Silicon Valley

Will the Pipeline Really Bridge the Gender Gap in Tech?

The “gender gap,” or disproportionality of men to women in technical professions, is always a common thread in Silicon Valley.

Despite the rise of tech idols such as Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo!, Silicon Valley is still largely seen as a man's world. The American Association of University Women reports that:

  • Women made up only 26% of computing professionals in 2013 (which hasn’t moved the needle since the 1960s)
  • Women made up only 12% of engineers in 2013

Universities, coding bootcamps, and primary education have been working hard to encourage girls to become interested in math and science at an earlier age. The idea is that more of these female students will decide to major in a STEM field, resulting in a more diverse workforce with a narrower gender gap in a few years.  This is the concept of the “pipeline”, or fixing tech gender representation by funneling a more diverse student group into tech companies.

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Hackathon Hackers, with over 18,000 members, is the largest group on Facebook dedicated to attendees of Hackathons. Why? Because the best student programmers attend hackathons, and Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and the rest are jockeying to employ them. Thus, this Facebook group is the best compilation of data on the active involvement of the tech pipeline. How gender is represented in this group will foretell how gender is represented in the tech industry in 3-8 years when these students graduate and go to work.

Megan Ruthven analyzed every post and comment since the birth of the Hackathon Hackers group to answer these.

To do this, she wrote code in python that analyzed all the pronouns in all the posts for male or female representation. For example, a post containing he, his, nephew, Dad, or brother would be male representative. A post containing she, her, niece, Mom, or sister would be female representative. The idea is that if a girl joins the group and sees only posts saying things like, “My brother just got hired at Apple because he and his bros made an awesome app,” then they might think this group was not for them. This measures not just female attendance in tech, but active participation. The results? The pipeline is no cure-all.

 

Q 1) Are Hackathon Hackers gender representation percentages better than industry?

Ruthven found that of all posts that contained gendered words, such as bro or she, only 13.7% contained female pronouns. To compare this to female representation in tech companies: 18% of Groupon’s tech workers are female, while Apple clocks in at 22% and Facebook at 16%. Hackathon Hackers, a snapshot of the tech pipeline, actually has a larger gender gap in their posts than tech companies today.

 

Q 2) Has gender representation changed over time in Hackathon Hackers?

Ruthven took a three month average of female representative posts and found that there was actually no trend up or down. Which means that the amount of content that represents women posted in the group isn’t getting worse, but not better either.

So what does this mean for the tech pipeline and the future for the gender gap in tech? Although many authorities have faith in the tech pipeline bridging the gender gap in tech, because the numbers of women enrolled in technical degrees has risen, data from the largest Facebook group representing the pipeline has shown otherwise.

 

How should the gender gap in the tech industry be addressed if the pipeline isn’t improving? Read the full story by Megan Ruthven here.

 

From Latin American Oil Rigs to Silicon Valley

Student Post — March 18, 2015 — Can you imagine a young Pakistani lady working on oil rigs in the middle of nowhere in amazon jungles in Latin America? It’s hard, but it’s even harder to imagine her transition from that world to a magical place called Silicon Valley. Graduation and Oil and Gas Industry

Rig photo

My name is Maha and I was part of Draper University's Winter 2015 class. I graduated with a Chemical Engineering degree from National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad, Pakistan and the University of Mississippi, US in 2013. As a fresh graduate, I was swamped with opportunities, and if you ask me today, I still don’t understand why I chose working as a field engineer on international mobile for Schlumberger. I left my family, everything I had, and took a plane to Brazil. After a week of training in Rio de Janeiro, I flew to Colombia and started working on oil rigs. My job was running measurements and logging while drilling tools to provide data such as gamma ray, resistivity, neutron porosity, bulk density and others to client companies (Ecopetrol, Petrobras, Equion, etc). I was part of the drilling group and had to be on the rig from the moment drilling starts till the time it ends. After working for 5 months, I was sent to the Training Center in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates where I was fortunate to be first in my class of 40 engineers from all over the world - and I was the only woman in my class!

