Member Spotlight: Peter Liu

Hey! I'm Peter Liu and I'm a Co-Founder and Design Strategist at Colektiv, a design studio focused on helping mission-driven start-ups and social impact organizations use design and technology to create sustainable change. 

When we started, we thought we could run Colektiv like a traditional agency: send over a proposal, complete deliverables, and walk away when a project was done. But because we want our work to positively affect our communities, we started taking a more ground floor approach. We put on events to get technologists and social impact professionals in the same room and collaborate, teach workshops to bring in lean startup and design thinking into social impact, and of course, design and develop websites, apps, and other digital materials for our clients.


What drew you to social impact and why did you create Colektiv Digital?

There's an enormous gap between the people trying to make the world a better place and the creative talent needed to make those world-changing ideas a reality. I think 2016 brought light to a lot of social issues I was previously oblivious to, and I wanted to use everything I knew about lean startup methodology and design thinking to make an impact and solve real problems. Fortunately, I had fantastic conversations with two colleagues who ended up being my co-founders who wanted to do the same. We started January 2017 and while we're still figuring things out, I'd like to think we're heading in the right direction!


Tell us about It's Who You Know: Master Networking and Build Meaningful Relationships for Collaboration.

Prior to starting our design studio, I was a freelance web developer and designer. To be completely honest, I had no idea what I was doing but I'm entirely grateful to my incredible network of friends and colleagues for the personal and professional growth that I've felt in the past year.

"Networking" has this dirty meaning attached to it and it's catered to extroverts more than it does to introverts. You're expected to walk into a room of strangers, deliver your elevator pitch, hand your card over, and see if they want to buy what you're selling. But that's not really the case anymore.

The future of work is changing and it's making more people independent and in control of their own destinies, which is fantastic. But freelancers and entrepreneurs often find themselves needing help and wanting a community of collaborators who can help them. If you're a photographer, you might need help putting up a website. If you're a developer, you might need a designer to create mock-ups. If you're a freelancer, you definitely want a good accountant.

This event is really about how you can create opportunities for collaboration with the connections you make and it's the first event (of many!) for my side hustle, unhustle, a community for path-forging creatives, freelancers, and entrepreneurs looking for mindful professional growth.


What are your tips for making friends at networking events?

Don't show up with an agenda. Don't show up with your only intention being to get a new job or new work. People know that you're talking to them only because you want something. Spend time being genuinely interested in what people do and what brought them there before you start aggressively hounding them down for that open position you saw on their website. And if you really are interested in learning more, take them out for coffee!


What has been your greatest accomplishment?

Every couple of weeks, I have a dinner party with my favorite people in New York City. It's always on a Friday night at a cheap, completely informal Chinese restaurant and it's sort of a "networking" event. It's definitely a validating accomplishment when a dozen or so people show up to a dinner on a Friday night with a couple of strangers and leave with new business cards, collaborators, and friends.


What is your favorite thing about Croissant?

I love being able to change where I work and meet new people. It's really awesome to have access to so many different communities and learn about what everyone is working on. Oh, and Rise's coffee is the bomb dot com.


Thank you Peter! You can find him on Instagram at @oreoeatinghulk, Twitter at @peterliuwrites, and Facebook at @unhustlenyc.