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Tag Archives: Startups

July 5 – August 7

Man the summer has blown by fast! Here is a quick recap:

Classes:

To be completely honest, I’ve been a bit disappointed by our classes this summer. The Kellogg classes we’re taking (Strategy, Accounting, Statistics) are all subjects I have experience in. Due to this, I’m not learning a whole lot (but maybe this is on me for not waiving classes? not planning to make the same mistake with marketing in the fall). Our two design classes are okay, but I think our teachers tend to show us more sausage than teach us how the sausage is made (which is what I am eager to learn). We have been exposed to some new technology through this coursework though (e.g., software for 3D printing, the Adobe Suite, etc).

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One exciting outcome of our Innovation Frontiers class has been the idea for a new startup (named Trove). I like the idea a lot, but, as this is a required class (not opt-in), I think a few members of my team just want to deliver the minimum (in this case, write-ups describing the idea). It has been frustrating at times feeling like I and 1-2 others are pulling the weight for the entire team. I’ve spoken to everyone about carrying the idea forward after the class is done and, I have to say, I wasn’t exactly disappointed when it seemed as though no one else wanted to help. I would have been open to one teammate in particular joining me, but otherwise I am not excited to carry the weight of an entire team moving forward, particularly if it means sharing equity.

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Social:

The people in my program are great, but I have yet to really click with anyone. I am not big into drinking, going out late, and partying multiple times a week. I worry that not having this type of social-leaning in business school is going to hurt my ability to make friends. But, after having spent a few weeks living the aforementioned lifestyle, I know I don’t have it in me to do that. I really hope I find my crew relatively soon. And, who knows? Maybe they are in MMM and I just haven’t figured it out yet.

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Ryan is visiting next week (yay!). I have my finals while he’s here and then off to the Galapagos for KWEST (a pre-term Kellogg trip). Excited to share more when I return!

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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).