After the training, I went back to Colombia to resume my work. I felt frustrated and tried to figure out why. Was it family, work rotation (I used to go to the rig for 40 days and come back for 3 days off), jungles or what?

It was during the Society of Women Engineers annual conference in Los Angeles a month later that I could see patterns. I realized that I was passionate about research, technologies, and startups.

After conducting a 26-hour long fishing operation in the rig, I stumbled on an e-mail from YouNoodle. The e-mail mentioned something about an entrepreneurship program in Silicon Valley, and that e-mail ended up changing my life!

I applied to Draper University of Heroes, was accepted, and immediately packed my bags and came to Silicon Valley.

Draper University and Silicon Valley

I can neither summarize my time at Draper nor at Silicon Valley in one blog post! It’s an experience, a learning, and a feeling that can only be experienced, learnt, and felt.

But for all the prospective students and avid parents out there, I would jot down some of the key workshops I completed: Vision of the future, Agility, Evangelism, Survival, Resource Acquisition, Incorporation, and the Art of Pitching.

Draper University is not a traditional university. Neither it’s an accelerator nor an incubator. It’s something more than that. It challenges one to think beyond her limits, believe that everything is possible, and be ready to embrace failure. The university leaves no stone unturned by bringing in speakers from Facebook to Twitter to SpaceX to Khosla Ventures to Founder’s Fund to Stanford University. It would take me another 3 hours to compile a list of the incredible speakers who came to speak to our class.

Another significant thing about Draper University is the mentorship the program provides. The university inundates a student with mentors. From famous Silicon Valley VC mentors to Entrepreneurs in Residence to Alumni mentors to personal female mentors, I felt overwhelmed. But mentorship played a very crucial role in helping me build relationships which I’ll cherish forever!

To summarize, I feel completely transformed today. I feel blessed to have gone through the program and built a network of friends, mentors, and people who want to help me succeed. I feel fortunate to have explored the magical Disneyland they call ‘Silicon Valley’ and 10x more excited to begin my PhD in Chemical Engineering at Stanford University this Fall.

As Tim Draper says – the world needs superheroes and I’m going to be one of those superwomen!

Tech Guru Overwhelmed By Draper University Opportunity

dwaynesamuels3March 12, 2015 - Dwayne Samuels, the first Jamaican entrepreneur accepted to Draper University, graduated today as part of DU's Winter 2015 class. If you'd asked him a few years ago whether he would be accepted to Draper University and travel to Silicon Valley for a 7-week entrepreneurship program, "he would have laughed in disbelief." You can read about Dwayne's journey from Jamaica to Silicon Valley in the Jamaica Gleaner, and check out the main highlights below.

Dwayne Samuels & his startup Grikly

Dwayne, 25, is from a humble community in suburban Manchester and always had a knack for computer applications and software creations. His startup Grikly is an app that allows persons to share business cards via smartphones. He is working on expanding his idea to Grikly Events, which allows event planners to execute events and gather information of users who 'check' into the location with their smart phones.

His Goal for Attending Draper University

To get a better understanding of the US market, widen his network here in Silicon Valley, and expand his business operations to the US.

Why He's Never Given Up

Through all his failures and successes, Dwayne cites his drive to succeed and his parents for being the reasons he's never given up.

"My parents have sacrificed so much for me and I love them immensely. I couldn't ask for better parents, they are the main reason I am where I am today. I'm a part of the best program of its nature in the world."

Read the entire article on Dwayne Samuels here.

