Nick Robinson

Nick Robinson

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Creative. Curious. Collaborator.

I'm currently working with Techstars' MetLife Digital Accelerator as a Business Associate, helping ten great startups to achieve their missions.

Curiosity is a compulsion for me. I'm on a journey to grow and learn as much as I can.

If I've learned anything so far, it's the vast depth of stuff that I don't know. That said, I've learned a few solid truths about myself along the way.

To learn more about me, check out my Resume or my Story.

Truths

  1. Learning from the experiences of people from all walks of life is my favorite way to grow.
  2. My favorite people have fire and passion in their eyes, knowledge in their heads and hands, and joy in their hearts. I've been recently stranded on an island and I know the kind of people that enrich me.
  3. I jump into the deep end of the pool โ€“ the sensation of drowning is the best motivator to learn how to swim. Waiting gets me lost in my own head. Sometimes you just gotta do the damn thing.
  4. Connecting people and ideas is my gift. I love tying threads and brainstorming the potential of an idea with an ultra-broad perspective.
  5. Feeling dumb is great. How else do you get pushed to climb up the learning curve?
  6. The right question at the right moment is a profound and elusive tool.
  7. Life is more fun with coconspirators.
  8. If it feels right, it is. The opposite is also true.

Recent Writing

MEMO: The Best Card Game for Travelers

My Story

For a guy that doesn't like to wear hats on my head, I've worn a lot of hats. The common thread among all of the roles I've played is a love for the messy, genesis stage of an idea or a project โ€“ I call it the primordial ooze. Taking the ooze, shaping it, and cooling it into something beautiful and concrete is my passion.

I first found this feeling in High School, stage managing theatre productions. Heading into college, I doubled down on that feeling and expanded my reach into different disciplines of theatre and managing a school-wide arts festival.

More recently, that passion has led me to Venture for America, operating a film startup, and solo-traveling SE Asia.

If this piques your interest, read more below or check out my

for more information!

Education

Production of 'Cabaret' at Boston College that I Light Designed
Production of 'Cabaret' at Boston College that I Light Designed

I studied Political Science & Theatre โ€“ Directing, Stage Management, Light Design, Producing, and Technical Direction โ€“ at Boston College ๐Ÿฆ… because immersing myself in a variety of subjects, creating beautiful things with newfound knowledge, and calmly collaborating to overcome any obstacle is what makes me feel alive.

Venture For America

After college, I joined Venture For America, a two-year fellowship that de-risks entrepreneurship for smart college grads and provides an alternative pipeline to finance and consulting. Through VFA, I moved back to Detroit (my hometown) to work on the Rock Ventures Special Projects team for Dan Gilbert, Chairman of the Quicken Loans Family of Companies (FOC).

To my surprise and delight, what drew me toward theatre was also true of startups and entrepreneurial enterprises.

VFA's 2016 Detroit Fellows with Cris Landa (former Director of Detroit) at Reunion
VFA's 2016 Detroit Fellows with Cris Landa (former Director of Detroit) at Reunion

Woodward Original

"If you're the smartest person in the room, then you're in the wrong room." - Confucius

At 22, my principal project at Rock Ventures was to help Woodward Original, an in-house video production company, to roll out and become a standalone company. I was thrust into financial modeling, project management, and building an operating infrastructure for the young company โ€“ doing my part to support the two founders and ten producers, directors, editors, and videographers on the team. I was fortunate to have the mentorship of many seasoned professionals in accounting, legal, tax, and operations; without them, the learning curve would have been too steep to climb.

Woodward Original Show Reel circa 2019

On February 1, 2017, Woodward Original launched as a separate company. I chose to join them in the roll-out, spending the next three years managing the company's operations and subsequently working in business development.

Liaising between the creative co-founders of WO and our professional support infrastructure at Rock Ventures was an amazing chance to have my cake and eat it too. I was able to learn from seasoned professionals and see how a mature enterprise tackles problems and opportunities while also weathering the day-to-day challenges of an early-stage startup. The confluence of those two perspectives has given me broad insight into the key differences between investors, enterprises, and startups.

In addition to all that I learned working on WO, my time in the FOC exposed me to landmark projects like the coordinated bids for Detroit to win an MLS Team, the NFL Draft, and

. Working at that level reshaped how I view opportunities, particularly when you take money off the table as a consideration.

The question is not "Is that possible?" but rather becomes, "How can we make it happen?"

Traveling to SE Asia

At the beginning of this year, I left my job with Woodward Original to see the world and travel in Thailand and Malaysia for five months. It was an amazing trip that has indelibly changed my outlook, but I'll save that for a blog post. I would still be there but, after spending three months in the Perhentian Islands during COVID-19 already with no way to travel onward โ€“ and a little island fever โ€“ I figured it was time to return home and regroup.

Sunset from the porch of my hut in Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia โ€“ my home for COVID-19.
Sunset from the porch of my hut in Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia โ€“ my home for COVID-19.
Combining my work with Detroit Sessions founder Ivan Moshchuk (center) and Woodward Original.
Combining my work with Detroit Sessions founder Ivan Moshchuk (center) and Woodward Original.

That brings us to my present work with Techstars. And, for the past few years, I have sated my passion for theatre and the arts through advocacy for my favorite Detroit organizations, primarily: Opera MODO and Detroit Sessions.

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โ“’ 2020 Nick Robinson. All Rights Reserved.