DU alumni

"Heroes of Draper"

By Ana Clara Otoni of Draper University Summer 2015

Life is full of little ironies. In the month when Humans of New York is sharing stories of Pakistanis I get to write about Heroes of Draper, a Fanpage on Facebook created by a Pakistani graphic designer, Taaha Bin Khalid. Taaha loves hearing stories and people, but more than that, he wants to make these stories heard, literally, for everyone.

This belief drove him to create Whisper O; an online application that aims to provide people with a platform to share their stories through sound.

In order to bring "Whisper O" to life, Taaha went to Silicon Valley and joined Draper University. While he was in the process of moving to the Valley, he started looking for the stories of the alumni and couldn't find many people.

 

"I wanted to know who were the other alumni around the world. I was pretty much inspired by Humans of New York and I thought to myself 'The super heroes of Draper should have a space like that to show their stories, so I proposed 'Heroes of Draper' to DU's Marketing Team and they let me lead the project," explained Khalid.

One of the first super heroes to share his story at "Heroes of Draper" was the Ecuadorian Sebastian López Reyes, who is the CEO and Co-Founder of Jumperjob (a platform that help students to find their first job) Sebastian has a child-like soul and he believes that life is better with a smile on our face. He said that he wanted to share his story to show people the power of following your dreams.

"I wanted to show people how a big story can start with a small beginning. Doesn't matter if your dream is something that started in your childhood. What really matters is to do something to make this dream come true,” said Reyes.

The expectation of the creator of "Heroes of Draper" is that stories like Sebastian's would become a reference for the next batch of super heroes.

We are given an opportunity to create a connection with the next generation of Draper Students. We are the first alumni generation available to the next batch to know where we came from, how we got here, what's our story and how to contact us — said Khalid. 

"Heroes of Draper" is also an important channel to show people one of the ways to get to Silicon Valley. Taaha Khalid is an enthusiast and wants to touch the entrepreneur that lives in everyone with the stories shared at the Fanpage.  

"People of all over the world are coming to Draper. I'm from Pakistan so I'm representing my country. It is very powerful and inspirational when you see someone from your country doing something that you want to do. Everybody thinks it is hard and difficult to get to Silicon Valley. "Heroes of Draper" is showing them the real people behind the entrepreneur. They can relate with these stories and get inspired to create their own path to the Valley — explained the founder of the Fanpage.

"Heroes of Draper" also preserves the memories of the heroes sharing their stories. In the future, when these alumni look back at their picture and story on the Fanpage, they will remember how they started on their way to success. 

"Heroes of Draper" photographer, Taaha.

"Heroes of Draper" photographer, Taaha.

"Not everyone can be Bill Gates or Steve Jobs but everyone is a hero in his or her life for their family and friends. I want to these people to feel like super heroes. By sharing these moments with the world and let them be heard by the next generation,” said Khalid.

Inspired? Check the stories of the Heroes of Draper.

The Making of a Superhero at Draper University

Alumni Post written by Niti Shree of Draper University Summer 2015

I have always been a risk-taker and a confident individual. I always took the road less traveled in my personal and professional journey. But, I never considered myself as a person who could do anything without any fear or self-doubt until the Draper University experience happened to me.

This story is the compilation of the realizations of my powers and unleashing of the Superhero within me.

Fail and fail again

In almost all the competitions, my team came last or got special mention points. In the societal norms, I should be sad, disheartened or give up in such situations. We often just quote “ Failures as stepping stone for success” in theory. But, at Draper University I learned to celebrate failures, improvise and move on.

Mind over body

I always considered myself as a physically weak person. Even though I am normally a “Say yes!” person, I couldn’t break the block of wood with my bare hand in first attempt. It took me five attempts to break that wood. That “proving myself wrong” feeling after breaking was amazing. I learned the power of your mind can get anything done from you.

Exploring the world with Gusto and Enthusiasm

In our day-to-day life as we grow up, we stop feeling excited about the new activities or challenges. I became one in someway. Draper University’s experience taught me that no matter how much you have grown up, keep the excitement alive in you.

The first step towards creation is observing

We live in a technology-led world and we become so used to such a life. We forget to pay attention to things around us. We are able to fly today because some entrepreneur built the aeroplane, we are able to talk to our loved ones on the go because some entrepreneur created the mobile phone…what if these people would have just moved ahead without paying attention. I learned to observe things around me after surviving at Survival Week at Draper University.

The network effect

It’s often said that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Your network shapes you. Alone you can only grow to a certain level. I can never forget the feeling of being nervous for the “Pitch Day” and my 68 friends cheering up for me. That feeling instills your belief in yourself and the work you are headed to do.

Be uncomfortable

The very first day Tim told us to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. We all have probably heard this quote “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”, but liitle we practice. During the entire program, we were uncomfortable — not knowing what’s coming next and doing activities which you never even dreamt of.

Fearless

Many times we don’t try something new or don’t do something because we are afraid of unknown or known factors. I swam for the first time, faced the mighty waves of Pacific ocean for the first time, making the first ever confident presentation…many more firsts. Conquering your fears is most powerful feeling which takes your confidence to whole new level.

Have fun

Fun is the most important element of success which most of us forget. When working hard towards your goal people often believe that there is no scope of fun. That’s wrong. The true entrepreneurial journey must have lots of Fun. It keeps the creative juices flowing in your brain.

…Apart from above, there were other learning aspects too during the program. But above all, its the realization of the Superhero within me. You will get to know about my heroic skills as I go ahead in my journey.