Entrepreneurship

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.

Why Audiences Love Entrepreneur Reality Shows Like ‘Shark Tank’

TONY CAPASSO, ERIN BRADY, CARLY MARTINETTI, SHAWN ISAAC, MALCOLM TYSON, SEQUOIA BLODGETT (DRAPER UNIVERSITY ENTREPRENEUR IN RESIDENCE), TIM DRAPER (DRAPER UNIVERSITY FOUNDER), CHARLIE TAIBI (DRAPER UNIVERSITY PROGRAM DIRECTOR), ANA MARTE, JOHN FRYE, KEYONNA PATTERSON, DAVID KRAM, SHARON WINTER
Re-blogged from  of NerdWallet

You’re probably familiar with “Shark Tank,” the ABC show where real entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of equity investors. Since the program first aired in 2009, a slew of similar shows have popped up, including “Food Fortunes” on Food Network and “The Profit” on CNBC. ABC also launched the spinoff “Beyond the Tank” in May. The latest entrepreneurial reality show, “Startup U,” premieres on ABC Family in August. It will follow students at Draper University, a seven-week entrepreneur education program in Silicon Valley.

“Shark Tank” averaged 7.5 million viewers in its most recent season, its sixth, according to the Nielsen Co. Why do entrepreneurial reality shows resonate with viewers? We put that question to some business and media experts.

They inspire entrepreneur hopefuls

Reality shows about entrepreneurs are a form of “success porn,” says Paul Levinson, a communications and media studies professor at Fordham University in New York. Rather than depicting contestants becoming millionaires by chance, these shows feature entrepreneurs earning investments with their novel ideas and clever inventions.

“This appeals to fans who have an idea or two about how to become rich, which they’re sure would work if only they could find the right listener,” Levinson says via email.

They teach lessons about entrepreneurship

Startup UWatching shows like “Shark Tank” and “The Profit” can teach wannabe entrepreneurs about equity capital and how to make an effective pitch. Venture capitalist Tim Draper, founder of Draper University, says “Startup U” will reveal new marketing techniques and ways of thinking about finance, in addition to showing how entrepreneurs can be successful working in teams.

Viewers “are going to learn that a lot of entrepreneurship is just taking that first step and just doing it,” Draper tells NerdWallet. “Then they’re going to learn that it’s hard.”

They give viewers a vicarious thrill

A lot of people view entrepreneurship as a skill that you have to be born with, and that therefore is unattainable to them, says Berna Aksu, a business professor at Saint Mary’s College of California, in Moraga. Watching reality shows like “Shark Tank” lets audiences experience the entrepreneurial dream vicariously without actually taking the risk, she says.

“When people can’t do something themselves,” she says, “they still like to see other people succeed.”

They advertise cool new products

Shows like “Shark Tank” are as much a marketing tool as a funding opportunity for entrepreneurs. “What better commercial than network TV?” says Lisa Hennessy. Hennessy is executive producer of the NBC weight-loss reality show “The Biggest Loser” and co-founder of DreamJobbing.com, a site that advertises unique, short-term job opportunities, such as a photojournalist stint in Norway or three weeks with the Nitro Circus.

Products that gained popularity on “Shark Tank” include Ava the Elephant, an animal-shaped medicine dropper for kids; ChordBuddy, a guitar attachment for novice musicians; and the Squatty Potty, a bathroom step stool designed to promote “healthy toilet posture,” as its website says.

They show underdogs beating the odds

Although entrepreneurship has grown in popularity, it’s still not easy, says Marci Weisler, a creator of “Queen Bee,” a show featuring female entrepreneurs on Ora TV. Audiences enjoy rooting for entrepreneurs’ pursuit of the American dream, she says.

“Shows like these show the struggles and successes,” she says by email, “and that average people have a chance to do extraordinary things and create big business.”

Teddy Nykiel is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email:teddy@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @teddynykiel.

 

Don't miss the Startup U series premiere Tuesday, August 11th at 10pm|9c on ABC Family!