Invest Like a Legend: Tim Draper

Tim DraperFebruary 5, 2015 - Tim Draper, founder of DFJ and Draper University, is "one of the grand middle-aged men of Silicon Valley finance" and his investments have been behind successful companies like Hotmail, Skype, and Baidu. In this article, he shares his advice as "Silicon Valley's whackiest investor." Here are the main takeaways:

  • Best investments: Hotmail (1995) and Theranos (2003)
  • Winning traits: An entrepreneurs with big ambition and a unique quality
  • Losing traits: Not thinking big enough or having unique enough technology
  • What to invest in: Bitcoin
  • How to invest: Diversify heavily

Download the entire article on the world's top investors here: Legends 2015

Silicon Valley Predictions for Entrepreneurs, Startups, and Venture Capitalists in 2015

January 14, 2015 - Humankind has been trying to predict the future since the beginning of time. Let’s look at some of the Silicon Valley predictions for entrepreneurs, startups, venture capitalists in 2015:

1. Bitcoin/Blockchain will continue to play an important role in our lives.

Venture capitalists and angel investors invested more than US$250 million in 2014, and you can expect even more in 2015.

2. There will be a growing need for better data utilization.

You've got your CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, and now: CDOs?

3. Machine learning will leave everybody wanting more.

With mass adoption of Google Now and Siri, consumers and venture capitalists can only expect more goodies.

4. Two industry titans are beginning to sweat...profusely.

Xiaomi, the world’s most valuable startup, will scare the pants off Apple and Samsung in 2015.

5. Cybersecurity budgets will grow, and possibly explode.

Being “Sony’d” is a verb now. To all entrepreneurs and startups working on this issue: take the publicity with Sony and run with it!

6. Silicon Valley fully wakes up to health care.

“Healthcare represents nearly 18% of US GDP (and rising), making it perhaps the biggest market opportunity for venture capitalists and investors anywhere.”

2015-silicon-valley-predictions

These trends are changing the world as we know it. Stay ahead of the curve and come to Draper University's entrepreneurship program where you'll meet the movers and shakers behind these predictions. Apply now for our Spring 2015 class at http://draperuniversity.com//apply-2/.

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!

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.

Draper University's Entrepreneurship Program Now Open to Cal Poly Students - For Credit!

Draper UniversityOctober 29, 2014 – Draper University and California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) are forming a partnership to offer aspiring entrepreneurs at Cal Poly the opportunity to attend Draper University's innovative Silicon Valley entrepreneurship program for credit. Up to 24 Cal Poly students will be part of the Winter 2015 Class at Draper University to enhance their 'Learn by Doing' experience. Cal PolyThe course is part of a new university-wide program at Cal Poly called "Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs: A Study Away Entrepreneurship Immersion Program." It is an interdisciplinary effort to allow students in business, engineering, liberal arts, and any other field, to spend a quarter involved in entrepreneurial activities in Silicon Valley while maintaining progress toward a degree.

What Cal Poly has to say

“This is a unique opportunity for Cal Poly students from all disciplines throughout the university,” said Jeffrey D. Armstrong, Cal Poly president. “The Draper University program, like Cal Poly’s 'Learn by Doing' approach, fosters creative thinking and teaches students the value of jumping in, doing the work and learning from failure on the way to success.”

What Draper University has to say

“We know our hand-on training and access to Silicon Valley innovators provides an experience that can’t be replicated in a university setting,” said Tim Draper, founder of Draper University. “We are honored to work with all these potential technology innovators of the future from Cal Poly.”

Why This is Important

At a time when increasing numbers of students are taking alternative educational and career paths in startup bootcamps and business accelerator/incubator programs, traditional universities are finding innovative ways to keep up with their students. As this infographic shows, universities across the US are becoming more and more entrepreneur-focused with the establishment of entrepreneurship clubs, groups, and classes.

The exciting partnership features a curriculum focused on experiential education. The goal is to teach entrepreneurship to people who are relentless in their desire to change the world and make things happen in a traditional and nontraditional learning environment.

