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March 10 – March 19

Last week I participated in Startup Lockdown with an old friend of mine from McKinsey who is now at HBS, 2 other HBS first years, and a software engineer from Formidable.

We had 5 days and 5 people to build 5 companies. Boy! Was it a sprint and an incredibly fun one at that!

Over the week we built:

  1. Sherpa – curated itineraries to share with friends (landing page, instagram, survey)
  2. Physiatrix – physical therapy reimagined
  3. Phosify – a marketplace for brain fitness (website, twitter)
  4. Densr – the tech-enabled solution for men who want to keep their hair (website, twitter)
  5. Omega – the quantified self-wellness app (website)

I led our Physiatrix day. After multiple surgeries and many physical therapy sessions, I was especially invested in finding a solution for the pain that is PT. From the patient’s side, the logistics of travel to and from PT is difficult (you’re on meds / injured so driving may not be an option AND you’ve already taken time off work for the surgery yet most PT is only available M-F 9-5). From the PT’s side, the economics aren’t great (you’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars to get your DPT degree over 3 years, yet make $30-$35 an hour on sessions that insurers pay $200-$300 for!)

I was eager to spend the day testing viability. Before we can build a business, let’s find out if there is even an opportunity. Unfortunately, we discovered too many hurdles that would prevent the business(es) we were excited about from being profitable given the current state of healthcare in the US. Too bad, but still a great learning experience.

Overall the week was (not surprisingly) particularly educational! My key learnings:

  1. You can build a lot in a day: business plans, models, websites, brands, buzz, even customers (okay so you don’t ‘build’ customers … or can you O_O)
  2. Branding is just as key as thinking through your business’s backend (something I always used to lean more heavily towards)
  3. Starting a company is exhausting, yet exhilarating
  4. Developing a company with a team is a lot easier (even when there is dissent) than going at it alone

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Also, building companies with cool, smart people is really fun. I highly recommend Startup Lockdown for any students at Harvard (HBS or not!). I feel very lucky to have been asked to participate (thank you for the millionth time Andrea!)

Oh … and we got some press 😉

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What a whirlwind! AND — it’s not over. Tomorrow I move to SF (thank you again Arif!!) to start DevBootcamp on Monday. Very excited to dive in (just need to sleep a little more first).

 

 

 

 

January 7 – February 10

Well January was a surprising month — in some ways good and in other ways not so good.

Let’s start with the “not-so-good.” I fucked up my knee again at crossfit. Okay, so that’s not exactly right. When I first tore my meniscus last November, my doctor said the tear would heal on its own. Turns out he was wrong. So on my third day of returning to crossfit, after 2 full months off, I tore it again. And now I need surgery — *yay* >_<

This is the third surgery I’ll be having on this leg (ACL/MCL in 2006, pinched nerve in my calf in 2012, and now torn meniscus). Sometimes I really don’t feel like a 26 year old.

Because of my surgery schedule, I’ve also had to push back my DevBootcamp phase 1 start date to March. At first this really bummed me out, but now I think it is a blessing in disguise. I’ll have more time now to edit and submit Sandwatcher AND I’ve taken up a Coursera Data Science course to learn R 😀

Other good news:

I saw Patrick Rothfuss (!!!) in San Francisco. I asked him who he’d kill, marry, screw of Kvothe, Elodin, and Bast. While I received no answer (he said it would be a spoiler), he did laugh at the question (win!)

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I also visited the various business programs that have accepted me for the fall. I have to say, choosing among business schools is tough. They are all just so great! I really really liked Booth and Wharton (quant quant quant), but ultimately chose Kellogg (hey — it was a bit of a surprise to me too). I just can’t get over how much I fit in there AND how excited I am about their MMM program (dual degree MBA and Masters in Design). Technically, I will now have an engineering degree (engineering-envy solved?). But seriously check out how cool the design space is in Segal (Northwestern’s design school):

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So finally Chicago-bound! I’ll start at Northwestern this June and after years of playing with a Chicago move, I’ll officially be there. Yay for hanging with Kristin and Briggs and all the others! Now I just need to work on Ryan moving with me …

Upon returning to CA, Ryan and I also decided we want to be “healthy” and “cook at home more” — to all the haters out there I say, “baby steps!” Our first attempt at “healthy” shopping:

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Seriously though is there a word for the opposite of a vegetarian? Meatatarian?

Other than that, I’m just plugging away at R and Sandwatcher queries. My next post will probably be a surgery update (only a few days now ah!).

Also please vote for 5th grade me for class president (or should I say choose me?). Thanks mom for finding this gem #likenooneeverwas

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December 7 – December 20

These last few weeks have been great!

I’ve gotten to see all my friends in the Bay (even crashing Khan Academy’s holiday party with Eli):

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Got both some great advice re: business school (thank you Jason and Arif!) and some great news re: admissions (and scholarships!). My top two choices are Wharton and Kellogg (their MMM program!). I will be visiting both schools in late Jan / early Feb and deciding where I’ll be shortly after!

Prior to speaking with Jason and Arif, I had thought being unsure of why I was going to business school was a reason not to go. Jason pointed out that the opposite was more likely true: if you are unsure of your next professional step, going to a place where you can experience lots of different things will probably be more helpful than choosing a job and hoping it is a fit. If my thinking changes on this though, I am sure I will let everyone know.

Anyway, DevBootcamp has also been going well! We’ve done a lot of html and css (I think we are about to pivot to ruby). I’ve made a cute little website for class (it isn’t perfect, but, hey, DBC told us not to spend more than half a day pulling it together). I am sure we’ll be adding to the page (/actually adding pages that are missing) soon ….

LINK: http://srossmanreich.github.io/

Oh … and how could I forget Star Wars! The Force Awakens was AWESOME! I am already planning to see it again in two days. Great film! JJ did an amazing job! I only have two small issues (highlight the space below to see what those were (desktop browsers only) — SPOILERS):

1) I really liked how Kylo Ren turns out to be a pretty weak sith (he isn’t even a Sith Lord — hence the lack of ‘Darth’). Kylo is just a kid who broke under the stress of his legacy and suffers from an intense inferiority complex that causes some significant mental instability that Snoke was able to take advantage of. I can believe that Snoke taught Kylo the mind-torture trick (and that Kylo is kind of a one-trick-pony on that front), BUT I think the blaster-freeze at the beginning was dumb and undercuts the rest of Kylo’s character. 

2) C’mon! You’re telling me when Rey, Finn, and Chewie return from the Starkiller base, Leia hugs REY first over Han and not CHEWIE?? Yeah no.

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Well, next stop is London for the holidays! And after Ryan is coming back with me to Orlando to meet Nancy. Hope your holiday season has been and continues to be great!