From Chandigarh to Silicon Valley: DU Welcomes Co-Founder of FuturEd to the Summer 2015 Class

May 27, 2015 -- The Times of India featured a profile on Sahil Dewan this week, an entrepreneur who will join the Draper University Summer 2015 class.  Sahil works in edu-tech. He co-founded FuturEd in 2012, a  comprehensive service to establish alumni networks for Indian learning institutions. FuturEd offers training, consulting, and network management for schools where a strong alumni community is not yet in place. Sahil strives to fill a gap he identifies in the Indian education system, where many institutions struggle to sustain interaction with alumni once they've graduated. He sees untapped fundraising opportunities for these institutions, and hopes that by facilitating stronger alumni networks he can facilitate stronger schools overall. Already, FuturEd works with a number of institutions, including the University Institute of Engineering and Technology, Panjab University, and the Indian School of Business.

Sahil seeks entrepreneurship know-how and potentially funding from his time at DU. He hopes to bring the spirit of Silicon Valley back to his home of Chandigarh, telling the Times, "If programs like Draper University can be conceptualized and launched in India, the startup ecosystem will start developing at the grassroots level and will not just be limited to the top startups working in the hot spaces in metro cities... We need experienced entrepreneurs and investors to bridge this climate for aspiring and young students, who are starting to get excited with the idea of entrepreneurship."

We're happy to welcome Sahil to our intensive program. Without a doubt, he'll return to Chandigarh with the resources and the acumen to create long-term value in the education sector. Read the Times article on FuturEd here.

 

DU Alum Plans to Shake Up the NYC Housing Market with HomeSwipe

May 26, 2015 -- Michael Lisovetsky, member of our 2014 summer class, was featured in Business Insider and ED News Daily this week for a startup idea that's set to rock the NYC housing market. Michael is co-founder of the app, HomeSwipe, dubbed "Tinder for apartment hunting." The app uses the swipe interface popularized by Tinder to connect house-hunters with realtors. Users can swipe through New York apartment listings based on their preferences and chat directly with realtors if they're interested in a property. Michael, 22, attended Draper University while studying business at NYU. At DU, Michael was introduced to a flurry of "Tinder for X" ideas, but he wasn't fully sold on the utility of the swipe platform. He asked friend-turned-business partner, Dean Soukeras, what the swipe model could facilitate besides dating. Soukeras, a seasoned NYC entrepreneur, promptly suggested "real-estate," and HomeSwipe was born.

Michael and Soukeras sought a tech whiz to build the app and sent out a blast on Facebook. They struck gold with a response from Jason Marmon, a talented teen coder who would eventually drop out of high school to focus on HomeSwipe full time. Once the partnership was formed, they needed seed financing. Naturally, Michael reached out to Tim Draper, who was so impressed with the HomeSwipe prototype he agreed to invest.

Michael (left) and Jason (right)

Tim urged Michael and his co-founders to raise their seed round to $500,000. They started strong, but plateaued at $400,000. The HomeSwipe team returned to Tim, who set them up with an introduction to Marc Benioff. This was the final push they needed. Benioff's interest was piqued, and he agreed to bump up their funding to the requisite amount.

Soukeras worked with New York City realtors to build a customer base for the app. In effect, it will charge realtors a small transaction fee to chat with interested parties. The app will begin exclusively in New York, but the team has plans to expand to Chicago. With the apartment hunting process in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs notoriously difficult, there is already a huge demand for the app. Since it's gone live, HomeSwipe represents 85% of available NYC real estate, boasts 47,000 downloads, and is supported by 2,200 real estate agents.

Michael credits his success to DU. Not only was he granted the networking opportunities that got HomeSwipe off the ground, but also the team building skills that come with experiential learning. He told ED News Daily, "The $150k+ price tag on my education could’ve been funneled a lot more effectively towards practical learning, and Draper U is an excellent example of that. I learned more about myself and the world in the seven weeks at Draper U than the four years of university I drudged through.”

Michael is a great example of a student who took full advantage of DU's resources to launch a meaningful venture. The HomeSwipe team will hit Sand Hill Road this week to secure more investors, and with all the app's promise, success seems inevitable. Read more on these accomplished young founders, and the full story of HomeSwipe's evolution at  Business Insider.

