by Alex Schiff, University of Michigan
Full article here: http://newstudentunion.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/why-i-didnt-get-a-real-job/
A month ago, I turned down a very good opportunity from a just-funded startup to continue my job for the rest of the summer. It was in an industry I was passionate about, I would have had a leadership position and having just received a raise, the pay would have been substantially higher than most jobs for 20-year-old college students. I had worked there for a year (full-time during last summer and part-time during the school year) and common sense should have pushed me to go back.
But I didn’t.
I’ve never been one to base my actions on others’ expectations. Just ask my dad, with whom I was having arguments about moral relativism by the time I was 13. That’s why I didn’t think twice about the implications of turning down an opportunity most people my age would kill for to start my own company. When you take a leap of faith of that magnitude, you can’t look back.
That’s not how the rest of the world sees it, though. As a college student, I’m expected to spend my summers either gaining experience in an internship or working at some job (no matter how menial) to earn money. Every April, the “So where are you working this summer?” conversation descends on the University of Michigan campus like a storm cloud. When I told people I was foregoing a paycheck for at least the next several months to build a startup, the reactions were a mix of confusion and misinformed assumptions that I couldn’t land a “real job.”
This sentiment surfaced recently with a conversation with a family member that asserted I needed to “pay my dues to society” by joining the workforce. And most adults I know tell me I need to get a real job first before starting my own company. One common thought is, “Most of the world has to wait until they’re at least 40 before they can even think about doing something like that. Why should you be any different?” It almost feels like people assume we have some sort of secular “original sin” that demands I work for someone else before I do what makes me happy. Even when I talk to peers who don’t understand entrepreneurship, their reaction can be subtle condescension and comments like, “Oh that’s cool, but you’re going to get a real job next summer or when you graduate, right?”
This is my real job. Building startups is what I want to do with my life, preferably as a founder. I’m really bad at working for other people. I have no deference to authority figures and have never been shy to voice my opinions, oftentimes to my detriment. I also can’t stand waiting on people that are in higher positions than me. It makes me feel like I should be in their place and really gets under my skin. All this makes me terrible at learning things from other people and taking advice. I need to learn by doing things and figuring out how to solve problems by myself. I’ll ask questions later….” [read more]
Hi there entrepreneurs! Per popular demand, here are the two presentations from the Meetup:
Videos coming soon…
“Every day I get an email from a non-technical or “business” person who asks, “How do I get a technical person to build my amazing idea for me?”
See full article here:
“I have a website that needs help getting to the next level. The site has been producing revenue since July 2010, although it is not yet profitable. I need a Technical Co-Founder to help with this push.
We are an online marketplace for spas and salons to list their slower appointment times, typically at a discount. We partner with spas, and when a client books through our site, we take a cut of the transaction. Currently, we work with spas in Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, and Seattle.
The site is built in Django. Once an appointment is booked an email is automatically sent and we utilize Twilio for automated phone calls to the spas. There are between 5 – 10 transactions per week, but this needs to be pushed to the next level.
One of the biggest challenges is just getting eyeballs to the site. Currently we get 50 – 100 daily visitors, 1/3 of which is from paid traffic. We are looking to increase organic traffic. Ideas on this front will likely be the biggest driver of site success.
Why I’m a good cofounder for you: I’m a business guy. I need a tech guy. But I’m not just a bum business guy. I’ve gone through Zed Shaw’s Learn Python the Hard Way and Python Osmosis. I’m still not any good, but I really want to get to the point where I can contribute code as well. I will work hard to deliver as a business cofounder, while also learning the tech side.
I hustle. Hard. I went out and talked to hundreds of spas to get partnerships with them, I know the industry problems inside and out, and I have good connections with the businesses we work with. Further, I have managed contractors to build the site, to do some PR and marketing work, and to reach the spas. I raised money to finance the building of the site. I have a letter of intent for further investment once we hit higher revenue targets…access to more money…” See full article here
Thank you to Vivek Mehra from August Capital and Nils Bunger from Foundation Capital. We had a tremendous showing and great pitches from entrepreneurs seeking their cofounder(s). Congratulations to everyone! Vivek Mehra’s PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded by clicking here: Vivek Mehra’s Powerpoint Presentation
If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. We look forward to seeing you all next time.