If you haven’t heard of Rob Lawless’ ongoing project, Rob’s 10k Friends, check out his insightful and interest project on Instagram. Starting in Philadelphia, Rob’s mission is to connect people – strangers – with each other and the world. Since the start in November 2015, he has added some folks from New York and Los Angeles to the project through his travels.
Philly PR Girl Owner, Kate, met with Rob late in the summer, and here’s what went down in the hour-long conversation that started their friendship.
Kate Marlys: What inspired you to start this project and ultimately become “Rob 10k?”
Rob Lawless: In 2013, I graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Finance and minors in Accounting & Entrepreneurship. I was involved in a number of school organizations and had always known that I wanted to make Philadelphia my home. I’ve always wanted to own my own business and have something that is my own, so I’m proud to say I’m doing this full time now!
KM: Since you quit your 9-5 job, how do you take care of yourself (financially) right now?
RL: I worked at Deloitte Consulting right after college, which eventually set up my next move to RJ Metrics. Shortly after though, it was acquired by someone else and I got laid off. I had a severance package through July, but then it felt weird filing for unemployment after that. That was when I decided to make this a full-time project.
KM: Why did you choose the Philadelphia area for this project?
RL: I’m originally from Norristown, PA and currently reside in Northern Liberties. I chose Philadelphia because I wanted to get to know my community and connect people from my community with each other. One day, I would love to travel throughout the world meeting new people with this project.
KM: How do you find people that you interview?
RL: Actually, people reach out to me a lot! I reached out to the first 65 people, but through various Philadelphia media outlets including NBC10, Philly Voice and FOX29, I was able to gain thousands of social media followers. More recently, I haven’t been in the press as much, but people repost their pictures with me on Instagram and other social media outlets, which helps raise awareness of my project and goal.
KM: What is your end goal for this project?
RL: My objective is to meet 10,000 new people in 10 years and spend at least 1 hour with each one. My overarching mission is to take a step back and connect all these new friends in some way. This November marks the one-year anniversary, so I would love to have the people I’ve met over the year come together to ultimately form a community. I love when previous meetups comment “Welcome to the club!” and it builds upon the sense of community this project has formed.
KM: What does the future hold for “Rob 10K?”
RL: I’m a firm believer in the more people you meet, the more opportunities will pop up. I’d really like to travel more and meet some “insta-famous” people. I’d also like to meet movers and shakers in local foundations and non-profit organizations, especially sports players’ foundations. There are a lot of them in this city that need help because they’re extremely busy.
To connect with Rob and be a part of the Rob’s 10k Friends project, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and tell him Philly PR Girl sent you!