How Unconventional, Experiential Learning is Reshaping Higher Education

May 18, 2015 — Draper University was featured in Forbes to demonstrate the shift from an academic business education model towards an increasingly experiential one. Author Jason Ma cites a growing demand for practical education with real world application for entrepreneurs. He argues that today, success after college is actually determined by experiential factors (like internships) rather than rigorous coursework. Experiential learning programs offer networking and team building opportunities not incorporated into conventional schooling. Employers want to know that your knowledge can be readily applied to their company needs, and theoretical education won't always equip candidates with the requisite skill set. More and more, experiential learning programs like DU are attracting entrepreneurs who hope to simulate on-the-job experiences and develop a practical business acumen. Ma spoke with Tim Draper and DU alums to determine what makes DU a singular educational experience.  Factors include the challenge to think big and work through failure, along with exposure to an array of business leaders in Silicon Valley.

Ma writes, "I believe that innovative, experiential learning, both off-campus and on-campus, will increasingly make marks worldwide. Many employers are not looking for those who simply 'follow orders.' They need those who can think and act out of the box, those who bring a broad range of experiences and skills to the table... [U]nconventional avenues of know-how and alternative, hands-on paths to learning are adding value to higher education, especially in the field of entrepreneurship."

Read the full profile on DU and nine other experiential learning programs at Forbes.

DU Alum's Rideshare Service "Scooterino" Takes off in Rome

May 11, 2015 — Draper University alum, Oliver Page, has created a unique ride-sharing service in Rome with mounting success. In a city where scooters are one of the most popular forms of transportation, Scooterino allows you to hop on the back of someone's scooter who is traveling in the same direction. Oliver's idea was to adapt American ride-sharing services (like Uber) to Italian culture. Romans rely heavily on Vespas to zip through the congested metropolis, and Scooterino allows users to locate travelers on a similar route and catch a ride for just a few Euros. The service is meant to be efficient and cost effective, and Oliver will eventually take a small cut from each transaction. So far, Oliver has about 2,000 users and $50,000 in seed capital. He will test the Roman market for viability, but the service has already sparked interest in other scooter-happy cities across Europe. Read FastCompany's profile on Scooterino here.

scooterino

Draper University & Ugly Brother Studios now casting for TV Show - Apply Now!

Draper University is proud to announce we are now casting for our upcoming TV show. We've partnered with Ugly Brother Studios for a TV show that will follow selected students as they build and launch their startup in Silicon Valley. Together, we are seeking young entrepreneurs with brilliant business ideas who would like to enter the Spring Residential Program and be featured on the series! Selected students will be followed as they enter the hands-on curriculum of the Draper University program and apply their new knowledge, network and skills to their startup businesses.

Hear what Tim Draper, Founder of Draper University has to say about the show:

Draper University alumni have started more than 60 companies, raising over $7.4 million in capital. Some left to join other start-ups or large companies including Tesla and Google.

To be considered, please send the following information to: casting@draperuniversity.com Name: Age: Contact Information: Brief Bio: Tell us why you would be a great candidate & Please attach a current photo of yourself

Eight Promising Student-Founded Startups to Pitch to Tim Draper at YouNoodle Live

We’ve partnered with YouNoodle, a global startup competition platform and network of over 50,000 startups, and their virtual demo day series, YouNoodle Live, to bring you YouNoodle Live With Tim Draper on Tuesday December 9th at 9AM (PST). The event will shine the spotlight on eight of the most promising student entrepreneurs from around the world as they pitch for Tim Draper’s feedback and global exposure. As an active advocate for entrepreneurs around the world, Tim is excited to be part of YouNoodle Live. “We are constantly recruiting young founders for Draper University and are proud to have one of the best networks for innovators looking to launch their ideas into the marketplace,” said Tim. “This is a great opportunity for us to see what is out there in terms of new and unique ideas.”

Pitching students belong to YouNoodle 1K – the top 1,000 entrepreneurs and ideas selected from over 28,000 startups coming through more than 400 YouNoodle-driven startup competitions worldwide in the past 12 months. And, with only the highest standard of applicants presenting, you will be sure to catch some pretty inspiring pitches!

Draper University is proud to support YouNoodle’s mission to level the global playing field for startups so that they may access opportunities no matter where they are located. The virtual and cost-free nature of YouNoodle Live does just that. See the pitch-off go down by registering free at www.younoodle.com/live

Draper University in the Taiwanese Media!

