Student Perspective

My Draper University Experience: The Startup School that Changed My Life

startup schoolStudent Post - February 20, 2015 - Three weeks ago, I landed at the San Francisco International airport. I was zipping around the airport in an unusual way for someone who just got off a five-hour flight. It wasn't because I was excited to experience Silicon Valley for the first time; it wasn't because I was excited to learn how to launch a business; and it wasn't even because I wanted to receive some of the finest entrepreneur training from Tim Draper at his very own startup school, Draper University. The reason I was walking with so much pep in my step was because I am always THAT GUY - that guy who has way too much enthusiasm and excitement in mundane settings. I believe this is why, the moment I stepped foot in this one-of-a-kind startup school, I felt at home. Draper University is a startup school that completely embraces attitudes like mine. It is so engrained into this startup school that their motto is composed of lines such as:

“I will explore the world with GUSTO and ENTHUSIASM!”

Every morning, I and 39 other students shout this line with vigor at Draper University’s brilliant startup school in Silicon Valley as part of the daily superhero oath.

All of the “ra-ra” stuff we do is awesome and trust me when I say that I love it, but that is not what has been life changing for me. What I have learned at this magical startup school is that every individual has the ability to change the world. If you make a deliberate effort to follow your passion, interests, and intuition, you will almost certainly change the world. However, the moment you beginning losing touch with those things is when you lose your supernatural ability to change the world.

Draper University of Heroes is truly a startup school where heroes are made.

~ Guest post by Jacob Catalano who is from Toronto, Canada and was part of DU’s Summer 2014 Class.

Naveen Jain @ Draper University: How to Build a Billion Dollar Company

naveen-jainFebruary 6, 2015 - “It's not about the innovation, it's about flawless implementation.” There are some people who think that if you have a good idea you are going to “own” the market. Naveen Jain has a different perspective on that. He believes that the execution of an idea can be more important than the idea itself. In fact, he says that the idea is a 10% of a business and execution is the other 90%.

Naveen visited Draper University last week and spoke to DU's Winter 2015 Class. He stated that if you want to create something big, you don’t have to see outside of the box, you have to be in a completely different box. He went on to say, "If nine out of ten people don’t consider you crazy for your idea, then you are not thinking big enough.” Naveen believes this is the only way to solve challenging problems, such as today's education system, which according to him is not broken, but obsolete because it doesn't apply to the realistic situations and problems. It only allows for either a right or wrong answer with no gray area. That’s not the case in the life. In reality, problems are solved by teams working together to find different solutions.

Advice for Entrepreneurs

Naveen believes that in order to be a successful entrepreneur you need to work with people whose perspective are opposing your own. He also says that you have to deeply believe in yourself, have a passion, and make your differences your advantages. You can never beat someone in their own game, you have to beat them being you, in your game. Then, you can use all the things that make you different as your weapons. Be yourself and take advantage of what makes you stand out from your competition.

~ Guest post by Raimundo Silva who is from Santiago, Chile and is currently a student in DU’s Winter 2015 Class.

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 Amazing Guest Speakers from Silicon Valley

Student Post – June 20, 2013 – We had some absolutely amazing guest speakers come into Draper University during the Spring 2013 Class, they were all hugely inspiring and it was such a privilege to sit in beanbags and listen to them. In this blog post I'm going to run though five of my favorite guest speakers.

Bill Draper1. Bill Draper

Bill was one of the first venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, and with this comes some great stories! Bill was fantastically captivating when talking about some of his investments and his time in the US government working for Ronald Reagan.

Naveen Jain2. Naveen Jain

Naveen is a serial entrepreneur with a special interest in science and technology. Naveen has a first rate mind and can tell you about anything science related. He also has the best business card I've ever seen!

Strikingly3. David Chen & Teng Bao

David and Teng are co-founders of YC backed Strikingly, they make it really easy to build mobile optimized websites with no coding required. They sat down with us for an informal fireside chat about their story and how they got started. They were incredibly funny and very open about the struggles of running your own startup.

Jamis MacNiven4. Jamis MacNiven

Jamis is the owner of Buck's of Woodside, a small restaurant famous for hosting VC's and entrepreneurs. Some of history's biggest VC deals were done at tables in Buck's. Jamis came in to talk about why Silicon Valley is the best place to be and start your business.

Mike Cassidy5. Mike Cassidy

Mike is a serial entrepreneur with a number of successful exits and is currently a director at Google X. Mike came in to tell us about his startup philosophy of SPEED. He told us about a story when he pitched DFJ at 8:15am and demanded a term sheet by 4:30pm.

~ Guest post by Alex Nguyen who is from the UK and was part of DU's Spring 2013 Class.