Posts filed under ‘Journeys of a Studentpreneur’

Thoughts on the Business Plan

The last assignment, the last commitment, the last thing to do. These are all things we might think about when turning in this business plan, however I thought of something else. I thought that this plan has the potential to define my near future. That this plan marks the start to a new beginning, a new adventure, a new direction. One of the exciting parts of this class was the opportunity to strategically prepare for our plan, and then to actually put it into action.

Presentation day was one of the best experiences of the semester! Why, because we had the chance to test our ideas our plan in the real world. That is a privilege that does not often come to university students. In fact much of our daily activities center around the imaginations of some project that has principles to teach. We work hard to win good grades, and then forget the principles that we were supposed to learn, that did not happen in this class. We had to sell our ideas, our strategy had to work, our sales pitch had to make sense, there was no safety net. Selling to outside professionals was in my mind the essential experience of learning. Metaphorically it represents the time when liquid ideas freeze into hard realities.

Working on our business plans have taught us more than just to format information in the right area. It has taught us to think about what makes our ideas stick, it has forced us consider the big picture of strategy, it has taught us the steps that need to be taken evaluate an idea. Today we turned in our plan, tomorrow we can forget it or we can take the lessons we learned and refine them into reality. I for one am ready to take the plunge.

Cold Reality

Taking the plunge into a cold Reality.

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May 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

Finals Frustrations

This year has been especially busy and has made me a bit uncomfortable for a few reasons. More time has progressively been taken up from various sources (class, work, internship, family and more class). Thankfully all my core education classes will finally be completed and I can focus on my IT major and business minor full time next semester. I don’t hate the core education classes but there is something to be desired. I’m often frustrated with conventional classes based off liberal arts such as World Masterpieces 1/2 and Foundations/Development of the American Experience. I’m not arguing that these classes are worthless but that they have very little influence on classes that are focused on my major. There seems to be a lack of connection between most core classes and that bothers me immensely. You would think the college would recommend MLA to majors that required MLA and APA to majors that require APA. Like teaching a left handed person to write with their right hand, it’s largely a waste of time. The myriad of skills the college attempts to fit into a single degree is just silly because students end up not specializing in anything in particular until the last 2 years. While I can understand that there is a need for some “global” skills, I truly believe that degrees are not specialized soon enough.

Even now in the genesis of my business, the skills I have learned that actually make me money and make my business successful do not stem from the core curriculum, but of my own research. I feel as if the early years of college are merely an excuse to work on side projects without having to worry about real life for a few more years after that.  I spoke with my parents on the matter and they said they felt the same half way through but continued anyway. I do feel that there is value in the degree so I’ll continue my academic career however I would like to see changes for freshman making their first years actually pertain more to their degree.

The semester has been wrapping up nicely and while there are new challenges everyday, I’ll continue to pull through. The above is just a snippet of stress from finals week, I think my frustrations will subside afterward.

-Eric Wright

April 27, 2011 at 4:40 am 2 comments

Where are the studentpreneurs?

I’m writing this at the <a href="NCIIA Open conference in Alexandria, VA. The conference is about catalyzing innovation, and it’s all people from universities — so there is a ton of talk about student-launched businesses.

At my lunch table were engineering students from Boston University who launched mobiLIFE. Brian Chan and his team entered multiple business plan competitions, won some prizes (including free legal work from a top Boston law firm), and are entering the prototype phase. mobiLIFE will offer diabetes patients and their physicians continuous, painless glucose monitoring.

There is also an OpenMinds exhibition of student projects.

This leads me to ask: where is the LTU mobiLIFE? Why don’t we see LTU students in technical, design and other areas fighting to get into these competitions? How can we encourage more participation? Should we encourage it?

-Dr Evans

March 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm 5 comments

What is in a name?