November 26, 2014 – Check out this great piece on Draper University out of Taiwan - personal interviews with DU alumni Hua Zhao and Ryan Moon from the Fall 2014 Class and another awesome interview with Tim Draper!

Women and Entrepreneurship: Thoughts on Closing the Startup Gender Gap

Women EntrepreneurNovember 24, 2014 – It’s an open secret that Silicon Valley, despite its success as an incubator of innovation, is not getting an A+ for its encouragement of women as entrepreneurs. A recent rash of bad press has hit the Valley, with prestigious companies like Google and Facebook taking a hit vis-a-vis their gender inequities. A recent Senate Report painted a rather grim picture of how far Silicon Valley needs to go to close the Startup Gap. One focus: access to venture capital and funding.

Is Education on Entrepreneurship the Answer?

Education is often positioned as the answer to discrimination, and it certainly is part of the solution. But the puzzling fact is that women now compete quite well, thank you very much, in the educational arena with many top schools like Harvard, Stanford, and UC Berkeley reporting sharp increases in their female populations (admittedly not as much in key areas like computer science, programming and other STEP areas).

But education isn’t an end in itself, and at Draper University our philosophy is very hands-on, very practical. Which brings us back to funding. Are women taught how to present to Venture Capitalists? Are women taught how to “pitch” their ideas for capital? This isn’t a skill widely taught in business and marketing programs across the country, and in fact, many women entrepreneurs may be out of college, or have majored in a subject that wasn’t business. Draper University is focused on addressing that gap: providing a gender equal, equal access, “crash course” in entrepreneurship, which includes the mysterious topic of how to pitch one’s ideas to venture capitalists. Practical training is certainly part of the solution to closing the female gender gap.

Famous Draper University Female Alumni Entrepreneurs

In fact, we at Draper University can proudly point to some very famous alumni. For example, there’s Surbhi Sarna, whose start up nVision Medical focuses on early detection of ovarian cancer.

Collete Davis of TechDrive, a startup focusing on the intersection of technology and transportation and Kerstin Karu, of BlastBuzz, which is a social media service to amplify "buzz." So we have quite a diversity in former alumni... But what's even more important is the future alumni, both male and female, that we are "growing" at Draper University. The first step towards closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship starts with education, especially education that is open to anyone - before, during, or after - their "formal" education. Practicality knows no sex, and the point is to teach women to pitch their ideas (among other things to learn) in such a way that their ideas gain equal footing with their male counterparts. Success in the marketplace, after all, should be gender neutral.

Taking a Leap into Entrepreneurship at Draper University

Student Post – October 30, 2014 – For the past year or so, my gut has been urging me to derail from the traditional engineering career path and dive into the world of entrepreneurship. Fortunately, a couple months ago I left a job at SpaceX to join aspiring entrepreneurs from around the world for an fully-immersive, action packed, 6-week crash course in entrepreneurship at Draper University of Heroes.

Draper UniversityTake a Leap and Challenge Yourself

I came into this entrepreneurship program with an open mind and a very optimistic outlook of my future. We are now 3 weeks in and I can say with assurance that the program has far exceeded any of my previous expectations. I have come to realize that Draper University (DU) is unlike any business school in the world. You are not only forced out of your comfort bubble but encouraged to fail and fail again until you succeed. Creativity, progress and change are encouraged over more traditional methods of thinking in order to foster entrepreneurial minds. Tim Draper’s goal is inspire the next generation of successful entrepreneurs and based off of the first half of the program, the DU team is definitely making it happen.

Steve JurvetsonLearn from the All-Stars in Silicon Valley

Each week at Draper University brings new adventures along with lots of fun. The program is split into a series of different theme topics starting with vision and followed by others like power and survival. These themes are presented through a variety of creative mediums including exciting collaborative activities and lectures by some of the most successful people in the world. These guest speakers include many well-known entrepreneurs, startup investors, and even a former Blue Angels lead pilot. You're probably wondering what an elite aerobatics pilot could teach about starting a business? Let's just say that when it comes to entrepreneurship, nothing is cut and dry.

You cannot learn how to become an entrepreneur by simply reading a book. Instead, you must experience everything first-hand or carefully listen to people who have failed and learned from their mistakes. This is what makes a program like Draper University so unique and valuable. You don't just theorize about the right or wrong way to do something; you just do it. I remember walking past a sign inside Hero City, the co-working space at DU, and seeing a traffic stop sign that read, “STOP THINKING, START DOING.” This is exactly what the DU program is all about.

