Star Student Corner: Meet Steffan Antonas

Here at we love to recognize our star students who go above and beyond the average call of duty. These students, who consistently show up in class, readily participate in discussions, and make themselves readily available to their network are what make our community so vibrant. One such student is Steffan Antonas.

Steffan discovered only recently, but since his first class in July, he’s come back six more times! In his short time, he’s made a name for himself as an earnest learner and an all around pretty cool guy. We took a little bit of time to get to know him better and discovered he’s a man of ideas, and a true hustler.

Without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to Steffan Antonas!

Tell us about your story? Where do you come from?

SJA: I’ve always had a passion for technology, and over the last 14 years that’s been the focus of my most of my pursuits, both academic and in industry. My first job out of Business School was at an e-commerce startup here in Boston, which was a fantastic experience that sparked my love for the startup world. We actually worked in an office right next to Google before anyone knew what “Googling” was (I still to this day kick myself for not trying to get a job there). I worked at the startup for about a year and then moved on to pursue a technology-focused masters degree at Georgetown in DC. After my degree I moved straight into the corporate world. I spent the last 8 years in industry as an IT advisor and consultant to large companies across the US, both on the east and west coasts. I moved back to Boston in 2010 for a job at a large Financial services company, which has been a challenging and rewarding shift. That’s what I do during the day when I’m not attending classes ;-).

How’d you first hear about

SJA: My wife and I have friends in the startup world that had heard about Dave, Sarah and It sounded like such a great idea that I actually signed up for my first class that day. My first class was Dave’s “The Business Of Business Development” a few days later. After that I was sold.

I really liked the idea that is built on. “Learning what you need to win, from people who’ve done it before” really resonated with me. You can read all the books about startups in the world (and I’ve read a lot of them), but it’ll never be the same as physically sitting with someone who’s been through it, listening to their stories in their voice and asking questions and getting advice. You just can’t replicate that. When I checked out the roster of teachers for each of the classes I was really impressed – Sarah, Dave and the team have done a great job of attracting really smart people who’ve been in the trenches and have great stories to share.

You’re a pretty educated individual. Any thoughts on continuing education?

SJA: If you’re going to spend time learning, learn from people who’ve been in the trenches. I think it would be hard to overemphasize the value that real world experience can have in a small, informal class setting. This is especially true for people trying to learn startup skills. I’ve left every class so far with one or two insights about the way that the real world works, or a new tool I’d never heard of, or an effective technique or approach I’d never thought of.

Now that you’ve been a student for a while, what subject do you think you would try your hand in teaching?

SJA: Definitely project management. It’s a skill set that gets drilled into you in industry that I’ve seen a lot of startups flounder with. Passion, talent and raw smarts are great, but if you can’t plan, budget and track progress while you’re executing, stuff can start falling apart quickly. I’ve had friends in startups who went out and hired ivy-league grads who graduated at the top of their class and they couldn’t manage a project to save their lives. You can end up in a place where passionate, excited people get frustrated when everything in the office isn’t just rainbows and sunshine. A little organization goes a long way to help people get along while they’re getting stuff done.

If you could become an expert in anything by tomorrow, what would it be?

I’m a design junky and nailing user experience and design is so important for the success of web based startups today. If I could be an expert, it would be in UX.

Wanna learn more about Steffan? Check out his

or Vizify.

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