Draper University is still taking applications for its Winter 2015 Class, which runs from January 25 to March 13, 2015. Apply online by 11/18 at http://www.localhost/sites/html

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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Silicon Valley Entrepreneurial Summer Program Kicks Off

San Mateo, CA – July 2, 2014 – Draper University, a top entrepreneurship program, is proud to announce that for 6 weeks this summer, 39 young entrepreneurs from 17 different countries will converge on the Draper University campus in the heart of Silicon Valley for an intensive, experiential program focused on entrepreneurship, building real-world skills, and “learning by doing.” The highly selective school, currently running its sixth cohort, continues to refresh its curriculum to include cutting edge speakers and unconventional learning methods. Draper University“We prepare people for an interesting and purposeful life. We look for those 18-28 year olds who have a passion to change the world for the better. Students who enter the program will build a lifelong network of friends from around the world, will be exposed to the full Silicon Valley experience, will move their vision forward, and will never be the same,” said Tim Draper, founder of Draper University and co-founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson Venture Fund.

The students will be immersed in an unparalleled environment focused on creating a new kind of game-changing, young entrepreneur. They will learn from Silicon Valley all-stars like Bill Draper, Heidi Roizen, Reid Dennis, Naveen Jain, Josh Buckley, and Dave McClure, and will build a lifelong network of peers, advisors, and mentors. At the end of the immersive startup bootcamp, Draper University students will participate in a business plan competition where students have the opportunity to pitch to a panel of investors and obtain funding for their business.

Residential ProgramThe accomplished summer cohort, of which 36% are female and 60% are international, includes someone who founded a company that uses kinect touchless technology to help surgeons during complex operations, someone who speaks five languages, a Miss World Malaysia pageant participant, a designer of components for SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, the founder of the Stanford Quidditch team, and several published authors.

Former Draper University students are out changing the world – they have started over 60 companies, raised over $6.4 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 Fall 2014 Residential and Online programs. Application deadlines are at http://www.localhost/sites/html/apply. Draper University is offering over $35k in scholarships for its Residential Program in entrepreneurship, and is the first school to accept Bitcoin for tuition payment. For the first time, Draper University Online, an innovative online entrepreneurship program where students learn all the skills they need to be an entrepreneur and get to pitch their business idea for the chance to win up to a $5k investment, is offering to refund half of the tuition back to students who complete all of the coursework.


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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.

Draper University Tradition: Breakfast at Buck's of Woodside

Buck's of WoodsideOctober 25, 2013 – The pilgrimage to Buck's happens each session for Draper University students. Buck's of Woodside is a Silicon Valley institution and it's owner Jamis MacNiven is a legend. It's where big deals have been discussed and made since the '90s, riding the tide of rising Internet fortunes.

There's an impressive list of deal-making history at Buck's.

Every session a trip to Bucks for breakfast is a requirement for all Draper University students. No, this is not a team building activity but it is a great opportunity to be immersed in the culture of Silicon Valley. Bucks is so legendary and Jamis is so gracious with his time that DU students really enjoy the experience.

According to Jamis, "Hotmail was founded here," he says. "Netscape had their early meetings in the back room; Tesla was founded here; PayPal got funded here." And Yahoo, according to MacNiven, was turned down during a meeting at Buck's. The restaurant is just miles from Sand Hill Road, site of the nation's largest aggregation of venture capital firms.

Breakfast at Buck's is just one of the unique experiences that all Draper University students have. But it's not all fun and games, students are working late into the wee hours of the morning crafting their business plans getting ready for Evangelism week that kicks off with a branding workshop and a class in creativity with Stanford Professor Tina Seelig.

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/

Anything is Possible at Draper University of Heroes

Student Post  July 18, 2013 – They say that Silicon Valley is the place where things happen. Where overhearing a conversation about two guys working on their newest startup at a coffee shop is common place, and where people often reply to your pitch with a "Yes, AND" instead of a "Yes, BUT" or even worse, with a straight up "NO." Yes, Silicon Valley is the place where anything is possible, and this became clear when I convinced renowned venture capitalist Tim Draper to auction off a one-on-one lunch meeting to the highest bidder.