Fast Track into the Silicon Valley Startup Network

Despite what I may have said previously, learning by doing is only a small part of the overall Draper University experience. Even more powerful are the networking opportunities the program has given me. Having 24/7 access to some of the best and brightest minds from around the globe, gives one the ability to constantly share personal experiences and bounce ideas off one another.

Getting numerous different perspectives on a single problem has helped me quickly eliminate many bad business ideas and also build upon several great ideas. The level of collaboration and camaraderie I’ve seen at DU in the first three weeks is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. I cannot wait to see what the next few weeks have in store for us.

~ Guest post by Komal Choong who is from India and was part of DU's Summer 2014 Class.

Learning Entrepreneurship: Three Reasons to Consider Draper University

Student Post – October 27, 2014 – I was once told that “an idea is worth nothing more than the paper it was written on.” If you have a business idea that you think might have great market potential, you need to talk about it. You need to write a business plan. You need to find good partners. You need to develop a prototype. You need to interview your potential early adopters. And that’s only a few to mention. Being a Draper University student/alumni gives you the ultimate entrepreneurship program and a network of bright thinkers, innovators of the current and future, as well as top Silicon Valley VCs. It gives you the chance to pitch your idea(s) daily, get feedback, iterate (and reiterate), until you hit the real ‘big’ thing that people are really looking for.

Entrepreneurship Program

Your startup just got funded.

Congratulations! You just began the journey of entrepreneurship. But before you get so excited, please do yourself and your startup a favour by learning how to hire the best talent, how to manage a team, and how to keep ideas flowing. As I once read in the “The Creative Confidence” book, you need to train your creative muscle to bring you up with creative ideas. That makes your startup stand out from the crowd.

At Draper University, you get to do creative activities almost daily, you get to work in teams to make big achievements. You listen to other startup founders’ success/failure stories. You acquire, analyse, and filter ideas, then apply them in your own startup. It’s the “crash course” in startups that helps you turn $$$ into a successful plan.

You’re already running a small startup.

Well perfect, then you should be looking for bigger business leads, to raise more money, or even getting acquired by one of the millionaires of Silicon Valley! Dreaming is one way of achieving good results, but Doing is something else. If you want to get once in a lifetime opportunities to meet people like Elon Musk, Naveen Jain, and Dave McClure, then Draper University is place for you. It is the one collective option where you get all those opportunities at once.

You’re a software developer; you don’t do business!

Do you know that there’s a constant need for software developers in Silicon Valley? Do you know that nowadays most startups and even well known corporates were founded by technical founders?

At Draper University, you’ll meet people from a wide variety of backgrounds, from Finance, Business, and Law, to Medicine, Bioinformatics, and Science. You’ll have the great potential to explore different business opportunities, make like-minded friends, and most important of all, maybe even become the next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs.

Okay, you’re convinced you need to learn to be an entrepreneur, but you’re running low on cash.

Draper University offers a broad number of scholarships as well as different payment options and financial aid. That should keep you away from the burden of saving lots of money to pay for the tuition.

Another plus to think about: you might end up raising some good money for your startup!

~ Guest post by Shady El-Yaski. Shady is from Egypt and was in DU's Summer 2014 Class. This article is cross-posted from his blog: http://blog.elyaski.com/uncategorized/5-signs-you-should-invest-in-joining-draper-university-of-heroes/


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Draper University Alumni Launch "Loopd"

San Mateo, CA – October 16, 2014 – Draper University, the innovative and disruptive school for entrepreneurs, announced that four alumni have launched Loopd, a proximity marketing solutions tool for marketing executives. Loopd closed $1 million in angel funding from Draper Associates and Draper University founder Tim Draper, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, and Vuclip Co-Founder Xinhui Nui. Alumni Startup Loopd“At Draper University we teach our students to think differently and provide all the necessary tools to start a business. We are thrilled to see four of our Draper University heroes going out into the world and disrupting the traditional way of marketing at conferences and events,” said Draper.

