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Mad for MavenHaven

Published: September 21, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.


Jason Lustig seems like the typical Brandeis senior: Hes twenty-two years old, a double major in near eastern and Judaic studies and computer science, a UDR for the latter, active in Hillel, and a founding member of campus Zionist magazine Chalav UDvash. Like many other college students, he also manages his own website and a writes in his blog, www.blogsofzion.com. Its an impressive resume, but not exceptional among the overachievers of Brandeis University. What does set Jason apart is his position as the CTO of his own start-up website which already has offices in Israel, New York, Boston, and London: the new and innovative MavenHaven.com
The idea originally came from a friend of Jasons, Aharon Horowitz, a recent graduate of Columbia University. He envisioned a simpler and easier way to connect great content with great programming. The great content would be mavens experts in a field who had something to offer to a community. The great programming would fall to the havens, organizations and event planners looking for interesting and captivating speakers or performers. Together, in 2006, Jason, Aharon, and Ariel Beeny of NYU worked to make the idea a reality.

A year later, the site is up and running. Largely through word of mouth, www.mavenhaven.com has already registered over 150 mavens and havens which include journalists from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, philanthropists, photojournalists, Hillel international, published writers, and many others from around the world. Since going live on Tuesday, September 2, the site is now fully functional to its beta testers. Its free services include a profile page, messaging capabilities, an easy to use search utility, a scheduling function, and smart-match algorithms.

If you can imagine, MavenHaven.com is like the lovechild of Facebook and Craigslist, the more responsible brother of LastFM, and VolunteerMatch.orgs best friend. It utilizes the networking capabilities of social networks like Facebook and MySpace so that each maven or haven has his/her own personal profile page. This can be updated with a resume of sorts, your schedule, and contact information. Like Facebook, there is a messaging application built into the website. It also works much in the same way as VolunteerMatch, which matches people with volunteer opportunities based on certain criteria theyve entered. However, MavenHaven goes beyond the volunteer and non-profit arena;

it extends to the whole of programming. Music gigs, lectures, artist showcases, teaching opportunities its as if finding a job on Craigslist was organized. Not only does it allow you to search for opportunities, it also matches you automatically with mavens or havens based on your profile. LastFM uses similar algorithms that match you with people who have similar music tastes. This, however, could land you a job that could break you into the field youve always dreamed of working in.

With MavenHaven, Jason hopes to widen the market and allow people to enter the arena of their interest easily and effectively. A self-described maven, Jason believes that everybody is a maven. The philosophy is about allowing the wisdom of individuals to benefit the community. Everybody has something to offer, but not everybody has the tools to find the appropriate outlet. MavenHaven directly connects people who need talent with people whove got it so that more interesting and compelling programming can be available to communities. Says Jason, We thrive upon content and we thrive upon learning.

This is why a website like MavenHaven is especially perfect for college communities. Whether youre planning an activist convention, a fundraiser, or a spring concert, MavenHaven can help you find what youre looking for in terms of content. Jason credits his experiences at Brandeis for reinforcing the necessity for such a tool. Every event that he attended or participated in gave him new ideas for how MavenHaven could and should work.

Though MavenHaven.com is up and running, theyve only just scratched the surface, says Jason. In the next few months, they plan on developing premium features and breaking into more markets as user numbers grow. In a year, Jason will have graduated, and hopes to go to Israel, MavenHaven headquarters, to continue developing and managing the website.

You can find out more about the website at www.mavenhaven.com.