Prior to the Dot.com to Dot.Bomb presentation Andrew Fry gave I can’t recall any in person speech I’ve had the opportunity to see that involved props. The closest I have come was watching the movie Mrs. Doubtfire where robin Williams is part of a tv show that involves plastic dinosaurs. Which is to say the presentation is unique and a very easy to digest summary of what happened during the dot.com bubble. After seeing the timeline of these huge companies rise and fall it made me think about how short life can be. Not just in terms of our own mortality, but also in respects to a business. Even at the age of 29 I can still recall memories of family members or friends of the family who have started business that eventually filtered into extinction. I’ve seen uncles or cousins who got into selling weird health supplements to friends of friends offering monthly beauty products to cousins who opened restaurants that went through different names before eventually shutting down. At first this makes me feel like its pointless to even try if everything eventually ends up closing its doors, but that isn’t the right mentality. All these ventures by people I know show one thing and that is a entrepreneurs mentality and the mindset that it could be possible. Just because most of the people I know haven’t ever had incredible success in a business doesn’t mean its impossible to achieve. If anything, it means that the idea of starting a business is more possible, and that I should take what I have seen to create something that is more sustainable. In the end dinosaurs are still cool, yahoo is still around, and somewhere deep in a hoarder’s collection of old newspapers there is a stack of AOL discs waiting to be tossed like Frisbees into the ocean.
Thursday, March 8, 2018
My mission and vision statement have been rolling around together with my elevator pitch to form some kind of sales proposal vision summary of what my company is. So how would I go about stating my mission statement or the vision I have for my idea? Well first of all I would say that the overall mission is very simple. Our company is offering a platform to foster business connections between companies who offer any type of service with customers who want a customized individual service. By doing this we will give companies who are wishing to grow their business the opportunity to market themselves based on their reliability to people who are seeking their exact services. The customers will have to ability to search for and choose a company that offers the exact service they are looking for and be able to make an informed decision based on other customers reviews. In terms of vision I would say that the vision would come in the form of three different perspectives. The first would be the vision of our company, where we see ourselves as a person who has a friend that is telling them they need help with a specific task, and we are able to provide them with a connection to a business that we know that would fit their needs. The second vision perspective is that of the customer who is looking for help with a specific project and they don’t know where to exactly look, they are able to use our platform and find exactly the person or company they need to alleviate their problem.
Finally Shadrach White made it in to class and of course that is the day there is a wreck on the freeway. So as I show up to class 20 min late and have to walk through his talk I began to wonder who this guy is and what is he talking about. I came in at the point where he was talking about angel investors and how he was able to get help from people that he knew. Immediatley I could tell that Shadrach was a more relaxed personality type than other speakers we have had thus far. Other speakers seemed to have this sales pitch mentality and it was almost like I had to keep up with their fast pace ideas. Shadrach has a brutal honesty that gives his ideas a feeling of grounded reality. I really liked that his company was not afraid to participate in the marijuana industry and also that they didn’t let them doing so pigeon hole them. Also he really made an emphasis that he wants self motivated people to work for him which fits into the repeated idea of getting work done and being productive. On a personal level I really enjoyed his discussion because it gave me some motivation. I live in Olympia and as I get closer to graduation the thought of having to relocate is always a consideration in my mind. The thought of moving away from my friends and family for a career is something I have accepted. Shadrach mentioned that they have multiple employees who either commute or telecommute and still are productive employees. This makes me feel less stressed knowing that there are companies who have fresh ideas that would be able to hire me, but also allow me to stay where Im currently located.
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Since the main idea for my business involves creating business connections there is not really any intellectual property that would need protection. We don’t have any algorithms or products that specifically need to have legal protection so that doesn’t seem to important. As far as trade secrets we are not doing anything that another company couldn’t figure out and eliminating the need for secrecy should make customers more comfortable with using our product knowing there is nothing going on they don’t know about. The need for protections may come into play when it comes to making sure that people feel confident using our app to find services. They might feel uncomfortable using our application or giving a company they don’t know money. I hope to alleviate any of these stresses by having a great review process for people who use our app to ensure that any companies or people who offer their services are backed up by their customers. That doesn’t mean that businesses who are new will be discouraged from being a part of our application, but the companies with higher reliability will be offered first at a premium. There will obviously need to be some kind of money back guarantee that our company will have to offer which will need contingency plans to make sure its not exploited. Should a person want a refund we would like them to offer up a statement of why they are seeking refund and issues that caused it. The reasons will be reflected on our app and any future customers should be able to use this information when making choices on our app about who they want to do business with.
While my blogposts have not always been at the front of my mind and my lack of getting them done on time supports this, it doesn’t mean that I have completely disregarded my business plan. My business idea has been constant in my mind as well as how it will work financially an what it would look like for this service app to be any way profitable. Initially I don’t see very much if any revenue coming in from the service connection app, and I plan to create it as a passion project alone or possibly with another developer. Because of this our costs would be extremely low if anything at all and once we created the app the first releases would likely be free to people interested in using our product. The purpose of this would be to gain the trust of our customers with the hopes of growing our audience to the point where we could offer more services that would start gaining revenue. Future goals would be being able to take a percentage around 25% of any transaction that resulted from our app connecting a service with a customer. I believe this would be a fair price that could fluctuate based on incentive models for companies who earn better reviews on our platform and also for users who want more features. For instance we could offer users who use our service frequently a premium choice to become a monthly member and charge them a monthly fee that would lower the percentage we take.
I wrote down the quote that Brian Forth said and I think it's something I will remember forever. He said "No man stands in the same river twice." What he meant by this was the process of allowing evolution to take place and instead of resisting change you move with it. I believe this fits well into the narrative most of the guest speakers have provided during their presentations which is you need to put in work to be successful. Not only do you have to make the effort to keep producing your best work you have to also be able to change when the situation calls for it. One of Brian’s companies values listed on their website summed up these ideas perfectly “Get Shit Done”. I’ve noticed in myself and in others who have had failures that there is always a tendency to make excuses for why something happened. It’s always easier to blame someone else for your failures or have some excuse why you didn’t get something completed. This can all be solved if you just get shit done and put in the effort. The other important idea that I took away from Forth was his idea that a product should illicit trust and loyalty which will help your business succeed. Following this and focusing on sustainability were main goals for Brian’s businesses. However he still also made an emphasis on building trustworthy teams that are allowed to be curious in order to foster innovation. Brian Forth was a well of great quotes and motivating one liners so I will end with another from him. “Never dismiss anyone, don’t assume people know what you mean.”
Monday, January 29, 2018
Our second guest speaker was very interesting and it was nice that his entrepreneurship fell into a completely different category from our first guest. Rob Coons company Scout Military Products is more related to the field most of the students in the course are pursuing and it was cool to catch a glimpse of what is possible when you have an idea for an application. In my opinion Coons approach to being an entrepreneur was more methodical where Erik Hanberg seemed to have a more creative style. Rob took the route of solving a problem and then using that solution to create his revenue. It’s great to see a relationship where a person’s business idea is created with the purpose of benefiting the customers. One thing I really appreciated about Rob was that his company was started from the ground up and he hasn’t stopped pushing its evolution or given up on the original idea of providing discount information. I know he explained that the real value of the company is the database he has created, but he hasn’t just taken an offer to sell the database and still wants to make his application better for his users. The most valuable information I took away was his discussion on investors and how cutthroat people can be when opportunity for financial gains exists. It was a great reminder that you should always be cautious when it comes to business and sometimes people will do what you never suspected possible. I’m really interested to see whether or not his company will continue to grow and if his idea will still be valuable as newer technologies emerge.