Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Zero to One by Peter Thiel Reflection


The overwhelming lack of success for startup of business is quite alarming and should force many people into a typical job that is 9-5. Throughout the quarter for my Tech Entrepreneurship class, we were taught many essential principles and notions provided by guest speakers and the professor regarding “being your own boss”. One underlying theme was that as an entrepreneur, there isn’t a ceiling to be reached as you can strive to go beyond that. Furthermore, it forced me to understand that nobody is going to hold your hand as you wander off into your own world as a CEO.

With this in mind, I listened and dissected a few audible books regarding entrepreneurship and the essential ideas and foundations needed to build something of value. The author of “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel exhibited some interesting fundamentals and ideas that has the potential to disrupt the way technology interacts with the world. As a cofounder of PayPal, investor of early Facebook, and now a billionaire, Peter Thiel outlines essential skills and visions to create a successful business.

There won’t be a next Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc., any time soon because these businesses have conquered their domain and dominates the competition. The book explains that the dot.com bubble led in innovation and the companies with real use case for a given problem grew to be the monumental companies we recognize today. He simplifies that the next big business would not just be from 1 to N in terms of horizontal growth but a company that starts at zero to one for vertical growth. To simplify this analogy, it is a lot harder to start at a dead stop and actually get the business moving, especially in a highly unique niche. We can think of driving a manual stick shift vehicle where getting the car to move at all is the hardest part of learning to drive a manual.

Peter Thiel had me questioning the right business to start as we continue writing our business plan throughout the quarter in class. The next big business has to be a disruptor in a niche market and using technology as a tool to enhance this will guide the process. Thus, my business plan is a hybrid combination of blockchain technology (which still hasn’t had a mainstream use case to date) and mobile application. Again, the most difficult part is actually getting this company moving and that fact that there is not any ceiling gives me hope.

-TRKX

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Analysis and Reflection on Startup.com


          The documentary Startup.com is the notion that I envision when a group of smart and likeminded individuals get together to create something bigger than themselves. The spirit of the entrepreneurs was creating a website that people can pay their parking tickets called govWorks. At the time, this was revolutionary as anyone connected to the World Wide Web was on the route to success. The idea and vision constantly changed as the product developed but the initial starting idea allowed the founders to be successful at attaining funding throughout the process. Kaleil Tuzman and Tom Herman were a perfect match in terms of organizing this business idea and eventually turning this business into a multi-million-dollar idea. Furthermore, we saw how the employees of govWorks.com attained funding and spoke with political parties and high valued individuals.
            Kaleil’s charisma made this company was it was. It was very difficult for him to balance his work/life, but this is the life of an entrepreneur. Definitely something that reiterated throughout the journey of being your own boss was the sentimental letdowns and rejections that one might incur during the business process. However, there were occasions in which success was reached with the funding and eventually the site went live. The fact that their business tried to jump start into the market immediately allowed for that first-mover advantage, but we saw that there were copiers of their idea.
            The turn of event in the company was the dot.com bubble which was detrimental to their business. GovWorks.com grew too fast and big without a sizable revenue to match that eventually it lost millions in value to its shareholders. It was rather interesting that we later find out that Kaleil was in jail for fraud with another business. However, it was very inspiring to see how these young men built something that might’ve had the potential to be successful.

How Am I Going to Attain Proper Funding for my Business?


            When going into any kind of business, it’s essential to understand and execute the process of attaining funding. Rather it be a service or produce business, this aspect cannot be overlooked as it can make or break your business from the initial startup. Luckily, my service is a mobile application that provides a service to customers. With this in mind, funding will primarily be from self-funding and maybe a little help from family and friends.
            By allowing myself to have “skin in the game”, this will be motivation for allowing the business to continue growing and expand because the success of the business directly correlates with the success of my entrepreneurship. I am also wanting to borrow the least amount of money from individuals or private entities because debt and equity is the most valuable things to give up when starting a company. So, we have the proof of concept of the mobile app for connecting clients with their photographers and well as providing a social platform for interaction amongst the community. Where else can we go for funding?
            On the journey to figuring out funding for my business, we might have to turn to angel investors and Venture Capitalist if we decide to expand our company and grab a sector of this business. Typically, we raise seed money and start-up money in this round and later push to the Mezzanine level to get ready for an IPO. Although not instantaneously, my goal is to get PiccaSnap onto the open market which will allow for liquidity for its shareholders As we get to this level, the peace of the slice will get smaller and smaller for the owners but the ultimate goal is to be the recognizable company that connects its clients with professional/freelance photographers.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Shadrach White - "We Are All Salesmen"


Our guest speaker last week was Shadrach White. A truly remarkable individual who I felt was very reminiscent of a Tech Entrepreneur. The first question he asked me and fellow colleagues was, “Who in here works in sales?” The question itself seemed very vague and open to interpretation but just let me clarify that by the end of the presentation, the whole classroom had both hands raised when asked that same question. It’s pretty clear that in life, we are always selling ourselves, our ideas, and our services to others. Especially in entrepreneurship, it is an essential skill to possess in order to thrive in the business realm.
The story of Shadrach was a tale of rags to riches in terms of starting off as a simple copier. Also, he ventured off and started sports gear and facilitated community involvement with Rucker Park basketball gear. Although this business ended up failing, he learned many lessons that he passed onto the audience in terms of resiliency and determination when one truly believes in his ideas. After the failure of Rucker park basketball gear, he transitioned back to technology and utilized Software-As-A-Service to help facilitate government organizations. I felt that this was the turning point as he ended up managing a couple multi-million-dollar businesses in which by standards, was successful.
The story of an entrepreneur is typically hard to make, and one usually goes against insurmountable odds. However, I believe that in the realm of entrepreneurship in technology, just because one business fails, this does not necessarily mean that the whole idea of being an entrepreneur is diminished. For questions and answers, I asked Shad “How is it that he is able to manage a work/live balance while raising a family?” It surely isn’t easy, but he stated that working for himself is the most satisfying feeling as well as there is no ceiling in terms of promotion or advancement in the field. This is the reason why I am taking this class in entrepreneurship. Ultimately, to be your own boss and define your set of rules is my goal. In the endgame, I WILL build something great and lasting to help benefit my community and hopefully leave the world a little better than it was before I entered.

            -TRKX