BBC Alumni

Business Builders Club Fall Alumni Tailgate 2014

On November 1st, the Business Builders Club hosted an Alumni Network tailgate for its members, alumni, and families before the beatdown of Illinois in the Horseshoe. Over 50 people attended in what was one of the largest non-meeting events of the semester! We ate hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers and veggies and chips and drank some of the BBC’s Fall 2014 Brew. Plenty of fun and food was had by all in what was a great kickoff for our newly created Alumni Network! The Inaugural Alumni Network Newsletter was also released and can be found here. We’re excited to see the growth of our Alumni Network and the great things it brings to the Business Builders Club!

Special thanks to Jason Almedia, Sam Hubert, Sarah Lyons, and Sydney Sundell for their work as the Alumni Relations committee this semester.

For more information or to give feedback about the Business Builders Club Alumni Network, please contact David Straka at alumni@businessbuildersclub.org.

 

Shroter

Q&A with Wil Schroter

This Wednesday, we had the pleasure of welcoming Wil Schroter, serial entrepreneur and Founder of Fundable, to be our final speaker for 2014. He engaged us with stories of his own experience, starting 7 companies, and the experience he’s had interacting with thousands of entrepreneurs through Fundable. A few key takeaways:

  • Not knowing enough to start a business is an excuse, you don’t need to be the smartest, or even have a degree.
  • Find something you’re so passionate about that it makes you jump out of bed in the morning. Successful people are tenacious, no matter what happens they keep running at the wall with an idea until they fall.
  • You have to be willing to get the problem wrong 100 times in a row and iterate like crazy until you create something valuable that you can charge for.
  • As an entrepreneur, at times you will feel like a fraud and ask yourself, “what the hell did I get myself into?” In the early stages there are very little indicators of success, often it breaks until it works or works until it breaks.
  • It can take 1-3 years to even find out if you’re in the right market, 3 years to get a footing, 7 years to build a real company, and 10 years to IPO.

Bottom line is that it takes an extraordinary amount of time, persistence, and problem solving to be successful.

As for Columbus, Wil said it’s so easy to live here, almost too easy for people to not go out of their comfort zone. In coastal cities, like San Francisco or New York, there are more stressed, but also enterprising, people because the cost of living is so high. On the other hand, Wil says Columbus people are awesome and some of the nicest people in the country! He sees an upward trend for entrepreneurship here at Ohio State, but thinks it is still in its very early stages. He also gave the Business Builder’s Club a tremendous compliment, calling it the “MIT of Ohio State” because it has the highest concentration of tenacious people. He and Fundable are waiting for the next big startup to put Columbus on the board, will it be yours?

IdeaPitch Check

So you’re pitching at IdeaPitch

Congratulations! You took the first critical step in building a business and that is sharing your idea with the masses and seeking feedback, mentorship, and cash. I want to share with you some details about the event and answer some important questions.


 

Event Schedule 

There are 7 teams. The teams will present one after another in a randomly selected order. Every team is allotted 15 minutes, which is broken into 3 minute set-up, 7 minute pitch, and 5 minute Q&A. These are hard time stops, which means there will be a stopwatch and there will be exuberant applause. Judges appreciate a well timed pitch.

At some point during the event, there will be an intermission to restock piles of pizza and listen to our sponsors share a bit about their companies and why they support IdeaPitch!

Once all 7 teams pitch, the judges will gather and talk about how awesome the pitches were, and of course, choose who wins!


 

FWTAIP (Frequently Wondered Things About IdeaPitch)

1. Who can pitch the idea?

Anyone who was included on the original submission. All members of the team must be undergraduate students and members of the Business Builders Club. There is no restrictions on number of pitch-ers, but we suggest 1-3.

2. What am I going to win?

  • 1st place – $1,500
  • 2nd place – $1,000
  • 3rd place – $500

That’s a lotta moolah! Plus, you could score mentorship or further investments if you really wow the judges.

3. Who is judging me?

We’ve got a phenomenal panel of judges lined up for you. This will be updated as new judges are added, so please check back.

  • Zach Boerger: The Director of Engineering at Drive Capital, former BBC’er, co-founder of LaunchGram, all-around-rockstar
  • Dan Rockwell: Program Manager for Software Prototyping Center at Ohio State, Founder of Big Kitty Labs, mover and shaker of all things tech
  • Ross Kayuha: CEO of Nanofiber Solutions, board member for Brand Thunder and start-up guru

4. What do I need to pitch about?

Your pitch should hit the big questions: Problem, Solution, Target Market, Competition, Team, and Financial Summary. Judges will be expecting you to address all of these questions. If you would like to see a copy of the official judging rubric, click here.

