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Issue Date: January 2013

Most Interesting People 2013: Andrew Samtoy

Andrew Samtoy

Lawyer and Cash Mob founder, 33

Cashing in The cash mob idea came out of a small-group session at a Cleveland Bridge Builders retreat, where he's an alum of the program. "We were talking about how flash mobs were creative and then became destructive. I had this idea that if everybody just went in the stores and bought things off the shelf, it would be really good for the small businesses."

social networking Samtoy advertised the first cash mob on Facebook and Twitter, with the goal of getting people that he and his friends didn't know. He estimates about 45 people came. "I would say a good two-thirds of the people we hadn't met before."

Getting started The first cash mob happened at Tremont's Visible Voice Books on Nov. 16, 2011. Samtoy says he's been to about a dozen since, including one in Long Island. Mostly other people do the organizing, including a group in Youngstown that boasts around 800 members.

legal speak He was planning to get a Ph.D. in literature when he had a realization. "If there are problems in the world and [people] want help fixing them, they don't call literature professors. They're going to call attorneys. Those are the people who are tasked with solving problems in society."

Caveman connection Samtoy's newest initiative is the Cleveland Salon, an evening forum featuring speakers on a range of topics. "We have been talking face to face for millions of years, and in the last 10 years suddenly all these people are staring into their phones. The point is to get people together to talk about issues and think about things, and to stimulate discourse."

what makes him tick "The core of everything that we're doing is community building. If we can actually get people to meet together, the better we're going to be as a community."

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