With Loopd, marketers are able to prove event ROI, deliver higher quality leads, gather accurate attendee profiles, optimize event marketing strategies, and enhance attendee engagement. Unlike stand-alone event apps, beacon systems, or traditional lead retrieval systems, Loopd combines the three essential components for an event marketer: a mobile app, event hardware including bi-directional beacons, and rich analytics.

The team of seven is based in San Francisco, CA and Taipei, Taiwan. The chips cost less than $5 dollars to manufacture and can last up to two weeks. The chip also allows users to take notes and export the information received from the app to the user’s sales software, thus making it easier for conference attendees to create contacts rather than solely relying on business cards.

“Draper University changed my life; this is almost an understatement. During my session, I met my two amazing cofounders, came up with our idea for Loopd, and decided to move to Silicon Valley to start my company,” said Brian Friedman, CEO at Loopd. “I would recommend the program with flying colors to anyone and everyone that wants to learn more entrepreneurship.”

Former Draper University alumni are out changing the world – former students have started over 60 companies, raised over $7.4 million in capital, are working at large companies including Tesla and Google, as well as at startups, and attending business school at Harvard and Stanford. Draper University is now accepting applications for its Winter 2015 programs. Application deadlines are at http://www.localhost/sites/html/apply.


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Online Learning: 4 Tips for Staying on Track

February 18, 2014 – The beauty and curse of online learning is that you get to set your own schedule (for the most part). This being the case, it can be easy to fall behind. Draper University Online asks for a lot of your time and energy - over and above what you put into other major life commitments. Draper University OnlineWhen it comes down to it, this is what starting a business will be like. Whether you choose to start your business on the side while you're still employed or take the leap and start full speed ahead, tasks will inevitably pile up faster than you have time to do them. Your experience with online learning in Draper University Online is a great opportunity to practice effective time-management, and we thought we'd get you started with a few pointers:

1. Set deadlines for yourself

It sounds like a no-brainer, but creating systems for yourself is probably the most effective way to keep on track. Write tasks down in your calendar and you'll be much more likely to finish them. Take time this week to plan ahead by carving out blocks in your schedule for your coursework.

Also, feel free to create your own events in the Calendar section of the site. This will be especially helpful for coordinating group activities like this week's virtual business plan meeting.

2. Split big projects into smaller tasks

The biggest projects are often the most daunting. Splitting them into smaller, more manageable pieces will make it easier to get started.

Take, for example, your Rube Goldberg assignment from Creativity. Instead of trying to attack this in one sitting, try splitting it into three separate 15-20 minute tasks: research and planning, gathering materials, and assembling, for example.

3. Make your online learning social

Make a point to engage your classmates, friends, and family about the content and work you encounter over the course of the program. Did one of the speakers blow your mind? Were you surprised by something you read in one of the reading assignments? The best way to deepen your understanding of new content is often to discuss it with others - plus, it can make for great dinner conversation!

Turn assignments like Painting into group activities: invite friends over to paint self-portraits and watch one of the recommended movies together (more great dinner conversation!).

4. Have fun with it!

At Draper University, we believe that online learning can and should be a good time! Starting a company takes a lot of work, so the ability to find an element of fun in every task at hand will make a huge difference in your ability to endure the hard times and make the best of the good times.

My Draper University Online Experience by Megan Lisa Jones

Student Post – October 30, 2013 – When I was five I wanted to be Cinderella. I had the blonde hair and blue eyes so coveted a long dress and glass slippers. I didn’t care about attending a ball because that was past my bedtime – but I wanted to be a princess. When I told people they laughed and patted my head. Then my mom brought home the blue princess dress and slippers. On Halloween I went trick-or-treating around my neighborhood and everyone called me Cinderella. Online Program ExperienceWhat I enjoy and hate both is being asked to push my limits. At 12, I snuck my mom’s Cosmopolitan magazine, curious why I wasn’t allowed to read it. Included was an article on women earning over $100,000. The investment banker, travelling globally and advising on complex deals, caught my attention. I decided to be an investment banker and told a few people. The response was similar to my Cinderella experience. Women don’t become investment bankers, was one comment, which I knew from Cosmo wasn’t true. Years later I became an investment banker. Again, the doubters were wrong. In the online Draper University class we watched a video in which Ron Johnson said you must decide whether you’re a doubter or a believer. Once you stop believing you lose.

