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Speaker - 5 Shadrach White

Now that the quarter is over, I can say without a doubt that Shadrach was on of my favorite speakers of the quarter. He is the founder of CloudPWR, his 4th company so far, and really took a calculated leap of faith in deciding the direction this company was going to go. The aspect I found most inspiring about his talk was the way he viewed people, both investors and employees. The way he described the importance of treating them like an investment, something you value and respect, was really contrary to the image that had been described to me until this point of investor/employee relationships. He described the way he would take the time to talk to them, completely absent of any demands or hidden agendas, updating them on progress and details of a project they hadn't even gotten involved in yet. It was such a personal approach to what really should be a more social experience to begin with. Some of the other things he said that I particularly enjoyed was the way he described devel…

Dot.com to Dot.bomb

It was interesting the way this class on the boom and bust was formatted because we did it in a timeline, and I never really learned much about the history behind some of these companies before. One of the things I was most surprised about, though it's something I should have probably known long ago, was that Amazon had been around for quite a while and been mocked for its ideas since the very beginning. It was funny being reminded of how big Yahoo was when I was so young, and how powerful our AOL spam disk overlords were. It's interesting hearing from somebody that was actually involved in all of that, because as a kid it just seemed like something that was happening on some other planet but we'd keep getting those free coasters anyways. The way websites popped up like IPO.com, or FuckCompany.com, seems so capitalistic and free market it's entertaining. Between Luminant Worldwide's 8 company roll-up, Wolfe writing his own check, and the fights going on during Andr…

Startup.com Documentary

The Startup.com movie was nothing if not a roller-coaster ride. We see the ups and downs of the GovWorks founders Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, Tom Herman, and Chieh Cheung as they try to navigate the process of starting a company from scratch. One of the most surprising points by the end of the movie for me is that the third founder, Chieh Cheung, was the only founder to profit from the company after being bought out for 700k somewhat early on. The remaining founders walk away with nothing after the company is forced to file bankruptcy and sell the company after burning through $60 million in capital over 3 years. We see multiple points of contention where members of the company seemed to have been outpaced by its growth, starting with Chieh, all the way to Tom Herman himself when the power struggle boils over into a dramatic scene ending with his termination and escort from the building. I found myself confused early on seeing so much emphasis towards wooing investors before a product had ev…

Speaker 4 - John Dimmer

Our fourth speaker was John Dimmer, a personal friend of the Andrew Fry's as well as an important member of Free-Range-Media. I really enjoyed having John come to class because he provided insight to what I would consider the most difficult aspect of starting a business, financing. John talked about some of his background before becoming an entrepreneur; Going to school for finance, working for a bank, working as a repo man, etc. He stressed early on the importance of learning the basics of accounting and financing, as well as learning how to read contracts and knowing when it would be a good time to seek legal council. One of my favorite lines from the talk is that, "Accounting is the method by which a business keeps score.". I think it makes sense to put business in this sort of game perspective, where you are forced to acknowledge the inherent competition involved in it all.

When the idea of starting a media company came up between Andrew and John, they sought out Joh…

Protecting My Intellectual Property

In class we learned about the four basic forms of intellectual property protection known as Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents, and Trade Secrets. Given that video games are primarily a form of art, it can be difficult to figure out where protections would be most appropriate. Any sort of names or symbols associated with the company or any of it's game products would certainly be trademarked, to protect anybody else from taking over the brand and profiting from or representing it in a way that would be counter to the companies goals. Copyrights would be used to protect any of the specific artwork produced for any of the games, as well as any music, story-line literature, or any other form of expression used to flesh out the world we develop. What we did learn in class that I had never heard of previously is that source code can also be protected with a copyright as a form of literature, and this would certainly be something to look into when creating these mobile apps. As far as the …

Mission and Vision Statements

In class we had an exercise exploring the importance of providing mission statements, vision statements, and values for your business. Not only do they set a standard for the company as a whole to aspire to, but they outline a focus that every employee can take into consideration any time they make a decision affecting the company. When potential employees, investors, or customers want to know exactly what sort of company they might be dealing with, these statements provide a good idea of the sort of things we might consider of importance. It's difficult to come up with statements that are simple enough to comprehend, yet powerful enough to inspire, but we gave it a shot anyways. My business idea is of a Mobile Game App company, so my focus was on creativity. These are the rough drafts of what I would consider my business statements:

Vision: Develop a brand immediately recognized by any gamer, by inspiring creativity and fascination from within our virtual universe.

Mission: Reinv…

Pricing The Product

Pricing my product is an interesting task. When it comes to games, mobile app games in particular, there is such a variation in the ways you can generate profit. A flat fee for buying the game, a subscription based charge, in-app purchasing, etc. But for my game in particular I've settled on going for free-to-play, with the option of in-app purchases. This might seem like a poor business model on the surface, but from my personal experience it has been the most effective revenue structure for mobile games. To this day I have not downloaded a game that wasn't free to play, and I find subscriptions particularly bothersome. Because my attention span for mobile games, or most games in general, is typically short; I tend not to invest much initially. The only money I've personally ever spent on mobile games in fact was through in-app purchases after I had found myself particularly invested in the games actual player community. Worldwide Mobile Game revenue surpassed both PC and…