We require you to present your idea using a pitch deck (fancy for PowerPoint). This can be 1 slide or 20 slides, but you only have 7 minutes to pitch. Pro Tip: skip the outline slide, we know what you’ll be talking about. Get to the juicy stuff right away. If you want an example deck, click here.

5. What do I wear?

As long as you look presentable, we are happy. A suit is not required, but there will be photos taken and press coverage of the event, so don’t show up in a t-shirt and ripped up jeans.


 

Begin Hustling Now… 

We are incredibly excited to see what you come up with! As always, questions can be directed to the IdeaPitch or anyone within the Business Builders Club leadership.

Event Chair: Peilun Huang,

Coordinators: Hua Wang, Raihaan Subhan, Andrew Yanai

VP of Events: Marek Michalski

Artie Isaac

A Night With Artie Isaac

Last night, we were pleased to welcome Artie Isaac to the Business Builders Club. Artie kept the crowd laughing while sharing a few stories about his career and life lessons he has picked up along the way. A few of the important take-aways:

  • You need to empty your cup before you can fill it with more tea – meaning that if you are searching for more fulfilling work or tasks, you must first reconsider the responsibilities that you have stacked on your plate. If you are not truly passionate about them, dump them and dump them quickly.
  • Forget all of the passwords – In this world, there are long term planners that think out 30 years, short term planners that think out to only one day, and everywhere in between. It is important to fill your team with people who plan at different intervals. If you miss the mark, you will end up doing the work of someone else.
  • Choose what matters to you – things like social drinking and watching football on Saturday may be the cultural norms, but they may be a big waste of time. Be judicious with your time and remember that you do not need to listen to social norms to be liked by your peers.
  • Many of the beliefs we’ve created simply aren’t true – trivial anger is often sparked by an activating event, but the real reason that anger exists within us is that something has violated our beliefs. If you want to rid yourself of anger, change your beliefs.
  • Creativity is a process, not a natural born ability – everybody is creative at their core, it’s all about realizing that creativity and letting it overcome you

Artie


 

Artie has graciously shared a collection of documents that he suggests using when a tough problem stands in your way. Feel free to browse and use accordingly.

  • For brainstorming or training, here is how I might be engaged
  • My promises, “the handshake document,” which he pledges to everyone he meets
  • Carry Forth!, the way to plan a creative adventure or lifetime legacy
  • Go [Artie]!, the complete 60-minute brainstorm tool, including “Company A / Company B”
  • Aritie’s Blog, on creativity, ethics and life — with a bookshelf of favorite books
  • A brief guide on how to run a brainstorm
  • Other organizing documents are here

We extend a huge thanks to Artie for joining the rest of the Business Builders Club to share some valuable lessons! Now go out there and get creative!

As always, Make Millions, Change the World, Wear Jeans.

Silk ties rolled in a shop window display

To Tie It Up with Nate Demars

Nate DeMars, MBA Grad, CEO, and OSU professor, shared a great deal about his hyperlocal Columbus startup, Pursuit. Originally pitched as an assignment for class, it now has a permanent storefront in the South Campus Gateway and has garnered a lot of local support for its progressive approach to suit shopping.

  • For Nate, it’s regularly good and bad at the same time
  • Getting a corporate job isn’t “selling out,” you can gain good experience and a consistent income
  • Nate loves Columbus because there’s enough people here to start a sizeable business but it’s a small enough town and community to get to know all the people who are doing really cool stuff
  • In the beginning it’s easy to wonder, is this even going to work? Scale down to test the business idea, if it goes well you can put more resources into it

Thanks Nate for coming out to speak to the BBC!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Going to work with a startup: The method to my madness

Jay Clouse is a business builders alumnus, and is currently the COO of Tixers, a Cincinnati startup focused on changing the way tickets are sold and traded.

Let’s do some quick math.

There are 24 hours in a day, 8 of which are recommended for sleeping, at least 8 of which are traditionally earmarked for working a job, and so that leaves a final 8 hours per day (A THIRD!) of traditional adult life to be used at your discretion. Obviously that’s a very simplistic calculation, but you get the point.

Approaching the end of my college career, that was a fact that I just couldn’t shake. Especially during the few months where I had convinced myself that I wanted to go into consulting and came to terms with working constant 12+ hour days and traveling four days a week. “I’ll just do this for a couple years, learn a ton, pay my ‘dues’ and use it as a jumping off point.”

Well, I didn’t get an offer from Deloitte or McKinsey. Those interviews were the two most difficult interviews I’ve ever done, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t enjoy the process — clearly it wasn’t a fit for me.

