Posts

Startup.com

Watching startup.com was a very interesting experience for me. I had heard about the documentary previously but I didn't know much about it going in so it was a shock to me when I saw how old it was. I thought the documentary was at least filmed 2010 at the earliest. In any case, it was a little hard to watch because of the film style, but I eventually go used to it. I have to say, it really took away the image I had in my head about startups. I pictured something more... glamorous. Everything seemed pretty dull and dreary and it was kind of off-putting. I mean I understand startups require a lot of work and so people are under stress, but they suffered from corporate espionage and their company eventually failed and they hardly had time to spare. 
Now, failure is another opportunity to learn. I believe even Andrew Fry mentioned that the failure of one of his companies sucked but it was a learning opportunity. However, I looked up Kaleil on Wikipedia and apparently he is in jail …

Mission and Vision Statement

Once we brought up mission and vision statements, the first question I had was, what's the difference? I always thought the terms were used interchangeably. Unfortunately, I missed the class session in which we talked about these topics in detail, but after a bit of research and asking around, I learned that a vision statement was a statement that highlights where you see your company in the future, and a mission statement is what you will do day to day to get there. I had to do more thinking than I thought to figure out what my vision and mission statements were. Eventually though, I figured it out by thinking about what I wanted my product to do. I want my product to make parking easier for students, so my vision statement would be something like, "Looking to improve the university experience for students across University of Washington campuses." Of course, as my product gets bigger, it would be more general instead of only focusing on University of Washington campuse…

Shadrach White

Our fifth and final guest speaker for this course was Shadrach White. I wasn't sure if he would speak during a class session after the confusion the first time. I figured he just wouldn't have the time. In any case, he showed up. Looking him up online, I saw Shadrach was the chief executive officer of a company called cloudPWR. Looking over the blogposts of other students, I read that he talked about his company's flagship product, Airlift. As I was looking up Mr. White and his business, I noticed something interesting. In his company's mission statement, Airlift was actually trademarked. However, when I entered Airlift into the google search bar, I got a lot of hits, none about Mr. White's company and/or product. I got some hits for airplane companies, movies, etc. I guess I learned more about the nature of trademarks through that.

Moving on to what Mr. White actually talked about, I liked reading about the way Mr. White talked about development. The way he talked…

How much will you protect your intellectual property?

During one of our lectures in class, we talked about ways to protect intellectual property. If I remember correctly, these were the four ways: Trade Secrets, Copyright, Trademark, and Patents. When considering how to protect my intellectual property, these were the four ways I considered.

To start off, I think nothing with my product would fall under trade secrets. When I think of trade secrets, I think of something like the recipe for Coca Cola or Krabby Patty's so maybe I don't have the perfect understanding of what a trade secret is, but like I said before I don't think nothing with my product would fall under trade secrets. As a reminder, my product will be an application that helps students find parking spots on campus.

Similarly, I don't think there would be anything I would patent with regards to my product. Maybe if I develop a some unique algorithm, but i don't really see that happening. I just don't think I need to do that for my product. That leaves …

John Dimmer Visit

Our fourth guest speaker was Mr. Fry's good friend John Dimmer. Mr. Dimmer's talk was probably the most beneficial talk with regards to our business plan as his talk revolved around finances and investing. He talked about how important it was to learn about these topics, at least on a basic level.

One of the things that Mr. Dimmer brought up that I found very interesting was the discussion between going into business with friends/family vs. going into business with strangers. Mr. Dimmer's viewpoint was that going into business with friends & family was better than going into business with a stranger. I guess that makes sense, in most cases you know your family & friends better than strangers and you should go into business with someone you know well. On the flip side I can see the negatives with investing and going into business with friends and family.

Another thing that stood out to me about Mr. Dimmer's talk was how he tried retirement after the sale of Free…

Pricing My Product

In writing this post, there were a lot of things I had to take into consideration. First and foremost, I had to decide if I wanted to go with my parking app idea, or if I wanted to pick one of the other two business ideas, or something else entirely. I couldn't really find anything else I was really interested in so I decided to go with my parking app idea. To review my idea, I wanted to create an application that would help students at universities/colleges find parking spots on and around campus.

Now, thinking about how to price my product also required a lot of consideration. I looked into it and there are a lot of parking apps already available (various levels of quality) that are free. The way these applications generate revenue is by advertisements. The other option I considered was the option where the app would be free to use with limited features and would cost money to upgrade. Given that my target market would be students, I figure they wouldn't be so willing to pay…

Brian Forth

Our third guest speaker was Brian Forth, CEO of SiteCrafting. As the name suggests, SiteCrafting is a web design company that creates and designs websites for its clients. Mr. Forth's story is similar to the story about 'My Uncle's Alders' in that Mr. Forth kind of stumbled across his idea. He had someone ask him to create a website for him, and word got around. Eventually, Mr. Forth realized that he had a good thing going, and the result was SiteCrafting.

There were a couple of things that stood out to me about Brian Forth and his company. First of all, his company does not have a sales department and has relied mostly on word-of-mouth. Second, the culture of Brian's company is unique. The office is just one big open area where all employees can easily access each other. Even Brian doesn't have his own office (in the conventional sense). I thought it was interesting when Brian talked about how some clients were let go. I wonder if sometimes a CEO or a company …