Apparently a lot.
Over the semester I’ve been developing a brand name for my company and while I had a general idea of what I wanted, I had to think of something that the customers would like. For awhile I thought I would just ask around and see what people thought of the names and would go with the most popular; this was not the case. It turns out that people don’t really know what they want or why they even like something. The name problem became even more difficult as people made suggestions. We’ll back track a bit, I used to fix computers full time as a company named Duochan Solutions. The name had no meaning or connotation, I just had the domain from a previous forum project. The company was registered, 1000 cards were made and I was off to work. Business was fine but customers just didn’t quite get the name, I was even referred to as Mr. Dueshawn (seriously I have no idea). Time went on and I grew tired of fixing people’s computers. The job is draining and frustrating and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone over 18 unless they have the patience of a saint. I moved on to server administration and created the nirrius gaming community and REDACTED INC.

nirrius logo black

nirrius's logo

nirrius is easy to pronounce and is unique enough to distinguish from any other community. REDACTED was another story. Choosing a name for a game server company wasn’t easy. Everything I thought of or saw from the competition just came off as really cheesy or dated; I have this problem with most tech companies. Eventually I just jokingly thought of choosing “unnamed company” which led me to redacted.

REDACTED INC logo

REDACTED INC logo

The name stuck and the brand just sort of wrote itself. REDACTED INC was styled to be bold, direct and confident while nirrius was relaxed, inviting and casual; it flowed like poetry.

A business’s names brings life to your company and helps customers recognize your brand. It’s important that you choose one that fits just right and that you’re happy with.

March 22, 2011 at 4:38 am Leave a comment

Work is Never Over

Nobody said the life of an entrepreneur would be glamorous. It’s nearly 5 AM and only half of my scheduled work is finished. I have to meet a deadline that ends on the 15th or a few dozen people won’t be very happy that their services are not running. I’ve said that opening a business has never been easier in previous blog posts and I still stand by that statement but the struggle is still very real. Being your own boss might seem glamorous but it’s no cakewalk nor does it pay off instantly. It’s not all bad though; take a look at this chart.

I’ve worked for several companies and the same issue was in every job: there is no reward. Every day is the same and regardless if you’re promoted, you’re still not making any progress. A dead end job is fine if you’re happy working a job just for the money but this life will hardly be motivating.

I wake up knowing that each day I’m a little farther along my goals and that keeps me going. Despite the grind, I’ll never stop being an entrepreneur.

March 1, 2011 at 5:34 pm 1 comment

Creative is Collaborative: A Day on the Bench

The Coleman Fellows on our campus have been mingling during monthly web calls, and I am hoping we can continue collaborating. For me, a Creative entrepreneur is someone who is able to realize his/her own limitations, and has the ability to reach out to others who can fill in the gaps.

I recently learned about a fantastic organization that supports women entrepreneurs, called ACTiVATE. In a meeting with the head of ACTiVATE, Julie Kirk, I learned that some of the businesses that have been launched through the program were headed by entrepreneurs who had no background in technology, but had identified business opportunities that required technology. Instead of giving up and saying, “Gosh, I have an idea for a great new medical device and I know just what market it would serve, but I don’t know how to build the device,” these women reached out to universities or to companies who had knowledge of the technology — and built a business.

Here at Lawrence Tech, I am constantly urging our students to look around the university for opportunities to collaborate. If a business student has a viable idea for a new software program, but lacks the knowledge to create it, that student needs only to head over to the Computer Science department or the Blue Devil Development club to meet someone with the right expertise. A chemistry student whose idea requires biomedical engineering knowledge can find that knowledge just down the hall. And so on.

In a nod to collaborating and getting outside the box, our class recently journeyed over to LTU’s makeLab and held that day’s session on The Bench, a fun product created by makeLab students. Check out the timelapse video of how they built it, along with other collaboration opportunies, after the jump. Also after the jump: weigh in on your thoughts about collaboration.

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January 31, 2011 at 4:37 am Leave a comment

Community will get you everywhere.

I run an accidental business.

After playing Minecraft, a multiplayer Lego-esq game, for a few months, I grew tired of poorly run servers that couldn’t support their users or their software. Long story short, I opened my own server and started taking donations to keep it alive. Eventually I just dedicated my time to the server to keep it running better than any other.

Donations became profits and fueled my interest in my hobby but I questioned why people stuck with me instead of another server. Despite the difficulties learning how to run a server, it was all for fun or so I thought. I hadn’t realized just how much work I had put into the game; the game literally became a part time job. People stay on my server because of the work that goes into making a great game. The community and I keep each other strong and it’s a wonderful way to do business.

I enjoy my work and I love what service I provide for my players. If I learned one thing from my experience it is to truly be proud of your work and provide a service that you believe in.

-Eric

January 25, 2011 at 7:32 pm 1 comment


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