Archive for the ‘Entrepreneurship’ Category

Entrepreneurs: Born this Way

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

3 Traits Ingrained in as Entrepreneurial DNA


The term “entrepreneur” has become quite the buzzword in recent years. What was once synonymous with starting and managing one’s own business, now has evolved to encompass traits of the trade such as risk-taking and business-savvy. One no longer needs to operate a brick and mortar business to be deemed “entrepreneurial”.

An entrepreneur identifies a need and quickly fulfills it. They are compelled to act without regard to habitual nay-sayers. They see a company or industry lacking in certain areas, and help them problem-solve the opportunities that business owners often times didn’t even know needed fixing.

While the traits necessary to be an entrepreneur can be cultured, the entrepreneurial spirit is more inherent. Classic entrepreneurs possess characteristics that set them apart from the Mark Cuban-wannabes. Here are three of those traits:

Ingenious Problem Solving

At the core, entrepreneurs are able to see a problem, or an area where a company is lacking, and creatively solve it. Creativity doesn’t always equate to iambic pentameter prose poetry. It’s a more of a process or mindset; How to cut off the crusts without using a knife. As much as we hate clichés, “Thinking outside the box” describes entrepreneurs perfectly.

Risks: Forget the Parachute

Risks may be calculable, but not to entrepreneurs. Though failure is not an option to entrepreneurs, it is a distinct possibility However, this doesn’t faze the true entrepreneur, even though the risks are not only monetary; sometimes the entrepreneur is risking reputation as well. Being your own boss means that you make tough decisions without benefit of a parachute.

Could Sell Ice to an Eskimo

Negotiating skills are essential for every business owner. Fear of rejection is not part of the entrepreneur’s genetics. They live by the mantra that “everything is negotiable” IE: leases, sales contracts and salaries, just to name a few. Effective and creative negotiation skills will help save money, and make money to keep businesses running at peak efficiency.

While all of these skills are essential to possess when starting a business venture, schooling helps young entrepreneurs hone in and learn to apply those skills in real life. Cogswell’s Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship & Innovation teaches how to refine entrepreneurial skills needed to create, establish and grow their own ventures.

2014 NCIIA Papers Feature Cogswell Authorship

Friday, March 14th, 2014

The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) supports technology innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education, and has a membership of nearly 200 colleges and universities from across the country. This 17-year-old national nonprofit organization engages with over 5,000 student & faculty entrepreneurs each year, by helping them to commercialize their concepts.

The NCIIA is holding their 18th annual conference from March 21-22, 2014, right in Cogswell’s backyard in San Jose, California. It is an intensive two-day conference for practitioners of technology entrepreneurship in high education. Conference sessions explore policy, programs, funding and insights into what is happening in higher education today; and how that will impact tomorrow.

Cogswell Polytechnical College is proud to share the 2014 peer-reviewed papers written by our very own Christopher-John Cornell & John Duhring! Topics include Project-based Learning Kickstart Tips, The Metamophosis of Business Plan Competitions, and Crowdfunding: More Than Money Jumpstarting University Entrepreneurship. Follow the links for the full publications.

Visit our website for more information about Cogswell’s Master’s Degree Program in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, the Immersion Program for visiting students and entrepreneurs, or the Kauffman Fasttrac Program.

SuperGenius – One Company’s Journey into the World of Outsourcing

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

SuperGenius is a new generation of game art studio. A full-spectrum art and animation support studio for video game developers.

SuperGenius started out like many small game companies – with a dream. They wanted to outsource their talent and work with the best game developers in the world. They quickly discovered that someone else would always work for less so had to figure out a way to compete that would allow them to earn a living.

In this article in Gamasutra, Paul Culp, talks about the studio’s first attempt at being an amazing art asset producer and the lessons that helped it become the company it is today. “By taking a more holistic approach to the art and animation, and making sure it worked properly was immensely valuable to our clients. We stopped focusing on mass asset production and instead focused on completion, wrote Culp.”

One of the first lessons they learned was who they did not want to be. Another lesson was, “if you are going to spend a huge chunk of your time doing something, it better be something you believe in. Any endeavor, no matter how profitable it is, will eat you alive if you don’t like who you are while doing it.”

If you have tried to sell your art assets, what lessons have you learned?

Get Your Fat Mobile Apps in Shape

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Some app developers may create their app for love but most also want to bring a little money into their lives as well. Dale Carr, founder and CEO of LeadBolt says with all of the changes that developers in the mobile app industry face, it may be time to get some of the lead out of your apps and make them leaner and meaner.

In this article in DevsBuildIt, he offers realistic and achievable fitness tips to help your app monetization strategy shape up to all it should be in 2014:

  • Trim the fat: Don’t overstuff your app with ads by placing banners in every conceivable place. Think of your user experience first and be more strategic about ad placement.
  • Exercise different muscles: Connecting with your user in different ways is like exercising different muscles. To achieve results and continue to convert energy consistently, switch up your routine and target more than one area. Evaluate the entire usage cycle of your app.
  • Pay attention to your vitals: Resolve to measure your app performance by paying attention to analytics. In the article he offers ideas for app analytics to help you achieve optimal results.

