Posts Tagged ‘digital media entrepreneurship’

Entrepreneur’s Workshop… begins!

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Trish Costello, director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation program, just welcomed everyone to the  event.

She says that the new program has been well received and has a lot of potential for all involved.  The digital programs (Digital Art and Animation, Digital Arts Engineering, Digital Audio Technology, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering) at the school can be incorporated into the Entrepreneurship Program.

Now there are screen shots showcasing the last ESAL project with Boeing that highlights the fusion of all of the programs incorporated.  Technology is joined with artist vision to create something innovative, like the previous project worked on by students, a flight simulator for new aircraft.

The agenda for the day has been revealed!  First up? Market simulations hosted by Professor Bret Sweet. Then lunch, panelists, products, a QR Code scavenger hunt, and an admissions Q&A.

An entrepreneurship video is being played and the room looks rather inspired and eager.

Now Bret Sweet is heading up the market simulation.  Everyone gets a bag with a secret inside.  Five rounds of observation, voting, and gauging of importance is going to happen.  We even have some parents involved in this.  Running the simulation, he asks, “how satisfied are you with your item?”

More directions revealed:  “Put your item on the table, walk around the room to scope out what else there is, then compare your item with the others.”

Now he askes, “how do you feel about your item?” Everybody trades!  What will people be willing to give up, and for what?

Now the room is divided into hemispheres, and it’s time to trade their goods.  Will people be satisfied, less satisfied, or in love? A round of trading happens again.

Now the “market” has expanded to be the whole room!  Players can now trade “globally.”

Results:  Round one, people were less satisfied.  Why?  Audience member says, “They didn’t have a choice with their items.” As the rounds continue, satisfaction increases, parallel to the openness of the markets and how big the trade pool is.

“I can only sell it to you if there’s a limited amount,” Bret just said. “As things are harder to get, the more expensive they are.  That’s supply and demand…rounds one and two are economics, round five is macroeconomics.  You have something that other people across the world really value.”  Brett adds that entrepreneur’s try to find a value for something that people want.

Trish takes the stage once again.  After taking a field trip yesterday, she found Hackers Dojo, Y-combinator Incubator company: Anybots, and another incubating space, Plug-n-Play.

Who are a few of her favorite entrepreneurs? Richard Branson, Mother Teresa, Russell Simmons, Steve Jobs.  Trish notes: Richard Branson didn’t graduate high school and has a learning disability, and he’s incredibly successful!

Now a little information on our degree programs:  Bachelor’s in Entrepreneurship & Innovation with a specialty in Digital Media, join degree in Entrepreneurship and Digital Media or Engineering, any degree with an Entrepreneurship Minor,

“All of our professors have experience both in teaching and their profession,” Trish says.

Trish adds, “Hands-on experiences occur everyday… students experience a method and learn the theory…  Students create Cogswell Ventures, and Cogswell provides the safety net for risks for learning…  We can be the most influential Entrepreneurship school in the country!”

Now it’s time for lunch!  Looks like everyone’s mingling, high school students, Cogswell students, panelists, parents, and professors..

Continuing along, the panelists are taking their places onstage.

Panelist Dan Marques, 25 year old entrepreneur, just flew in from Boston to join us today.  He’s head of marketing for Gemvara, a company started when he was in college.

Describing his slides: Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) involvement inspired him.  He went to Babson College and started a few companies, one being a network of IM users who were paid to post ads in their away messages.  Company got purchased.  Paragon Lake, the predecessor of Gemvara, started to be a method of custom jewelry.  Later, he helped rebuild the Entrepreneurship program at Babson.  He also began a dollar store in his hometown.  Later he invested in another Entrepreneur involving the “handyman service.” He then became NFTE board member of Boston chapter.

“Don’t take shortcuts because you’ll get cut short,” says Dan. “Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t.”

Trish is now introducing Lee Cohen.

Born of immigrant scientists, she found she was passionate about cooking after undergrad.  Worked for Naked Juice, marketing in various cities.  She then went to Harvard Business School and got her MBA.  This is where she really got passionate about startups.  She now works with

“My life isn’t the traditional Harvard grad life… I took a completely different route,” she says. She then adds advice, “Figure out what your passions are and get into them.” She says to the students that when they’re young and in school, they should try a lot of paths and make mistakes, it will be beneficial.  She adds, “Be open to things you aren’t really interested in,” and “work for someone who is great, not good, GREAT.”

Ash Monif is up next.  A Cogswell alum, he started the Game Development Club that is still going strong after ten years.  He started a game-making business while he was still in student housing, selling stock because he couldn’t pay anyone. Second, he started another game, IDI, a flash game about good health.  He had received a grant for it.

During his time in the Game Development Club he produced various games, even a GDC winner. He has worked at EA and Atari.  He developed with guys from SubAtomic when creating a game for the Wii.  Also, acted as a consultant with them while working for Atari.  The game they developed, “Field Runners, “was in top 20 in the Apple App store for six months.  It also maintained the Top 10 in Japan, reached the top ten in PSP marketplace, and was recognized by TIME Magazine.  Now they have a hub in Boston, looking to establish one on the West Coast. His company has relationships with developers worldwide.  Ash says, “I hadn’t realized I was an entrepreneur until I kept creating.”  He found mentors in the industry.  Also adds, “Pursue your full passion.”

