Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneurship’

Cogswell College Launches ‘Immersion Experience’ Program

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

SUNNYVALE, CA — Cogswell College (, an institution that offers a unique curriculum fusing digital arts, engineering, and entrepreneurship, has launched a brand new program, “The Silicon Valley Immersion Experience” ( Now available to entrepreneurs and students on a global scale, Cogswell’s Silicon Valley Immersion Experience program just hosted its first group of participants — a team of entrepreneurs from Turkey. The announcement was made by Dr. Deborah Snyder, president and chief academic officer, Cogswell College.

Spearheaded by John Duhring, Cogswell College’s education technology specialist, five entrepreneurs from the Turkey-based Sabanci University’s “SUCool” Pre-Incubator Program, very recently visited the Cogswell College campus. The group also attended a series of meetings, workshops, showcases, meetups and presentations, including trips to Stanford University, IDEO, and the Institute for the Future; such top Silicon Valley-based companies as Google, Skype, Flipboard, and Eventbrite; financiers and incubators including StartX, the Founder Institute, Hackers/Founders, and Hanhai Investments, and start-ups including Good Eggs, gThrive, NVT, Diya TV, and others.

Read more on Computer Graphics World.

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.

Sony Shines in Golden Globe Ad

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Bringing together art and engineering talent.

Sony is running a multifaceted media campaign that harkens back to their early days of innovation and pushing the envelope. They ran an ad during the Golden Globes award show that got to the heart of their philosophy. When I watched the video clip, all I could think was that sure looks like a day at Cogswell College.

They say, “When you combine the artist with the engineers, you get something really new – something special.” The ad went on to say, “when great thinkers combine with great doers, 1 + 1 can equal 3.” So true! Great things happen when you create an environment that encourages – and even demands – collaboration across disciplines.

Walk into any classroom at Cogswell, step into the student lounge or listen to conversations taking place in our hallways – and you know you are in a unique place. Students and faculty are passionate about what they do and are eager to learn from each other.

Our next Open House is February 22. Why not RSVP now and come see for yourself how well we have integrated art and engineering? Step into our world of possibilities.

Ultimate Guide to Startup Marketing

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Cogswell’s curriculum has a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship and helping our students develop the skills they need to build a successful enterprise.  The College offers a degree in Digital Media Management and focuses on entrepreneurial thought, customer discovery, project management and business practices within the expanding marketplace of digital media.

One of the skills that receives lots of attention is how to market your startup. We found this helpful slideshare presentation that walks you through the basics. The offers tips for choosing a market, defining keywords, setting core metrics, choosing social media networks, creating social media content, measuring against benchmarks and much more.

Click here to learn more about our Digital Media Management program.

The Gig Economy In A Flat World

Monday, June 24th, 2013

It’s been nearly 10 years since Thomas Friedman discovered that the world is flat.  His book describes a “plug and play” world built on an open, global, web-enabled platform that supports multiple forms of shared knowledge and work irrespective of time, distance, geography or language.  While globalization once was the province of governments or corporations, he proposed that the big change was going to come when individuals and small groups plugged in and learned how to “work horizontally.”  Keep in mind, this was before the smartphone.

A few years later, Tina Brown wrote in The Daily Beast that juggling part-time “gigs” was the career path of a rising “hustler class.”  What she called “gigonomics” boils down to professionals increasingly working part-time or short-term jobs rather than in salaried positions.  Her polls revealed that one third of the US workforce was working freelance or holding down two or more jobs.  By this time, the iPhone had been introduced but the “bring your own device” to work phenomenon was still years away.

How quickly everything changes.  What these writers could not see was how people would organize businesses around the shifts they described. Combine the global “plug and play” platform with “BYOD” and you get a view into what is becoming the gig economy.  While more people are able to work than ever before in history, to succeed, we must think in a new way.

Here are some illustrations of how employment is moving towards just-in-time gigs:


With over a billion unique individuals from around the globe using its services each month, Google employs them all.  Those billions of short search terms tell their systems what people are looking for, and what a user chooses from their search results list tells Google that user’s preference at that point in time.  This is the content they sell to advertisers while they reward all user/employees with quick results, accurate maps and other free services.

In this way, we all work for Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and any other service that uses our information for their gain.  It’s important to make the most of these gigs because they also put us in position to work with anyone, anywhere.  They afford us the best research services ever devised, the best news and access to the best people to work with.  Use these free tools to form your own small networks to stay on top of what is happening in your field or to help you turn a hobby into a career.

Magazines and news organizations:

It comes as a surprise to realize that most news now comes from unpaid sources.  As networked smartphones and their cameras turn millions into reporters, news organizations have welcomed submissions from the scene of events like the Hudson River landing of US Airways flight 1549.

Pioneered by the Huffington Post, the use of unpaid stringers and contributors has gone mainstream.  Even magazines like Forbes have hundreds of contributors to their web site. Such magazines provide a great platform for writers to be exposed to clients in the best possible light.  If you contribute articles to an industry-related news organization, you stand out and at the same time you are free to frame the issues you address in your own terms.  Be on the lookout for “Send us a pitch” links to become a guest columnist at the publications you admire and would like to support.

