Thursday, March 9, 2017 is a documentary that follows the full story of a 90s tech company called govWorks. They got started with the initial boom of the dot com era, and attempted to capitalize on the incoming technologies that were being introduced with the newly formed internet. The company was formed by a few best friends: Kaleil, Tom, and Chieh. None of which had any experience starting or running a company, let alone a internet company in the dot com boom. Their idea was brilliant, allowing citizens to pay parking tickets from the comfort of their home through their personal computer. But in this documentary, one of the biggest things we learned was that it takes a lot more than a good idea to succeed in business. After all, a rival company with the same concept ended up surpassing them in popularity. They had dozens of engineers working on this product, and they still struggled with tons of bugs and properly designing this software, which hurt their growth in terms of actual service they offered. This is yet another lesson about hiring the right people for your company if you want to be successful. In this movie, they also showed us how Tom became more of a liability for the company than an asset. This forced Kaleil to make a tough decision, eventually asking Tom, his best friend, for his resignation. Through over-evaluation, poor finance practices and a lack of a strong product, they went eventually went bankrupt. They had to learn the hard way and eventually ended up suffering the same fate that many internet companies suffered that boomed too fast in the dot com bust.

Dot.Com To Dot.Bomb

In this talk, we went over the era, from the exciting boom to the eventual bust. The internet had just been introduced to the world, and entrepreneurs were eager to take advantage of this new technology and introduce their product into the market. Everyone knew the internet was going to be a huge thing with a lot of money to be made. They did not however truly the understand how to properly evaluate companies, and proceeded to dump billions of dollars into hundreds of companies, some of which had no plan to turn a serious profit anytime soon. This caused a saturation of the market and eventually led to the crash, where investors and regular people alike lost fortunes. It is absolutely crazy to think about some of the companies that were at the top of the market at the time, like Netscape and AOL, once worth millions of dollars, do not even exist anymore. We were in over our heads so much that we inflated the market like crazy. However, there were companies that did come out of it alive. Amazon and eBay are two examples of such companies, that are now thriving, stable, and worth billions. If they had not had good plans for their companies and moderated their growth properly in the 90s, there is a high chance they would not exist today. That’s obviously one of the biggest lessons to come out of this market crash. Growth is great, but must be done properly and honestly with some sense of direction.

Entrepreneur Of The Day: Shadrach White

This week we had our guest speaker, Shadrach White, come and speak to us. He is the founder of CloudPwr, a Tacoma-local company that focuses on offering cloud computing services to government agencies. I personally enjoyed Shadrach’s talk the most out of everyone we listened to. I’m not sure if this was because he had such an interested story developing into who he is today, or just because he is simply enjoyable to listen to. His words about where he began really surprised me. The fact that one day he realized he did not want to work a 9-5 job his whole life, and just got up and changed that is incredible. This is a huge barrier I think for a majority of people who haven’t become entrepreneurs yet so it was inspiring to hear from someone firsthand. I also really resonated with Shadrach when he spoke about being a “revenue hawk”. I think this is something I have innately built inside me, because I always get hung up on how the finances will work out, or how we will make money, etc every time I think about starting a business with my friends. It was good to hear that this tendency I have to focus on this is rightly so. Although money is not everything in the business, without it you go nowhere. I also was really inspired to hear how strongly he believed in properly paying his debts, even if he might have been able to weasel out of them like his ex-partner did. Those kinds of core values and morals are becoming harder to find these days. I hope that one day when I start my company, I have people like Shadrach by my side.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Mission Statement

To help small businesses take advantage of technology, in order to allow them to continue to grow and prosper in tomorrow's market.

This is the mission statement I came up with our company, for several reasons. Firstly, it informs the reader about what exactly we do (at least to some vague degree), which involves technology and integrating it into their businesses. Although we are primarily focusing on daycares right now, I left it as small businesses for two reasons: 1) In case we expand to other markets down the road, we don't have to change our mission statement 2) Someone visiting our website might see our services and like what they see, and might want something similar but not for a daycare. After reading our mission statement, they can easily infer that we are not restricting ourselves to only the childcare market. This might encourage them to contact us and see if there is a fit for us to build something useful for them.

In the second half of my mission statement, I talk about the purpose of why we do what we do, which is to really nourish the growth of these small businesses that might not be very technologically advanced. A small business owner reading this might begin to understand why other business owners are paying for our services, and maybe why they should too. Lastly, I specifically used "tomorrow's market" because I want our potential and current customer's to know that we know technology very well, and how to take advantage of new and emerging technology to put your business ahead of the market. As we all know technology is forever changing, and staying ahead of those changes in a competitive market could be the difference between your business thriving with profit and going completely under.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Entrepreneur of the Day: John Dimmer

This week, we had John Dimmer come to speak to us with extra focus on the financial side of starting or running a company. This is something we really have not touched in class too much thus far and something I think most of us students are definitely not thinking about. I loved the depth of his talk and how he went into details of how exactly funding goes for a startup. Personally, I had little to no idea how I would even start to raise funds for a company if I started one today. For that reason I am thankful he discussed the several different options that exist, some of which seriously surprised me. The one that caught my attention the most, was the SBIR grant, which was basically free money that the government gives to certain young companies in which they believe in the work their company is doing and will continue to do in the future. This idea isn’t that crazy, but when I heard how much money the company he gave as an example received, I was blown away! This was a serious chunk of change for doing very little and trading nothing. This got me thinking to apply for grants like these or just any small business competition in which they might award a sum of money to whoever wins. Not only is this a relatively easy way to earn no-strings-attached money, but also I bet if I were to apply for something like this, it would force me to perfect my business plan and really think harder about the ins and outs of my business.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Protecting My IP

My company assists small business owners, specifically in-home family daycares, to better manage and automate the processes in their daycare with the use of technology. As with starting any business venture, one thing to think about is intellectual property and how I, as a owner of this IP am going to protect it.

IP is an extremely valuable resource in today’s market. So significant, that some larger companies have even bought smaller companies just so that they can have access to their IP and use it as their own. Owning the rights to a certain process, a specific character, or even a recipe is the reason some companies are able to maintain their success for so long without being ripped off. It becomes very easy to see how intellectual property can make or break a business, which is why protecting it is so critical.

For my business, I plan to use two of the four methods to protect my IP that we discussed in class. First and most importantly, we will be copyrighting all our code and any technologies we develop in an effort to accomplish our main goal of online daycare management. Secondly, eventually we will have a logo that represents our brand and that will be used on all of our marketing material, online or on paper. For this reason, we need to protect our logo and brand name. To accomplish this, we will trademark our logo.  Then over time, we plan to market ourselves well and slowly establish ourselves in the industry.