What app monetization ideas have worked for you?

5 Habits of Great Entrepreneurs

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Entrepreneurs are a special breed – they see what could be and then put their heart and soul into making that happen. They are dreamers who use controlled risk to build their venture. In this article in Inc., Tom Asacker author of the book ‘The Business of Belief,’ talks about characteristics that he thinks great entrepreneurs share. They:

  1. Believe:  Great entrepreneurs believe in themselves keep pushing to achieve their goals instead of going out and getting that ‘safe’ job.
  2. Empathize:  Great entrepreneurs have the uncanny ability to see the world from the perspective of their customers.
  3. Observe:  Great entrepreneurs are observers of human nature and human behavior.
  4. Obsess:  Great entrepreneurs never rest on their laurels or think merely in terms of incremental improvement.
  5. Win:  Great entrepreneurs have a laser focus on winning.

What other characteristics do you think great entrepreneurs possess?

So You Don’t Want to be Rich and Famous?

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

If you don’t want to be rich and famous, then we guess you should not follow in the footsteps of Dong Nguyen, developer of the popular mobile game, “Flappy Birds.” He pulled the game down on Sunday, February 16, and walked away from advertising revenue estimated to be $50,000 each day. According to an exclusive interview published in Forbes, the reason he removed the game was:

“Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed, but it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it’s best to take down ‘Flappy Bird.’ It’s gone forever.”

But according to another article in Forbes by Paul Tassi, there is a deeper issue at play here – the fact that there are a myriad of clones hoping to ride the wave of success of “Flappy Bird” and this cloning tendency is dragging down the creativity and originality of the mobile game market.

Tassi says, “I’ve always spoken out against the prominence of cloning in the mobile scene, but it’s usually been against companies like Zynga or King ripping off their most famous games from smaller developers or already established hits. Now we have a rise of ‘the little guy’ trying to rip-off fellow little guys, and the wake of this Flappy Bird drama, it’s the worst I’ve ever seen it.”

Do you agree with Mr. Tassi’s assessment of the mobile game industry?

Student Entrepreneurs Open Student Store

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Dashiell Sarnoff and Jeffrey Efting talk about their student store project.

While Cogswell makes sure our students understand the theory and fundamentals behind what they are doing, its main focus is on giving students the opportunity to put that theory into practice through project-based learning. Dashiell Sarnoff took the “Basic Building Blocks of Entrepreneurship” class and decided his class project would be to open a student store called, “The Cogswell Armory.” After Jeffrey Efting took the class and became a partner in the project.

From its humble beginnings in a corner of the Associated Student Office, then relocated to a storage closet, the store now has its own room. Listen in to this short video as Dashiell and Jeffrey share what they learned in the process in this short video. Listen in as they talk about the decisions they made to take the store from a tiny corner in the ASB office to a room of its own and the things they needed to consider to make it work.

Check out the Armory’s Facebook page for the latest news.

Is Something You are Doing Setting You Up for Failure?

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Your business is your baby and who can know it better than you? You know what will work and what won’t. So if someone comes to you with an idea you ‘know’ won’t work how do you react? Do you shut it down or do you at least consider putting it to the test?

If the former is your reaction, you might have what Barry Schuler, author of this article in Inc., calls a “stubborn case of Auto-Preemption Syndrome (APS).” According to Schuler, we all suffer from APS from time to time but it can be fatal in the entrepreneurial world.

Symptom: You become convinced a particular approach is futile, thus you refuse to even attempt it. Failure is guaranteed.

Cures:

  • Borrow a page from a classic brainstorming technique where every formal brainstorming session begins with the group listing ideas
  • Suspend disbelief
  • Belief in the power of yes

What do you do to overcome internal objections?

How to Create an Effective App Demo Video

Friday, February 7th, 2014

You’ve built a great app that you are sure will have a large audience. The next question is how do you get the word out – you know, market it. Many app developer are turning to demo videos to entice potential users to check it out and from there hopefully download it.

So what are some elements that lead to a successful demo video? According to this article in DevsBuildIt by Sean Casto, CEO of Alliance member PreApps, here are a few tips:

  • Choose your tools carefully
  • Don’t shy away from creativity
  • Harness the power with a strong voice
  • Keep it to the point
  • Hook the viewers

Please share links to any great demo videos you have seen.

It Can Be Lonely at the Top if You Go It Alone

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Planning to launch your company as a solo act? Some seasoned entrepreneurs will tell you that launching a business without a partner is like the kiss of death but this article in Inc. Magazine by Elaine Pofeldt, says not necessarily.

While going it alone may not be the fatal mistake that some industry analysts think, there are certain issues you should consider.

-Loneliness: The solution – “get up from the desk once in a while. Go to industry conferences and attend local meetups with other entrepreneurs.”

-Myopia: The solution – “setting up an active advisory board of startup veterans can help you avoid that trap.”

Why or why not would you choose to run your business by yourself?