ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 3 - May/June

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 121 of 147

The relaxed vibe of Doejo's office allows for creative thinking. Seth Kravitz of Technori takes a break at his office's custom beer-pong table. doing. Though many of the sites rely on surface-level entertainment value (like a running list of "Harlem Shake" videos), dearer to him are domains like, which provides inspiration to teens who are hurting. It's the embodiment of an epiphany he had at age 12, he says, when "I decided that I wanted to change the world, and I wanted to do it on a massive scale." Fostering grand ideas is the ethos upon which 33-year-old Philip Tadros has built his career. A serial entrepreneur, Tadros purchased his first business, Don's Coffee Club, when he was just 19. Over the next decade, his multiple coffee ventures became neighborhood joints that attracted like-minded creatives who, true to the conventional image, used the shops as mobile offices. Tadros decided to combine their powers and formed Doejo. The "full-service digital agency" takes on clients of all sizes (from venerable institutions like the Chicago Yacht Club to in-house projects like its new zombie-killing smartphone app, Map of the Dead) and guides them through the creative process—from designing a slick website to developing an overarching philosophy and company story. Doejo even applied its own process to itself to create Bow Truss, an artisanal coffee roasting company that seamlessly weaves technology into its business (think iPads instead of cash registers). When asked if he's more of a coffee guy or a Doejo guy, Tadros picks the latter without hesitation. "Coffee for me has always been about the people and the environment," Tadros says. "We do coffee well. But what stimulates me the most is meeting new people and going over ideas. It's the culture." Elsewhere in the community there's the case of Mike Moceri, a 21-year-old who cofounded the 3D Printer Experience, which opened at the end of April. For $25 to $115, a passerby can walk in, scan her face, and print a plastic version of herself. The experience also offers a menu of other items customers can print, from pendants to combs or even a 20-sided die. The goal is to become the loudest and most responsible voice of 3-D printing in Chicago. "We find 120 ourselves at a critical time in Chicago where we could become the most important tech center in the country and even the world," says Moceri, who moved to the city not because it was close to his Detroit roots, but because he thought it was his best shot at success in an emerging market. "I saw Chicago as being the most unique opportunity to get my start. In New York or Los Angeles, you get lost in the noise. Here in Chicago, it's easier to shine." Shining wasn't as doable a few years ago. But Moceri came at just the right time. He's plugged into Built In Chicago, and his colleagues regularly attend Technori Pitch. Technori's founder, 30-year-old Seth Kravitz, has become a guru in the Chicago startup world. His tech history reaches all the way back to his studies at Ohio State University, where he cofounded and watched as it rocketed to unimaginable heights, then nearly crashed in 2009 after a failed redesign. Fortunately for Kravitz, the site was salvaged and subsequently sold to Bankrate. After moving to Chicago, he discovered a stable of immense entrepreneurial potential but a sense of community that was still in the adolescent stage. Beginning in 2010, Kravitz and his cofounder, Val Chulamorkodt, invited entrepreneurs from across Chicago (and later Los Angeles) to plug their ideas at Technori Pitch. "We exist to showcase inside and outside the community," Kravitz says. "Inside, we're getting everyone on the same page. Outside, we're showing everyone who's not in Chicago that there's a lot going on here and they should be paying attention." This social structure is only a recent development. "It wasn't this way five years ago," Kravitz says. "It might be that it's new and exciting, and that's why everyone is getting along right now, because these relationships have only been formed in the last three years or so." It certainly wasn't the norm in 1999, when Cary Chessick quit his job as a lawyer to create the deal site "Today, you can whip up a website, open a shop, and be in business worldwide, in theory, within three weeks," he says. "Back then, anyone could open a business, but it wasn't as culturally commonplace, and it wasn't easy. There is a community that has been built of like-minded people who in general want to do well and do good." Chessick's MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 118-121_MA_FEAT_Reportage_Sum_Fall_13.indd 120 4/16/13 3:24 PM

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