Universities and colleges:

No longer are university positions “soft,” if they ever were.  The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Adjunct Project reports that fully two-thirds of the faculty standing in front of college classrooms each day aren’t full-time or permanent professors.  In some fields, such as technical fields of practice, this is good thing.

Technology and methods change so rapidly that colleges are always on the lookout for practitioners who can teach.  The adjunct model is also a wonderful way to take advantage of high-level personnel who would otherwise not be looking for a full-time teaching career.  Likewise, professionals should look at teaching as a gig that helps expose them to standout students and new ideas.


Much has been made of the “lean startup” and its value.  One thing that the model creates is more serial entrepreneurs.  Their job is to identify a need and focus a team on filling it, at scale.  Tools like Kickstarter extend financing to artists, authors and other creative professionals by helping them pitch directly to their customers.  To date, over 4 million people have pledged over $600 million in support for over 40,000 Kickstarter projects.  To get started, go to their school page.  Your creativity and effort can result in gigs of your own choosing.


The Maker Faire and many large athletic and musical events, often once a year gatherings in a certain location, embrace large paying audiences.  While volunteers staff the booths and take tickets, out-sourced services create a state of the art infrastructure for these events regardless of location.  Gigs for electrical, sound, video, art and lighting infrastructure can turn even a desert into a happening.

Burning Man

These examples show how the gig economy is taking shape around us.  Once you start to see it in action, you might note how much of our lives rely on the efficiencies it provides.  So what can we do to make the most of these changes?

We can prepare for this new economic landscape by becoming networked problem-solvers. When you have an idea, research it, take pictures and notes.  Find or form an online group to investigate your idea and explore others.  Go horizontal and embrace the best minds you can bring to bear on the problems you want to solve.  Build a team of people you can go to with issues that lie beyond your own expertise.  Then, bring all the wisdom of your “small network” with you as you pursue your career in the gig economy.  It’s as close as your next gig.

Click to learn about Cogswell’s Entrepreneurship Masters Program.

About the Author:

John Duhring has been a founding team member at nine startups, including Supermac Software, WAiS Inc and Bitmenu. During his career he has also applied technology to learning at large companies such as Prentice-Hall, Apple and AOL. Follow him on Twitter: @duhring.

Idea to IPO Start Up Fair at Cogswell College June 5

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

We hope you will join us. Please RSVP to the Meetup.

Problem Solving at the Heart of Entrepreneurship

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Are you one of those people who has trouble getting up in the morning? Do you hit the snooze button a couple of times or turn off the alarm without getting up?

So did entrepreneur Dave Hawkins, inventor of the Wayki toothbrush and alarm clock.

Identifying a need and finding a way to fill that need is perhaps the single biggest factor in determining whether a business venture succeeds or fails. Creativity is not only essential in writing and art; it’s a way of thinking outside the box. Creative problem-solving is the cornerstone of the entrepreneurial spirit.

The Wayki alarm and toothbrush meets two needs: getting up on time and good oral hygiene in a creative way.

Like many people, Hawkins found that he had trouble getting up in the morning. He’d hit the snooze button multiple times or turned off the alarm, then would turn over and go back to sleep. He’d wake up and have to get out the door in a hurry and realized that oral hygiene was sacrificed.

Of course, Hawkins is not alone. So he set out to solve those problems with one product.

The alarm clock is kept in the bedroom, but the Wayki doesn’t have a snooze button, eliminating the habit of hitting the snooze for 10 extra minutes. In order to get you moving, the alarm shut off is in the bathroom and takes the form of a toothbrush. It is inserted into the Wayki base then a clock appears that is automatically set for two minutes.

A true multitasker, the Wayki in effect eliminates two problems by combining two common products in an interesting way. Although still in the development stages and seeking investment through crowd-sourcing, the Wayki is already generating some buzz in tech circles and media.

Cogswell Student Attends San Francisco Writers Conference

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Cogswell College student, Aaron Miner, recently received the 2013 Smokler Scholarship award to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference from February 14-17. Following are his reflections on the first session he attended:


The sun warmed the bright, long room as I seated myself for my first panel at the San Francisco Writing Conference. The conference comprises four days of presentations, workshops, keynotes, consultations and exhibitions for authors, agents, and publishers. I arrived early for this first panel—the one slated to begin at nine in the morning. Its title was: “How to Turn Your Book Into a Movie.”

I introduced myself to the several women who also sat in the front row. Among them was a nonfiction author from out of state, who was writing a memoir about her grandmother. She reacted with curiosity when I mentioned my studies at Cogswell. She expressed an especial concern about how studios might alter the scripts they purchased against their author’s intentions.

As the matter was one I had given much thought, I happily shared what I knew. What I saw as the film industry’s tendency to shoehorn stories into ill-fitting, but marketable, packages was what led me to entrepreneurship in the first place. As a child, my love of books and movies developed into a passion for writing, and later I also developed an interest in animated filmmaking.

