A classmate introduced me to Chinedu Echeruo, tech wizard, entrepreneur, and co-founder of MindMeet, a new social knowledge-sharing platform that benefits charitable organizations. We had a great conversation about how tech companies can revolutionize the way we approach the world. He had a real vision and he was passionate about it. That really drew me in because I was searching—like so many students in my generation—to find meaning, to connect to something I could contribute to. He offered me an internship. I accepted it and entered an experience that has powerfully changed the way I think.
At MindMeet this summer, we talked a lot about imbuing intention into everything we do, being excellent at every single task—even imbuing that intention into the universe. It has fundamentally changed how I approach work and problem-solving. When you work somewhere that allows you to have real input in something that, at the end of the day, millions of people around the world can experience as well, you suddenly get really invested in it. Personally. It helped me truly feel the meaning of putting your heart into something.
I’m lucky enough to be at one of the top universities in this country, to have a classmate who could introduce me to the right person right when I needed it. But what about people who work just as hard as I do, who are just as smart as I am, but don’t have access to my classmates, professors, and connections? They now have MindMeet. Because everyone should have access to knowledge. We become better at what we do, how we give, and how we perform when we are sharing— our knowledge, wealth, and skills. Our connections to each other can compound our capabilities and expand our efforts.
The first time I came to MindMeet’s Brooklyn office, I looked in and saw this giant mirror on the wall twice my height. I am actually pretty tall, but this was crazy. There it was, right out of Hogwarts—The Mirror of Erised, the mirror of your heart’s desire. The brunch was a big moment for me. It was a big moment for this team that I had worked hard alongside, even though I had only met a few of them in person. I walked outside and saw glittering champagne flutes, a DJ, beautiful botanical place settings, and a feast of culinary delights ranging from curry goat to ice cream.
People like to talk about startups in terms of their origin stories. MindMeet’s story originates in the heart. As we went around the table, the tales emerged—of heartbreak and humor, personal challenges and professional triumphs. Mine was just optimistic and fresh—the story of an undergrad granted his heart’s desire. All of our stories were connected by the common theme of the humanity in us all. We all shared a narrative that connected us to something larger.
I felt a new emotion with every word. Omo spoke about losing her father, how loss realigned her life’s priorities, made her fiercely seek joy. Chinedu spoke about love and how it redrew the topography of his world view, tracing for us the map that led from Hopstop to MindMeet and the road in between. Pamela was propelled to leave the architectural world of physical structures to design in the sphere of infinite space. Michael told us about his disillusioned departure from the corporate world and the pull of camaraderie that brought him to the table. Araxe took us on a storytelling tightrope walk that traced the adventure that would tether her to our team. We bonded over food, stories, music, and an outpouring of authenticity.
It reminded me that I have something valuable to contribute. It gave me that sense of meaning in creating a product that others will use to change the world. It might sound stereotypical, but we have to be dreamers. We have to have the radical belief that what we are doing will make a difference in the world. I spent a summer learning how dreams are made manifest.
Chinedu shared one more story—borrowed from Adike, his four-year-old son, who said, “If you don’t go on an adventure you will miss it….and people will tell stories and you will wish you had gone.”
I’m glad I went on this adventure of the mind. Everyone should take a chance and go on one. I’m proud I was part of this team. When I think about that Mirror (of Erised or Desire) I feel connected to it, imagining that maybe it is MindMeeting with me now, even as I return to school to reflect on all that it revealed.
All photos courtesy of Chan Lin Photography.