of the world’s premier sources for thought leadership in entrepreneurship.
It’s been a whirlwind of a year for the MITER team and the journey is just beginning. Along the way we’ve met an amazing group of students, faculty, and entrepreneurs who are talented, creative, and committed to our vision of sharing knowledge and the entrepreneurial experience with the world.
Lastly, on the behalf of the entire MITER team, I’d like to thank all of our readers. We thank you for your patience with us as we navigated this first year, your feedback and your continued support. You make us keep on striving.
–Yvonne Chung, MITER Executive Team