Decoding Startups

Kickstarter R.C.'s Ventures

I recently wrote an  article on The Change Blog where I talked about conquering fear of entrepreneurship through facts–in other words, rather than baselessly fearing entrepreneurship (“zomg I think my entrepreneurial idea will fail, waaaahhh!” and giving up before you even started); assessing what you do know, figuring out what you need to learn, and do something to execute.

In the article, I told my story of going from a new guy in a new town in May 2012 (Hartford, CT), knowing no one, and having nothing but an idea scribbled on a yellow legal pad, to being President of a tech venture working with 5 programmers (we’re currently developing the software and testing with users) in the course 3 months.

My success so far might sound like magic to some (“he must have been really smart.  He must have had great social skills to meet all those people!”).

But nothing could be further from complete bullshit than categorizing my results as “luck”…

…it came because I acted, and actively sought to learn things I didn’t know, such as:

1. How to recruit passionate, quality programmers (without paying some shady freelancer a bucketload of money).

2. How to assess good (and bad) business ideas (I’ll give you a hint: it’s not by listening to your intutition or sitting in a dark room brainstorming ideas).

3. Why business ideas don’t matter that much at first, and what actually does (I used to think coming up with a great business idea out of the chute was the most important thing, and I didn’t pursue entrepreneurship for years because I couldn’t “come up with a good idea”).

4. How to get a crapload of startup work done without spending more than a few bucks here and there (bootstrapping).

5. And most importantly, how to plan my time and efforts to minimize money spent and maximize results (see how sucking at planning almost destroyed my ventures).

But we already know that our fears are unjustified.

I think that, deep-down, we always call our own bluff…we’re scared, and that makes us angry…angry to think “if only I actually had the confidence to try to start my own company, I could at least say I tried”.

 

 

 

College Entrepreneurship

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One of the biggest lies about college is that the only thing you can do there is prime yourself to go get a cubicle career at some big company.

If you listen to about 95% of guidance councilors and professors, that’s exactly the impression you’d get.

That’s the impression got when I was in college.

But you know what’s cool?

The times are starting to change.

Society is starting to realize the awesome entrepreneurial things that college students are capable of doing, and the immense value that they can create for the marketplace.

Schools are starting to realize, “dayum!  Maybe we should start promoting entrepreneurship with our students!”

People with bucketloads of money are starting to realize “maybe investing in these kids is a good way to keep building our portfolio!”

And a few select college students who were smart enough to pull off entrepreneurship are saying “maybe I should give back to other college students who are trying to do the same thing”.

Here’s some specs on 5 awesome resources available to university entrepreneurs.  If you go to a sizable university (even if it’s just a public state university!), I guarantee you that your university will have some of these resources.

Feel lucky that you have these!  These are resources worth tens of thousands of dollars that you get for cheap / free just because you’re a student.  Imagine how jealous everyone out of school is!  But seriously if you don’t take advantage of these and then complain later (“there’s no resources to help me become an entrepreneur!  waaaah!”), I will come over there and annihilate you: [click to continue…]

All Articles Entrepreneurship Misconceptions Failure R.C.'s Ventures

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A lot of people start feeling super-awkward about themselves when they contemplate starting their own business…y’know, a tingley-feeling of “should I really be doing this?”  ”Will I uber-fail and people will think I’m an idiot?”

I worried about all of those things…but decided “to hell with it, YOLO!”, and gave up the idea of pursuing a “normal” career; opting to jump head-first into entrepreneurship after I graduated from college.

(I promise I don’t say YOLO in real life).

And I sit here 10 months later…reflecting back to all of the things I’ve done…

…some of them have been ingenious…

…most of them have been downright stupid, and can only be chalked up to a “learning experience”

So I decided to take my experiences…the good, the bad, and the shitty…and distill them into this super-long, heart-spilling missive.

TLDR??..if you’re serious about starting on your own, and don’t want to spend months making mistakes, take this opportunity to learn from my mistakes, and do better yourself:

[click to continue…]

Kickstarter R.C.'s Ventures

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R.C.’s Note: Whew!!  It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve written a post here!  I’ve been going through some pretty big and exciting changes with my businesses that have just been killing my time these last couple of weeks!  I’ll share those with you soon.  Thanks as always for being a reader.  -RC

You already know that one of my projects is FusionCase, an iPhone case that will go on Kickstarter.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, I haven’t talked about FusionCase in a while.You may be wondering “we haven’t heard RC talk about his Kickstarter project for a while.  What happened?  Did it fizzle out?  Is he just a jerk and doesn’t want us to know what he’s up to?”

Oh, the headaches that come along the way…

The truth is, designing, pitching and selling a manufactured product takes about 10 times more work than you would think, especially for this business-school boy here.

I don’t mean that in a way that I would never do it again…actually, it’s a crapload of fun, and I’m finally learning about the design process behind building physical creative products worked(Lord knows I had no exposure to that earlier in life…I had like 3 Legos and 1 Tinker Toy pole to my name as a kid, and I seriously almost failed kindergarten art class).

Naturally, my work has bee more on the business side of things.  I spent an ungodly amount of time researching Kickstarter: how it worked;  the “tried and true” methods for promoting a product and getting people interested; and most importantly, the things that many people screw up that sinks their ship.

Before I tell you what I found out, reflect on the following statement:

“Dude, Kickstarter’s like this great way to, like, launch a product and, like, go viral and get lots of people to invest in you, man.”

OK, maybe not everyone out there sounds like a village idiot when they talk, but admit it: Kickstarter does seem like an easy way to raise money and get recognition for yourself online.

Right?

Right?…

The truth will set you free (and maybe make you cry). [click to continue…]

Entrepreneurship Misconceptions

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I wrote an article about finding out “how to figure out if entrepreneurship is for you” because a lot of people ask me that.  In fact, just Google it, and about 4 million articles pop up.

I understand why people ask this.  It’s a seemingly innocuous and completely valid question.

But there’s a simple problem:

The question is completely misleading.  And frankly, I fear for those who ask this question, because most of the answers I’ve seen are complete crap and could easily guide people into making terrible decisions for themselves.  Allow me to explain:

Let’s take a poll, shall we?

As I mentioned above, I Googled “how to figure out if entrepreneurship is for you”, and I picked one of the articles at random.  This one-pager boils down the question of entrepreneurship to a few key points.  For example:

  • are you “unfazed” by risk?
  • Are you a “decision maker”?
  • Is it your “dream business” and your “passion”?

There’s one small problem:

Who the hell cares? [click to continue…]

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