Most Doors in Life Seem Closed…

…So, If You Want Them to Open, You Need a Cool Knock.
By Suhail Bhandari

As an international student at Pace University, I’m always amazed by what can be achieved by simply knocking on someone’s door. I recently tried the theme from Mission Impossible, and by the time I was done knocking, I’d made friends with the CEO of a very successful startup, a Google developer, and two very famous Glass explorers. All this whilst at my very own Google Glass workshop.

It all began in my third week at school, when I met two very important people.

The first, was a gentleman named Freddy. It was as though Waldo had come alive and was every bit as interesting and worldly-wise as you’d hoped he’d be, with all his travels! (See if you can spot him in the picture below.)

photo

We’d often delve into interesting discussions regarding the future of wearable-tech or how to build digital communities. Sometimes we’d even debate the hard stuff like, ‘why is everyone obsessed with Candy Crush?’ or ‘what the heck do I do with all my NikeFuel points?!’ It was fantastic to have someone on campus who I could go to whenever I needed meaningful advice, or just wanted to share an idea… So, you can imagine my shock when I found out, a month later, that my friend “Freddy” was actually Professor Wilfredo Pena, who taught an Information Systems class! Yet, and as odd as it sounds, we’re still best buds and it was his little push that gave me the confidence to organize my own Google Glass Workshop – “Instead of just talking about them all day, go to Dr. Scharff, ask her if you can borrow her glasses for a day and invite a few students over!”

Was it just that simple?

Students who tried on Glass at the event. Click-through for full-sized images

Students who tried on Glass at the event. Click-through for full-sized images

Then I met Dr. Christelle Scharff, Chair for the Computer Science department at Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science. I would imagine during my first visit to her office I looked every bit as thrilled as Charlie did, when he first walked into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. She had Google Glasses, access to 3-D printers, a Raspberry Pi and the latest active gear smart watch! There was even an oompa loompa in the corner – “This Android bot is a trophy for my students, if they do well in today’s class.” She gave me a patient listen, even though I was all over the place with my ideas, and within minutes she offered to not only to speak at the workshop but she would allow any student who wanted to try on the $1,500 Glass a chance to do so.

The next day, far more confident about my idea, and egged on by Freddy and Dr. Scharff, I sat down with Glass, and dictated an e-mail. “Ok Glass, send this out to…” I reached out to a popular agency that had been working with Glass for a few months now. 48 hours later, they replied, “It’s high time kids started doing more stuff like this! See you there!” Time to go bigger! A few days later – and what are the odds of this happening – I bumped into Steve Motino, a Pace Student/Google developer/Glass Explorer at a Pace University job fair! 15 minutes later, he was onboard as well and even offered to talk about a few apps he was working on. Even bigger! We reached out to city event guides and Explorer clubs! And finally, with some deft social media management by a fellow student, we reached out to everyone at Pace!

Walter White Harry Potter Jonathan Hill Pace News

We not only had the Seidenberg’s associate dean don a promotional pair, but Harry Potter and Walter White too! 

That evening, my small workshop idea transformed into an entire 3 hour event with over 50 attendees! We had students from Pace as well as other universities, developers, working professionals, 5 guest speakers and 7 Google Glass Explorers!…And it all began with a cool knock.

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More pictures from the event can be found on Seidenberg’s Facebook. If you tried on a pair of Glasses at the event, find your picture and tag yourself!

 

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