Founding my own studio was the plan from the start. I have a strong independent streak, and I balked at the notion of altering my story to make it more saleable to an executive. With my own studio, even if the market demanded a compromise between art and business, I could at least decide the best compromise for myself. When I transferred out of De Anza College’s animation program, I chose Cogswell College over San Jose State because Cogswell taught entrepreneurship alongside digital media.

Though my interests in fiction, filmmaking and entrepreneurship complement one another, I have always struggled with their seemingly disparate natures. At times, they seem like two vocations too many for a single lifespan. The question of how to integrate them into a whole, and avoid burnout, tortured me for a long time.

Soon, our panelist arrived: a producer and manager who works out of Hollywood. Her trade involves adapting novels into television shows and pitching them to the networks. “Everyone is looking for a built-in audience,” she said towards the middle of her talk. There is a market for adaptations, as well as the ubiquitous sequels and prequels, because their renown guarantees a turnout. The expense involved in filmmaking also requires that this be a mass audience. Such expenses have all but eliminated the independent film studios. Our speaker regretted this fact, because she believes that some less popular perspectives deserve a hearing.

The epiphany washed over me like a wave. It was an obvious epiphany, but an epiphany nonetheless. We live at a time where telling a story across multiple media is a matter of course. Novelists want films to promote their novels, and film studios want novels to promote their films. The economics of the old industry demands high budgets and cultivates a tyranny of the mainstream. However, producers, creators and audiences alike find themselves disgruntled by this fact. Furthermore, as the panelist herself mentioned, the development of new distribution methods via the Internet clears the way for a myriad of voices to find their niche. Being an author, filmmaker and entrepreneur in this day and age suddenly seemed appropriate.

As our technology advances, and our culture evolves with it, I expect the boundaries between professions will undergo immense shifts. The media industries in particular will feel the effects. In recounting her tales of shopping series based on her clients’ books, our panelist described a convoluted industry, stuffed with middlemen. Now that any filmmaker can distribute their work with a click and a tweet, we may have no more need of these intermediaries. I look forward to seeing the kind of world that emerges when the dust settles, and the transformation is complete.

The panel ended at fifteen minutes to three. I introduced myself to our speaker afterwards and shook her hand before hurrying off to the next event downstairs. The San Francisco Writer’s Conference was just beginning.

Aaron M. Miner is a writer, filmmaker and entrepreneur attending Cogswell College. In 2012, he founded Studio Kenaz–an independent animation company–and produced a video for Murs and Josh Blaylock, which was featured at that year’s San Diego Comic Con. He is presently revising his first novel, and maintains a blog at

Innovation is a Way of Life

Friday, February 15th, 2013

The Harvard Business Review posed the following question:  How do we make innovation more of a natural act and less of a happy accident?

In response to their “Innovating Innovation Challenge,” more than 140 top Entrepreneurs responded with case studies about how they kept innovation alive and well within their organization.

The article provides links to the 24 finalists insights and covers topics like, “Keeping the Start-up Spirit Alive at Red Gate,” “Fail Forward,” “Unleashing Inclusive Innovation at Cisco” and “Innotribe – a tribe of innovators in the financial industry.”

Read these stories.

How can these examples help you?

Year Up with Cogswell Entrepreneurship

Monday, April 9th, 2012

On Friday March 23rd the Entrepreneurship Program was asked to visit Year Up, an organization dedicated to closing the “Opportunity Divide” by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. The students that are enrolled into the program participate in classes that prepare them for jobs in IT, managerial, and technology-based positions.  YearUp asked entrepreneurship instructor Bret Sweet to speak on his career past, present, and future and provide perspective to the current YearUp classes. YearUp has been around since 2000, originating in Boston acquiring 22 students their first  year. By 2002 the first internships organized by the program start to form and the first graduating class walked out into the world in 2004. From then on, expansion led to sites appearing in Rhode Island, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco.

The YearUp SF campus was located in a brick building on Spear Street in San Francisco; the lobby hosted a very bright blue wall with a very kind greeting staff. Bret was no stranger to Year Up since he had gone to business school with the host of the speaking event. Praise awaited him around every corner and he had received a round of applause with his entrance into the event room. As per the usual charisma that Mr. Sweet gives at all of his talks, it was no surprise that students were left almost speechless. You could see the different emotions and lessons that Bret was presenting to the young adults in their faces with his stories of hardships, early ventures into entrepreneurship, and even family troubles. To say it was an inspiring motivational talk would be an understatement. Almost immediately after the talk, the room filled with questions for Bret about if he had advice for creating a successful business, what milestones they should aim for, and questions for his student ambassador about Cogswell. Needless to say it was quite the experience for everyone.

After his talk, Bret stayed behind to experience what YearUp calls their Feedback Session where all the students and teachers take a moment to reflect on the positive events and the areas for improvement that week so they can all improve personally and professionally. This  involved every person in the room and required input from each person in order to be effective.  In YearUp’s eyes, total immersion gives the best result.  Before Bret’s departure, the students begged for his contact information so they could ask him for advice at any time and Bret being the kind man he is gave everyone a way to reach him easily.

The Entrepreneurship Department here at Cogswell would like to thank Year Up for having us at their campus and hope that they come visit us sometime in the near future!

Bret Sweet for Cogswell Entrepreneurship