That soon became an apparent blessing. I’ve just drudged through four years of college work, and I was signing up to drudge through another 2-3 years of consulting as a means to an end? What end? Jumping off point for what — another job that took up way too much of my time that I wasn’t passionate about? There were plenty of other prospects, and I would be sure to learn a lot…but I couldn’t get enthusiastic about any of them.

I started thinking. The problem, I reasoned, was that I was thinking about a job. I was worried about making a good salary — even if that meant filling up all the time that I would want to put that salary to use for things that I wanted to do.

Well here’s the thing: having a job [expletive] sucks, and I don’t want to do it. Having a job, to me, means my mind compartmentalizes 8+ hours of tasks within my weekday of things I don’t really want to do. That meaning, if the pay were nonexistent, I wouldn’t do it. It would be, simply, a means to an end.

**Disclaimer** I realize a ton of people “love their jobs.”  That’s great! I’m arguingmy concept of the word “job” and not that people can’t love what they do — including working for someone else.

For me, that meant finding a means of income that integrated into my lifestyle, gives me an opportunity to learn by building and growing a business, and allows me to work outside of an imposed organizational hierarchy.

“Listen to your heart, that’s what I do.” — Napoleon Dynamite

Frankly, my passions were evident to everyone else around me.

“So what are you going to do after graduation? Start some big company?”

What’s next? Are you going to Silicon Valley?

Truth be told, I would love to jump in and start a company right now. On a small scale, I have with Boosted Brands. I will continue to make sites here and there when I have time and there is a need, but it’s not my central focus. I have a ton to learn before I start a company, and I don’t have my own idea to chase right now (or the money to afford doing so!)

I want to work on something where I can have a measurable impact every day. I want to work on something that isn’t a “job” and something that makes me excited to get out of bed, solve problems, and meet new people. I want to work on something where the working hours are Necessary a.m. — Necessary p.m. and not defined by an arbitrary corporate structure.

I want to work on a startup. That’s important — I want to work on a startupwith a team that really values what I bring to the table (yes, I know this could just be called “semantics”). And that’s why I have accepted an offer to work with Tixers as Chief Operating Officer!

What is Tixers?

Tixers is a member of the second class within the UpTech Accelerator, and a former Startup Weekend Cincinnati award-winner.

Tixers does two things. First, it allows customers to trade tickets that would otherwise go into waste or need to be resold into the site in exchange for immediate value in the form of credits on the site. For the ticketholder, the process is quicker and easier than resale, and provides guaranteed value rather than simply trying to sell them for cash. For example, now, your extra ticket to that Cleveland Indians game can be used towards a Browns ticket in the Fall.

Second, we offer traditional ticket brokerage (like Stubhub or Ticketmaster) paired with flexibility for those buying tickets on our site. When customers are buying tickets, they can choose to buy them immediately from our current and featured inventory, or they can submit a request with how much they would like to pay and where they would like to sit. We then go to work finding you the best value for your request. Tixers wants to even the playing field and unlock new experiences for loyal fans. Check out today’s article in Cincinnati Business Courier.

So if you’re looking to unload or pick up a concert or sporting event ticket, check us out. I would love to help you get the best ticket possible!

5 Characteristics That Make A Great Entrepreneur

This week our speaker was Greg Ruf, the father of a BBC leader, who has launched and financed seven separate entrepreneurial ventures, six of which have been financially successful. As of late, he is an advisor and investor in Acceptd and EduSourced and shared some solid advice for young entrepreneurs.

5 things that separate an entrepreneur from an idea maker:

1) Unceasingly hardworking
2) Tenacious – persistent and doesn’t back down
3) Optimistic because there will be hardship you need to get past
4) Excellent execution, which means being prompt to return calls, being on time, and adhering to a schedule
5) Run. Make progress everyday and move, move, move

We give a big thanks to Greg for sharing his experience with us!

Mustering_sheep_in_Patagonia

Chris Anderson: Gauchos on the Pampas

This week we were pleased to welcome Chris Anderson, a Business Builder himself, he shared stories that were both comical and enlightening.

Some key takeaways:

  1. Get organized, make charts for your industry, your organization, and your life
  2. Don’t let school get in the way of a good education
  3. The most important decision is who you choose to work with
  4. Believe in yourself, believe in the Midwest, believe in the people you’re working with
  5. Speak the truth and see what happens

His support for the Business Builder’s mission was overwhelming. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Chris!

businessbuilders

Alexis Ohanian: Without Their Permission

Last spring, the Business Builders Club had the honor of hosting Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit for an evening of good fun and startup inspiration. Alexis believes innovation and entrepreneurship are keys to making the world “suck less.”

Ohanian’s tongue-in-cheek dialogue with the crowd was ultimately appreciated by attendees.

Click here to watch the first video of the series.