Later, I heard Tim Draper speak at a Milken Conference on fixing California’s problems. He addressed changing the world and the difference people not only can make, but must make for our country. I thought, this man understands the world. Seeing him in the lobby later I approached him and we began to talk. He handed me a card, requesting that I forward on ideas for our state. Investment banking is all about meeting impossible requests for people doing the unexpected so I viewed his challenge as just another piece of work, wrote it, sent it and got back to my clients. Tim Draper helped me on a later education focused book.

Meanwhile, I got an email about Draper University a live-in program for ambitious entrepreneurs in San Mateo. It teaches innovation and creating change. I’m too old and busy for the program but was intrigued.   Why not teach starting, daring, dreaming, innovating, creativity and problem solving? Then I got an email about an online program.

Now Tim had my full attention. I could learn how to change the world and be a superhero? Those around me said I didn’t have time and was crazy. Usually when numerous people say so I’m heading in the right direction. The easy stuff everyone supports if only to protect you. Playing it safe lets you live to fight another day. Taking risks is an interesting but dangerous path. I’d already left investment banking to start an education venture. How to juggle everything?

So I applied to Draper Online and got accepted. The program is halfway through now and better than I expected, and I had high expectations.

What I enjoy and hate both is being asked to push my limits. Building a Rube-Goldberg machine and video taping it, writing a poem to Bill Draper and answering a complex question in five sentences. By being challenged we not only grow and expand our capabilities, we also increase our confidence. Creativity and innovation require such a process. I read recently that it’s those who fail the most who succeed at doing great things because by testing so many ways to make something work they finally figure it out.

Having grown up mostly in Silicon Valley I believe that the willingness here, unlike anywhere else I’ve seen, to try seemingly insane things and risk failure makes it so successful.

But at Draper University Online, we don’t just get asked to do frustrating tasks that ultimately create a sense of accomplishment. We also read great books and watch videos of people from Tim’s vast contact base. In the Draper U environment they open up and share beyond the cliches of the speaker circuit. Thus I’ve learned to think differently, dream bigger and turn vision into reality. Coming up we’ll prepare a pitch video to present our business idea to Tim and a panel of VCs.

Excuses exist, and too often people use them because they fear success. Superheroes don’t make excuses. My thanks to Tim and his team for helping me learn to work smarter, make better decisions and set my mind for success and changing the world. I look forward both with eagerness and trepidation for what my coursework next week will bring.

We all need to cultivate a circle of people who see the Cinderella in us. Draper U is a place to build that support structure of those who want you to succeed then make every effort to support your vision and provide the tools necessary for turning it into reality.

~ Guest post by Megan Lisa Jones who is from California and was part of DU's Fall 2013 Online Class.

Loopd is Born: My Entrepreneurial Journey

Student Post – September 17, 2013 – Sitting on a bamboo chair at Mama’s Fish House below the overhanging palms, I stared into the distance where I could see a shimmering sunrise above the Maui horizon. The crests of the waves glistened from the light, and at that moment it occurred to me that this was it. The environment and atmosphere was pristine and perfect around me, however I was missing one thing. I had been observing the stunning innovation of Mother Nature, but within this beautiful picture I was just an observer. The desire to be part of this elaborate scene made me question my motivation and direction for the future.

Sunset View at Maui Film Festival

Soaring in the air I spun three rotations, and safely landed down on the downslope of a breaking swell. Guiding my kite to the left, I directed myself towards the beach, while digging the edge of my kiteboard into the Pacific. The wind was consistently racing through the air allowing my kite to harness its immense energy. Sending my kite back to the right, I raced towards a large wave. Approaching the lip of the wave, time started to slow down, and I entered a state of hyper focus. Each droplet splashing off the wave suddenly started to float. I could envision my route into the air where I would be once again part of the elaborate scene. Time sped up rapidly, and the wind blew against my body like a Maglev train racing towards its destination. Flying up towards the cumulus clouds, I looked below and felt at home. This feeling was pristine, and I had achieved my place next to the shimmering sun.

