Wednesday, March 7, 2018

     Let me start off by saying that unfortunately I did not make it to class the day this film was presented. However I took the time to watch it myself and I was actually surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did. This was a documentary about 2 young business men named Kaleil and Tom who started a business in Silicon Valley called govWorks. They created a website were people could pay off parking tickets and other things from the government using this tool. Let me just say out this, my professor discussed that being an entrepreneur was not easy, it is something for people who love the highest of highs and can handle the lowest of lows. Along with a lot of hard work and little sleep in between of course. However it's hard to picture all of that in your head, but this documentary did a fantastic job on showing these high points and low points. For example a high point was when the CEO Kaleil had his face all over newspapers and magazines saying how he is a young billionaire in the making and how successful he was at such a young age. Also when he got to meet with the President of the time Bill Clinton and talked at the Whitehouse and even gave Bill his business card. It was very entertaining as well as a happy moment for these men. However it also showed how business could tear the friendship of 3 long childhood friends, one friend ended up leaving early and was the only one to actually make any money from the business, and the other two Tom and Kaleil ended up not making a dime off the business when it eventually went under and ended up not only losing the company, but also damaging the friendship that they had. Overall I really enjoyed watching this movie. And I'll probably be taking Andrew's movie advice from now on. to Dot.Bomb

     Nearing the end of our quarter, before I sat down to write this blog post I took a couple minutes to reflect on this quarter and particular this class. The topic that I will be discussing today is the .com bubble, but what does me reflecting on class have to do with this? Well ever since the first or maybe the second day of class my professor brought up the subject, but never actually told us much about it. Only until now we actually got to discuss what this bubble actual was. Essentially the .com started around 1997 peaked in 2000 and burst in 2002. At this time investors were investing in internet companies left and right because of their excitement of the internet, they weren't focused much if they were profitable or not. Prices went up five times their normal amount from 1997 to 2000, but then ended up dropping to their original amount from 2000 to 2002. Only about 1 out of 2 internet companies actually ended up surviving. For example ended up not being worth anything after 2002, but companies like amazon for example, which people had failing miserably rose in worth. From what we learned in class there were 5 stages to the .com bust.

Stage 1 - The innocent beginning

Stage 2 - Boom

Stage 3 - Insanity

Stage 4 - Bust

Stage 5 - The crawl back to sanity

     So stage 1 was when the first early big companies came to investors, companies like Prodigy, Delphi, AOL, and Genie. Stage 2 was when more big companies came such as Amazon and Yahoo. Stage 3 was a point where a tremendous amount of companies were getting funded and going public, however like described above, investors weren't making money from these investments, at least not nearly enough. Stage 4 these investors started to pull out, because they realized they were losing money and they weren't getting anything out of these investments. Of course at the end the market settled and a lot of companies came to be what they are today. This was .com bust in a nutshell

Vision and Mission Statement

     To me personally creating and vision and mission statement was one of the hardest things I had to do when it came to my business plan. As being a natural over thinker as well as not trying to sound overly professional or not professional enough it was hard for me to come up with them. Nevertheless lets start off with my companies mission statement. It is our mission to synergistically and collaboratively leverage high-quality products to meet our customers needs. To me this hit all of the points I wanted to hit while being very simple at its core. Two most important things are quality of my product and customer satisfaction, if those two things are met then our mission is complete. Next my vision statement is very short and simple, however it is a pretty large task at hand. Our vision statement simply is to eliminate dehydration from the populous. This isn't a vision of ridding the whole world of dehydration, this is something that I am aware I will not be able to do, however those who have the necessary amount of water to intake a day but choose not to or have troubles drinking enough is exactly what I am targeting with my vision. Before I created my mission and vision statements I went and explored big companies and looked at their statements, ranging from coke to bestbuy. Some of the mission and vision statements I looked at to me did not fit how the general public perceives this company. What I mean is for example if you're selling candy and you say your goal is to rid the world from world hunger, it sounds silly, and to me this is kind of what these big companies were doing. This is why I had such a big problem trying to figure mine out, because I did not want to sound like that, but on the other hand I felt it to be a bit necessary when it came to the vision statement. I believe that  good vision statement is something that is very out of reach so that you have something to constantly keep striving for. That is what I was trying to do with my vision statement. Overall like I said earlier, this was very hard for me, however I am happy with what I came up with and will be sticking to it with my future business endeavors.