Ana DuranThinking Outside the Box at Draper University

Regardless of whom you are and what position you hold, don't be afraid to fail. However, having a strong network is always useful, and I must confess that being a current student at Draper University in San Mateo, CA might have helped a little to secure the lunch. Draper University is an unconventional boarding school for young entrepreneurs created by Tim himself. In fact, the auction is taking place because my team, the Wonders, is fundraising for "Survival Week" which involves being in a secluded area for five days as part of the innovative curriculum. Fortunately, Tim agreed to help my team out with our wacky idea to auction him off, and we look forward to going off in the wild and surviving from the resources we gathered and the team strategy we devised while he has lunch with the lucky winner.

Be Surrounded by Like-Minded Entrepreneurs

Being at Draper University is about more than just going off on survival adventures or having talks led by top CEOs like Aaron Levie who created Box, or industry leaders like Robert Metcalfe who co-invented the Ethernet. To be here means to be surrounded by a group of thirty-eight brilliant peers from different corners of the world who share a passion for entrepreneurship and disruption, and who will eagerly give you feedback on your business idea regardless of how many times you change it. To be here means to think outside the box like how to drop an egg off from the eight floor without breaking it, and to be prepared to change the rules at any given point like playing volleyball with two balls and no net. To be here means "to do everything in my power to drive build, and pursue progress and change" as our superhero oath constantly reminds us. Most importantly, to be here means to be a hero.

What Does it Mean to be a Hero?

Through Draper University, I have come to redefine my definition of this word. Four weeks ago I would have said that to be a hero means to do something extraordinary that will benefit society. Today, I believe that a hero is someone who is not afraid to fail and who helps raise others up so that together they can do something even more extraordinary. Yes, at DU it is all about the teamwork and helping each other out in order to achieve a common goal. After all, every one has something to contribute to the table, and it is only when we pull all of our strengths together that we become more creative, more valuable, and completely indestructible. And if we fail, we fail together, we help each other up, and we try again until we succeed.

Don't be Afraid of Failure

That is the biggest lesson I have learned since being here, and as obvious and cliché as it may seem, you really need to live it in order to understand it. Regardless of whom you are and what position you hold, don't be afraid to fail. In fact, the only thing that should really scare you is failing and not learning anything from the experience. Everything else, regardless of how bad it is, holds some sort value if you know where to look for it. For example, when I was ten I was diagnosed with leukemia, and as bad an painful as dealing with cancer was, I was surrounded by the best team possible: my knowledgeable doctors, my loving parents, and my supportive school friends. Together, they made chemotherapy more bearable, and when the roughest days arrived and I wish I would die, my team was there to hold my hand and lift me up.

Also, always try to help others and form teams with your family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers. They all have the potential to inspire you and to help you see the world with a new perspective, and you of course can do the same for them. So dream together, execute together and fail together. I believe this mentality is what makes places like Silicon Valley and Draper University so special. I only hope that all the heroes out there will help me share and implement this idea with the rest of world and start working together to do something extraordinary. And even if it fails, it will still be extraordinary.

~ Guest post by Ana Duran who is from Colombia and was part of DU's Summer 2014 Class.

Can VCs be Bred? Meet the New Generation in Silicon Valley's Draper Dynasty

silicon valley draper dynastyJune 14, 2012 - As the founders behind Sutter Hill Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Bill Draper and Tim Draper have become household names of successful Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Now, there's a fourth generation rising up from the Draper family: Tim's children Jesse, Adam, and Billy. Each is forging their own path in the world of entrepreneurship.

Draper Dynasty

The Draper VC dynasty began with General William Draper's founding of Draper, Gaither & Anderson in 1958. A few years later, his son Bill started the Draper & Johnson Investment Co. (1962), followed by Sutter Hill Ventures (1965). Bill's son, Tim, founded Draper Fisher Jurvetson in 1985. The fourth generation is striking out on its own—but still staying close to home. Jesse, 28, is a producer and host of The Valley Girl Show; Adam, 26, is a cofounder of the firm Xpert Financial; Billy, 23, is founder of the startup Mobber.net. (Quoted from Fast Company)

Read the entire Fast Company article here.