Kiteboarding Tweaked Grab, Pro Beach Maui

Two weeks earlier I had applied to an entrepreneurship program called Draper University, started by the famous venture capitalist and superhero Tim Draper of DFJ Ventures. The program is a six-week intensive pre-incubation and concept generation experience for future entrepreneurs ranging from age 18 to 28. Even though I had sent in my resume and completed my interview, I was still not sold if this was the right track for me. I have always been intrigued by start-ups ever since I was born. My dad ran a successful trade show company on three continents, and he had inspired me to take the leap. Freshman year at Lehigh University, I started a technical entrepreneurship club called CREATE, where I was inspired to help students bring their ideas to life from the paper stage. This is where I had my first romance with entrepreneurship, and I knew the rest was history. I was going to start my own company, and finally I would find my way to add my own splash of innovation to society surrounding me.

CREATE Club 3D Printing Workshop

Halfway through freshman year at Lehigh University, I declared my major Materials Science and Engineering. This was a step away from business, but I knew that with my new knowledge I would be able to make physical products that acted as disruptors for other technology. The curriculum was challenging and enduring, but I enjoyed learning about the building blocks of plastics, metals, and ceramics. Form and function both intrigued me, and I was motivated to create something that tied the two together in a simple harmony. Thinking about my future as a Material Scientist and Engineer, I realized that the normal track would not be entirely satisfying, and once again I would be looking out at the sunrise. Draper University accepted me for their summer program, and I knew that it was my calling from the Valley to the Bay.

Apple Company Store at Cupertino Headquarters

While at Draper University I met two extraordinary minds and my future cofounders: Allen Houng and Sambhav Galada. They were both trained Computer Scientists and Electrical Engineers. Allen was from Taiwan, and Sambhav was from India. We had all come from different backgrounds and cultures, but our desire to create a company unified all of us. Halfway through the program, I came up with a new concept for connecting with people physically while using new technological advancements. Recently I had observed that from the emergence of the smartphone technology, most people had become more virtually social and more physically antisocial. My goal was to use the existing platform in a new way, so that everyone could optimize the process and become more physically social. With the rise of smart wearable devices and SaaS platforms, I saw an opportunity to invent a simplified product that allowed people to interact with others in a sentimental fashion, while awarding themselves among their virtual presence. Sambhav and Allen shared the same vision that I had, and we agreed this was our new path. As a romanticist for ideas I had several projects that I was devoted to, but I had never found “the” idea. This new project was “the” idea, and my new love.

500 Startups Demo Day San Francisco

Jumping up and down from trampoline to trampoline, I was officially a superhero. My cape swayed behind me in the air, and I moved across the vast room like rolling thunder. I sat down on a bright blue beanbag and watched the rest of my class leap across the room with their unique style. It was our Draper University graduation, and my class finished their short 6-week journey one by one as they bounced from the podium. The day before graduation, student teams participated in a pitch day to a panel of venture capitalists and angel investors. Each team had two minutes per person to share their life-changing plan to beneficially disrupt the world. There had been a rumor moving quickly among our class that a few lucky teams would be chosen to receive funding. Every team delivered an extraordinary pitch, and I knew that any team could be worthy. I walked outside through the double doors and sat down next to the pool. Looking at the water’s surface, I saw my reflection, and I imagined a new life in Silicon Valley.

Draper University Summer Class

A deep voice caught my attention, and I turned around. It was one of the investors from our pitch day. He wanted to help my team make our venture a reality, and immediately my dream had come true. I had been waiting for the right pieces to come together in a harmony, and finally an upbeat and energetic melody had formed. I had a great team, investor, location, technology, market access, and supply chain. Lehigh University was my current plan, but I knew that this was my shot for the big leagues. If I didn’t go for it, then I could regret my decision for the rest of my life.

I would have never of thought that all within one summer I would start a company, move to California, and take a leave from school. The first two on my list were life goals, but I had always planned to finish what I had started with minimal interruptions. A new chapter in my life has started, and I am excited to share it with the world.

Santa Cruz Surf Break at Lighthouse Point Park

“We need to learn how to want what we have NOT to have what we want in order to get steady and stable Happiness”  – Dalai Lama

~ Guest post by Brian Friedman who is from Massachusetts and was part of DU's Summer 2013 Class. This article is cross-posted from his blog: https://medium.com/@bfried9131/loopd-is-born-b1b7a5ecad2f Check out his startup Loopd at: http://getloopd.com/