Undergrad field trip to Seattle start-up

By guest blogger Dmitry Muzechuk, UW sophomore

I joined the Lavin Entrepreneurship Program as a freshman (the program is geared for freshmen interested in entrepreneurship). I’m also a student assistant at the UW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and am passionate about starting companies.

The Lavin Program is one of the great gateways to entrepreneurship that is offered at UW (I might be a little biased since I am in the Lavin Program, but consider that an inside tip). Most recently we Lavin students visited an amazing product development firm in the heart of Seattle called Synapse. This is not your ordinary engineering firm with employees galore in white lab coats hunched over crazy looking machines. These guys know how to lure in the biggest names, including Philips, Nike, Apple, GE, etc., and do it in style. Synapse started with four partners who were employed at a dot com business that went belly up. So, in the birth story, Scott Bright (CEO and Founder), explained, “Finding ourselves out of work, we hung up a shingle and called ourselves consultants.” Now Synapse is a thriving firm in its eighth year. During our tour, Scott explained one of Synapse’s mottos exclaiming the reason Synapse is able to bring in such high profile clients is simply, “Give us a chance and we will rock your world, and if we don’t–don’t pay us!”  In addition, Scott explained that “the strategic advantage of Synapse is to make our people happy” which is obvious in the open work environment infused with graffiti art, game tables, half of a skate vertical and half of a rock wall.

At the end of the tour, after shaking hands and repeating countless thank yous, I walked out of Synapse and couldn’t help but think – “Wow, with the right formula, engineering businesses don’t have to be boring.” In other words, they don’t have to be appealing to only those amazed by the complexity of computer science and molecular physics. Now that I’ve learned what it’s really like to work at Synapse, maybe physics isn’t that bad after all.