One of the first feelings many Cornell students face when coming to campus is the overwhelming desire to step out of their comfort zones and learn new things. Fortunately, there is a startup that facilitates such growth. Trellis is a website that helps intellectually curious students connect with one another and was founded by Cornell alum T.J. Duane (‘99). The free website allows students to sign up, list skills they have, and connect with others who either share the same skills or different ones they can learn about.
ILR senior Evan Isenstein (‘17) quickly connected with this mission and became a team member of Trellis a few months ago. He has dedicated his Cornell career to advancing his understanding of entrepreneurship, serving as a team member for both Startup Tree and Life Changing Labs. He cold called alumni to create new connections for Startup Tree and served as an intern for LCL’s 2015 summer incubator program. “I want to eventually run my own startup, but I want to work in several others before I try my own,” he explained.
Currently, Evan does market research for Trellis. He spends most of his time having conversations with students and staff about the platform and the ways they interact with it. “Many people have signed up for Trellis, but we want more people to engage with it,” Evan explained. Talking to people about their needs is what Evan cites as the most important step in creating success. He continues to work for Trellis because he is excited about the interactions he supports and helps initiate. Evan sees Trellis as a potential platform for more types of engagement such as market research or socializing. At its core, Evan sees Trellis as a “smarter Yahoo Answers.”
Evan’s greatest piece of advice to the Cornell entrepreneurship community is to remain humble. He believes that Steve Job’s popularity in today’s culture is both a “blessing and a curse”; while Jobs made many people aware of entrepreneurship, many were left unsatisfied with him as a team member. “Listen to other people,” Evan urged. In a university filled with people of different backgrounds, it is a good reminder.
To learn more about Trellis and sign up, visit its website here.