5 Habits of Great Entrepreneurs

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?

From Rocket Scientist to Animator

February 26th, 2014

So how do you go from being an engineering student to an animator? According to Cogswell student, Robert Mariazeta, you identify and then follow your dream. Since coming to Cogswell, Robert started the Animation Club, is working in Studio E and was one of the 5 Cogswell students selected by Disney to attend their 2013 Inspire Day.

In this short video, Robert talks about the journey that brought him to Cogswell to major in animation, his love of the field and why he thinks it’s important to be a ‘T’ shaped worker.

Visit Cogswell’s website to learn more about our Digital Art & Animation degree program.

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

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?

Who Says Physics is Tough?

February 24th, 2014

Demi checking homework

Apparently physics is so simple even a dog gets it. Well, to be fair, this is not just any dog.

This particular eight-year old, Hungarian Vizsla named Demi belongs to Zachi Baharav, Director of Cogswell’s Engineering Program, so she might have absorbed the knowledge thanks to living in such a brainy environment.

In the photo, Demi is reviewing the AP Physics and capacitors homework of Zachi’s son who is a senior at Gunn High School in Palo Alto. From Demi’s expression it looks like he may have to revise some of his calculations.

You may want to check problem 4

Student Entrepreneurs Open Student Store

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.

Behind the Scenes with Toy Story III Video Game

February 20th, 2014

Join Sr. Producer, Jonathan Warner, for Toy Story III in this behind the scenes tour of Avalanche Studios – based in Salt Lake City – and the game design process for this video game. The studio pitched creating both a story version of the game and a toy box version of the game. Disney loved the idea and the designers got to work.

Not only do you learn a few fun facts about Salt Lake City but you get to follow the camera through Avalanche Studios and watch some of the development team at work.

Get Your BEAT On in the Electronic Music Competition

February 19th, 2014

Cogswell Digital Audio Technology student, Daniel McFarren, has put together a unique final portfolio project – a competition designed to spotlight the very best electronic musicians in the Bay Area. The final field will consist of five artists who will complete challenges to inspire creativity and innovation.

From on-the-spot creation of interesting loops to full-on song production, to live performance in front of a club audience, artists will have the chance to prove themselves as worthy beatmakers. A panel of leading industry judges will put the artists to the test, critique their work and scrutinize their style. The ultimate champion will have the chance to headline at a Bay Area club event.

When asked, why this particular project instead of something else, McFarren replied,

“There is this vast population of talented musician/DJs, just waiting for their chance to get up on stage and show everyone in that club the cool stuff they figured out through many sleepless nights in front of a laptop, hunched over a MIDI controller. The creativity of these artists came from the disparity between their musical inspiration and the lack of of technological resources available to them. It is, in fact, the non-optimal conditions of music composition that drive the creativity that fuels the evolution of Electronic Music. This, I believe, is why we are seeing such a flourish of unique EM music from ‘bedroom producers,’ who scrimp and save the meager income from their day job to get he very basic tools needed to make the music that drives them. With the help of my good friend and Co-Creator for the show, John Buell, we have made an attempt at translating this evolutionary drive into the form of a competition, where those artists who have that creative spark get the chance to be noticed, and possibly jump up on stage next to that headliner that helped inspire them in the first place.”

Submissions must be in by March 3 and interviews will be held during the week of March 9 at Motiv Nightclub in Santa Cruz to select the five competitors.

For additional information and submission details, visit BEAT.

Can the Hacker Philosophy Change the World?

February 18th, 2014

Last week Cogswell College was lucky enough to have renowned futurist, inventor and hacker spend the day on campus meeting with students and faculty and visiting each of our project-based learning studio classes – Project X, MediaWorks, Studio E and Game Studio.

Pablos also delivered a noontime talk exploring the reasons why hacking is important and how that eventually led to working as an inventor at the Intellectual Ventures Lab outside Seattle. His philosophy is simple, hacking things and breaking them is we learn things and then how we can change things. He offered a number of examples of things people had hacked but he finished by saying, “I’m telling you about these guys because they think differently, they are the people who don’t read the directions and that’s the key to new ideas and new ways to use things.”

He sees the hacker philosophy as the key to solving the world’s problems which is how he became involved with the Intellectual Ventures Lab. The focus of the lab is on the beginning stages of invention, validating the concept and refining the technology to demonstrate its potential for commercial or humanitarian use. He talked about some of the projects the lab is working on ranging from shooting mosquitoes down with lasers in the effort to fight malaria to a system to reuse, and thus reduce, nuclear waste to produce energy.

For a more comprehensive description of the these and other projects his team is working on, check out the Ted Talk he gave in 2012.

The Secrets to Hacking Your Life

February 17th, 2014

Nick Floyd, a Developer at New Relic in Portland, recently decided his life need a little ‘hacking’ so in true nerd fashion set up a series of experiments to test his life improvement theories and then reported his findings in the company blog.

He decided to focus on three areas: his health, his environment and his mind. He said, “My findings surprised me a bit because I saw myself as a different kind of nerd – the nocturnal, antisocial, Red Bull-chugging, Pringles-eating developer. Stereotypes aside, I think of these areas as the ‘Nerd’s hierarchy of needs.’ When any of them are misaligned, then you’ll find mediocrity not far behind.”

His first experiment centered on exploring his health. According to Floyd, “Years ago, I was able to throw code 100 hours per week, get a little sleep, drink a Mountain Dew, rinse and repeat.” He wondered if this was really the best approach so:

Week 1: Come into work a little later, go home / have family time; then, after everyone was sleeping, write code from 10:00pm – 2:00am

Week 2: Come into work around 6:00 – 7:00am and leave at 4:00pm; go home with a closed laptop and go to sleep at a consistent time

Much to his surprise, week two was the solid winner.

Check out the blog post to discover what he learned about hacking his environment and his mind.

What areas of your life do you want to consider hacking?

Is Something You are Doing Setting You Up for Failure?

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?