Learning to Think Like an Entrepreneur
From day one at the Rady School we are told to think about potential business ideas. I remember the advice we were given at orientation weekend: Keep a notebook in your pocket at all times and write all ideas that come to your mind. Write down things that annoy you and things that annoy others, even something small can develop into an important opportunity with time. Write exactly what you feel. Most importantly, DO NOT edit it. The purpose of our first MBA course was to help us practice brainstorming and exploring potential business ideas and opportunities as soon as we notice them. This was especially important for those of us who came from non-business backgrounds and were not used to thinking like entrepreneurs.
As we went through MBA classes we developed a new perspective on life. We started to take notice of things that bothered us, and others around us. We started to look at those things not as “problems” but as potential opportunities, market needs and pains. We learned that if something annoyed us, it probably annoyed others as well. The bigger the pain, the better the chance to build a successful business around it. We were also told that the road to developing a successful and meaningful business opportunity was long and full of obstacles. True passion about an idea is key to surviving the process and seeing a final product make it to the market.
We Can Do It!
After a few months, I felt that I got it. I took a number of classes in marketing, finance, and accounting (check!). I finished my first Lab to Market course – the Rady School’s flagship series that takes us through the process of idea generation, validation, building the business model, market research, team building and culminates in pitching our fully developed ideas to local entrepreneurs (check!). I built up a team (check!). I was ready to start a company! Or so I thought…
One thing I wasn’t prepared for was how difficult it would be to recruit additional members to my team – people who could provide the expertise my team was lacking. In our case, as we were working on an app, we were looking for app developers. Yes, I know. There are many companies out there that would gladly do it for us, if we could drop $50-$200K (yes, those are actual quotes we got for a working prototype, an alpha-version). We started to look for somebody with an appropriate background to join us as a CTO, but we quickly learned that it was easier said than done. People don’t want to take risks and work for equity. They want cash, and cash was the only thing we didn’t have. If we could pay in enthusiasm, good spirit and beer, we would have been all set.
In the midst of leverage the UC San Diego and Rady School’s expansive networks, we came across Founderdating.com. Despite the funny name that suggested that this might have been something more related to Friday night social life than serious business, we decided to give it a try. SCORE!
Foundersdating.com is a service that connects people with very specific skills (for example, app programmers, experienced CEOs, CTOs, etc.) with people who have business ideas, but lack those specific skills. Every member creates a profile and specifies skills they have to offer and/or skills they are looking for. It is like looking for a professional date! It takes 10 minutes to set up the profile and then the matching begins. You can either wait to be discovered by somebody, or you can take a more active approach and perform searches of members based on their attributes and location. While you are looking for your future business partner, somebody may find you and offer you partnership in their endeavor. The more active you are as a member, the higher the chance of finding something/someone. The opportunities are limitless since foundersdating.com has thousands of members from all over the world.
Well, I don’t know yet if I will be part of a success story or not. I have found a person who perfectly matches the skill set and personality my team needed. We started communicating online, met for a coffee and are now discussing the details of the project. Although I don’t know if he will be the new member of the Krwlr team, one thing I can say for sure is that it has been an exciting process and gave me hope for the future. I know that the perfect teammate we are looking for is out there and we just need to keep trying to find him/her. Foundersdating.com is a great service that can help in this process and I strongly advise anyone working on a business idea to check it out and take advantage of their free services (And no, in case you are wondering, I am not getting paid for this advertisement).
Want to learn more about the Rady School of Management’s innovative and entrepreneurship-focused MBA program? Download our MBA insights eBook, featuring where alumni work, support available for student entrepreneurs at Rady and more.
Leszek Lisowski (’16) is a flex-evening MBA student at the Rady School. Leszek co-founded two biotechnology startups and is working on another project in the social media space. He is a scientist by training and his hobbies include collecting exotic plants, sailing, hiking and camping. He is a passionate traveler who has lived in four countries and has been to every U.S. state except Alaska. He is addicted to coffee and enjoys meeting new people.