Back to Trish, “Find someone who is where you want to be in ten years.”

Fun fact: “40% of HS Students have the goal of starting their own company.”

The panel is now open for questions from the audience.

Q: “What was the most challenging thing?”

A: Dan: “Manage the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur.” Expect good times and bad and stick through it. Learn from it.

Lee: “Managing survival.”  She says use the people you have. “Adapt.” “Constantly be a cheerleader… even through the bad times, be the chearleader to push forward… be the optimistic one.”

Ash: “Team, Funding, Vision.  If you’re missing one, it will most likely flop.” Also, “having a very clear vision” is very important.

Q from audience member, John, for Ash: “Do you have your dream and your day job?”

A: Ash: “There isn’t one way to start a company correct/incorrect.”  He’s tried many ways, there is no one way to be successful, so you have to do what works for you.  “When you’re a team, you have to work out each individual’s ideas for the whole.”

Trish interjects and passes the mic to the other two.

Dan: “Activities require different amounts of your resources.”

Lee: “If I were you guys, I would have taken advantage of all of the ideas and student resources.  Bills to pay shouldn’t be a limiting factor.  We all have our day jobs.”

Q from same John:  “I want to get into games, like what you’re doing, how can I start?”

Ash:  “You already did.  You’re here.” Get connected.  Get a mentor.

Q: What’s the difference between a small business owner and an Entrepreneur?

Dan:  “Entrepreneurship is a way of thinking an acting.  You can do it either in a big corporation or a small business.”

Trish: “I would agree….  so much as changed over the years, that making your own career is becoming more popular…  we’re in an environment of change… we’re teaching students that they are constantly evaluating, they have the ability to create for thmselves instead of having someone else provide.”

Q:  “What’s the biggest obstacle, and how did you overcome it?

A: Lee: “Hiring people.  It’s an art, not a science.  People who are paper perfect aren’t necessarily perfect…  you have to be able to let go and let people take over responsibilities.”

Ash:  “Founder’s Syndrome.”  You tell people to “please continue to create this beautiful thing…  like an anxious parent, but you have to be able to share the vision and let other people run with it.”  He also adds, “For me, creative conflict.  Some companies like Microsoft want you to argue… the idea wins, not the ego, not the person, the idea wins.”

Dan: “Struggle with what to optimize for, get your priorities straight, define your goals.”

Q: “What do you look for when you’re hiring?”

Dan: “Data driven people.  People who can look at data, interpret it, and go.”

Lee:  “I look for enthusiasm and brains.”  She says that if she can teach you and you’re eager to learn, you have a better chance than someone who is “paper perfect.”  “Don’t be shocked if someone says, ‘I want you for this job, not this one.’”

Ash:  “I make sure these are people I can trust.  I get to know their personality.  Honesty is a much better option.  Problem solving is also a defining factor.”

Q:  “What’s the biggest factor to help you get to the place where you were doing something that seemed to work?”

Ash: “My failures. You have to gain a sense of market activity and learn so you don’t make the same number of mistakes over time.”

Q: “What prepared you the most? Courses or experence?”

Lee: “An institution like Cogswell gives you a lot of resources.  College teaches you how to think.”  She adds, “I had to stop being afraid of failure.

Dan: “The hands-on pieces were really critical to what I’ve done.  Being in company with other entrepreneur’s was a source of motivation.”

Ash:  “Confidence.  You will encounter those who say ‘you’re crazy,’ but have confidence in yourself.  Even if I fail, I want to do this.” Also adds, “It’s better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.”

Trish asks the panelists to give the audience a closing thought.

Dan:  “Start something today. Start working toward something.  Move from talking to taking action!”

Lee:  “Just do it.  Whatever you’re passionate about, you enjoy, just do it.  Meeting people is very important.  There are so many resources here in the bay area.”  She adds, “if anyone wants to reach out, they can contact me through my site:”

Ash: “Follow your passions, keep pursuing them.  Whatever happens, keep on trying and learn from your mistakes.  If you don’t know how to do something, ask.  Utilize your resources:  family, friends, teachers.  Not only do they provide initial funding, but they also provide emotional support.”

Trish thanks them for coming, and invites the audience to talk to them after the workshop.  Now there’s a ten minute break.

Back in session… PX film, preceded by Michael Huber speaking about the Project X class.

After the viewing of the film, “The Offering,” Trish thanks everyone for coming and introduces the launch of the Entrepreneurship Competition! Groups of up to four students create a business plan and have the chance to win a scholarship.

Ending the workshop, she introduces another activity, a QR code scavenger hunt.  She also adds that there are admissions representatives on site to answer any questions they may have.  Attendees disperse, with much buzz still in the Dragon’s Den.

Great showing, and lots of participation.  Looking forward to the next event!