Guest Speaker - Shadrach White

     Our fifth and final guest speaker of the quarter was a man named Shadrach White. He is the CEO of a software company called cloudPWR and their mission statement is "We are on a mission to simplify complex problems and help organizations adopt cloud based solutions". Since we just spoke about mission and vision statements two days prior I thought it was very fitting to mention theirs, also I believe that with other mission statements they give a lot of "filler". What I mean by that is their mission statement is way off of what the actual public portrays the company as. However with cloudPWR I feel like they hit the nail on the head with theirs. In addition to his awesome mission statement, Shadrach didn't quite plan out his speech, but this made his talking points more effective, because with less structure he wasn't focused on hitting every single point more of just going with the flow of things. Going with the flow and allowing pretty much any type of questions to be asked from a very wide array of topics made his lecture that much more interesting and engaging. Another thing that I really enjoyed about his visit was he's an experienced CEO and entrepreneur, in a sense he's not new to the entrepreneur game, he knows what he is talking about and has a been there done that mentality which made me want to absorb all the knowledge possible from this man. One weakness that I have and that I acknowledged early this quarter was that it's hard for me to motivate others when I myself am not motivated. As a CEO you must be able to move your employees and always wear a smile on your face no matter the circumstances in either your life or the business. Shadrach explained how important this was and how he essentially does it all the time, and from his demeanor you can tell he's just that type of guy and I envy that of him and hope that one day I too will be able to motivate my employees in a way that makes all of us more efficient and happy in the workplace. It's sad that this was the last guest speaker we had this quarter, however we ended on a very high note with Shadrach and I am thankful that he took the time from his schedule to come and talk to our class.

How Will I Protect my Intellectual Property?

     This question has been running through my head for the past couple weeks. We are gearing towards the end of the quarter and i was always having difficulty answering how exactly I wanted to protect my intellectual property. The problem I had was that there isn't much to protect. Besides the name of the company and maybe the logo, the actual product can be remade and I could not do much about it, mostly because the product already exists! So with this in mind I threw out the idea of copyright, there just isn't anything to do it on. Next I quickly thought about trade secret, but again that wouldn't fit the bill either. Patents was a no as well, because there is nothing to really patent, unless I do come up with a new piece of technology later down the line or some software, however at the point in which I am now and my overall vision of the product this doesn't seem to be right either. After doing some more research and I really took thought in exactly what was needed to be protected I decided on going on the trademark route. Trademarks are a way for me to not have to worry about another company using my logos or my company name, this is especially important because my company revolves around quality products and I do not want someone to be making lesser quality products under our name. On top of protecting our brand it is quite nice to use trademarks because it does not have to be renewed over a certain time period like copyrights. Overall I think my company will gear towards trademarks makes it easier for me and it simply fits the bill unlike any of the other options.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Guest Speaker - John Dimmer

     Just like our other guest speakers, John Dimmer was a man with plenty knowledge as well as loads of self experience.  His presentation was a lot more technical than our other guest speakers. He constantly went into details about being an entrepreneur and provided the detailed situations and solutions for our businesses. One thing that John said really caught my attention, this was the fact that when he first started his first business he felt unsure and not ready. This above all else really resonates with me. I am only 21 years old and close to finishing my bachelors, I don't think this is the best time for me to start any business, I do believe that working in the industry might be better for the simple fact that I can learn a lot more and hopefully use my honed skills to create something better at the age of maybe 25 than I can now.

     John did something similar to this, he went to school for finance/accounting and after finishing he got hired for his first job. During his first job he did exceedingly well and was able to climb the ranks of the company as well as learn a tremendous amount. After gaining his new found knowledge as well as gaining some maturity, he decided to start his own business. This is sort of the approach I would like to take and hopefully an opportunity to do this will arise. One problem that I did have which maybe not too many others did was I got pretty lost at a couple different moments, he is a technical kind of guy, but to someone without that kind of expertise it can get a bit confusing. He tried his best however to explain it on simpler terms, but there was some complicated topics floating around that day.

     Regardless of that, John Dimmer was an excellent guest speaker, he really filled the void by being a really technical guy, that also related a lot to us students because of his background. I had a great time and on a side note it was nice to see John our teacher Andrew together, they seem like very close friends. Overall great presentation and I hope to see John again one day, hopefully after i'm ready to start my business.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

How Much Will I Charge (and Why)

      Continuing my journey of becoming and entrepreneur, I recently started to take a look on how much exactly I would want to charge for my product. As a refresher my product is a digital water bottle that can keep track of how much water a person intakes and make sure daily goals are reached through a smartphone app. Now after doing some research and seeing if there was actually a market for this I came across a company called Hidrate Spark. They have the exact same product as what I want to create but with some differences as well. They currently price their product at $54.95. After doing some more research one of my design choices that is not used in their product is having a insulated bottle. The reason for the extra layer of insulation is for drinks to stay cold or warm depending on how the buyer likes it. With this difference alone I would up the cost to around $60 or even $65. My number one goal when creating this product is quality. I want to create a durable and reliable product and with that in mind I settled for the price of $64.95. I believe that people will pay for higher quality, no one wants to keep buying cheap products over and over that will just break in the near future. I want my product to be lively in design as well as highlight all the software features that comes along with it. Long lasting products is the way I would direct my company and future business endeavors. Overall the price of $64.95 is the price needed to create a quality product and as stated earlier people buy quality and my product will be top quality.